New Photo: Chain-Up Soup

We sat at the bottom of Cabbage Hill waiting for the chain law to be lifted because the chains we had didn't fit. While we were waiting, Karen broke out the crock pot and whipped up this delicious soup. It's awfully nice to have something good come out of an unexpected delay.

If you'd like to try out this recipe, then head on over to the Homeless Vegetarian and give it a shot.


New Photo: Thanksgiving Dinner

One of the things I've missed the most about living in the truck is my weekly home cooked meal. I would put on quite the production and ofton shared my efforts with others. Once I moved into the truck my kitchen shrunk considerably, especially at Schnieder, where I was limited to 200 Watts of electricity.

When I started dating Karen I was thrilled to learn that not only does she like cooking, but she is damn good at it too. Then she decided to move into the truck with me, and that the Gordon trucks have 1800 Watts of power to work with, eating in the road was about to get WAY better!

Karen not only took on the challenge of cooking on the road, but has been having fun with it. What you see here was our Thanksgiving dinner. It was Karen's first time cooking for a photo and my first time taking food photography seriously. 

If you'd like to try your own hand at making this delicious meal, then head over to The Homeless Vegetarian, take some notes and have some fun!  

New Photo: Smoke in the Trees

A while ago I was wondering around on a friends property with the camera looking for fun things to shoot. I walked past this opening once and wasn't paying much attention on my way back. A quick glance over my should and I saw this wonderful smoke-filled scene. 

The One-Two Punch

A couple weeks ago I started having some tooth pain and it got bad enough that on one Thursday night I was only able to get two hours of sleep. The next morning I went to a nearby dentist to have them take a look at it. It was a fairly large clinic and they just passed me from person to person and with each new person, my symptoms changed. They eventually did an x-ray, wrote me a referral to a different place and charged me $100 for this checkup, they never even looked in my mouth.

I then went off to my regular Friday morning chiropractor appointment. During the visit my chiro asked how I was doing so I mentioned my tooth. He recommended that I go to his dentist that was right down the road, and even had his secretary call to see if they could fit me in. So right after my adjustment I went over to his dentist.

This was a much smaller office and she was able to get me in fairly quickly. She did some x-rays and did a few tests and determined that I probably needed a root canal on my right rear lower molar and wrote me a referral to a doc she likes. But before she sent me on my way she also cleaned up some sloppy filling work from my previous dentist and did a small filling. This visit cost me $160 but I was much more confident in her and her referral than the previous place.

Immediately after leaving her office I called the place she referred me to and they told me to come right over. As soon as I got there they greeted me and had me start filling out the paperwork. It wasn't long after I was done doing that when they had me in a chair and did some x-rays and other tests. They determined that my molar was infected and it was probably due to my previous dentist not getting it clean enough before doing a filling on that tooth, no matter the cause, it was due to for a root canal. They opened up the tooth, did some quick cleaning then filled it with antiseptic and closed it back up. I made an appointment to have the actual root canal done a week later and gave them $400 for this visit.

For the next day or so the pain was gone and I carried on with my life. Then on Sunday the pain started coming back and by mid-day Monday it was at full force. I called the dentist to ask what I could do other than the regular OTC pain killers and there wasn't much. However, they did call in an antibiotic subscription to a pharmacy that I knew I could stop in at with my big truck. So I picked that up and started on it right away while still keeping up with my OTC pain killer routine.

On Wednesday morning I was feeling pretty good, the tooth pain was goin away and my back was feeling pretty good. My girlfriend(more about her in my next post) had stayed the night in the truck and started heading home when I left my Super Secret Parking Spot for my morning pickup. At the warehouse I had started moving my things out of the trailer when the last thing I was expecting happened, by back popped and I collapsed to the ground in pain. Up to this point my back pain had been a slow build and fade as it gets worse and better, I had never had a single moment that caused sudden pain like this, and it was much more severe pain than I'd experienced before. The warehouse manager was nice and helped get my trailer ready to be loaded.

I immediately called my boss and left a voicemail explaining what happened and also texted my girlfriend to let her know what happened. Even though I told her not to, she turned around and came to the warehouse to help me out. My boss called back and told me to drop the trailer at our drop yard if I thought I could still drive the truck. Once my trailer was loaded I had another one of our drivers load my stuff back into my trailer and wound up crawling on my hands and knees back to the truck. My girlfriend sealed up the trailer and helped me slide the axles then followed me to the drop yard.

Once at the yard I had another one of our drivers unhook my trailer for me then my girlfriend took me to my chiropractor for the most painful adjustment I've ever had. I then spent the rest of the day resting in bed in mys truck just trying to find a way to get comfortable for more than a few minutes. My girlfriend was super nice and did some housekeeping in both my truck and car and even went to get food for us and dropped my laundry off at the cleaners. Sometime around midnight I still wasn't able to sleep and had some pretty intense pain so I finally told my girlfriend that I wanted to go to the hospital. She looked up the nearest hospital on her phone, helped me out of bed and into her car and shuffled me off to the hospital. Once there she called in sick to work for the next day and helped me with paperwork and such.

I knew there was no real solution to this problem at the hospital, but at that point I didn't really care, I just wanted the pain to go away. Without too much waiting they got in a bed and after a few quick tests they couldn't do much but treat the pain. So they hooked me up to an IV and gave me a couple doses of Dilaudid and a prescription to Vicodin and a muscle relaxer. After getting back to the truck I was finally able to sleep for a few hours before the Dilaudid wore off and the pain returned, just a couple hours before the nearby pharmacies opened up.

Once again my girlfriend came to the rescue by taking me to the pharmacy. Next she took me to my root canal appointment. The root canal went by pretty quickly and the doc was good enough that I fell asleep while she was working on me. on the way back to the truck my girlfriend picked up my laundry, took me to the detist to ask about getting the crown done and helped me get back in the truck so I could try and sleep off the day.

The next morning she had to go to work and went off to my friend Stephanie's house where I spent the weekend laying on her sofa taking a round of pills every six hours and trying to sleep as much as possible. Then on Monday I visited the chiropractor then headed up to my parent cabin where I've been resting since. The tooth pain has gone away and the back pain isn't as severe, but just twisting to look over my shoulder causes a pulling in my back. Standing up straight hurts and just looking down or walking too fast isn't so great either. I don't know how long it's going to take to heal enough to go back to work, but I hope it isn't too long.

Dealing With Pain

One of the most common questions I get these days is why I don't take pain killers for my back/sciatic pain, so I thought I'd explain my reasoning here.

The pain killers that work for this type of pain are opiates, that's some pretty serious shit. In my job I am subject to random drug tests and these are likely to show up on one. The thing about these tests is that they are federally mandated, not just some company policy thing. So even if I have a prescription and doctors note, these drugs still aren't allowed. This makes sense if you think about it, do you want the big truck next to you on the road to be piloted by someone loaded on OxyContin? Didn't think so...

The other reason has nothing to do with company policy or federal rules, but my knowledge of how opiates work. They are great for short term pain like surgery, gunshot wounds, car accidents, etc,.. But they are horrible for chronic pain. The body becomes addicted to them WAY too easily and before you know it you are ramping up the dose to compensate. Even worse, as the addiction progresses the pain actually gets worse. When addicted patients get off the opiates the pain falls back to levels at are easily managed with OTC pain killers.

So what I'm doing is trying to rest as much as possible, and slow down a bit at work. Outside of that there isn't much I can do short of changing jobs. If I do change jobs so that I'm no longer physically handling freight, I'm sure my back will heal up in fairly short order. The hard part of changing jobs is finding something that fits my needs, maybe I can...


I'm Back, Kinda

Hey folks, I'm sorry for the delayed absence.

I originally took about two and a half weeks off work and rested my back at my parents cabin, then when I returned to society I didn't really pick back up where I left off. Instead, during my vacation I discovered a bit a peace from being disconnected and it's taken some time to get fully reconnected. On top of that, I've been avoiding the return to blogging because of this very post. 

I must confess something though: I screwed up.

There, I said it. On one of the first days of my vacation I screwed up big time and slid my trusty Bronco off a dirt road and into a couple trees. I'm ok, no one was hurt, but I did cause a large amount of damage to the Bronco. There is some minor damage on the front, some major damage on the left side, the removable top is completely destroyed and the brakes needed some work. The tow bill to get it back on the road was nearly $1000 in itself. Fixing the other problems ate up almost all the rest of my savings.

If there is any lesson to be learned here, other than safe driving lessons, it is that having a savings account for such emergencies is an incredible stress reducer. Never once did I have to worry about where I was going to get the money to fix this mistake, I just pulled out my phone, opened up my banking app and transferred the money. No borrowing money from the family, no checking credit card balances, no waiting for the next pay check. Just transfer the money and slide the debit card, done.

Other than that, I have a bigger tragedy on my hands that I haven't even started to fix yet. The Drobo that I store all my music, TV shows, movies, books and RAW files has failed. I can't access any of the data on it. One of the things I intended to do on this vacation was back it up to portable drives, but it failed before I could do that. It appears as though the device itself has failed, and not the drives in it. If that is the case, I should be able to recover that data by replacing the device, but I'm broke so I can't do that yet. If it took the data with it, then I've lost years of photographs with no way to recover them.

As far as my physical health, the reason for the hiatus in the first place, I am doing better. The time off was great for my back. But returning to work hasn't been, I'm slowly getting worse again, but nowhere nearly as bad as before. There have been some recent changes in my personal life that will help me with a long-term solution to this. I can't write about it publicly yet, but expect an announcement in the next few weeks.

Until then, there won't be any weekly updates as there isn't much going on. I will try to get some new photos up periodically though. So please hang with me during this slow patch and I promise things will get much more entertaining around here soon enough.

Here are some images from the wreck with a couple of the replacement top, enjoy!

Emergency Hiatus

I mentioned awhile back about some sciatic nerve pain. I was almost back to 100% two weeks ago when the pain came back with a vengeance. I saw a doctor and found out I have a bulging disc that is crushing my sciatic nerve.

So to help with recovery I am taking two weeks off work starting today. I'll be at my parents lakefront cabin where the only modern amenities are electricity and a landline phone, cell phones don't work up there.

There won't be any updates to my website, or new photos,  during this time. The next update will be a few days after overturn to civilization on the 14th.