Latest Entries »

Enterance to Ice Hotel Quebec 2006

On an ice couch

Booth in the Bar

Having a drink

In the ice chapel


My Wretched Spine

As some of you reading this already know, I have had back problems for the past twelve years.  I have had surgery on my back on two different occasions on three levels of my lower back.  As some of you also already know, I am having back problems again.

My real serious back problems began when I was only twenty four years old. I used to work for a heavy duty truck parts (18 wheelers etc) supplier  and injured myself lifting very heavy parts in a situation that did not allow for proper body mechanics.I was unable to walk any distance at all and the pain was intense.  After numerous failed therapies, back surgery.  After the surgery I felt like a brand new man, but was warned that I would most likely need surgery again.

Fast forward to six years later: I was once again unable to walk any distance all and then one day I stepped out of the shower and fell down and was unable to get back up,  due to the severity of the pain.  Surgery was scheduled with some haste and once again I felt like  a new man. I was allowed back to work fairly quickly, because then I had a management job and spent a large amount of time behind a desk.

I left my management position about six months after the surgery and was once again in the trenches pulling, wrestling, and physically manipulating patients and medical equipment. Not a very smart move for a guy that has had multiple surgeries on multiple levels of his spine. The problems is I enjoy what I do and I am damn good at it, especially trauma situation, what a rush. Alas, not so good for the spine.

So here we are today, six years since my last surgery, with numbness  half way down my right calf all the way through my foot.  I am used to a little flair up now and again, such is the life of someone who has destroyed their spine. The first clue that this was no ordinary flare up came on a Sunday, as I was in a store looking at a shirt. All of a sudden sever pain began and I was unable to support my weight on my right leg.  I managed to survive without an ER visit, but was in my Dr.’s office the very next day, begging for relief.

I have had since had a MRI, results not so promising,  an EMG ( a nerve and muscle conduction test), results pending, and a pain management injection, which in some ways seems to have caused more pain.  I go back to the specialist on Wednesday evening, to find the results of my EMG and see what he thinks my best of course action is.

This is the beginning of my third week of no work. At least I had some vacation time that covered me up till now,  and  I have disability insurance that will provide a whole 60% of my wages, of which neither includes the shift differential bonus for working the night shift.

It feels like insult to injury that I can’t accomplish any of the hundreds of tasks, that up till now I had no time to do.  The simple act of unloading the dishwasher is a tiring and painful tasks.  I save the bulk of my energy for Max, while Tabitha is at work .  I am usually a pretty self sufficient and independent person, now I am back to relying on others in a way that I do not enjoy.

I do not write this for any sympathies, I write it for me. I write it to help prepare myself for the answers I am going to get on Wednesday. I keep hoping otherwise,  and denying the facts that I already know.

Now that you read this, you know about my wretched spine.

Steve AKA FatherNoRest

As I was laying down with Max , I started to ponder on what a baby thinks about this wild and crazy world around us. A world where something is always new and changing. We the parents are their constant. We are what they turn to when all else fails or just when they want love and comfort. As a man I can speak more to the role of Dad in this.

When a child is very young, Daddy can do no wrong. If it is broken Daddy can fix it. If is broken beyond Daddy’s ability to repair, well then that was the way it was meant to be all along. Generally speaking Daddy is Superman.
I am going through that stage of Daddy-hood with Max right now. If Daddy coughs, Max fakes a cough. If his toy doesn’t make the noise that is expected, he hands it to me. Usually it is the act of flipping the switch to the on position, but in his young eyes I have performed nothing short of a miracle. Max has taken to bouts of walking with my cane and letting his right leg kind of drag behind, because that is how Daddy is currently walking. Sure it is a little difficult for him to mimic, but he tries, because his Daddy must be doing it the right way.

As much as any Daddy, I enjoy these moments and bask in the hero-worship, but it will eventually come to an end. Many Dads dread that day, they agonize over their child realizing Daddy is imperfect and that he is but a man. I say don’t fret this change, but embrace it because what comes after is much more amazing.

Jared, Emerald and Isaiah are past the stage believing Daddy is perfect. They know that Daddy has limitations. Daddy can not fix everything.They know that Daddy has a short temper at times,that Daddy is not Superman.

So what is so much better about this? Why do I tell you to embrace this change? It is simple, they love me no less than they ever did. They see Daddy as a human being, who loves them and cares for them with all he can. They see my imperfections and yet, I am still loved. Simply speaking, despite my best efforts, I am but human and will often come up short of perfect. With all this realization, they still very much love me. I have no doubt in my heart and mind that this is so.

New Dads, enjoy being Superman while you can, but don’t dread the day that the illusion is gone. Embrace the fact that you can be human, with all the imperfections that entails, and still be so loved by your children

Thanks for reading
Steve AKA FatherNoRest

The Beautiful Bride ( Date should read 9/3/05)

Kiss the Bride

Not only was this cake beautiful, it was delicious too

First dance to "Take My Breath Away" She still does

I recently asked my three oldest children a simple, but yet very complex question. What does family mean to you. Each one typed up a quick meaning for me and I am very proud to share with you their responses. These are their own independent thoughts and are presented to you with out editorial changes:

First we hear from Isaiah, my middle son 12 years old.

I think family is people you can trust. Family should be dependable not people who make you be independent for everything you need to do. They are people who you can go to for advice or talk to when you have problems. Family should always love no matter what you do (endless love). Family can help you when you need the help.  Family can’t try to change you, they should love you for you.

Second  comes from Emerald, my only daughter 14 years old.

Whenever I hear the word family I think of people who were put in your life that you trust and can go to when you need them.  Family doesn’t necessarily have to be people who you’re related to you could have someone you’re really close and that knows everything about you and they could be considered as family. Family is people that don’t try to change you because they accept you and love you just the way you are. You may not trust or like how some of your family members are but you should love them and at least try to make a bond with them because whether you like it or not there stuck in your life forever.  Family tends to have a big impact on your life because at times they may teach you life lessons, you may learn something new from them and some you even look up to and you want to be like them.  I think the most important thing about family is trust because if you don’t trust one another then things could be horrible and things could go wrong but if you trust one another then you’ll have a close bond and wouldn’t be as bad because you’ll trust one another to get you through whatever it is you’re going through. Family plays a big role in your life and it always will be, so appreciate your family

Finally Jared, my oldest son 18 years old

When people say the word family, the emotions conjured up vary based on who you say that to. Some people have a distasteful idea of family, others have a fondness of family, and others have no grasp of the concept at all. When asked to write this paragraph, I wasn’t excited to say the least. Which family? My family at my Mom’s house? My family at my Dad’s house? My extended family though the church? I had no idea what to say. As I type, I see one  reoccurring factor in each, so much so that they are not 3 separate entities, but one giant family, whether each part realizes it or not.  The factor is compassion.  When one person in any parts of my family is weakened, my entire family gets stronger. When my stepdad was diagnosed with lymphoma, my church showered us in prayer and encouragement via calls, visits, flowers, and encouraging facebook messages, and my dad and stepmom also let us know that he was in their thoughts.  Not many families have a father and his wife that are concerned about the ex-wife’s husband. The church and my family at mom’s all stepped up and prayed for my father when his back went out.  Only a fraction of my family is represented in this short paragraph, I have family through my dad, through my mom, and through my stepdad that I would have to start my own blog to give due credit to them. I thank God for the family I have, and that if at any point in my life, any part of my family is going through a trying time, the rest of my family will be there to make it less difficult.

Though they where reluctant, All three children came through with sincere and meaningful contributions to this post.  It’s time like these that I set back and bask in the wonderful nature of my children.

Thanks for Reading


Dinner on the Floor

Last night I ate my dinner laying  in the floor. No I wasn’t in trouble and regulated to the dog house, it was the only way I could comfortably enjoy my meal in the same room as my family.

As some of you know, I have chronic back trouble from an injury in my early twenties. You know, back when I had big biceps, big shoulders, an even bigger ego but not such a big stomach.  Over the weekend I had a major relapse, probably the worst my back has been since my most recent surgery six years ago.  Finding a place/position of comfort is next to impossible when you have a disc bulging and pressing on nerve roots.

Tabitha (aka @unsung_0ne aka The Beautiful Bride) took time to grill us steak with  portabella mushrooms and a throw together a fantastic homemade mac and cheese. A perfect dinner for us all to pull up to the table and enjoy with a few candles lit in the center piece, just to celebrate that we have the time to sit down and eat together during the week. This was such a luxury, until I tried to sit at the table.

I came into the dinning room, with mouth watering over the beautiful meal that awaited.  As I sat at the table that all too familiar feeling of electricity rushing down my leg and muscle spasms began. I tried several different positions in the chair to no avail. It was not in the cards for me to sit at the table and have my meal.

Rather than ruin the effort the beautiful bride put forth in making this lovely dinner, I laid down on the floor and adjusted until I could find a position of relief and had her hand my plate down to me. Our dinner,a little confusing to Max,  continued on with me eating from the floor as they ate from the table.

Of course this was not the ideal way to share a family dinner, but we did manage to have a dinner that was not rushed. A dinner that we could actually have time to have conversation, something that is too often missed during the week because of the hectic schedules we are under. So I was very content to eat my dinner from the floor.

Max and Sissy enjoy the weather

Brothers enjoying the weather

Beach Playground

At the playground

Simple Pleasures

With the abundance of expensive gadgets and distractions available, it is nice to know my children can still enjoy the simple pleasures of life.  Hopefully, as they grow older and go about their lives they remember these activities fondly.

One such pleasure is a trip to the beach with a cooler full of beverages and fried chicken or sandwiches. We all have a different idea of what makes a wonderful day at the beach. Whether it’s sitting under an umbrella reading a book, working on a tan, swimming, surfing or simply enjoying the view, we all get to have an a great time.  The best part is we all gather around the cooler to enjoy our refreshments together.

Fishing is another such simple pleasure . We again load up a cooler and grab our fishing poles and swing out to the a local fishing pier or similar location.  Of course fishing is a lot more fun if you are catching something, but that is not a prerequisite for a grand family time.

A late evening favorite around here, having dinner around the fire pit in the backyard. Be it bratwurst cooked on the grill or sausages and hot dogs cooked over the open fire, this is truly a simple and fun family activity.

Of course their are numerous other activities we enjoy, but none encourage open and honest conversation the way these do.

What are some of the simple pleasure you enjoy with your family?

Guardian Angels

My Mother, Nana to her grandchildren, was a very important part of our lives. She was a major influence on who we all became and are learning to be. Unfortunately, she was taken from us in June 2005, at the young age of 47.

Jared, Emerald, Isaiah and I have very fond memories of Nana to carry with us. She will be the voice we hear when our conscience speaks and will be the nagging intuition to choose correctly, when the choice is hard or hazy. We have this because of the lessons she taught us, with all the love a person could ever give.  Those of who received her lessons  are fortunate indeed.

Max does not have first hand interactions with his Nana to learn these lessons, but she will be a major influence in his life. I am not only speaking of the lessons we will pass on to him, or the example we will try to live up to.  She will do this by being his guardian angel.

Earlier this week it came very clear that she is Max’s guardian angel.  Max and I were laying down for his nap, and he was doing his “DaDa baby, night night” routine. As he was drifting off to sleep he said, “Nana baby” .  I am sure the naysayers will claim confusion, verbal slip up, or any other meaningless reason.  The message Mom was sending is as clear as the tear forming in my eye, she still watches over us.

Thanks for Reading

Steve AKA FatherNoRest