Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Second Chances

Has there ever been a time in your life when you needed a second chance?  Or maybe someone close to you hurt you and that person regrets the pain they caused you?  How quick are you to give that person a second chance?  Is it even an option?

Forgiveness is something I struggle with.  I have to remind myself about the One I follow.  Jesus passes out second chances like no other.  I don't know about you but if somebody nailed me to a cross after torturing me relentlessly and forcing me to carry a big stick through a crowd, I would really struggle to say, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing."

That's what second chances are – acts of forgiveness.  Do overs.  We all need mulligans.  I'm going to keep working on this.  Today is a new day.  It's a clean slate.  I'm going to do my best to consider this day as a fresh start.  How about you?  Do you see the second chance exit just ahead?  Have a great day.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

What is the Caveman Miracle Network?

Caveman:  the guy who gets up every morning before sunrise to share stories about his life.  His friends outside the Midwest believe he lives in a cave because they never see him.  He doesn't get out much.  His car is primitive as is his diet.  He's from a tribe known as the Frugalites – people who do their best to live debt free.

Miracle:  a highly improbable or extraordinary event, development or accomplishment that brings very welcome consequences.  Some may argue there's a Divine Entity at work behind every miracle.

Network:  friends, family members and others who help the caveman in the pursuit of miracles.

How the Caveman Miracle Network works:  all proceeds from the Caveman Miracle Network are donated once a year at the end of May to the bosses at the caveman's day job (they prefer to remain anonymous).  The bosses at the day job match the donations from the Caveman Miracle Network and include them with all money raised from the Children's Miracle Network benefiting Children's Hospital in Iowa City.

The One I follow has this to say about sick kids and others who are in need of help:  "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'" ~ Matthew 25:40.

The miracles would never happen without your help.  If you would like to join the Caveman Miracle Network, click here for the link or sign in to FaceBook and enter the keywords, Caveman Miracle Network.  I will be happy to add your name to the network.  Thanks for helping a caveman out.  Have a great day.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Celebrating 7 Years of Blogging Today

What an adventure this has been.  I can't believe this blog is seven years old today.  I'll never forget how I felt the first time I wrote a love letter to my wife during our weekend retreat.  The experience nearly ended my passion for writing.  I sat in the parking lot puking my guts out on the second morning.  The only thing keeping me from leaving was a secret the retreat leader shared with me.  "There's a married couple praying for you during this weekend.  They lit a candle for you and your wife.  They're planning to meet you at the end of the retreat.  Do you think you can stick it out?"

My emotions were literally spilling out from within.  I felt weak.  My knees were shaking.  My wife was concerned.  I decided to stay.  Those love letters were difficult because they centered on feelings.  Feelings I kept buried inside.  The dam burst.  There was no turning back.  That weekend was life-changing.  We met the couple who prayed for us and they gave us the prayer candle as a reminder of our weekend.  My wife and I kept the letter-writing tradition going and penned another 2,500 letters each while raising three children.  This blog was my next step after the love letters.  It gives me a place to connect with family, friends and visitors.  I found the courage to write a memoir about my dad's last days with us before leaving this world after spending countless hours honing my skills here.  "The Caveman in the Mirror" is an extension of this blog.  And my next writing project will be published before this blog turns 8.  Yes, this has been an adventure.  Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share my life with you.  Have a great day.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Why Blogging is Like Farming

I'm celebrating my 7th birthday as a blogger tomorrow on 8/29.  In many ways, I'm like a farmer.  I rise early to plant seeds before sunrise, work in the fields all day and hope everything makes it to harvest.  There are droughts to contend with, scorching heat and rampant flood waters.  My seeds are thoughts.  They sprout words.  Some never survive the editing stage.  That's okay.  I'm satisfied with my creative farming techniques, though unconventional. 

Perhaps the greatest lesson I learned as a blogger is to keep farming in good times and in bad.  Consistency matters.  Seven years seems like a lifetime in the blog world.  Most never make it to harvest.  I'm one of the lucky ones.  Daily blogging shaped my writing muscles and transformed me from an out of shape city boy to full fledged owner of my own field of dreams.  I'll never stop farming.  This is my life.  Thank you for visiting.  Have a great day.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Small Stuff

Small stuff.  It's what makes dreams come true.  Even baby steps count, especially at the beginning of a new project.  I'm in the first 30 days of my next writing adventure and the small stuff is starting to add up.  It wasn't easy during my first days of recovery from surgery but I forced myself to push through the pain and work on small stuff.  Have a great weekend.  I'm cheering for you to work on small daily improvements that lead to staggering long-term results.  You can do it.  Thanks for visiting.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Stop Waiting for Success

If you're waiting for success to knock on your door, you may have a long wait.  The above quote summarizes it well – success is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.

Think back to a time in your life when you waited for some big event to be achieved.  Did it go according to plan?  If you had to do it all again, would you?  Thank you for stopping by today.  I wish you well with your choices.  Have a great day.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

How Daily Weight Tracking Aids Your Goals

The chart you see above represents nearly one year of data from my caveman food experiment.  My starting weight was 185 pounds approximately two weeks before the digital tracking was implemented.  I use daily tracking to account for any food changes I introduce.  This helps me identify which foods may be an issue.  I find sticking to mainly fruits, veggies, nuts, beans and seeds keeps me within my body's "happy zone" of 150 to 155 pounds without any effort.

It's funny how something so small such as stepping on the scale every morning helps you stay on track but I know subconsciously that any deviations in my food program will immediately show up on the scale.  I recommend purchasing a digital scale with Wifi tracking.  Try this with a friend who is willing to be your accountability partner and include your partner on the digital tracking.  It works.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Back to My Day Job Today

I'm rejoining my day job peeps this morning.  The bosses found a way to work with my doctor's orders and I'm approved to return as long as I avoid lifting more than ten pounds for the next couple of weeks.  I'm excited to rejoin my team.  I would like to thank all the people who helped me in my recovery process.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Happy Trails

Like it or not, you're on a trail today.  The good news is you have one choice even if you can't control which way you're headed.  That choice is happiness.  Look around.  What do you see?  Who else is on the trail with you?  Are you so focused on the destination that you're forgetting to savor the view?

The trail you see pictured on the left was shot a couple of days ago on a day hike at Lake Iowa with Mrs. Caveman.  It was one of the most picturesque days of our Midwest summer.  The temperature couldn't have been any more ideal.  I was surprised only a few people were taking advantage of this amazing place.  The same thing happened late in the day yesterday when our daughter asked us to go hiking in the Amana Colonies not far from our home.  We were the only people on the trail.  I'm one of the lucky ones.  All my adventures are happy trails, even the ones filled with challenges.  I have some steep hikes ahead.  The mountains won't be easy to climb.  The air may be thin.  Temperatures will fall below freezing.  The one thing I can assure you of is that I will choose to be happy on every trail and I will always be grateful I'm healthy enough to keep walking.  Choose happiness.  And take a hike. Have a great day.  Happy trails!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Life is an Adventure

Today is the first day of the rest of your life.  Is this day something you're looking forward to or did you notice it's Monday and you want to crawl back under the covers?  Mondays are scary for many Americans.  One story I read over the weekend mentioned early Monday mornings are prime time in America for heart attacks.  I discovered I was one of those people at risk of a heart attack late in August one year ago while on vacation and I decided to decrease my risk factors.  I overhauled my food program and I changed my attitude about life.  Rather than cram all the fun into one annual vacation, I decided to make each day an adventure – even Mondays.

If you or someone you know is at risk of a heart attack because you've lost your way, please don't give up.  It's not too late.  Stay with me.  I'm sharing all the lessons I'm learning about how to turn your life into a series of 24 hour adventures.  Let's work on this together.  Here's the first tip:  make a shopping list for your next visit to the grocery store.  The only items on your list are items without food labels.  Hint:  you can't go wrong if you choose fruits, veggies, nuts, beans and seeds.  In my opinion, if you eat this way from now on, you will have more Mondays (and all other days) than you could have imagined.  Try it.  Enjoy the journey.  Have a great day.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Lessons from the Olympic Athletes

(Yasuyoshi Chiba / Getty Images)

Today is the last day of the Olympic Games in Rio.  I'm in awe of what these athletes can do when they commit themselves to be their best.  They share one common bond we can all learn from.  It starts with a dream.  Once that seed germinates inside you and you nurture it with the right coaching, unstoppable determination and relentless practice, you may find yourself at the podium.  This is true in any adventure you pursue with all your heart.

The biggest lesson I learned from observing our athletes is to never give up.  These athletes don't believe in failure.  They believe every defeat is an opportunity to learn and grow.  I'm especially inspired by the older athletes who keep coming back even though the world assumes they are past their prime.  What are your favorite memories from the Olympics?  What lessons will you apply to your life?  Dream big and don't forget to practice.  Have a great day.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Laughter is the Best Medicine

I can finally laugh again without any pain.  It's day 12 post surgery and I'm feeling alive and well.  The stars are in alignment and I only see happy days ahead.  Today is family day.  I'm thankful the calendar is light and I can spend time with loved ones.  My prayer for you today is that you find a reason to laugh and your day is filled with joy.  Count your blessings.  Enjoy this special day.  Laugh often.  Be happy.  Have a great day.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Caveman at Work

I'm embracing my inner caveman while on a leave of absence from my day job and my cave is looking more like a construction zone rather than a dwelling place.  Writing season is at its peak and I'm busy harvesting a bumper crop of new ideas for publication.  It's a good thing creative thoughts are below my ten pound lifting restriction because I'm not even allowed to operate a lawn mower during my recovery.

The supervisor on duty may be invisible to onlookers but I assure you everything that's taking place in my life is attributed to a higher authority.  The road work may seem a little messy right now because this worker is still figuring out how to get through the construction zone.  I don't see the whole plan, only bits and pieces.  If all goes well, the cones will disappear on May 1, 2017.  Have a great day.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Doctor's Orders

No tennis for another 21 days.  No day job either.  I didn't ask for it but it appears my boss would like me to remain on the sidelines for another three weeks until all restrictions from my surgery are eliminated.  My doctor's orders are no lifting over ten pounds for thirty days and I need to lift fifty in order to be considered 100% fit for duty.  My teammates will need to carry me while I'm away.  This is one of those glass half full or half empty situations.  Is this a blessing or a curse?  Those who are close to me already know the answer.  I see the silver lining in the leave of absence.  I get twenty-one bonus days of writing.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

It's Back to My Day Job Today

How do you feel about the direction you're going with your life?  Do you have a job that matches your calling in life?  I'm one of the lucky ones.  I'm returning to my day job today after a two week absence.  My time away allowed me an opportunity to evaluate my long term goals and I feel like all the individual parts are coming together.  The reason for this is because of the relationships I've developed in every area of my life.  Now it's time to bring all these good people together for a project I'm working on outside my day job.

If you feel you're not getting the fulfillment you need from your job, ponder what steps you can take to turn things around.  The last thing you want to do is leave prematurely before you put a plan in place.  I don't see myself leaving my day job until the day I retire which is many years from now.  Set smart goals for your life.  Build on your achievements.  And don't ever quit your job unless you have a better in plan in place first.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

To Boldly Go – or Not, Every Writer's Conflict

Ask any writer what his greatest conflict is and the answer may surprise you.  For me, it's to write or not to write.  Most objections are silly.  Time, for example is perhaps the most common excuse writers give for not writing.  I'm calling Malarkey on this one.  Time is constant.  We all have the same amount of this resource.  Time is not the problem – it's the use of time that is the real challenge.

My greatest conflict is finding the balance in my life which at times feels like managing chaos.  My head is like an unbalanced washing machine spinning out of control.  I'm no Maytag repairman but I do believe I'm resolving some of the issues causing disorder in my life.  I've divided everything up into two categories – things I cannot change and things I can.  I pray for the wisdom to know which items go in the washing machine and which items go in the dryer and for all my laundry to come out presentable.

The metronome you see pictured above will be my most used tool to boldly go where successful writers go in pursuit of their writing dreams – publication.  It's the final step in a long journey filled with false starts, writers block, painful edits and self doubts.  If all goes well and I stay on beat, the final chapter will come out of the dryer on schedule and my next book will be released on May 1, 2017.  I'm boldly going.  Thanks for visiting.  Have a great day.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Mental Fitness Check

This has been one of my most interesting weeks ever.  One week ago at this time my surgeon was repairing a groin hernia.  He used a robot named Davinci to conduct the surgery with slender robot fingers that looked like something right of Star Trek.  Although the surgery was considered outpatient, I felt like someone whacked me in my midsection with a baseball bat and I needed some serious sleeping time in order to regain my composure.

It's hard for me to apply the brakes, especially when it comes to physical fitness.  The reality for me is that without allowing my body the necessary time to recover I'm at risk of undoing everything my surgeon did last week to heal my body.  My recuperation time gives me the opportunity to examine my mental fitness.  Your body won't go where your mind doesn't push it.  My only body parts working properly right now are my fingers and they're all I need during my down time this precious time I've been given to work on my next book.  If I'm going to pass this fitness test, I need my fingers to do the walking for the next nine months until I cross the finish line on May 1, 2017.  That's my mental fitness challenge.  What's yours?  What plans do you have to push your body this year?  Have a great day.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Why Writing a Book is Like Having a Baby

I'll never forget the moment my wife told me she was pregnant.  Everything changed.  That was a quarter of a century ago.  All three of her pregnancies were unique.  I don't know how we got everything ready in the nine short months leading up to delivery.  The same is true when you're creating something new, like a book.  I'm treating my next book as if it's a new member of our family so we can be better prepared for what's ahead.

Every child who comes into this world has a special purpose.  It's up to the parents to help their children discover what that purpose is.  For writers, books are extensions of themselves.  It's a way to share their hearts and souls in the stories they create.  That's how I feel with my next book.  My hope is that my little baby helps others have a better life.  Stay tuned.  There's more to this story.  I'm only fourteen days into my first trimester and I'm still discovering all the similarities between writing and parenting.  Thanks for visiting today.  Have a great day.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

You Can Make a Difference – Join the Caveman Miracle Network

Sick kids.  They're my motivation.  I want to help them and their families.  I'm putting a support group together from all walks of life to help them and you can make a difference.  Join me.  I'm donating my time and my talent to publish a book on May 1, 2017 and all the proceeds will be donated to Children's Hospital.  The book is about my own journey back to good health after discovering how what I was eating was silently killing me.  I'm better now, thanks to my cousin, a doctor who asked me to try his food experiment for 45 days.  My life couldn't be any better.  Now it's time to pay it forward and help others turn their lives around.

You can remain anonymous if you'd like or you can publicly support the Caveman Miracle Network.  Think of me as a new parent about to have a baby and consider what you can do to help me deliver a healthy book in nine months.  I'm looking for creative people, prayer warriors and anyone with a heart for helping sick kids.  Send me an email and let me know you're in.  Thanks for being a part of this.  Have a great day.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Lucidity Returns 96 Hours After Robotic Surgery

There are three things an author needs in order to write books – a compelling story, a support group and lucidity.  My first book, a memoir about my father's return home after a long absence, had all three ingredients although the recipe didn't taste quite right.  The support group, let by two experienced local writers and independent publishers, felt my story was compelling but they weren't sure about my lucidity.  The truth is, they thought my timeline for publishing within seven months was ludicrous.  They knew from experience that stories don't appear out of thin air.  Later they told me they were sure I was crazy but they humored me.  My story launched on time, even if my own lucidity was in the below freezing zone at times during the process.  My support group of 100 Angels in the Outfield made the difference.

"The Caveman in the Mirror" was mostly written in the basement of my new Iowa home, a dwelling place far from the comforts of my Southern California support group.  The story was haunting me from the insides and I published it hoping I could return to a normal life.  The haunting continues.  It's my destiny.  And my lucidity is heating up like an Olympic athlete coming out of retirement in search of another gold medal to add to his collection.  They don't give up no matter their biological age.  They refuse retirement.  Their destiny is the arena.  Fire burns in their eyes.  They inspire others with their determination.  And they don't let anything get in the way, including sports hernias, old age, or negative people who want you to falsely believe your best days are behind you.  I've been patient these last 96 hours, waiting for my body and my mind to come out of the fog after my surgery and now I see it – a compelling story that may influence others to have a better life.  The gestation period is nine months and I'm twelve days into my first trimester.  My lucidity is intact and now I need a support group of believers to help me deliver my next book.  If you're interested in joining me during the publishing process, stay tuned.  You will have a choice of joining my support group publicly or anonymously.  Come back tomorrow for the details.  Have a great day.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Day 3 – 72 Hour Post Op Robotic Surgery Report

72 hours after surgery.  Photo courtesy of my day nurse/awesome daughter.

It's been 72 hours since my blind date with Davinci at Grinnell Hospital on 8/08.  My pain meds are now cut in half and the last one will be swallowed tomorrow at 4:00 PM.  That means the fog in my brain from surgery will begin to lift four minutes shy of tomorrow's sunset at 8:12 PM once the last pill is fully absorbed.  I need coherency now more than ever.  I've had plenty of time to contemplate my pregnancy these last 72 hours.  For those of you new to this blog, welcome.  Yes, I did say I'm pregnant and yes, my pregnancy is somewhat odd given I'm a 56 year old heterosexual male.  The seed inside me is my third book scheduled for release on May 1, 2017.  I'll address the pregnancy in greater detail later.  Today's story is a progress report from my hernia surgery three days ago.  Here's the scoop:
  • Mrs. Caveman and our daughter split the nursing duties into two shifts.  My day nurse is taking me out to the movies later today before shift change, my first time out since surgery. 
  • The pain medicine makes me feel delirious and I'm sleeping through most of the days and nights.
  • I'm having strange dreams.  They're similar to the ones I had when I was writing my first novel, "The Caveman in the Mirror."  I'm calling them "identifier dreams" because they're helping me identify the people in my life who can assist me with my pregnancy and the roles they will play.  
  • Weight restriction is 10 pounds for 30 days.  Our son's Chihuahua weighs about seven pounds and that's about all the lifting I'm doing right now.
Useful tips for anyone considering hernia repair surgery:
  • Bring cough drops to the hospital.  When the doctors remove that tube they place inside your throat to pump up your stomach it makes you feel like there's a frog stuck inside.  You will want cough drops.
  • Surround yourself with loved ones.  You should not be alone, especially during the first 24 hours.
  • Get a massage prior to surgery.  Amy stopped by to offer me one an hour before surgery and she helped me to relax.  It was the highlight of my day.
  • Don't be a super hero.  You are human.  You need to rest and recover.  Slow down.  Sleep.
  • Don't worry about what your bowel is doing or not doing.  It takes time for your intestines to reawaken after surgery.
I'm super pleased with the staff at Grinnell Hospital, including Dr. Kuiper, the surgeon who recommended I go on a blind date with Davinci.  It's only been 72 hours since my date and I'm feeling great.  The advantage to robot assisted surgery is decreased recovery time and reduced risk of infection since only three small incisions are needed for Davinci to make repairs.  If you have a hernia, don't put it off.  It won't heal by itself.  Treat yourself to a blind date with Davinci and don't forget to include a massage.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Day 2 Post Surgery – Robot Assisted Laparoscopic Hernia Repair

Pardon me if I'm rambling this morning.  My doctor prescribed hydrocodone-acetaminophe tablets for post-op pain relief from my inguinal hernia repair surgery 48 hours ago and my mental state is on the fuzzy wuzzy side.  You have my permission to skip over this story today if you would rather wait for something more coherent on a later day.  If you're one of the lay people out there about to undergo hernia surgery, stay with me and I'll share what you can expect.

I promised a team update from our 4.0 men's 18+ doubles matches in Oklahoma last weekend and if you Click here, you can see the results.  The gentleman at the tournament desk said our team would get the award for the most super tiebreakers played if that were a category.  We came up short and got eliminated in the quarter finals against a tough Nebraska team.  All I can say about the experience is I want a mulligan so I can try again next year.  Despite the heat wave and the high humidity, I had the time of my life and I made it home in time for my hernia surgery on Monday morning, 8/08.  I'll share more about the tennis another day.  Time to get back to rest of the story on hernia repairs and how the last 48 hours have been.

My first post-op memory occurred at 11:01 when I looked at the clock and realized I was out of surgery.  I asked a series of questions in front of the hospital nurses and my private day nurse (our daughter volunteered to be my chauffeur and day nurse during recovery).  "You already asked these questions five times," the hospital nurse responded.  I looked at my daughter and her shoulder shrug confirmed I was up earlier than I can recall.

"What did I say?" I asked hesitantly, not sure if I wanted to know.

"You're rather talkative," my nurse said.  "We know all about your weekend of tennis, the 100 stomach crunches you did at home this morning because you wanted to stay in shape during recovery and we know all about the stretches you did in the parking lot before we opened this morning."

My nurse offered me crackers.  I declined.  "Not in my food program," I told her.  Our daughter was slinking in her chair, trying to disappear from the moment.  "What is in your food program?"  she asked, trying to use her polite voice, the kind you want to use when you're dealing with an @#s.

"Fruit would be great."

"How about an orange or a banana?"

"Both please."

While I savored my morning smoothie substitute (all food and drinks are off limits after midnight before surgery) the nurse handed me discharge papers that needed my approval prior to release.  I set up the follow up appointment not remembering my schedule and asked the nurse for another mulligan.

"This is the last time I'm changing your appointment," she told me, walking away to chat with the doctor for at least the third time.    When she returned she looked at me funny and said, "you already had this scheduled!"  Please keep in mind these folks gave me five star service throughout my experience.  My only critique here is to put off scheduling until the patient is past the deer-in-the headlights stage at 11:01 after 8:08 surgery.

Those of you reading this now know what kind of state of mind you can expect at the 48 hour mark because that's where I am in real time as I type this message.  I truly hope you don't get scared and walk away.  The truth is robot assisted laparoscopic surgery for hernia repairs is the way to go.

When I started to come out of it, I realized there was some strange pain in my right shoulder area.  This surprised me because I'm left-handed so I didn't attribute the pain to my weekend of tennis.  This is a reaction to having your stomach inflated to the size of a mother about to give birth to twins.  The other odd thing I noticed when I went to the bathroom for the first time is that I had some kind of half- brazilian hair cut on my private parts.  I'm guessing  they did this in case they needed to cut me open for traditional surgery had Davinci encountered trouble.

The other thing I noticed is I couldn't have a bowel movement right away.  This is unusual for me because I'm very regular.  It's as if my bowel went through military training.    I was on the toilet about every four hours praying for something to happen other than urinating.  My other private nurse in charge of the night shift kept asking, "are you there yet?"

You can't force a bowel movement when you're recovering from hernia surgery.

This morning I returned to my standard Mulligan Big Gulp Smoothie with an egg on the side covered in tomato, onion and nuts.  My stomach gurgled signaling an answer to my prayers to raise up my small intestines from the dead.  Let's just say that one more inch and the "Big Kahuna" would have been classified as a foot.  This not ready for prime time event took place at the 47th hour mark.

I've been taking two tablets every four hours for the pain which doesn't seem bad, except when I try to wean myself and the pain returns.  I'm in good hands with my private nurses and all my friends and family members who are checking up on me.  In case my night nurse happens to read this, it's important for me to point out the only reason she didn't drive me is because I was soooooo stubborn about doing the surgery on 8/08, the same day one of her coworkers was on vacation.  It was probably better that she didn't see me misbehaving at the hospital.  My only complaint with my night nurse is that she wouldn't let me bring Wilson with me to the hospital.  By the way, Wilson is the only family member I'm allowed to photograph for my stories.  

That's my Day 2 Post Surgery Hernia Repair Report.  The bottom line here is don't put off the surgery and go with Davinci if you're offered the choice.  Don't worry.  Be happy.  Have a great day.  I'll be back tomorrow at 8:08 AM for another story.  Thank you for humoring me and keeping in touch.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

My Blind Date with Davinci Ends Happily

My blind date with Davinci, a robot my surgeon, Dr. Nicholas Kuiper set me up with to repair my groin hernia ended happily yesterday.  I don't recall anything about our time together.  In fact, I slept through the whole experience and never laid eyes on her $2 million dollar body.  Davinci's profile picture from the hospital website shows off slender fingers and a figure resembling an alien from outer space sent to attack us.  Looks can be deceiving.  I'm thankful for my time with her.  She made me feel human again.  Davinci's purpose in life is to be less invasive than traditional surgery.  The only remnants of our time together are three quarter-sized incisions Davinci made in my midsection which she used to insert a mesh material and patch the tear in my groin.

All is well now.  I'll be back on the tennis courts soon and I owe it all to Davinci and her human team of doctors and staff at Grinnell hospital.  Consider arranging a date with her if you are ever in need of surgical repairs.  I'm still recovering from my experience with my hernia repairs yesterday and promise to share more about our team's playoff adventures in Oklahoma last weekend once the sedation wears off.  Dr. Kuiper will be sending me a video of our date and I'll post it for those of you interested in robotic surgery.  Have a great day.

Monday, August 8, 2016

My Most Memorable 808 of All Times

It's lights out for me at approximately 8:08 this morning.  I'm going to sleep so my doctor can repair my groin hernia.  I gave him permission to film the adventure.  He's using a robot named Davinci to get the job done.  Check back tomorrow and I'll share the rest of the story.  In case you're wondering about the relevance of the above picture to today's story, it was shot with a Nokia 808 Pureview.  The number 808 keeps popping up everywhere.  I just hope I'm not dreaming this story and that I'm not the guy hanging on the edge of the cliff.  Hopefully the good doctor will wake me up and I can get back to reality.  Dream or no dream,  this 8/08 day is a cliff hanger.  Night night!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Heading Home Today

It's time to come home.  I can't share the end our fairy tale story yet because this message was written in advance before the tournament started in Oklahoma City.  Only one team out of eight will be offered a spot in the national tournament next month and I'm crossing my fingers our dream season is still going for one more month.  The picture above reminds me that life is really an unpredictable wilderness trail.  I'll be sharing photos on Tuesday.  Thanks for visiting today.  Have a great day.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Hello from Oklahoma City

I'm on the road today for a regional tennis tournament in Oklahoma City.  This story was written in advance before I left on Wednesday.  It's day 2 of our match play and if all goes well, we'll play more tennis tomorrow before returning home.  I'm thankful to be a part of a special group of men striving to be the best we can be.  We brought nine players and need eight for every round so there's no room for slacking.  The good news is our match schedule.  We are playing early morning and evenings the first two days which means we don't have to worry about the midday temperatures which are creeping into triple digits.

I'll be posting team pictures and results on next week on Tuesday.  Have a great day.

Friday, August 5, 2016

It's Day One of Match Play in Oklahoma City

We're on the courts twice today in Oklahoma City.  It's the moment we've been dreaming about since early in the season when our team went on a roll.  I got nervous when I took a spill on the courts in February and felt some pain in my groin.  It wouldn't heal so I visited my doctor and he told me I needed hernia repair surgery.  I didn't reveal this to my teammates until after we won the state championship.  All I need to do is hold my body together for three more days and then I can get repaired.

Stay tuned for the rest of the story.  I'll have some updates on Tuesday.  Have a great day.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Creativity Spigot is Wide Open

Creativity is a precious resource.  Ask any writer who's in the middle of a drought why the creativity isn't flowing and you'll hear all kinds of answers.  I don't know what happened but once my spigot opened up earlier this week I went into a frenzy trying to catch my creativity before it evaporated.  It wouldn't stop.  I wrote everything down in real time and ran out of space on my giant wall board.  I'm grateful for the river of blessings flowing my way and I'll find a way to stay afloat at one of the craziest times in my life.  I'm on the road today and the next three days it's tennis, tennis, and more tennis, followed by a ten hour road trip home.  Then I meet Davinci, the robot manned by my surgeon.  I'm in need of a hernia repair and the good doctor says robotic surgery reduces recovery time.  That's a good thing for me because I'm following a strict timeline to get my next book self-published and the only thing missing was a strong burst of creativity to get me going.  The drought is officially over.  I'm ready to write.  Stay tuned for the rest of the story.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

I'm Feeling Sparky Today

Mrs. Caveman calls me Sparky.  The nickname reflects how I feel on the inside today – lively and energetic.  I'm headed to Oklahoma City this afternoon for a Midwest regional tennis tournament.  The weather forecast calls for highs of 100º throughout the playoffs.  My time growing up in Arizona in the Valley of the Sun prepared me well for what's ahead this weekend.  My high school buddies at SHS gave me another nickname that's still appropriate nearly four decades later – Miguelito Saltón, meaning "little Mike jumping."  A tiny voice inside my head will be whispering on the courts, "fly like an eagle, Sparky, fly."  My legs may be 56 years old but my heart never ages and I'm ready for a memorable weekend.

Enjoy your week and stay cool.  I'll be back in touch Tuesday.  I need to meet with Davinci for outpatient surgery to repair a groin hernia on Monday, 8/08 after we finish our matches in Oklahoma City.  I'll let you know if I'm still feeling Sparky after my date with Davinci.  Have a great day.  ¡Adios amigos!  Sparky out.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

My Bags are Packed

With the exception of one final item, my bags are packed and I'm ready to go for our regional playoffs in Oklahoma City this weekend.  I won't stash away my Vitamix in my suitcase until after breakfast tomorrow.  It's my secret weapon for endurance and stamina on the tennis courts.  My morning smoothies give me the boost I need to keep up with the younger players in the 18+ division.

The road trip begins tomorrow.  This is a dream vacation for me.  I can't wait to be on the tennis courts with my teammates.  The competition is fierce and we're well prepared, especially for the 100º temperatures.  I plan to stay cool with my favorite smoothie, an original recipe I've been fine tuning for the last year and a half.  I'm going to be out of touch until next Tuesday morning.  I have a date with Davinci on Monday, 8/08, after returning home from the playoffs late Sunday evening.  Stay tuned for results.  Have a great day. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

I'm Cleared for Surgery on 8/08

8/08 is one week away and it's going to be my most memorable one ever.  I have a date with Davinci, the robot my surgeon is manning to repair my groin hernia.  Mrs. Caveman is a little nervous because I'm pushing my body really hard in the final days leading up to the surgery.  My tennis team is traveling to Oklahoma City for the next round of tennis playoffs and we will be playing a lot of tennis in extreme weather conditions this weekend.  I probably won't be home until about eight hours from surgery.

The people I work with at my day job are asking what I'm going to be doing during my time off for recovery after the surgery.  I may be flat on my back but I'll be just as busy putting my next book together.  The release date is exactly nine months from today.  There's so much to do but I'm not stressing.  The key is to break everything down into a three trimester plan and then execute the plan, one day at a time, one chapter at a time.  I set up my outline yesterday once I discovered I was pregnant with my third book.  My surgeon may have a challenge navigating around my little baby while he completes repairs to my body but I'm going to tell him not to worry – this next book isn't in my belly, it's in my heart.  My heart goes out to all the people struggling with bigger issues than outpatient surgery for a hernia.  I'm writing this next book to inspire others to make changes in their lives that may prevent bigger problems like cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, strokes and heart attacks.  I'll be thinking about how Children's Hospital will use the proceeds from this next book to help sick kids.  Yes, there's much to do in the next nine months and I'm not slowing down, not even during recovery time.  Thanks for accompanying me on the journey.  Have a great day.