What Is That? – Part III

“What is that?” is the most common question the kids have asked while cleaning?  This is the third installment.  You can read the first two here and here.

This week we got a terrifying glimpse into the garage.  We also continue to find gems in the basement and ‘Great Room.’

What Is That?

The answers so far include:

a car wash coupon with no expiration date, but no indication for which car wash 🙁

7-10 empty paint cans

MORE Christmas lights!

Some sort of specialized router table

Noah’s Ark

a 6th Nativity set

a picture of the original Gerber baby

every paper to every house my parents have ever built (seriously!)

a quilt given to my parents as a wedding gift

a 1960’s (?) stove top oven

the Scepter of Dagobert

a glass door shot out by a neighbor kid with a BB gun

a filing cabinet full of work contracts

3 sets of jumper cables

a never-assembled children’s rocking chair

a Princess Leia action figure

the RMS Republic and the Tsar’s Treasure

a Chewbacca action figure inside of a Star Wars star fighter

a twirling baton

a 1990’s expired fishing license

enough weather liner (for doors or windows) to circle the globe

3 lawnmower carburetors

4 refrigerators

the Florentine Diamond

a pellet gun

life jackets from before there was life

a broken wooden oar

the REAL source location for the Spiders of Mirkwood


and finally….

the pool table my parents bought me when I was 15 – a gift to shut me up!   (For two years anytime I was asked “what do you want?” the answer was a “pool table.”  Eventually the persistence paid off.)


Stay tuned for next week, which will hopefully be a video/picture version of “What is that?”

Feeling Numb

I haven’t posted much lately.  That’s because I’ve been feeling rather numb.


As someone with depression, numbness isn’t new to me… and yet it is.  While I have also been feeling quite emotionally numb, what I’m referring too is an actual physical numbness that has taken hold of my left arm.

Tuesday of last week I lost feeling in about 1/2 of my left hand and a good portion of my forearm.   My pinkie, ring finger, the portion of the hand below them, and down into my forearm to my elbow is all tingly and numb.

I don’t think I’m having a slow heart attack, and I don’t remember hitting it on anything.  I have no explanation for why this has happened.  At first I thought my arm had just fallen asleep, but it hasn’t woken up for a week now.


I haven’t done anything about it yet.  I called the VA and there was a 15 minute wait on the phone to schedule an appointment, so I hung up.  Waiting that long would have made the rest of me numb too!  If it doesn’t get better than I’ll be force to call back I’m afraid.

I mentioned it at my mental health group meeting last week and one of the VA guys said that my Ulnar nerve runs down the arm and if it were pinched it would cause numbness in those fingers.   I was interested in that, so I looked up more info on it.

ulnar nerve numbness

Turns out he was right.  I often rest the inside of my elbow on the edge of the desk while on the computer.  The cause, symptoms,  and other info here was exactly as I’ve experienced.  Gold-star for Alan!

I says it can go away in a few weeks (!?!) at home.  If not to see a Dr.  If it doesn’t go away then it may need some surgery (!!!).  So, I won’t be spending as much time at my computer desk.  So if you don’t here as much from me you’ll know why.

Post about the insurance call I mentioned last week is still coming.

Josh will hopefully be posting about his first Scout Camp, so look for that upcoming!

Thanks for all the love and support!

Book Review: Alanna: The First Adventure

Alanna: The First Adventure (Book 1 in the Song of The Lioness Series) by Tamora Pierce

This is a fantasy book written for young teens, probably around 12.  Kristie, 11, started it a few months ago but didn’t finish it.  She said it seemed good but she got caught up in a different series at school.  So I thought I would try it out for her.  And I’m kind of glad I did.


Alanna of Trebond is being sent of to learn to be a lady, but that is the last thing she wants.  Her twin brother is supposed to become a night, likewise the last thing he wants.  So they switch places.  He goes to the convent, not to become a lady but to be taught in the arts of sorcery. Alanna becomes Alan of Trebond and begins her training as a page on her road to knighthood.

Alanna forms many friendships during her training, including prince Jonathan and George, king of thieves.  Although Alanna only desire is to become a knight, she has the Gift and must learn to use sorcery as well as chivalry to succeed.


10 out of 12 Buttered Rolls

I give this book 10 out of 12 buttered rolls.  Alanna is a heroine that I truly enjoyed.  She is quick witted and likeable.  Her trials are realistic and fantastic at the same time.  All in all, a fun read.

Mental Health Crisis

While I had an absolute blast on Saturday at the Elders Quorum social shootout, it wasn’t all roses and might have started me on the path toward a mental health crisis.

Dealing with Mental Health Issues

While I have several firearms, and feel like I am quite proficient in their use, I don’t actually use them all that often. Last weekend was the first time in 2017.  I think I only had them out once in all of 2016.

I’ve even stopped carrying my sidearm.  I still have my carry permit, fully support carrying, and think it is largely a smart thing to do.  But while I think having one is a good idea for most people, unfortunately I think it might be more dangerous for myself to have one.  Maybe as my treatments at the VA continue this will improve.

I was slightly nervous about the shootout on Saturday, but mostly that was nervousness about other people’s safe handling of the weapons.  And everything at the event was fine.  I felt good.  But later, after returning home, I started not doing so well.

Mental Health Crisis

I don’t know even if it is directly relatable to the shootout.   I was slightly depressed all afternoon afterwards though.  And when I get depressed I want to snack as a way to distract myself.  About 10pm I headed to the store to pick up a bag of chips.  I had the windows down as I drove to feel the cool night air.

There is a Maverick gas station on the corner of  state street and 300 East in Pleasant Grove.  As I went through that intersection a man I didn’t see yelled to someone else, “Hey, will you…(something). ”   I can’t identify why, probably the inflection in his voice similar to somebody else I knew, but something about that sentence had me back at Fort Huachuca in an instant.

As I rounded the corner of that intersection, only a fraction of a second after hearing the words, I was already in a panic.  I was shaking and terrified.  Immediately I pulled over into the Smith’s parking near the same corner.   I spent 20 minutes there just trying to breath; to relax; to convince myself that I WAS safe.  It was as long a 20 minutes as I’ve had in quite a while.

I texted Julie, only telling her that I wish she had come because I was feeling “some anxiety.”  I had thought about telling her to grab Blake (her father) and coming to pick me up.  I was in really bad shape, but I didn’t do that because I didn’t want to reveal to Blake/Joan how bad I was doing.  (Yes, I see the irony of that decision and then sharing it here on the blog.)

Ongoing Issues

The only reason I relate this to the shooting at all is that during the episode I kept hearing the gunshots ringing in my ears.  They’re probably unrelated.

I eventually convinced myself I WAS safe and calmed down.  I made it home just fine.  That was Saturday night.  Sunday was… difficult.  No full blown meltdown at church like I’ve done before, but periods of it were difficult to get through.

Monday was… fine.  Julie has spent several days trying to coax me to talk.  But I don’t know what to say to her.  She can tell I haven’t been well. Nightmares, as expected, have been worse than normal.

Today, Tuesday, wasn’t a great day either.  This morning, still on edge and dealing poorly with the stress, I got a phone call from the insurance which didn’t help (I’ll write more about that in another post).  That was while on the way to my parents to do some work again today.

No work took place though.  While discussing what needed to be done my Dad made some fairly benign comments directed at me that set me off.  I didn’t want to blow up so I just left.  I stood, said I couldn’t handle it today, and left.  Julie tried to stop me saying Dad was just joking.  I said I was leaving and if she wanted a ride home she better get in the car too.  A few minutes later we were on the road back home.

Family is great… but everyone needs a friend!

So here I sit feeling like a grade A loser unable to control his emotions.  I feel like I’m just barely hanging on.   I wish desperately I had a friend to call.  The one and only good friend I feel like I’ve had since my discharge is now way back in Missouri, possibly never to be seen again.  A while back he suggested I get out there and meet people, saying I’m a great guy and will find friends.

Despite feeling like I’ve tried doing that, it hasn’t happened yet.  Everybody else at my stage in life seems to already be set in stone with work, schedules, friends, family.  Nobody has time/room in their life for a needy, broken vet.  I can’t blame them.  I wouldn’t really want to hang out with a depressing mental case either.

I’m desperately missing Joshua, who is at Scout Camp this week.  With him here I could find a reason to get out of the house at least and go help him practice some basketball or golf.

Don’t panic… I know I’m loved.

I know Julie loves me, and so do the kids.  And my parents.  I know that.  I know I can talk to them (despite what happened with my Dad today).  I’m sure I could probably reach a church leader or two.   I know there are people to talk with, even if it is only because of their calling, but I wish I had even one good friend as well who I could call up and get together with.

And I wish I could stop all this damn crying!