23 March 2018


March, 1966.
GREETINGS! the letter said.
I was 19 and it was my induction notice.

Included were instructions about how and where to report for a physical to investigate whether or not I was worthy of further attention and training from my wonderful Uncle...

My memory is foggy, but I remember standing with 100 or so others my Uncle also had an interest in. At one point we were all told to disrobe to our skivvies. It was obvious they intended to poke, probe, examine, and report findings to decision-makers.

My memory of the hearing exam is NOT foggy-
That technician looked into my ear canal and asked, "What would cause you to have scar tissue on your eardrums?"
My response was that I had worked clearing brush with a chain saw for a construction company. That company felt they could get a couple extra horsepower by removing all the mufflers from their saws. At the end of each workday I was deaf for an hour or so. When I mentioned my discomfort to my parents they said, "Your ears will get used to that."
My parents were right. My ears DID acclimate.

But my ears were not damaged so badly that I could not wear Olive Drab.
Basic training exposed me to the M-14.
Advanced training... more M-14 and some M1911.
OCS... more of the above, AND add the M60A1E1 and M48A1 tank.
And then Helicopter Flight School and the start of FIFTY years of assault from the sound of a turbine engine.
My ears never had a chance.

My tinnitus is irritating, but not debilitating.
But the fact I can no longer understand my wife when she speaks from another room is frustrating.
And having to have "Closed Captioning" continually on the TV is aggravating for all those viewing with me.
I went to the VA for help a month ago. They tested, then took molds from my ears.
The devices arrived and were fitted last week.

I didn't know what to expect.
Everyone I've talked to that uses them has a "love/hate" reaction to them.
I think I like 'em more than hate 'em.

I think the latest generation of these things is dramatically improved.
The fit is very nice... I just feel like I'm wearing a set of foam ear plugs all day long. I'm actually surprised I don't get uncomfortable with them at all as the day wears on.
They fit behind my ears, so, unless you're looking awfully close you can't tell I'm wearing 'em.

The two sides talk to one another, so anything you hear in one ear is also transmitted to the other ear. That alone improves hearing. For years, hearing in my left ear has been better than in the right. I can tell the volume in the right ear is higher than the left... I'm assuming they set them this way because the right side needs more help.

The batteries are short-lived. The VA gave me a BUNCH of 'em with the aids, so I'm set for several weeks until I have to dun the VA for more. The first ones lasted 6 days.

I don't know why, but I expected them to last longer.

Sara Jean loves 'em. She says I'm not talking as loud as I did before getting them... good for everyone around me.

I checked on the cost of the things...
As a taxpayer, you don't want to know.

The only time I really need CC on TV now is when we're watching something produced by the BBC.
(Sara Jean has always needed help understanding British stuff too, so she doesn't mind my use there.)

I used to equate hearing aids with old people.
The "man in the mirror" is someone I no longer recognize.
And now he has devices stuck in his ears.

Thank GOD gave that old man a sense of humor!

17 March 2018

The Shape of Things To Come

During a conversation with an old High School Classmate years ago... (a retired Full Colonel from the Air Farce), the suggestion was put forth that unless republicans changed their values they'd never win another election.
I responded "So, all republicans have to do to get elected is succumb to ruining the country as the democrats have?"
My classmate wasn't happy with my response.
We haven't communicated since.

But isn't that what's happening to us?
DACA is unconstitutional... Barack Obama knew it, but did it anyway.
The rule of law? What's that?
That's so OLD SCHOOL.

But it's now obvious the trend is irreversible.
We no longer have two political parties.
We have "bad", and "worse", and have been forced to vote for the lesser of two weasels since 1980.

Our debt has ballooned from $20 TRILLION to $21 TRILLION in under six months of Trump's leadership. We are on the verge of not being able to service that debt.
What cannot continue... won't.
What will it look like?

What do you absolutely HAVE to have to survive?
Getting those things won't hurt ya if I'm wrong.
Not having them if I'm correct will be... uncomfortable. :(

I think getting 'em now would be a good idea.

10 March 2018


Yes, it's been over a month since I've put fingers to keyboard here.
Part of it I discussed with a virtual friend this morning-

Having access to FaceBook and a more focused audience is a release valve. Much of what I might have shared here has been published there. 
Near-instant response to comments there is rewarding, (or irritating).

It's now been almost 13 years since "Pitchpull" came into being.
I was more active... Flying EMS... I had started my own business... We had bought, and were managing a property in Destin, Florida.
There was a lot of exciting stuff going on, and it was easy to write about interesting things happening in our lives.
Now, in retirement, there is still much going on, but thankfully it's mundane.
The Lord has blessed my family with good health and enough wealth to be comfortable.
Who wants to hear about that?

And another thing I have found is important for me and mine-
Someone close to me once said, "I don't play that game".
More and more we find that simply removing yourself from the negatives in life, including "Drama Kings/Queens" works wonders at lowering blood pressure!

We can and DO travel. We spent a couple months of Autumn in lovely Destin. We've Wintered in Gilbert Arizona where days generally are 

75 degrees + -,  and nights are about 50 degrees. 
In the three months we've been here we've had two days of light rain. Perfect.

We've been to Las Vegas for a weekend, to include a visit to "Front Sight", a shooting complex in Pahrump, Nevada.
I don't care for Las Vegas, but the drive to, and around there was GORGEOUS.

We'll be headed back home to the Midwest soon. But we'll be there less than a week before we head to Washington, D.C. for a week to attend an OCS reunion I'm coordinating there.
Then, a month later, we'll do something that's been on my bucket list for years-
We're cruising the Mediterranean for two weeks, to include a stop for a full day in Santorini, Greece.

So, lots to write about.
But would you be bored or irritated hearing about it?

Some will. Some won't, obviously.
I feel guilty not writing here.

I simply need to overcome inertia.