EVERYTHING IS FINGERTIPS & SLIPPING THROUGH

Split fingers, loss of sensitivity, and bloody sore!

In more ways than one! The nice chemo side effects are literally splitting my fingers, the pins and needles are worse, and my skin is looking like my dear old Grannies palms and all horribly wrinkled.

In other news my No 1 choice is still there and up for grabs, although there are many newcomers on the view list, all considerably cheaper but lacking in my curbside appeal. Might have to look closely and see if the dash can be made as nice as the “No 1”.

So choice No 1, the 2012 XK

The Cabin

Drop dead gorgeous

This cheap AWD X type sold which hardly surprised me at only $2850 and quite stunning all round.

A very good value car ……but as expected SOLD!

Firewood collection plowed on during the week with 3 more loads taking me up to 9 for the year and really hardly anywhere left to stack any more so I’m about done.

Test firing of the new fir

Cycling started again and another 65 miles went in the books for this less than stellar year, but anything is better than nothing.

Working on it

One or two of the prospective purchases have dropped a few dollars during the week. First is a Jag XF which was very cheap at $6000 and is now down at $5500 ???

It’s in CA

Quite a polish,  I’m impressed

I could live with this

This one is well below any list price and would appear to be in an exceptional condition.  On sale very close to the Mexican border in CA one has to wonder if this is a “scam” or a stolen car? Something not quite right here or I’m missing out on a cracking deal.

Side effects today are bloody awful, fingers hurt like hell and my No 1 choice seems to have slipped through my fingers while I’m in waiting mode.

Well, the RR I liked is still available although I must check on all the crazy rules re: doc fees, state sales tax, and anything else they can find to rip you off for doing nothing. Maybe Private sales don’t attract all these fees? I had better find out.

Still available

Well once again I’m surprised having thought my No 1 choice was sold it reappears as if by magic. I can only assume its a selling ploy. Still the best by far in my humble, ever so humble, opinion.

Back again

A  supercharged XF comes along at $6900 and looks like a nice car and is a private sale down in Phoenix. Only thing I don’t like is the bland woodwork and I would have to change the trim to a more featured Burr Walnut.

Another blue one

Interior wood is bland and doesn’t match ?

While looking around one of my earlier choices looked pretty good other than in my brief glance I thought it was a convertible because of the dark blue top! Further inspection is that this is decor only and it has a moon roof. Shows just how dumb you can be …. better buy up Greenland!!! The reason I dismissed it was the “soft top” as the last thing I wanted to be doing was clearing snow everyday off the roof. Still a very nice car with gorgeous wood work, only 49K on the clock and a private cash deal …… worth a second look.

Nice wheels

Super dash

Seem to remember the roof color alternate was all the rage way back when 

Needs that “super mirror” polish

This morning as once again I was trolling the marketplace the No 1 choice has had a price drop from $19,999 down to $18,211 which is good for the buyer (hope its me!)

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT’S LEFT ?

 

The No 1 choice ….. just lovely!

After my long “expose” on Cars, and maybe what’s in the future I’m reviewing those, and there are plenty, that are left on Facebook’s marketplace which seems to be a good source. My No 1 choice that I thought had been sold is back up for sale so maybe a financing issue?

Still my No 1 choice

Being Friday its time to get rid of this infuriating chemo bag and pump which nearly drives me insane. The freedom of getting shot of it for another 11 days is such a pleasure. This week the only increase in side effects has been the lack of sensitivity in my fingertips and some splitting of the skin. They say they reduced one of the chemo poisons a little……. lets hope it helps. Except two more teeth are missing?

Hair still there, teeth falling out!

That about sums it up, but so far this side effect has left me alone

More chemo thoughts

Suck it up!

Coming up for midday and temps on the rise from a chilly 14F at 0730 and now cresting 52F. Bag gone, life takes on a different complexion ……. some thoughts of getting load 7 from the firewood mountain but elect to catch up on some TV.

Firewood now planned for Monday/Tuesday, better get some in for tonight as the cold snap continues. ….. but at least its dry and not a mess at the wood yard. Right now time for some Saturday Pool and see if I can qualify. Shooting quite well but need to concentrate a little more and get that “killer” edge back. Some very good games and I finish in third which could easily have been first with a bit more thought.

Sunday morning, lots of it, as the clocks are now reset …. although my watch didn’t want to!

Quite warm outside in the mid 60’s, might just get a ride in if I push myself. Also need to get my car badges off the Safari as (all in the future) I need to repaint them to put on whatever mystery car/SUV I end up with ???? …… No 1 PLEASE!

The ride goes ahead and I surprise myself with 15.75 since my last ride on 10/6/19. No way I will achieve my planned targets for this year with the awful weather leading up to May and then the Cancer discovery followed by 9 weeks of Chemo which is definitely in the “No Ride Zone” ……..no matter I’ll just press on, keep the spirits up and see what can be achieved.

Another ride done

The badges came off the Safari so I’ll see how they clean up or if I can get some new ones as they mean a lot to me.

Great morning on Firewood Mountain and load 7 is home and unloaded in good time. Nice load of dry fir and aspen and unless I’m mistaken should be good for another load tomorrow, temps up again at 65F.

Tuesday and weather superb for load No 8 which takes a bit of work up the top of Firewood Mountain and even got involved in a mini avalanche ……. but I got the GOOD bits.

Wednesday and no wood today as I need a change! Better get the Farrier in to cut my toe nails and then get out there for some more miles.Beginning  to wonder about all this chemo? What happens if I say NO more? Not 100% sure for the future, maybe I’m just at a low point. Suffer on, and hope things change …….. most of my plans seem to be going downhill, no interest in Christmas this year, which is very unusual.

Eventually I decide to get out there and bang in another 12.77 miles which brings the total up to 1078.00   ……. its very slow work this year but never give up and see how far I can get before winter (which might be severe) arrives and closes me down completely.

…….. and of course I’m still looking at the Shaquille o’Neal mobile which is really nice

Hmmmmm !

 

Still there

 

Keep on thinking?

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIFE’S TOO SHORT …… DRIVE SOMETHING NICE!

That’s what one of our local dealerships say. Why you ask? …. easy assuming I get over this bout of Stage 4 Cancer and all those side effects which seem to be building up, rather than going away. If I can get past all that  then I feel I will be in the mood for something “nice” and bring a new round of driving pleasure in my remaining years.

Over the years I’ve had 4 Range Rovers starting with my first one out in Saudi Arabia during Gulf War I and then selling that one when Operation Desert Shield turned into Desert Storm. All the costly prestigious all wheel drive vehicles were given to incoming nations who were part of the alliance. Immediately the war was over these nations departed and the vehicles were returned to the dealerships from whence they came. As no self respecting Saudi would dream of buying a “used” vehicle these were sold off at knockout prices to the gullible Brits who were working for British Aerospace…… and that was me!

1989 RR No1, the Maroon cheapie, and at this stage I’ve sprayed the wheels silver chrome ….. electrics next!

I kept getting in the “wrong” side only to find somebody had stolen the steering wheel!

The first one was a Maroon colored resprayed effort which was good on the spraying but the sprayer had disconnected all the electrics and then failed trying to do the rewiring. I believe the number of things that didn’t work was close to 98 and with lots of free time in Saudi I diligently worked my way through them and got lots of items working, including central locking, which I didn’t even know it had. I also sprayed the wheels.

The maroon one all badged up and electrics nearly finished

The Brown Desert Storm “return” which I bought for about 7000 GBP with 4000 miles on the clock ……. British Aerospace bargain

Not my first choice of color but the very cheap price at the dealer’s was the deciding factor. No problems with this one and I sold it a couple of years later to a dart playing friend as my overall plan was to buy a NEW one about 4 months before leaving the Kingdom and then drive it home across the Middle East and onward through Europe. The plan was sound but just before I went to order there was the flare up in Bosnia which curtailed my plans right there. I suppose I could have rerouted and gone by boat to Italy and driven from there but I liked my original plan better.

Back home again and plans evolve to move to the USA and I end up buying a really nice White one from the owner of a building company who gives me my first contract.

First one in Phoenix from the company that gave me my first contract

Its a work truck

That one gets a ton of miles on it  before I change it to a much newer BRG County LWB model which is everything a RR should be and in this one the AC actually works!!

No 4, the BRG LWB County

 

…….and then it snowed …… in Phoenix ????????

I don,t believe it !!!

However these newer models had a problem or two including the brakes that needed to be completely changed, both discs and pads, every 50,000 miles. The pads were too hard and scored the softer discs causing the problems which I can only hope they have solved on the current models.

The ill fated Pheasant Shoot and a dead water pump on the way home + a night drive in a tow truck

Mine also blew the water pump on a pheasant shooting trip to Oklahoma which needed a tow in at night all the way back to Phoenix.

As an Englishman, I’ve driven most British cars and as I’ve been flashing through adds of late I have to say there are some beautiful cars out there. Like so many things in life the “sedan” seems to have it’s writing on the wall a bit like letter writing has become e-mails, telephone calls are rapidly becoming texts, etc, etc. Certainly its easy to see why as the current SUV’s offer so much more. You can’t go “hanging basket” shopping, winter firewood collecting, fishing with made up poles, replacing 8′ light bulbs, or easily transporting skiing equipment, or your bicycle, ……. and perhaps another item that is sadly lacking (other than Audi) is 4 wheel drive if you live in snow country as we do.

Must get up in the loft and find my old photo albums and see if I can find any of the “RR” pictures from the 90’s. I also remember coming back from Saudi after Gulf War I and test driving a Vauxhall Lotus Carlton which was at that time rated as the fastest saloon car.

Quite something! Bit bland inside, love the Lotus badges

For any Brit who knows cars this Wolf in Sheep’s clothing was not the prettiest car out there, and Vauxhall had a terrible reputation for producing “rust buckets” where all the metalwork rusted through in the wheel arches, around the front grille, door frames etc. However this monster of the Lotus Carlton had a top speed of 177 mph and blistering acceleration! Needless to say I didn’t get close to that on a British road but the salesman let me take it to 140 on the  M5 and I have Edward on board but I don’t think he would remember any of it.

Another car for some reason I have never owned is the Jaguar and there are a couple that still have a degree of appeal…… the first being the S-Type ……. here’s one down in Cave Creek where we used to live and only priced at $6800 with less than 50K on the clock.

Not bad

Pretty wheels

Pretty and unusual wood

Oooooooooh !!!!!!

Other Jaguars that come under my microscope are the XF, XK, and the XKR . The best has to be a supposedly Italian Racing Red ? which I have never heard of so I’ll give the seller credit for something new … and it is gorgeous! …. I think its Burgundy!

Italian Racing Red ?

V nice, and maybe just affordable ?

This one I have to see!

Down in Scottsdale

Another one is slightly cheaper but not quite as gorgeous

Not too shabby !

Better in the driveway

Very nice dash

AND then ……… here is a car I never thought I could NEVER own ….. but no? surprisingly I COULD just afford this ……..

What could it be ??????

Well Mr Bond ?

…… is it ? ……. can it really be?

I’m nearly convinced ….and my first two initials ? A. M.

Maybe I should change my name ? How about….

ASTON MARTIN DOWN

Well just when I thought the searches were complete along comes another Jag, the X model, which surprises me as its AWD ? didn’t know that the Jaguar came with AWD as an option.

Good looking car in green

Very cheap too, must be worth a look and test drive at $2850 ???

Getting closer, maybe Christmas or the New Year ?

 

TONY DOWN  or A.M. Down ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LOGGING IN FULL SWING, CHEMO BACK, 4 TO GO!

Last week another 4 loads (two on Friday) and a total of 5 for this season. The “Great Wall of Dolores” was completed on Friday and the first two layers laid under the new balcony. Gorgeous dry fir which I like as it burns beautifully and has a nice aroma.

Stage 1, the Great Wall is complete

This week return to the next 4 sessions of chemo, so have at it again and it seems the radiation  is off the table. Plans were a load on Monday and another on Tuesday before Chemo Round 9 ……. but this morning its been SNOWING overnight and about 1/2″ dusting on everything except the roads which are so far clear  …. temps on the rise from 22F when I left the house and its just made 30F at 0930.

The other side of pleasant, no load today!

Too cold for a load on Monday but determined action Tuesday and load No6 is home and unloaded and we should now be at the 1/2 way point for this winter. No more this week as its heads down into Chemo 9.

Temps way down on Wednesday morning at 9F so a full blast on all bus heaters. Home and just time for a splash of coffee before its off to Durango for Chemo Round 9. Good meeting with Julie the Nurse Practioner who does answer all my questions, blood wise, more bananas and avocados and the potassium index is up from 3.2 to 3.4 and no mention on the iron index so I guess that’s OK too. Onto the results from the Denver scans which I gleaned nothing from in my flash visit. Julie shows me the written words on the report which says the tumors are down in size by 40% which is the sort of stuff that I WANT TO HEAR.  4 sessions after we started the tumors were down 20%, so with any luck they should hopefully be at 60% after the last 4 sessions. So the game plan is another 3 sessions, wait the duty 2 weeks and take another scan. Redo the colonoscopy to see if we can get all the way round and then perhaps surgery after Christmas and onto a chemo pill regime to keep the liver in its current state.

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHEMO ROUND 8 ….. NOW WHAT?

10/1619 and round 8 of the Chemo is done! the last two weeks have been pretty miserable with a build up of all the side effects and a few days of nausea but without throwing up. Coldness, pins and needles, runny nose and weeping eyes have been constant debilitating effects throughout.

Over to Durango and despite my misery there is good news. The blood work they do has shown that the (chemo/tumor indicator) that they never told me about, has comedown from 87% to about 20% which they say is GOOD! …… also they now want me up in Denver for 10/23/24/19 to meet up with the Surgeon who will, post MRI, decide how we progress from here. More good news as they decide to take one of the poisons off the list in case he wants to go straight to surgery as “that” poison is not conducive to blood clotting and healing.  Of course there are more options including another 4 rounds of Chemo or a mix of Chemo and Radiation before putting my arse end back together.

Up to Denver on “Boutique” in the Swiss built Pilatus which I have to say has a fair turn of speed! Rough and bumpy flight and a storm is rolling in with forecasts of up to 8″ of snow.

Compact little cabin

Over to Hertz and collect the world’s most expensive I day rental!!!! I could of had a VW Jetta for a lease of $159 a month ……. and I end up paying $140 for this Jeep Cherokee …. a bit of a rip off but the second day was only $27 if I needed it.

Somewhere in here?

or here?

?

Hotel next in driving snow and darkness plus the fun of rush hour and now find the Hospital ……… yes, 6 BLOCKS of HOSPITALS but I eventually find what I’m looking for and finally endure the worst contraption I’ve come across on this Cancer adventure called the MRI ……. the session lasts 40 minutes and the noise is unbelievable with non stop banging at about 100 decibels. This finishes at 2240 and I wend my way back to the hotel in the snow.

The noise was unbelievable

Highlight of the evening is the local news where the Clown Prince (Trump) is telling a Rally in Colorado that they will soon have “his” border wall !!! He is quite insane and clearly thinks New Mexico is part of Mexico …… heaven help us, perhaps he’ll buy Finland next ?

Thursday and the Cancer fun just keeps coming! First on the menu is a CT scan at 0700 ……. well it doesn’t make all the ridiculous noises of the MRI …….. now some blood taking, and then a physical with all my life’s  history. A couple of hours sleep in the car and then the “way ahead” in the Lady Surgeon’s opinion.

From her discussion there is too much cancer in the liver to get it all in one operation so that would require two sessions about a month or more apart. She says 4 more sessions of Chemo, another local CT scan and then if that’s all good rectal surgery and arse reconnect and get rid of the bag. The liver surgery does not sound worthwhile and they can keep it where they want with Chemo Tablets once a day!

Return the Expensive Jeep having spent $1.96 to refuel it as Hertz charge $9.99 a gallon if they do it!! ……. back to the airport and the fun of security but eventually through and now 5 hours to waste before the flight. Up at the gate I see it is already delayed and I can get no answers or sense out of the check in girl.

Finally airborne at 2240,  1 hour 40 mins late but we come home around 5000′ and high speed covering to 280 miles in just under the hour. Well Thank God these two days are over. Cost a fortune to learn precious little but at least we have a way ahead.

 

TONY DOWN

LOGGING AND BLOGGING

Firewood Mountain

That time of the year again and time to get up to the Aspen Wall Wood Firewood mountain and start the collection for this year’s 12+ loads as Winter could be SEVERE judging by the freaky weather we have had all over the country!

Autumn/Fall is now here, colors beautiful, time for hay bales and pumpkins…….. better get on it. Need to fit a new tube on Brenda’s bike and get the downstairs lobby light changed over ready to accept the expensive LED lights.

Bicycle fixed, Route Data sheet completed, and even went for a ride, the first for a week. The total goes up but with the chemo and it’s side effects its more of a creep than a full blown attack on the distance with another 15.3 miles. Total so far in this miserable cycling year is only 1049.48 but I hope to be through 1100 miles by next weekend.

Now Wednesday and not much achieved this week as the side effects are the worst they have ever been and just to add to the misery “anal leakage” has returned!!!

Thursday 10/10/19 which is an anniversary, which I DID remember and we enjoy a haircut and a trip to Ocean Pearl for lunch and their cheese Wantons were the best ever! Actually went to bed early as the chemo side effects were at their worst and with two weeks of watering eyes they have become very sore.

My quest to find another Range Rover continues and a real beauty popped up on Tuesday ……

A 2008 model in a very dark blue with blue and cream interior and very nice accent woodwork which RR seems to have been going away from on their later models

This one was rapidly promoted on my list ……. but even though it was a new listing, at what would have been my price, it SOLD within a day!!

No matter, I’m not ready to purchase yet, but it was a very desirable car…….. strangely enough another one in the same color scheme pops up and has just arrived at a dealership!

Friday morning, seriously bloody cold with the temp down to 16F after yesterday’s 37F at the same time. We have bitter cold and its snowing in Denver. My chances of making the 1100 banner on the bicycle are looking pretty slim with the weather and ongoing chemo effects! you can only do what you can do.

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHEMO ROUND 7

 

Wednesday 10/2/19 and over to Durango for session No7 of this Chemo Poison. Doctor informs me it might need the full 12 sessions or we may go into radiation for 5 weeks and 5 sessions a week!!!???

The “thing” moves around you

He also tells me I need to go to Denver to see the Surgeon who will decide, when and what will go under the knife, …….. a lot of driving in the near future as Denver is 450 each way and the daily run to Durango will be 130 or 650 a week ……. better think of the Range Rover I’ve promised myself at the end of all this.

Just something about this one 

Here are a few more that also appeal

Same dealer, less miles …… Color???

Something different, owned by a giant basketball player over in California, special bodywork and exhaust, Special interior and  with the BMW engine 

Still all wishful thinking at this stage and I need to sell a few possessions first. I could be leaning towards this one for looks, preparation and novelty ….. and not too bad on price considering what has been done to it.

Friday morning, a better night’s sleep and only another 4 hours on the chemo poison bag! Feeling a bit better than the usual Friday but early so wait and see how those nice side effects cut in.

The bag is off, the nose and eyes are watering and I’m really getting pissed off with these side effects. On current review is the Radiation and the proposed visit to Denver to meet with the surgeon. Not sure what is to be gained from this as he/she has all the records but the next MRI won’t be scheduled until after session 8 when we can see how much the tumors have hopefully been reduced. The idea of a 900 mile drive and a night stop seems somewhat premature to me.

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PUSHING ON

Waterfalls finished, pool played and it seems I’m still in there with a chance, now back to some cycling which has been this year’s big regret thanks to 4 months of lousy weather at the beginning of the year and then the less than pleasant discovery of Stage 4 Colon Cancer to kick off June!!

Sadly not much got achieved but now dogged determination has set in and miles WILL be knocked of the 24,902 target of “Once round the World. Before the big “C” arrived I had determined that 3000 would be my limit this year having lost the first 4 months to weather, and it was still snowing on the last day of school 5/23/19

A more realistic target would now seem to be 2000 for 2019 and this will require a lot of effort with the monthly two sessions of Chemo when I’m sidelined and definitely NOT in the mood. No matter back in the saddle today and another 22.24 comes off the total and I’m determined to crack the first 1000 this week.

Monday and another 10.29 goes in the bag between other missions and tasks. Tuesday, I want to go for some more but I’m very cold thanks to the Chemo shit along with the pins and needles and runny nose! What fun!!!! Eventually get out there once I’ve warmed up and hit another 18.22 which brings me ever closer to the first banner at 1000 miles!

Wednesday and cool this morning but with no wind to speak of. Pins and needles in the finger tips ( another ongoing chemo crap side effect, but it has to be said the same effect in the lips is not showing up so must be grateful for small mercies). Should be able to get out there soon and bang in a few more. Got out, got er’ dun! Another 15.31 in the books bringing the dismal total to 1007.35 which is about 2500 less than last year.

 

The month finishes up on 1034.18 as its windy again and much cooler in the mornings which the chemo doesn’t like. Oh well, another session on Wednesday which will be No 7 .

 

TONY DOWN

MORE GNOMES

With Chemo 6 behind me time to get back to what I was doing on the rockery and waterfall section of the garden. Well the waterfall flows are about where I wanted them.

Final gnomes get unpacked this morning, but my hands are suffering from the pins and needles effects from the last chemo! Seriously annoying but other than that pretty good for a Saturday.

Time for some “gallery” shots of the new boys before deciding where they go.

My favorite, and the biggest, “Sage”, ponders life smoking his pipe

The new head of “Wreck Restoration”,  Silus Mariner, and we have Mary Rose, Titanic and Bismark all awaiting repair, greets a new frog worker

Gnomes from “that” game

Smoking Joe

The Drunk

NEW head of Waterfall Security …. The Gnominator !

More rude Harley Bikers

A better gesture

Well now that everybody is here we can allocate some new placings and re-read the “Rules of the Rockery”. With  gnomes, frogs and turtles you know this won’t go well!

Merlin, King Midas, Death’s Head and Escalante Days Mushroom are all in their slots along with the Walmart Greeters and Travelocity Gnomes. Workers on the falls also stay put.

As Sage’s advice is constantly required he sits with the King

The Grumpy Gnomes of “Team Bigmouth” take their seats under the Elephant Man skull

Swinging Frog gets a new location facing the road

Gnominator takes up his position behind Merlin who will read the rules!

Say No, and Hear No, don’t like the rules any more than last time!

The motorcycle gang don’t like “the NO riding on the Rockery” clause and show their dissent with a Harley wave.

All looks good from where Sage is sitting

With everybody in place time for the Montezuma and some pool. Seems the Championship is NEXT week but the practice will be good after all this time off the tables.

It looks like I’ll be in the money this week as I knock up 2 good wins with some pleasing shots. Round three goes really well and my last 4 shots, and if you win this frame you can’t be worse than third. With some very pleasing cue ball control I’m on for a longish range cut at the black……… and with just the right amount the black rolls in …….. however, the cue ball travels back up the table and barely touches the 5 ball but manages to scratch for a loss. Needless to say I’m not pleased with the result but the series of shots were good.

Two more wins and I’m back in third place for the day. Hope it keeps going for next week.

Comments are invited on the layout

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

CHEMO 6

Here we go again

Wednesday and after the morning drive over to Durango for Session No 6 of the poison including the new one which takes 1 hour on this go around. First we get to see the Scans and their written reports.

The tumors were initially about 4-5 cms in size and after 4 sessions they have been shrunk by about 20% which is good and pleasing to know that the plan is working. The new drug, they tell me will cover the cancer cells and block their way to their food source which was explained as some sort of glucose.

The dark spots are cancer (not mine) 

The side effects from all this poison seem to be worse with weeping eyes and a non stop runny nose along with pins and needles in the finger tips and lips if you drink or touch anything cold. The tiredness and general lack of energy are fairly constant which each session and debilitating nonetheless, but reduces after the weekend.

Now its “dressing gown Thursday” when nothing happens as I’m dragging the infernal bag and pump around all day. Still I do have the last of my gnomes to unpack and plan their resting place among friends on the rockery.

Friday at last, just another few hours of the bag and pump and then recuperate over the weekend with side effects hopefully reducing. Better than being dead! …… but its a fight and on current information the body is winning although some days it doesn’t feel like it.

Only three hours left

Bag gone and I’m a free man again! Seems we might be playing pool again tomorrow as its a Championship Final which I didn’t even know I had qualified for ?

TONY DOWN