Its just water under the bridge.

Today as I look out my shop window at my pond, I watch the water flow over the top of the pond’s dam. There has been three days of constant rain. The weather people call it a weather train which is dousing the area with constant rain. I recently finished working on my pond and I designed both a covert (a large pipe) and an overflow area to handle a large rain event. I had planned on doing more work on the overflow area. But, I did not expect so much rain so soon. Now, I sit looking out as the water slowly flows over the dam. At first, I was worried about what was going to happen to the dam. Then, I realized that there was nothing that I can do until after the rain stops.
That brings me to the thought of the day. I remember the old statement ,” it’s just water under the bridge”. This means to me that the event has already happened and there is nothing that can be done about it now. I should just” let it go”. That’s when I realized that I just thought of a songs message from a famous movie called “Frozen”.
This brought me to my thought about letting things go. It is been hard for me to forget and forgive on some of the things that happened in my life. I realize that they’ve already happened and I cannot go back in time and change them. I survived each one of these events and I now believe that if they had not happened I would not be in such great life as I am now.
How many times as a child did your parents tell you to let it go, to forget it and go on with the rest of your life. Then as you became a parent you gave the same advice to friends and children,” just let it go”. It’s water under the bridge, there’s nothing you can do about it.
Well, now that I’m in my senior years, I can see the wisdom in that statement. But I also know is not truly realistic to be able to let everything go. Somebody hurt your heart or your pride, If they threaten your family, it’s hard just to let it go. That might be water under the bridge, but it still has a fresh imprint on the mind. It seems in the beginning that it is impossible to get over the event. For sample, if somebody you love makes a very negative statement to you and that statement hurts, it will feel impossible to let it go.If a friend betrays your trust and you feel used and abandoned,it will be almost impossible to let it go.
If a close family member begins to demeans you and exclude you from family events, you will find it hard to let it go. Another example, is when I couple gets divorced. Especially, if one of the partners did not want to be divorced. How many times have you read about one of the partners killing the other partner because they felt they could not live without them.
Look at the issue of bullying, especially when a young person is constantly bullied. Their whole world turns ugly and it is almost impossible for them to let it go. Look at a person who has moved to a new area and because they did not look and talk like the others around them, they are bullied in person and on social media. You can tell them that what others say and think does not matter. But I believe the truth is, it does matter. What other people think of me has affected some of the decisions I made in life.
People are constantly aware of what others think of them. There are those that were makeup and choose certain styles of clothing mainly in response to what they think others will think of them. They wear certain closthing when going to different locations, mainly to impress others. And if someone makes a negative comment about how they look, walk and talk, it’s hard to just let it go.
My age and experiences in life have helped me to do a better job in letting things go. Now, going back to my pond overflowing, I watched the water go over the dam and there might be some damage from such action.But there is nothing I can do about it. I cannot stop the rain or control the weather. Just as I cannot stop outside instances of my life from affecting me. But I can practice the thought of “Its just water under the bridge and to let it go”. I can look forward to tomorrow and the possibilities it brings. If what happened yesterday or today for you stays in your mind and heart, work on letting it go. Do not waste your time on hatred or feeling sorry for yourself. It’s just water under the bridge and you need to let it go. Pops

Common Sense

First of all, I would like to thank my son Sean. Thanks for supporting me in my effort to express my thoughts and opinions. Next, thanks Quincy for taking the time to read my blog and to comment on it.
My thought today is about the concept of the term “common sense”. I’ve heard many people express the thought that people do or do not have “common sense”. Whether I have heard it used by news broadcasters or by a politician, or more usually by the person standing in front of me; I am amazed that anyone thinks there’s such a thing as “common sense”. I believe that what is common has to do with where you’re at and where you’re from. If you were born and raised in a large metropolitan area, your ideal common sense is going to be completely different than someone born in a Third World country or in a rural area.
While working in a large city it was considered common sense to try and not make eye contact with people walking by you. Whereas, in a rural setting it is considered “common sense” to look at the person walking by you and smile, or wave, or speak some kind of greeting,
It may be considered “common sense” that if you are a man and you are walking with the woman, when you get to a door you will the door for the woman. I know this may sound like what a common practice is, but there are those the think that it is just “common sense” to do that.
In some areas it is just “common sense” that a man is the head of the household. There are some religions and some cultures that treat women like second-class citizens or property of the man. There are also areas where the oldest person in the family is the head of the household. There are a few places where the woman is the head of the household. Each one of these places considers it only “common sense” that if you want the head of the household you go to that particular person.
In some generations, it is common sense to; save your money, start a family and go to church. In the old generations, like the baby-boomers in my area, it was only “common sense” that you would grow up to leave the nest and start a career. Of course, that generation was encouraged to go to college. It was only “common sense” that you would do better in life with a college degree.
The current generation may not have the same opinion of what is “common sense”. Maybe it’s “common sense” to stay at home and avoid a large debt. You can find an alternate to going to college. Some of the IT people and gamers have done very well without a college degree,
In some of the less affluent neighborhoods it is only” common sense” that you get a job as soon as possible knowing they cannot afford college.
In some communities, it is only “common sense”, that the citizens in the community serve some sort of community service. Whereas there is a group of people who believe, it’s only” common sense” they spend all the time on themselves.
As a police officer, I responded to several calls that involve neighbors or people who lived nearby who were complaining about what their neighbors were doing. For example, you don’t play loud music after 10 o’clock at night. You don’t let your dogs and cats run loose in the neighborhood. You don’t let the tree limb grow over the fence onto another person’s property. You don’t paint your house in a color different than those in the neighborhood. You don’t cuss in front of children. You don’t allow your kids to stay out late at night without supervision. You don’t allow your children to associate with bad people.
The issue I had with all this “common sense” is that not everyone agreed that that’s “common sense”. Frequently, those people that were being complained on would reply that it’s their right to play the music as loud if they want. The fact that the other person thought it was a bad word that was in front of a child is not consider it a bad word in their house. This happened especially in communities that had many diverse cultures. Different religions usually are sighted as to what is “common sense”. But the diversity in those religions make it almost impossible to have everyone believe in a “common sense”.
It is my thought that there is no such thing as “common sense”. Each area, community, state, and country will have its own thoughts on “common sense”. Therefore, one must take into consideration that different areas have different values than thoughts on what “common sense” is.
The only thing that is common to me is that there are always two sides to a story. The more people involved will always present a different view.
As you listen to the news or to the person in front of you, take care to before agreeing to any so called “common sense” statement. Each side has its view of what happened and there no common sense to one side of an issue. Pops

The area of the toilet

After writing my blog yesterday, I realized I’d spent some time talking about going to the bathroom. Later, I looked at that and realize that the area that I had called the bathroom did not have a bath in it. The area that houses the toilet as many different names. For example, you might say that you’re going to the restroom and those that were in the military may say they are going to the head.
I have found as I’ve gotten older, that no matter where I’m at I will always check out where the restroom or toilet is at. One of the reasons is because I always seem to need to go to the toilet. Of course in a men’s restroom there are few toilets and usually several urinals. In the homes there are just toilets. The difference in these two areas ranging me to some of the thoughts of the day.
Most public areas that have restrooms for men, are usually dirty and unkept. It seems that because of that the man’s aim is not always on the mark. For example, the area around the urinal is usually wet. And the liquid is not water. If you’re bold enough to want to use the toilet in a public restroom, you’d better check to see if there is any toilet paper. It used to be that there were some sort of paper product that you could use to cover the actual seat of the toilet. That does not happen anymore. The condition of the men’s restrooms are usually in the lowest of quality and almost always out of toilet paper. Occasionally, there will be some kind of air freshener system in the men’s restroom. But in the past few years, even that has disappeared. Many men are use to the condition of the restrooms and so they don’t complain as much. But there have been occasions when all the ladies restrooms were occupied and a woman would have to go into the men’s restroom. That is when they come back out and tell us that men are pigs and that the facilities discussimg. The possibility of a woman going to a men’s restroom is more likely to happen when you’re on the road and you have to stop at a gas station to use the facilities. It used to be that when you are on the road and you need to use a clean bathroom you can go inside a restaurant and use their facilities. But now restaurants have little signs to advise you that they are not a public restroom and that their facilities further customers only.
There’s another issue about public restaurants for men. There is a complete lack of privacy. When you have to use the urinal there are usually a small partition wall between the urinals and that is supposed to provide you some privacy. When you’re out a sporting event or a busy location there is always somebody behind you in line who want to use the urinal and therefore there is no privacy. In the women’s restrooms they are all equipped with toilets and walls and doors around the area of the toilet so that is a private area. I don’t know why they can’t do that for the men’s restrooms so we don’t have to use the urinal just provide us withe a toilet. You know that we are not going to have any better aim and that of course were going to leave the toilet lid up at all times. At least it will provide us with some privacy.
Now let’s talk about the toilet in the house. Luckily for us men who have wives or girlfriends, the toilet area of the house is usually kept in a very nice condition. Most homes are amply supplied with toilet paper and some sort of air freshener fan in the ceiling to help with the smell.
But, if you want to hear your name completely name announced, just leave the toilet lid up after you’re finished. You all hear your full and complete name announced loudly. And if you are not thinking of what you did, your significant other will quickly point out that you left the toilet seat up and how terrible it is to sit down with no lid. There’s another time when you’ll hear your complete name loudly broadcast the house. That is when you’ve left a nasty smell in the toilet area. As you get older you will try to warn the others in the house not to go near the toilet after you have left. Unfortunately, not everyone hears the message. Even if you are courteous enough to turn on the ceiling fan, known as a fart fan, you still have to advise others there is some time that it would take to have the smell fanned out. I do try another technique, I call it the courtesy flush. As soon as whatever it is is come out of my body and it hits the toilet water I flush the toilet. I may do this three or four times during a setting. This does not stop the possibility of some bad odor that will linger in the toilet area, but it sure helps to cut down on the intensity of the smell.
I will take the credit or the blame for any mess that I make in the restroom, bathroom or toilet area. It’s funny that when men leave a nasty smell and another man walks in to that area, they will make some some remark about how strong you must be. Others will say something like, dude. And some will make remarks like it smells like something died in the bathroom. And should a woman walked by after a really bad session, she will immediately proclaim that she is not cleaning up that mess or going near that area until you clean it up.
When I was a small child my family and I lived on a farm in Indiana with my grand parents, There was no inside plumbing so I had to go to an outside building called the out house. I originally thought it was the odd house. It was there that I was introduced to what a outdoor toilet area would be like. You still come across these outdoor commode when you’re camping in a state park or you’re working on a construction site. The unusual part of the farmhouse experience was that the toilet paper was really the pages of a Sears catalog that was mailed to my grandparents home. The idea was that you would tear off the page of the catalog and while doing your business you would roll up the paper try to make it flexible and smoother when you used it. The joke at my grandparents house was that they had a deluxe two hole outhouse. Ofcourse there is no partition that divided the two seating areas and there certainly was no fan to help the odor escape from the building.
In today’s world, when I’m on the road or even visiting a business I checked out the restroom and make some mental notes on the condition it is in. I find myself when traveling, trying to know where the clean restrooms are at and the places to avoid. For example, small gas stations usually inside a city, are places to avoid. I had an experience once of having to use one of those restrooms only to walk in on a prostitute and her client taking care of business there at a sink and by the toilet. As I turned to leave that location I noticed that there were several other people waiting to conduct business in that bathroom. As a narcotics detective I found that drug users really frequent small gas station inner-city bathrooms.
I know it is an issue of how badly you have to go, and if you have small children the intensity is even more amplified. My thoughts on this is that each time you go out along a normally traveled route take the time to check out the facilities. There has been more than one time when I altered my route because I knew I would have to use the restroom and I want to use a clean.
Another thought, for we men out there. Try and work to aim properly, notice if you put the seat down, use the air freshener if it’s available and finally use a courtesy flush matter where you. Pops

Hospital and surgery

After taking some time away from my blog, Pops on the Porch.com. I have decided to get busy again and put out some of the thoughts I have on to my blog site. During the last six months I’ve had a triple bypass and one day later that, my gallbladder exploded making it so I spent about three weeks in a hospital.

So for this first log, I thought I would share my thoughts on my experiences during the triple bypass surgery and the gallbladder surgery. To begin with I have been going to my doctors as I started out with afib which led to a few procedures where the doctors tried to shock my heart back into rhythm. Then there was the ablation operation. And then I went into the hospital thinking that they were going to put stints into my arteries. So, I went into the hospital thinking that my heart doctor was going to put some stints in me. But when I woke up from the anesthesia my heart doctor told me that I had three arteries that were over 70% blocked, so stints were not the answer. Within minutes my cardiologist introduced me to a heart surgeon who told me I needed a triple bypass operation. So, I said I like to get it done as quickly as possible. He replied okay, how about tomorrow morning at 7:30 AM.
Still in a little bit of shock from the news that I was not going to have stints, I quickly agreed to the operation. First, I was already in the heart hospital and the same department that did the stints. So, in the next morning, early in the morning. I was put under again and some three hours later I woke up in the recovery. It wasn’t bad and I quickly started working on several things I was told I would have to do before I could leave the hospital. One of them was go the bathroom and urinate. Then It was that I would have to get up and with the assistance of a physical therapists, walk up and down the halls of the hospital. Within a day I was able to do both, I was excited to be taken home. I was sore but I was really ready to get out of the hospital. I didn’t feel well on the day that I was being released from the hospital and by the time that I got home I was in really bad shape. My gallbladder had ruptured and my bloodstream and become septic, infectioned. I was so bad that they life flighted me back to the heart hospital in a helicopter.
In the beginning, the doctors were not quite sure what the problem was. Naturally, they started to look at complications with the triple bypass operation. After about a day or two in the hospital the doctors discovered that my gallbladder had ruptured ard and it was poisoning my system. It took several weeks of getting my blood cleared of the infections before the a different doctor would even think of performing the operation on me. Luckily, I was able to convince the doctor that I was ready for the operation. The doctor, on several occasions, told me that he would like to wait six weeks before he did the operating. But at my insistence he would perform it soon.
I tell you this so it will lead me onto the thoughts of the day. Let’s begin with hospital food. Both times I was admitted to the hospital a person from the hospitals cafeteria would greet me and render me a list of the food that was available to me. Both people, describe themselves as really good at what they did and assured me that I would like food that they prepare. So as I was given a menu after several days where my diet consisted of water, ice crystals and Jell-o. The items on the menu looked really good. And I was ready to eat food.
One of the first meal that I ordered was for breakfast. After receiving the meal, which did not look like anything I’ve seen before, I quickly dug in expecting to taste food. Well, when you’re in a heart hospital threy are not going to put much of anything in the food.I would say that it tastes bland but it didn’t even taste that good. After going through several days of different selections I did find one thing that actually tasted decent. It was French toast. I didn’t look forward to the lunch meal. The titles on the food seemed familiar and I even ordered meatloaf. Once again, the food had no taste and had a funny kind of texture that quickly discouraged me from ordering any lunch again. Then there was the dinner meal. Again, the titles of the food seems familiar and so I tried almost everything on that menu. Again, nothing had any real taste and the texture was unusual, I began to beg my wife to bring me food from the outside. I thought that then I would finally get something that tasted nice. Well to my dismay, the food did not taste anything like I remembered it. It so happens, that all of the medicines that I was receiving affected my tastebuds and therefore nothing to same. I will say that the food from the outside had some taste to it and the texture seemed familiar. So as it was, I basically lived off of Jell-O and a small cups of ice cream. Although, the ice cream did not taste like an ice cream I’ve ever had. The ice cream was easy to swallow.
I then thought that this would be a good thing that I did not eat so much in that I would lose weight while i was in the hospital. No, I did not lose any weight while in the hospital, somehow I actually gained weight. I know there’s always been jokes about hospital food and I realize that when you’re in a heart hospital they are really cautious about what is in the food that might affect your heart. But there was a part of me that wanted to meet those people in the cafeteria again and asked them if they were actually ever ate the food. I did ask one of the people who served the food to me if they ever ate the food and they laughed and said no. So my thought on this is that if you know you’re going to be in the hospital for a while working out with somebody on the outside bring you some food that you will actually eat and enjoy.
Like most old men, I am a proud person who does not usually like to ask for help. But I had to get over that while in the hospital. My gallbladder gave way and I was back in the hospital and I was unable to even get in and out of the bed. And so anytime I had to go to the bathroom I had to ask for help. Now when you’re in the hospital there is a little button near your bed and they tell you that if you need something all you have to do is to push that button and they’ll be right there to help. The problem is that all the patients on the floor are given the same button and so it could take quite a while before anyone gets back after pushing the button. The problem with that is I was not able to control my bowels so I found myself in a very messy situation. When the nurses did get to me quickly they had to clean me up. I found myself in a very uncompromising position. They had to turn me on my side which put pressure on my chest which caused a lot of pain due to the bypass operation. My sternum had been put back together using some wire. So when I turned on my side the pressure was extreme and the pain was extreme. The embarrassment of having to have two people rolled me on my side and clean my backside was something that I just had to get used to. One of the male nurses who came when I needed some help and he asked me why I would defecate on myself rather they go to the bathroom. He said this several times that he participated in cleaning me up. At first I was embarrassed by his question and then I got mad at him and I told him, if I could get up by myself I would do it but I could not even stand on my own two legs. It took almost a week for me to be able to stand on my own two legs. Therefore, weighing almost 230 pounds, I need the help of at least two or three people to get out of my bed and get to the bathroom. Once again, while in the bathroom there was a button I could push and somebody would come back and help me. Again, with so many people also in rough condition in the heart hospital, it could take almost 20 minutes before somebody gets there.
If you ever thought wearing ahospital gown was embarrassing, have somebody help you get in and out of bed or clean you up while you’re in the bed. That was the most embarrassing thing that I’ve ever experienced. There was some talk about bed pads but there were so many people in the hospital they ran out of available bedpans. My thought here is what can’t they make a hospital bed that has some kind of device that could open up so you would have the ability to go when you are in the bed.
I will say that the difference in the nurses, who were there to help me, made all the difference in the world on how I felt about my position and my condition. There were some nurses who made me feel less embarrassed when I had to call for help to be cleaned up. I really appreciated the nurses who had the upper body strength to help get me in and out of the bed. And there were several nurses who were always in a positive mood and they made me feel like a human being.
Part of being able to leave the hospital is I have to get up out of bed and start with a walker to walk up and down the hallways. Another, was that you were able to go and use the bathroom. That’s when you met the people from physical therapy. All of them seem to be very positive people, they were like cheerleaders each time you would accomplish a goal like get out of bed and walked down the hallway. They did not make you feel guilty for the things you asked them to do, like some of the nurses. I actually look forward to their visits as each time I got there they were a positive presence. My thoughts on this are that the nursing staffs at heart hospitals should receive some sort of training from the physical therapist on how to make the patient feel like they were there to help rather than it was a job. Again I had several nurses that were that way. They were positiv any time you did something they would cheer you on.
One thing that really irritated me while I was in the hospital, was that it seemed like every 15 minutes to half an hour someone would walk into the room to perform a task like take your temperature or take some blood. This made it almost impossible to get any sleep. I would actually calculate how long it would take for next sleeping pill would become available to me. It seems to me that the administrators in the hospital could coordinate a way that all those different technicians could work as a group and come in and interrupt you a few times as possible. I know that someone has to make sure you’re okay about every 15 minutes why can’t they have a machine that automatically takes your blood pressure and your temperature every 15 minutes without waking you up. I don’t want to take away the human side of medical care but having been there for about three weeks really wanted some sleep some rest.
Of course, I am thankful for the doctors and nurses and technicians for keeping me alive. I’m thankful to the hospital for providing such high-quality care. The thoughts that I have expressed today are merely some small complaints. I think that the people in the cafeteria need to eat the wrong foods will know what it’s like. I think that the nurses should act more like the physical therapist and their positive attitude towards the patient. And I think that the hospital administration could do more to coordinate all the interruptions that occur while you’re in the hospital.
The last of my thoughts are on the billing, pricing and the insurance. I was shocked to find out the price of an ambulance ride from my house to a local hospital. Then I was really shocked when I saw the price of $22,000 for the helicopter take me from that local hospital to the heart hospital in Tyler. When I finally got all the billing and realized that all that cost was over million dollars, I really appreciated that I had all the different insurances that covered almost all of the services are received. I know that the doctors and hospitals send off a bill and that when the insurance companies get it they reduce the amount of coverage and so therefore the original bill is taken care of with less in the so-called asking price for the services. Still, we received billing from several doctors emergency rooms. We would call them back and after informing them of all the insurances that covered thier services. It seems like some of the people in billing are not the sharpest are the most inspired people working for the insurance company.
Well, this is my resuming of my blog. Selfishly, it was mostly about me and my experience having a triple bypass immediately after a gallbladder ruptured. But I think in reading the blog you’ll find some common ground. And you probably even experience some of the things I talked about. So, if you are either fortunate or unfortunate enough to go to specialized heart hospital just be prepared for some of things I talked about. It is gonna be your family members who will help you through your experience. It will also be the specialized doctors and the dedicated nurses and the positive physical therapist who will do the work. You should also let them know about any negative experience that you have. Neither a doctor, a nurse, technician, and aid are perfect people. But they do get paid a lot of money to perform the task they should always remember that you are human, a person and you would like to be treated with great respect. Pops

DDay 2019 cermonies

Pops on the porch
Today is June 6, 2019 and there are many events to remember the D-Day invasion of Normandy. Truly, a day to remember for all of those who gave their lives. I watched the television as it shows the remaining members of the Armed Forces who were there on D-Day and is still alive today. I know that two thirds of the men who landed on Normandy Beach did not survive. Of those that did survive, they did not tell their stories to their families for years after the event.
I am not one who wants to celebrate the death of so many men. The veterans of World War II are part of the greatest generation. Men and women who believed in our country and were open to going to foreign lands with the idea that their presence would bring peace and freedom to other human beings.
I know this was the feeling I had when I went to join the Army and serve in Vietnam. It was the generation before me that served in World War II, they gave me the mindset that what I was doing was good and right.
It was mentioned in the television story that many veterans of Normandy did not go home and discuss what happened to them. In was because, I believe, that the memorandum such death in a war something that we do not want to share when we get back home.
Those countries that we considered our enemies and those that we considered our friends have changed over the years. Give example is Japan. They are now an ally and Germany is a country that we do a lot of business with. My point is, that things will change. Those people we consider our enemies soon become our allies.
As I grew up, I was exposed to a lot of hatred for people from the countries that we fought in World War II. It was easy for me to transfer that hatred to the people of Vietnam. Not that the people of Vietnam ever tried to invade America or take over any other country. It was simply because they look like the enemies of World War II.
Was I served in a war where I believed I was destroying an enemy and evil, I realize at an older age, that I was not proud of all the death that I brought to that nation. As fate would have it, my family would include Vietnamese born in-laws. I found that the hatred that I had when I went to Vietnam no longer existed.
I do not like celebrating the death of so many people. I do not believe that holding ceremonies that ask veterans to go back to the areas where they watched death and disaster, is a good thing. I think if you want to celebrate the goodness of the men and women who served in the service, you should support them now in their old age. I think you should pay attention to the feeling that everyone should serve this nation. By everyone serving the nation they pay tribute to those who went before us. Whether the veteran died in action or they continue to live their lives in the country that they served, this should be celebrated. We should be remembered not the war and all the death surrounding that action. I do not want to recall the time that it was my mission in life to hate and kill other humans. I’m not against fighting for your nation. But I am against fighting for nation on foreign shores. When we are not the direct recipient of hostile actions, we should not go to other parts of the world and ask Americans to die for foreign country.
Vietnam was the first of such wars and it was followed by Iraq Iran and Afghanistan. We should not be over there trying to force our view of the way life and government should be. We should not be there trying to make people from different cultures succumb to the way our culture exists.
I find it irritating that those people who never served in an army or went to a foreign country and service of the United States constantly complained about the state of our nation.
I believe everyone should serve this country in some form of community contribution. Israel make sure that every man and woman serves in one way or the other their country for two years.
As I read that only 10% of the population of our country’s serve in our Armed Forces. We have the freedom of speech without the conviction of actions.
Again, I do not like watching such ceremonies or event where thousands of Americans died. For those who say that such an event should not be forgotten, for those that were there will never be forgotten. But for those who never served their country it is just another story are movie-like adventure that they can watch for their entertainment. People may say they do it for the education of future generations. But the story told is usually a one-sided story. The view of the reasons for going to war are usually from just one side. Or should I say one angle.
I find it uncomfortable when there is celebration for veterans. On the one hand, I am proud that I stood up and served our nation. On the other hand, I am not proud of all the death that I caused to people from a foreign nation.
I think if you want to spend all this money to celebrate anything, it should be the ideas and practices of the United States. We should not be the world’s policing agency. We should not give foreign aid to countries who are hostile to the United States. We should support those countries that do support the United States. But before we send it anymore men and women into war, we should take care of our own country first. Whether it’s healthcare or Social Security, we need to pay more attention to our own country.
I am probably not someone you like. I don’t believe we should have such elaborate ceremonies concerning wartime actions. Quit putting up the old veterans on stages to look at them while you count the number of them a pass away every day. Start putting attention into getting this and future generations involved in our nation. That doesn’t mean they all need to go into the armed forces. But they do need to find a way to serve this nation. Whether they were born here are they were lucky enough to find their way here. Everyone to considers themselves an American or citizen of the United States, should find a way to serve the country.
I am tired of watching such ceremonies of someone (who never served the nation) tell the story from their eyes, the news station’s eyes. There is nothing wonderful about taking other human lives. I know sometimes it is the only last resort. Going to foreign lands and trying to make the people that nation do it our way is wrong.
Let us celebrate our cultures in our country’s. Let’s work on the future of our own children and grandchildren. Let’s not celebrate the continued actions that send our men and women to war and foreign countries. Let those countries fight for the things that they want with her own people.

I wish to thank all those who served our country and the families that support them. But I also wish that more people would take the responsibility of helping our nation, our people and our cultures survive.

Pops

Another phase of life

When I look back upon my life I often see that my life went through different phases. Everything from, graduating from high school to turning 70 years old seem to be divided into phases. There is the phase of first independence where you leave the family unit and go out on your own. There is the phase of when you get married and start to have children. A phase where you’re working overtime and trying to make sure that all the bills are paid. There’s a phase when you must admit that your middle-age and that you’ve already worked decades at the same job. There is a phase that you enjoy your hobbies and indulge your pleasures. For example, there was a phase of hot cars and then a phase of Harley-Davidson motorcycles for me. Then there is a phase where you realize its time to retire and you finally admit that you are getting old. Within each one of those phases their events and moments that stand out not only for yourself but for those around you.
Now that I am in my 70s and I can enjoy my hobbies I pretty much feel like I am sitting in the stands watching life go by for my family. One of my grandsons, Jonathan Colt Sumner, moved out of his mom and dad’s house and into an apartment with a friend. Thus, this is his phase of independent living. Yes, as a grandparent I can remember the day that Jonathan was born. And like most grandparents, I’ve watched with pride while he and his sister have grown to be incredible individuals. I can remember when I moved out into my first apartment and began my journey of independence. I can remember my struggles to make enough money to afford a car and car insurance. I can remember my first big purchase of a large screen TV. During those days a large screen TV was about 25 inches and the unit must await 40 pounds. Now I begin to watch as my grandson starts his journey.
Currently, I’m a proud grandfather of 14 grandchildren. And I as I continue with other blogs I hope to mention each one of them as they begin their different phases. In this blog I’m mentioning two. Not because of them being anymore dear to me than the others, but because I recognize the phases that they’re about to explore.
Emma Sumner is a 10-year-old who has already impressed many of us by her writing of her own book. Emma and her sister Lexi are both very busy in their lifestyle. One of the things that they both enjoy is the art of hula dancing. Emma has been doing it the longest and she has become quite good at it. So, when there is an event where she gets to hula dance, she and her fellow dancers put on costumes but also put on makeup. Emma looks to be about 17 or 18 years old when she puts on the makeup. She is about to enter a phase of her life where people stop looking at her as a child but as a teenager and then a young woman. I know her parents will both be protective and supportive. Thanks to Facebook, I can watch her grow through the various pictures that her parents put on Facebook. Just this week I was able to watch her with your parents out and about in a nature setting. One picture Emma standing next to her dad, Sean, and she looks like a very happy 10-year-old standing next to her dad. In another photo, I look at Emma with her makeup on getting ready to do a hula dance. In this feature I see a very young woman.
Each one of the two grandchildren I mentioned today (and I will mention each one of my grandchildren and future blogs) are entering some new phases of their life. I’m excited for them and I too will be supportive of them.
This phase of my life, of being a very senior citizen and proud grandparent has been hard for me to recognize. I don’t feel that old and I still get excited about all the activities that I can participate in. The thing that makes me feel old is watching the phases of my children and now my grandchildren as they progress through life.
To my children, I am proud of each one of you and as I watched you go through your phases I hope you’re able to enjoy watching your children proceed to the same phases as much as I have watching you.
Pops

Stepped into it

Have you ever just stepped in it? How many of you have gotten up in the middle of the night and while walking through the house, maybe to the kitchen, have unexpectedly stepped into something on the floor. Maybe, it was peanut butter or even worse jelly that had been dropped on the floor early in the day and not discovered until you planted your foot onto it. Especially, if this is at night or when it is dark the incident will consume your complete attention. You will forget that you are mad at the people at work. You’ll forget that the car didn’t start yesterday, and you have no idea what is wrong. You will even forget that later in the day you have to go to the dentist. There will be no thought about local politics or economic issues the second you step into that mess. It is even worse if you have pets in the house. As you were walking you turn the corner and you feel something underneath your feet. Hopefully it is liquid. No matter what you have been thinking about all your attention will be focused on what you stepped in.
Your reaction to this event can go from cussing out loud or yelling statements of complete confusion. After realizing that you stepped in it, now you must think about what to do next. Do you lift the 1 foot and just hop over to the sink or to where there some paper towels to clean off your foot? Because if you do that there is an equal possibility that you will hop into another pile of whatever it is. Do you just go to clean your foot and then turn on the light to see what you stepped in. Or do you hop over to the light switch to immediately see what it is you stepped in.
Worst case scenario is that you quickly move using both feet leaving a trail of whatever’s on your foot. On one such occasion, I’d stepped in some grape jelly that somehow missed the toast that I tried to put it on earlier in the day. Next there was a trail of jelly stains from the point of contact to the sink. Now depends upon how much you stepped in on what you do next. Do you try to wash off your foot at the sink or do you try to find a way to the shower? If the stuff you stepped in was from a pet, do you immediately warn anybody else in the house of the area that has the whatever is on it? Do you just go and take care of the mess on your foot and then tell somebody that there’s a mess out on the floor? Or like many people if it is in the middle of the night, do you just cleanup your foot and then go back to bed not informing anyone of the mess on the floor.
Why am I bringing this up? Because lately while walking to the bathroom I experience the awful feeling of warm liquid on one of the bathroom floor mats where one of my dogs have been sleeping earlier. I knew what it was as soon as I stepped in it, dog urine. As I hopped over to the sink and tried to clean my foot I then went and found some paper towels to try to soak up the mess until later in the morning when it could be picked up and put in the washing machine and cleaned. Before I stepped in it my mind had been consumed in trying to understand what the nightmare I just woke up from meant? On other occasions my mind was consumed by problems and issues in my life. But as soon as I stepped in it I thought of nothing else other than what just happened.
So, in an odd collection of thought I tried to make a bad situation into a good experience. By stepping into it I no longer was consumed with negative thoughts. Then I thought, maybe it’s a good thing that I stepped in it. Well, even when trying to put a positive spin on a negative thing I realized that it was not a good thing that I stepped in it. And by stepping in it I only piled another negative thought into my head that follow me through most of the following day.
I don’t know that there’s any way to totally prevent stepping into it. And the term” stepping into it” can be applied to anything in life. What I do know is that even when you step in it, you can clean it up and continue on. Kind of a heavy thought, but that’s my thought for today. Pops

A nose job or rhinoplasty

It has been a while since I put out a blog. That is probably because life can get in the way of those things that you’ve done before. I am always amazed on how busy I am in retirement. For the first five years of my retirement I felt incredibly guilty for not working. What I should’ve thought was that I felt incredibly guilty for not working for money. In the last few years I found myself very busy so much so that I started feeling pressured from all the projects that I was lined up to do.
During the last two years I have worked for getting approved for use of the Veterans Administration dental program. Finally, I was admitted into the program at the VA dental program in Shreveport Louisiana. As I started my trips to the dentist I was pleasantly surprised of the level of dental care I was receiving. The only issue in the program is that it takes a long time to get appointments for all the many different treatment that I need. But slowly, I have been scheduled and treated for different issues that I have.
During some of my examinations by the dentist there is a small skin bump on the inner part of my lower lip. The dentist set me up with the VA oral surgeons to take a sample of that skin bump in my mouth to see if it was cancerous. Luckily, it was not cancerous. But while sitting in the chair having the oral surgeon sew up my lip. After taking the sample he turned to me and asked me if I’d ever considered rhinoplasty. I turned to the oral surgeon and said no I had not thought of it. He quickly told me that this dental facility would provide such a surgery if I wanted it. Well, for the last 10 years I have been very unhappy with how my nose had grown and become somewhat distorted. It did not take but a few seconds for me to agree to have the VA do the surgery. There was no cost involved in it and I thought would be a great ideal to have issues of my nose addressed. I initially spoke to the oral surgeon about both the inside of my nose and the outside of my nose. He told me that they could take care of the issues and then asked me if I wanted to go ahead with the rhinoplasty. I thought to myself, this is a no-brainer. So, I quickly agreed to have the procedure. To my surprise the oral surgeon called in two more oral surgeons to examine my face and they set up a procedure to occur in about 14 days. The fact that I could get any kind of appointment scheduled and completed in 14 days at the VA was totally shocking to me.
Feeling excited about the prospect of the surgery I went out to the waiting area where my wife was at and told her of my exciting news. To my surprise, she was not happy about the news. My wife like many other people have a great fear of going under a general anesthetic or being put unconscious for a procedure. Then later when I told several my friends that I was going to have the procedure they looked at me with a puzzled face and asked why I would do that. This is the second time that someone surprised me by their response to my procedure.
This made me think about having the procedure. My first thought was that I did not like the way my nose look, and I had an opportunity, without any cost to me to have that issue addressed. Then I question myself about being vain. I wondered why I would do this? It did not take long for me to answer both questions. First, like many men as they grow old, my nose had grown and not uniformly. I would constantly be aware of how I did not like my nose every time I looked into a mirror. Was this a life-saving procedure? No. Was it the quality of life issue. Yes. I was not trying to look younger. Like many people, it was something that bothered me. Others around me, like my wife, found it not to be an issue and was surprised that I thought it was an issue.
I went ahead with the procedure. But before the actual surgery I still heard from many family members and friends that they were surprised that I was doing the procedure. Even though their comments kind of threw me off balance I quickly self- righted myself and was confident that my decision to go forward was correct.
Well during the first few days after the surgery my face looked terrible. I can barely see through my eyes. During the operation the oral surgeons not only took off the excess skin on my nose as they took out some fat deposits around my eyes. So not only was my nose red and swollen my eyes were also swollen to the point that I can barely see out of them. Now a week later my nose is healed well and the swelling around my eyes is down. I don’t think anyone else will really notice the difference in my face, but I do. I’m no longer irritated while looking into the mirror and seeing this large nose staring back at me. I’m sure after a few months I will not even remember that I was irritated that my nose was growing so big. I’m also sure that the people around me will no longer remember what my face used to look like.
My thought is that there is always the time when it is not about others but it’s about me. I’m the one that must live with myself every day and if I’m not happy with myself it will quickly manifest into others not being happy around me. Am I being vain? I guess so. But I’m glad I went forward with the decision now I can focus my attention on other items.
Probably the hardest thing I’ve had to do after the surgery was staying inside the house so that there was no possibility of injury or infection while my nose is healing. Daytime TV just sucks.
I do not plan on showing anybody before and after pictures of my nose because I did not do it for them I did it for me. Selfish? Yes. Happy? Yes. Pops

Anything is possible but sometimes not probable

It has been a while since I’ve been inspired to create another blog thought. I start my morning by watching the television. I usually get my news for the day in the morning. Some days it’s just the same old thing. The press hates our president and somebody whose name I’ll recognize has passed away. This Sunday was no different. The press continues to badger the president waiting for him to fail at almost anything. And this morning the news of the passing of a well-known chef was one of the top stories of the day. I have many family members and friends who just don’t watch the news anymore. They may take time to watch the weather report, which is usually the weather for the major city that the station is based it and does not apply to their home area.
So, to keep my spirits positive, I will get my fishing gear together and go out to a Lake and go fishing. If there are visitors at my house I will try to entertain them by taking them to my pond and watch them catch a fish. I am a largemouth bass fisherman. Amazingly, I do not eat the fish that I catch. I practiced catch and release. Even with all the experiences I’ve had life, I still get nervous about going to a new lake fishing location. Yesterday was an adventure for me.
I decided to go to a local lake, Winnsboro, and fish early in the morning to avoid the heat of the day. Yesterday the thermometer got up to 97°. And so, I was nervous about launching my boat and learning about a new Lake. My adventure started out by my falling asleep in my blog room waiting for the sun to rise only to find that I had slept through the sunrise. I finished preparing the boat by putting drinks and food to the cooler and headed off to the new lake location. I do not mean that the lake has moved but it was a new location for me. I started out driving right by the road that led to the Lake and traveled about 10 extra miles in the wrong direction until I did the unpopular U-turn realizing that I was lost. I slowly retrace my steps only to find a small sign on the side of the road showing me the way to the lake. I’d only received directions to the launch by other fishermen. I had not taken time to look on the map or checking with my computer to see what turns it would take to get me to the launch. To my relief the directions I’d received from others was spot on. I was relieved to see it other trucks and boat trailers parked in the lot next to the ramp.
For those of you that own a boat you will recognize the following procedure. For those of you that don’t own a boat you will find that there is a routine that you must follow before putting your boat into the water. The biggest thing that you must do is to put the plug into the back of the boat so that water does not flood the boat while your motoring away from the launch. Then there’s the unlatching of all the tiedowns that keep the boat on the trailer while driving. Now, comes the excitement of backing the boat trailer down the ramp and into the water. The relief comes quickly when the boat separates itself from the trailer and starts floating out into the lake. Hopefully you had attached a long rope to the front of your boat that is long enough to have one of its end on land or the other attached to your truck. I have had the experience of forgetting to put get the long rope ready as I watched my boat slowly flow backwards into the lake beyond my reach.
Now, I would try to find a parking spot near the ramp that provides enough room between the other trucks and trailers and my truck and trailer so that nobody inadvertently scrapes or hits my truck or trailer. That may sound like a simple thing, but there really some idiots who will park their vehicle and trailer anywhere they can without thinking about how other boaters can get in and out of the spaces. Now I put on my life vest grab my hat and glasses. Make sure that my truck is locked and that my boat trailer is locked onto the hitch. I will make it down to my boat and then another pivotal moment happens. I turned the key to start the boat motor. I have had it happen twice white left some sort of switch on and by the time I went to start my boat motor the battery was dead. Luckily, I always carry some sort of jumper cable to be able to get the engine started.
If it is a busy day at the launch site, I will have to wait in line to launch my boat. This is even more nerve-racking as there are all these other experienced boat owners watching you back your trailer into the water. Sometimes that added pressure makes it almost impossible to get the boat into the water and just one try. Now comes somewhat a moment of triumph. I have the engine running I have my life vest on and I head out upon the lake to go fishing. That small moment as your boat motors away from the launch without any problems is a proud moment. Now, I am headed onto the Lake that I have no previous fishing experience on. This lake has a lot of stumps and trees poking out of the top of the water or lurking just below the waterline. So, the speed of my boat is right around 5 miles an hour. Now this would’ve been all right, if I knew where I was going to start fishing at. But I did not know where I was going to start fishing and so I just motored on up the entire length of the lake.
Usually during the hot summer months fishing for bass means that you must go to an area that is either a creek bottom or a ledge where deep water is close to shallow water. To my somewhat disappointment, this lake only started out at about 17 feet deep and I found myself quickly in shallow water. So shallow that when I tried to use my trolling motor it will get stuck on the bottom of the lake. After traversing the length of the lake and having no idea where I should start fishing I looked around and found a shoreline that was completely shaded from the sun. This shade spread out about 20 feet onto the water. While the sun was already hot when I was on the lake and so I thought I would take a short time to be in the shade and cool off. The water under my boat was about 4 feet deep and I was about 10 feet off the shoreline. I stepped up to the front of my boat put on a plastic worm and tossed it to the shoreline. My guess was that right near the shoreline it’s about 2 feet deep. With this being some hot weather lately I did not expect any kind of action. I thought I would just test out my new rod and reel get some practice in.
Well, to my surprise I started catching bass. And after catching a couple small bass I started catching big bass. I was totally amazed. Catching fish in shallow water in high temperature was nothing that I thought would happen. This goes to the thought of the day. Anything is possible but sometimes not probable. I ended up having a great day on the lake. I caught over 10 bass and by 11 AM I was ready to go back home to avoid the real heat of the day.
I’ve said this before, but when I’m fishing I don’t think of anything else. I don’t worry about the news nor think about the long list of things I need to do when I get home. And I have been on fishing trips where I’ve caught no fish. Yesterday, when a long way into the thought that anything is possible. I suppose the fact that I went fishing rather than staying at home is something else to think about. If you have the opportunity and the ability to enjoy yourself in any activity you should take the time to do it.
I don’t know if our president will ever be popular with the press and I know that other people will commit suicide. But if anything is possible the press will start just reporting the news and not badgering the president. If anything is possible then maybe the suicide rate in our country will diminish. Anything is possible but sometimes not problem.
In the meantime, go fishing. Pops

What makes a 70-year-old man cry?

I have been very busy this last month. It is rare that my eyes water up with tears. I believe my children have only seen me cry a couple times. Each time was at the death of my parents. This is not something that I’m particularly proud of, crying so rarely. I many men of my era were taught that crying would show weakness in a man’s character. And so many of the men of my era were very careful not to cry in front of anyone else. I’m sure this is the reason that the leading cause of death in men is heart attacks. And many heart attacks are caused by stress. The stress just builds up and builds up until a man cannot handle it anymore.
Luckily, times have changed. Men, particularly war veterans, are encouraged to let their feelings out and are no longer worried about being seen crying. And so, as I have gotten older, I have been able to show my feelings which sometimes means crying. I have to admit that it is pretty rare for me to show such emotion publicly. But in the last few weeks there have been two occasions that made my eyes water and my emotions got to the surface and I cried. Both of these instances, product tears of joy. Not tears of sadness are tears of pain.
One of these instances was the birth of a grandchild. I had to travel to Houston, so I could be at the hospital when the grandchild was born. It is about a 4 ½ to 5-hour drive. I had been planning this trip for several months and so in my mind the birth was going to be on a Wednesday. I had planned to drive down to Houston to visit my family and the new grandchild and then drive home the same day. I have done this before. Usually after the birth of a child the mother and the father are besieged by well-wishers and family members. So, my first trip for the newborn child is usually a short one. It is important to me to physically see the baby in the mom and know that they are safe and healthy. And if anything should go wrong I would want to be there to help. Fortunately for me, all births have gone very well. Well, I got down to Houston on Wednesday and walked into the hospital. I went to the birthing center and asked the receptionist about which room the family was in? She was unable to find their name in the computer and so I got out my phone and called my son and asking which room he was in? He was silent for a minute and then told me that the birth wasn’t going to happen until tomorrow. I’d gone to the hospital on the wrong day. So, I stayed at my son’s house overnight. I had not taken any of my restless leg medicine with me because I thought I was to quickly turn around and go home that night. That was a mistake. I stayed awake the whole night walking and pacing in the bedroom because my legs would not quit kicking and moving. But that’s not the reason that I cried the next day. Finally, at six in the morning I went to the hospital and reported to the receptionist. I gave her my name and she said that she remembered me from yesterday. I was the guy that got there a day early. So, I spent the next five hours walking up and down the waiting area of the hospital. The receptionist was very nice to me and kept me informed on the baby’s birth. She more or less baby set at me while I walked up and down the waiting room area. There were many young couples who reported into the area with the woman ready to give birth to their child. It was a beautiful site as you can see the hope and the nervousness of the young couples as they were about to experience a new baby in her life. This is not why cried. I watched as the mother to be with lean up against the reception area wall as to give relief to her condition. The condition was that they were very ready to have the baby. Usually, next to them was the father to be carrying a number of bags full of different gear. He looked more like a pack mule than anything else. Soon after the young couple would check in and the woman would go back through two doors in the back of the room into the birthing area. A group of excited relatives and friends would show up in the waiting area in anticipation of the big event. It was nice to see people hug each other and say that they were glad to see each other. Their faces were all smiles. For most couples and relatives, the event only lasted about two hours. And then you would see a family member go back behind the doors of the birthing area and a few minutes later come out showing the pictures of the new arrival. Smiles and oohs and awes would always come from the group. Someone would tell the others that the baby has the father’s eyes or the mother smile. All positive things were happening.
Finally, it was my turn to go back behind the doors. As I was directed to a particular room and I walked down the long hallways I would pass the nurses stations. They were all busy and most of them were very kind to smile and wave as I walked by. I finally got to the room and knocked on the door and I was greeted by my son. Then he directed me back inside the room where would see his wife, the mom holding the brand-new arrival. She looked great and she was holding the new born son. All of a sudden, I was very nervous when she invited me to hold the baby. I have had many children and many grandchildren. But each time that it is the first time that I hold a newborn child I get nervous, like I’m going to fumble the football or cannot hold the child properly. But the new mom and my son were quick to encourage me to hold the child. The baby was wrapped in the baby blanket with a little knit cap on his head I looked at my new grandson. I’m sure I’ve felt the same as all new grandparents feel, proud and amazed. He of course was perfect. He opened his little eyes and looked left and right and then in my mind he smiled at me. Of course, I realize it was probably gas or something else that made his face move. That is when the feelings inside me started to build up and my eyes started to water.
This new arrival to the world will face some great times. And the feeling that just a little part of my DNA and those that lived before me will continue, in part, is in this new child. It is truly a miracle, the birth of a child. The mom looked great although you could tell that she was pretty tired. So, like the people before me I got my phone out I started taking photos. Filled with the pride of watching a newborn child smile and look at me made me tear up. I knew that I did not want to spend a lot of time in the room as a new the mom was very tired from giving birth. I told my new grandson that I love him and then I said the same to the mom and dad of this new child. I still feel a little funny about crying in front of people, so I left the room and walked down the long hallway past the nurses and the receptionist. As I passed both locations I said out loud, “do you want to know what makes a 70-year-old man cry? It is looking at his brand-new grandson”. I didn’t look at their faces as I made the statement. I kept walking quickly outside the hospital to my truck. I crawled into the truck and cried like a baby for about five minutes.
The second event that made me tear up again came when my youngest son called me after I’ve gotten home. My youngest son is a lot like me in that he doesn’t call often. I don’t think I called my mom and dad very often when they were still here. Most conversations with my youngest son are fairly short and to the point. But this call lasted a while. I was so excited to hear his voice and know that he was okay that I struggled to find things to say or ask him. I was really thrilled to hear his voice in such a positive and healthy manner. I stumbled to ask him about his children, his job and his wife. All questions that I had prepared to ask him when he would call me. But when the moment came my brain went into a scramble and I struggled to have a long conversation with my youngest son. It was crazy. I usually do not have any problem communicating. But when it comes to my youngest son I find myself sometimes lost in what to say. This conversation went on until I started tearing up really bad and found myself almost unable to speak. So, I ended the conversation by telling him I loved him and his family. I hope he did not feel that I was cutting the conversation short for any bad reason. I was just getting real emotional, so I found it hard to speak.
These are two things that made this 70 yr. old man cry. Both were positive, wonderful and a good reason to cry for joy. I hope that future generations will make the men of the species be able to share some emotions without any fear of being considered weak or mentally unstable. There have been other times in my life when I’ve showed my emotions. But I think it’s the first time I have had two of these experiences in such a short time. I’m at home now on life goes on for all. But even as I’m writing down the experiences that I had I started to tear up a little bit. I’m setting in my blog room with my three dogs and I was writing this blog and all of the sudden my eyes started filling up with water again just reliving the recent experiences.
My thoughts on this is that I am becoming more comfortable letting my eyes water up when the emotions warrant such a reaction. I hope that my sons and my grandsons will be less encumbered by such negative thoughts of a man crying. And I hope that their lives are filled with positive reasons to cry. Pops