November 29-
    We're getting there. It is not like the dead of winter up here, but two snow events in the past 3 days is certainly a move in the right direction! I hope that everyone had as good a Thanksgiving as we did here at the Dee house. Tons to be thankful for this year. I could start going down the list, but I have to work tomorrow, so will just keep it to the majors. Obviously little Grace has been the biggest thing to hit this neighborhood and tops the thanks giving list. A very close second is my health. About 4-5 weeks ago I would have been cursing my health, but all of that nonsense I endured in October is behind us now and I am on the road. Feeling pretty good and getting better with each passing day. Plus all the fixes will be permanent and will make my overall health better than when the first surgery took place Oct 2. My beautiful wife is also right up there at the top. What she has had to go through the past 2 months would kill a mere mortal. The pups are also high on the list. They can still be a real handful, but are still youngsters, have hearts of gold, give the kind of unconditional love that only a dog can give and are best friends to Gracie.
    Another group of folks up here had a lot to be thankful for. The 1431st Sapper Company of the Michigan National Guard returned from a one year tour of duty in Afghanistan. The are part of the 107th Engineering Battalion and for many in this company, it was their second tour, the first being in Iraq a few years ago. If you think your job stinks sometimes, just keep these guys in mind. It was their job in Afghanistan to search and destroy  roadside bombs and IED's. They managed to clear around 85 IED's while in service there and the list of metals given to the 114 soldiers in the company speak of the hard and dangerous work that they did. Those medals include (but are not confined to): 42 Purple Hearts; 94 Combat Medical Badges; 14 Army Commendation Medals of Valor; 26 Bronze Star Medals; 5 Meritorious Service Medals and 94 Army Commendation Medals. There were many injuries, but thankfully no one was lost from the company. All returned home safe.
    They were given a hero's welcome on Tuesday. I was very disappointed that work duties kept me from being able to go down and be part of things. The main ceremony took place in the school that Nora works in, so she was able to see part of it and said it was awesome. Not a dry eye in the house. They started out at the Airport and had a lights and sirens escort by local police and fire fighters from the Airport to Calumet and from what I hear there was barely a open spot on either side of the road all the way from the Airport to Calumet. Just an awesome community we live in up here. As American as it gets.
    As I mentioned, we got some snow this week. Thanksgiving morning we woke up to the flakes flying and as soon as it got light enough to take a picture outside, I bundled up and took the first "front of house shot" with snow in it for the 2009-2010 season. We have actually had snow prior to that, but I was either not here to see it or not able to get a picture of it. By the time all was said and done, we picked up around 3/4". Not a ton, but enough to whiten the ground and make things look pretty. The pups were excited to see the snow, they seemed to have an extra spring in their step when it came time to play and that is saying quite a bit for these two pups! It was also a wet and sticky snow, so even though it did not pile up too deep, the trees got a good flocking and that is my favorite. Now all we need is the good old Keweenaw 2 foot flocking!
    As if almost on cue, my new ride for this season arrived Friday evening- courtesy of the good folks at Rt 12 Rental in Arlington Heights IL. It's the 2010 Arctic Cat M8 Snow Pro LE. They powder coated the tunnel and running boards black for the LE's this year and I know opinions will differ, but I think it's a cool look. All that needs to be done is to get the rails to be black and I would have an all black sled- although I do not have any plans to do that! There are some graphics on the hood, but they are very subtle and the picture does not do it justice, but they are almost like a ghosting effect. I can't wait to get on it and let it rip! All I have heard from anyone that has been on the 2010 800's from Cat is that they are explosively strong in all power ranges. I have talked to some of the aftermarket guys and many of them have said that this was the most challenging motor to get more HP out of in as long as they can remember. So it should be a really fun sled. Thanks RT 12!!! :)
   Today we got snow number two of this week. Again, not a big deal, about a half inch is all, but the pups and I took a morning walk and it was very nice to be out in the stillness of the morning, walking a country road with the flakes floating to the ground. I suppose the only thing that might have made the moment better is if I would have had to have been using my snowshoes because it was so deep! Those days will come. That's the nice thing about living here. It's not a question of "if", but "when".
    I guess this one is not going to be as long as the others, but I did give you some snow shots! Of course, I cannot leave out little Grace. She sure is a cute little peanut. It is always our tradition to put up the Christmas Tree the day after Thanksgiving and this year was no different. Here is a shot of Grace putting the first ornament on the tree. It is the state of TX. We picked it up when we went there for the orientation back last February. Grace loves the tree, especially when it gets dark out and we light it up. The final pic is of her waking up from her nap after church, still in her Sunday's Best.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-

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November 22-
    It's probably not that big of a deal to you all, but I had a huge event take place this week in my life. I finally got the remaining drain tube out of me on Friday! On Tuesday I traveled to Marquette to see the surgeon and they actually wanted to pull the tube at that visit, but it was still producing more than 50ml a day and I just did not feel comfortable taking it out with the output at that level. Plus, it was definitely trending down and if that trend continued the output would drop to a level that would be low enough that I felt it would be safe to pull it. So the surgeon said he was fine leaving it in for as long as I felt it needed to be and that I also did not need to come to Marquette to have it pulled. As long as I could find someone at our local hospital that was comfortable pulling it, that would be OK. I knew the procedure was a simple one and that Portage Hospital in Hancock would have lots of Dr's and nurses that would be comfortable pulling it, so that was good news. He also said that if it needed to be changed to an internal drain, they could do it in a manner where I would not need to be opened up. So I went home from that meeting in a very good mood!
    As fate would have it, about an hour after leaving the Dr's office in Marquette, the draining slowed to a trickle. So I monitored things for around 24 hours and then called over to Portage to set up an appointment to have it pulled. The soonest they could get me in was Friday morning, but that was fine.
I had already been living with it for 5 weeks, what was another 48 hours. It came out with no problem, no pain and no issues. I also had what is called a "PIC" line in my arm. It is basically a catheter that goes into a vein and runs almost to the heart. It is used for getting meds through IV and also for drawing blood. I had it for the blood draw part as they were doing that 2-3 times a week and it meant no sticks. Anyway, they pulled that too at my request, so I now have nothing dangling from me that I would not otherwise have.
    Getting that chest drain out really made me feel better. It took about an hour, but I really could feel the difference in my energy. While it was in, I felt a lot like I was coming down with the flu- worn down, not as much energy, just kind of yucky. Well, most of that sensation is gone and I do not have to tote that darn collection container around with me or worry about getting the tube caught on something. For the first 24 hours, I kept thinking that I need to grab that container when ever I got up from a chair or moved, but that has gone by the wayside. 
    So now all that is left to do is to regain my physical strength, which will be up to me to do, which is the way I like things. I am certainly not going to push things as I do not want a setback, but I will be signing up for physical therapy to learn the exercises that I need to do and will be doing them as prescribed. I already feel way better than I did just a week or so ago and I may not be able to notice much day to day changes, but when I look back to how I felt a week or two ago, there have been big changes- and that was with the drain still in! So life is finally getting back to normal for me and I would imagine in another 3-4 weeks it will be as though nothing ever happened.
    So let's see... what else is going on... Well, the weather continues to be unusually mild. I guess I really do not need to tell most of you this as most of you are sharing in the mild November. There are signs that things will cool off a bit and perhaps even some light snows by the end of the week. We might even have a white Thanksgiving around here, but it does not look like the snow cover will be too deep. Even with the mild daytime temps, it has been getting cool at night. This past Tuesday was actually quite cold, with many locales down into the teens. There was a very heavy frost and even on my way back from Marquette in the late afternoon-early evening, spots that the sun had not gotten to still had the frost on them, even with air temps in the low to mid 40's. Plus there was some night ice that had formed on some of the smaller lakes. Lake Ruth at Three Lakes was about half covered when I drove to Marquette and most of that ice was still there when I drove home. So once the cold comes for good, things will likely freeze up pretty quickly.
    Selfishly, I am actually grateful that November has been quiet snow wise. For one, it would just be more work for me to have to do in clearing it. Plus, I really am not yet ready to play in it, so I would just be looking at it (not a bad thing) and wishing I would be out playing in it (not a good thing!). And it is hunting season, so I am pretty restricted in where I could go and play in it anyway. I just hope that we can materialize some decent snows quickly once we are into December and get conditions in good shape for when I and everyone else wants to play in it.
    If you are looking for winter, just take a look at the NCN cams in Washington State. The Cascades have been getting hammered with snow and some of the locations where the cams are have 4-6 feet of snow on the ground. Alaska has also been very cold and snowy. There are places in interior AK that have not risen above -10 for the past 7 days and I saw that Bettles was at 47 below Thursday morning. So there is winter somewhere!
    Yesterday we went over and swapped out the camera for the trail cam. The housing had lost it's top and the cam was put out of commission by rain. Thankfully I had a spare just laying around, so Nora, Grace, the pups and I went down and put a new housing in and swapped out the cam and all should be good with it. I know that when I got it going late last spring, it ran all summer without problems, so hopefully that will be the case for this winter.
    In the baby Grace department, all is well. She is healthy, happy and growing. He colic seems to be passing. She still gets a little fussy in the late afternoon and early evening, but is much better. She smiles a ton and is starting to giggle more and more too. Last night she was sleeping and giggled in her sleep. Talk about a heart melter! It is so neat to have her interacting more. She seems to be learning her name. I say it that way because about 65-70 percent of the time she will respond in some way when you say her name, but then there is the other 30-35% that she does not. I think she has some teeth coming in because she is drooling like a fountain and really likes to have something in her mouth.
    I have some pictures to share with you all. Not really sure how to fit this one in, except to call her our little yooper-girl. She looked like she was all ready to head to deer camp in that last one! One of the other things she is doing is to pull a blanket over her head when she is getting ready to go to sleep. The other day it happened and Nora was worried she would suffocate, so pulled it back down. 30 seconds later it was back up and she thought I put it back up, but it was Grace. Today I was holding Grace and she did it, so Nora grabbed the camera and snapped a shot. It was not the best angle and Nora moved to get a better shot, but Grace woke up and got fussy, so no better shot on that one. I mentioned how she likes to have things in her mouth and mostly it is her fingers, but every once in a while she will fit her entire hand in her mouth! I was able to snap a shot as she was just pulling it out. She sure is entertaining!
    Even though she is still on a formula only diet and is really too small to understand the meaning of Thanksgiving, Nora and I are very excited to have our first big holiday with her this Thursday. Christmas will sort of be the same way, but I know that we are really excited to be with her for that holiday too. Nora and I both love family traditions and it is exciting to be starting our own with Grace.
   I realize I have been excluding the pups in a lot of my writing lately and I feel kind of bad about it. The truth is, most of my discussions about them is when we do some kind of outdoor activity and there has been very little of that in the past 7-8 weeks. I am sure that in the coming weeks there will be some outdoor activity that takes place and in a month or so I should be back to full health. But I can report that they are both doing very well. They are really good dogs. Still have the wild side to them, but they are still pups at 10 months old. About the only thing we really were working hard to correct them on was to not jump up on anyone (including us) when they came to the house. Burt and Baileys had that same problem and truthfully, the main factor that shut that down was their joint problems. I also know that when I had Burt and Baileys in obedience school, the instructor said that is one of the bugs with labs. They are so sociable that they really love to jump up and say hi. Well, Huck and Millie have gotten much better at jumping. They will still do it occasionally, but do seem to understand that they should not do that and are about 75-80% of the way there. I almost hate to say it, but I think that these to dogs might be better behaved than Burt and Baileys were at a similar age. Not by much because Burt and Baileys were darn good too, but Huck and Millie just seem to be a nose better.
   I can't wait for us to get some good snow for them. I think they are just going to go nuts with the first big storm we have. At least I hope they do! They sure do love each other and love to play with each other. In fact I would say that they are closer to each other than Burt and Baileys were to each other and that is saying a lot because Burt and Baileys were really close. I don't think I can say that I have ever known two dogs that were as close to each other and these two are. I know that could lead to problems down the road, but hopefully not and if so, then hopefully that is a LONG way down the road. For now we all will take life one day at a time and have the most fun we can today.
    I guess that about covers it for this one. Hopefully the next writing I will have at least a few snow photos to share with you. Deer season runs through the rest of the month, so we are limited in what we can do, but with the holiday and the snows coming at the same time, perhaps we can take a little excursion and get some shots of the beautiful Keweenaw.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
November 15-
    Boy, November 15th already. First day of firearm deer season. This has been an unusual autumn in more ways than one for me, but it still seems like it should be September or maybe early October, not mid November. I suppose the weather is not helping it feel like mid November. We shared in the rest of the Midwest's mild week. We did not hit the 60's like other areas did, but saw plenty of days in the 50's. This is the time of the year when things can really get nasty, but all we have happen is a passing sprinkle or two and the rest of the time is mild, with either a few clouds or sunny skies. I am really not complaining too much. We are not burning a lot of wood and snow this time of the year is usually not something that can be used for anything, although I suppose the hunters would not mind some tracking snow. Not much snow on the horizon for the next week, but things could start to change as we get into next week. I have been watching that potential change in the weather for around 4-5 days now and did not want to mention it in the forecast because confidence in something that far off in the forecast is always low, but we are starting to get the change into the 10 day period and once there I find it safe to at least mention, but also caution that it should not be taken with a high degree of confidence.
    Last year on this date we had a trace of snow down, then added an inch and a half and did not see bare ground again until April. However, even before I moved up here, I studied the areas historical weather pretty closely and it seems like you really cannot count on snow that sticks around for the season until we get to the end of November and even then it is just a few inches in most years. On average, we do not have enough to play in 10-12"+ until we get into the second week of December. Of course there are years that it's already plenty deep by early December and my first year up here we really did not have enough to play in until just a few days before Christmas. So I am really not that concerned about the weather up here. Things can change in a hurry and I would rather see it get cold and start to freeze things up, then start to dump on us. Most of October was very wet, but the last week of October and these first two weeks of November have been pretty dry, so we are not dealing with a lot of water on the trails or in the bush. So a bit of cold should be enough to freeze soft spots tight. Lakes will be a much different story.
   Let's see, what else is there to talk about...I guess I can let you all know how I am feeling. The answer would be pretty good. Still not 100% and I think I will not be able to say that for a few more months. The main issue will be my strength. I am getting around better and better. Today Nora, Grace, the pups and I took a walk and it ended up being around 2 miles long. I could have even gone longer, but was worn out. I pushed Gracie in the stroller for part of the time and held the pups for part of the time, so there was some extra effort involved in addition to the 2 mile walk. I still have the drain tube in for my heart, but one way or another that is likely to change this week. I am suppose to go to Marquette on Tuesday to get it out, but if it was still draining too much (which is currently is) for it to come out, then they will operate and switch it to an internal drain to avoid infection risks. I actually plan to call tomorrow to see if we can delay everything until Thursday as it would work much better for Nora and I. Plus it would buy me two more days to see if it can slow enough for them to just yank it, rather than switch it. I was told it needed to slow to 50 ml a day or less and right now it is running around 110-140 a day. That is down from 350-400 a day just 10 days ago. So we are getting close, but no cigar just yet. Either way it will be nice to have it gone from exiting my body. Having to carry the collection container and also be careful to not yank it out is a real pain. Plus I have not taken a shower for 4 weeks. I do clean myself up every day, but sticking my head under the kitchen faucet to wash my hair and using a wash cloth to clean the rest of me up is no substitute for a nice hot shower!
    So I really do not want another surgery, but if it happens, I am in pretty decent shape going into it and it would not likely be a big ordeal and I should be able to leave the hospital in just a few days after having it.
    Not much else going on. It was a quiet week. I went down to get the trail cam going and it looks like the camera has given up. So I will try and get down there early this week to swap out cameras. Everything else in the system is running reliably and the whole system ran without problems all summer, so once the cam is replaced, then all should be well for the winter. That same day I stopped in to pick up some ice scratchers for the new sled. It has not arrived yet, but should be here in a week or two or three and I figure I may as well have any things I want to put on it all ready to go. I am not going to mod it out as I hear the new 800 twin from Arctic Cat makes plenty of HP stock. But I do want to put scratchers on it as well as a handle bar bag and goggle bag for under the hood. I also plan to do some things to the 09 M, but will just do those things in increments over the winter. The 2010 will be my main ride with the 09 acting as the backup.
    For those looking at the NCN cams in the west, I fixed the links to most of them. CO is being a bugger as some of the cams I am link to are down and I am trying to figure out if it is a temporary situation or not. A couple of cams for MT have links to them because I could not pull the image into a NCN page for them and there were some cams added for WA. If anyone knows of more cams for the Midwest, the West or the East, be sure to let me know. They either need to be government or if private, I need to have permission to add them to the NCN.
    Also new to the site will be a new discussion board. Now before everyone starts to worry that some huge change is coming, it's not. The new board is actually the same software that many other boards already use, so for those of you that go to other discussion boards, you will find the new board very familiar. It will be much more friendly when it comes to posting pictures or formatting text. Plus will have the capability to be a lot more interactive between the members of the board. It will stay totally free and I plan to have even more organization to it, especially in the classifieds. More levels to organize the different things being put into the classifieds. I am not sure exactly when the new board will move over as we are still working on getting all the profiles from the existing board into the new board as well as the current posts on the old board into the new board. I will also be sure to give plenty of advance notice that the switch to the new board will be happening, but for all that use it, the change over should be effortless. 
    I guess the rest of today's entry will be the Gracie show. For as long as I can remember, my mom has been including a family picture in her Christmas card. It is actually a photo copy and part of the card and even as family members have moved away (me being one) she still includes our photos in a collage manner. So yesterday Nora, Grace and I took the picture for that Christmas card. We will be doing our own Christmas Card as well and will likely be taking a different pic and may even try to incorporate the pups, but yesterday's shot was only a head shot, so we did not try to include the pups in that one. Afterwards, Nora and Grace were sitting in one of the rockers on the front porch and were just too cute to not get a picture of. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to see if it is real that I have so much to be thankful for.
    Yesterday Grace went to the store with Nora while I took a nap and when they got home, she was looking all cute in here car seat, so I snapped a shot of her. She is smiling a ton now. She still has not laughed since she did around 4 weeks ago, but she does get very close sometimes. She also is paying attention to things a ton. She loves to watch TV, although we are trying to keep that to a bit of a minimum. Nora and I both want a child that does not sit around and watch TV all day. So we have her in a boot camp for babies. Here she is doing 100 pushups before breakfast. As soon as she can, she will be adding the 10 mile run to the pre-breakfast routine.
    Seriously, she does love to watch the TV, but also loves to watch anything move. She will watch Nora, Me and the pups if we are doing something interesting and one of her favorite things to watch is the ceiling fan twirl. The last picture was of her "tummy time". We do that to strengthen her. Soon she will be able to flip herself over and she can sit up on her own for a few seconds and will likely be sitting up on her own for as long as she wants in a few more week.
    Her uncles and cousin came up from downstate for the deer hunt and we had them over for dinner yesterday. Both uncles have been up here since Grace was born, so they have seen her before, but it has been a few weeks for both and they were amazed at how much she had changed. Here is her Uncle Joel holding her and here is Uncle Jeff.
    She seems to be in the very early stages of teething. Nothing is breaking through just yet, but she is drooling a whole lot (and not for the same reasons I do) and is also sucking on her hand. Most babies will suck on a thumb or other finger, but our Grace likes to stick her whole hand in her mouth! At times, she will have all 4 knuckles and the tip of her thumb in her mouth.
    Today Nora dressed her up in a nice dress. I commented that it looked like she was ready for a role in Little House on the Prairie, but I did think she looked cute. Hard to say if she really cared that she was in a dress or not! As mentioned, today we all took a 2 mile walk and here she is all bundled up and ready to hit the elements. Here is the road we walked on this afternoon. Have to stay out of the woods now that the hunt is on.
    I guess that will about do it for this one. Hopefully I either just have to have the drain tube pulled or if an operation is needed will be home from the hospital by next Sunday. If not, you know why there will be no journal!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
November 8-
   
For those of you that mainly check out the journal for the pictures, I am sorry to say that this entry contains none. For one, this is sort of a slow time of the year for interesting pictures of the region. The trees are all bare and without any fresh snow, there really is not much to see or talk about. With that said, I did mess up a bit and had some opportunities for some pictures. On Tuesday I had to drive myself to Marquette for a Dr's appointment and while there was not much snow in the Keweenaw, the normal "Banana Belt" of L'Anse had a solid 3" of wet and heavy stick-to-everything snow. It sure was a winter wonderland and I really wished I had brought the camera with me. That amount of snow was very localized though as Baraga right next door only had around an inch and then as you traveled up the hill towards Alberta, the amount of snow that was down also dropped to around 1". It stayed around an inch until I was just west of Ishpeming and then I hit a band of pretty heavy falling snow and there was around 2" of snow stuck to everything. So that too would have made for some nice early winter pics, with the snow sticking to everything and still falling pretty good.
    The other missed photo op was a beach visit on Wednesday. I had some business to take care of at the count courthouse and I figured I would take the pups along with me and head to the beach to let them romp around. It was only 40 degrees, pretty breezy and cloudy. Plus it was a Wednesday in early November, so I figured we would have the beach to ourselves and we did for the entire 30 minutes or so that we were there. The pics really would not have been anything too special, although the dogs had an absolute blast playing with each other out there and I could have probably caught some funny ones of them in their twists and tangles they got themselves into. They sure do love each other and have a ton of fun just playing with each other. My energy is not yet there yet, so I cannot take them for the usual walks, but I can let them out and play in the yard around the house and sit and watch them for 30-45 minutes. They play pretty hard and wear themselves out pretty good. I am really glad for that because I feel guilty not being able to take them for all of our walks and afternoon adventures.
    As mentioned, I went to Marquette on Tuesday. I had an appointment with the surgeon that put the first drain tube in. The good news is that I got one of the drain tubes out (the second one that was put in to drain my right lung), the bad news is that the other had to stay in and if it does not stop or slow enough to where it can be taken out by November 17th, then I get to go in and have more surgery to have that drain changed from an external one to an internal one. The Dr's are worried about leaving it as an external one for too long and me getting an infection. I can say that I did feel a lot better once I got that one tube out. I am feeling a little off today because of not sleeping good the past few nights, but overall have been getting better and better each day. I have still have some fluid to lose, but have lost 21 lbs since I came home from the hospital the first time. 10 of those lbs coming off in the past 4 days. So the diuretic I am on is really working. I think I may still have around 7-10 lbs to go before all the fluid is out and will probably end up being around 7-10 lbs less than I weighed before the surgery- due to muscle loss the past 5 weeks of inactivity. Hopefully the fluid loss in the rest of my body will play a role in the drain that is still in, but that is draining the sack that my heart sits in, so just getting rid of the extra fluids in the rest of my body is not going to automatically shut down the pericardium drain. So I am accepting all prayers that I do not have to go back in under the scalpel, it would not be a major surgery, but would be a big step in the wrong direction after what has been a very long recovery so far.
    Not a whole lot else going on up here. Nora went downstate for a conference for work this past week. She took Grace, so the pups and I were on our own from Tuesday through Thursday. It sure was lonely around here in the evenings. Way too quiet and we were glad to have them get back into town late Thursday night. Grace keeps growing and maturing. She can sit in a chair and hold herself up for as long as she wants now. She also spoils me. Every time I go to say hi to her, she gives me this huge smile. It just melts my heart and I think it is really special how she does it every time. She must know I need that little pick me up right now.
   
Before I close I need to let you all know that registration for this seasons Ride-In is going. You can find the link to it on the main page. This year's event will pretty much follow last years to a tee. Meaning the banquet will be held at the Mi Tech Memorial Union Ballroom Saturday evening. We have Big Vin with the entertainment and emcee at that as well as all sorts of great prizes for the silent auction and raffle. We'll have the back country rides on Friday and Saturday and also have the poker run. The only difference is that the event has always been held on Super Bowl Weekend, but this season that weekend is the same weekend as MI Tech Winter Carnival and there is no trying to get rooms or reserve something like the MUB that weekend! So the Ride In is January 29-30, and the Super Bowl is the following weekend. Just so the regulars do not get confused. Registration is mandatory if you want to attend the event, but you still have a few months until it will be closed. 
    I guess that about covers it for this one. Seems hard to believe that in a week deer season will be upon us and in a little more than 2 weeks after that snowmobile season will be here. I'll be starting the snowfall forecasts tomorrow and right now there does not look like much I will be talking about, but it's still a bit early. Early November snow is like October snow, pretty to look at while it lasts, but not much good for anything else.
Good night from the Keweenaw.. 
-JD-
November 1-
   
Well, I managed to keep myself out of the hospital all week! In fact, this past Tuesday and Wednesday were the first Tuesdays and Wednesdays that I was not in the hospital for the month of October. I still have a way to go until I am 100%, but it does feel good to be moving in the right direction and staying out of the hospital. My main issue is getting rid of all the fluids that are still in my body. They really pumped me full of fluids when I had the surgery to keep my blood pressure stable. I was weighing about 25 lbs more than I did when I went in for the first surgery. Then to make matters worse, the medicine they had me on to help me get rid of the fluids was not working, so this past Wednesday they changed meds and that one kicked in. Lots of panic runs to the bathroom! but that is fine with me. The past 3 days I have lost 7 pounds and have around 12-14 more to go until I am at the weight that I was when I went in. I also still have the two drain tubes in, but one has been dry for almost a week and the other is really slowing down. I have an appointment with the surgeon Tuesday and I am sure the one will come out and maybe the other will have stopped by then and they both can come out. I have been told that when the drain tubes come out I will feel WAY better.
    Have not really been doing much other than my regular work duties and getting caught up on all the correspondence with the website. Autumn is always a busy time for the site, even though I am not doing any forecasts or other updates, I have lots of work to do that is related to the advertisers. I did manage to get all caught up with that this week, so now I can handle things as they come in. The snowfall forecasts will start up next week, November 9th. The way things look this week, I will not be missing out on much snow to forecast for. For those of you that did not catch my announcement, my outlook for this winter is available through a link on the forecast text page. Keep in mind I really do not put a lot of faith into any seasonal forecast, including my own. Just not a lot of good science to use when it comes to forecasting that far out.
   Nora went back to work this week. Actually she took a new job with a different school district and before she could start, went on a 12 week maternity leave. So this past Tuesday was her first day at the new job. We are having her cousin come over and help me with Grace and the pups. In a few weeks I should be strong enough to be able to take over things and be the stay-at-home, working dad.
    Yesterday was Graces first Halloween, but we really felt she was too young to get all dressed up and go trick or treating. She would not have been able to eat the candy and our weather was pretty typical for a Keweenaw Halloween. Cloudy, with scattered rain and snow showers and winds of around 20-30 mph. So no big dress up, but Nora did have a cute get up for her to be in all day. We did not keep her in the hat all day, but I thought it was cute and called her my little pumpkin head. I think Millie was eyeballing that hat too, but for a different reason (both Huck and Millie like to eat pumpkins)!
    I have been getting out for some short walks this past week. The exercise feels good and it very good for me. When the weather permitted, Nora, Grace, the pups and I took about a half mile walk on a quiet country road not far from the house. I pushed Grace in the stroller, while Nora managed Huck and Millie. Today we decided to take a little walk in the woods. Grace is now big enough that she can sit in the Baby Bjorn looking forward. I think she really liked it because she really loves to watch active things and walking through the woods was great entertainment for her. It was really nice to be back in the woods with the family. As we walked along, I reflected back to all that has happened this month and am amazed at all that has happened and all that my body has had to go through. I think it was a really good thing that I was still exercising right up to the day I went in for the surgery. I can't imagine how I would have even made it through some of the periods I had if I had been in bad shape to begin with. I also thought about how glad I am to be moving away from all of that mess and towards being able to enjoy all that the beautiful Keweenaw has to offer- especially when the snow starts to pile up! I have a new sled coming for this season and can't wait to be floating across a freshly fallen blanket of powder.
    As we walked through the woods, I was really amazed at how bare the trees were. It is not unusual at all for them to be bare at this time of the year, but if you look back to some of the pictures taken of Grace outside for the previous journal, the trees still had about 75% of their leaves on. Not anymore, we are pretty much completely bare. I guess it is time for the snow to start flying. Seems hard to believe that in just two weeks, opening day of deer season will be happening. Another two weeks and one day and snowmobile season starts. Nice things to look forward to indeed.
    Well, I think that about covers it for this one. Until next time...

Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-

 
 

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