Friday, May 22, 2015

Medical Update

A selfie of me at physical therapy yesterday prior to my hour workout

Just a quick medical update on my health status folks:

I visited my dentist yesterday.  He checked out the pain I'm having in my left jaw and indeed, it is as I expected:  a case of TMJ.

He told me to go "easy on the chewing, don't eat almonds (which I have been eating) and try to stay with soft foods."  That I can do, I'll leave out the almonds when I have my next batch of yogurt.

Physical therapy went well again yesterday.  I'm doing all my exercises well, increasing my endurance each time.  The only area where I'm encountering resistance is the bending of my leg.  My physical therapist (Rich) works with bending my leg to stretch my reattached quadricep muscle until I cannot take the pain level.  

On a scale of 1-10 my pain level (mostly swelling) is 1.  When Rich is working on my leg it goes up to 5 or 6. I know the pain is necessary for gain (I'm a poet and don't know it) but still . . . . it hurts!  "No pain, no gain."

I was wiped out yesterday after my session but a good wipe out if you know what I mean.

This morning I stopped in the hotel to confirm that I will be back at work on June 1st, albeit on a physically restricted level.  No climbing or descending the steep wooden stairs to the outside VIP suites on the canal. No mopping the floors.  And of course no carrying furniture back and forth after an event.  And of course no helping guests unload their luggage from their cars.  I don't get that request that often but I do offer to help when the guest is older than me and obviously very frail.  I'll have to let my guilt go if I encounter any of those guests when I return to work.

Where I work at in Lewes - not long now until I return (to the scene of my accident with is at the bottom right of the portico of the hotel - I was rounding the entrance when I stepped on the frozen ice from the rain spout and my life changed forever - one random fall that caused so much damage

Today is an absolutely gorgeous spring/summer day.  This is Memorial Day Weekend and hundreds of cars are flowing down Route One, right past Casa Tipton-Kelly.  When I bring Pat back tomorrow from meeting him in Wilmington tomorrow, we will be in the Holiday Weekend Flow.  Should be fun (not).  But we will be going to Pennsylvania for a few days, which is opposite of where most of the holiday weekend vehicles are going.

So there you go folks.  My leg is going to really get a workout these next few weeks beginning with tomorrow.

The Big Week Approaches

Pat and Bill during Pat's visit last year

Tomorrow begins the Big Week. 

What is the "Big Week" you may ask? 

Two things:

Pat (my Canadian pal) arrives tomorrow for his annual visit to LSD.  

I met Pat two years ago this August when he happened to see my visage posted on the Internet testifying before the Delaware state legislature for marriage equality.  

Pat in Lewes, DE - August 2013 - our first meeting

He was intrigued by my image and did some Internet research and found this blog.  

He read one of my blog posts and left a comment.  I happened to be on my blog at the same time he left a comment and I responded to his comment right away.

Thus began our conversation, and our friendship.  

Later on I asked him if he had FaceTime.  He did but had not used it.  I showed him how to use it and thus we upgraded our friendship to face to face.  

During one conversation I suggested that if he was ever down this way (lower slower Delaware) that perhaps we could take an old time photo together.  Much to my surprise he took me up on my offer and came down the following week.  Yes, he drove all the way down from Toronto.

Pat at Hotel Blue parking lot with his sturdy Fiat 

After a mixup in the parking lot of the hotel where he was staying (I mistook him for a parking lot attendant) we thus began a friendship that continues to this day.  

Last year Pat came down for the Bloggerpalooza in spring.  This year he is making a return spring/summer visit (his fifth visit to Delaware he reminds me).

Pat at Bloggerpaolooza last spring

During past visits Pat drove his Fiat down.  Last year for the first time he took the bus. A long (overnight) and laborious trip but much less stressful on him or his Fiat.  This year he is also taking the bus.  He will board his bus tonight and arrive in Wilmington, Delaware about 11 AM tomorrow morning.

My longtime good friend Lar will pick me up here at Casa Tipton-Kelly and drive me to Wilmington to meet Pat.  The three of us will visit the Apple store. I suspect a new Apple watch might be purchased in tax free Delaware. Liar has also graciously agreed to show us the wondrous delights of Wilmington, Delaware.

Pat and I will rent a car in Wilmington and return here (Casa Tipton-Kelly) for an overnight stay.  

Pat visiting his Sunland Ranch neighbors - Pat's lot is behind them

On Sunday we will take a road trip to my former hometown in Pennsylvania where I plan to visit old friends and relatives in Pennsylvania.  We'll stay two nights at the Hampton Inn in Lionville.

Tuesday we will return to Delaware for the balance of the week.  Pat will accompany me to my three visits to my physical therapy sessions.  He will be my counter and take videos with my iPhone of my various exercises.

We will visit our favorite places in Lewes and Rehoboth like Nectar, Lori's Cafe, and La Quetzalteca  restaurants and maybe a new one.  Pat is a vegan and we like to search out new vegan restaurants.  We might even try Hobo's in Rehoboth, you know the place where the owner/chef thinks she owns the public bench outside her restaurant.  We may just go there to see if she has calmed down.

Lori's Cafe - Rehoboth Beach, DE - a destination of choice this week

And, of course, we will be taking an old time photo in Rehoboth Beach with our friend Lar. We do this every year to celebrate Lar's birthday.  Again, this year we will be posing as grizzled old cowboys, an image that befits grizzled old men like us.

A big week ahead folks and it starts tomorrow!

Me on River Drive - Philadelphia - 1974 - looking forward to many more adventures in my life

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Throwback Thursday - 1980

Skinny me the Morning After a big night at the bars - sitting outside my friend Bob's single-wide getting some sun

This week's "Throwback Thursday" is to the summer of 1979.  

I had been coming down to LSD (Lower Slower Delaware) since the early Seventies.  My friend Bob McCamley had a used single-wide trailer on his twenty-two acres of scrub woodland outside Georgetown, Delaware.

Me and my friend Bob

Bob and I both worked in center city Philly.  I worked at Girard Bank and Bob worked just across the street at the John Wanamaker's department store. 

Me inside my friend Bob's designer decorated single wide trailer -I think I was a already a couple of drinkie poos into the weekend when this picture was taken

One or two weekends a month I would ride with Bob in his pickup truck to Sussex County, Delaware, about a 2 1/2 hour drive from his home in Norwood, Pennsylvania. 

Bob lived with his mother and was in the closet.  His weekend "getaways" were necessary for his mental health.  

I didn't have a car at that time and I needed a break from Center City living.  I always went to the Philly gay bars on the weekends but I too occasionally needed a change of scenery.

Me (putting "the moves" on some poor, unsuspecting bespectacled bar fly) and my friend Bob at the Boathouse

Several time I took my camera with me during my weekends of debauchery in the wilds of southern Delaware.  

The pictures in this blog are of me, in varying stages of being soused, at one of the local gay bars of that time which was called "The Boathouse."  Eventually the Boathouse was burned down as was the other popular bar "The Renegade".  Sussex County Delaware at that time was very redneck, and still is in many areas.

Me and Howard getting into the groove - I think "Funkytown" was playing

Me and my friend Howard dancing at the Boathouse (the one with the flooded floor)

There was another gay bar called "The Nomad", which we went to a few times but the Boathouse has our favorite. One of the things I remember clearly about the Boathouse was when the tide came in the dance floor was often covered in an inch of water.  That was sort of cool.  

Back at Bob's trailer for more partying (I believe it was his birthday) - I'm obviously several sheets to the wind

Bob's trailer did not have running water.  Thus if you wanted to take a pee you peed out the side door as this picture attests to.  And if you wanted to take a Number Two you got a paper bag and went out into the woods.  I never had to do that (thank goodness) but Bob's other "guests" had to . . . . . . . often.

Those were the days my friends.  Hey, sounds like good lyrics to a song!  

Oh yes, I have had my good times.  And they continue to this day in spite of my physical ailments.  I squeeze every quality moment out of every day folks that I can.  

My Canadian buddy Pat will be down in a few days to spend a week in LSD.  Bob's trailer is still on his twenty-two acres of scrub woodland.  But Bob is not.  Bob died last year.  His property is up for sale now.  Only the memories remain. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

It's Always Something - TMJ

Seems like a while since I've done a post. I've been pretty busy.  What with my three times a week physical therapy sessions for my recovering injured leg (coming along nicely thank you) and trying to keep up with my gardening work, two whole days have gone by without a blog post from yours truly.

I have to be a downer but it seems like I have a new problem.  My left jaw is sore.  Not all the time but when I move it.  Sometimes the soreness is more intense than other times.  I thought at first it might have something to do with an old root canal I had done years ago.  When I was at the dentist a couple of week ago for my long delayed semi-annual checkup, my dental hygienist indicated that "there is some pathology going on there" when she saw a dark area around my root canal.  She said "It could be scar tissue or it could be something else."  I don't want to hear about the "something else" so I quickly convinced myself it was scar tissue and put it out of my mind.

Now three days ago I noticed that when I chew a certain way, pain results.  Not at the base of the tooth but above, where my jawbone attaches to my skull. "Oh Christ!" I think . . . . "what now?"  Of course I put it out of my mind and ignored it, hoping it would go away or resolve itself but the sensitivity and pain has stayed with me.  So yesterday I gave in and made a dental appointment.  That is tomorrow at 12 noon.  

My friend Pat is coming down this Saturday for a week's visit to Delaware and my home state of Pennsylvania.  I had other plans but he may be accompanying me to another round of doctor's visits.  

I did a little Internet checking on jaw pain and I discovered "TMJ", a "pain tenderness of your jaw."  Yep, that's what I have.

TMJ - Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome is a disorder of the jaw muscles and nerves caused by injury to the temporomandibular joint. The temporomandibular joint is the connection between the jawbone to the skull. The injured temporomandibular joint leads to pain with chewing, clicking, and popping of the jaw; swelling on the sides of the face; nerve inflammation; headaches; tooth grinding; Eustachian tube dysfunction; and sometimes dislocation of the temporomandibular joint. Temporomandibular joint syndrome is also known as the temporomandibular joint disorder.

It said that painful TMJ disorder can occur if:

  • The disk erodes or moves out of its proper alignment
  • The joint's cartilage id damaged by arthritis
  • The joint is damaged by a blow or other impact
I think my problem is either arthritis (which I now have in various parts of my body) or, somehow my jaw disk eroded or moved out of its proper alignment.  

I hate to seem to always be the bearer of bad news in this blog.  It seems that I have one health issue after another.  

My leg is healing and I can now walk without my cane, but I still carry it with me in case my knee buckles.  I am attending one-hour physical therapy sessions three times a week which are very beneficial to me. 

My leg is still swollen and will be so for months to come (according to my doctor and physical therapist) but I can live with it. 

I still can't drive but I can ride in the passenger seat of my car.  

I also still can't kneel and pull weeds or transplant plants but I manage by stooping over which I know isn't good for my back.  

But you know folks, I'm walking around on my own two legs now and for that I am grateful.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Daddy Long Legs

Sidney Ervin Hughes
Born 10 May 1836 Yancey North Carolina
Died 19 Oct 1920 Bradshaw, North Carolina

Sidney Ervin Hughes was my great-great grandfather.  His daughter Mary Alice Hughes (1858-1916) was my great grandmother.

Mary Alice Hughes - my great grandmother

She was married to Isaac Lewis (1856-1944) who was my great grandfather and father of my grandmother Hester Lewis (1892-1945).

Isaac Lewis, my great grandfather

Hester was the mother of my grandfather Fieldon Jacob Tipton (1884-1939) who was my grandfather and the father of my father Isaac W. Tipton, Sr. (1920-2000). 

Hester Lewis - my grandmother

Hester was a tall woman.  Her father Isaac was a tall man. Her husband and my grandfather Fieldon Tipton was tall also.

Fieldon Jacob Tipton - my grandfather
Fields and Hester had twelve children, all sons of which eleven survived birth.

Eleven Tipton Brothers at 1960 Family Reunion

You see the tall man in the back to the right?  That's my dad, the tallest of the Tipton brothers.  

When I was young, I was tall for my age.  If I remember right, when I was eleven years old I was six feet already (chew on that Tom Cruise). I frequently had these questions hurled at me:

"Are you really only eleven years old?"

"Do you play basketball?" 

"How did you get so tall?"

Well, the answers to those questions were:

Yes, I was really that young and TALL.

No, I didn't play basketball - too uncoordinated (clumsy).

And how did I get so tall?  Well, I was born that way.  

A few months ago I came across the photo of my great great grandfather Sidney Ervin Hughes and the mystery of my tallness was finally and forever solved.  Damn, check out that man's legs.  Talk about a daddy-long-legs.  That's where my tallness comes from folks, the good old gene pool.  

Me in Provincetown, Mass. 1976

Bill told me the first thing he noticed about me when he saw me for the first time across the Westbury Bar in Philly, was my long legs. 

He said he was a "leg man."  Lucky for me he likes long legs or else I would never be where I am today, with this wonderful man who has devoted the last fifty years of his life to making me happy in every way possible. 

Of course regular followers of this blog know that one of my legs was injured a few months back.  I'm on the mend now and those long legs are going to be on full display soon.  

First bout of physical therapy right after my surgery to reattach my quadricep muscle on my left leg which was severed when I fell on the ice February 18th, 2015 -  painful and laborious

These days I'm walking around still holding my cane but rarely leaning on it.  My leg is still stiff but I can now bend it 85 degrees which is a big improvement over the 30 degrees when I first started physical therapy last month.  

I can now sit in the passenger seat of the car, still can't drive though.  

My leg is still swollen, painfully at times but most times bearable.  

Next week my friend Pat arrives for his annual spring time visit to LSD (Lower Slower Delaware).  

He will be chauffeuring me around during our visit to my home state of Pennsylvania and a few days here in LSD.  My leg should get a good workout. 

When Pat leaves, I return to work at the hotel for two nights a week.  Right after Memorial Day and the onslaught of summertime guests and all their needs and wants.  Should be fun.  

And that folks is the status of yours truly, Daddy Long Legs. Soon to return.

Me at the local flower nursery, sans brace but still with my cane to steady me and make sure my repaired leg doesn't buckle - recovery for this injury is a long process

Friends - Remembering a Lifetime of Friends

The way I picture myself now - alone on the bench in the woods - waiting

This morning I got to thinking about how old I am and all the friends I've made (and lost) during my long reign on this earth. 

Me - alone at our Boot Road apartment Downingtown, PA 1958

I began with my little circle of friends in elementary school and my neighborhood on Washington Avenue in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.  I still remember there names:

Billy Null
Timmy McMahon
"Chubby" Shores
Donald Murphy
Eddie Rose
Lee Harris
Patty Robinson
"Ducky" Vance

All gone now.  It seemed as one group of friends receded from my life another group would come in during my later school years:

Larry Meredith
Stuart Meisel
Bill Brookover

I'm fortunate in that most of my high school friends are still around and we're still friendly.

Another informal class reunion gathering - 2005(I'm the guy in the back giving my friend Olin rabbit ears)

When I left high school and joined the Army I made a whole new group of friends:

Ron Hampton
Sal DeRosa
Bill Johns
Pete Pupshis
Michael Tine
Bob McCamley
Dessie Stroud
David VanCampen

Me (left) with Army buddies Bill Allen and Dick Egan - 1960

Sad to say but all these friends are now gone.

Then came the time after I got out of the Army and I entered the Gay Life.  Oh yes, I made a LOT of friends then.  Many I have lost track of but there are also many I know are no longer alive.  

Bob Surina
Joe Labriola
Joe Verdecchio
Nick Brown
Bob Murphy
Paul Bickerstaff
Brad Corrill
Jim Groh
Wayne Juneau
Ed Cage

Then there are the friends from my straight life at work:

Penny Buddle
Anne Marie Del Grande
Rich Ware
Bill Price
Rod Zengerl

Me with my First Financial Bank co-workers - 2000

This is just the tip of the iceberg of my friends.  Sometimes, like this morning when I woke up, I wonder in amazement that I have survived and lived longer than most of my good friends.  With all of these friends, with the exception of course of my grade school friends, I think I've had the conversation of how long we would live.  

Me (with the silver sequined top hat - of course) with my classmates at our 35th class reunion - 1994 (yep, the gaily colored feathered boas my friends Jean and Pat are wearing were mine too - I know how organize a good party)

Sometimes, in the early morning hours like this morning when I wake up and realize I am alive for another day,  I wonder if my friends who have passed on are waiting for me somewhere "up there". Do you think we will have a grand reunion? A gathering at the beach like the last scene in "Longtime Companion?" I doubt it.  I think when you die that's it.  Total oblivion. But I wonder.

Me (at head of table) at one of the gay men only Thanksgiving dinners at my friend Bob McCamley's home - 2005

If there is such a thing as Heaven then it would be a reuniting with my friends, pets and family, all of whom have passed on.  The way I look at it, when we die (as long as the process of dying isn't too gruesome or painful), it's a "win-win" situation. Either we go to total peace (oblivion) or we are reunited with our loved ones.  

One of the informal class reunions we've had over the years at my friend Bill Brookover's home - I'm in the red

And that is what is going on through my brain  this morning folks.  The mental musings of a 73 year old gay man who has had a long and happy and eventful life.

Me in Ottowa Canada - 1967

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Delaware DMV

Waiting to have my number called at the ultra modern and efficient Delaware DMV

One of the many advantages and pure pleasures of living in Delaware is how smooth the process is to get my car inspected and registered. 

As you know, I am from Pennsylvania.  Pennsylvania is a beautiful state but riff with corruption, perhaps on second to New Jersey.  

The main reason I moved to Delaware from Pennsylvania was that I cold no longer afford the ever increasing real estate (school) taxes on our property.  Once the taxes were reaching the $8,000 level, I knew it was time to look for less expensive state to live.  

If the taxes stayed steady at $8,000 I could probably afford to stay even though my retirement and Social Security income was only $22,000 (surprise, I'm not one of those rich gay retirees), but with steadily increasing taxes I had to get out.  

I could only afford to pay those taxes the last ten years because my Mother gave me and my brothers a $10,000 gift annually.  Once that gifting stopped, I had to make a decision.  Get a full-time job as I entered into my decrepit old age or move.  I decided to move.  

Since moving to Delaware in 2006, my taxes have stayed steady at around $1,400 a year.  In fact the latest issue of the Cape Gazette stated that Sussex County hasn't raised its taxes in twenty years.  I guess the school administrators don't pull down six figure salaries in the Diamond State.  

Of course Delaware doesn't have a sales tax either which is nice.  Plus they don't have a personal property tax and their state income tax is graduated (Pennsylvania's is not) so I don't have to pay that either.

One of the other pleasures of living in Delaware is when I get my car inspected.  At one time in Pennsylvania the law was that you had to get your car inspected TWICE a year.  And you had to go to either a dealership or a private garage.  No one and I mean NO ONE ever got an inspections through either one of those outlets for less that hundreds of dollars.  They always found something wrong with your car that needed fixed or else they would give approval for inspection.  Oh the power of the lobbyists in the Pennsylvania State legislature.  

I remember once when I got a new car (my previous Subaru), I only had it two months when my inspection date came up.  I thought (foolishly as it turned out) "Well, at least this time I would have to pay for a repair on my car."  Oh no, when I went to pick up my car I was told the windshield wipers were replace.  "New government regulations" I was told.  

Now it was ridiculous that I had to get a two month old NEW car inspected but still a "repair?"  Here's how Delaware does it.  I purchased my present Subaru in August of 2010.  I didn't have to get it inspected for FIVE YEARS because it was a NEW CAR.  Makes sense doesn't it? 

Yesterday my time was up and I had to get my car inspected.  Any by the way, the registration takes place at the same time.  One stop shopping you might say. 

Yesterday I got my car inspected and registered all for $80.00, and that was for TWO years.  Forty dollars a year.  Do you hear that all my Pennsylvania readers?  

Getting your car registered in Pennsylvania is another whole process.  Either you can mail in your check or go to a regional center.  Every time I went to a regional center (where you also get your driver's licenses), it was grossly inefficient.  The whole process would take the whole morning or afternoon. Just like getting your car inspected in Pennsylvania, you have to drop it off at the dealer or garage and come back later.  And then it wasn't even guaranteed it was ready. The mechanics had to find some strange thing wrong with your car that you didn't understand so they could charge you hundreds of dollars to get it fixed or else you wouldn't get your inspection sticker which was good for only ONE YEAR by the way.

Yesterday I was in and out of the Delaware DMV in less than twenty minutes.  Take that Pennsylvania.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Summer 1954

12 year old me on the steps up to our 2nd floor apartment - 1954

The summer of 1954 I was twelve years old.  

We lived in a second floor apartment on Boot Road in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.

Gindy Trailer Manufacturing Co. offices (first floor) - our family lived on the second floor - manufacturing plant is to the left (men on the ladders painting the building)
I shared a bedroom with my two younger brothers. 

Me with a headlock on my younger brother John - Gindy's in background
My brother Isaac with our Mom - Gindy's plant behind them

We lived rent free in the building because we (our family) was the "watchmen" for the Gindy Trailer Manufacturing Company, the plant of which was right next to the two story brick building we lived in.

Brother John with one of the Gindy's trucks - our "backyard"

The first floor of the building were the offices of Gindy's.

My Mom taking a break from her office cleaning duties at the Gindy offices (she didn't have far to travel for her job - when she got a job at Pepperridge Farm up the road I took over her office cleaning job at .55 cents an hour - she got paid .45 cents an hour because "she was a woman" - this is the way businesses operated in the Fifties

My youth may look spartan but folks, I'll take my experience as a teenager over growing up in a place like Grosse Pointe, Michigan or any other frou frou place.  

I grew up poor and have been poor most of my life, occasionally reaching the lower middle class for brief periods but only to fall back in upper lower class.  

That's probably why I'm not as polished as others and perhaps a bit more needy and insecure but folks, I like me just the way I am. 

A recently departed friend with unexpected bitterness, ranted that "I lived in the past."  Well, all I can say, guilty as charged.  I have my memories, my very fond memories and folks, I'm making new memories every day and I will continue to do so until I no longer am able to take a breath or see the light of the dawn of a new morning. 

I have a rich past, having a great time now and have a lot to look forward too.  

Me and our first dog, "Sam", a Chesapeak Bay Retriever mix mongrel - 1954

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Leg Injury Update - Again!

Hey folks!   I'm making great progress at physical therapy for my injured leg.  Check out this video that I asked my physical therapist to make this morning.  This was my first day on this contraption (I forget the name) which will exercise my newly attached quadricep muscles in my injured left leg.  

I feel and tore my quadricep muscles in my left leg way back on February 18th of this year (a day which will be forever embedded in my memory bank).  Folks, it's been a long haul but after my workout this morning, I actually believe I am on the road to normalcy and will be walking and talking in time for my visit from Pat in two weeks and then back to work.  

Can you believe it?