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October 17, 2017

My new kayak is shipping from Minnesota in 3 days. It will take 3 weeks to get here. Then it will be learning the idiosyncrasies of the yak. Make it sea worthy with keel tape. Put the decals on. Then decide if I’d safe to go or wait until spring.

If you know of anyone who wants to join me send a comment. Thank you.

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Sept. 16th 2017 Mission22

Still waiting  for new kayak to arrive mid October. In the mean time I am taking care of a fish pond. This morning I found 8 baby snapping turtles swimming on the surface. I transferred them to a bigger pond on the property.

I will not be posting everyday as it has nothing  to do with the trip or the mission.

Day 119 Mission22

Hurricane 

Background:

I have 20 years experience in underwater recovery, auxiliary police, and emergency management. I have made sure my family had everything they needed and would stay safe before I went to work being on the street helping others. I worked every snow, nor’easter and hurricane for 20 years. 

I was trained in hurricane tracking by the man who started the hurricane tracking center.

I have 30 years of experience as an electronic engineer so I have a strong background in physics.

I have been around the ocean all my life,surfing, snorkeling, scuba, canoe, and kayaking. I have studied the water it’s movement it’s interaction with tides and winds.

Warning to Florida:

Unless the high in the middle of the country gets to you before Irma there is a good chance she will turn North and follow the coast.  She is  450-500 miles wide.Florida isn’t that wide. The water is still very warm which feeds it. If the eye stays over water she will stay a cat 4-5.

Now you have to take into consideration was your house built prior or post Hurricane Andrew. If post you have a better chance of survival not guaranteed. If prior your chances are less.

With high strong winds and debris flying that debris can go through the wall of your house. There have been pictures of 2x4s in phone poles even a plastic straw was embedded in a phone pole. 

What upsets me;

You have homeowner insurance if not FEMA can give you money or a low interest loan.  All you material things can be replaced. 

As far as I know ego has never saved anyone. Training, intelligence and common sense has however.

Then why do people continue to put not only themselves their families and first responders in harm’s way because material things are more important than human life.

If authorities tell you to evacuate listen, if they declare your area a disaster area listen, if they declare a state of emergency listen. It is for your safety and well being. They can’t force you to leave but they can in the middle of a storm refuse to save you if it puts their people lives in imminent danger.  

If you have lost power and there is no cell or phone service how are you going to call for help? You can’t get in your car and drive anywhere the roads are closed or impassable. You can be arrested for driving at this time. 

If you call for help and when help arrives you refuse to be evacuated you can be sued for the cost of the response plus a high fine. All calls are recorded.

Final thought:

Life is more precious than anything materialistic. Life is more precious than your ego. 

How are you going to live with yourself if your decision causes loss of life?

I write this because my brother and sister-in-law plus friends live in Florida and they decided to hunker down rather than listen to experience and reason. 

One of my demons that I deal with is that when I got on the dive team I threw a switch to totally disassociate myself with death so I could handle the body recoveries. So if these people die I will have zero feelings about the loss and this will compound my demon.

Thank You for listening.

Day 115, 116 and 117 Mission22

Will order kayak Tuesady as Monday is a holiday.

115 went to Wareham Crossing for the first day of I talked. Got 22 signatures of people I talked to about suicide awareness.

116 helped friend and girlfriend. Took her dump truck to John’s to pick up sand/dirt from having a well put in. Then drove back to her house to fill in potholes in driveway.

Went to cookout later in afternoon.

117 basically a do nothing day.

Day114 Mission22

A day in the life…my life.

Reasons I should be happy,

I have 4 great children

I have a wonderful girlfriend that I Love very much.

I am getting a new kayak to finish my trip.

I am raising awareness about veteran suicide so I can save lives and families.

I have great friends, good friends, friends and those I call acquaintance.

I am alive and healthy and in love.

So why as I sit here alone right now do I feel,

Depressed

Alone

Sad

Doubtful

Worried

However,

I am not suicidal. I have not fulfilled my mission and that is an important driving force in my life right now. So don’t worry about that. 

My girlfriends sister flew in yesterday and they are out visiting and going places and I am glad they are having a good time.

I picked up my new sunglasses and it’s my first time with progressive lens so I am walking around like a drunk. Hahaha.

The one problem is my condition is looked at the wrong way. It is a astigmatism  because people don’t see it and don’t understand so we who suffer do not want to be outcast or looked down upon so we have learned to hide it well. 

If you were to meet me for the first time you would never guess that I suffer depression and PTSD.

I had worked at Lowe’s for 7 years before I retired. I started telling my coworkers of my plans to paddle the east coast for Mission22.  One day one coworker asked what Mission22 was. I told him all about it.  A woman then asked what authority did I have to tell people about depression and PTSD? When I replied that I suffer from both you could of heard a pin drop. Everyone looked at me and said you??. I said I have learned to hide it very well. The conversations I had before I left where informative to the people I talked to.

PTSD

You don’t have to be a combat veteran to suffer. I have it from 20 years of underwater recovery and a few life events I don’t wish to share. I will say I have been shot at so I know what live rounds sound like whizzing by your head.

Combat veterans, first responders, recovery divers all suffer. Plus we have all had to throw the switch to disassociate ourselves with death. I haven’t found a way to throw the switch back to normal yet. That bothers me because I am completely void of feelings when it comes to death. This makes one feel less human at least me. 

So PTSD well the core of mine like I am sure others is depression. Depending on the severity of your episode there are other emotions adding to it compounding the situation. When I have a full blown episode I have at least 20 emotions all at once. Problem is you never know how you will react. To date I have not been physically violent but I have that potential. This scares me because I don’t know if I will be able to control myself to stop it escalating to the point I hurt someone. I do have a high IQ and common sense so i know what is going on and i call it peeling the onion. I take each emotion and try to understand it and then get rid of it. When I get to depression it is the hardest to reduce it so I save it for last. 

I have had a few episodes only one full blown.  I am getting better.

So here is a list of emotions I go through for a full episode,

Laugh

Cry

Sad

Anxious

Anxiety

Scared

Depressed(of course)

Angry

Fight or flight

Confusion

Fear

Worry

Frustrated

Exhausted

Tense

Irritable

Nervous

On edge

Cautious

Protective (of the space near you)

This is all at once. Could you deal with It?

A study was done for law enforcement and the outcome is your safety zone need to be a perimeter of 21 feet or greater to have time to react to what is happening. When I have an episode would you want to be in my safety zone? Would you feel safe?

If I ask you to be in my zone I will tell you what I need you to do. Please only do what I ask nothing more. I am working hard at either maintaining and/or improving my situation and I need to concentrate really hard to get to near normal. 

While having a partial episode my girlfriend asked if I was okay. I said no. I said I just need you to hold me don’t talk. Her holding made me feel secure so that I could concentrate on calming down. She was sorry she didn’t go to the concession stand with me at a crowded concert. She realized it was a mistake. I am handling crowds better but I am not 100% with it yet.

I was fine (so I thought) to go alone. I made it to the stand ordered my food got it. When I turned around it was an open area and prove darting in all directions. I was overwhelmed. I didn’t know what to do. I could feel the panic and anxiety building. I knew I had to make it back to my seat and her. I put my head down and avoided looking at anyone and started back to my seat. I refer to this as running a gauntlet. I got close to our section and looked down at our seats. She wasn’t there. Panic starts to take over. I told myself she is u front taking pictures as she always does. I made the seat and sat with my eyes closed eating my fries going she would show soon. Sadness and loneliness crept in. I just sat there concentrating on getting better. She came back and I felt only a little relief until she held me.

I hope this helps you understand that this is for real. Our combat vets are dealing with harsher stuff than me. Some of them are too proud to seek help and those close to them can’t understand it because it’s hard for us to explain the emotions of war ching your buddy get blown to pieces right next you. Having to carry a 16 yr. Old boy to shore that drowned. Having to tell a mother,  father and uncle I just recovered your daughter/niece who was beaten tapped and murdered and weighted with cinder blocks and thrown in a quarry. I had to look at everyone we recovered for the report I would write later.i live with the images of 6 people that stand out for some reason in my mind that show up like a slideshow when I get triggered. It is a hell of a way to live but I will persevere as I always do and as always I will hide it the best I can. 

If you look into my eyes the glimmer is gone, all that remains is blank n empty. It is almost like those of us that have dealt with death on the scale we have can recognize each other just looking at each other’s eyes and then give the nod of the head knowing we are brothers and sisters.

Day 113 Mission22

Well good news is Current Design is selling me a gently used Soltice GT for $950 includes shipping. Problem is I have to pay for it beginning of next week. Then it will be a few weeks before it can ship out.

Well by then hurricane season should be almost over, so I should have calm seas.

Day 112 Mission22

I finally heard from Mike the owner of Current Design kayaks. He is looking into how quickly he can get me a boat. It may be used but newsworthy.  He will get back to me soon.

Mike got back to me. I will need $950 by tomorrow.

So followers please go to my gofundme and donate.  Gofundme,rkwvuqb8 thank you. It will allow me to complete my trip in safety.

Day 109 Mission22

Called Current Design spoke with receptionist who told me Mike (owner) was in a meeting. I left another message that he could call me anytime and I would try to hold it to 20 minutes.

Waited for call back again. Still waiting.

Waiting for new glasses and will have to see when remnants of Harvey gets here in New England and how bad it is.