Saturday, August 31, 2013

"I'm a doctor, not a brick layer!"

Well hell – I don’t really have a damned thing of interest to talk about but I sort of feel like I ought to write a blog just to let everyone know that I am still alive and kicking.
I have made several trips since my last blog post, but none were made “pretty”. By the way! Did you notice that I usually put the word “pretty” in quotes when I speak of flying pretty? This was to kind of make it clear that I am using it a euphemism for “flying cross dressed”. The phrase “I made the trip cross dressed” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, nor is it in the least bit light hearted or amusing, and so I typically just say that “I flew ‘pretty’ “. Why am I telling you this? Because I apparently hit someone’s raw nerve with the phrase on my post “How to fly pretty”, and she made it a point to let me know that I was hurting women the world over with my use of the phrase and the stereo type that it reinforces. OUCH. . .
The reality is, we are talking about the World Wide Web here, and just about anything that you say or post there is bound to irritate someone, somewhere. It still kind of bugs me though because I know that she does have a bit of a point. I don’t particularly want to reinforce the stereo types that women must be pretty any more than I want to reinforce the stereotypes that men must not be.  In this case, I think it comes down to the intent behind my use of the phrase and I would hope that it will be kept in perspective. Eh, I don’t know if her comment should have hurt me or not, but it did . . .

You know I hate going to the doctor’s office, and especially hate paying the damned bill, and so I usually wait until I have either a serious problem, or several issues that I want to discuss. This time, I had an infection that I was pretty sure was going to need antibiotics and so off I went. As long I was there, I discussed several other issues that I was having, and this resulted in blood being taken, and tests being made. The end result was no particular surprise to me – I have very low testosterone. No worries though, because of course they have a drug for that, and so the Doc gave me a couple of prescriptions and off I went to the drug store. The antibiotics of course were no problem, but the big “T” totally flabbergasted me – the insurance company not only said “No”, but said “HELL NO!”. When I got over being shocked, I figured what the hell, I need it, and so I’ll pay for it myself! Well, that lasted right up until they told me what the stuff costs – over $500 dollars per tube, and presumably I’d need several before it was all over. At that price tag, I decided that I didn’t really need physical stamina, healthy muscles and bones, or a sex drive after all. With so many relatively serious side effects stemming from the issue, I don’t know how insurance can get away with just saying no, but there you have it!
Do y’all recall that my wife and I loaned her car to the father of my daughter-in-law? He had just got a good job and was going to lose it if he couldn’t get transportation to work and back, and so my wife and I talked it over and then took him the car for a few months. Just my luck, but after he had had it for months, it was wrecked less than a week before I was to go pick it up. A woman with a suspended license apparently thought that she was too good to wait for traffic, and tried to make a left turn in front of oncoming traffic with predictable results; she was hit by two cars, one of which was mine. My in-laws were shook up and on the verge of shock but otherwise all right, but the car is totaled. Honestly, the car being totaled kind of pleases me, because I hated the darned thing. It was a Dodge Caliber that we had purchased a few years ago because it had seemed like an intelligent car to get, with a good amount of room, and good gas mileage. The thing is, its mileage really wasn’t all that good, it’s suspension sucked from day one, and it had already been wrecked once.  As long as no one was hurt, and the responsible party had insurance, I considered it to be a blessing that the darn thing was totaled and the insurance company would have to give me its book value.
(Note:  I literally just received the check from the insurance company between typing the last two sentences! YAY!)
It has been a pretty scary few months trying to use my classic Mustang as a daily driver while my wife’s car was on loan. The Mustang is over 46 years old and something new was going wrong with her pretty much every couple of weeks. Add to that the fact that I can’t get full coverage insurance on her unless I agree not to drive her more than about two thousand miles a year, and you have the makings for a nervous breakdown each and every time I drove her to work or to the airport. Now with my wife’s car totaled, I suddenly found myself in need of a more practical car and so it was time to do some car shopping!
I had pretty much decided that I was done choosing cars that were supposedly an intelligent buy, and this time I was gonna go for a car that I didn’t mind making the payment on – a modern Mustang! I have rented modern Mustangs several times in the last few years and really liked them. They feel solid, well built, and have plenty of get up and go. The price really isn’t half bad either, given the quality of the car, and they get surprisingly good gas mileage.  Of course you have to remember what I’m comparing them to when it comes to gas mileage – my 2002 F150 that gets 16 to 17 MPG, and my classic Mustang that gets 13 to 14. A modern Mustang that gets an average of 24 MPG is a fairly dramatic improvement by my standards. Oh, and if you wanna see some funny looks on people’s faces, try driving a 46 year old classic Mustang into a Ford dealership!  Half of them rush to you to talk about the car, and the other half rush away, prolly terrified that you’re gonna try to use it as a trade-in.  
I spent a couple of days doing some homework online, and so far the best deals I’d found online were from Avis and also one from a huge local car dealer. Avis looked like a pretty good deal, with a base 2012 six cylinder going for around $22,000. The local dealer had a 2010 6 cylinder with all the bells and whistles for about $19,000.
I spent the day going from dealership to dealership, and most of the stops went much the same, with salesmen eagerly staring at my classic as I parked, followed by a good ten minutes of oohing and awing over her, and then being told that they couldn’t beat the deals that I’d found online. At long last, I stopped at Mak Hiak Ford where I hit pay dirt! They had a red 2012, 6 cylinder Mustang with all of the bells and whistles going for $19,000 and boy is she pretty!

So what do y’all think of my Ford driveway and its newest edition? I like to sort of think of them as mother, father, and baby:

Oh, and do you wanna talk about good timing? Yeah, as I pulled out of that dealers lot with my classic, the suspension was making an AWFUL knocking/Creaking sound. I haven’t had the heart to crawl under her yet to see what’s wrong now, but it seems to be a good time to have another car to fall back on!

Things are so slow in our industry right now that my company shut down for this entire week to save money. They have done this a few times in the last couple of years and it is kind of a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it is scary as hell that the entire company is better off shutting down for a week than working, but on the other hand, I’d rather have them do this than to start laying people off.  My father-in-law, a mason, was complaining that his current job was killing him since it was in really rough terrain, where he couldn’t get his truck, equipment, or materials anywhere close to where the work had to be done. This left him facing the need to carry over two tons of large rock and other supplies by hand several hundred yards up and down steep hills in the over 100F Texas heat. I figure what the hell, I owe him for all of the things he has helped us with, and so I volunteered to help him out for the week. He looked at me with a bit of skepticism as he knows that my job is not physically demanding, but he was desperate and accepted my offer. I have got to tell you, that was a pretty tough week, because it was damned hard work, and damned hot weather to do it in! Still, there was no way in hell I was going to look bad in front of my father-in-law and his colleagues, and so I got into my best old Army mentality and did my best to kick it’s ass. I moved the vast majority of that two tons of rock myself, and then spent each day playing “helper” for him and trotting all of his equipment back and forth every day, keeping him stocked with rock and mortar,  and learning a bit here and there from him. At the end of the week, he told me at least a dozen times that he was both deeply grateful and deeply impressed with how hard I had worked. Most of the men that he had hired through the years hadn’t come close, and considering that I usually make a living sitting behind a desk, he was more than a bit impressed.  What I didn’t tell him was that I was so exhausted that I’d come home, showered, eaten, and gone straight to bed by about eight every single night. But hey, it was mission accomplished – I’d finally got the chance to repay a little of the hard work he had done for us and managed to impress him while I was at it. The thing is, I almost wish that I hadn’t, because now it absolutely haunts me to know how terribly hard that poor man has to work for a living. He is almost 70 years old, and trying to keep up with him for one lousy week completely kicked my ass. I just can’t understand how he can do this day after day, after having fought cancer twice, surviving a major motorcycle accident that almost took his leg, and having four hernia operations, and all of this in the last decade. I gotta tell you, my getting paid well to travel the country in air conditioned airplanes and airports looks REALLY good right now!


  1. You ought to be very proud. the hod tending job for a stone mason is one of the hardest jobs there is. I gotta ask, Is the low testosterone the cause of your thrombosis (or whatever)? the condition you had in your legs?

    1. I have no idea. Since that problems remains unresolved, I can't yet say WHAT is causing those bruises. Sounds plausible that it might have a hand in it though

  2. Kim -

    You should tell him how you feel - how you respect him for doing the hard work at the age of 70 that exhausts you as a person a generation younger. Tell him how much you appreciate him and what he has done for you. I think he'll respect you even more, knowing that you really appreciate him for who and what he is....


    1. Marian, I am now among the oldest generation remaining in my family. My mother is gone, my Grandmother is gone, and even most of my aunts and uncles are gone. I have long since learned to make sure you tell the people you care about the things that you would want then to know. My father-in-law knows exactly how I feel about him - that he is by far and away the closest thing I've ever had to a father, and that I am filled with admiration and respect for him. I've made DARN sure that he knows this. :)

  3. Kim -

    I forgot to ask.... Did you not fly "pretty" for reasons you mentioned in other blog entries? Or, were there other things that got in the way?

    It's good to see you write - especially now, when you're talking about things in addition to flying "pretty". I've always felt that you have a lot to write about (much more than I), and am glad you are doing so....


    1. It just hasn't been feasible due to real early flights and the like

  4. thank you for sharing. i must say ANYTHING you write about is a joy to read. i love your writing style! i think we all feel that when we grow up we all want to be able to write like Kimberly!

    i keep a 2.oo bill i earned while working for a short at a cafeteria type seasonal restaurant when i was first out of college just to remind me of how hard some folks work to earn a income. but that doesn't begin to compare with the work you did in helping your father in law.

    good luck with the new ford addition! it looks kind of cute with in the ford collection.
    if i found i had low T i don't think i'd go for the meds as i'd be afraid it would affect my Diana side. whom i've sort of gotten used to. LOL unless of course it was necessary for some other vital health issue.

    and i wouldn't worry about offending the 1% heck it's YOUR blog NOT theirs. especially since you NEVER deliberately set out to offend anyone.
    reminds me of the story of the man riding a donkey on a hot day and his neighbors said "that poor donkey" so the man got off and walked. the next neighbor said that it was so hot he should carry the donkey so he did. and the last neighbor said " look at that idiot carrying the donkey"
    so as you can see you can't please everyone 100% of the time.

    your comment was taken out of context which is unfair of that person since you NEVER ment it as a stereo type!
    there probably isn't anything in the english language that when taken OUT of context with the wrong voice inflection that wouldn't offend some one.
    so.... fagetaboutit' LOL (and yes i can joke about this since i was born and raised and still live in NJ LOL)

    all kidding aside thanks for shareing about the new ride it is waaaay cool!

  5. Kim,

    During an interview some time ago, J K Rowling, of Harry Potter fame, described a message she received from a reader who critiqued her work and suggested changes she should make to improve it. Rowling apparently was less inclined to be cowed by that reader's opinions than you are to consider yours. Her response was that SHE writes the books and she DOESN'T need consensus. That reader can write her own books, if she wants to.

    While you may not enjoy the financial rewards that Rowling has amassed (alas, most of us don't), you have a loyal following, as well. Part of the reason for that is the easy flowing and casual style in which you write. Your readers are adults who should be able to accept that style. If they can't, dumbing it down to get their acceptance will only cheapen it and we will all be the losers.

    In other words, keep on keepin' on.

    Thank you for what you do. As a part-time blogger, I know how hard it can be.

  6. Kim: About the "low T". Not that I'm an endocrinologist, but I'm a pretty good friend of an MD that advises pilots about medical issues that may affect the pilot's certification. He advises against taking "T" supplements unless it IS causing you medical issues and then ONLY that necessary to bring the blood level back to the lower levels of the "Normal" range (which are pretty low). In other words think real hard about doing the "T" thing even if the insurance will pay for it. There's a LOT of hype regarding "T" supplements. There's also a HUGE danger of taking these things too.

  7. Love the picture of the "family" in the driveway
    But I see a mother, father and teenager
    My question is, the teen is it a girl or boy?

  8. Kim:

    I must agree with Susan, but for a slightly different reason. "Political Correctness" has no place in your blog unless you choose it. You pretty much coined the phrase flying "pretty", your fan base knows what you mean (and we like it), and if one one feminist woman's lip, I mean lib, type gets a hair across her butt and doesn't like it, she can darn well get on to something she enjoys. Be the J.K. Rowling of our world and keep your style and integrity intact.

    You continue to rock!

    Best regards,

    1. Be nice now! She shared her opinion and was not really mean about it. If she had been mean, I would have deleted it. I think that the fact that she was nice about it is part of WHY it bothers me - she was clearly being sincere . . .

  9. Always enjoy reading your blog even though our fashion sense is miles apart.

    You may be able to elevate your testosterone naturally through simple lifestyle changes.

    Any excess body fat will affect your testosterone along with eating many of the processed foods because of their estrogenic properties.

    Exercise and eating organic including avoiding meats and dairy where growth hormones have been used along with careful consideration of what fish you eat because of pesticide water run off that has been physically changing the sex of fish and amphibians from male into female.

    You are simply paying the price for living in a toxic environment.

    Depression and a compromised immune system are also consequences of this.

    A typical male has 1/3 the healthy sperm count his grandfather did.

    Taking hormones can be a very dangerous action because the body is tightly synchronized using feed back loops where the body only releases hormones as needed.

    You will be paying money and most of it will end up in the toilet as it passes through your body unused.

    Another way to raise your testosterone naturally is through competition with others such as sports. Testosterone and estrogen are social hormones so each is effected by our relations with others either sexually or in competition.

    1. Wow -someone has done her homework! LOL (THANK you!)

  10. I love the addition of the red Mustang to the fleet. Most of my cars over the years have been Fords starting with a 1968 Mustang that I wish I still had. I would work at my uncle's gas station pumping gas, sweeping, changing tires, etc. and one of his regulars had this car for sale for $1100 with low miles. I borrowed the money from whoever I could put the arm on and repaid every penny. I put over 110K miles on the car and sold it for $500. That baby did not owe me a dime. It was olive green with a three speed stick on the floor. I also fell in love with a 2000 blue 6 cyl. Mustang convertible. I traded out of that for a white 2006 Mustang Pony car which now has close to 90K miles so I am starting to think of a newer Mustang rag. The pony is in my blood.