Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ramblings Of A Madman

  • I hate winter.
  • What is wrong with people today, it just seems like there is way too much intolerance and hatred.  There is no such thing as agreeing to disagree in todays world.  If you don't agree with someone, they hate you.
  • By my own definition, I guess the statement above makes me intolerant of myself.  After further review, my official stance is that I hate RA which in turn makes me severely dislike winter.  This statement very nearly propels me to politician status.  I just need to develop a drug/alcohol addiction, have an affair and embezzle some money.
  • Perhaps not as deep as the creation of Stonehenge yet still I wonder, how can Nickelback be one of the top rated rock bands while being the most disliked band at the same time?
  • Why do I live with chronic pain every day yet insist on continuing to work a blue collar job and try to pass myself off as being a normal guy?  The answer is complex and has several answers.  Among them are, I want to be able to support my family, I'm not willing to resort to disability (although there are days it would be nice), I would have an internal conflict if I continued to ride but would not work and I'm sure not giving up riding any time soon and perhaps the most humorous one to some people ... I enjoy working.

While it is painfully obvious that I am not a deep thinker, I have been analyzing what changes/modifications I need to do to my new motorcycle before going to Colorado early next summer.  I have already started by relocating the license plate and removing the rear fender extension, added a rear master cylinder guard, did the air box mod to make it breathe better, replaced the stock handguards with a set of bark busters and some hand protectors.  Started removing the stock graphics.  I have a set of Dunlop 606 tires coming this week, that should help the lack of control issue some.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Changes

Anyone living with a chronic disease is forced to make changes in their life.  My life has been full of them over the last 8 years.  Some changes were out of necessity while some changes came from a personal desire to continue doing something I love to do.   While my RA has been semi behaved for the last couple of months, it has reminded me of our impending winter this past week.  We have had a couple of cold fronts move through and I would notice more stiffness and pain as much as six hours ahead of the fronts moving in.  I can hardly wait til the real winter starts ... I was getting bored with feeling reasonably good.
My latest change involves purchasing a new motorcycle to make it easier to ride with RA.  Saturday I bought a 2009 Kawasaki KLR 650 in pristine condition.  It was painfully stock and obvious that the bike had never left the asphalt, it had street tires on it.  I couldn't help myself, I had to take it out for a ride today.  Obviously it was not going to handle very well riding it on dirt with street tires, but I was amazed at how smooth the ride was on it.  The bigger, heavier bike was absorbing so much of the vibration and shock while riding ... my plan for this bike appears that it may work out.  I have my work cut out for me though, phase 1 will involve stiffening up the suspension while mounting some Dunlop 606 tires front and back and moving the license plate location.  Phase 2 will see the addition of  handguurds, handguard protectors, GPS mount, triple density grips and possibly grip heaters.  Phase 3 will consist of a slip on FMF Powercore 4 exhaust, opening the air box up, possibly rejetting the carb if needed and a rear master cylinder guard.  There are other mods I am wanting to do to it, but that will get me started anyway.

I would like to wish everyone out there a Happy Thanksgiving.  I can't believe it's already time for Thanksgiving, where has this year gone to?  May you be able to enjoy it with family and friends.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Abby Normal

I borrowed the title from an old favorite movie of mine, Young Frankenstein.

Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: Very good. Would you mind telling me whose brain I DID put in? 
Igor: Then you won't be angry? 
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: I will NOT be angry. 
Igor: Abby someone. 
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: [pause, then] Abby someone. Abby who? 
Igor: Abby... Normal. 
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: [short pause] Abby Normal? 
Igor: I'm almost sure that was the name.

Since adjusting the bar for my life, thanks RA, I have to admit ... I've been doing pretty darn good lately.  I have been working a lot of OT to stick some money back for Donna and a new bike.  Even working the long/extra hours haven't hurt me much.  I wish I could feel this good all of the time but I know with winter closing in on us, this won't last too much longer.  What I do find annoying, despite feeling good, is after sitting longer than 20-30 minutes it hurts to stand and start walking.  I also hate that my hands just ache for no good reason.  My feet hurt all of the time whether I'm standing, walking or have them propped up.  Then there's the fatigue, many times after waking up from 8 hours of sleep, I feel tired and have to push myself to just walk across a level floor.  Isn't it amazing that despite all of this, I consider myself to be having good days?  
This is one thing I wished outsiders could understand.  While we do go on and do many normal things, enjoying life the best we can now, we don't do this easily or pain free.  We make many sacrifices and adjustments in life, just to appear normal, that are invisible to most outsiders. 
Speaking of normal, life in Oklahoma has been anything but normal this year.  Above average tornadoes (ok, we're used to those), flooding then drought conditions, we had 51 days over 100, 35 consecutive days over 100 and then BOOM ... Saturday afternoon we had a 4.7 earthquake followed by a 5.6 a few hours later.  There have been several aftershocks, none serious.  There is damage to several homes and a section of a US Highway is buckled.  We live 140 miles away, so we have no damage but did feel the larger one last night. By the rest of the years activities, I guess I should be preparing for 10 feet of snow (yearly average is 5.1 inches) this winter.