Sunday, September 07, 2008

August, 2008

My, that was fast. If those were Dog Days - evoking an image of a languid summer of lying about avoiding exertion in the heat - this August seems to have passed too fast for me to notice, or blog about. So here are some of my high spots for the weeks since FloydFest.
The conversion of our 9 x 11 back porch to an all-season room has begun. After building a new insulated floor over the existing porch floor - which raised the height to that of the rest of the house - and after MUCH deliberation, consultation and measuring, I ordered seven windows and a new sliding door. PorchFlooring was decided upon, ordered, and awaits installation. Next I removed the old screens/framing and reframed for the windows. As you can see, the new kneewall now advertises LOWE'S, courtesy of the house wrap. Subtle, aren't they. The weather was cooperative with high temperatures most days in the low 90's. The windows will arrive this week and will be set ASAP. After trimming out, siding, and adding a few flourishes the room should be secure from the weather and Phase II can begin, the new deck.
I had a good check up at my dentist; Look Ma, No Cavities. (I wonder how long it will take before people forget where that phrase can from.) I also had a Lasik followup; no real change, some days I can spot the eagles before they see me, other days not so good.
Got a haircut, needed it.
On Sunday the 17th my wife and I joined the Carolina Alumni Chapter of the Semester-at-Sea program for a Bon Voyage/Welcome Home outing at the US National Whitewater Center in Charlotte. WhitewaterIt is a great place to hike, learn whitewater and other outdoor skills, or just watch. The US Olympic whitewater team trains there. We took a guided rafting trip - which at one time or another found all of us ejected into the rapids from the raft - had dinner, and chatted about places seen, things done, and people met on our voyages. Thanks to Donna (rear, blue helmet) for making it possible.
The next day was the opening round of the Men's US Amateur Championship at Pinehurst. Ben, an old friend of my daughter, and I attended the first day of medal play. Then on Thursday my sister, brother in law, and I watched the Round of 16 match play. It was wonderful to walk one of the world's great golf courses with friends and family and watch high quality competition without a huge crowd. Friday Francis and I teed it up here. I really need to practice.
In the middle of this my wife's niece, Virginia, came to town for a medical procedure that involved pulsed radiowaves, a thin wire inserted into her skull, and cranial nerves. (OK, so I don't know the proper name of the procedure.) The goal was to reduce her debilitating headaches and hopefully ween her off the mega doses of narcotics her previous pain management doctors put her on. Reports so far are positive.
Shortly thereafter Virginia's sister LeAnna had a baby boy. Both doing fine. No, neither of these events directly involved me; but they were part of my August.
I had some landscaping done in the front yard and the heating/cooling system inspected. No problems.
It is Fantasy Football time. I participated in two internet drafts last month and am planning to kick serious butt this year. I say this every year.
I drove to Virginia twice in August to further prepare mother's house for sale. We are about 95% finished now, many of the rooms clean and empty. Although it will be very hard to turn the keys over to Joe and Billie, closure will be a relief for all of us. We took our time and did it right. Now if I can just find proper places around here for all the stuff I have brought back...
There were the Olympic games which we were able to watch only because the Dish Network provided us with a local NBC station at the last possible moment, on the day of the opening ceremonies. China did a good job as host, to the relief and surprise of many and consternation to a few. The opening ceremony was jaw dropping. I kept hitting the replay button on the DVR and asking, "How did they do that?" China has come a long, long way since I peered across their border in early 1968 from Hong Kong and into their Cultural Revolution. Yes, it was a coming out party of sorts for them. China's rise on the world stage now can only be compared to that of the US in the first half of the 20th century. We had better learn to get along with them. Now if they would just let Tibet be Tibet...
I will admit to a soft place in my heart for the Olympics even though I must look past the big money and nationalism. OlympicAt the center there are real people being the best they can be at something, generally not a bad example for us all. The cartoon provides an example and a segue.
A routine medical exam early last month led to the suspicion that all was not well with my prostate. My PSA was also heading in the wrong direction. So a biopsy was ordered. That was not a pleasant experience (although I have been through worse). Neither was waiting eight days for the results. No, cancer cells were not found. But some of the samples showed PIN cells of a high enough quality to warrant a second biopsy. Cancerous cells may be there, just missed. Or not. We will know more in a couple of months. Meanwhile I am conducting due diligence and thinking about how great it is to be here. August may have been a lucky month for me.
I am sharing this because about 28,000 men will die in this country this year because of prostate cancer, our second leading cancer killer. A lack of early symptoms is the main problem. It is too often discovered late, after cancer has spread. And most men have about as much chance locating their prostate as Uruguay. Down there somewhere. The numbers are similar as with women and breast cancer, but few seem to know that. Early detection is the key for both. Screening is simple, though a bit intrusive. So guys, bend over and get that thing checked. Gals, see to it the guys in your life take care of their business.
For more info, try here, the NIH, or the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
On a more positive note I found in one of those awful magazine special advertising sections (Doctor's Orders, Fortune, September 2008)
"In 2007 scientists in Seattle reported that men who drink four to seven glasses of red wine per week are half as likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer as nondrinkers."
I started my own study immediately. I wonder if eight to fourteen can drop the percentage to one quarter:)
Finally (even though it is now September) the eyewall of TS Hanna passed about 35 miles east of here early yesterday morning with little effect other than almost 6 inches of rain. We were fortunate. I remember Hugo. For that matter I remember Hazel. Both passed as close to me as Hanna. H must like me.

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