Anniversary 42

Kathryn and I celebrated our 42nd year of marriage. Things are beginning to look more like this cartoon.

RIP – 1991 Volvo 240 Sedan

I bought this 1991 Volvo 240 Sedan upon the recommendation of my mechanic, Larry.  A retired Herkimer school teacher wanted to have a ‘sportier’ car (i.e. BMW) as ‘her last car’.  The car had only 58,378 miles on it; mint condition; with extra snow tires.  The previous owners kept a little booklet recording everything ever done to the car; including every tank of gas.  The trunk was pristine and lined with plastic; the back seat looked like no one had ever sat there.  I bought the car for $5,000 and relished the thought of driving a 5-speed stick shift again.

I have had the car for 12 years.  There are many people who know me by the car.  People wave to the vehicle; I am convinced the security gate guards treat the car as a form of ID. I have had people pull over in the Adirondacks because they said “I saw the car and a canoe on it – who else could it be?”

My plan was for Eric to learn to drive on it when he turned 16, only 6 months from now.  It would be a safe vehicle, distinctive and he could learn to drive a standard shift. In the past having a distinctive car was a parental assist as friends, neighbors and co-workers would often report seeing “your Volvo” somewhere piloted by one of my kids – a pre-GPS tracking capability.

Occasionally, I had visions of squeezing three more years out of the car – making it to 2021 and a total of 30 years on the road. But our plans and reality rarely merge.  Parts for this 37 year old car became difficult to locate – I had to acquire hub caps and a gas in-take from Oklahoma. Our trusted Volvo mechanic, Larry, retired, un-retired and then retired for good; selling off his considerable horde of slightly used Volvo parts.  For the past two years the Volvo has been serviced like any other car.

Recently this car turned 171,653 miles.  It has been reliable low cost transportation.  It still has the original clutch and doesn’t burn oil.  A little body rust has shown up but nothing too obscene.

The Volvo finally succumbed to a rusted control arm – which is a suspension link that connects the wheel hub and steering knuckles to the car’s chassis.  This repair would be more expensive than the value of the vehicle.  So the decision was made to move on from the car.  I called around for scrap metal prices and that will seem to be it’s fate.

The little guy shown in the 1st picture is now a 5’10” high school sophomore and he turns 16 in 5 months.

RIP. You served us well.

Eric, Summer Basketball and the Recurring Ankle

Eric recovered from his tonsil surgery hoping to join in the HP soccer and basketball teams for the remainder of the summer.  Unfortunately, he has continued to experience issues with his right ankle.  In the past year Eric has had 5 or 6 ankle sprains to the same joint and undergone two sessions of physical therapy – not counting the fractured right foot over a year ago.  After a few weeks of inactivity he sprained it again playing basketball after successfully playing soccer on Monday night. Today we went to a physical therapy assessment and x-rays with the orthopedic surgeon; to be followed up with an MRI in the near future.

Paddling up the Kunjamuk with Matt and Chris

Matt wanted to paddle the Kunjamuk and show it to Chris, so we set out at 10am on a perfect day.  We have made this trip many times before but this was the 1st time we stopped and hiked to see the famous Kunjamuk Cave.

The water level was slightly lower than when we had paddled the Kunjamuk with the Helmers a few weeks prior.  We paddled up the the southern tip of Elm Lake.

Fish Creek

Skip, Don and I did a day trip on the lower 9 miles of Fish Creek from the Oswego Road Bridge to the Ta-Ga-Soke Campground in Sylvan Beach.

The lower sections of Fish Creek is meandering flat water as evident from the image below.  From the Oswego Road bridge to the Route 49 Bridge was ~4 miles with a few small riffles to pick through and strainers to avoid. It was 5 miles further to the take out in Sylvan Beach

The put-in at Oswego Road bridge has a small parking lot – mainly for local fishing access.  It is a short portage cutting the corner of a corn field and a small steep bank that leads to a launch site.

Most of the section from Oswego Rd to Rt 49 bridge is a winding channel surrounded by high dirt banks and lined by eroded trees – forming strainers.  We probably saw half dozen trees broken off into the creek from the thunderstorm the prior night. The high water levels resulting from spring run-off and ice jam flooding is evident throughout.  Due to the dirt banks there weren’t many places to pull out, shade up and stretch our legs. It took us a little over an hour to paddle to the Route 49 bridge where one could hydrate, snack and stretch.

We were paddling a fiberglass Wenonah Jensen 18 and a solo Nova Craft Trapper.

The lower section of Fish Creek from the Route 49 bridge to the take-out was broad, flat and subject to wind.

We wanted to avoid Sylvan Beach and the boat traffic leading to Oneida Lake so we scouted potential take out sites near the Ta-Ga-Soke Campground.  The campground manager gave us permission to leave a shuttle vehicle at their driving range and use the adjoining hay field for our take-out.  Getting from creek level to the field required a scramble up a 12 foot dirt bank, but there weren’t a lot of options.

Overnight on Cedar River Flow

Matt, Skip, Steve and I took an overnight canoe camping trip to Cedar River Flow on Sunday – Monday.  The threat of rain and beginning of the work week combined such that we only saw one other canoe as we paddled in on Sunday afternoon.  The black flies swarmed us as we loaded our boats so we sought a campsite with lots of exposure to wind.  We lucked out with the weather with only slight showers and no rain while we set up camp and cooked dinner.

Eric’s Tonsils

Eric finished up his Freshman year with various end-of-school get-togethers, including one he had here.  On Tuesday he had his tonsils removed.   He had some minor issues, so we didn’t get discharged when we anticipated.  One issue was nausea, probably from the anesthesia and pain medication.  The other  issue was his uvula was so swollen that when he fell asleep, it would rest on the back of his tongue, dry out and get stuck which then when he woke up his gagging reflex was activated and he also felt like he couldn’t breathe.  So we stayed in hospital long enough for two doses of steroids and some anti-nausea medication.   It was a long day.  He has been feeling pretty miserable.  He is on a very strict diet, basically cool fluids and baby food (which tastes awful) but his throat hurts so much he is taking in very little beside ice water.  An occasional popsicle, which colors his scar tissue as seen below.

For a while we could coerce him into taking  a few tablespoons of pediasure or pudding or yogurt or ice cream, in order to get his medication down  but he says milk products cause too much phlegm, and he is not allowed to hack it up, so he has refused all milk products.  He ran a little fever, which they do forewarn you about, but it is still disconcerting.  So, getting up to give him his pain med every 4 hours and monitor his temperature has kept Kathryn from a good night’s sleep.  And tending to him  and trying to keep him hydrated has kept us housebound in the daytime.

His follow-up doctor’s appointment revealed everything to be normal and he could begin eating soft foods, e.g the noodles in chicken noodle soup.  Next week he should be able to live a more normal life.

Cullen Blowing his Coat

It only took about 20 minutes of brushing to get this amount hair out of Cullen.

Looking Rather Pastoral Out Our Backyard

Paddling the Kunjamuk with the Helmers

We took advantage of the nice weather and did a day trip up & back the Kunjamuk.