Saturday, May 25, 2013

Mike Falciani

Monday, May 20, 2013

The best kept secret in New Jersey.

I rented one of the "rustic" cabins along the banks of Pakim Pond in Brendan Byrne State Forest in the Jersey Pinelands this weekend with Oldest Son and the Chancellor. Well, the Chancellor was there for daytime activities but her fear of spiders and doggie responsibilities kept her from staying over night.

The cabins are not for those looking for feather bed and breakfast. These are one step above a Yurt which is one step above a large tent. 

The three identical cabins were built by the CCC in the 1930's and have electricity for refrigeration and cooking. Each has a toilet but no bathing facilities and four single bunks. I was surprised to find they had hot water though. 

We stayed in cabin 1 which was clean but weathered. The cabins are in good repair which is tough given the environment in South Jersey in the woods.

Some pictures:

Rustic means: 
  • It smells like a fire. This is because the fireplace is the only source of heat and has no flue. the cabins are closed November through March but April-May can be chilly. No flue means you can see light coming through the chimney - and rain. 
  • The refrigerator is missing shelves and the doors are missing guards which prevent your food from falling on the floor every time you open the door.  
  • No heat
  • No Shower
  • Carpenter Bees or Termites. Something was creating a lot of saw dust above the front door. 

All pictures here

Here are some pictures I found of the cabins 30 years ago. No much has changed. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Don't Get Old 2

Don't Get Old
This is my Aunt Anne. Well, technically she is my Great Aunt Anne but we always called her Aunt Anne. Aunt Anne had an expression, one that did not make sense when I was young but is beginning to make more sense everyday especially as I approach my 55th Birthday.

"Don't Get Old"

That was what she said all the time. I always took that literally as in try and stop time. I always thought well how in the world do ya do that? Get dead?

Now with a herniated disc for the past three weeks I understand. What she meant was "getting old sucks"

All I did was try to cut the lawn. With a brand new lawnmower. That doesn't sound hard does it?
Well, lawnmower's today have new "safety feature" that my previous 1999 model did not. I has some sort of engine brake that engages when the safety handle is not engaged.

I did not know this.

My back was cranky from the previous weekend's activities so I took the precaution of having Oldest Son take the new mower out of the SUV and out of the box. I put the mower together as per the instructions and yes I read the instructions. I thought I'd try to start it so I bent over, pulled the starter handle and wasn't I surprised when it came out exactly 9 inches, stopped dead and then my back lit up in pain.

Did I stop there? No I did not. I had Oldest Son start the mower and then I proceeded to cut the grass.

In retrospect this... ah... was.... um.... not smart.

48 hours later, making the transition from sitting to standing after a full night in bed was difficult at best. I got up, got showered and dressed with some difficulty and then decided it best to work from home.

I have not been back to the office since and that was now nearly 2 weeks ago.

I thought I would simply rest it and it would get better - at least that what the Dr told me when I reported back spasms and prescribed exercises and muscle relaxers.

I was doing great resting until the next Saturday when the Chancellor went to work and then suddenly half way through the day I felt pain coming on. I went down to the kitchen for water to take my pills and never made it back.

The next three hours were the most hellish of my life. Home, alone, writhing in back spasms every ten minutes there was no relief in any position.

I laugh at your puny exercises and muscle relaxers.

I finally crawled on my elbows to my desk reached for my blackberry and called the Chancellor at work.

Mobile phones today are a wonderful device that allow you to gather all kinds of information, keep socially connected and in the know. I can know if it's raining in Bangkok and how much jet fuel costs in Ohio. Too bad they suck at actual phone calls.

The first attempt at a rescue call was one of those one way cell conversations with her saying "Hello?... Hello? ...... Who is this?...." and me screaming in pain.

Finally I got a hold of her. She got the Dr on the phone who prescribed pain relief in the form of Hydrocodone. But first I had to eat. In a ball. On the floor. At dog height.

The Chancellor brought home Arby's.

You need to imagine the above except with a dog in the room, smelling beef,  to fully appreciate a moment I will never forget eating my Arby's.

Indeed. Getting old sucks.

Here I am a week later. I had another spasm episode on Wednesday but I am improving with Physical Therapy three times a week.

Don't. Get. Old.