And the road goes on forever...

Sunday, January 31, 2010

These Gray Days

We’re home; well, as close to home as we get these days anyway…Coos Bay. With the boat tarped during our long absence, we unwrapped it to find a mess of mold, both inside and out, and rub marks from the ropes all along the aluminum rub rail. Our first day back was involved with cleaning and putting things away we had carted over from the RV since we intend to be here for at least a couple or three months.

Marc couldn’t wait much longer however, so by ten the second morning after cutting the tuna head bait on shore, we were out on the unnaturally calm waters of the bay dunking our crab pots and lurking above the honey holes. We got one limit our first pull and put all six pots down again for a second soaking. The very high tide had turned and was headed out so our second pull wasn’t quite so good but the last pot gave us our largest crabs of the day. We headed home knowing we would eat well that evening!

Yesterday we started the sad process of helping with Marc’s father’s things. I helped pack up garbage bags full of clothing and shoes and Marc attempted repair of their old and slow computer. Since it will have to be taken down to the empty stage and reloaded with an operating system and all software it will be a multi-stage process but at least Linn was able to get her email finally. We figure we will be at this at least a couple weeks, including some maintenance and small improvements to her house so an occasional day crabbing will likely be our only outlet. Our cat always enjoys the small leftovers!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Guy Thing

Our life hasn’t all been about caring for our elders lately. Marc had decided some time ago that he would like to put a flat bed back onto the Dodge. When, many years ago, I had decided that I wanted a camper on the Dodge, Marc had gotten rid of the original flat bed and installed a regular pickup bed. He had never been happy with that—the truck never looked right and rode even worse since it was sprung for the heavier bed.

After drawing up plans for what he wanted he visited the local steel supply and purchased the necessary raw steel and then went to work. Initially he fabricated much of the welded pieces together using the bed of his flatbed haul trailer since it was of the correct size to use as a work bench. Work started when Bend was having its minus temps and freezing rain and fog so it was miserably cold working in the shop without heat.

Progress was slow but eventually things took shape, day by day (over three weeks of day by day actually). Long ago Marc had an additional fuel tank which sat directly behind the back window so he resurrected that to give us the additional range that 125 gallons can provide. Knowing how handy the davit hoist has been on the Freightliner he also decided to build one on the Dodge. As he has gotten older and is now under a weight lift restriction due to his knees, the hoist has become invaluable as a means to lift heavier items. In addition to a regular hitch he also re-installed the fifth wheel 20,000 lb. hitch we originally had on the Freightliner for our RV (we currently tow with a 30,000 lb. on the FL). He also decided to undercoat everything to prevent rust.

The final steps involved working with some pretty green lumber, winching it all tightly into place to form the deck. He would have preferred steel or aluminum but at this point that was cost-prohibitive. Unfortunately, the paint job currently leaves a lot to be desired given paint really doesn’t work well in freezing temperatures. We will fix all that once we reach Yuma’s heat and offer up a finalized picture at that time.

Monday, January 18, 2010

In Memoriam: Richard Duske

Marc’s father passed away of a second major heart attack last evening. Although a devastating thing to have happen, the family is at least thankful that he did not suffer too long and that he also had the chance to be brought back from his first attack long enough to see some of his family and experience their love.

I never got to know Dick as well as I probably should have, but I will remember him as a very caring and jovial person. He was always interested in putting others first; he was pragmatic; he found joy in living every single day and he was tremendously supportive of others. Although he had suffered through some major health issues in recent years which partially disabled him, he was a fighter and never one to feel sorry for himself or become bitter over it; in fact he was good natured to the end. In that, he passed along a life lesson for us all.

Rest in peace, Dad. We love you.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Beyond Belief

Honestly people—if I were a novelist I couldn’t make this stuff up: last evening at bedtime we got a call from Marc’s stepmom in Chicago. She and Marc’s father have been there for a month helping out an aunt who was hospitalized and just passed away yesterday morning. Marc’s father suffered a massive heart attack late in the day and may not make it through. He has not regained consciousness and they have him in a cooling unit attempting to slow down his metabolism in an attempt to save his life. They will hope to bring him out of this in 48 hours. The next couple of days will be very long for us. We are simply stunned.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Running on Empty

The days have become a blur of routine; but routine which seems to jump from crisis to crisis. My father suffered what was termed a TIA (transient ischemic attack) last week but the emergency room sent him home after only a couple hours. From there he rapidly went downhill into what was probably a full-blown stroke. He lost his ability to move, his ability to speak anything but gibberish and he slept non-stop and had trouble focusing when he was awakened. Throughout this ordeal my mother continues to insist she can handle his care 100% on her own.

Thankfully he has shown improvement since then but is still not back to where he was when he was initially released from the hospital. Everyone in the family seems to have a huge difference of opinion as to what should happen next and how future incidences should be handled. The “other side” is operating on the assumption he will somehow miraculously get better, be his old self, get up from his wheelchair and walk across the room “any day now”. I on the other hand, spent an entire day checking out assisted living facilities; all to no avail I might add. It has become more than I can bear to witness; it has become more than my own health can take.

So we are making preparations to leave soon. Marc is wrapping up a big project which I will try and blog about shortly and when that is finished I think we can head for Coos Bay. I think I’ve got enough fuel left in me to seek solace by the ocean.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Cioppino New Year

With a delicious mix of tomato base, crab, oysters, rockfish, shrimp, halibut, onion and peppers, we all dig into a celebratory New Year’s day Cioppino Marc has made us. Ours was a relatively quiet celebration given the continuing bad weather and our watchful eyes on my father, home from the hospital finally on Dec. 29th. His progress continues to be slow and Marc continues to build new and improved implements and modifications to the house and furniture to ease his transition.

The dawn of the new year has not given us any new inspiration; just a new determination to set a course and head out soon. When…we still don’t know. Where…we do: first stop Coos Bay. Meanwhile it has warmed up a tad since these frozen pictures but Tucker, our cat, still continues to enjoy slugging out all day in front of the catalytic heaters. Having never seen a cat get into quite this position before, I managed to snap a picture! We finally also have water back in the RV—have mercy!

Finally, even though this is a totally un-retouched photo I thought it remarkable due to the fact that for a few days this is the way the world appeared here on the property: black and white and shades of grey. The color had washed from the landscape with winter’s brush as if a giant artist had made a painting devoid of all color. Nearly like our mood this winter.