Thursday, November 14, 2013

49 and holding

Age is just a number so the saying goes. You're only as old as you feel. Fifty is the new Forty.  I have heard them all. In a little over two weeks I will find out for myself.
    Fifty is an age nobody thought I would see. As I near the half century milestone I will also pass another significant milestone. I will be a 90 month survivor of stage 4 Prostate cancer.
   As we walk through life the milemarkers along the way have meaning. At age 5 we start school. That was my least favorite at the time but I also got my first b.b. gun that Christmas so it made up for the school thing a little bit. At age 8 I was able to go hunting with my dad and bagged my first buck. The tradition of hunting with dad has endured for 41 years. Sixteen was a no- brainer. My first car was a 1962 Chevy impala. It had a 283 with a two speed powerglide transmission. The engine had a flat cam so dad and I rebuilt a 327 in the garage and dropped it in. We painted it starburst metallic fireball red and put a set of crager coke bottle rims on it. The interior was restored and a pioneer supertuner 8 track deck was mounted above the console feeding jenson triaxial speakers in the rear deck. I miss that car. At 18 I graduated and got my first apartment. It was a bittersweet occasion.  21 was fun for a while. Not so fun the morning after. At 25 my car insurance dropped to the good rates. I was married had three kids too many bills and too small a paycheck. At 30 I was separated from my wife and living in a studio apartment trying to make it all work. It didn't.  At forty I had lost it all and was a junky living in a garage. I celebrated those two significant milestones alone and contemplating suicide. At age 41 I went through with my suicide plan. I lived and at 4 months prior to my 42nd birthday I was born again. At 42 I was diagnosed with advanced cancer and given a year to live.
   I never thought I would see this day but here I am. As I enter the threshold of 50 I would need a ream of paper to single space type my blessings. Eight years ago I had nothing except a job. My kids and family disowned me. I was a mess. My credit rating was in the  300's. I needed a cosigner for a payday loan. I owed $12k in traffic citations.  I owed $20k to the I.R.S. I stopped answering my phone as it was most likely a bill collection service. I was lonely.  I was alone. I wanted to die.
    Today I am married to the love of my life. My relationship with my children and my family is better than it has ever been. I have a mortgage on a modest but comfortable home. I have a Dodge diesel in the drive with a new camper on one side and my wifes kia soul on the other. I have a ski boat and snowmobiles in the garage. I am still in debt  to the top of my butt crack but it is for the life I always dreamed of living. My new credit score is nearing 800. There is food on the table and the bills are paid. The wolf is occasionally at the door but I am still a crack shot so he never tries to come in. Best of all this last year has been the best of my life. I have so many friends new and old. I am blessed beyond that which I deserve.
   This year I will turn 50 among 28 of my newest friends with my true love at my side. I am so thankful for this life.
    I have no Idea what I will do at age 60 to top this but I plan on being there among friends and family. Y.O.L.O.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A day in the woods

The air is still. The mist blankets the valley floor. The forest is silent.  I am alone in this place. As daylight breaks over the marsh below the silence is broken by a  myriad of birds greeting the  new day. A chipmunk joins in the chorus and then another. The world is alive. A blacktail deer with her fawn in tow emerge from the jack firs to graze at the edges of the marsh. The fawn was born last spring and has only recently lost it's spots. I think of bambi as it is more interested in running around than eating.
   I love this place. I have hunted this valley since I was eight years old. I hunted when it was covered in dense forest. I hunted it when weyerhaueser clear  cut as far as the eye can see. A new forest has grown up but the marsh remains. It is unchanged. Nobody hunts here anymore. The young trees were planted so tightly that it is impossible to see into them. There is no longer clearcuts to sit and watch from the comfort of a truck. Good riddance. I won't miss them. I am old school  I will hike 10 miles today. I love being in the woods. I love everything about it. For now as I sit motionless in my mossyoak cammo I am a tree. A twig pops somewhere below me. Elk are far from quiet as they roam through the forest. Where are they? Another branch breaks but closer this time. The minutes pass slowly.  The deer walk away and vanish into the trees. Below me the first elk comes into view followed by a dozen more cows and calves. There are no bulls in this herd except for one young spike. The season will be ending in two short days and I have had no luck at all. My dad is a mile below me watching the only cut on the mountain.  He will be wondering where I am. Time to get up and get moving before my  butt freezes to the ground. I wonder if a frozen ass is G.F.M.P.H. haha. Todd

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Elk season and other stuff continued.

Mandy survived. The wind pounded the coast at 40 m.p.h. and there was not a lot of sleep to be had but she and our daughter stayed warm and dry despite sleeping in a tent just above the surf line. The pictures said a thousand words. The Olympic peninsula is a place of epic beauty. Our daughter received a B+ for the field trip and Mandy had the time of her life.
  I am still hunting elk. My faith in my hunting abilities is waning. I am just not doing very good. I will write more later but once again, I am exhausted. To all of you who follow this blog I apologize but I have just been wiped out when I get home and have a hard time sitting down at the computer. Todd

Monday, November 4, 2013

Hunting season psa and other stuff

Tonight I am a bachelor. Normally this time of year Mandy would be a hunters widow and trust me, for much of the next two weeks she will be, but tonight I am alone and it feels weird. Since our wedding, 61/2 years ago we have only spent 1 night apart. We share everything. We are each others best friend. I am worried about her. Tonight she is a chaperone for a sophomore biology field trip to a place called  Rialto beach on the Olympic peninsula. It is November and it is pouring rain and the wind is blowing and she and our daughter are sleeping in a tent. I miss her. I am sure she is fine but I still worry. I wish she would call me.
   I had some really good news this week on the Prostate Cancer front. My P.S.A. has dropped again. It is now 0.70. This is the lowest it has been in 4 years. It seems the Zytiga is working. The Provenge will help the Zytiga and I will keep fighting. I am excited but I am also exhausted so my true feelings may  not show through my words. I hunted hard today. I did not see a single elk. By the time I got home I was chilled to the bone and soaking wet. Elk hunting is so much easier when you have hunting partners but I hunt with my dad and he is 71 and needs a double knee replacement. Needless to say he has a hard time getting out of the truck. Most of my hunting is done alone. It is really nice to have him waiting at the bottom of the hill with a warm truck and a cup of hot coffee. (or a nip of crown royal to warm the bones.) I know this or the next year maybe the year after will be my last to hunt with my dad. I am going to ride this ride as long as it lasts. My dad is an amazing man. I didn't get his height but we look so much alike. He is 6' tall. I am 5'6" I took after my 5'1" mother. lol He and my mom are both wonderful parents and I have always been proud to be their son. Elk season may not be fruitful this year but we will do our best and hope for a little luck. No matter what it is a good time shared with family. I am going to bed now. Life should slow down soon and I will have much more time to write. Goodnight, Todd