The People And Trees Around Us

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The people and trees around us seem to share some things in common. Both are around us yet we know very little about the actual life they have lived. We observe them both grow and age. Trees and people carry on with their life whether we are their to share it or if we have missed out. I know that sounds pretty deep but it is also a really simple truth when one sits down for the comparison. Well then, what’s my point? We will get to that or maybe you might even see what it is by the time I am done here. But let’s start with the tree that has fallen a few months ago out at the far edge of what I mow as part of my yard. Call me lazy but I just haven’t reaaly felt like dealing with this fallen tree because of the work I knew I would be having to do with it. However, as spring is now in full effect where I live in southeast Texas, I know I only have a few more weeks before it is very hot and swampy outside. It won’t be too much longer and we will be flirting with triple digits. Due to the heat I try to accomplish major things outside in our very short cool weather months. So, as I mowed my grass with my brand spanking new John Deere riding mower (the replacement), I drove by this tree which reminded me that there was work to be done. Or,leave it and let the other trees and vines consume it. But I don’t want this to look unkept, a personal choice, so I made the plans to handle it yesterday, Monday, since I have found it is better to plan things into my empty days instead of just throwing caution to the wind. After mowing I made sure my chainsaw was sharpened, my tractor was fueled up, and the burn pile had been knocked down, all in preparation for Monday’s task. I also went ahead and loaded the tractor onto the trailer already connected to my truck so there wouldn’t need to be so much back and forth walking on my part. Sadly, I know this dress all too well with all the old and majestic trees on the property.

Just before first light, just before the first glimpse that day is breaking, before the buttcrack of dawn, I was at the tree unloading my tractor from the trailer. I rearranged the small generator in the back of my truck so it was back on the runner mat, if not it vibrates allover the damn place. I plugged in my 80’s boom box and pushed play. Great news, we will be listening to Ozzy this morning. I cranked it up to max volume so I can hear it over the chainsaw. I am sure Mr. Crowley sounds pretty eerie creeping through the dense trees this early in the morning. Hot damn, chainsaw lit off on the first crank, time to let the wood chips fly! After about about an hour of cutting I begin to feel the warmth of the sun on the backs of my legs so I known I need to get moving so I can get it done. My son, riding the golf cart, came down to tell me he was off to catch the bus. He was a little upset he wasn’t helping me but was very understanding I think. Off he went, back to the house to get his bag so he could go catch his bus. Thankfully he brought down my big plastic mug that I left on the kitchen island, I was dreading having to break momentum to go back to the house. After a few hours I had a garbage pile and the wood I will keep for my outdoor fire pit. Oak is a great wood for these fire pits. I put a little effort into cutting the wood into very manageable pieces. I will split it in a few weeks to let it dry out more. First I need to fix my frankensplitter because it has a nasty hydraulic leak somewhere. Being done cutting, I hooked the chains to the bucket of the tractor so I can drag the bigger branches to the burn pile. Afterwards I loaded all the cut wood I was keeping onto the trailer. Tired now, and its only just shy of noon, I decide to leave everything where it is to go get a bite to eat up at the house. The hard work is done now so there isn’t actually much to do except clean up. I won’t lie, after making myself a toasted smoked turkey sandwich I did end up taking a short nap out on the deck while enjoy the slight breeze. But, nonetheless, I needed to finish. Before heading back down I loaded the crock pot up with chicken and spread the cheesy sauce on it and turned it on, dinner at 6 or so is my guess. Easy peasy done. I walked back down to my truck, loaded up, and the parked it back up alongside my shop. I will unload later, maybe even the next day (being today and it isn’t done yet).

While I waited for everyone to start trickling in from their day I took an ride down to get the mail. Bill, bill, advertising, sale, and something strange with no return address. I hopped back in the cart and headed back to the house. I opened the strange letter first. I skipped to the end to see who it was from, I know, bad habit. After realizing I didn’t know the person I started from the top. It started with a short explanation of how we don’t actually know each other but she knew me because of her mother and because she saw me in 2009 when I met my biological siblings for the first time in South Dakota. Technically she is my niece that I didn’t know I had until reading the letter. Her letter bears bad news, it seems that my biological grandmother has passed, someone I never met, and I am being informed that I was mentioned in the reading of her will. She will not disclose to what degree nor why, but told me to be expecting a package which contained some items belonging to my biological father. Items she had wanted to give me in person but it never happened. My biological father also died before I met him. In fact he had died before I never knew of him. Then the letter was signed with “Love, Gracie”. End of letter. Sadly, I never met the mother of my biological father, but I am sure she lived a very full life.

Which is where we get back to how trees and people share a similar path in life, both go on whether we are there to witness it or not. Both come and go in and out of existence and the is little we can do about it. There are many people I have not met and may never meet on that biological side of my family. Until 7 years ago the ones that have met me never knew I existed and when I dropped in on their lives I am sure it was as shocking as an old oak tree crashing into the living room because of a bad storm. And then in a crash of thunder, all of our lives changed. We questioned most of what we knew, and we embraced the changes that were coming whether we wanted them or not. I will wait for my package, impatient of course, because that is the way I get sometimes. So, this is where it ends today, with me waiting for my mystery package.

Routine Blood Tests Highlight Scary Secrets

Originally Posted 01 Febuary 2012
Recently, a few weeks ago I needed a refill on my blood pressure medication. I have been taking the same one for 8 years, it works so beautifully it is almost impossible to put it into words. Let us just say it works. Anyway, in order to re-new my prescription I needed to have blood work done to make sure it isn’t screwing up my kidneys. For the record, I haven’t had blood drawn since early 2008, so I was a bit overdue.How did it turn out? Good news, my liver is great. Bad news, I am being informed that my blood sugar levels are so high that I should be admitted to the hospital for treatment and observation. Um, yeah, that’s not happening. I am not a fan of hospitals at all, they are truly the one thing I fear most in life. Well, besides needles. So, I re-visited my doctor and he gave me the run down. It looks bad, real bad. I am having to make some severe lifestyle changes. The good news is that if I do what I am told, check my blood sugar 20 times a day, eat right, start excercising, take my shots twice a day, take my pills twice a day, that maybe, just maybe, I might get it under control in the next year and live to tell about it. I was given a 20% chance of success if I follow all the guidelines. 20%? Not great odds if you ask me. But, what do I know anyway.

I thought I knew plenty. I thought I would live my life my way and that was the way it was going to be. Fried foods, pasta every night, Mountain Dew all day right after a Amp for a swift kick in the ass first thing in the morning, rare red meat, no veggies, eat what I want, drink what I want, and smoke what I want and die after I was an old man. Oops. Gotcha. Now I have to maintain because there is no reversing the effects it has already taken on my body. I always could dismiss things by giving it another cause. Come to find out, they were the early warning signs of diabetes. Signs? What signs? Well, lets see. Like having to pee every couple of hours 24 hours a day. Thought it was the HCT in my blood pressure medication working overtime. HCT removes excess fluids from your body so you don’t get swollen joints, hands, and feet. Being run down all day even after having about 900 mg of caffeine in my body each day and not being wired. Having a sore that won’t heal after months of having it. Constant dry mouth even though I drink 2 to 3 gallons of water a day. Mood issues for no reason, come and go like a light switch. Constant numbness and tingling in my feet and hands all day and all night. Here I thought I was getting older. Here I thought my pains were from breaking most of the bones in my body more than once. But, I am no doctor. And, apparently WebMD is full of shit.

The actual shock is gone now, I think depression is here. It is not overwhelming, as one might think, because it has given me time to reflect on the past and give deep thought to my future. I don’t want to become a statistic, not yet. I will lick this thing we call diabetes, one way or another. As I read back over this passage I realized that other than my wife and kids no one else knows. I guess it is still that way because y’all only know me by a name and not personally. It did feel good to talk to myself while I wrote this entry because it has all been thoughts bouncing around in my head for the last couple of weeks. I suppose I will mention this all again in the future after I figure out where things are going and how I plan on getting there. Thanks for lending an ear and listening to my story.