Monday, March 30, 2009

The Way My Brain Works On Special Occasions Mystefies Me.

So it is the big "Happy Birthday Guitar Boy day" and I may or may not have messed up already!
So aware of the day, and making it special especially in light of recent events, it was first and foremost in my mind all last week, and took precidence over all other sceduled events.
It dominated my thoughts and grocery planning.

My cleaning and laundry was based on the day arriving Monday, and I wanted to ensure I gave his day my undivided attention.

I planned the dinner.
Made sure I had all the ingredients for the menu.
I did all the pre-work on the Cherry Chip cake, including one trial run that was good enough to donate to a neighbour. (I don't need to eat cake two nights in row. Trust me. My 176 Lbs of ideal weight for my frame and height has crept up and is dangerously approaching the 180 mark.)

Cards and gift of course was done ages ago, and set in ready position for the day.

I booked his Nan to share in cake and tea after dinner.

So rise and shine time arrives this morning, and I head to his room to give him the ever so gentle "Morning little buddy. How was your sleep" routine that gets him up and in shower.
After his shower was done, I went to his bathroom to remind him of a couple of "housekeeping" items for the day.

"Dan, don't forget you have a dentist appointment today at 4, after school. I will meet you at home at 3:45 and drive you there"

"I know Dad, I remember" he scowls at me.

"And after Diner I invited Nan for cake and tea."

"Ok Dad, that works" he responds with a smile, knowing full well that it will be only a few painful minutes for a fifteen year old boy with his 85 year old Nan, but the reward will be a bunch of cash in a card.

"Oh, and Thursday this week, do not make plans. We have dinner at friends" I advise

"OK Dad. Anything else?"

"No, that's pretty much today, and the rest of the week is business as usual. I might go for a run on Wednesday night, but only for a 5 K slow one. No plans for weekend, so go ahead and book what you have to" I continue.

He is blow drying his hair at this point, and trying to be polite and not say "OK can I go now Mr. Schedule Man?" although that is the look I am getting at this point.

"Is that it?"he snorts and try's to blow me away, (literally using his blow drier) so he can get ready for school sans interruptions.

"Yea, that's it. Have a great one Buddy, and try not to do what I did in school" I say grinning.

"Bye Dad" and he flashes me his traditional ASL sign for I love you.

In the car I get, briefcase loaded, mug of "Morning Thunder" nicely tucked in cup holder, and off I go.

I replay the morning in my head.

"Holy Shit! I know today is his birthday, because that is all that I thought about/planned about/obsessed about....for the last three weeks" I scream to myself at the 12 K mark away from house.

"I forgot to tell him Happy Birthday! Give him card! Give him gift!" at this point I am screaming at myself in traffic. Fortunately I have my cochlear in and on of course, and the stares I am getting from fellow motorists just assume I am talking on Bluetooth.

Yelling actually at this point.

I grab phone and break my rule about using a cell when driving.
This is a case for rule breaking.

No answer. He has left for school

I try his cell.
Turned off!
He is diligent about turning off his phone in school.
"Dam his diligence!" I scream at the drivers staring at me.

So here I type trying to figure out if his "...anything else Dad" questions, were a kick at my scatter brained "aware it is your birthday. Planned this day for weeks actually. But at this moment the words Happy Birthday have failed me" space that I found myself in this morning.

So here I sit in my office.

My 15 year old sits in Computer tech class right about now, and I wonder if he is wondering about the way my brain works. How can you talk about something daily and the day of; not talk about it?

So I am right now texting apologies every 10 minutes or so, hoping that if and when he fires up his Motorola Rockr, they will come flying it and save my ass on this one.

I will not fail at the cake!

I will remember Christmas morning to say "Merry Christmas"



Friday, March 27, 2009

Interpreters For The Challanged.

Tinnitus has seemed to raise it's ugly rubber extrusion factory sounding head lately.
No stranger to this am I. But now it is getting rather annoying. Especially now that I need better comprehension , all the time, in my cochlear challenged world.

Being back in the world of business and commerce, reinforced my view that passion or compassion for "hearing challenged" lasts but a few seconds. After my third "Again?" or "excuse me?", I get the look that we all know too well. "Oh man, this is going to be interesting explaining something to Mr. Deaf as a wheel of cheese" look.

Out and about away from the insensitive world of spread sheets and marketing plans, life is a little kinder. Gentler. 
Shop keepers, eager to have some of the doe rae me that you are willing to part with, will give you all the compassion and understanding one needs, when you explain that the magnet on your melon is not for decoration. So I am given a few more graces than a coworker would.

In old times, Janet was my "interpreter" . She would give me time to try and get the bulk and meat of the conversation or question. But as soon as I would fire her "the look" of puzzlement and "please help me", she would jump in and repeat the words for me in lips and eyes that I was familiar with. 

Dan is too quick on the draw and his patience is like mine was in past.
When the clerk at Blockbuster/EB Games/Best Buy, asks a question at the cash that may or may not have something to do with an extended warranty/credit card issue/mailing address; and I miss a chunk of it, I start into my "sorry I am hearing challenged can you repeat..." but  before I get my first "Again?" in, Dan is grabbing my arm to turn my face to view his beautiful youthful eyes and lips and gives me the repeat/interpretation far too early.

"Dad, he said...."
"Yes Dan I would have got that eventually, but you have to give me time"

Not sure why the tinnitus has ramped up. There are as many theories as there are traditional Chinese Herbs that promise a drop in volume of the nasty noise the brain manufacturers in the absence of analog sound I suspect. Perhaps recent life altering events have contributed to a bit of stress that kicks the air force in my head into action.

I read recently that caffeine can contribute to Tinnitus, but I am a 2 cup O'Java guy. Only on occasion will I treat myself to a "Fourbucks" to add stimulus to my day. 
I am good about the amount of caffeine that enters me daily. In fact I just tried and went through a box of "Morning Thunder" by Celestial Seasons. 
I read about this amazing brew in the paper a few weeks ago. It has half the caffeine of Java, but the herbs or whatever natural stuff is in it, has an amazing effect.
It kicks serious ass!
I was buzzing and flying around like I had slept for days, after just one cup. I am now a regular "Morning Thunder" guy, and encourage others to try it, to confirm my suspicions that this stuff is the cats ass of "pick me ups"

So my Number 1 interpreter is gone, and Number 2 is quick lip McGraw. Speeder the wonder dog was no help, so I can't put him in the "really miss his help" category. 

Driving is a challenge with passengers. My cochlear implant is on my left side, so I get the sound of the road on the left. The conversation of passengers on my right, not so much. I have to speech read, and in traffic that causes some problems. 
Turning head constantly doing 120 Kilometers and hour can scare the bravest of souls. And as the saying goes "friends don't let friends, lip read and drive"

So whatever the reason for the upswing in auditory factory noises is, I am getting a little frustrated, as I am sure many of my conversing peoples. 
Matters not I guess. Life moves on, and sound comes in, although drowned out at times by the second shift at the Goodyear plant.
I have sound.
I have people in my life to give me sound.

I have an interpreter (albeit an impatient one) that turns 15 in 3 days.

And we will celebrate in song and Cherry Chip cake.



Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Discovery Mode

The wonderful souls and denizens of this earth, at times seem so set in their ways. I suspect I was no different at times.
We have routine, ideas, ideologies, philosophies, opinions, and "shades and blinders" we put on to keep things the way they are.

What a great loss that can be, if one travels the roads of life, never changing direction because "that's the way we always did it".
I catch my self these days doing things the way they always were done. Cups always in the same cupboard; same old places to grab a pita; drive the same road every day even though there are several routes. 

I read the same paper the same way with the same mug of the same coffee in the same cup. Yet life, at the speed of life, is changing every nano second. 
After 19 years of living with the same partner, we develop habits and nuances that "just make sense" But if we change it up, it feels odd at first; but kinda cool and good.

I have my opinions about things, but always keep an open mind to new ideas, thoughts, and ways of living. I just need to turn that on more I suspect. Routine is fine really, but life should never be about routine. We are just a spit in the ocean, and our time here is but a blip on the cosmic clock. So why do we not take in life's concerto at different venues?

The adventurous of us claim that "we love to travel and experience new things". But we still need to know that every Tuesday night "House" comes on. We shut down our discovery modus for these events, because there is comfort in conformity I guess. God forbid that someone drop in or the phone ring at the end of an American Idol show!

At a certain age or time in our life's we have our "set" of friends and family. If someone really interesting (how would we know?) were to walk by our house, or grace us in line at "Fourbucks", we put up a sign in our eyes that says: "Not looking for friends, set in that way. Not interviewing or accepting applications for the positions of friends".


Bluetooth was a Danish Pirate. Bluetooth technology is named after the pirate. When you want to "pair" devices (laptop, cell phones etc) you have to put your Bluetooth device into "discovery mode".
Devices have to be in close proximity, so when in "discovery mode" they find each other and "pair".

I guess we reach a certain age, or complacency or maybe even a general laziness in life, and stop putting our minds, hearts and souls in "discovery mode". 

I wonder why?

The universe is filled with amazing things, but people are the most unique things we can spend time with. Watching, sharing, conversing, eating, or just hanging out with. It is nice to travel and see the sites that man made, and the geography that time created. But really it is people that we talk about after a trip. 
"Went to the Grand Canyon/Disney/Paris/the Nile.... and we met this amazing couple who....."
We have all heard it. It's the souls we interact with along the road that make the concerto really. 

But you have to be in "discovery mode" all the time to make the mundane trip to the A & P part of life's wonderful experience.
Head down, Bluetooth off, we miss so much.

I have spent the last several years in medical land. Taking care of someone, and getting David back to David was work and time. 
I missed a lot.

Nine months in a cone of silence my "discovery mode" in my internal Bluetooth system kicked in and on. 
I watched people.
I read lips.
I read eyes.
I looked inquisitively at life and enjoyed it with open mind and no sound.

Somewhere in my recovery and in taking care of my wife's well being, my Bluetooth got turned off, and I took myself out of discovery mode.

How wonderful recently to discover this tragic error, and flip back into discovery mode. If you give it time, and don't obsess over the details too much, life is fascinating again. Wonderful experiences happen every second, in every place, all the time. But you have to be in discovery mode to appreciate it, drink it in, wallow in it, play in it, and replay in your mind over and over.

One has to adapt to change really to take in the "new".
We have to empty our "cups" to put us in touch with the newness and constant changing about us daily. To experience what life has to show and teach us, we have to be in discovery mode, and make room for new "movements" in our concerto.
They are out there to be sure.

NAN-IN, a Japanese master  received a university professor who cam to inquire about Zen.
Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor's cup full, and then kept pouring.
The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. "It is overfull.  No more will go in!"
"Like this cup" Nan-in said, "your are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?"



Monday, March 23, 2009

Ever Changing Life.

Just as I suspected, life at the speed of life carried on. The snow retreated and there were shades of brownish/green grass rearing their darling spiked and shriveled heads, as spring made a subdued entrance last week.

It had been my hope, to be back at full QWERTY by springs birth, but life got busy, and I am back at five strings, with full intention of doing something a little different soon.
Well, as soon as I can figure out what that is.

I suspect that the curve balls got fast and furious in the past little while, and then the carnival left town.
It got quiet.
I sat alone.

Guitar boy was busy with his March school break, doing what 14 year old's do best. X-Boxing until thumbs are red. Downloading until heard drives are bulging at the seams. You tubing until the last cow comes home.
Ahhhhhhh youth!
But then he upped and went to a buddies for an extended sleep over.
I was alone, and it felt odd.

As I eluded too earlier, I wanted to move on and find new ground.
A new begging if you will.

In the end, I am back here, and perhaps for a while. I like it here.
Five strings is still my life, and my concerto. It best defines the musings of this boy at this time. MY liminal world and how it sounds.
It still sounds like 5 strings.

So on I go. Ahead I forge. Me and Guitar boy making our way in the world. Trying to stay away from the glowing temptation of cheap and easy fast food; and hoping to get healthier as our new focus is just us boys.

Still challenging the world of analog sound daily. Wishing I had the ability to deal with analog sound instead of a hugely expensive on-board PC that changes every "tick and tack" and "This and that" to ginormous strings of zero's and one's.
But it is my lot in life to live in the CI world. So I just need to "suck it up".

Some days are diamonds, and some are stone. Some are downright granite God Damn it!
But as you know; We all have 83 problems, and I am not about to attempt to lessen that load for the simple reason that as I do; another pops up.

Thanks for hanging around my friends, I missed you!
Missed you a lot, more than you know.

I miss a lot of things, but I find it easier if I just keep busy and not think too much about what I miss.
I open cupboards, and boxes, or find a photograph from healthier happier times, and I crumble for a bit.
Head down, I fight temptation to look up and curse the heavens.
"Why am I alone"? I want to scream.

Even Speeder checked out on me, and I really needed him for the longest time.

But life is funny. And forgiving, challenging, and passionate in many ways.

But it is also ever changing.



Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I have been thinking of a new blog. I am in a place right now, where I want to move forward. Life in a cone of silence was the beginning of a new journey in my deafness.
Five string was the next step as I rehabilitated.
I will be shutting this down, and going with some new writing in a new spot, with a new them.
I will advise y'all of my new place soon.