Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?

Well, it’s been a month now since I abandoned PJ back in the land of ice and snow returning to Carlsbad to take care of the dogs and see to business here in Southern California. It’s been a long time apart but we’re dealing with it so far. PJ helps her mom with the day to day living in Warwick and I check off the days until the installation of my new hip. We’ve all been in a major funk since Pete passed away and just get through the passing weeks one day at a time. I’m thoroughly lacking any motivation or inspiration but keep plodding forward.

PJ auditioning to sing for Pussy Riot

The first week back, I connected with a group of friends at a meditation retreat at the Oceanside Mission. We got quiet and sat together sharing our practice, spending time in contemplation and lending each other support. A good weekend and timely uplift for my flagging spiritual program. Having long time friends that I can share the innermost difficulties I’m going through with is priceless.

Spent a week or so at my Dad’s house doing what I could to help him get through his second total knee replacement. His partner Sandy is a gem looking after his every post surgical need and making sure he doesn’t shirk any of his recuperative exercises. I mostly hung around eating their famous poached eggs and making sure there was always at least one dog underfoot. Raymond is an amazing healer. At 89 years young, he was up and walking around the house from day one on his new titanium bionic joint. He had the other knee done less than a year ago, so he’s good for another 100,000 miles.

I figured we had shed enough hair on the hardwood floors to last a while, so I booked some camp sites at the beach to go lay low for the weeks leading up to my total hip replacement. I got the date set for February 20th and spent the last few weeks doing pre-op stuff, going to the dentist and nursing a tweaked back. The first week, I camped at Carlsbad State Beach. It was fairly quiet but filled up on the weekend. I mostly kept to myself, heading out occasionally for a meeting or to visit with friends. As a pleasant coincidence, I ran into my friend Jeff camping just a few sites down. I’ve known Jeff and his family since we were young skateboarding hooligans and we spent much of our free time traveling and surfing in the Mexico of the 70s and 80s. We settled into meaningful conversations comfortably as if no time had passed at all. When it came time to move down to San Elijo, I moved the car first and he followed me down in his classic VW and gave me a ride back to pick up the RV. Muchas gracias, ‘Mano.

The past week I have been hanging at San Elijo State Beach keeping a low profile and tending to the canines. My friend Danny, Jeff’s brother, walked down from his pad and spent some time hanging at the camp. We caught up on our current situations and he helped talk me off the ledge when I was getting freaked out about having my bones sawn apart and metal pieces hammered into my body.

This is the rock we sat on when I proposed to my wife, my dearest valentine ❤️

The campground closed the entire area south of me for maintenance so I had a nice camper free zone all week for walking the dogs and having some open space. My friend Chris grabbed me one night and we went to some hip new pizza joint in Encinitas where some single dads turned a pack wailing kids loose so they could hang together and drink beer. We did our best to have a conversation in the din of the hollow wood paneled space. Pizza rocked and it was good to get some clearer perspective on my current less than sunny outlook on life talking with Chris.

Green Flash!

The rest of the week was pretty uneventful. A follow up pre-op visit and an appointment with the chiropractor. One day, I got into an altercation with the cool surf kid camped next to me. I was sitting outside with Koda when I was snapped to attention by sudden violent movement in the bushes behind our camps. He had laid out a banana peel and bread to bait the squirrels and was flinging a knife and then some big rocks trying to kill them. For some reason, this riled me up enough to walk over and ask him what the f#*@ he was doing. He said some lame shit about the squirrels getting into his food. I told him he shouldn’t be camping if he didn’t like the outdoors and picked up his bait and tossed it in the trash. I must have looked a little psycho when I was saying what the f#*@‘s wrong with you as I was walking off because he didn’t have anything more to say. Usually I’d feel a little unsettled after something like this, but I felt strangely calm and okay with it. Anyhow, camping at Cardiff was kind of a bust. I was still dealing with back issues and the kook didn’t even get dressed up for Valentine’s Day. The local vandals are off their game.

Please…Don’t murder me

Take cover

On Friday, I moved the RV back to my dad’s side yard and hooked it up. Danny drove out later and picked me up to take me back out to Cardiff and get the car. My second ride in a classic Vanagon Syncro this outing. He and Jeff have similar 4 wheel drive VW vans. They’ve always been VW guys all the way back to their first cars in the 70s, a tradition passed down from their father. Jeff was always the master mechanic we would corner whenever we needed help working on our VWs. Their dad, Durham and Danny were no slouches when it came to fixing cars either and we all did our own work on our cars back in those days. They even kept a spare rebuilt engine on hand in the shop for changing out at a moment’s need. I don’t think kids today can even change a tire. They have an app for that.

Yesterday, I drove out to Encinitas for another chiropractic visit with Dr. Wofford then I met up with my old friends Dave and Shannon down at Dave’s beach shack on 2nd street. He’s making some major life changes and after the tradition for many years of hosting the Saturday surf club at his house, he’s moving out to start a new phase in his life. So we gathered on the front porch to talk about where we are at in life now and to reminisce about times gone by. It’s been an amazing ride watching each other’s lives unfold and change over the past 30 plus years with more untold chapters to come.

We used to be the young guns. What happened?

Here I am back at the Casa del Ray making final preparations for tomorrow’s hip surgery. I’ve been pretty down for the past months and I’m looking forward to making a new start along with my bionic hip. I haven’t had the desire to blog, write or do much of anything. Sometimes wonder what’s the point. It’s interesting, the people that say to write more about how you feel rather than about RV maintenance have been the ones to go critical when I’ve shared how I’ve felt about the hard passages we’ve had to navigate this past year. I figure maybe someone reading might be next up for a joint replacement, so I’m going to log the recovery process to see where the new hip can take me. I check in at 5:30 tomorrow morning to go under the knife. Say a prayer for me and keep the faith. Oh yeah and somebody please feed the dog.

Went down to the barber and got a ‘pre-op’ haircut

12 thoughts on “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?

  1. Mike – keeping you in my prayers for your hip surgery. Allen has had both done recently and now has a new outlook on life and exercise! Ohhmmmmmmmmmm

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  2. Sending you healing prayers. Knowing you are coming out of this like a new man with flexible hips. See you in my yoga class soon😘
    Much love to you both.

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  3. There art thou dear brother!!
    So happy to see you’ve refound your blogging voice but so sorry you and PJ have had to walk through all this intense adversity.
    Sending you tons of healing energy and please let me know if I can help in any way…and when I get to hang out w you again!
    Love ya brother. Here’s to the new and improved you!!

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  4. Great to hear that you are taking care of your hip. Having less pain/restrictions in your life will be euphoric!

    All the best,

    Tom H.

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  5. OMG I love you soooo much my Beautiful Soulful Husband. Wonderful pics and the Best bloggin. You have no idea how amazing you are, but I do. Praying for you all night and forever and ever and ever.

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  6. Mike good luck with your procedure tomorrow. You are in my prayers and from what you said you are in good hands. I’ll be checking in with you.
    Love You Bro,
    Dave

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  7. Prayers for you all. My mom had a hip replacement a few years back. Changed her life! Looking forward to seeing and following your recovery!

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