Almost Spring 2020

Life has continued on since my last update in 2018. I’m still single, living in the same house, and associating with the same group(s) of friends. I reached out for companionship later in 2018 via the internet and met a wonderful woman who has joined me on many adventures the past year or so. Her name is Marcy and she lives in Rochester, MN. The 111-mile separation between us stifles quick rendezvous but has not stopped us from enjoying new, planned adventures together.

Late in 2018 I went to the St Croix Regional Clinic in Lindstrom for my first annual physical since retirement. Everything checked out okay except for an elevated PSA number (11.4) which triggered a follow-up visit. A second test revealed a lower number (6.8) which was still above normal. Biopsy samples were taken and analyzed. They revealed early stage prostrate cancer. Options to address this problem included surgery or radiation. I consulted with both the St Croix Regional Hospital endocrinologist and the St Paul Oncology doctors. They ordered an MRI scan. The recommendation was I could be treated with a regiment of 26 radiation sessions and they were confident of success.

This is the course I chose. I completed the treatment in early June 2019. A follow-up PSA test six months later showed 3.5 on the “Richter Scale” which was within the normal range for a man in his early 70s. The actual radiation was painless and only took a few minutes in the machine. The most difficult part was having to arrive with a full bladder, waiting for my appointment, then rushing to the bathroom afterward! There were only minor physical effects that caused a slight “unsettling” feeling in my abdomen and loss of energy. I would often take short naps throughout the day. As I write this in 2020, I feel that I am pretty much back to normal. Soon I will have another follow-up PSA test to see where this has settled.

In the spring of 2019 I had my kitchen cabinets refinished and they look like new once again. To augment the new dishwasher (I still have not run a load through it!) I purchased a new refrigerator. It runs super quiet and has allowed me to consolidate all the food out of the refrigerator and upright freezer from downstairs. Maybe this year I’ll pop for a new gas range-top to replace the original electric Jenn-Aire downdraft unit. I prefer to cook with gas.

In 2019 spring fever caught up with me and I started to consider buying a new (to me) boat. After several months of researching and spinning props at local dealers, I purchased a very clean 1996 Crownline bowrider from a family in New Richmond, WI. It’s an 18.5 foot model with a 4.3L Mercruiser I/O (a V6 engine). After it’s purchase I replaced the old tired battery and had the hull detailed to bring out the original gloss and shine of the gelcoat. I added a bimini top and had the travel canvas repaired at Forest Lake Canvas, next to Hallberg Marine in Wyoming, MN. Spiffing it up included new LED lighting for the trailer and a spare tire “just in case”. My brother Al and I installed a Curt received hitch onto my Lexus RX300 and wired up the trailer harness. A poorly crimped power connection caused a weird problem that required some troubleshooting. I am now an expert in removing and reinstalling trim pieces to the back of RX300s!

Marcy and I planned our first boat outing together. We learned that both of our families had vacationed on the Whitefish Chain of Lakes for many years, so that was our agreed upon destination. We made reservations at the Pine Peaks motel in downtown Crosslake for the third weekend in June (2019). It was a leisurely drive up Hwy 169 around the west side of Mille Lacs Lake and up through Crosby and Deerwood, reaching our destination in about 3 hours. The RX300 pulled the trailer and boat without any issue, other than much lower gas mileage! The boat/motor/trailer is nearly the same weight as the SUV itself, so needing extra fuel was not totally unexpected.

We met my brother Al and his wife Marky at Crosslake. The first order of business was to get the new Minnesota boat registration numbers applied to the bow. I had the decals but I had no experience in applying them so I decided to stop at C&C Boatworks, about a mile up the road. I told them about my apprehension of success and they installed the decals for me. We were on our way in less than a half hour after stopping in. It illustrated the benefit of a learned skill, having done this task hundreds of times!

Now that the boat was “legal” for the water we drove back to Crosslake and picked up the girls. The public boat ramp was right across the street in the US Army Corps of Engineers campground. I chose to launch in the bay area and I had the boat floating off the trailer soon after I backed down the ramp. Al and Marcy tended to the boat while I parked the trailer and car. Soon we were idling out of the bay and out onto Crosslake for our inaugural outing. The boat performed well with all four of us onboard and had plenty of power to get up on plane. Al and Marky had to leave the next day so Marcy and I had the boat all to ourselves the remainder of the weekend. We toured up the channel to Daggett Lake and further into Little Pine Lake. There were a lot of loons we saw along the way. We cruised back to Crosslake and then ventured through Rush Lake, across Lower Whitefish and into Trout Lake. We made our way to the far end and docked at Manhattan Beach to have some dinner. The weekend fly by and soon it was time to pull the boat back onto the trailer and begin our trip back home.

more to come. . .

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