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Monday, December 4, 2023

The Tragically Hip Replacements

Once again, thank you for all the messages of caring and support from emails, blog comments, twitter posts and messages, facebook posts and messages, texts, and the good ole physical mail. The outpouring of How Are You Doings? has been astounding and I'm very touched by the caring that has been sent my way.

There is so much on my mind I can scarcely figure out what to tell you. Let's see.

Mountains of paperwork, phone calls, log ins, password changes, figuring out and so on have been done, and mountains more await. My interior painting task is going well and doing its job to keep me busy and give me something positive to plan and execute. So far I've painted three doors, and a wall, two coats each. It doesn't seem like much but you'd be shocked at how much is involved in this.

I'm still shocked by the loss of my wife - quite often it just doesn't seem real. I'm working through it all. I find some solace in the peace and quiet here. When the Quad Queen was ill and becoming more disabled, the number of people coming and going was ridiculous. You'd think we were running a cat house with the cars filling the driveway.

This morning I lay in bed taking my time to wake up, as I do every morning now, reveling in the luxury of having no demand put on me. It used to be that the moment I woke up I had to charge out of bed, straight to Karen's side to see if she was ok. Imagine being lowered into bed at night and having to have your limbs arranged in positions that you figure would be the most comfortable for the duration - and then having to stay in that position, unable to move, turn over, or even scratch an itch. Fortunately, I was able to figure out a way for her to drink as needed using a sports hydration bladder with a bite valve. It mostly worked. My heart breaks for what she put up with, and she did it with such an amazing attitude. 

So, lazing in bed was never an option, it was always straight into action. And it would be so until she was safely and hopefully comfortable in bed again that night.

And still I miss seeing her those mornings, even in those circumstances. We were always happy to see each other, no matter what.

But now I'm on the other side of that, and this is my time to rest and rebuild my life. So I wake up when I wake up, and stay in bed as long as I want. The simplest thing, but an absolute luxury.

My appetite is back. Made a sandwich.

The band I play in here at the Greacey Palms, the Tragically Hip Replacements, is a going concern, and I'm getting some joy from that. I play guitar and might even sing a tune or two. And, we are looking at playing a couple of non-paying gigs in the new year for the other inmates of the trailer park.

The future of the blog was in question when Karen got sick - what is Vegas without the Quad Queen? Who is Royal Flusher without the Quad Queen? What would be the point?

But the unexpected complete and total baring of my personal and private life, including the first ever publications of our photos, and the reaction to same, has proven that the blog should continue. For whatever reason, people care. They have enjoyed it all these years and I get a kick out of trying to be funny.

Painting project. Before.

One wall completed!

Jim, the Tragically Hip Replacements drummer, invited me over for Thanksgiving dinner. We'd already had ours in October, but I went just the same. This was to be my first social engagement without Karen, and I was nervous and stressed about it, but it was okay, and I got through it. It was a great meal, too.

Now I have a bigger emotional hit looming - the coming Christmas season. If I spent the holidays with family, but without Karen there, I would just blubber my way through it all. I'd be a basket case, and I know this. The loss is too raw and Christmas memories are emotionally charged at the best of times.

Much as I am enjoying my solitude right now, I can't imagine sitting here alone through Christmas. What am I supposed to do, put up half a tree? Give myself presents? No, it would be nothing but a 'poor me' fest.

Local take on fried chicken breast with Country Throw-up Gravy. MMMM CTUG!

So, I've decided the best thing to do would be to go somewhere where there are lots of people bustling around (that I can ignore), plenty of distractions and activities, entertainment, good food and liquor, and nice hotels to stay in.

That's right, I'm going to spend Christmas in the Poconos.


No, no, sillies, not the Poconos. You know where.

It's actually a simple decision. Most vacation destinations are book solid at Christmas. I don't want to go back to the cold and ice of Canada and spend Christmas with family, crying into my gravy. I can't stay here, and I actually need a break from all the personal stuff I've been taking care of.

The obvious answer is to spend Christmas in Las Vegas.

I don't really know how it's going to feel. But it's very familiar, and I'm comfortable there.

It's going to be difficult at times, I know that, but I have been to Vegas solo enough that it'll just feel like that again. I hope.

And just as we lived life on our own terms as best we could throughout Karen's illness, I have to continue to live life, painful though it may be, as I go through all of the 'first times without her', of which there will be many. And I know the Quad Queen would be the first one to say YES! GO!

Another thing - I feel like writing a bit more, but I think it's time to move on from tragic and emotional details and get back to constructing in words those safe and fun places that have been my refuge from reality for so many years - the settings, events and characters of Flusherville and the Greacey Palms Senior Putt Putt Trailer Park.

And then when I do go to Vegas, it will be as it always been, you'll read about it as it really happens.

So, I'm kind of excited about this, I'll have some planning stuff to write about, and then I'll blog the trip live as I go (which will also keep me busy during downtimes instead of crying in my room camping gravy etc. etc. etc.)

Now, I know a lot of you will want to offer to meet up, and that sort of thing - just know in advance that I don't know if I really am up to that kind of thing. It's hard enough for me to meet up with strangers at the best of times. So please don't be offended if I choose not to hang out with my fellow degenerates. It's nothing personal.

I definitely will be making a few Official Royal Flusher Business Cards available though - that's another thing that gives me joy.

So, let's get on with planning a Vegas trip. In the next blog post - is there a replacement for the Little Giant coffee maker?!!!


    1. Continued prayers going forward! I did want to relay a quick story that may bring a smile. My son and I went to Vegas not long ago and dined at Magnolias. When I mentioned the CTUG he looked at me like he was planning my move to the senior home. I quickly relayed the Royal Flusher legendary trip reports and all the greatness that used to be at the 4 Queens and he agreed I didn't need to be locked up just yet :)

    2. I am in Las Vegas until Friday, naturally thought of you and QQ. I will play some vp in your honor, your honor. Best wishes for the holidays. You have a friend in Massachusetts if you ever want to visit, please let me know. Sending good vibes your way, hang in there.

    3. Best of luck in your return to Las Vegas!

    4. I was coming home from Vegas yesterday and thinkin of you. Its very pretty, very crowded and traffic is a nightmare. Just what you need now. Best wishes for your trip.

    5. Love the idea and can't wait to see how it all unfolds! Keep on trucking my friend.

    6. This makes me happy,. I will be reading every word and living vicariously as you victoriously return to Vegas - the only place to be. It's the right thing to do!

    7. Flusher. As a loyal reader I am appreciative that you are able to feel like you can take us on this journey with you. I look forward to the coming blogs and hopefully this will be healing for you in some way. And we'll be ready for the next pictures of CTUG! All the best, sir!

    8. Flusher, my wife and I are taking my son to Vegas for his 21st birthday the 19th til the 23rd. If you are around then, we would love to see you in person! Or at least retrieve a business card!

      1. Let me know a casino you are going to be at on the 21st and 22nd and I'll see if I can leave a secret lucky card for you!

      2. We will be at The D! I am truly honored! Sorry… honoured!

      3. Is it too late to leave a card? Contact me on Facebook or Twitter DM.


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