I have always said my wife is hip, but now she is getting a new one.

I can remember the days when I jumped out of bed in the morning with not a care in the world and not a pain in my body. Those days are definitely gone. Just like my old Honda Accord, my body is beginning to wear out. The parts are beginning to show obvious signs of aging. My wife Sue is also experiencing the same problems; in fact, she may need to head to the “garage”, or i.e., to get a “universal joint, her a new hip joint. Somehow, despite her relative good health, her hip has malfunctioned and needs to be replaced. If it was a universal joint for my car, I would have to go to the auto-parts store and decide between a wide variety of brands and grades. Of course, there is the cheap one which might last a while, or the expensive part that may be guaranteed for life. You would think that the way we distribute artificial human parts would be different, but I am here to tell you there is little or no difference. Take my wife’s hip replacement for example. There are three major kinds of hips replacement parts: one is lined with plastic, with a small metal ball inserted into it;
the other looks like a large ball-bearing inserted into a metal cap and the third newer approach is a ceramic device.
Each doctor has his own preference on the matter and is willing to explain in great detail why he prefers a particular joint.
When it comes to the style of surgery used, it gets considerably more complicated. We found out that there are four main procedures used in hip replacement. Get ready for some medical jargon.
The post approach, enters the buttock and requires the cutting of several large muscles; the lateral post approach, enters on the rear side of the buttock and requires cutting several large muscles; the lateral anterior enters the front side of the hip and necessitates the cutting of some muscle; however the anterior method, goes directly into the front of the hip but cuts no muscle. Briefly stated these are the four main ways to surgically enter the hip to replace the joint.
It is easy to find doctors who do the first three approaches and this is the way many physicians were trained to do this operation. It is much more difficult to find a doctor who does the anterior approach. Even though there are positives and negatives associate with all these surgeries, Sue and I decided that the full anterior approach was the best for her. It was interesting as well to find out that there is only one doctor doing this approach in West Virginia and interesting enough, he is doing his first anterior hip replacement this week. Needless to say, we decided that a physician with a little more experience with this method would be a better choice.
So, if you are in need of a hip replacement, which I hope is not the case, take the time to talk to several surgeons before deciding what approach you take. Don’t buy the first universal joint you see, regardless of how shinny it is.

When I Was 63

While participating in the 2013 Rocky Gap Triathlon, several young people made the statement, “I hope I am still running when I get to your age” as they made their way past me. This statement reminded me of the many times I said the same thing to older guys when I was younger. Well, here I am, the older guy, and I am still having fun participating in what I must call young persons events. Another young man’s sport is paintball, which I am not sure is really a sport. Yesterday, my son Scott, treated me to a day at the paintball course in Strawsburg Va, as a Father’s Day present, which in hindsight is a little weird since my son might be shooting at me, his old man. I was not totally committed to the idea of shooting people, or more importantly, being shot at, but eventually agreed to go. Here is a picture of the motley crew that participated in the event. I hope none of them are on any FBI most-wanted list….
Here is a picture of some of the my friends who joined me in Lake Habeeb for the Rockey Gap State park Triathlon.

Rich Davis, Me & Leonard Galvan
Rich Davis, Leonard Galvan and I

I am the ugly short one in the middle. Rich, who is towering over us; He is simply uphill from us and closer to the camera; Placed 42nd overall, 2nd in his age group with a time of 1:06:19. Leonard placed 45th overall, 3rd in his age group with a time of 1:06:12. I placed 52nd overall, 5th in my age group with a time of 1:08:12, and not in the photo and from Romney, David Loar, placed 60th overall, 4th in his age group with a time of 1:09:49. There were 134 participants in the event.
As I lay in bed early this morning I began to think of all the things I had accomplished in this 63rd year of my life. You may have seen some of these photos in previous blogs, but I will post them again for any new readers.
Here is my new solar hot-water heater.
This is my new metal pool roof where the new solar collectors will be placed in a week ort two..
June 9 2013 624
And of course, my newly remodeled wood shop.
June 16, fathers day 2013 018
Last but not least, I am almost finished putting my 1991 Honda Prelude back together.
June 16, fathers day 2013 017
My life philosophy is quite simple: always be learning something new; reach for the stars but enjoy the flowers in the woods, and most important of among all of these, enjoy every precious moment with the people whom you are given to love.
Happy Father’s day!

Back on the road again-The Return of Cliff


Unlike the first visit by Cliff almost a year ago, this one was planned well in advance. We communicated via email so I had a vague idea when he might show up. Of course, these things never work out the way one wants; Cliff called me from the C&O Canal while a bunch of my friends were showing up to play Ping-Pong. He had made his way to Paw Paw and was cold, wet and tired after an extra long day on the bike. True to form, his cell phone signal died right during the exchange of information and would not re-establish the link. We then resorted to text messages, by which we finally reached an understanding, sort of, that we would meet in Paw Paw. With my poor reading vision and need to hurry, I read his text incorrectly; instead of the Liberty Gas Station, I read library, which are two very different places in Paw Paw. So I raced off to Paw Paw in the truck to retrieve Cliff. Upon arriving in Paw Paw, I began to search for the library which was an epic adventure in itself. When I asked people in town where the library was, they looked at me in a confused manner and replied, “Library?” After finally finding the library and seeing no sign of Cliff, I opened up the text message I had received from Cliff earlier and reread the message. Slowly I read, LIBERTY. Cliff wanted to meet me at the Liberty Station which was located right on the main road! I quickly turned around and made my way to the station to see Cliff sitting on the step shaking his head in confusion. When we finished saying our hellos, he asked me why I had driven back and forth in front of the station. I explained my mistake as we loaded the extremely heavy gear onto the truck. When I say heavy gear, I am in no way exaggerating-which I am inclined to do at times. I bet he had over 100 pounds of gear on the bike and Bob Trailer, which does not even include Cliff’s rather large mass. I grabbed the heaviest bag on the Bob Trailer but failed to move it on my first attempt! Gathering my strength, I swung it onto the back of the truck. “Holy crap, Cliff, what’s in that bag, a body?”
He responded, “Stuff”. I told him we needed to downsize his load considerably!
Well, we made it home; I went out to the building where my friends who were playing Ping-Pong and Cliff went to the shower to clean off the canal dirt. Later, he joined us for Ping Pong and even played a few games. Being quite tired; Cliff retired early, deciding to leave the chat for the following morning.
The next morning we all had breakfast together during which Cliff updated us on his activities since we last saw him. During his visit he helped me finish installing my new solar hot-water heater and several other ongoing projects around the house. On his last evening, we invited a friend of his over from Alexandria, Virginia to have dinner and to tell Cliff stories. Cliff treated us all to dinner at the Main Street Grill in Lanesville, West Virginia. It was a great evening with lots of funny stories! After almost a week, Cliff decided to resume his quest to the legendary ROUTE 66. He had to make his way to Chicago where he would pick up 66 and head off to California. With spirits high and the trailer weight reduced by almost 50 pounds, we loaded up the truck for the drive to Paw Paw where he would resume his adventure west. If you want to follow his travels, you can do it on FACEBOOK under his name, Cliff Howe. Currently he is closing in on Chicago and preparing for the hot weather that is approaching. When we said our goodbyes, he told me we would see him again in about 7 years when he finished his journey across America. You can read about our first encounter with Cliff at…