What do you do with a 70-year-old who refuses to grow up?
Case in point:
Friday, two days before Christmas, Mr. Outdoors, son, Evan, and I were visiting our oldest son, Jon, and his family in Cloquet, MN.
Evan and grandsons Jackson, 9, and Bryson, 7, planned to go snowboarding on a popular hill in Cloquet. First, though, they wanted to practice on the side hill next to Jon and Sara’s home.
The boys had been outside for awhile when I decided to see how they were doing. On my way out the door, I grabbed my camera, hoping to get a couple good photos.
The kids were having a great time! Up and down the hill they went, sometimes boarding all the way to the bottom without falling, sometimes…NOT.
Meanwhile, Gramps was walking on the wooded trail behind Jon and Sara’s home where he always makes a point to scout for signs of wildlife when we visit.
It wasn’t long before Bob emerged from the trail. He stood at the top of the hill, watching the kids take turns. Jackson, Bryson and Evan were having a blast!
Because I was at the bottom of the hill, I couldn’t hear the conversation. Later, Evan told me, “Dad said, “’OK. It’s Grandpa’s turn!’”
For a few minutes no one came down the hill. I thought Evan was repairing something on the board. I didn’t know he was changing the bindings to make them larger for Grandpa.
All of a sudden, I saw Gramps take the snowboard from Jackson and plop it down in front of him.
I looked at him like he’d lost his mind!!! But, I never had a chance to protest!
Gramps launched before I could shriek, “Geronimo!”
I could see he was looking shaky and called out to him, “Look up, not down!”
But, he didn’t hear me.
About halfway down the hill, Grandpa’s courage faltered when he realized he was going faster than he thought he would!
With all the grace of a big old bull, we witnessed his historic colossal
                     W I P E O U T !!!!!!!
(Later, he told me the kids looked like they were going so slow. I reminded him that the bigger you are, the faster you’re going to go!)
The kids rushed to him and helped him down the hill to where I was.
He was shaken. But, thankfully, nothing was broken! He did, however, strain his right shoulder, across to his upper back, including his left shoulder blade, and across his chest. DUH! Landing on frozen Minnesota ground will do that to a person!
We helped Gramps into the house, where, when told the story, Jon and Sara were convinced he’d lost his mind in his old age!!
For a moment, father and son exchanged roles as Jon, who is analytic to the core, scolded his dad for being so impulsive.
Because chemo and prolonged use of steroids, is hard on The Outdoors Guy’s liver, he cannot take pain meds such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen. I was happy I tossed the rice bag in the suitcase before leaving home. Heating it in the microwave always does the trick to soothe pain. By Christmas Day he was much improved!
Kids will be kids, but when a 70-year-old grandpa and cancer patient thinks he is one, who knows what to expect from the young-at-heart Outdoors Guy in 2017!!

                HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU AND YOURS!!!

On the road again - "Mr. Itchy Butt" - Part II

The following is a chronology of the unfolding of a situation beginning in April that has taken our family on a pilgrimage we never anticipated, yet one where there is no turning back.

Wed., Feb 17. Two years ago in February, The Outdoors Guy broke his right  ankle. In mid-April he was downright itchy to drive, although his doctor had not yet approved it.
Part I of "On the road again - 'Mr. Itchy Butt'" was when Mr. Outdoors called me from his cell to say, "Look Ma, no hands!"
Glancing out the window, I saw him parked on the road sporting a wide grin.
I was quick to warn him he would have to explain his actions to our auto insurance agent if his ill-advised road trip went bad.
Reluctantly he pulled back into the garage.
A few weeks ago, following his pancreatic cancer surgery, we revisited this same scenario. I thought: Oh Boy! Here. We. Go...AGAIN!!! The whining and complaining about his loss of independence since surgery Jan. 22, including his threats to drive, drove me to do what any level-headed wife would do: I secretly confiscated his keys!!!
The day The King realized his keys were gone, I got "THE LOOK!" He most definitely wasn't happy and instructed me to, "Put those keys back!!"
"I will put them back ONLY if you can assure me you will not drive!!"
He did. The keys were returned to the hook, and he was a little happier, but not much!!
Mr. Outdoors still has plenty of little kid in him. He loves to test the waters to see what he can get away with. A few months into The Outdoors Guy's cancer diagnosis, he was frustrated with my "follow-the-book" care, telling me in no uncertain terms, "You may be my best nurse, but you are not the nicest!!!"
I am happy to report that today Ol' Itchy Butt received clearance from his oncologist, Dr. Paula Gill, to put the pedal to the metal!! I'm almost as happy as Itchy Butt is!!!
We will have test results from our visit with Dr. Gill next week once The King has completed more lab work and another CT scan.
We're stuck in the seventh inning and hungry for another home run to put Baseball Bob closer to a victory over his formidable opponent.
Next week can't come soon enough...

Cast all your care upon him; for he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Monkey business!!!

If you have kids, you might remember reading to them the children’s bedtime story, "Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed."
In this tale, mama monkey tells her little monkeys good night and leaves the room. In short order, the young monkeys start jumping on the bed. Things don’t turn out well for them when one after another falls off the bed and gets hurt.
The monkeys’ story came to mind this week as I dealt with a little monkey business of our own that I thought had been wiped clean from our in-trouble bedtime slate.
Our story isn’t about little monkeys, though. It’s about one BIG one!!!! And, it’s not about jumping on the bed it’s about… well, let me explain…
A few years ago, The Outdoors Guy had a really bad bedtime habit of snitching hard candy and sneaking into bed with it! The first time I discovered it was when I found a half-dissolved butterscotch ball on his pillow!!
I know what you’re thinking…EEEWWW!!! Yup… my exact reaction! It would prove to be the first of more than a few such incidents. And, it didn’t matter how grumpy I got! Besides, I was worried he would choke on the darn things!!
Each time I found candy residue, it meant changing the pillowcase and sometimes the pillow protector, as well.
It also didn’t leave much to my imagination when I thought about how our dentist would react to his nasty childish routine!!!
A few years ago, I actually believed I had him broken of this stupid habit. Silly me!!!
The other morning, I was aggravated to find a red stain on the pillow and protector from a root beer barrel!!! I know. You must be laughing your head off about now! I kinda am, too!!!
AARRGGHH!!! I was not a happy camper!! And it was work getting that stinking red stain out!
I know it’s not nice to have to scold a 70-year-old pancreatic cancer patient.
And, I don’t want to become his mother. So, I asked him in the kindest way possible, “Do you remember the 'Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed' story we used to read to our boys?”
Yes, yes he did! Good! Now we were getting somewhere!!
“Well, here’s our version of the story…“’NO MORE CANDY IN MRS. OUTDOORS’ BED!!!’”
I think he got the message! But, time will tell. For a 70-year-old, he sure is full of a whole lotta monkey business!!!!!