Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Hello coldness my old friend

I do love me some Simon and Garfunkel and I'm not even a hippie!

The wind picked up at the cabin on Saturday night and blew most of the snow away that was on the mountain tops. In the tree's, it just cleared the snow from the pines and even the rooftops a little. At one point we were outside and I was wearing cargo pants and a t-shirt and was fine. I saw the neighbors out for a hike and talked to them for a bit, they were dressed up like eskimo's and didn't leave the tree line.

We drove into town on Sunday morning after some cinnamon rolls were devoured. We have several different routes to choose from and fate had us take the first left. Two 20ish girls were in a little Suzuki car off the road in a ditch. They weren't hurt and the car was ok besides some barbed wire paint scars. I stayed with them while the Land Rover was retrieved and we winched them out and sent them on their way.

The girls were happy, hugs were given and received and they went up to the seminary to pray for us (everyone they knew was in church and it's not like there is much traffic... well there was the Amish lady on a horse). They also learned to drive really slow when making a sharp turn on iced up roads.

Windy, indeed. -20 or lower with the windchill.

 The wind did clear the road a lot, so even with the wind Rock and I had a good hike without his paws getting frozen. The cold wind doesn't bother him.

 I take photo's of my notes so I don't forget what I need to bring down on the next trip. I always forget to get the note.
 G-Code 3+2 with belt and molle attachments in Kryptek Highlander. I forgot I ordered this a few months ago but it showed up finally. I'll wear it around this weekend and see how it feels.

Heading to the cabin tonight, it's supposed to be -11 (before wind, if any) and I want to make sure the heat settings are up to the task. I'm going down tomorrow evening as well, for another long weekend. Rock and I will get lot's of books read and some good hiking done. It's New Years soon and it's a time of reflection for me.
The Christmas tree has to come down as well.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Postcard living

I shoveled 3 times, the plow is in town and is awaiting a new hydraulic line that is leaking. We can use it and refill the fluid, but it's expensive like that and shoveling is always a good workout!

Rock and I loaded up the wood rack on the deck, split some kindling and scraped some snow from the rocks on the walkway. Honestly Rock didn't do anything, lazy dog...

Headed into town on super slick roads since there wasn't any lemon juice in the cabin and I wanted some more tarps and plastic sheeting (never seem to have enough).

Here, enjoy the "postcards". I left my good camera inside, it was a good -15 out in the plains, you are stuck with iPhone photo's.

Friday, December 26, 2014

A white Christmas!

Technically in order to have a white Christmas I had to split the day and escape to the mountains. I spent the morning (yesterday) reloading magazines and getting our range box put back in order. I did stumble upon an ammo can of brand new P-Mags, we had forgotten to label the box and assumed it was empty for the last year. I decided to keep those in plastic as we have about 50 loaded up already.

We went to the in-laws for late lunch spaghetti, my taste buds have been off lately but everyone said it was good. I figure I fought off a cold over the last week and my taste hasn't returned just yet.

Rock and I loaded up and headed to the cabin. I did get my Christmas presents, so we will kill some time installing new furniture on the AR's. One will be in Multicam, the other in Kryptek Highlander.

"Santa" also got me an EOTech EXPS3-4, I guess I've been good! I also guess that it's time to get some better night vision.

Oh yes the storm! Good cardio with the shovel. Rock didn't stick around long, his paws get ice chinks forming on the pads so he is only out for a little while. I'm going out for a few miles, in a few minutes. Visibility is about 25 feet right now, these pictures are from earlier.

The storm could drop up to a foot of snow, it's already about 7 inches total here at the cabin. On the edge of the tree's there isn't much snow at all since it blows across the valley. It's about 8 degrees right now, before wind chill, hiking sounds like fun! I really enjoy the cardio from hiking with a pack, it's a different kind of workout that most people are used to.

I've made some good gains at the gym this month, I'm up to 95 pound dumbbell bench presses and am hopeful I'll be back to 105's in each hand by the end of January. A lot of what I do seems to be a caloric intake game, sometimes I have a lot of energy, sometimes I just go for repetition instead of heavier weights.

I hope everyone had a good Christmas and enjoyed whatever time they spent with family, friends or themselves.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Putting what we do into practice

Sure, some people have dreams of fighting Red Dawn style, others of rebuilding a community after a pandemic. I've always thought that looking at the big picture was great, but planning for what is the most likely is where we need to focus on.

With Mother in-law being sick and probably only going to be with us for a few more weeks at best, we are in our own little SHTF scenario, sort of.

I say that it's a 'sort of' shtf, since if we hadn't planned so well, it would be a disaster.

Let's say we were a typical American family (without kids). This would mean living paycheck to paycheck, no food or money put away for lean times. Suddenly your income is down 50% and you have to help take care of a sick parent. That, plus the added 'stress' of not having much time together as a family and having to eat out/to go food about 50% more often than before.

Sounds like a crap storm to me.

There are times when we talk about how this is all just silly, why bother, etc. but we keep on planning and trying to live a more prepared life. Our current situation reinforces how what we have been doing really does matter.

We cringe about what we would be going through if we were "normal" and are very thankful that we can simply do what needs to be done and not worry about a bill, mortgage or expense coming in.

Job loss, sick family member, medical emergency, auto repair bill, etc. Those might not be as "sexy" as ambushing some Red Army soldiers but they certainly are very realistic.

Cheese and crackers tomorrow night with most of the in-laws family. Spaghetti lunch for Christmas and then Rock and I are heading to the cabin for a few days. I hope everyone enjoys the Holiday and spends family time, alone time, dog time or whatever you like.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Idle time

If you have been reading my blog diary for any length of time, you know I'm not good at sitting still. Since Mother in-law is in her last couple of weeks, we are spending more time in town than usual. I hit the cabin the other day for one night but otherwise I find myself sitting around a lot.

A lot.

I'm going to the gym every day I'm in town, I'm reading books and I'm scheming and plotting things I want to do in the near future.

It's the holidays and instead of eating all the food vendors drop off at work, or giving into the temptation of baked goods I've been focusing on my working out. I'm not as strong as I was a year ago, but I'm a lot leaner and slowly getting back to the strength I had. Last night I broke the 300 mark on dead lift again, broke the 95 pound dumbbell (in each hand) flat bench mark again and hit a new PR on the incline  hammer strength machine at 270 pounds. It's been a real struggle to keep my mouth closed so I remain lean and yet pick up heavier weights.
When spring rolls around I will really lean out with the mountain hiking and running, for now I'm doing a lot of walks with Rock and more sitting around at the in-laws than I'm used to.

Shopping with Father in-law was an experience, I'm so used to an organized grocery cart that I felt like I had OCD watching him throw in lose vegetable, milk on top of bread, etc. There is a big roast that's done cooking for the family, MIL wants to go see the holiday lights around town tonight. It will be a struggle to get her into the car but it's going to make her very happy. She is very alert and has her mind just there isn't any strength.

I saw this at Safeway, the redistribution of wealth to "needy people" from "needy people". I don't shop at Safeway but the in-laws do. This is one of the reasons I don't shop there.

Rock is bored a little bored too.

We have decided to get a new pickup truck and trade the old one, and one of the Jeeps. So far the dealerships I've emailed haven't responded or haven't bothered to respond how I told them to respond. I did call one place and the salesperson couldn't answer a single question and I actually had to leave a message for a salesperson and it took an hour to get a phone call.
This is an industry we both work in, and while that means we expect a little more we also expect the basics in customer service. 18 hours to get a phone call from a web form inquiry, when you specifically said email only, and the message left was cheesy to top it off. I'm sure it won't work out and we will keep our truck and just sell the Jeep.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Hospice for the holidays

Unfortunately it's that time, suddenly. We were expecting and hoping for a good recovery, but it's one thing after another and a Friday emergency room visit proved to be the catalyst.
More growths on the intestines, liver and brain. Blood clot in the leg. Other things perhaps elsewhere. Mother in law said that was enough, no more prodding, poking or tests. Make her comfortable.

She is still talkative but you can see her fading away in strength and it's just a matter of time. Everyone is talking about the good times, the recent good times, the old times, the time she swam nude in a hotel pool and noticed some Swedish Navy guys checking her out through the glass doorway (it wasn't a nude pool).

So it's good and it's sad. The holidays haven't been "happy" since my Dad passed away, this makes them worse for both of us. We agreed that I'll take care of things at home and work so everyone else can focus on the last few days. Today I was at the hospital most of the day, brought up some cranberry bliss bars from Starbucks and then we got some hot dogs and french fries. She isn't on a restricted diet anymore and if you want cookies for breakfast, you get cookies!

I say that we can only do the best with the time we are given. I also say that I hope we can all be so strong, and capable of making our own decisions when the time comes. There is a family meeting in about 30 minutes that I'm not attending. There are enough people there, and I've already gotten the last wishes and other things from Father in law.

Honestly, I can only grieve and cry so much and I need to be strong for everyone. I'll have my moment when the time is right, probably on the side of a mountain. She had an amazing life, traveled around the world, had anything she ever needed and wanted, 4 children and 3 grandchildren.

I'll be back in a few days, maybe longer. Merry Christmas in case I don't get back to posting before then. Remind your family how much you love them.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Mid Week and almost mid December

Rock is hogging the couch and being snarky but I wanted to finish a book, blog and then we will head out for another hike. Such are the days in our life, hard to complain about anything.

But I will!

How about this:

It's not an adjustment for "amount allowed by insurance", it's simply an adjustment that the Hospital can't explain. They say healthcare is affordable and for a week in the hospital for Mother-in-law, that's not a bad amount to pay (the $3k). I'm sure it's a "write-off" they will get back in taxes. Just toss some random figures around please.

Rock and I heading to the cabin this afternoon. He sure loves his rides and hanging his big block head out the window. We made a few stops to water some bushes and enjoy the sun. It was in the low 60's at home, and low 50's at the cabin. It's cooled off a lot already and the fire is going to help offset the utility bill.
Yes, it was a beautiful day, and one of the Amish horses was saying hello. Rock was very polite as we hiked past on our first hike of the day. Several more to come, getting the heart rate up a little is better than what most people end up doing on a daily basis. I need new shoes, my cabin running shoes are run and hiked out.
I brought my full size rifle down and left the SBR at home. I checked the bore-sight and found the EoTech to be off by almost a foot at 80 feet or so. I knew it wasn't accurate, I need to put some lock-tote on the mount it simply won't stay tight. The laser cartridge bore sights are invaluable for a fast fix.

We did get the holiday lights up and the Christmas tree on Sunday, I'll dig up some photo's of that for my next post. No cabin this weekend since it's our holiday party for work. With 170 employee's, I'm going to be handing out gift cards that total up to about $30,000. It's great to work for business owners that really care about the employee's, it says a lot. It's also fun to sort of be in charge, most of the time, but that's a lot of responsibility as well. Enjoying it while I'm able and allowed.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sleep returns (sort of), shooting and other tidbits

The nasal allergy spray is working, I'm officially 90% better after 4 days and that's an incredible thing. As with most things in life, there are trade offs and with my return to sleep is my return to dreaming. Some might think this is a good thing, but there are demons in my subconscious and they really are enjoying my rediscovered ability to sleep for a few hours at a time.
I know that when I open my eyes and walk outside covered in nightmare sweat that at least I can breathe and know what reality and the present situation are.

At the cabin, as usual, and the full moon was really just amazing. Rock and I got some hiking in, checked out the mountains and local wildlife. We've already put in 9 miles and we have the rest of today still. I'm the only one out of bed right now, with Mother in Law being sick I'm not complaining when somebody sleeps in. Instead I find ways to be productive, including picking up dog crap from the driveway and around the deck (not Rock's).... it's a good thing I love animals and work on being patient/understanding.

 Sunrise hike, Rock see's every little creature.
 During our sunrise hike some quick bread was cooking. Flour, sugar, buttermilk, egg, baking soda, baking powder, butter, cinnamon. It tastes really good, but it doesn't look the best to me. I had some herbal tea and a rather large slice while I was reading blogs.

I met a couple of friends for some shooting last Sunday, we are getting together again this Sunday as well. We spent about 4 hours shooting, calling out targets, creating scenarios, etc. It takes time to not only ensure safety, but to check all the targets and cover each hole after a person is done with whatever thing we dreamed up. Some of it's very realistic, some of it's fun, all of it's possible. My aim wasn't on like usual (pistol at 50-70 feet) but I quickly adjusted and ended up being the champ at suppression fire while moving. I'll take back my pistol title next weekend.

The weather yesterday was fairly cold still, today it should be in the 50's. Perfect for hanging Christmas lights and getting the tree all decorated. Up the road from the cabin is this great sign, I can close my eyes and visualize a large Buffalo herd grazing under the watchful eye of the mountains.
 Rock still looks for the Buffalo....
 Black Friday sales were taken advantage of. In addition to $1100 in long term food storage, I decided to get another optic that I can place on my AR10. I love my EoTech on the AR-15 but for some reason decided to change it up a little. I got the cover installed to help break up the silhouette a little. I also have some multi cam and highlander furniture for the AR-15 due in this week.

Our work holiday party is Saturday night so I'll be there handing out all kinds of gift cards to everyone. Some cards are for each year, some are for every 5 years and some are for the entry level employee's to help them out a little more. I'll be getting an Amazon and Walmart gift card, rumor has it I'm getting a year end bonus sometime this month as well.
If that's the case we are talking about redoing the carpet here at the cabin and getting a new water heater for the in town house. We shall see, a bonus is never expected and the amount is never known.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Allergy testing, finally

I like to think I'm a strong person, but we all have breaking points. I don't mind mouth breathing, I don't even mind not sleeping... I just can't take all of it at once AND a raw nose.

It turns out I'm allergic to some common mold (found normally in soil), a few tree's and almost all of the grass in Colorado. All the time I've spent at both houses working on the yards and gardens has been a set up for failure. I'm luckily not allergic to pet dander or dust, etc. so I'm looking on the bright side.
I have some junk to spray up my nose each evening. Last night was the first time and it made me miserable, worse than just having an allergy attack. I'm committed to giving it a good try before I give in, I'm hoping it will get better. I'm also going to get some shots to eventually (hopefully) be cured. If the nasal spray works I'll be happy since it's over the counter (just released) and I can stock up on it.

Here are a couple of shots from this past weekend at the cabin. I was there by myself, there are complication with Mother-in-law, so we aren't getting to spend much time together. No worries, family is important and I'm more than capable of getting into trouble on my own. We did find out that MIL is probably over medicated so we will see if a reduction in meds will help over the next few days. We are, as always, very hopeful and yet realistic. I find solitude and comfort in the outdoors.

and Rock.
In this first photo Rock is trying to use the force to levitate my chicken and broccoli to his mouth.
 This photo is a sad and depressed Rock, he want's to go outside and play and I just want to get up to date on the walking dead.
 You can see the grass in the yard is still green, and that's why my allergies are being angry. Rock does have two toys in his mouth. Champion.

I received all of my long term food storage that we ordered on Black Friday. It's heading to the cabin tonight and I'll get it sorted out this weekend. Work is pretty overwhelming but we will be up about 18% year over year so we are pushing for a strong finish. I also want to buy a new Range Rover, someone slap some sense into me.