I Can’t Explain It – Can You?


I put this blog in the category “The Strange and Unusual” as mystical forces have been put in motion to prevent the installation of an alternator for almost a month now.

This all started back on Wednesday 5-17-2017 and came to a thundering head on Tuesday June 13, 2017.

The Toyota pickup needed an alternator, I guess after 200,000 miles it was time as the truck still had the OEM from 1989. I headed up to O’Reilly Auto Parts.

5-17-2017 – O’Reilly Auto Parts, a fine auto parts store in East Nashville, which I recommend no one uses, told me that the alternator would need to be ordered and be in the following week, but they would call me when it arrived. I figured what the heck that’s only five days away. I ordered and paid for the alternator and came on home.

5-26-2017 The official – unofficial start to summer Labor day weekend was about to start. Still no alternator, but hey I didn’t need the truck for any of my festivities, its was a 3 day weekend made for bike riding.

6-5-2017 – The day I was dreading, it was Monday and time for a 2D Echo to see how the heart was, now that’s a grand way to start your week off. Oh by the way still no alternator. During the test the professional, nice and pretty Echo technician informed me she needed to get someone to start an IV. I asked why, I’ve never had an IV before when taking an echo. “We are having trouble picking up the blood flow on the left side of your heart,” so replied. She explained what the stuff was and how it would help the echo pick up the blood flow as it would make the blood appear as being bright white.

6-6-2017 – Call from the doctor. The echo showed some change from the last one, the left side of the heart is worse no better. Not bad enough to change my follow-up appointment and for now I was told to cancel the appointment to have the planters wart removed from my left foot. Then he informed me we needed to add a few more activity restrictions and at the first sign of pain behind the left shoulder blade or left jaw get to the ER (him) as fast as possible. Always made sure I had my Nitro with me, at all times, no  matter where I was at. No exercising with free weights or machines, all I could do was walk. Then he added, while walking no pushing or pulling, that includes cutting grass. I explained to him that I had a riding mower. He was fine with that, but pulling on anything, even rip cords for the weed eater, push mower, and leaf blower were out. The he added more medicine and told me to stay relaxed, calm, and close to Vanderbilt. Alternator still not here, I’m beginning to get more than perturbed about this issue and quickly headed into my Steffon personality which puts a damper on relaxed and clam.

[The restrictions this man keeps adding has made for a boring Joe, Joe doesn’t like to be boring. I’m about tired of these restrictions or as he calls them life style changes. They have began to change the way I think and look at life. I have yet to see a healthy person live forever, we all die sooner or later. Sure some sooner than others but we all die.]

6-10-2017 – It was Saturday and my moms birthday. Since the sixth I hadn’t gotten any writing accomplished, yep that’s my job now, as I didn’t feel like doing nothing. My body was trying to adjust to more heart medicine and was kicking my butt. Things were looking up, a grounds keeper was hired to take care of the Sleepy Cougar grounds. The place was looking good as the birthday activities started Saturday around noon. When my little brother showed up it was on. If there is a person who can lift one from the pits of hell it would be him. He had his chair in the shade and I had mine in the sun, the old-time rock and roll was playing and the grill was smoking as the neighbors were trying to figure who the two hunks in dark sunglasses were. Yep that’s the way me and Bro roll. After the burgers were done we ate, ate some more, the ate some cake and had more great conversation.

[I know what you are thinking, why not get your brother to put on the alternator or help you do it? That’s easy to answer, the alternator had not arrived from Idaho yet. Yep I guess it was coming from a potato farm.]

6-12-2017 – Another birthday celebration, yep it was the Queens birthday who is also my personal nurse, who I refer to in blogs that deal with this responsibility affectionately as BSRN.  Thank God BSRN finally turned 30, tired of getting strange looks from people when they ask for her ID, especially at the nudist resort. The celebration began early but had to be cut short. My son and I had an appointment at his college to finish up some grant paperwork. On the way back I stopped and picked up a special gift for the Queen, in order to guarantee that the celebration would continue once I arrived back home. On an impulse I also stopped by O’Reilly Auto Parts, in East Nashville, which I recommend no one uses. The alternator had arrived several days before, they just hadn’t got around to calling me, like they said they would.  Between the present and the alternator there was nothing but pure jubilation at the house when I arrived. Now being a man I knew what my priorities were, but instead of installing the alternator I continued the celebration.

6-13-2017 – After morning pills and breakfast it was time to slap the alternator on the truck. BSRN advised against this, and suggested we pay someone to do it or at least help do it. I balked at this and told her I’ve replaced hundreds of alternators in my life time and it shouldn’t take no more than an hour, two at the most. I headed out to the truck and began. BSRN came out to help, after changing into the outfit she wears to help with vehicle repair. This is also one of my favorite outfits of hers.


[A good BSRN is always close by to monitor and ready to spring into action. They have the medical equipment, blood pressure cuff, oxygen sensor along with a stethoscope and medications within arms length. A top-noticed border line perfect BSRN has all the above plus. She knows the difference between a wrench and a socket, bolt and a nut, flat head from Philips, metric from standard and knows where everything is at in the tool chest.  They also don’t mind getting there hands greasy or their head under the hood. Yes BSRN does all the above and is Top Notch!]

6-13-2017 Continued – The first thing that I noticed the alternator was in a weird location, not on the top or bottom. It wasn’t accessible from either. In order to get to it the air intake system had to be removed. This involved the filter canister and the lower system tucked neatly under it. I began unplugging all the wiring from the system and then removed it. Now with it off, I could at least see the two bolts that held the alternator to the brackets. I removed the bolts, removed the wires from the alternator and lifted it out.

[As most of you know I’m not an early riser, since I limited to what I can do, I figure why get up early just to be bored, so I started this task around noon.]

6-13-2017 Continued – It was now around 12:45. My shirt was soaked and sweat was running from my brow and splattering on the fender of the car. BSRN stomped her foot and informed me to get in the house and cool off. I agreed, not because of her insistence but I decided that since I had taken the truck this far down I would replace everything I could get to on that side. Once inside I was calling Advance Auto Parts as BSRN handed me a Potassium pill and began removing my shirt then wiping me down with a cool cloth while I was on the phone. Jessica at Advance was very helpful and professional, the only thing they didn’t have were the plug wires, but she guaranteed me they would be there the next day. She furnished me with the quote and said she would began pulling my order. I hung up and was informed by BSRN to lay down under the ceiling fan to help cool me down. I didn’t argue as I was beginning to feel lite-headed and I was sure that nausea wasn’t to far behind. I was a sleep in a matter of minutes.

[Sweating is another one of those things I’m suppose to avoid. I take three types of water pills to reduce the load on my heart. Combine sweating with that and I became dehydrated fast and my Potassium drops, causing muscle cramps and an irregular heart beat putting me in something they call bigeminy and other weird stuff.]

6-13-2017 Continued – I was awaken from my nap by the dinner bell. Once I had stuffed myself with meat loaf, I headed to pick up the parts I need to from Advance Auto Parts. Rain had begun to fall lightly on the windshield, but since the sun was out I figured it would be stopped by the time we got back. Sure enough it had and the sky was clear of clouds. I placed the parts in the garage as BSRN come from the door leading from the house to where I was. She looked me over took a few stats and suggested since I didn’t look to good and was still pale I should put the job off till the next day. I shook me head and headed outside with the battery.  I was placing the new battery in the battery tray, as she joined me back outside, in my favorite outfit. I explained why I wasn’t going hook the battery up as I needed to get the alternator wired. I placed the alternator in the bay of the truck and attached the necessary wiring. I then lined the alternator up with the top bracket and slid the bolt, which BSRN handed me, through attaching the alternator to the bracket. I stretched out my hand, BSRN slapped the bottom bolt in it like she was handing a scalpel to skilled surgeon. As I headed back under the hood she suggested once again, since she noticed my normally calm hands were shaking, that we should finish the job the next day.  I kept working, after all I only had one bolt to go. However I was having difficulty getting it lined up . I shouted several obscenities as I drop the bolt. The bolt rattled against the lower parts of the truck before clanking to the asphalt. She got on her knees and looked under the vehicle as I did. I spotted the bolt and retrieved it. As I walked back around the truck I was greeted with the most spectacular sight. BSRN was still on her knees bent over. While admiring the scenery I informed her I had gotten the bolt. As she stood up with a smile she let me know she was aware of that. With a wink she suggested once again we go in and finish the work tomorrow. I stuck my head back under the hood. As I was reaching my hand to the alternator a loud clap of thunder shook the ground and continued rumbling across the sky as the rain began to fall from the clear sunny sky. She began picking up the tools and headed to the garage with them as I closed the hood. Looking back over her shoulder she grinned and told me she had her ways of getting what she wanted as the thunder echoed once again and the bottom fell out, drenching me before I reached the garage.

[Once back inside my blood pressure was checked, it was way to high, along with my heart rate. The oxygen sensor had me at 91, BSRN doesn’t like for it to be below 92, and would prefer it be between 95-97. I was ordered to bed, but she did bring me lap top so I could write this. According to her I was only minutes from an ambulance ride to Vanderbilt.]

Here are the questions I have for my readers. Was the Thunderstorm that came out of no where on a sunny day some sort of  divine intervention, freak occurrence of nature, or do you chalk it up to an act of the strange and unusual that can’t be explained? Maybe BSRN can control the weather through mystical powers, nurses have been known to have them? Through her mystical powers did she delay the arrival of the alternator somehow or another? Did BSRN do all this because the doctor placed more restrictions on my activities and I refused to listen to him or her?

Let me know your thoughts in the comment section.

[Blogger Note: Jessica works at the Advance Auto Parts on Gallatin Road in Madison, just up from the intersection of OHB and Gallatin Road headed North.]



Has S.A.D. Driven Joe to the Fiery Pit?


For those of you that look at profile pictures you noticed I changed mine on Facebook to the one above around the last of February or the first of March. This photograph describes my feelings to a tee.

I hate four things with a passion, and the first quarter of every year, all four of these events align casting a dark shadow and overwhelming me with their mystical force. The way I combat this phenomenon is to withdraw from all social activities. I know my limitations, temper, and how hard it is to control my mouth. For that reason I avoid all social contact which includes social media, going out to eat, or anything else where I’m around people in general. Toward the middle of April is when I began to venture out , any time before then it literally makes me angry to leave the house or interact with people.

UG #B2

I’ll be the first person to tell you that I have issues, both mentally and physically. I take measures to keep both in check but the first quarter of every year, overwhelms me to the point of total frustration which eventually leads to the above mentioned anger. That’s the reason for the withdrawal.  I have been diagnosed with S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) but there is more to it than that. Plus I’m not real sure S.A.D. is a disorder. After all drug companies and doctors will make up disorders and diseases in order to make money. Think about it if we were all healthy, neither would be making any money.

What are these events that take place that makes me go into seclusion. Well they are minor events, and individually I can handle with no problem, but stacked on top of each other is a formula for disaster. We will start with the weather, as that is what all the medical professionals seem to think triggers S.A.D.

  1. Weather – I hate winter. My left side from waist down suffered a traumatic injury in 1977. I’ve had more surgeries on that hip, knee, leg, ankle, and foot than I can count. Getting through a metal detector is always fun with all the plates, screws, and wires that hold me together. The cold weather along with dampness (rain, snow, ice) causes it all to become stiff, ache and hurt, my fused ankle gives me the most fits. My limp becomes more prominent, which leads to spasms in my back. Now January and February or the coldest months, March and April or damp, all four are gloomy. Toss in the fact when I’m in a high level of pain, I’m irritable as hell, so I stay away from people, and expect people to stay away from me.
  2. Health – Within the first quarter of each year is when my yearly trip to the heart specialist is scheduled to have the old ticker checked out. I would not have a problem with this if they would say do it around May or June, but no it’s always in January or February. Which means I have to be out in the cold increasing the pain level.  Then they always find something else wrong and schedule a whole battery of test that keep me running back and forth in the cold. From what I have been told so for this year it appears I shall remain grounded like I have been since 2014.  By that I mean the doctor highly suggest that I stay with in a 50 mile radius of Vanderbilt Hospital, I tested him a couple of times but learned my lesson in 2015.  Yep two days before Thanksgiving, I suffered my fourth or fifth heart attack, I have lost count of those also. The first thing I was told by my doctor.  “Good thing you were close, if not you would be dead, you almost coded in the ER. ” He has a great bedside manner.
  3. The Government (IRS) -Since the early nineties the IRS and myself haven’t seen eye to eye on nothing. It got better for a while, meaning we left each other alone. During this time we keep a watchful eye on one another. More or less laying in wait for the other to pounce so we could counter. Well as we know April is tax time and the fun began. The IRS didn’t like the weasel maneuver I pulled to get around the laws and withdrew my entire pension before 59-1/2 or whatever the appropriate age is. All I know it ain’t 56 and that was how old I was when I received the payout.  To appease them I reinvested some of the money, opening a couple of small business that allowed me to hire people or help them with their business start-up by contracting them to provide services for my companies. That is a good thing right? Well this year rolled around and guess what, The IRS didn’t like the way I did that either as it was all tied back to my name. Duh, it’s my money so why wouldn’t it be. So I’m in the process of closing the small business down, restructuring them under one name and reopening them. All because the Federal Government can tell you what you can do with your own damn money. I pay my fair share in taxes, but when you hit me with tax bill that is more than my house is worth, after I have paid about the same figure throughout the year. It ain’t happening!
  4. Legal Issues – Last year in February, me and several others got hit with a civil damages law suit that steamed from a company we all use to work for. I hadn’t worked for this particular place since 1998. After contacting my personal attorney in Georgia, where the law suite originated, he handled the rest getting me in contact with the corporate lawyers of the company that we all were employed by. I figured that I was clear for being severed papers at the house. Wrong. I was served papers to appear in child support court in February of this year, almost to the date of last years special delivery. It appears that Georgia changed the law so they had to re-figure what I owed. The kicker, the subpoena had an attachment from Georgia that told me how much that was. Going to court was a waste of my time and money. All they did was tell me what was written on the documentation from Georgia that was the attachment. The only reason that I had to appear, so they could charge me $145.00 in court cost. I have two ex wives, well three, but I got custody of the last child. Both cases or from Georgia, but they bring me to court on separate dates. Seems like an inefficient way to do business, not to them as this is all about money, so each visit comes with a $145.00 court cost. But hey I got a surprise for all involved, and I do mean all.

So there you go, that’s why I haven’t been on social media, as talkative as I normally am, and ignoring phone calls. Things are looking up as May has come into the picture. The days are getting longer and the sun feels good. I took a mini vacation over my birthday which relieved a ton of stress.

Here are a few other things I do to combat the stress and anger that the first quarter of every year brings on.

  • Music – I listen to the Blues, old rock and roll, old country and classical music. One of those genres is always playing on the satellite radio when I’m downstairs, which is all the time.
  • Meditation –  Takes the mind to a better place and relaxes the soul. I’m a firm believer in meditation and do it often
  • Exercise – I don’t do this enough, as I hate getting out in cold weather. So I do yoga at the house and love to plank, sometimes while meditating.
  • Tanning Bed – If you can’t have the real thing artificial sun will do.
  • Bourbon – One shot of bourbon a day will keep the body warm and will relax the mind. One shot is two ounces, so don’t grab the bottle and turn it up.

Here are a few things I do not do as I think they add to the problem, like drinking too much Bourbon.

Pain Medicines – I don’t take any type of narcotic drug. I like for my mind to stay clear, my trigger finger under my control, and my reflex’s at their normal cat-like speed. Since I’m in constant pain of some level everyday Doctors have been trying for years to get me to go to a pain clinic. I refuse, I have been in pain for forty years I have learned how to cope with it for the most part. Plus I have seen first hand what being addicted to narcotics, street or prescribed, can do to a person. In my opinion Pain Clinics are legal drug pushers, and sooner or later their clients will become addicted to the drug they prescribe. The sad part most of them have no idea they are hooked and will argue with you till the cows come home that they are not.

Phsychotrophic Drugs – I don’t take those either for the same reason listed above. However I have a loved one who is a lot like me that takes what they call a happy pill. There appears to be no side effects, they can function normally and do not feel drugged at all. Since I have to go to the doctor on Friday, I may check on these. See I’m not against all medication, just those that hinder my thought process.

Till next time,