Monday, September 28, 2020

Enhanced hearing and other stuff

She loves to mess with my glasses. She can slime them from across the room. What a happy thing.
First of all, huge thanks to Sarge and Skip and some Dutch blogger for sending legacy blooger my way.


Friday morning when I popped (heh) out of bed I faced the daunting task of travelling to Cheyenne, Wyoming, for to get my new hearing aids.

Not actually a daunting task. Simply a matter of driving 130-ish miles and going through the training/fitting process.

Small price to pay for improved hearing, yet a big part of me didn't really want to go. There was a lot of emotional inertia acting on me.

I gave serious consideration to calling and cancelling/rescheduling. The thing that actually swung the balance and got me down the road had nothing to do with hearing at all. It was the simple fact that the Milestone herbicide I needed for spraying thistle was waiting for me in the Metropolis of Pine Bluffs, just over the Wyoming state line. I'd go have my hearing aids installed, then peck up the herbicide on my way home. Yes.

When I fired up the Ranger it bled coolant all over the place from a cracked thermostat housing. I was already running later than I liked, so if I wanted to make my overhead time at the ear clinic I needed to switch to a different vehicle and do so quickly. The quickest alternative was Allie's Yukon. Which I hadn't driven since her death.

I fired it up and headed west. Lots of great memories wrapped up in that vehicle. On the passenger side dash lay the dried husk of a sunflower she had picked back in July. The trip was rife with emotional turmoil, but this provided (necessitated, really) an opportunity to talk things over with The Big Aircrew Chief. I prayed hard all the way to Cheyenne. I felt a lot better when I arrived.

Then I went through wuhandromeda strain screening. The screeners were all sporting bright badges which read, "I'm a Covid-19 Hero!" In my estimation the ones I talked to were also carrying a big attitude of moral superiority. That last was possibly only my imagination.

Nevertheless, the whole hero thing pissed me off. What a load of worthless bullshit!

So in the waiting area of the ear clinic I found myself earnestly asking The Big Aircrew Chief to chase the new yuck from my heart. And he did.

The training/fitting went well and I was off to the races. The new hearing aids will take some getting used to. I'm hearing a lot of stuff I haven't heard in years, and some of it is distracting. My voice sounds very odd to me, and that's quite distracting also.

On the upside the hearing aids are pretty easy to "run" via a phone app.


On the return trip I stopped by the FVC herbicide place in Pine Bluffs. Which people of a certain age from Kimball always call Pines Bluff. I don't know why. I like to call it Pines Bluff from time to time myself. It's kind of like being in on a secret. I don't know what the secret is, but I'm in on it.

Yeah, I'm firetrucking kicked in the head, ain't I?

Anyway, I stopped by the herbicide place. Now out here in the rural lands you don't always go to a big wally world-esque store to buy stuff. There's not always a place with aisles and aisles of products for you to peruse and select from. The FVC herbicide place is a 10 acre chain link fenced compound with a scale house and scale, a dozen or so big Quonset huts, and a bunch of big (I mean BIG) liquid holding tanks. As I pulled up there was a guy standing by an FVC pickup talking on a cell phone. He was The Guy. I told him what I needed, he scampered over to a Quonset hut, disappeared inside for about 10 minutes, then emerged with a quart of Milestone herbicide.

I wanted to put the $85 herbicide on my debit card rather than bill it out to the ranch. They couldn't do that there in Pines Bluff, but I could just stop by the Kimball office when I got home and do the dope deal there. So that's what I did.

There are some cool experiences available in the rural, agricultural, lands. One of them is trust.

By the time I got home it was too windy to spray thistle. Milestone is a potent broadleaf herbicide and it'll kill good plants as well as bad plants. You don't want herbicide to drift on the wind and murder stuff that doesn't need to be killed. That will firetruck up a carefully husbanded ecosystem.

As it turns out, we've got a slow moving weather front passing through and the forecast predicts much wind for some days. So no spraying. But we'll get a proper day soon and the job will get done.

Spraying, by the way, means "spot spraying" and that takes a lot of time and a lot of walking. Which is all good!


From the batshit crazy file...

I dream of my Alexzandra all night, every night. The dreams are sweet; a replay of things we actually did together, not a crazy dream mishmash. It's the waking and realization that sucks. It's very hard to bear. It would be too hard to bear without God's grace and strength. I've also got loving friends and family who give me so much love and understanding. I think Allie would be proud of them and grateful for what they are doing and how they are doing it. I know I am.

I am so blessed.


This was Farmers' Day weekend in Kimball. I had plans to take in some of the events but that didn't work out. The whole thing was wuhandromeda-crazy this year anyway, so maybe things will be back to normal next year. Saturday was oppressive feeling with smoke and ash from Wyoming fires.

I also spent five hours in meetings Saturday. Some of it felt like wasted time, but some of it was good.

The wind picked up late in the day and eventually cleared most of the junk from the air. That was nice.


Sunday morning it was cool -- 45 degrees -- and breezy. Long pants and a sweatshirt. The long pants are new 36 inch waist jeans. Haven't had that waistline since before graduating high School. Crazy. Don't look so much like a ragpicker now. Maybe.

The cattle seem to enjoy the cool air temperatures. They're still finding plenty of fall greenup to eat and are looking fat and sassy. The calves are getting big and many of them have to kneel down to get a drink of milk from mama's udder. Not all of them though.

I'd forgotten this stock tank has a leak. First time we've used it this year.

Been neglecting Red.


Now that I'm back on legacy blooger, I can see that I need to fix the u2b windows that I post up. Not a huge problem, surely, the videos still play, and they play in the correct aspect ratio. But the windows aren't sized correctly, and that bugs me now that I've actually noticed it. Ideally The window should be sized in height and width so there is no excess black background above and below (or to the sides of course) when the video is displayed in the window. Does that make sense? Me neither! Fixing it is a simple exercise. I can either research and do my sums to figure out the correct h/w numbers. Or, I can trial and error it. Which is what I shall do.


Yesterday was a hard day on the grief front. I was carrying far too much self pity around. Today I will try to work on that. This is hard enough without digging the hole deeper.

Skip kindly shared some very good words with me on koobecaf.

I had my own notion of grief.
I thought it was the sad time that followed the death of someone you love.
And you had to push through it to get to the other side.
But I'm learning there is no other side.
There is no pushing through.
But rather, there is absorption.
And grief is not something you complete, but rather, you endure.
Grief is not a task to finish and move on, but an element of yourself.
An alteration of your being.
A new way of seeing.
A new definition of self.
-Gwen Flowers

Skip knows. His kindness and friendship mean so very much. That goes for all of you kind readers too, whether you comment or not. You take valuable time from your day to check in and read my often psychotic ramblings. It's a very big thing, a very big demonstration of friendship.

Today I'm starting late after starting late. It was a restless night with not so much quality sleep. Nevertheless, I've got lots of irons in the fire and I need to forge ahead with the day.

Therefore, this is getting posted whether it's ready or not.

Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.


  1. Time and tide, and changing of seasons wait for no man. Looks like you are still ahead of the power curve.

    Congratulations on the new ears. And the new snazzy wardrobe. You're all set in those areas now. Good to see Red again. Still plenty on the plate to keep you busy.

    Hopefully the alligators infesting your swamp are slowly being eliminated, even though truck repairs pop up when least convenient. Enjoy this great time of the year, as much as you can.

    1. I'm fortunate that I get to spend so much time in nature's reality. I'd be even more kicked in the head if I didn't have that!

      Busy is good. Not busy is a tar pit. I'm looking forward to resuming my completely non-agricultural winter job next month.

      The alligators are being transformed into more benign and even useful creatures as time goes by and life goes on.

      I'm a much different me these days, and my appreciation for seasonal transformation has changed somewhat, but there is a great deal of enjoyment in my life. Between nature, cattle, family, and kids I'm exposed to endless enjoyment. The different me is learning stuff that the former me would never have learned, and that's an enjoyable life experience and lesson.

      Thanks John.

  2. Sometimes you have to be all over the place before you get where you were meant to be.

    Not saying you ever really make it there, but you can get close.

    New Ears, New Jeans - great name for a rock band...

    1. I'm getting closer all the time, and that's a fact. How did Eliot put it? The end of exploration is to arrive where we started and know it for the first time? Something like that.

      I'll bet it's a loud band... ;-)

      Thanks Chris.

  3. Didn't know you wore hearing aids, Shaun. Because of the noisy work environment when I was at Boeing, they watched our hearing very carefully. Big ships with big diesels make lots of noise, and I have graphs showing my hearing deteriorating over the 10 years I was there. I should probably look into it, but....VANITY! Glasses I've had since 4th grade (need a new pair of those, too), but I'm too young to need hearing aids....

    And congrats on the reduced waistline! I dropped around 50 lbs in the first year after we moved here simply because I was no longer having a double-cheese, small fries, and a medium Diet Coke for "lunch" 4 to 5 times a week, and then KFC or Jack-In-The-Box for dinner a few nights per week.

    Hang in there. You know you can always reach out to us if you need to.

    1. Well, I didn't until Friday! Allie rightly insisted that I should be able to hear her, so now I can hear more. It's different though, and hearing this way is taking some getting used to. I'm much too young to need them myself...

      It's good to be lighter and more fit. As a bachelor I overate all the time and even when I was fit I was much too fat. This is better. Although the hot chicks hitting on me gets tiresome...

      Thanks drjim, I appreciate that.

  4. This was finally going to be the year to wade through the hearing aid process with the VA.
    Maybe next year.
    Navy engineering spaces cost me my hearing because those were the days before hearing conservation programs.

    And the decade as a gun teacher for the feds didn't help either!

    1. The process was astonishingly simple for me; I stopped by audiology after a regular checkup appointment and they got me right in due to a cancellation. Intense audiogram followed, then a discussion of hearing aid types and my selection of in-ear units (as opposed to over-ear), ear canal molds made, then I was done. Made a fitting appointment and came back of that on Friday. Took about an hour. They send out batteries, filters, etc. at no cost to me. So thanks to the kind taxpayers (including myself!) I now have $7,500 hearing aids and a lifelong supply of, er, supplies.

      The navy makes a lot of noise, and shooting does considerable damage. In my experience .22 pistols were the worst, but they're all bad without hearing protection.

      Thanks John.