1-glenn carrying tree

OK, so Glenn marked an item off his “honey-do” list.  It’s so fine to have a man around the house!  We got busy late in the day yesterday and really productive.

Since our great two day ice storm of 2004, and the death of an enormous pine very near the house, the worrying sentry is now down, riddled with termites and looking like lacy paper:  the reason Glenn could throw such a large chunk over his shoulder.


Living alone here then (how did I do that?), my insurance company and FEMA spent a lot of money on all the damage that was done here.  “Nature’s pruning” did a job on us and we cleaned up around here for years.   Hired men to go through the woods with chain saws and cut fallen trees into pieces that I could pick up to burn.

But many dead things still stood with potential energy.  For nine years the tall pine stood, or almost so.  New friends came out soon after the storm, one the famous Gene Eidson of “The Intelligent River” project.

I was in the middle of the renovation of this house.  We three, along with Doug Rabold, my art dealer in Aiken sat on the back porch of the new house, then the front, then at the pool.  I loved it and questioned it at the same time!  Why were we three old farts deriving so much pleasure from sitting and contemplating vistas?

Anyway, Gene, the superman of interdisciplinary thinking and much more than that, commented that surely I knew that the pine would not be as heavy as it is now when it finally fell.  And that it would fall down in chunks.  I had never thought that far and that logically, not being Gene Eidson.

And so nature responded just the way Gene predicted.  And Glenn got the tree safely down last night.

1-glenn and fire

Something else was said that day by the other genius, Doug.  I spoke about enclosing the area under the roof by applying a fascia board to the tails supporting the roof of the house.  That of course would hide the tails.  Doug said he always found that they looked like a string of pearls.  He is right.

1-front of house


So it is difficult to stay in the Middle Class these days, although through Paul Fussell‘s definition, I am an “X”.  Love that.   Read his book, “Class”.  Sometimes it seems like the 99% are trying to kill us off so we won’t mate and create more useless “unconnected persons”.  This American family is arguing, arguing, and it feels like we are at the wrong age at the wrong time.

Having recently won a battle over the healthcare of a disabled child, we are definitely on an upswing.  Spending retirement money on his anger episodes, including violence to us, seemed unfair.  Or, we almost had to.  Karma swept in and we had applied for  TEFRA Medicaid just within the correct time period (we had no idea) where the government took care of $12,000 of emergency room bills for a violent child (two visits) retroactively.  And we recently got a pair of glasses for him at no charge (only a few frame choices were available).  But that is ok.  It is absolutely amazing to have this help.

I assume all know about the deep, textural, heavily layered health care argument.  It is my belief that if we were a single-payer country, and all could actually HAVE healthcare, it would be good for all of us.  Problems could be headed off at the pass, expenses would be less for all.  People would be healthy and could work.

The unbelievable realization came to me last night at a fundraiser, that a friend who recently died of colon cancer had been a Christian Scientist, the ultimate opposite of head-it-off-at-the-pass healthcare.  This fact displays one of the varied objections to universal healthcare.  It seems we also disagree as to what type of care is appropriate for those problems.

In recent times in this country, there were health problems that were deemed by (some evil genius) to be “real” problems needing coverage, and those that were not; as in eyes, ears, teeth.  And mental health.  Sure some policies are getting better in these respects, but at the other end of the scale, more and more people do not have insurance at all, or have simple bare bones coverage, where there is no provision for these johnny-come-lately “real” health problems.

I have never had that kind of coverage.  Bought my last pair of contact lenses after an eye check in late 2010.  Almost three years ago.  Lost one two nights ago, and we looked for it in the evening, and then the next morning.  Tried to get my prescription from the provider, and was told it was illegal to give it to me.  It was older than a year.  I was a hostage.  Who does this benefit?  Follow the money.  In my sixth decade, my eyes are not changing.  I could see these rules for a child, or even when we get to be forty-something and the almost automatic far-sightedness kicks in.  But now, for me, prepare to dig down and spend 400 dollars for an appointment and new hard contacts.  Not fair.

We won again.  The next morning, after sleeping all night with that damn lens clinging to me somewhere, I went to our bathroom to get a towel and then use the outdoor shower.  Came in, returned the towel to its antler, looked down on the white tile floor and saw my blue orb.

I WON!  Now we can spend that 400 bucks on food or something.


My doc asked me what patients thought about when they had a pain, knowing that he would solicit the answer from me.  What?, I said when we were in the examining room.  My mind froze trying to think of any answer.  Focusing on my running injury which was why I was there;  I did not get the game.

Cancer, he said.  Anybody with your history would think of that first.  I did not.  I wanted to run again and not be dealing with sciatica, which was what I thought was my problem.  How long ago was your cancer, anyway?
18 years ago.  Oh, I did not realize it was that long ago.  Of course, a return could happen after that interval of time, but….ok then.  Never mind.

I was looking for a referral to a sports doctor.  He obviously was looking for something else.  We did x-rays.  We looked at them in the hallway.  Most of my patients have not the good reason you do for your back pain.  Look at these vertebrae.  The bottom two were out of line about an inch.  It was rather dramatic.

I always knew my back was of a bad design.  I am not supposed to do this, but you should see a chiropractor.

I had seen one 26 years ago.  In the office, he provided me with a technique to deal with my back up to now.  He put blocks under my hips while I lay on my stomach, and I was a quick study.  I put a pillow under my hips for sleep for the next 26 years.  It worked until now.

I was trying to be smart.  We pay two thirds of our base income for health insurance and it does not allow for chiropractors.  Why do these docs occupy such a questionable part of the medical world?  Why aren’t their offices built of pink marble like everyone else’s?  It could be because they don’t have a strong lobby in Washington.  That would be a good thing.

I am not sure I can trust.  Remembering vividly my first visit,  there were two old scales, the kind from the fifties or sixties, placed side to side.  You know the ones with the bump up in the middle and the magnification of the number of pounds that you were?  And they had little black ribbed mats glued on the surface?  He had me step one foot on each scale.  Yep.  Your body is all screwed up.  Why does a device like this make me doubt?  FYI, the two scales are still there in the office.  He did not use them on me this time.  They are now probably part of  his collection of antique devices.

He took x-rays too.  They looked like the others, except he did my neck as well.  Are you sure that you don’t have any neck pain?  Look at these deposits of bone where there should be none.  No, but I have a strong will.  I believe you do, he said.

Just patch me up so I can run, please.

I had metastatic colon cancer in the early nineties.  I should not be alive.  Most who have had this problem are not.  My dad is not.  He died at 47, and I have the gene for colon cancer.  As I proceeded through my cancer years, there was one primal scream that came from deep within:  I am not doing this.

And I did not.  My will prevailed after four operations.  It was very simple.  I would not entertain the idea of having cancer, and took great pains to always think of it in the past tense.  I had other techniques as well.  Having found two pairs of beautiful dark lavender suede loafers, I wore these cancer cell stomping shoes until they wore out.  My art at the time was all about claiming and then exorcizing cancer.

So I have not run for six weeks, trying to be smart, and not trying the chiropractor.  I have attended two high school cross country meets where students with lithe bodies, streaming hair and red faces crossed the finish line in droves, boys and girls.  It was hard to take.

The day after the last meet, three days ago, and still in pain, I ran.  Did my entire four miles, and also picked up 34 cans.  Strange pains were shooting around, and I knew that this was because I was favoring my left side and carrying 34 cans in a grocery bag.  But I did it.

And I did it yesterday and today.  The pain is not like it was.  Should have depended upon my will first off.  That’s my best characteristic, not trying to be “smart” about anything.  Being smart feels foreign.