Today 25Jan2023

‘How are you?’ is a question I am getting. Let me spend some time on it. Again, I write here to remember this and my answer.

Regarding my health, I had to put off the colonoscopy until March due to a respiratory infection, which is now gone. That is the test to prove that there is nothing they missed. All the scans and other tests show that the cancer is gone. It is more of a medical formality. My physical therapy is from damage from the chemotherapy, the pandemic, and the stress of everything. The folks at Bethany have solved the pain in my legs and have me working on strength exercises to even the strength in my legs. I am getting better and will increase my exercise and start working on weight loss.

While I am deeply concerned about layoffs, debt limits, the war in Europe, and covering all the expenses for Susie and myself, I am OK. I like to list my fears and concerns in the blog because they are on my mind, and I want to record my thoughts and feelings. I don’t wish to draw conclusions, and I am sorry if I am whining a bit.

Regarding finances, I have done everything I can to secure enough funds without again taking on enormous tax consequences (like 2022) by selling assets. I am borrowing against my 401K, and should I need suddenly to pay it back, it would just mean selling stock (and taking that tax consequence). Thus, I have hired a CPA and am making adjustments to be more tax efficient this year. My CPA agrees with my plan, and I hope to get something back for last year’s blockbuster expense year. Selling of assets and withdrawals are put off until needed, likely in 2025 (if I retire).

Susie is safe and well cared for at the hummingbird house, Michelle Nixon and her staff make Susie feel loved, and she likes it there. Jennifer, the live-in nurse aide, has a friendly relationship with Susie. Bringing Susie her rocking chair a few weeks ago really made her happy. She loves to watch a show with me sitting next to her in her rocking chair as she nods off safely and wakes to sing some more Disney music. I can only be there for twenty and sometimes a few minutes longer on work days. I try to spend three hours on Saturday, and depending on how Susie is feeling, I may stay longer on Sundays (if she is worn out, which happens some days, I will leave as Susie is headed to sleep for the afternoon).

Susie is still on anti-stroke drugs and some other helpful items. Susie seems to be getting more sleepy as the months go by, which hurts a bit to witness, but that is part of the process. There is still a chance that Susie will rally, she has many times, but she and I are happy for every day we get together.

Like a man on a boat in a river and no oars, I must accept that I cannot control the boat and must endure the good and the bad on this unplanned trip. It is a journey I would not have agreed to take but must take. My boat is not coming near the shore for some time; there is no getting off.

‘What can I do to help?’ is also something I hear often.

Just be there. I know you are there. The true challenge to this journey is to never plan more than a few days and live with uncertainty. I will ask for help as I need it. I enjoy the board games I play with friends, I play Dungeons and Dragons, and I work with my hands. I build models and paint figures. I learn how to improve my craft and share my learnings sometimes. It is a privilege to use such good products to produce beautiful work–I could never, when I was small, believe I could paint a figure and look actually like Gandalf from a movie. I am also sliding back into writing. I was published in 2600 next issue, and my AI programming and electronics are all starting back as my ability to work for hours and hours is returning (anemia sucks, and I had that for a year from cancer). I know you are there, and you can keep asking. I keep busy, and there are some much exciting things to do.

Thank you all for the love you have given Susie and me and the help you have offered and given. It matters, and I thank you. Excellent!

And now, back to the blog, a bit short during work days. I do not detail my work for Nike for all the obvious reasons (i.e., my work is owned by Nike, and most folks would find it arcane at best–boring at worst).

The morning started again with me waking a few times and finally being awoken by my alarm from a deep sleep. I moved to the kitchen in my robe and my slippers that my sister got me for the cold sensitivity from the chemotherapy (I have a small hole worn in the bottom). The house is 66F (19C), as I have the heat set low in the evening and on days when I am not working from home (a programmable thermostat but not a smart one). I start the water heating and organize a breakfast of a banana and yogurt.

I lay down in the living room with Alexa playing some motivating Rock and Roll. I then do the whole set of stretches and exercises. This includes sliding my feet with a rubber strap tied around my ankles to provide resistance (so many jokes), holding on to the sink, and doing squats (more jokes). On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I do the complete set.

Next, I pour the hot water over the coffee grounds in the glass and metal French Press to make coffee. Liberal coffee is all I drink at home.

I am delighted that Fidelity has released my tax records (I received an email), and I print them and add them to the envelope of tax information for the CPA. W-2 has arrived. Yearend statements arrived for Susie’s IRA (Pax Fund). I update Quicken with all the transactions and update any that are not automatically assigned categories. At month end, I manually revise the 401K balance to avoid any wishes to time the market (an unwise plan with retirement.

After reading emails (both Nike and mine), reviewing updates on Slack channels, and catching up on the news (more mass shootings), I shower and dress. I am out the door by 7:35 and just early enough to avoid the school buses. I arrive before 8 and start my Zoom meetings and spend ninety minutes on a stand-up (we use the Agile software development process using a ‘Train’ and includes the ceremony of a stand-up) and various update and status meetings.

I am also helping to design some performant software processes. I spent much of the day discussing the details. Many are the same items I worked on before at Nike in SAP software. I also help with a few familiar crises of the moment. I closed the day applying vendor fixes (SAP notes to those who speak SAP) after my previous patches failed, and the software is now dumping (not very nice).

In the middle of the day (sort of going backward), I headed to Susie. I was late and decided first to have lunch. I saw Chipotle on the way, I have not tried that since they had been called out for poisoning customers, and I decided to try them. I had the steak rice bowl, chips, a coke, and guacamole on the side. Itprettyquite good, better than an unnamed Mexican place nearby, and costs $19. Interesting. I think I like the $22 at Red Robin burger better–and it seems a better deal, but it was an excellent meal, and I will return now to Chipotle.

Susie was delighted when I finally arrived, nearing 2PM. Susie had a package. Susie had just finished lunch and was still in her wheelchair, so we headed to the social activity. Jennifer was happy with Susie’s eating today–I think Susie had more breakfast than I did!

Susie’s sister sent Susie a new blanket. Barb thought Susie could use another colorful, warm blanket. Susie was thrilled with the color and another blanket. We called Susie’s mother, Leta, on the iPhone. Leta and Susie chat for a while. Next, I called Barb, and Susie showed her the blanket and thanked her. Barb was making dinner of chicken chili with pumpkin and curry spices. I manage to spend 30 minutes with Susie.

I got an item from work at Susie’s that I could handle when I got back. Susie let me leave with a kiss after I promised to return on Thursday. Traffic was light, and I noticed that the police were not out with radar guns in the winter. It was not raining, but I guess Beaveton’s Finest likes warm weather.

I left work after 6PM, and the traffic was not light, but folks followed more normal traffic processes. I arrived at the Volvo Cave without incident. I got out the bourbon chicken and cheezy grits leftovers and reheated it on a plate in the microwave. It was great, and the grits were good (even reheated) and extra creamy–excellent. I watched five Vox Machina episodes, liking the show even more. It is animated series that is profane and based on Dungeons and Dragons, and it does remind me of some gaming sessions I have played.

Finally, a bit later than I should have, I started on the blog and decided to cover a few extra items at the beginning.

Thanks for reading this extra-long version.


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