Sometimes, life just stinks, and occasionally, it really sucks. If you cry easy on stories of loosing a pet, you probably want to skip this post, or grab a box of Kleenex.
Tonight I sat with my Love, Jennifer, while she held Sophie, for the last time. Sophie was there with Jennifer for the last 14 years, through the good times, and the bad. During this time, Sophie showed her unconditional love and friendship to Jennifer, and helped her through every life event. She truly has been Jennifer’s best friend.
It is with great sorrow, that after Sophie’s 6 week battle with Parkenson’s, the roles flipped, and Jennifer had to be there as both a friend, and a voice for Sophie, and make the hardest decision she has ever had to make, to have Sophie’s vetrenarian come to the house for the last time. Jennifer saw Sophie suffering, and was there to be Sophie’s best friend, and held Sophie in her arms until the end, giving her kisses and telling her that she loved her, while she sobbed. Having been through other pet losses, I sat with and held Jennifer, trying my best to help her.
We now have a new Pagoda Dogwood in the yard, with Sophie layed to rest under it’s soon to be white flowers, and I can believe, in my mind, that there is no better spot for her. I believe if Sophie was running around the yard on a hot day, she would pick the shade of this new tree to rest under. It will also be a nice place for reflection for Jennifer.
Please say a prayer for my wife tonight as she morns the loss of her best friend. I know I have large shoes (tiny paws?) to fill, but I will do my best to fill that role now.
Our current Pope, Pope Frances, states in Laudato Si’, “Jesus says: “I make all things new” (Rev 21:5). Eternal life will be a shared experience of awe, in which each creature, resplendently transfigured, will take its rightful place and have something to give those poor men and women who will have been liberated once and for all“.
I know, with the loss of such a wonderful friend, comes great grief. I am fortunate to know, by Pope Frances’ words, that Sophie will be in Heaven, playing ball, chewing on rawhides, and barking at shadows. Sophie, please know we miss you and love you, and rest easy knowing that one day you’ll see your Mommie again.
I wanted to drop you guys a quick update on all things with cars, my health, and some general quips, and maybe a quick review of the 2017 Nissan Altima, that I currently have as a rental car.
No, I’m not talking about those people who start crap with you after toking it up, but rather the artillery craters that cover just about any road in Indiana. They are bad, please be careful around them. We’ve experienced significant car damage (possibly seized motor in the W8 – which is likely a total loss, and 7 flat tires). [Edit: Be sure to read a later post on 3/1 that talks about the other type of toking potholes.]
Starting out with my health, I had impact testing last week, and failed it miserably, in respect to both my reaction time, and my visual and verbal memories. I am extremely disappointed with these tests, which could likely keep me off the track this spring. Also had a balance assessment with The Balance Point, that showed that I have balance issues that need to be addressed with vestibule rehab therapy. In top of all of this, I’ve been asked by the state to go to 2 appointments in regards to my current health, one last Saturday and one again on Monday of this week. I’m tired of being stuck for shots, stuck for blood draws, poked, prodded, cold water poured into my ear, etc.
The basics is, I am dealing with either post-concussive syndrome, or more likely, with 50-70 concussions over the years (with a good mix of bumping my head, getting hit in the head, and explosive blasts) likely CTE. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in people with a history of repetitive brain trauma (often athletes), including symptomatic concussions as well as asymptomatic sub-concussive hits to the head that do not cause symptoms. This includes concussions received from being too close to an explosive blast.
Post-concussive syndrome, is something that can heal, even though it may take a long time to do so. CTE is degenerative, and really there is nothing they can do, or even test for without a post-mortem exam of my brain.
2003 VW Passat W8:
My Passat is back in the shop as of about a week ago. Returning from a trip in mid-southern Indiana (Columbus, Seymour, etc.) the “STOP, Loss of Oil Pressure” light came on. I immediately pulled off on the Greenwood Main Street Exit, and pulled over. There was oil still on the dipstick, but the motor showed as if it were locked from starting by a low oil pressure switch, or some other relay that wouldn’t allow for the car to start. It was towed to Tom Wood VW at 146th Street, and they are going to have to diagnose the non-start condition and show it was part of the issue that happened with I hit the pot hole on 1/12/18 (see: Early February Update for more info). What is known, from the “crash” (insurance is calling this a crash), the bottom of the engine hit the ground so hard, 3 tires were flatted, the oil pan and the oil cooler had big gauges in it, the belly pan is destroyed, and I’m sure many other issues still yet to find. Currently, the car is at Tom Wood, State Farm has not paid them as of yet, and once Tom Wood is paid, they will start an engine tear down to find the cause of the loss of oil pressure. If it is due to to the crash, they will likely total the car, as replacing the engine is likely more than the cost of the car. If this is not due to the engine, it is my problem. I truly thing it is related to the pothole issue, so we’ll see. So, my question to you is what German wagon, preferably manual and all wheel drive, should I be looking at? It has to be in the sub-$5k category (age is less important than the shape of the car – but for example sake, I currently have a 2003 VW Passat W8, which is actually a very luxury wagon especially from VW and for a 2003. It has electric everything, a 8 cylinder engine (W8), dual gas tanks capable of 500 highway miles without filling up, and a host of other goodies. I’m partial to my VW, and would love to find an VW TDI Stick-Shift Wagon, but an Audi wagon fits well, as well as a BMW wagon and a diesel or gas Mercedes. Let me know your thoughts on what car I should look into next, if and when State Farm decides total the W8.
Played around with the P car for a few hours this week. Motor turns over on ether, and will start (ever so briefly), with a jumper box on the fuel pump and one on the coil. Both the D and the B sensors are missing ($45-$50 for both), and I believe replacing these will fix the issue, and the car will start right up. Once I know it’s going to run well, there are plenty of other little things that need to be bolted back together to be road ready. Heck, depending oh how well this runs, I might use it as a daily driver for a bit…
I just also ended up with a 924 found sitting in some weeds in Argos. I figure this car will have many of the interior bits and pieces I will need for the 944, and the price was so inexpensive, if it has 2 working B and D sensors that I can use in my 944, I’ve made money on the deal… This has the potential of being stripped bare and becoming a track car for someone… More on this soon, as I need to work on getting this picked up and back to here, but you can check out the car more on the Porsche 924 page.
Most of you that know me knows that anytime you see me, I’m basically a model for LL Bean. Yesterday, I was wearing my LL Bean boots, flannel lined jeans, long sleeve Cresta (marino) Wool shirt and a flannel shirt, all purchased from LL Bean. I’ve had the boots for over 30 years, and every few years they are sent back to LL Bean to be resoled, keeping the leather uppers that are as soft as a baby’s butt. The flannel lined jeans, have been returned a couple times for various issues, and I can admit, I have many other LL Bean clothing that has been returned for various purposes.
I’ve still have a pair of LL Bean Camp Mocs that my mom purchased for me in middle school. I love these slip on shoes. Over the years, they have been returned 6-7 times, when the soles wear out, stitching came out, or other various issues. Once in middle school, my mother made me return them, do to the fact I had drawn all over them with an ink pen, with various music group logos that I listened to – in the late 80s, I was listening to lots of Grateful Dead, as well as good late 70s, early 80s punk (Sex Pistols, Ramones, Clash, Dead Kennedys, Blondie, Susie and the Banshees, Buzzcocks). Well, you know what LL Bean said? Nothing! They exchanged the shoes, no questions asked.
I may be somewhere near the line for what is ethically OK for utilizing LL Beans No Questions Asked Guarantee. Ok, Ok, I may have been a little over the line with the LL Bean Camp Mocs though…
I just heard a great podcast about the actual abuses of what LL Bean calls “The Guarantee”. You can hear it at: https://www.thisamericanlife.org/591/get-your-moneys-worth/act-two What I do doesn’t even approach the level of abuses that actually happen. They mention the fact that as soon as turkey hunting is over, the flood of returns for turkey hunting gear comes in. During the Phish show there last year, many, many people came into the store, bought camping gear and such for the Phish weekend, in which they had extreme rain for the entire weekend. The Sunday and Monday after the Phish weekend, a deluge of muddy, wet camping gear came back for returns, and with The Guarantee, all the equipment was returned for cash. People return their deceased spouses clothing, some even return items to get cash back to use to pay utilities.
These abuses apparently are worst than most can imagine – people even buy clothing at Goodwill and return it for cash. The Guarantee, which has been in place since 1912, is not sustainable in today’s time. Anyone can see that, especially when someone goes to Goodwill, buys shirts and pants, and returns them for credit or new merchandise. LL Bean saw it as well, and today, this morning, they have changed their policy that they will only accept returns, and only with proof of purchase, for a period of 1 year. They additionally outlined several circumstances they will refuse returns, which include previous abuse of The Guarantee (lifetime) in the past. It should be interesting to watch how LL Bean will fare with a new policy, as many people purchased items, knowing they were covered by The (100% satisfaction) Guarantee. Though I have no ill will towards the change, I’m sure there will be some backlash from the general public that purchases LL Bean gear, knowing it is the best, and covered by The (best) Guarantee.
<a href=”https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/02/09/584493046/l-l-bean-scraps-legendary-lifetime-return-policy”>LL Bean Scraps Legendary Lifetime return Policy</a>
From: L.L.Bean [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, February 9, 2018 9:17 AM
Subject: A Letter to Our Customers
Lovely wife wants me to clear out the back yard parking lot of used cars, and financially, it makes sense to do so now. Most everything but the VW’s and the P cars will go, and while cash is always the favorite thing, it looks like one of the cars will be swapped for a Mazda RX8. Any of you had an RX8? If so, please leave me a comment, and let me know your thoughts.