30 June 2010

Just A Thought

About the Gulf oil well gusher disaster in the making:

We sure dodged a bullet with that Alaskan snowbilly hick, didn't we?

29 June 2010

Making Friends

As if we needed any more proof that Congressional and Senatorial term limits is an idea who's time has come, Pete Stark (D-CA, of course) proves himself to be a condescending arrogant cod who needs to be reminded that he serves at the pleasure of the plebes called "the constituency."

If he had asked me "Who are you going to kill today?" I probably would have provided scads of news fodder by saying "Maybe you, you arrogant *@&#$." It seems that this Minuteman conducted himself with a bit more decorum than I might have been able to do.

Kudos to the unidentified Minuteman. Heaps of scorn upon the head of Pete Stark, Democrat congresscritter from the wasteland that was once the Golden State.

HT: Big Dick from comments at The Rott. Be warned, Big Dick is not for the faint of heart.

Drawing Nigh

I have been contacted by a Ford representative concerning the Mustang.

I filled out the information on the Ford website and built the car that I want, and now it's up to them to either find it or have it built.

The basics: 2011 Mustang GT Premium convertible, automatic transmission, 5.0 liter TiVCT V-8 with the California Special trim package 402A.

Must haves: Color, one of three options; race red, red candy metallic, or Kona blue metallic (not available with the CS package). Must have the pedestal spoiler (standard with the CS package), must have the GT deck lid trim panel. Must NOT have HID headlights.

Like to have: Comfort package, which consists of heated front seats and a power adjustable seat for the passenger.

Hopefully the car, or the basic package, is already out there somewhere and won't have to be built (with the 5-6 week lead time). We will see how it goes.

26 June 2010

Playing the Ponies

My Mustang showed up in the mail today.

Not the car itself, of course, but the insurance check I was waiting on, or rather the notification that a certified letter was waiting at the post office for my signature.

So Monday I will go get it and on my first day off (Thursday) I will hand carry it to the bank. I will then find out how long the hold is going to be on it, and when the funds are available for my use I will go get the Mustang.

I don't know if I'm going to get the one in the picture that is even now sitting in the dealer's lot or if I will order one. I guess I'll wait and find out when the day comes.

UPDATE: I'm ordering one. It will be a lot like the one in the picture except that it will be bright red (like the rental was) and it won't have the HID(eous) headlights. It will be a California Special trimmed GT like the one pictured, though, with the 412HP 5.0 liter V-8. I just couldn't help myself.

UPDATE II: The order goes in on Monday, July 5th or Tuesday, July 6th depending on if the bank counts Friday the 2nd as a business day or not.

UPDATE III: The funds won't be available until Wednesday morning. I see the Ford dealer on Friday, July 9th.

23 June 2010

A Bit of Good News

Eldest daughter, who has a medical condition she needs some pretty expensive meds for, recently was told that the program she is on to help pay for those meds is going away at the end of the month.

She called around to the evil pharmaceutical companies and they were able to put her into a program that pays all but a pittance for the same meds. There's a filing fee that has to be paid, and of course Dad is picking that bill up, but Dad is happy to do it.

She was extremely proud of herself that she did all the necessary legwork to make this happen. I told her that sitting around waiting for someone else to make things happen for you is a long wait for a train that never comes.

I'm extremely proud of her as well, but I always have been.

And Yet Another Link!

They're coming along fast and furious now.

This one comes by way of The Other McCain.

Tea Party News. Cause playing nice has worked so well so far...

22 June 2010

Another Link

This link brought to you courtesy of cmblake6:

The BruHa.


Once More

This essay was not written by any guy named Caudill, retired Marine or not. In fact, I doubt that this fraud even exists as I have never seen anything else written by him.

This essay was written by Marko Kloos, who blogs at the Munchkin Wrangler.

It is an excellent essay, and the author does not mind if it gets hoisted up the flagpole a time or two. He only wants it to be properly accredited.

Should you see the essay "Why the Gun Is Civilization" in your wanderings round about the Web, please make sure the accreditation is correct.

Marko Kloos. Remember that name.

And while you're at it, drop by the Munchkin Wrangler blog, which has now finally been linked on the sidebar to the right. You won't be disappointed.

21 June 2010

Happy Father's Day

As I write this Father's Day is officially over, and has been for two and a half hours.

I called my Dad at 9 PM and talked to him for a half an hour. If you didn't call your Dad yesterday, call him today and tell him you are sorry for being late.

If you went to see him instead of calling, that's even better than a call.

And if you are a Dad, I hope you had a great day yesterday.

19 June 2010


I'm better now. Back to your normally scheduled (sporadic) blogging.

The big thing about this story that I find hysterical is that they are so surprised.

One of the census workers said "I was stunned, I really was, that America is so mad at the government." Apparently no one has been listening as Americans have said "Enough already."

Maybe they will start listening soon.

(And maybe winged primates will emerge from my nether regions, too, but I won't hold my breath.)

HT: Monty, from AoSHQ

18 June 2010

Working Blues

I'm back to work after a two week absence. There was a lot of emails to wade through and a lot of things to catch up on.

My co-workers are all stopping me to offer their condolences. I thank them and then we part, quickly, before the silence gets too embarrassing.

She used to call or text me in the early morning hours around 3 or 4 if she was awake and couldn't sleep. We would talk or text for a few minutes, and then she would be OK to go back to sleep.

She won't call tonight. She won't text tonight.

She won't call or text ever again.

I'm really missing her tonight.

17 June 2010

A Final Resting Place

I got the notification in yesterday's mail. Laura did indeed get the spot right next to Mom.

I would like to thank the staff at Florida National Cemetery in general, and retired Senior Chief Aldridge in particular, for service above and beyond the call of duty.

A formal letter has been sent to their director saying the same.

My parents and sibs, before they left, gifted me with a memorial bench and a hibiscus plant in Laura's memory. Today I found a place for both by clearing a small grove of overhanging branches and leaves.

She has been gone for two weeks.

15 June 2010

How About That?

I have followers. Four of them.

(UPDATE: Correction, five of them. Welcome aboard Cary!)

I'm honored.

I'll try to make it worth your while folks, but no promises.

A Few Simple Repairs

It's car fixing day at the Refuge.

TDP has had a persistent oil leak that we are striving diligently to repair, and the mighty Rampage has a drive axle on the left side that needs to be replaced. Middle Daughter's Topaz got a new brake pressure equalizer yesterday to fix a massive brake fluid leak, so it's good now.

All of this repair work is being done because the Mustang has to go back to the rental place tomorrow. I'm really going to miss that car, but I will own one very soon.

I go back to work Friday. I probably won't know what to do with myself, having been awake days and asleep nights for a couple of weeks now. Anyway, starting tomorrow after the red rocket-ship goes back I will begin to re-adjust my habits to a more nocturnal schedule.

Until then I think I'll drive around with the top down for a while.

14 June 2010

Oh, Yeah!

This is what I've been driving for the past week.

Laura and I had talked about getting one, but when she got too sick to drive we stopped talking about it. We didn't decide not to get one, we just stopped talking about it.

As I mentioned, I rented this one to take Laura to Florida and also to see if I really wanted one.

I will own one by the end of the year.

Oh yes. I will own one.


Renee Ellmers is running for Congress for NC2, my district. After the jackassery that current Congress critter Bob Etheridge recently displayed, I'm all too happy to support Mrs. Ellmers.

Plus she seems to like the Fair Tax, so that's good as well.

Thanks to Ace for puttin' me some knowledge.

12 June 2010

The Aftermath

I've been dealing with a fair bit of guilt for the past week.

There is a thing called "survivor's guilt" where the one that is left feels guilty for not feeling worse about their loved one being gone. There are various shades of it, but you get the general idea. It is usually more pronounced when the loved one dies of a long and drawn out illness and the survivor has been the primary caretaker. The guilt comes about partly because of the relief that the survivor feels now that the long care-taking ordeal is over.

In my case I was able to deal with the pain of losing her in a fairly short amount of time, that being a couple of days. Not to say I don't get a bit melancholy or misty-eyed now and again, but the real pain wore off after a few days. There wasn't a long care-taking ordeal because she didn't get so bad off that she couldn't move around, even at the end, so that wasn't a part of it. I just felt guilty that I didn't feel worse about losing her.

One thing about driving several hundred miles with a box strapped into the side-seat is that you get a lot of time to think about things. What I finally came to realize is that the shock of losing her wasn't that great at all because we both knew that it was going to happen. The real shock came in the timing. No matter how much you prepare, you just aren't ready for such a thing to happen. In her case, she was fine just 24 hours prior to her sudden death, so there wasn't any warning at all.

Note that I'm referring to her moment of death as being that point beside the car where she collapsed, and I lowered her to the ground. One look at her eyes, open wide, rolled back and unfocused, told me that she was gone. I didn't want to believe it then, but the fact remained regardless of my inability or unwillingness to believe in it. The only thing that died Thursday in that hospital bed was the human suit that she wore for almost 46 years. My Laura died in my arms on Wednesday, June 2nd, just before 6 PM.

She never did get that gaunt drawn-down look to her, even at the very end while she was laying in that hospital bed she didn't look sick. She looked as if she would, at any moment, open her eyes and demand to know why everyone was making such a fuss over her. She hated that, she would make a big deal over anyone else's event and plan rings around it, but she didn't want anyone to do that to her. She would be happier over cards and flowers than she would have been over big elaborate parties. That was my Laura.

That's why when she collapsed and never regained consciousness it was such a shock to me. I was simply not prepared to acknowledge that this was the end, not when she looked so otherwise healthy. But the monster inside her had taken it's toll in other ways, and that great heart that cared so much about others and not as much for herself just failed in the end under the strain.

The fact is that we had said our goodbyes in hundreds of little ways ever since her diagnosis. One of the things that this taught us to do is treat each moment, each precious jewel in time, as the unique event that it is; never take it for granted, and before it is over make sure the person you are with knows, if you never see them again, the depth of your feelings for them.

She knew that she was going to die soon. I did not. But when she went, the last thing she heard was my voice in her ear, and the last thing she felt was my arms around her. She went knowing how I felt about her, and I know how she felt about me.

I will miss her terribly, but I no longer feel guilty about not mourning longer.

11 June 2010

Phase Three: Return

Home again, home again.

We stopped off by a friend's house on the way to drop off some things that had gotten left at our house during the memorial. It added a couple of hours and miles, but it was well worth the visit. We passed by another friend's house but it was getting late by then and everyone was anxious to get home.

It has been a busy few days, and it's good to be home. The house seems empty without her, but I know she's in a better place.

Tomorrow starts the process of putting things back together. Thanks for the continuing prayers and support, it has been noted and appreciated.

10 June 2010

Phase Two: The Mission

We took Laura to Florida National Cemetery today.

When we got there we went over the paperwork and I asked if my special requests to place her as close to her mother as possible got included in the request. It had not. I had thought of doing the request myself but had let the funeral parlor handle it, and this did not get put in.

Luckily the man that we were talking to was able to put the request in and have it approved by the director as we were standing there.

I then asked where Mom was so that I could go pay my respects. The kind gent offered to take us there and while we were there he would look around and see where Laura could possibly be placed.

When we got to the site there was an empty spot right next to Mom. He cautioned us not to get our hopes up, but he said he would check to see if that spot was going to be open. If there was someone scheduled to go in there today it wouldn't be possible, but if not it might be.

We went back to the admin building so that I could retrieve the notebook that I had left there and when I got back out to the car he came out and called to me. The spot was not going to be filled that day, so the possibility that Laura can go there is very good. He once again cautioned me not to get my hopes up, but he was going to see if it could be done.

Laura will be placed tomorrow or Monday. My fingers are crossed and prayers have been said, hopefully she can go right next to her mother.

As we were leaving it occurred to me that Laura had often said as much as she loved her parents she wouldn't want to live next door to them. I don't think she will mind so much now.

Of course, that means I might get to spend all of eternity next door to my in-laws.

Say prayers for Pop, he's trying mightily to hold up but this has been tough on him.

She has been gone for one week.

Phase One: Departure

The day started overcast, and we left home a little before ten AM. Late, as usual, which would have driven Laura absolutely bonkers, but typical for us so we (the kids and I) would have just laughed at her and told her to relax.

Chris and the grandson rode with me, Laura strapped into the front seat and them in the back. First they were cold, but that soon passed.

The overcast had gone away by the time we reached the NC/SC border. We stopped for gas and lunch at Santee, South Carolina. When we got back into the car the boys were clamoring for me to leave the top up because it was too hot (I didn't think it was). What good is a convertible if you are going to leave the top up?

Leaving the top up, we left Santee and arrived in Florida as afternoon turned into early evening. I whipped into the first rest area and put the top down. "Sorry boys," I told them "We're in Florida now, so the top has to come down. That's the law, if it's not raining and you are in Florida and in a convertible, the top has to be down."

Chris proclaimed that he had never heard of such a thing in all of his eleven years and wanted to know if it was a State law or something. I told him it was a Dad law.

Everyone got a bathroom break and we proceeded to Eldest Daughter's house for the night. Middle daughter wanted Krystals for supper, something that Eldest Son adores and we don't have in our neck of the woods, so she and Eldest Daughter headed out that way and brought some back.

Eldest Daughter took a picture of Middle Daughter and myself with some Krystal burgers and sent it to Eldest Son (who stayed behind to watch the house and dog) just to torture him. He wasn't happy, which of course was the whole point. My children are so kind and gracious to each other.

Tomorrow we will proceed to Bushnell and the Florida National Cemetery. We are going to stop in to see Pop on the way back. I wish I could do something for Pop, he is heartbroken. The best thing we can do for him is to show him that he is not alone I guess.

09 June 2010

Last Ride

While walking the dog this morning I talked to the youngest son, his mother's darling baby. He's trying to convince himself that Mom is still hanging around the house in a ghostly form. I told him I knew for a fact that Mom was in Heaven with Grandma because of the weather. He gave me a quizzical look, so I explained.

Saturday and Sunday were brutally hot, so hot in fact that Eldest Son and I had decided against fixing her car that weekend, which since the whole head gasket fiasco has leaked oil from the timing chain case. Because of that, when the funeral home called me and said she would be ready to go on Tuesday the car was not fit to drive to Florida, which is one of the reasons that sparked me to rent a car for the trip.

The choice of car, of course, was entirely co-incidental.

(The color was completely co-incidental and you can believe that as a fact. The one that they were holding for me was silver, and it left the lot as I was standing there in line. The only one left was bright fire-engine red. Flashy and red(headed), that's my Laura.)

At any rate, on Monday when I went to pick it up the day dawned bright and clear...and cool. For the past two days the weather has been sunny, but not so brutally hot. For today's travel - and indeed for the entire 3 day trip - the weather is expected to be sunny and warmer, with temps in the high 80's to low 90's. Folks, for summertime in the South (and make no mistake, summer around here starts about mid May regardless of what the calender says) that's downright balmy. About the time we get back we are expecting some thunderboomers to roll in, but the trip is over for all intents and purposes by then.

God, I told him, controls the weather, but Mom is very used to getting her own way. It looks like she wanted to cruise down to Florida with the top pulled back the whole way. And she couldn't have convinced Him from here.

(Actually she probably could have - she can be very persuasive - but that doesn't fit the story as well.)

Blogging light, blah blah blah. I'll post an after-action report upon my return.

08 June 2010

Preparing To Launch

She's home.

I picked her up a little after ten and we came home in the convertible. I took the long way home and talked to her the whole way until a thought occurred to me.

When her mother got home her dad put her on the dresser and talked to her for six weeks. Laura was worried about her dad. "He's talking to a box!" she would say. So there I was, talking to a box.

We will go down tomorrow, continue to Bushnell on Thursday, and come back up on Friday. Both middle daughter and youngest son are coming along. We will stop and say hello to Pop on the way, but he hasn't decided if he wants to come along to Bushnell or not.

It's been tough on Pop, he's lost his wife and daughter both just in the past 13 months. He's having heart trouble again and I'm more than just a little worried that he won't last very much longer. Eldest daughter lives an hour away from him, so she will keep a close eye on him.

So there are the plans. Men make plans and the gods laugh.

Special Moron(ette)s

Thanks roonz and roonettez. I'm gobsmacked.

923 hits in the two hours (10PM to midnight EST) that Sitemeter counts for last night. I guess that qualifies as an ONT-alanche.

See you all back on the ONT real soon.

07 June 2010

The Waiting Game

This morning I got an email from the funeral home with the obit for proofreading before it was submitted.

Oh. My. Lord.

After I had straightened them out as to her parents name and the fact her dad was still very much alive, thank you, I talked to Pop about the "condominium" that Mom is in (that's Uncle's name for the columbarium inurnment at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell). He gave me the numbers and I called them up.

They gave me the info to contact the National Cemetery Schedules Office and I set an appointment with the funeral parlor to bring in my DD-214 and make things happen. I've decided against a burial at sea now, since the wife will be in the "condo" I'll just join her there rather than burden the kids with disinterment requests and all that.

They also let me know that she will be ready to go tomorrow, so I went to the airport and rented a bright red Mustang convertible for the trip. We had talked about getting a car like this so I thought she might like the ride, with the ulterior motive of deciding if I really wanted one of these or not.

I want one of these very badly, as it turns out.

So tomorrow I will get everything set with the Florida National Cemetery and pick Laura up for our last outing. After that the parents and sibs want to go to Norfolk/Virginia Beach to see the sights there.

For some reason my nutty younger brother wants to ride out and back on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Seventeen and a half miles of bridge and tunnel from Norfolk to the Delmarva peninsula only to turn around and come back. Tourists, what do you do with them.

Wednesday we break up into our respective groups, my parents and sibs will head west back to Iowa and Eldest Daughter and family will head south to Jacksonville FL. Middle daughter and I will follow them down and then we will continue to Bushnell to put Mom as close to Grandma as we can.

Pop says we can take our time bringing Laura down, but she was never one to wait. It used to make her very upset whenever someone kept her from her self-appointed schedule, and since that someone was usually me, I learned not to keep her waiting.

I'll take the weekend off, the Mustang goes back a week from Wednesday, and then the weekend after everything goes back to as close to normal as we can make it without her.

It has been good to have everyone together, even if the reason wasn't good.


We had Laura's memorial today (well, technically yesterday since it's almost 2AM). I think it was just like she would have wanted it.

She touched a lot of people, and it was good to see. It was most gratifying to see my old Navy buddy and Brother-From-Another-Mother Will and his wife there. This is a testament to the way she affected people, he dropped everything he was doing and they made the trip literally at the last moment just to be there.

I miss her desperately, but I was glad to share her with all of them.

Will, you and Jackie have some beautiful kids. Thanks for bringing them by.

04 June 2010

The Next Day

My parents came today all the way from Iowa, and they brought my younger brother and sister with them. I haven't seen my brother in 12 years, so it was great to have him here. I just wish it could have been for a happier occasion.

Laura always teased me that she was going to trade me in for the newer model, but I don't know if they would have been able to live together.

We have planned a private ceremony for Sunday afternoon so that everyone could be here. Laura touched many lives at my son's school where she worked briefly before she got too sick to do so. Everyone wants to come and say goodbye.

Among the everyone is the teacher of the school who adopted Laura as a younger sister. I don't know what I would have done without her, she has been a rock that I have been able to lean on for the past two days.

I have had a lot of practice in the past couple of days of losing it and having to get a grip on myself. This morning I woke up and the first thing I noticed was the oxygen generator was off. The next thing I noticed is that she wasn't there.

My oldest son poked his head in a couple hours later as I sat there on the bed in tears. It was his custom to check on Mom first thing in the morning. When she wasn't there, he got a little practice at losing it as well. We hugged for a while and I told him that we would get enough together for one of us at least. It will be a long hard haul, but eventually we will be OK.

I found out today that she knew how bad off she was. She knew that she didn't have very long, but she didn't tell me. She didn't want anything to change between us, she wanted me to have a good life.

And I have.

03 June 2010


I'm not half the man I used to be,
There's a shadow hanging over me,
oh yesterday came suddenly...

Tuesday she had her chemo, and yesterday afternoon she wasn't feeling right but couldn't exactly explain what was wrong other than she couldn't catch her breath and the oxygen didn't seem to help.

She wanted to go to the ER, so I started heading her that way. When she got to the car she collapsed. I gently lowered her to the ground and called 9-1-1. She lay there unmoving, her eyes open and unfocused, gasping for breath. I put the oxygen in her nose and held her hand until the ambulance got there.

She coded once on the way to the hospital and once more while she was there. The longest time of code was 15 minutes. The local ER stabilized her and sent her to Wake Med's cardiac care unit. She remained unresponsive to all external stimuli and had to be put on a vent to breathe.

Her children gathered around and we decided to pull the vent. It came off at 2:15 this afternoon, and at 2:42PM EST, surrounded by family, she slipped the surly bonds of earth, and reaching out, touched the face of God.

Laura Jean Primavere Card
July 20, 1964 - June 3, 2010
Mother, wife, lover and friend
No more fear, no more pain.
I love you Boo. Goodbye babe.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the American Cancer Society.

02 June 2010

A Belated Holiday

I had to work all four days of the past weekend, so today I'm making up for lost time. Ribs and steaks are on the grille.

Thank you Lord for all of our heroes.

Stop This Ride

I want off.

There have been four Democrat presidents in my lifetime. Each of them have been more classless and clueless than the last.

01 June 2010

Medical Report

She started her chemo again today. Two different drugs every three weeks, and a third to be administered every week. The third will have to be given at the hospital in Rocky Mount the first time since there is a chance of reaction, so the doc wants to be there. After that everything gets done at the clinic, a ten mile drive instead of fifty.

She's been having problems breathing for the past week or so, not surprising since the bottom half of the right lung is for all intents and purposes a solid mass now. As of today we have an oxygen generator humming quietly in the corner and a bottle setup for moving around (or in the case of power outages).

She's on the patch for pain now instead of pills. It seems to be working better, and as a side benefit it seems to help with the nausea. The nausea is still present from time to time, but at least it doesn't keep her from getting her pain meds.

I got her one of those e-cigs from blu to replace the real ones. She says it usually satisfies the craving, but once in a while she needs the real thing. I'm hoping that she can go over completely to the e-cig and away from the real ones. At a minimum I'm hoping it will help with the cough, which usually triggers the nausea.

That's the new normal.

The Awesome Continues

"He smiled, and in the dark I wasn’t sure if the government man or Susan had been more intimidating, but for totally different reasons. One because it represented a soulless entity with the power to suck the very blood from the innocent, and the other because it was a vampire."

Monster Hunter: Vendetta is available as an e-ARC at Baen's website.

Now for the dilemma...do I wait for the paper copy to be delivered in October, or do I get the e-ARC and read it now?