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OT500's Blog
#1

OT500's Blog
25/02/2021

Been a long time since I kept a blog/diary of any kind so I'll start with a minor intro:

30+, living in the UK. Married and have a 10 year old daughter. Spent the last year working from home due to lockdown and work in the IT industry.

Big recent things:

The Good -
Recently got a pay rise from work - my work has been an odd one recently. It's a job I've worked up to for the past 14+ years, starting from part time jobs in kitchens [washing dishes etc], moving onto various other things such as working in a printing factory [for plastics/wrapping], working in a telescope factory [milling lenses etc] and everything else in between. All this because I didn't go to university! Finally managed to move into an office environment around the age of 19, then into IT support [first then second line over the years] and now bespoke software support for a company that makes it's own software.

So after all the moving around, and slow rises in pay - i thought I'd kind of hit my ceiling as it were. I dont really have any qualifications or anything of that nature, just years of experience, which a previous job would tell me was pretty useless to them/anybody else in the industry. Our company also got bought out last year by an american company which caused a lot of changes [lots of staff let go, purchase of a competitor of ours as well, slightly increased work load etc], but on the whole the new guys are pretty chilled out to work for and all I want to do is work.

Well after about a year of that, and stressing out about it [as well not directly "looking" for new work but applying for some potential opportunities that came up while all this went down], I got a call from my new boss who informed me that he feels all of us are not getting paid enough and has increased my wage accordingly. The increase isn't "crazy" but it takes me to a personal earning number that I honestly thought I would never see in my life.

I came from a life living with a single mother, who in herself had two jobs at one point to keep the lights on, and otherwise not doing all that well in school [like I didn't fail anything important, but I didn't get anywhere close to getting any A's either], as well as going to college [in the UK that's from 16] and then not continuing my education basically out of fear that I wouldn't have a "proper" job until I was in my 20's. Other friends of mine went to University and travelled the world working, all while I struggled on just trying to earn money and get my own place, later falling into a fairly large amount of debt and dealing with mental health issues etc.

Now it's 2021 - and I'm earning enough money to support my family, provide things for my daughter that I never had, make payments towards the [now] minimal debt I have without worrying about it and even treat myself every now and again (which 5 years ago would NEVER happen. I just went without and/or sold my existing stuff to make ends meet) - it's honestly bonkers, I can't fathom how my life has turned out like this.

The Bad -
While all the good is going on above, our dog is now in the autumn of her life it seems. She is border collie crossbreed [with a lab] and we've had her since she was a pup - she'll be 14 years old this year, and is actually in fairly good health. Her back legs are getting a bit stiff but otherwise she's happy as she ever was.

The bad news is that she's gotten a small "growth" on her side, which when getting checked out, the vet has confirmed it's most likely cancerous. The problem also is due to her age, putting her under to look at it might be enough to kill her on it's own, let alone any procedure they might have to do. Then there is also the high possibility that while she has a "lump" she is most likely riddled with it on the inside, so any procedure would be very invasive - meaning if she survived it, her recovery would be long and hard. The short answer from the vet was: She's old and seems to be happy [you can touch this lump and she doesn't even know it's there, doesn't whine or cry to indicate she's in any pain], so putting her through this at her age would be potentially more cruel than letter her just live it our. For example: lets say she has 2 years left, do we want to risk having her die on the table to start with and then, if she did survive, spend a good year recovering? When now she can currently just potentially live out the last few years of her life just happy as she is. 

I've lived with dogs my entire life, and understand that position, so we have decided to leave it with her, as per the vets input, and just make sure she's having a great time while we still have her with us. So yeah, not amazing news but with her age/everything taken into consideration, it's not surprising to me personally at this point. Hopefully we can just make her remaining time happy.

So yeah - that's about it for now. If I remember I've done this, I might update it later on.
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#2

OT500's Blog
(02-25-2021, 11:32 AM)OakTree500 Wrote: 25/02/2021

Been a long time since I kept a blog/diary of any kind so I'll start with a minor intro:

30+, living in the UK. Married and have a 10 year old daughter. Spent the last year working from home due to lockdown and work in the IT industry.

Big recent things:

The Good -
Recently got a pay rise from work - my work has been an odd one recently. It's a job I've worked up to for the past 14+ years, starting from part time jobs in kitchens [washing dishes etc], moving onto various other things such as working in a printing factory [for plastics/wrapping], working in a telescope factory [milling lenses etc] and everything else in between. All this because I didn't go to university! Finally managed to move into an office environment around the age of 19, then into IT support [first then second line over the years] and now bespoke software support for a company that makes it's own software.

So after all the moving around, and slow rises in pay - i thought I'd kind of hit my ceiling as it were. I dont really have any qualifications or anything of that nature, just years of experience, which a previous job would tell me was pretty useless to them/anybody else in the industry. Our company also got bought out last year by an american company which caused a lot of changes [lots of staff let go, purchase of a competitor of ours as well, slightly increased work load etc], but on the whole the new guys are pretty chilled out to work for and all I want to do is work.

Well after about a year of that, and stressing out about it [as well not directly "looking" for new work but applying for some potential opportunities that came up while all this went down], I got a call from my new boss who informed me that he feels all of us are not getting paid enough and has increased my wage accordingly. The increase isn't "crazy" but it takes me to a personal earning number that I honestly thought I would never see in my life.

I came from a life living with a single mother, who in herself had two jobs at one point to keep the lights on, and otherwise not doing all that well in school [like I didn't fail anything important, but I didn't get anywhere close to getting any A's either], as well as going to college [in the UK that's from 16] and then not continuing my education basically out of fear that I wouldn't have a "proper" job until I was in my 20's. Other friends of mine went to University and travelled the world working, all while I struggled on just trying to earn money and get my own place, later falling into a fairly large amount of debt and dealing with mental health issues etc.

Now it's 2021 - and I'm earning enough money to support my family, provide things for my daughter that I never had, make payments towards the [now] minimal debt I have without worrying about it and even treat myself every now and again (which 5 years ago would NEVER happen. I just went without and/or sold my existing stuff to make ends meet) - it's honestly bonkers, I can't fathom how my life has turned out like this.

The Bad -
While all the good is going on above, our dog is now in the autumn of her life it seems. She is border collie crossbreed [with a lab] and we've had her since she was a pup - she'll be 14 years old this year, and is actually in fairly good health. Her back legs are getting a bit stiff but otherwise she's happy as she ever was.

The bad news is that she's gotten a small "growth" on her side, which when getting checked out, the vet has confirmed it's most likely cancerous. The problem also is due to her age, putting her under to look at it might be enough to kill her on it's own, let alone any procedure they might have to do. Then there is also the high possibility that while she has a "lump" she is most likely riddled with it on the inside, so any procedure would be very invasive - meaning if she survived it, her recovery would be long and hard. The short answer from the vet was: She's old and seems to be happy [you can touch this lump and she doesn't even know it's there, doesn't whine or cry to indicate she's in any pain], so putting her through this at her age would be potentially more cruel than letter her just live it our. For example: lets say she has 2 years left, do we want to risk having her die on the table to start with and then, if she did survive, spend a good year recovering? When now she can currently just potentially live out the last few years of her life just happy as she is. 

I've lived with dogs my entire life, and understand that position, so we have decided to leave it with her, as per the vets input, and just make sure she's having a great time while we still have her with us. So yeah, not amazing news but with her age/everything taken into consideration, it's not surprising to me personally at this point. Hopefully we can just make her remaining time happy.

So yeah - that's about it for now. If I remember I've done this, I might update it later on.

I have had a couple of dogs who lived 6 and 8 years longer while riddled with lumps. So, she may surprise you. A lot of them are not malignant, and others go in remission. 

Good on ya for working your way up. I did the same. It's so satisfying.   Thumbs Up
[Image: color%5D%5Bcolor=#333333%5D%5Bsize=small%5D%5Bfont=T...ans-Serif%5D]
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#3

OT500's Blog
03/03/2021

A year in lockdown for me!

Whelp - its March 2021, and I've been working from home for a year now. The office is physically too small to social distance so we've been told we're out until this is all done, which could be some time yet.

All in all - its not been too bad. I'm still working, which is awesome and I understand how lucky I am to be working as well, so I'm busy at the very least. The only time it's been is with schools closed as myself + my wife are working full time, so trying to teach our daughter almost anything at the exact same time is difficult. My wife dropped down to part time to basically have the extra hours to help on that front, which I worked away still.

Schools re-open here as of Monday, and my wife is allowed back into her office in/around the same time as well - so it'll just be me and the dog at home once again. When it's not massively busy I can stick a movie on in the background as well, so got plenty to do haha.

I totally understand it needs to be done, so not complaining - more "reminiscing" what it was like to see people other than my wife/child on a daily basis Smile

Outside of all this, I'm back onto my running. Managed to complete my monthly 5K badge on Strava - albeit with a few stops in there as I'm still trying to get back into the swing of things following a fat December off with no running what so ever!

Nothing else of note currently - so signing off for a few more weeks.
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#4

OT500's Blog
26/03/2021

Been a few weeks - so blog post? Blog post.

Whats on my mind this week? I honestly don't really know - I've been mulling some stuff over during my 'alone' time while working from home about what I'd like to try and do with my life/what I want for my family/Where I see my daughter in a few years - and it's pretty crazy.

I'm 33 this year - so not old, but getting to that time where I suppose I need to 'do' something with myself if I really want to. For example: years ago, I used to be a Pro Wrestler in my spare time, but packed that in following a minor injury and the birth of my daughter. I've always really missed it, but with the climate as it is/my age/my overall shape right now - it's probably not feasible to get back into it. I'm also a massive book nerd and love reading, and would love to try my hand at fiction writing, although this falls under "honestly not sure it is something I could do" - I know the old addage of 'Try and find out' but as you imagine you don't want to spend time on a book/story and then find out you're not the best writer and nobody is interested - plus then where to go from there if it worked out? I don't even know if it's a viable 'job' if that makes sense.

I'm probably, and I'm fairly certain I am, in a place that everybody finds themselves in at this time in their lives - you're not old but you can see it's getting close to a "point of no return" in terms of accomplishing something in your life, and feeling like you've "done" something and not just become another 'number' in any old job that you have, that nobody realistically cares about.

A real catch 22 situation I think - I know I'm getting to that point, but am sane enough to know I'm there, so maybe I should do something? Maybe. In terms of writing fiction - I have a few ideas that I'd like to explore, but finding the time is one thing, and attempting to write is another.

Who knows, maybe I'll actually do something one of these days or just do what everybody else does; say they'll do it and never actually do anything apart from pass on this "will of wanting something" onto their children haha. I suppose either way I cannot complain: I have a loving wife, a great daughter a full time job that pays well, a roof over my head and food in my belly - real first world problems if there ever was a thing!

Anyways, that's enough existential thought for me for now - back in a few weeks!
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#5

OT500's Blog
23/04/2021

I've had a tough few weeks as my dog, Molly, hasn't been all that well. In short we got told that she can have some medication, but as/when she trails off again - that's it for her really. She's 14 so not massively surprising to be honest. Thought I'd take the time to post about her here and just make some notes so I can come back another time and read it.

We got her 14 years ago, when myself/my wife had not long been dating. We'd moved in together pretty quickly due to circumstances, and also moved out of our local area. I was working 12 shifts in a factory, while my then girlfriend was working as a care assistant. She would drive all over the town/surrounding areas to help older people make some lunch/change their clothes/shower etc. During one of her trips, she found that one of her clients had just had puppies. The mother was a Border Collie that had gotten out and when it came back, was "up the duff". The father was a Labrador from down the road. Of all the puppies that had greeted my girlfriend that morning, only one had that "Labrador" look about them - a small solid black puppy. She'd already decided there and then she wanted him, and asked the guy in the house. He said "yep, give me £50 and you can have her". And that was that.

I woke up from sleep following a 12 hour shift to find my girlfriend with a small black puppy, and I instantly fell in love with her as well, and the rest is history. The funnier thing is that at the time, when she'd asked what sex the puppy was the guy had said "oh its a boy" - well we didn't question his judgment and i didn't feel the need to look/double check, so for all we knew our little puppy was indeed a boy. My girlfriend named "him" Henry. It was a few weeks later when registering at our local vets, that our vet politely informed us she was a girl. We then named her Molly instead. It was up to me then to train her accordingly, as I was the only one with a history of owning dogs. Luckily for me after growing up wit ha dog breeder, this wasn't a huge chore for me personally.

Around a year later we moved back to our home town, and Molly came with us. My sister in law had gotten a dog [a Basset Hound], around the same time we got our dog, and the two become inseparable. Unfortunately the Basset passed away a few months ago, at the ripe old age of 14, but up until they end he was playing with our own beloved pet as well.

When we did move back, it took a little bit of time to get settled in so she moved around with us while we sorted stuff out, but eventually we found a new home and she was happier than ever. Then our daughter came, and for the past almost 11 years, our dog has been just the best with - she knows, and seemingly always knew, to keep out of her way but will also look out for her when she plays in a park and me/her are sat out side waiting for her.

The past few months have been difficult - she has a huge lump on her side, which is cancerous. With her age, the vets had advised not to have it removed as the act of putting her under alone might kill her, so suggested we just let her carry on as is. A few weeks ago she'd completely gone off her food and was vomiting, which lead us to where we are now. Currently after a week of medication, she's eating again and seems a lot better in herself, but I personally am thinking it'll be another week or so when that wares off, and she'll deteriorate again after which time our vet has suggested to call it a day and put her to sleep.

I'm currently just enjoyed her being with us and i'm obviously upset, but understand this is the way it needs to be. I've grown up with dogs so know the score when it comes to their lives and that we will outlive them as we get older. She's getting a lot of strokes/ear scratches/treats [when she eats them]/hugs and all sorts, so she's happy as larry at the moment.

If anything I just wanted to say, if even to myself : Thank you Molly. You've been there our entire relationship - you've seen the good times and the bad times, but you've always been there for me, my wife and more recently our daughter. You've been the most well tempered dog I've ever had the grace to know over the years, and more importantly you've genuinely been a great friend. Soon it will be time to say goodbye, but I know deep down that you've had a long and good life, and that if anything you are probably just tired. I just hope we did you some justice and that you have enjoyed your short time with us. We'll all miss you for sure, and will never ever forget you.

We love you Molly, and always will.
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#6

OT500's Blog
(04-23-2021, 11:07 AM)OakTree500 Wrote: 23/04/2021

I've had a tough few weeks as my dog, Molly, hasn't been all that well. In short we got told that she can have some medication, but as/when she trails off again - that's it for her really. She's 14 so not massively surprising to be honest. Thought I'd take the time to post about her here and just make some notes so I can come back another time and read it.

We got her 14 years ago, when myself/my wife had not long been dating. We'd moved in together pretty quickly due to circumstances, and also moved out of our local area. I was working 12 shifts in a factory, while my then girlfriend was working as a care assistant. She would drive all over the town/surrounding areas to help older people make some lunch/change their clothes/shower etc. During one of her trips, she found that one of her clients had just had puppies. The mother was a Border Collie that had gotten out and when it came back, was "up the duff". The father was a Labrador from down the road. Of all the puppies that had greeted my girlfriend that morning, only one had that "Labrador" look about them - a small solid black puppy. She'd already decided there and then she wanted him, and asked the guy in the house. He said "yep, give me £50 and you can have her". And that was that.

I woke up from sleep following a 12 hour shift to find my girlfriend with a small black puppy, and I instantly fell in love with her as well, and the rest is history. The funnier thing is that at the time, when she'd asked what sex the puppy was the guy had said "oh its a boy" - well we didn't question his judgment and i didn't feel the need to look/double check, so for all we knew our little puppy was indeed a boy. My girlfriend named "him" Henry. It was a few weeks later when registering at our local vets, that our vet politely informed us she was a girl. We then named her Molly instead. It was up to me then to train her accordingly, as I was the only one with a history of owning dogs. Luckily for me after growing up wit ha dog breeder, this wasn't a huge chore for me personally.

Around a year later we moved back to our home town, and Molly came with us. My sister in law had gotten a dog [a Basset Hound], around the same time we got our dog, and the two become inseparable. Unfortunately the Basset passed away a few months ago, at the ripe old age of 14, but up until they end he was playing with our own beloved pet as well.

When we did move back, it took a little bit of time to get settled in so she moved around with us while we sorted stuff out, but eventually we found a new home and she was happier than ever. Then our daughter came, and for the past almost 11 years, our dog has been just the best with - she knows, and seemingly always knew, to keep out of her way but will also look out for her when she plays in a park and me/her are sat out side waiting for her.

The past few months have been difficult - she has a huge lump on her side, which is cancerous. With her age, the vets had advised not to have it removed as the act of putting her under alone might kill her, so suggested we just let her carry on as is. A few weeks ago she'd completely gone off her food and was vomiting, which lead us to where we are now. Currently after a week of medication, she's eating again and seems a lot better in herself, but I personally am thinking it'll be another week or so when that wares off, and she'll deteriorate again after which time our vet has suggested to call it a day and put her to sleep.

I'm currently just enjoyed her being with us and i'm obviously upset, but understand this is the way it needs to be. I've grown up with dogs so know the score when it comes to their lives and that we will outlive them as we get older. She's getting a lot of strokes/ear scratches/treats [when she eats them]/hugs and all sorts, so she's happy as larry at the moment.

If anything I just wanted to say, if even to myself : Thank you Molly. You've been there our entire relationship - you've seen the good times and the bad times, but you've always been there for me, my wife and more recently our daughter. You've been the most well tempered dog I've ever had the grace to know over the years, and more importantly you've genuinely been a great friend. Soon it will be time to say goodbye, but I know deep down that you've had a long and good life, and that if anything you are probably just tired. I just hope we did you some justice and that you have enjoyed your short time with us. We'll all miss you for sure, and will never ever forget you.

We love you Molly, and always will.

This brought tears to my eyes. I know just how you feel...
[Image: color%5D%5Bcolor=#333333%5D%5Bsize=small%5D%5Bfont=T...ans-Serif%5D]
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#7

OT500's Blog
27/05/2021

Always seems to be the end of a month for blogging time, but here we go:

So it's been a little while since my dog, Molly, passed away. Since then we've had her ashes back and are keeping them I think. We've had tons of support from friends/family as well, which has been awesome to see. We've kept some her stuff, like her lead and collar, along with some of her favourite toys etc, in a little basket and had a ton of pictures printed off which we've put into an album. 

My wife has taken this really hard, but we're working through it. As for me, I'm "ok" I think. I'm obviously devastated, but at the same time know if she was here, she'd want to go out walking/have a good time, instead of sitting in watching me be sad - so that's what I've been doing. My daughter has taken this rally well, but we really did try and lay the ground work on this some time ago, saying how we have a responsibility to care for our pets etc. She's also clearly upset, but is carrying on, which I'm super proud of her for.

Moving on from the sadness above, I've finally been able to start seeing members of the family, thanks to some restrictions being rolled back. Have had a few beers with my dad, and finally got to see my grandmother after almost a year, a few days back. Also got my vaccinations booked in, so hopefully I'll be ready to go come August time when I get my second one.

I've also had time to catch up my video games after being literally years behind everybody else, [thats having children for you]. Managed to finish: DOOM, Wolfenstein : New Order, Wolfenstein : Old Blood, Tomb Raider and Rise of The Tomb Raider all in very sort periods of time. Got a ton waiting to go though, so will crack on and catch up!

Barring that, same old same old for me - working from home and making sure the family keeps on ticking Smile
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#8

OT500's Blog
05/07/2021

Blog post time!

Topic this time around - weight and exercise!

So, a few years ago now [maybe 4-5 years] I was in the middle of a depression/anxiety hole. It had taken some time to really understand that and get help, but I around that time I was hugely depressed and borderline suicidal, in all honesty. On top of all of that, I was comfort eating and drinking a whole lot of beer, and.......I was overweight.

I'm around 5'10/5'11, so to be north of like 200lbs is not a good look for me really and it showed. My mind set of the time was "I'm not going to be training for anything, so why bother". Then my wife signed me up to a 10K run and I thought "oh fuck....I can't run/I'm overweight, but I don't want to look like a total tit on the day, so I guess I'll have to start training properly". And so I did - started running daily, working out a bit, did Tough Mudder as a replacement on 1 days notice [which I really was not prepared for, but I did it haha] and everything. Got down to about 189lbs in the process, which was more my "natural" weight.

Since then I've done a few 10K races, try to run 5k 2-3 times a week etc. Kept in decent shape and all that. Took part in Brazilian Ju Jitsu as well, which was crazy and awesome. With the pandemic coming in, that sort of went out the window a little bit, but managed to keep up with the running where possible and allowed at the time.

This year, I've been on it until around 2 months ago - Stopped altogether, and started eating again. Not even sure why, but I think it's due to stress at work, as it's been REAALLY crazy recently [Staff leaving, me taking up more stuff work wise] and our dog passing away as well. Checked my weight last night and I weight in at 210lbs now - which is CRAZY. I knew I'd put on a little bit, but Christ alive its worse than I thought!

Well, that woke me up a little bit - This morning, out for a 2 mile run, and some basic body weight exercises this morning as well. Protein shake for breakfast and I'm onto the water for the rest of the day/week. Going to attempt to get out every day and work our where possible, then in the next week or so, start back on the weights as well - Going to be a long road to get back on it, but I'm aware I need to, and getting myself back into shape.

Cutting out the beer altogether as well - while I do enjoy a cold beer, it really doesn't bother me to NOT drink it, and I've also drank a whole lot recently, so very happy to leave it behind for a little while.

So thats it for now, the TL : DR is "I got fat, so I'm working out again".

Take it easy!
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#9

OT500's Blog
01/09/2021

It's been a while - so blog post! I've been away from the forum due to a few different things.

Up first, Work: We've hired new staff, which means I'm training them.....both of them, at the same time, on the job while I am also working at full pelt. This is all going on while our new parent company makes some pretty big decisions about what our product is going to be doing in the future, so as you can imagine, I'm pretty busy.

Second, Home: My daughter starts high school, tomorrow, so it's all systems go on that front. in the UK high school starts at age 11 - so she's about to hit a real steep learning curve in life. I'm not stressed out about that, but it'll be fun to see her grow/changes as these things go. She got a mobile phone for her birthday and that alone has been a big learning experience for her about people messaging/what to say and not to say/when to just ignore the bloody thing etc.

Outside of that, we've decided to take the plunge once more and have picked up a new four legged friend. This in itself has been a funny one - me and mrs oaktree had discussed it and had said "maybe in the new year.". And on top of that, we'd said we'll look round the dogs homes and maybe pick up an older dog [like 3-4] that needs a home. Well that time estimate came down to before christmas, then october......then September. And then last month. We picked him up last week and he's settling in just fine.

This is Ludo:

[Image: lLGZp81.jpg]

He is a border collie, and is 6 months old. Totally bananas, but we're training him well so far and walking him 2-3 times a day!

Thats pretty much it for me, so I'll be back another time Smile
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#10

OT500's Blog
26/06/23

Not done one of these in a little while [almost 2 years!] so worth checking in I think Smile

SOOOOO - nothing major to report in the long run really. Ludo is still with us, he's had a real rocky beginning as he was a rescue dog that somebody else picked up during covid. Problem is - the male owner worked away like all the time, and the woman owner had 3 little kids, so basically they never took him out and shut him in the back yard. When we picked him up he was feral, so in these few years he's settled in and we've tried real hard with him/worked around his issues. He now listens really well and doesn't bark/jump up anywhere near as much. He's terrible walking outside, so we will often use a "freedom field" where its like fenced off and made for dogs like him, and he really doesn't get on with other dogs, but otherwise is an absolute sweet heart at home, which is all we need. After calming down a little bit, he now happily sits/plays with us in the garden, which we we first got him he was barking/jumping up at the very low wall etc. Now he's doing well. Still a pain at times, but he's still young so it'll come in time I reckon.

Only other "news" is that I have hearing aids now. Mildly long story, but I've had hearing issues my entire life. As a little kid my hearing went completely, for a short time, and when it came back I could hear but I had tinnitus. That is something I've lived with since I was about 4 and all in all I was used to it. However in the last 2-3 years, my hearing has been getting worse, and certain sounds/pitches I just simply cannot hear at all. Well after getting my ears looked at, a hearing test and a CT scan on the ole' noggin', [which was a long time coming, mainly because of covid and backed up health services etc], I picked them up last week and I can now hear litterally everything haha. Its amazing. They are pretty small [which is one thing I was worried about] so people don't really notice unless I point it out. Plus I can control them via an app, so I dont have to like fiddle with my ears in public which is good as well haha. Just turning into an old man I think ha.

My daughter is doing real well in high school, heading into her third year starting in September and otherwise is just a fairly regular [almost] teenager Smile She continues to get invested in various anime/manga things and is a big fan of religion/history, and often asks me random questions about XYZ religions or various things from the world wars, which often send me on a very long tangent to get everything in there haha, but it's cool that she's interested in these things.

Otherwise, thats me for now!
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#11

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(06-26-2023, 12:37 PM)OakTree500 Wrote: 26/06/23

Not done one of these in a little while [almost 2 years!] so worth checking in I think Smile

SOOOOO - nothing major to report in the long run really. Ludo is still with us, he's had a real rocky beginning as he was a rescue dog that somebody else picked up during covid. Problem is - the male owner worked away like all the time, and the woman owner had 3 little kids, so basically they never took him out and shut him in the back yard. When we picked him up he was feral, so in these few years he's settled in and we've tried real hard with him/worked around his issues. He now listens really well and doesn't bark/jump up anywhere near as much. He's terrible walking outside, so we will often use a "freedom field" where its like fenced off and made for dogs like him, and he really doesn't get on with other dogs, but otherwise is an absolute sweet heart at home, which is all we need. After calming down a little bit, he now happily sits/plays with us in the garden, which we we first got him he was barking/jumping up at the very low wall etc. Now he's doing well. Still a pain at times, but he's still young so it'll come in time I reckon.

Only other "news" is that I have hearing aids now. Mildly long story, but I've had hearing issues my entire life. As a little kid my hearing went completely, for a short time, and when it came back I could hear but I had tinnitus. That is something I've lived with since I was about 4 and all in all I was used to it. However in the last 2-3 years, my hearing has been getting worse, and certain sounds/pitches I just simply cannot hear at all. Well after getting my ears looked at, a hearing test and a CT scan on the ole' noggin', [which was a long time coming, mainly because of covid and backed up health services etc], I picked them up last week and I can now hear litterally everything haha. Its amazing. They are pretty small [which is one thing I was worried about] so people don't really notice unless I point it out. Plus I can control them via an app, so I dont have to like fiddle with my ears in public which is good as well haha. Just turning into an old man I think ha.

My daughter is doing real well in high school, heading into her third year starting in September and otherwise is just a fairly regular [almost] teenager Smile She continues to get invested in various anime/manga things and is a big fan of religion/history, and often asks me random questions about XYZ religions or various things from the world wars, which often send me on a very long tangent to get everything in there haha, but it's cool that she's interested in these things.

Otherwise, thats me for now!


The story of your ears sounds a lot like hubby's. When he finally got decent hearing aids, they drove him nuts. He was constantly adjusting them. I remember when he first heard gravel under his feet. He got so startled, he almost fell. He said that the sounds he kind of knew or anticipated were ok, but totally new sounds were so loud it made his head explode. It took him quite some time to get used to hearing everything. 

Good on you, the world is so much better with proper sound!
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#12

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(06-26-2023, 12:53 PM)Dom Wrote: The story of your ears sounds a lot like hubby's. When he finally got decent hearing aids, they drove him nuts. He was constantly adjusting them. I remember when he first heard gravel under his feet. He got so startled, he almost fell. He said that the sounds he kind of knew or anticipated were ok, but totally new sounds were so loud it made his head explode. It took him quite some time to get used to hearing everything. 

Good on you, the world is so much better with proper sound!

Yeah its an adjustment, I now find sometimes certain places are "too loud" like if its busy or whatever, which is the main thing I'm dealing with - on the day itself, it was raining pretty heavily and when I came out of the hospital I could hear the rain hitting the floor which is new for me haha. I told my wife and shes like "yeah everybody can hear that sort of thing" but I don't think I've ever heard it, or if so not in a very long time haha.

Im enjoying it so far, some minor issues but nothing that I don't think I can get used to over time. If anything its that my earholes are "sore" towards the end of the day, but thats about it Smile
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#13

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(06-27-2023, 09:43 AM)OakTree500 Wrote:
(06-26-2023, 12:53 PM)Dom Wrote: The story of your ears sounds a lot like hubby's. When he finally got decent hearing aids, they drove him nuts. He was constantly adjusting them. I remember when he first heard gravel under his feet. He got so startled, he almost fell. He said that the sounds he kind of knew or anticipated were ok, but totally new sounds were so loud it made his head explode. It took him quite some time to get used to hearing everything. 

Good on you, the world is so much better with proper sound!

Yeah its an adjustment, I now find sometimes certain places are "too loud" like if its busy or whatever, which is the main thing I'm dealing with - on the day itself, it was raining pretty heavily and when I came out of the hospital I could hear the rain hitting the floor which is new for me haha. I told my wife and shes like "yeah everybody can hear that sort of thing" but I don't think I've ever heard it, or if so not in a very long time haha.

Im enjoying it so far, some minor issues but nothing that I don't think I can get used to over time. If anything its that my earholes are "sore" towards the end of the day, but thats about it Smile

Your brain will sort out the sound volume. It'll just take a while, but you won't have to keep adjusting. And your ears will get used to the unit, they'll shape around it. Our bodies are really amazing...
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#14

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(06-26-2023, 12:37 PM)OakTree500 Wrote: 26/06/23

Not done one of these in a little while [almost 2 years!] so worth checking in I think...

Good to hear from you again mate!  And thank you for
the doggy and hearing update.  Glad everything's going
well for you currently.          Hug
I'm a creationist;   I believe that man created God.
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#15

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More blogposts!

04/09/23

So nothing major is going on in oaktree land - but I have just been on a little get away with the family which was nice.

We went over toe Northern Ireland as it was the weekend of my birthday and I have family over there. Its a long story, but the abridged version is: my grandfather is english. He would divorce his wife and moved over to NI for work. He met and remarried, and now I have various uncles/extended family over there. Funnily enough my nan who staying in England, would also remarry and he husband went on to have a stroke, so they also moved to NI to live by the coast to get the sea air in them, once he had recovered. It's not been like 45/50 years but they live like an hour from each other haha.

Anyway - part of the reason for going was to see the family, however a bigger part was also that I'd come to the realization that while I've been to NI many times over the years, I've never actually "seen" any of it. Basically any time I've gone over was either when I was a little kid OR for specific reason [birthday/wedding etc] so I'd basically go to one place and then stay there - 99% of the time it would be my grandads house haha. So, with that in mind, we booked 2 different hotels, had 2 days in Belfast city to check it out, and then stayed further north for the rest of the time to visit odd places/see the sights. We went out to see family during all this, as most lived in between travels so it wasn't "going out of the way" for anybody, and also got to see some very cool places.

We visited Enniskillen, as my wife's grandmother as born there, which was very nice, as well as going further north to the Giants Causeway and the big rope bridge they have up there as well.

One thing it really brought home was the time between seeing certain people, as it's a good few years at a time that I see everybody, with my grandmother in particular it must have been some 10 years at least. Also, just how time is passing a little bit: My grandfather has had multiple heart attacks over the years, and seeing him recently he has a pacemaker/defib fitted inside his chest and his arms were a very dark purple to boot [presumably a circulation thing]. On top of that my grandmother has terrible breathing issues and her husband has not been too well either, so kind of brings home that we're all getting older and they won't be around forever, which is sad but also very much "thats life" if that makes sense. Either way, it was awesome to see them and let them know i'm always thinking about them and to get my daughter to see them some more, as she's seen them less than I have. A few relatives I couldn't see as everybody is busy doing their own thing as well, but it was nice. Coincidentally my aunt was also there, who lives in england but was over visiting her mum so I got to speak with her a bit as well haha.

Otherwise - nothing to report moving forward. My daughter is starting her 3rd of 5 years in high school, tomorrow, so I'm sure that will be more STUFF to come in the coming weeks/months, but she's growing up just right I think - it's hard to know if you're doing too much or too little at her age, but we're trying to balance it out where we can.

Alls good in the hood, so see you next time!
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#16

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Odd post, mainly a vent from me

06/10/2023

So, hang in here as this may be a ride and a half.

My father is a great guy. Deep down anyways, however as he gets older [and even then he's not 'Old' by any stretch] he's been getting more and more involved in conspiracy stuff and ultimately the heavy right wing crap that comes with it. For example, he's told me "water makes you gay", had a big rant against Trans people, shared stuff to me/others from well know right wing assholes on the internet etc - and each time, I've had to basically take some time away from him and come back with like "evidence" of why he's basically incorrect about some of the more obviously wrong stuff, as well as trying to point out logically/factual issues with the things he's currently arguing for.

An example is the Trans "debate" that is popular with most right wing nutcases - Like I get it, but it was all the standard stuff like "whats stopping a man saying he's a woman and walking in the women's toilet". I mean, the answer is obvious but I legitimately had to turn up with the equivalent of a powerpoint presentation on how stupid it is etc etc. He did later apologize to me personally about how he knows his views can be a bit out there, and since then I've overheard him actually like "defending" my points to him when talking to others - I don't ever expect him ever to change his mind fully or ever really, but I took it as a win.

WELL, more recently we were all hanging out [Me, my wife, my daughter, him and his wife/other friends etc] and while it was like 99% actually fine, literally at the 9th hour he began ranting about Women in general. I have no idea what set him off but it culminated in the line "and it all started when they got the vote". I mean, I was like proper dumbfounded to be honest. I really didn't understand what he was trying to say, but the thing that got me the most as that he'd said this: in front of his own wife [who god love her, she probably didn't care/understand], several other women in the vicinity, my wife and most importantly my 13 year old daughter. Who is his granddaughter as well. My wife had to basically escort me out because I got very pissed off about the whole thing. Later my daughter asked me about it and I had to tell her that he was ultimately talking pure shite, and if anybody every tells her that she's not equal to men in anyway ever, to tell them to shove it up their arse.

Anyways, I left it for a bit, and purposefully avoided seeing him for a little while, mainly as I had no idea how I'd react about it AND despite previous topics coming to a mutual understanding with us both, he has a history of "becoming very angry" and is, still at 54, much bigger than me. He used to be a real like "handy tough guy" back in the day, so on occasion his default answer is to fly off the handle and just punch somebody. He's never hit me or anybody else close to him, but I'm not going to find out.

However, normally we hang out every couple of weeks and last week we met up for a drink. Following a few beers, topics got more and more contriversial, and me having a bit of liquid courage in me just went for it. The shorted aspect of what happend is that we had some strong words, I at one point tried to leave as he was getting very angry, he blocked my way and wasn't cooling down, so I sat back down to defuse a little bit - following some back/forth about the issues at hand, I finally got through to him by saying "I had to explain to a 13 year old girl why her grandfather was slagging off women". That got him a bit and he, and I, got a bit upset about everything.

When we left, he hugged it out with me and openly cried for about 5 mins - I told him I love him, and that I'll always be around, but he really needs to pull things back a bit on that side of the fence, because it's causing him to alienate people, namely me and my entire family in the process. I got a text from his wife the following morning saying he was still crying when he came home, and wouldn't tell her what about. I gave her an abridged version saying we had a falling out but that its basically "all out in the open now" so I'm hoping he was ok. She said he was and it'll be fine.

He hasn't really spoken to me since then, and I'm not "scheduled" to see him for another week really - I've messaged him to reiterate my stance: that I'm his friend but he needs to basically think about what he's saying here. My secondary point that I had also mentioned to him was that I'm just worried about him personally, diving into these rabbit holes of just bile/anger which literally mean 0 things in the real world, and that I want him to be the person I grew up thinking he was/is - the same person that always told me, when I was a kid, that all people are equal and to treat everybody as such.

It's confusing/distressing/angering and a million other things that I'm processing in myself, while I await his response - I also presume he may attempt to kick back on everything and it'll just blow up in my face, but in my mind your friends/family should be able to talk about things, even when its difficult to do so.

URGH - parents! Oh well. We'll see.

Anyways, signing off until I have something else to moan about haha.
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#17

OT500's Blog
(10-06-2023, 10:17 AM)OakTree500 Wrote: Odd post, mainly a vent from me

06/10/2023

So, hang in here as this may be a ride and a half.

My father is a great guy. Deep down anyways, however as he gets older [and even then he's not 'Old' by any stretch] he's been getting more and more involved in conspiracy stuff and ultimately the heavy right wing crap that comes with it. For example, he's told me "water makes you gay", had a big rant against Trans people, shared stuff to me/others from well know right wing assholes on the internet etc - and each time, I've had to basically take some time away from him and come back with like "evidence" of why he's basically incorrect about some of the more obviously wrong stuff, as well as trying to point out logically/factual issues with the things he's currently arguing for.

An example is the Trans "debate" that is popular with most right wing nutcases - Like I get it, but it was all the standard stuff like "whats stopping a man saying he's a woman and walking in the women's toilet". I mean, the answer is obvious but I legitimately had to turn up with the equivalent of a powerpoint presentation on how stupid it is etc etc. He did later apologize to me personally about how he knows his views can be a bit out there, and since then I've overheard him actually like "defending" my points to him when talking to others - I don't ever expect him ever to change his mind fully or ever really, but I took it as a win.

WELL, more recently we were all hanging out [Me, my wife, my daughter, him and his wife/other friends etc] and while it was like 99% actually fine, literally at the 9th hour he began ranting about Women in general. I have no idea what set him off but it culminated in the line "and it all started when they got the vote". I mean, I was like proper dumbfounded to be honest. I really didn't understand what he was trying to say, but the thing that got me the most as that he'd said this: in front of his own wife [who god love her, she probably didn't care/understand], several other women in the vicinity, my wife and most importantly my 13 year old daughter. Who is his granddaughter as well. My wife had to basically escort me out because I got very pissed off about the whole thing. Later my daughter asked me about it and I had to tell her that he was ultimately talking pure shite, and if anybody every tells her that she's not equal to men in anyway ever, to tell them to shove it up their arse.

Anyways, I left it for a bit, and purposefully avoided seeing him for a little while, mainly as I had no idea how I'd react about it AND despite previous topics coming to a mutual understanding with us both, he has a history of "becoming very angry" and is, still at 54, much bigger than me. He used to be a real like "handy tough guy" back in the day, so on occasion his default answer is to fly off the handle and just punch somebody. He's never hit me or anybody else close to him, but I'm not going to find out.

However, normally we hang out every couple of weeks and last week we met up for a drink. Following a few beers, topics got more and more contriversial, and me having a bit of liquid courage in me just went for it. The shorted aspect of what happend is that we had some strong words, I at one point tried to leave as he was getting very angry, he blocked my way and wasn't cooling down, so I sat back down to defuse a little bit - following some back/forth about the issues at hand, I finally got through to him by saying "I had to explain to a 13 year old girl why her grandfather was slagging off women". That got him a bit and he, and I, got a bit upset about everything.

When we left, he hugged it out with me and openly cried for about 5 mins - I told him I love him, and that I'll always be around, but he really needs to pull things back a bit on that side of the fence, because it's causing him to alienate people, namely me and my entire family in the process. I got a text from his wife the following morning saying he was still crying when he came home, and wouldn't tell her what about. I gave her an abridged version saying we had a falling out but that its basically "all out in the open now" so I'm hoping he was ok. She said he was and it'll be fine.

He hasn't really spoken to me since then, and I'm not "scheduled" to see him for another week really - I've messaged him to reiterate my stance: that I'm his friend but he needs to basically think about what he's saying here. My secondary point that I had also mentioned to him was that I'm just worried about him personally, diving into these rabbit holes of just bile/anger which literally mean 0 things in the real world, and that I want him to be the person I grew up thinking he was/is - the same person that always told me, when I was a kid, that all people are equal and to treat everybody as such.

It's confusing/distressing/angering and a million other things that I'm processing in myself, while I await his response - I also presume he may attempt to kick back on everything and it'll just blow up in my face, but in my mind your friends/family should be able to talk about things, even when its difficult to do so.

URGH - parents! Oh well. We'll see.

Anyways, signing off until I have something else to moan about haha.

I'm sorry to hear this Oak tree, what's ringing alarm bells to me is the crying, is it in anyway possible your dad has some depression?
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#18

OT500's Blog
(10-06-2023, 08:57 PM)adey67 Wrote: I'm sorry to hear this Oak tree, what's ringing alarm bells to me is the crying, is it in anyway possible your dad has some depression?

In my personal opinion he has many "unresolved" things from his childhood/teens/early adulthood he hasn't fully processed, but is also a man of a certain time where he won't be doing that any time soon either. He knows of my personal mental health issues, but doesn't really think much outside of that.

For me though, it's probably more easily explainable than that: AS a kid, his parents divorced / as a grown man, he's been divorced from my mother, he had a long relationship with somebody else but that broke up and he no longer speaks to my sister [because of that]  - I think he saw that I was a bit upset by what he had said and instantly went into "there goes another personal relationship I've lost" mode.

He doesnt help himself, by all means, but deep down he actually is a really good guy. More recently its been wrapped up in this whole culture war shite, and that has lead him down some rabbit holes which aren't really for general consumption.
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#19

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10/11/2023

SO from the last one to now, how things have changed!

So pre the last update what I hadn't mentioned was that, very separately, my dad had been having some minor "stomach issues". Various things were going on but he in himself was fine and had been to a doctor. After some basic testing, it was found he had some kind of parasite that was causing the issue - nothing major though. He was given strong antibiotics and was told it'd take a few weeks to settle.

Well it was very off/on for a bit, so the doctor said "we'll get you checked out just in case, but it does take a little while for this to sort out etc". So he went off for various tests, all came back fine. Final one was a colonoscopy - while having a look, they found a 2 inch tumor. Crazily enough, unrelated to the other stuff, just something they found.

Since then, we'd partially made up from are previous "argument" [which I still need to try and catch him alone to talk properly] and have hung out a few times with others since then.

A biopsy was done on the tumor and, last night, I was told the results. Its cancerous. Now, he's already had a CT and MRI scan on the surrounding area to make sure there isn't anything growing on "the other side" of his colon area [this tumor they found on the inside] which showed there isn't, so it's only this one small bit - 2 inch tumor in one singular place. He's already spoken to the doctors here, and he's been told its not "bad" and it'll be surgery to get that out, then most likely a few rounds of chemotherapy to be sure.

So yeah. I don't really know how to feel to be honest. I know he's staying positive and like me isn't actively "worrying" because he's in the right place with the right people, and they appear to [completely by pure luck] found this before it was anything too bad.

Don't really know how I feel in general - obviously concerned, and retroactively feel stupid/like a bad son for the previous arguments we'd had, but I care for my father regardless. And to top it off, he's 53 - he's not "old" by any stretch.

Anyways, needing to unload that as I don't really know what to do/say. I've offered to take days from work to be present if he wants me there or at the very least to take him to any appointments.

Crazy stuff
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#20

OT500's Blog
21/ 12/ 2023

Update on the above: re my dad and his condition

Well its been a crazy few weeks. Following on from the above, it turns out that the doctors looked at this bowel area and said "oh.....you've had part of it removed" [which he has from an accident many years ago] "this makes it much harder as there is only so much bowel, as opposed to the length of your intestines for example, so removing more may not be a great idea". This had them sending off the information to a specialist who has had a look and reckons that radiotherapy is the way to go as it'll either: A - Kill the tumour completely and they will just 'shave it down', or B - at least shrink it down to allow them to remove it properly.


The two sides to this are: if the former doesnt work and its the latter, he'll have a "bag" for a little bit while he heals up. The previous doctors said if they removed anything, it'd essentially be his entire bowel, meaning it's be a bag for life in that case. Since all this came out, he's been pretty chilled out about it, but hearing that he may have a bag for the rest of his life really scared him I think. Not that he was "bothered" per-se, but more "oh shit this is going to really change my life now". He's fine with the whole "well if you don't have that you might be dead" level of it as well, just more that he presumed it'd be sorted quick and we'd never really know anything happened.

The positive is that they caught all of this shit super early, see above, and it's not spreading/growing or anything, so they have time to try some stuff and see what happens. He's got to go in, 5 days a week for 5 weeks to have the radio therapy and then review. It'll be a busy new year for him - I've said I'll go with him if he wants a hand/somebody to hang out with and my work have graciously told me I can as well.

In other news:

Christmas is coming up - so thats a big thing obviously as well. For my father in particular, I've managed to get an Iron Maiden tshirt reprinted that is from a tour in 1989, which he used to own when I were a baby. We have a picture of us both, him in his early 20's rocking the hair/moustache combo with this tshirt on, and me as a little one. It's both of our favourite pictures, so I've been hunting for that shirt for some time. Managed to find a site that reprints old shirts and got us both one for christmas.

Other that that, its all systems go for everybody else. Myself, wife + daughter all all pretty much sorted and ready to go for christmas. My sister is coming home from university so I'll get to see her, and I'm hanging out with my mother + step dad on one day as well.

Should be a great time all around.

Otherwise, thats me done for this year. Have a great one and a happy new year!
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#21

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12/02/2024

New year update time!

Few bits - my dad has had his treatment and is now simply waiting for further tests. 5 weeks, at 5 days per week, of radiotherapy + chemotherapy all done. He was 2 weeks recovery, then anywhere between 6-8 weeks wait to see how its gone. Hopeully done and dusted, but you never know really.

Other end is mainly just me getting my shit together - started the year in a crappy place health/weight wise and kicked off Jan with lots of running + gym time, and eating a whole lot less. Since then I'm down at 10+ lbs at this point, and I'm carrying on with it to get back down to a "normal" weight. Been enjoying my running again as well with some stuff planned later in the year for charity etc.

Nothing else major to report, just plodding along really Smile
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