Monday, November 4, 2019

Queen and Crown's Fencing Championships - 2019 Edition

It was a good day.

With all that happened during rapier champions, the thing that will stick out the most was Evan calling out, "I believe in you daddy!" during my semi-final fight with Rowan Hershberger. At that moment, no matter what then end results of the day were, I was the winner. This kid, my son, he's just the best I could have ever wished for.

I started the day doing single passes with friends. I had wanted to get a pass in with every member of the Order of the Golden Rapier present. I missed a few through the day but will hunt them down at a later time.

There were 68 fencers entered into the tournament, so I had a pool of 9. In my pool were, D.Sterling McGuire, Collin Monro, Thomas V. Berger, Bridgette Yvette, Josh Hoh and others. I was fortunate to come out of the pool.

In the round of 16, I faced Juliean Galak, M.T. Murphy, and Meg Swanton. Good grief, they are all so good. I made it to the semi finals where I ran into the killing machine that it's Rowan. At the start of our last pass is when I heard Evan call out to me. I asked her for a moment and went over to give him a big hug. She asked if I was ready to resume. At that point, nothing mattered more than trying to make him proud of me, as a fencer, but more so as a dad. Rowan bested me to take her place in the finals, rightfully.

After the bout, I was a mess for all good reasons. The love from my family, making them proud; adrenalin crash; and the emotions of knowing this was the last time I'd be fencing like that in a tournament, as I'd decided months ago this was my last tournament until I can get my ankle fixed. I started fencing in the SCA as a way to keep moving after I smashed the ankle in 2002. The pain after activity now impacts my life, and I hate having to tell Evan that I can't do things with him because of the pain. He's such a good kid, so thoughtful and caring, and I want to do all the things I can with him.

But heck, what a way to go out, doing a thing that I love. At court, Evan was called up and received a token for being inspiring. I was then presented with The Cloak of Perseverance by the Queen and the Ladies of the Rose:…

It was a very good day.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Balfar's Challenge Recap

Balfar's Challenge was this past weekend.  I had scheduled some pickup fights last week, as I was not planning on participating in the melees.  I had my gear packed up on Friday night.  Saturday morning, I left the house early to pick up Edana.  I got to her place around 7 and we were onsite and parked at 9:30.  I am very glad we got there early, so we could get parking that was close.

After trolling in, I got dressed in as many layers as I could be comfortable in.  It was cold, windy, and it drizzled every now and again.  I had the popup with me, but took it down when the winds decided to shift.  This was after it broke the two next to me, picking up one and tossing it into the parking lot.  Thankfully it didn't damage any of the cars there.

  1. After getting suited up and ready, I fought Don Robert Earlson.  It was a very fun, challenging series of passes.  
  2. They I fought Alastair Tucker with my feder.  He took his longsword.  He is quickly becoming one of those people that I plan to seek out and fence at all opportunities.  He's a very fun fight.
  3. Next up as Master Caine Ramsey.  Like always, a very fun fight.  He told me I was leaning way in, as he could not remember the last time he ever had a clean shot at my head.
  4. I then did a single pass with Don (to become Master later that day) Llewellyn Walsh as part of his vigil.  I had him on range and was able to catch his shot with my hand and deflect it out of the way.  He is a great addition to the peerage and I am very proud of my nephew.
  5. Master Remy Delemontagne da Gascogne was my next fight.  I was getting control of his blade but then as he pointed out, I was doing nothing with it.  I was trying to force him to attack or react, and then counter from there, but I was not doing such a good job.  By that point the flied of mud had gotten worse, and not wanting to move my feet much, I was not taking advantage where I could have.  Lesson learned, now to try and implement it.
  6. Dona Lilias de Cheryngton was my next opponent.  For some reason, I kept getting bound by her offhand.  Maybe I had been relying on my dagger to much on the close that day.  I'm not sure why I kept winding up where I did not want to be.  I wish I had video of it.
  7. My last opponent of the day was Don Brendan Firebow.  A spirited set of bouts with an opponent who knows me well, and whom I know just as well.  We are very evenly matched overall.  Again, I was finding his blade but not gaining on it.  HE showed me a few things, and I hope to put that into practice.
While fencing Don Brendan, my right foot started to cramp, which means that shortly thereafter my ankle would be done for the day.  I took a break, hoping to be able to fence more.  I wanted to pick some more fights, but instead helped Sir Antonio run some authorizations.  I was hoping to get some passes with him, but after the authorization bout i fought against Oscar, I was toast.  It started to drizzle more, so I packed my gear away in the car, and grabbed an ice pack for the ankle.  

While the melee drills were going on, I was able to give Oliva and Dominico a little advice from the sidelines.  

All packed up, my ankle was starting to throb, so I was just waiting for Edana to be ready to go.  While I would have loved to stay for court, between the ankle, the long drive, and the weather, I just wanted to be on my way.  We were making good time getting home but hunger had hit, so while stopped for a bathroom break at a rest area, I checked on places to eat in Stamford, CT.   We wound up at a place called: Bedford Hall.  The food was delicious.  Edana and I bouth ordered the same things: Onion Soup and Shrimp and Grits.  We split the fried Brussels sprouts appetizer and a dessert.  If I am ever passing through that way again and I am hungry, I will be sure to go back.

Traffic was thankfully not too bad, even on the Cross Bronx.  We made it back to her place where I dropped her off and then I was home around 10:45 after stopping for gas.  Glad to be home, I popped some Advil and then off to sleep I went.

I missed a lot of people I had hoped to get some passes with.  I hope to catch them and more next time I am out at an event... and oh look, I will be at Crown Tournament and I hear there is a place for fencing pickups.  I plan to bring my gear so if you are going and want to fence, please let me know.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Upcoming: Balfar's Challenge

I am looking forward to Balfar's Challenge this weekend.  My plan is to do all thepickups I can.  I have "picked" fights with people who I don't get to see or fence often.  I am planning to skip the melees to preserve my ankle and knee.  Let's see how this works out.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Brain Dump

I need to do a bit of a brain dump so the stress doesn't get to me too much. 

Wednesday night at fencing practice, I was feeling well.  I had some good fights with Lissa, with both of us using curved blades.  I had some great passes with Andre .  I was enjoying my passes with Thomas DeCastellan, until I wasn't.  My leg shifted over the ankle and I was done for.  Just when I start to feel good and am getting back into the swing of things, something happens to hamper any progress.  It is so damn frustrating.  My legs were finally feeling better after Mudthaw.

In non-fencing news, work is going well, if not a little slow at the moment.  My projects are all in a state where they are on autopilot after this weekend's go live.  Thankfully that went smoothly  It's about thing that went smooth all weekend. 

Saturday was my neice's play.  We went and saw he in a production of Matlida.  It was very cute.  Afterwards, we went to my parent's house to help clean some things up that we had left.  Evan was not looking too good or feeling too well.  He went inside and laid down.  We left to come home in the late afternoon.  He fell asleep in the car, and his breathing, even while asleep, was rapid and shallow.  This is on top of the persistant cough he has had for a while.  When we got home, he ate a little, but his breathing was still rapid.  Checking his o2 level, it was a bit low, so we gave him a nebulizer treatment.  Afterwards, his o2 levels had little response to the neb and he was running a fever.  So we packed up some stuff and off to the pediatric ER we went.

We got there a little after 9 PM.  After taking his vitals, they took a chest x-ray and then started another nebulizer.  His levels were not coming up to normal.  They gave him a steroid and antibiotics.  A second neb treatment and a little while later, he vomitted.  They started him on oxygen.  I ran home to get him some clean PJs, and get some more caffine for Jennie and I.  At some point earlier, Murray had come by with coffee and iced tea for us. 

They admitted him and finally moved him up to a room around 3:00 AM.  Jennie was going to stay with him, so I went home to try and get some sleep.  I got about 3 hours of sleep, took a shower, packed some more stuff and headed to the hospital.  I picked up some munchkins and coffee.  When I got there, Evan was awake.  His o2 level was still low.  Overnight, they gave him two nebulizers while he was asleep.  My parents came down to spend time with him and us, providing support. 

At his 2 PM breathing treatment, they switched to an inhaler, now every 4 hours; instead of the nebulizer every 2.  The inhaler is much easier and a whole lot faster.  At this point, his o2 levels were starting to come back into the low end of the normal range.  By the 6 PM check in and breathing treatment by the doctor and the respiratory tech, they were satisified with the progress and the doctor was going to get the discharge paperwork together.  Unfortunately, the local pharmacy we used was already closed, so Jennie had to go out early on Monday to get his medications.  Exhausted when we finally got home, I ordered some food from the local pizza place, as we were just too wiped out to cook at home. 

Monday, I had to report for jury duty.  Thankfully, they filled the panel before I was selected.  I wore my Waldorf and Statler t-shirt as selected by my friends on Facebook.  I really did not want to be there.  Worst part was, I was not allowed to use my phone or computer while I was in the courtroom, so I could not check on work.  Heck, I could not even check Facebook or read from my kindle account. 

Evan had a follow up with his primary care office today.  He's got a follow up with an allergist in May to try and figure out what is causing this and maybe what we can do to prevent it from occuring again, as this is the third year in a row we have taken him to the ER with similar symptoms in the early spring. 

Between the 4 prescriptions from the hospital and the doctor, it was over $400.  I cannot wait to see what the hospital bill and doctor visits is going to be. 

I am exhausted and stressed from this all.  I am constantly worried about my little man now. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Diz-KNEE World (part 1)

We have returned from Disney World.  This trip we travelled with my parents and stayed off-site, so it had a very different feel to it than our normal Disney World adventures. 

Friday - November 2

I worked until noon, got the car packed, and we headed up to my parents' house to meet up with them to go to the airport.  I forgot our magic bands, so we turned around to pick them up, adding an hour to the drive.  Thankfully, we had left with enough time that we were still not rushed.  We got to my parents' house, loaded their stuff into my truck, and then off to the airport.  We had dinner at a diner in the terminal, and then waited for our flight to board.  I used a four point harness system for Evan, rather than lugging his car seat onto the plane.  The flight was very bumpy.  The fasten seat belt sign was off for only 15 minutes of so of the three hour flight to Tampa.  Evan wound up projectile vomiting about 20 minutes before landing.  We cleaned him up as best we could.  After the flight landed, we let everyone else deplane, and then we changed him out of the clothes he was in and into a fresh set of pajamas.  We then rode the tram to the terminal to pick up our checked luggage, and then another tram to the rental car station, where we picked up the mini-van.  All loaded in, we were on our way to Disney World, where since I had checked in on-line, I got a text that our room was ready, so we headed right there.  Since we were coming in one night before our stay at the timeshare, I booked one night at Disney's Art of Animation resort.  We finally found our way to the room and got Evan into bed.  Jennie and I went for a walk to burn off the stress, and then back to the room to sleep.

Saturday - November 3

Saturday morning we work up and Evan was in awe at the theming of the room.  We walked from the room to the food court and he saw characters from the Cars movies.  We had breakfast in the food court and the scooter rental company delivered the scooter I was going to use for getting around the parks.  We then walked all through the Cars area, where Evan was so happy to see them.  We then walked by the main pool which was Finding Nemo themed.  Next area was The Lion King, and finally through the Little Mermaid Section.  We took lots of pictures and the joy on my son's face was priceless. 

My dad and I took the luggage to the timeshare to drop it off with the front desk so it would not be in the car, and so I had room for the scooter.  I really wanted to go swimming but this was the coldest day of the trip, so we opted not to.  We made our way to the Magic Kingdom.  Since Evan is a bit taller this year, we were able to ride more things with him.  We rode on Splash Mountain with my parents.  Evan sat between my dad and I in the back row.  When he got off the ride, he said, "That was awesome!"  Jennie and I then rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad with him.  I sat next to him and Jennie rode behind us.  Since it was only a lap bar, I kept my one arm in front of him, so he didn't dive under the bar.  We got off and he had such a grin on his face.  "That was soooo cool!"  We then made our way across the park to get something to eat for a late lunch at Columbia Harbor House (which seemed to become our place in the Magic Kingdom for lunch).  We then rode on Ariel's Undersea Adventure, which is one of Ev's favorite rides.  He, Jennie, and grandma then rode on the carousel. 

we headed back to the timeshare to check in and get settled. 

We had dinner at the Grand Floridian Cafe where Jennie's brother met us.  He had moved down to Orlando in November of last year and we had not seen him since Christmas when I flew him up.  Wiped out from a long day, I think we all fell asleep quickly.

Sunday - November 4

We were not going to any of the parks today, instead it was a day to visit family, chosen and blood related.  After breakfast, Jennie, Evan, her brother, and I were off to see family,  We first stopped to see Lee Ann and Ron.  Ron just had knee surgery but he was walking pretty well, and it is always nice to visit them.  We jokingly call them Evan's Florida Grandparents.  It was nice to visit with them and just hang out.  I miss them a lot.  

Then we were off to see Jennie's cousins in Northport, about 2 hours away (south of Sarasota).  We had a nice time and Evan got to see his cousin and meet his two new cousins.  We had a nice time hanging out.  Unfortunately for them, their landscaper kicked up a rock and it spiderwebbed the sliding glass door to the back of their house.  As we were eating dinner, it shattered and came down when the wind picked up a little.  Thankfully, Jennie's brother and her cousin taped plastic tarps on both sides of the window, so the glass shards were contained.  The landscaper was out there boarding up the door as we were leaving, and I have heard he has made good on the repairs.

End of October Recap

The end of October has been busy.  From seeing my cadet get married to Halloween, and preparing for a trip to Disney, its been a mad rush it seems.

My knee seems to be doing a bit better yesterday and today.  Today, I was able to walk two full blocks to get some lunch and then two blocks back without any additional pain.  That's a whole lot better than two weeks ago, when I could barely walk a block without wanting to cry.

For my cadet's wedding, I was one of her bridesmen.  She insisted I sit during the ceremony and took care to include me, but to ensure I was not in too much pain.  My brace fit beneath the tux pants.  I stayed off my feet as much as I could while also giving Jennie a break.  Evan was a monster on the dance floor.  He didn't want to dance at first and then he didn't want to stop.  He only stopped when the music was over.

The rest of the weekend was one of sitting on my tush and doing as little as possible.

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.  Evan was dressed as Wall-E. Jennie made herself an Eve hoodie and one for me as Mo.  It was well received by the neighbors.  I tagged out after trick-or-treating at the 4 neighboring houses and manned the candy table we setup outside the garage.   We had candy, non-candy, and non-food treats available for the kids, along with adult beverages for the parents.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Weekend Update

Friday was a pretty good day.  My new knee brace came in, and yeah, its the proper size. 
DonJoy Armor Knee Brace

I wore it Friday afternoon and evening.  It's not easy to sit in a chair while wearing it and I can't fully straigten my leg easily.  The good thing is that it supports the knee so I don't feel like I am constantly going to fall over.  After picking up Evan from school, we hit the Dutch Market for steaks, veggies, fruit, and some other items.

Saturday was a busy day.  We all woke up late.  We had some errands to run, which mostly revolved around finding a dress shirt for Evan for a wedding this coming weekend.  Burlington was a bust, so we went to Khol's which was a successful trip.  We went to Barnes and Nobels so Ev could look for some new books and to use up his gift certificates.  We had a snack in the cafe, and I stayed there while Jennie and Evan looked at books.  He wound up getting 7 new books.  We came home and had lunch.  Then we headed down to Hammonton to the olive oil store, as we were running low on some flavors.  They were having their Halloween/Fall Festival, but it was ending.  Evan fell asleep, so we were able to get some supplies, and then headed to the toy store there.  He woke up so he could look at the toys.  I told him he could get a small toy, so my goofball picked out a flamingo finger puppet, because "I want to make people laugh!"  I love his personality.  After Hammonton, we headed in the opposite direction to Mt Laurel to hit Costco for some groceries.  Then it was time to head home, have a light meal and pass out.

Sunday, it was smoke all the things.  I smoked a whole chicken, a rack of ribs, and 10 sweet italian sausages.  We had guests coming over for dinner.  Yes, all that for 4 adults.  I ran out to get bagles in the morning, because I was craving a good bagel.  I had to run to the hardware store a few times to get supplies for Evan's halloween costume.  I did some work on it after Jennie completed the painting and things wouldn't stay attached.  I also deconstructed my gorget as the rivits were all rusted out.  I'll hopefully be rebuilding it this week.

Last night for dinner, we ate all the meat and hung out.  It was a nice quiet afternoon/evening.  I got Evan to bed, and nealry fell asleep with him.  We watched one episode of Forged in Fire, and I was out.  I woke a few few times during the night, but it sure beet the perivious night's 90 minutes of sleep.

Today, I am working from home, trying to stay warm.  I made iy up and down the staits this morning without needing to use my cane.  Small victory, but one step forward.