Monthly Archives: June 2015

Doing just fine, actually

“How are you?”

A dear friend asked me just that the other day. And the answer, quite simply, is fantastic. Over the last two years, as my inexplicable occasional loss of consciousness, along with general decline of brain function and all the fun stuff that goes with it, went from bad to worse, people who were used to seeing me in person noticed I’d all but vanished. I wasn’t around the boat anymore, which began to look less like a restoration and more like a forgotten dream. I wasn’t working in the yard. I didn’t bump into old friends at my usual diners. No, I was locked up at home, my car indefinitely parked while I remained parked at my keyboard, doggedly trying to get from A to B with an mental engine that kept derailing and losing cars. And yes, that’s just me making light of something that was far worse than these few sentences can sum up. Every day became a battle, one it seemed I was losing. Not fun.

Happily, those days are past. Once the medical community had finally narrowed my plummeting blood pressure and all the other fun symptoms to a lack of sodium — and not for a lack of salt in my diet but the inability to absorb it — everything changed. In the first days taking Fludrocortisone it seemed a miracle; the dizziness was gone, completely, and my head had gone from foggy to sharp and clear. My head was functioning properly, and I was afraid it was too good to last. I was certain my body would eventually adjust to the medications and I’d be back where I started, or worse. But three months in, and things have only gotten better. I’m back to hiking, house maintenance, the boat’s coming together by the day, (okay, the week, but day sounds better,) and beta copies of Evacuation Route should be in a few unsuspecting hands real soon.

But back to the original question. How am I doing? As in, should I really be driving around, or climbing ladders and working on the boat? Is that safe?

Yes. Driving. Climbing on ladders. Walking on docks. Hiking with the dogs. Yes, yes, and yes. Thanks to one tiny little pill, I now absorb sodium normally. My blood pressure is not to high, not too low, but just right, and everything functions perfectly, just the way it should. No restrictions on diet, activity, or anything else. In fact, I’m pretty damned healthy, aside from that one little imbalance that’s in balance now. Of course, I gave my car permission to go cross country with the kids back when I wasn’t driving at all. And now that I’m back on the road in my daughter’s much newer (smaller, clutchless) Focus wagon, my car is currently headed somewhere towards Nebraska or thereabouts, and having much fun along the way. 

WHERE is my car?

Ohio, at last sighting, and likely back on the move.

What’s it doing in Ohio? Just passing through. Not me, though. I’m still right here in good old NJ. As of yesterday, I wrapped up another round of edits on Evacuation Route, which brings me that much closer to done, and the momentum has become non-stop. And while I’m sitting at my keyboard, my car, along with my daughter and her boyfriend, are all off on a cross-country road trip.

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They’d been planning a far shorter trip, a week or so, out to a music festival in Michigan, with a stop to visit friends along the way. But then there were a few more friends and a national park they’d been wanting to camp in, and then another festival days later and hours from there.  The trip grew, limited by how far their budget for fuel would take them in his Mazda sedan. Meanwhile, my Jetta TDI wagon, which has more space and double the MPG, wasn’t traveling much beyond the home/boat/Shoprite loop. When I offered that they instead take my car, that opened up miles of options to them, and the Great Road Trip began to take shape. You know that trip, the one everyone talks about doing at least once in their lifetime. Backpacking Europe. A grand road trip.  You get the idea. The kind of trip anyone caught on the treadmill of life warns you to take while you’re still young…like those two in the above photo. Do it while you can, and as word spread, donated camping gear, backpack frames and other items they’d been needing began to fill the car. For the most part they’ll be traveling from national park to national park, hiking and camping, and sending me back lots of pictures. So here’s what we’re looking at, approximately.

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That’s what a shoe-string budget, a whole lot of second-hand gear, and six hundred plus miles a tankful gets you. I have, however, given them one request regarding my car. I expect it returned covered in bumper stickers proudly proclaiming all the fun places it’s visited.


The kids did give me a present before they left, though.


That’s the bottom of the boat.  The WHOLE bottom, and they sanded it completely before they left. More pics to follow.

And now, back to work for me. I’ve got a book to wrap up.

Catching up…

I’ve got a lot of that to do, now that I’m back from the land of the not-quite-dead. When you go from busy and active to semi-comatose, everything in life falls behind. Writing, the boat, the house, the yard…you name it.  It doesn’t take long everything to pile up, and the deeper it gets, the more intimidating it can be. And while I’d like to just jump right back in, full-throttle, I’m still operating with a heart that barely breaks an idle. But now at least I can take the crew for walks again, so we’re working on getting that blood flowing a bit faster, one step at a time.

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After Sandy, what remained of the boatyard was rebuilt on the south end, while the north end of the yard is all but abandoned, save a few surviving but forgotten boats and twisted traces of wreckage. It makes a wonderful place for the dogs to explore and leave their mark, so to speak.

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Leading the way, Emma is yet to earn full ‘off-leash’ privileges, though she’s close. Laid-back Loki is ‘good example dog’, and he’s teaching Emma the ropes, quite literally.

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And trailing at the back is Rex, aka: ‘bad example dog’. Rex is prone to distraction and selective hearing, so he’s stuck on the leash most times, even if he’s only trailing it as a reminder.

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Once the north yard has been fully sniffed and inspected, it’s off to the south side, where there’s a bit of a beach. And that’s another reason I keep Rex on a leash; even with those stubby basset hound legs, he’s a superb swimmer, and his listening skills decline even further once he’s buoyant and doggy-paddling to Albany.

And now, back to catching up on finishing that book!