Today is Liz's birthday. My love, my rock, and my soul mate, have a wonderful day. I'll make sure you can do anything you want.
Yesterday Liz and I went to see RUSH. The movie about Formula 1 drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda. In the opening scene the cars are all set for the start of the race and I recognize all the drivers names on their cars. I followed F1 and GT gran prix racing during that time very closely. Unlike today where the cars are the stars with paddle shifters, telemetry on the engine and suspension. Those guys drove. They listened. The felt how the car was driving. They ran clutch, brake, gas, and shifter like a symphony. It was real racing then. They are fast now, but it's not the same to me, watching the drivers not even have to drop a hand to shift. It's just different, and as far as racing goes, I'm way old school. Niki Lauda, besides being a great driver, was also a leader in safety. Even after his horrendous wreck and burning, he wanted to race, just race under the safest conditions possible. He and Jackie Stewart were leaders in that area. So many terrible wrecks and so many of those avoidable if the track owners had done what they needed to in order to handle much faster cars. All that being said, it was a good movie about two competitors that over the years also became friends. The movie doesn't show that as much, but it was still a good movie. Not and In Your Face kind of affair, but a bit more subtle. Lauda had most of his face burned away, and was back in a Ferrari 43 days after his wreck. Huge determination, and inspiring. Liz like the movie as well. So it was a win/win there.
So yeah, I'm way tired these last few days. It's part and parcel to an aggressive cancer that is doing it's best to piss me off. And it's succeeding. The rat bastard. It's working on me by not allowing me sleep that's all continuous. I have to wake up more often at night now to clear my trach tube so I can breath better. I've had to give up my bed again. I've tried sleeping in it a few times, but I end up feeling like I'm drowning. That sucks. The bed is more comfy, and I can reach over and feel my wife. Turns out after 21 years I got used to going to sleep with one hand on her. Go figgar. So I wake up tired. There's been weather changes here as well that kind of have me off normal. The cool weather is great, but it's also not helping some of my physical ailments. Imagine having a runny nose, or sinus drainage that has no where to go, and makes it hard to catch a breath through your nose or mouth. Then imagine that causing you to gag and possibly vomit. Yeah, that's been me for a week or so now. Weed pollen is high and of all the things we can do to dry up my sinuses, alway dry my mouth out so badly it gets sore. I also have a sore spot in the back of my mouth today. Not sure if it's to do with the drainage or cancer. I'll have the hospice nurse check it for me.
I started trying to do some extra stuff early yesterday and this morning, hoping to retain some of the muscle mass that I'm losing. It's damn painful at times, but I think it's necessary for my body and my mind to get into a holding pattern at least. It's damn rough mentally for me to watch myself kind of shrivel away. Folks say I look ok and that I'm looking strong. Bless them, it's a boost for me. I feel it going. And maybe, since it's my own body, I'm hypersensitive to how it's working. I know I don't feel as well as I did three weeks ago. I do know, however that the lymphedema therapy has done wonders for pulling the swelling out of both sides of my face, neck, and shoulders. That helps a lot, both physically and mentally. To me the biggest part of this fight I'm in is mental. I can't stop the physical sides of what going to happen, that's a given. But by God I don't have to let it run me mentally as well. Even when it's a struggle to stay up beat and ahead of what's coming, I will strive for that every day. No, not every day is easy. In fact they get progressively more difficult. For example, at the movie yesterday I had to get up three times, got to the hall and suction out my mouth and as much of my throat as I could. Was it fun? Fuck no it's not fun, but I didn't let that take away from going to the movies with my wife. Our first date was to a movie, DOA with Kenneth Branagh. I was a little preoccupied to notice much of the movie. Liz is a beauty and I had trouble keeping my eyes on the screen and not her face. I was sure hoping that evening that we could have a few more dates down the road. Turned out to be a lot of dates and a lot of years. Best part of my life, really.
It's been really nice out. So to take advantage of that, I'm going to try and clean up the back yard some. It needs it badly. Redneck Paradise has fallen into disrepair since the city put on added payment for water bills. It's a sliding scale. Use up to X amount and its so much per hundred gallons, over that the rate increases. Then really increases. We are in a drought, so I didn't mind not watering the lawn. Although front and back look terrible now, the new water source should be into Midland by the middle of next year and Liz can start watering again. That'll help out a lot. So, here's how I'll have to do my thing in the back yard. I can work about 10 minutes, then set and catch up for about 20 minutes. Yes, that's how much the cancer has taken from me so far, but fuck him, I'll do what I can just to spite the miserable bastard. Liz is working the football game tonight. They have portable x-ray equipment at the stadium. I think she's scoring me a pass so I can get in with her and watch the game, which also means watching my son march in the band at half time.
Jumping into the Way Back Machine. I made a mistake once in 1982. We had a wireline company coming out to reperforate a well we were doing a workover on. These guys had been out a lot with us all that summer since we were balls to the wall trying to improve production over an entire area. Nothing but work overs that summer. The other rig companies got all the rod and tubing work. Bless their little pea pickin hearts. Anyway, the guy starts walking up to the rig and I hollered "Dude! How's your wife and my kids?!?!" He screamed and started running at me. Being of more survival instinct than normal, I jumped onto the rig and headed up the ladder. I knew the guy was afraid of heights and was hoping he's stop way before I ran out of derrick. He did, and when he calmed down, he told me that his wife had been screwing around on him for several years, and that 2 of his kids weren't really his. I was a bit more mindful after that, about what came flying out of my mouth.
Book of Rock: Be assertive, but don't be an asshole. You'll get more accomplished with other people if your attitude is "Let's all of us do this. But remember, I'm still the boss here. If things aren't going like I'd like them, we'll stop and find out why". Works pretty well. In fact the only times I've blown a complete gasket while ramrodding gangs in the field, was when it was blatantly obvious that they were ignoring everything I told them to do. I put things in a certain order at work, so that when we are going along, we aren't doubling back constantly. Start wasting my time, and your ass is grass. If we have to change plans, and that happens, it's not big deal. We sort that out. Last year I was put in charge of rebuilding an entire tank battery. Six production tanks, one water tank, and eight heater/treaters all jumbled in like they were put there by mistake. I had 8 days. We were cleaning out the heaters and had to have them all finished in one day so the crane could come move them out of the battery the next. A truck driver took one load to a disposal. Should have been gone about an hour. Four hours later he shows back up. I was asking him nicely what took so long, since we are so far behind now. He messed up. He smiled at me, turned his back to me and started to laugh with his swamper. By the time I got done eating his ass out as loudly as was possible for me, the other three drivers and roustabout gangs saw Mr Temper. We finished that battery in 7 days, with the exception of two small wells that we didn't quite get hooked up. New well came on and it was ready to rock and roll. I never once had to stop and find out why we weren't moving along ever again. If there was trouble with something, the gang pusher came to me and we worked out a different direction. Works wonderfully.
Do the right thing today, even if no one is watching. Go the speed limit, use your directional lights. Acknowledge some stranger. A little of that goes a long way for other people, and yourself.
Firm handshakes for all. No one likes a handshake that's like grabbing a recently deceased person's mitt.