Seventy-Six is Okay

We took the day off from work and drove to Nashville today so the specialist could reexamine the site of the former bump or mass on the outer edge of our son’s left brow.  The doctor said he believes the mass has diminished in size and bone has grown over it.  He thinks there is some likelihood it will now be unable to grow.  He advised monitoring the site for change, as opposed to a new scan or surgical intervention right now.  This is good news.

Cold Morning Sans Camera

15 degrees Fahrenheit when I checked the weather online yesterday morning. Frost on the red boat’s deck. I debated whether to skip church, and paddle today, instead, but ultimately solved the problem by getting a later start. By the time I got to the put in at Hurricane Creek Branch on Tims Ford Lake, the temperature’d risen to about 31.5 degrees by the 850’s in-dash digital thermometer. Only one other vehicle at the boat ramp. Maybe on the water by 10:00 am. NOAA predicted a gentle breeze from the south at 5 mph, but I felt no wind as I pulled on my Bombergear Radiator drysuit for the first time since March or April. A couple of months ago, I finally sent it off to the good folks at Amigo’s for professional repair, although that Kirch’s Kwik Patch was still holding up pretty well.

Water didn’t seem too cold as I waded to get into my boat. No camera because the beloved Caution-Lady required it last week to photograph a classroom project, and she’d left the Pentax at school. Paddled in a southerly direction with significant left-shoulder pain, and adjusted the stroke as I went to minimize same. I’d forgotten the inflatable blue Klepper seatback I normally use as lumbar support, so had to take responsibility for keeping my own spine straight for proper torso-rotation. I did okay with that, too. Not much back pain by the end of the day. Had some left leg numbness and pain that resolved with position changes and exaggerated leg use while underway.

I turned left into Turkey Creek Branch, realizing as I did so that the features I was expecting to find there are located in the vicinity of Lost Creek Branch. I paddled as far back into Turkey Creek Branch as the winter pool water level permitted. I came to a place where the water was so clear and lightly blue-tinted it appeared much shallower than it really was. The kayak’s keel passed over four or five tires, miscellaneous junk, fishing lures, hundreds of little two-inch fish swimming together in swirling patterns like those made by water-weeds in current, until I came to place where the sandy soft bottom barred further progress. Ahead and to my right I could hear the stream’s gurgling as it flowed around and over dry sticks of the water plants that flourish in the summer months when the water’s level is higher, and the water itself warmer.

On my way back out toward Hurrican Creek Branch, I came to a backwater on my left in which I saw more of the straw-colored plant stalks like a field of dry grass. On these Tennessee lakes I have frequently seen in the warmer months something like soap-foam that gets pushed by the wind up against anything relatively stationary in the water, or along the shoreline. Looked like a lot of foam up against those water twigs. I paddled in for a closer look at the gray hulk of a wrecked speedboat. I’d seen it before the last time I was up this branch, only at that time, the water was much lower, and I couldn’t get near it. As I approached I became aware as my bow broke through it a layer of clear, thin ice in place of the water’s usual liquid surface. It cracked, and I was able to paddle through, close to and past the wreck. Somebody’d removed the steering wheel, the outboard motor, the seats, but had left the boat’s in-dash AM radio. All covered in gray mud, I didn’t imagine the radio could be made to work again, but wondered why the fiberglass hull had been left. Maybe holed-through? Dunno. Didn’t get out to check. Water over the wide transom in the hull was completely iced over, too. Up close, what had looked like foam was ice all around where the dry sticks poked up from the water. Before paddling backwards out again, I gave the ice ahead of me sound whack with the paddle, and it reluctantly broke, but no point in going any farther that direction.

I paddled on out to the main branch. A little farther down on my left is a boat ramp I’ve never been able to find from the road, and a little beyond that I stopped and ate all of my lunch. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten everything in my lunch bag at one sitting while paddling. I have always left something over for the paddle back. I guess I was thinking I could get something at Holiday Landing restaurant if I needed it.

Around Awalt Bridge I paddled, then back into the branch where Holiday Landing is located. Some very large, rectangular houseboats in there. Bigger than buses they appeared from the cockpit of my kayak. The restaurant was closed, all its outside seating stacked up on tables. I paddled around the floating docks, looking at the boats in their slips, then back out again to the main channel.

By this time I was tired, and stopped to empty a bottle of something called Vitamin Water (I got a case of the stuff pretty cheaply back in the Spring, and it tastes like melted popsicles), took a swig of Gatorade, and paddled ploddingly back to the boat ramp. Maybe the slope of the ramp, but I had a hard time lifting the boat up to get it on the racks. I’ve worked out a sort of time-and-motion routine to efficiently lash secure the boat on the racks, then to release the straps and tie-downs to get it off the racks again.

Using the distance tool at Dunigan’s Tennessee Landforms site later on, I found that I’d only made about 12.5 miles, roundtrip.

On the way home, I stopped at my mom’s house and observed the work the city is doing to prevent further erosion along the creek bed that bounds the backyard at her house. Very workmanlike.

Mom last week knit Seventy-Six a winter cap with ear-flaps and toggle-fastener, and yesterday she had finished his matching mittens. Funny mittens for infants have no thumbs, like socks for tiny hands.

Then home, a much-needed hot shower, and the joys of family life that far surpass (edited) those of the life aquatic.


Here’s something I wrote to a few friends yesterday.  I’ve been preoccupied and concerned about this matter for the past few weeks.  The message kind of explains itself.  If you haven’t heard from me for awhile, or if I haven’t seemed myself, this is a big part of why.
Today was a better.  House doesn’t need a new roof, and I’ll have help with the repairs tomorrow.
Seventy-Six wrote: “l klm k ;../4.”

I had a reply all written out, then had to hold the boy while his mother made him a bottle. I thought it would be fun to let him type on the keyboard, because that is often his greatest desire, and while he wrote nonsense like what you see above, he also managed to strike the sequence that closed the browser window and lost what I’d already written.

This time, I let him write something before I started writing.

We’ve got some more information. For brevity, I’ll cut and paste what I posted at Facebook. Yeah, I know. But my excuse is that many of my relatives spend time on Facebook…The damned wall text boxes only take a few dozen characters.

Christov wrote: “I just sent this to (emailed to younger brother and sister-in-law). What I left out of the message, because I forgot it while writing, is that the Small One will require surgery regardless of the radiological interpretation. Best case is day-surgery that will hopefully not leave a Franken-Baby scar, best-worst-case is neurosurgery and overnight stay that hopefully will not reduce our little monkey to simian intelligence.

This accursed text-box will not accept the entire pasted email message to which I alluded supra. It follows in the next text-box.

The doctor, an old guy who teaches at VUMC and communicates what sounds like sense, said it is most likely a dermoid cyst, and is located where these excrescences are most commonly found. VUMC has scheduled Seventy-Six for a head CT scan, I think they’re called, 31 October. He will have to be sedated in order to remain still for imaging. The scan should reveal whether the cyst extends through the suture line into the skull as a roughly dumb-bell shaped mass or is entirely outside the skull. It appears to be completely covered in bone, is fixed in its position, and is non-pulsile.

We returned home to find a puddle of water near the red tile between the fireplace and the dining area. New shingles, ceiling re-taped and painted, and chimney resealed again.

I so want to smash things.”

I’ve been pissed off all day. Angry with my wife, my house, my life. I expressed myself Godward with profanity. Do a google image search for “dermoid cyst” – they’re pretty disgusting. I have no idea how much the surgery will cost – insurance pays 80%. You know, like if I was a better man I would inhabit better circumstances.

If F-words were bombs Stepford would be a smoking, greasy black pit.

Tough Week

This is Caution-Lady’s first full week back at school. She’s got 20 kids in her class this year. Leaving Seventy-Six with sitters has been difficult for both of us.

Day before yesterday, I took him to his sitter’s house out in the country on my way to work. For the rest of the day, I thought about the way he looked at me as I left. Yesterday, the sitter came to our house, and the little guy reportedly screamed from the time my wife left the house until about 9:45, when she telephoned to my wife at school. Gas-drops solved his discomfort, as evidenced by two massive burps and a three-hour nap. Now my wife believes the sitter will no longer wish to keep our baby, and we’ll have to figure out some other arrangement. She was distraught last night, and said that while I was at a congregational business meeting, she phoned her sister-in-law, sobbing. By the time I returned home, the little guy was screaming again, but gas-drops then bottle seemed to relieve his distress.

Today, on my way to a rural county to the south, I’ll drop Seventy-Six off at my mom’s house.

It’s too late this school year to do anything about having Caution-Lady stay home with our son, but I’m thinking there may be some way to work it out for next year. Maybe pay off the house, save like mad people for the next year, and try to make it on my income. Dunno.

Little Nebuchadnezzar practices eating crinkly grass on his play-gym mat during some semi-fussy tummy time.  TZ quoted to me a source I don't recall who referred to infants as "Tyrants in Diapers."

Little Nebuchadnezzar practices eating crinkly grass on his baby gym mat during semi-fussy tummy time. My friend Doros refers to infants as "Tyrants in Diapers," quoting a source I cannot now recall.

Our new Sony digital video camera’s got a 60 gigabyte harddrive, but only snaps 1 mpx digital stills. Kind of lame, but Caution-Lady balked at the purchase of the $1200.00 model…