Saturday, May 30, 2020

Nose to The Grindstone

"Keep in mind that a man's just as good as his word, 
It takes twice as long to build bridges you've burnt
And there's hurt you can cause time alone cannot heal, 
Keep your nose on the grindstone and out of the pills"

The world, or at least the part I inhabit in Austin and Texas is opening back up. Whether or not you agree with that may reflect your politics or your risk approach or your financial realities. I am balancing it as best as I can, only having gone out to eat once to support a friend's restaurant. The main business that opened up to my house's pleasure was salon's reopening where really I looked homeless while having been homebound but you know somewhere someone had the fantasy that I looked like wolverine. Someone corrected that might have been true about the hair but that the body looks more like Captain America... before he beefed up. 

School officially ended two days ago. We actually kept a pretty strict schedule here with the same block schedule that Kiana kept at school as opposed to the suggested 3 hours a day schedule. Kiana on more than one occasion complained about how no one else was doing that. I told he to pick a better father next life cycle. It/I was bad enough that on the second to last day I actually gave her the standardized math test with the same parameters that they have at school. She missed two and would have been in the 98th percentile in a high school level class she's taking in 7th grade.  I have a friend who has 3 elementary kids and his wife is still going to work as opposed out current family household where there have been 3 adults for 1 jr high and told him my ratio was much better. I shared that comment with Kiana who pointed out that she self taught with online video 4 of the 8 classes so she had 4 teachers. The subjects that are probably too tough for this brain damaged guy, Algebra and Science, were taught by the adult girls of the family. I am not sure I could have done it all and certainly not as well with apparently math having now changed and for some reason 7 grade math ending with sexual education at length which you know every macho father wants to get into details with his adolescent daughter but I gave up the opportunity. But just to make it clear, I'm not completely a hard ass on the last day we played games and had a splash fest with all of her home school teachers. Not saying that I'm competitive at all but I won ;). We actually have been playings tons of board and lawn games with a family of 4 and have been keeping a cumulative scoreboard. Kiana and I have decided that one of the games we will not partner up with other people again is Uker, uker for life bro or is it bra or brah. Can't keep up with the kids these days


But keeping up is actually something I've been trying to do is keep up with exercise. I was made fun of but it's probably true that PE was the class I put some of the most effort into. Box jumps, jump ropes, tire flips, running, sandbags, agility, body weight. Everyone in the family is a better cook than me and they've taken the extra time to make tons of good meals. There's a Columbian, a Chinese and a half Mexican kid who cook up storms.  Some of it has even been from a homegrown garden started by Jackie and Kiana in science class. If you're wondering how I'm pudgy despite all my running and exercise, it's because of this. I have not lost or gained any significant weight during all this and I think it's because of that... balance. 

All 3 adults of the household have lost their 'jobs' during all this. That is only in quotation because my source of income for a while of officiating and speaking etc at events well all the events were cancelled as late as September and there are none on the calendar. Jackie lost one and got one that will start later on relatively quickly. Elaine got laid off last week and is updating and sending out her resume. I've got some contract stuff that may happen in July and August. I've never been a paycheck to paycheck person so there will be some stretching of the savings for a while but the stress is primarily mental right now. I have joked that corona may end up being more expensive than cancer and I haven't even gotten it. In one of those murphy's laws we were right smack in the middle of a 4 day job of converting an outdoor room into an office with a bathroom when the layoff happened... if I'd only known a week earlier. Still I remember what my grandfather always said, 'if it's about money, don't worry about it, we don't have any.' 

Still, even when I was broke during cancer, I'd sign up for cheap local races once a month, that was my 'luxury item' and going out to eat once at a local sandwich place was Kiana's. Corona cancelled some trips and this is cancelling others and the little luxuries like keeping wine and Mexican coke around, a lesson learned from growing up poor and that I hope at some level gets instilled into Kiana that when you have no income, you spend less money. The adage I live by is spend less money than you make and while during times like these that's impossible, the spirit has to ring as true as it can. But these days there aren't even races! 

In the last few years as things rebounded right before MRI's, I'd do tons of races right before. Running hard always being one of my 3 main coping mechanisms, the one most socially acceptable one. Humor is the 2nd but that doesn't land with everyone and that sex drugs and rock n roll one ;). The races have been virtual during this time and if you're wondering how much I've applied that I've done a dozen or so in May including a marathon two weeks ago and 5 this week. The latest one was a 17:52 5k this morning. Most of them have been with my friend Chris, the guy I ran with the most before this. He goes back to the group he's part of next week so it won't be an almost daily thing but it's been a good ride. One of those was my family joining and crewing him for the only trail marathon I've ever done. Why they call them virtual, I really don't know as on that and a couple of others I've gotten lost and gone longer.

Still, my MRI is a little over a week away. As is my custom, I do my best to make the test or the results on the 8th and so it will be on June 8th with the results the next day. The test itself will be exactly 2 months before the birthday that statistically I'm not supposed to make. While the results will be in grey matter, I hope everything is stable enough that like Kiana's home school I pass with flying colors. The 10 year survival rate is 12% so I I'm almost at the B+ level? I'm not (too?) afraid of death but I have kept track of that cancer patients in general have a higher death rate when contracting and that in my case in specific because it does invade the brain and fevers put me at a high risk of a seizure that corona could be a factor. Nonetheless, this is why XX is my beer of choice or maybe I'm just not wild enough for XXX rated. 

I've seen people's social media during who have gotten this and passed in the last couple of months and others whose medical treatment got postponed, disrupted, interrupted through all this. My own appointment they've let me know that I need to come alone to the MRI. Originally it was not clear whether or not the results appointment was going to be virtual but I got notice a few days ago that it would be in person. I can't genuinely decide which way anyone, myself included, would feel more alone being told their cancer grew, in person with the doctor or virtually with family. 


Still, while I have watched more 'television' than usual, I've tried to keep my unemployed workaholic habits alive. That's not exactly true, I've probably watched in total less than I usually do but often it's sports as opposed to fiction, movies etc. I've listened to a song a few times, the one quoted at the beginning here which oddly enough I was supposed to be going to his concert that was supposed to happen back in March and then delayed to yesterday and then delayed to the fall and then cancelled outright because one of the artists in the concert got corona. 

But where I place my nose on the grindstone will have to shift. My 5 years as president of ARC ended two days ago. I think the new board is going to be great and I will both miss and be relieved to be relieved of duty. I intend to take the approach that W did to Obama which is just to be silent (of course I understand they had infinitely more important things on their agenda). Home school is done for the summer though we're going to keep working on Spanish, Math, PE and reading as those are more life skills than academic ones. 

I don't know what's coming, in an MRI, in finances, in the way the world opens back up, in how Kiana handles adolescence but I'm going to keep working on it as best as I can figure it out. I still remember what my grandfather says there too, "take it one day at a time, I get tired when I do two." Life was kind enough to give us a gorgeous sunset on the last day of school, the last day of my ARC presidency and I tried to remember an old quote that gorgeous sunsets need clouds. We took some pictures of it and absorbed some of it just our eyes noticing that like life, it doesn't take much time for it to change dramatically, some beauty, some contrast.  Invariably it all ends too whether it be with a bang or with a whimper but I hope like this blog that it expressed itself without filters, unaware and not veryconcerned with its observers. 

I love life, the good, the bad, the ugly. I prefer the simple practical stuff but in a few days I have to step into a machine that is the opposite of that to see whether cancer is growing. Whether or not that unhealthiness is, I go in believing that in the last year since the last one, in the months of quarantine and difficulty, beautiful things have grown and set and hoping, dreaming that those will continue.