I am a meteorologist and a former youth leader at church…I have a lot to say on both subjects…and then some
It’s been a while. I have pretty much given up on my Northern Michigan Recreational Weather Blog, and started to blog from here again. A lot of that has to do with WordPress.com charging to embed YouTube videos. Since this is a self-funded blog site, under my wife’s business, I started to do my Coffee and a Weather Map series. However, that has had to be put on hold since the summer, when we moved into a 5th wheel. I haven’t done much with it mainly due to bandwidth issues, and, while in Florida, I lost my Apple Pencil. Since we moved into a cottage south of Gaylord, Our bandwidth, hasn’t improved by much, and now we have power constraint issues. However, on a whole, things have been going well.
However, what first started this post was a comment on the office Facebook page that irked me from a storm that went through the region toward the beginning of the month.
The comment was something along the lines of “with all this technology you’d think we would get better forecasts.”
Blah. My emotional response would have been to sarcastically point out how much better forecasting is since when I got into the business over 30 years ago. I remained calm and moved ahead, ignoring the comment.
I remember being in awe as the NGM (Nest Grid Model) picked up that a wave would produce an east coast storm 48 hours in advance of it hitting anything. Now, we can generally see out 6 or 7 days, although not all the time, and see the possibility of something coming.
That extra time we have now, must be messaged properly so that people will know what to do. However, most of the public can only ask how much snow is going to fall in x city, when there are still lots of uncertainties. We try to message things generally when a system is 5 days out. We try to not get into too much detail since the path track of a storm will change and fluctuate, sometimes by 100s of miles, when within the last 12 hours, the track may be off by 25 miles, and producing more or less snow than was predicted for some locations.
Luckily, we have people who like our work and come to our defense siting their snow fall and the prediction. Over the years, I’ve become accustomed to the generally ignorant comments on social media, but every once in a while…
A lot has happened in the last several months. Mary and I decided to sell our house on the east side of Gaylord back in March. We began to investigate places to live. Turns out that’s when the country was coming to grips with the lack of housing issues. However, we decided to do something radical.
We decided to buy a 5th wheel, and live in it. So, at the end of June we paid off all of our debts, and ended up with new truck (to pull the fifth wheel) and a 5th wheel camper. Other than a major issue with the construction of the camper (see Mary’s Blog here), most of the rest have been minor, or just us “learning the ropes.” This all has caused things to fly by.
So currently we places to live into November. This stresses me a bit, since the reason I got out of contract meteorology work 25 years ago was not always knowing where my next pay check was coming from. Not knowing where we are going to live is a bit of a stressor. However, the fun of living outdoors (I choose not to call it camping) has been great.
Issue that needs to be resolved…a reliable internet connection. Back when we owned a house, Spectrum was an okay ISP, and we had great speeds. Enough speed online that Mary and I could livestream at the same time, with no issues. Well, since we are relying on a 4G hotspot in the camper, We have slower speeds, and we have data caps. Currently, we have 100 GB of data per month. So we make sure that we are only using it for our computers (when I have mine operating), or the AppleTV 4K box that we have used the last 3 years while living in the house on Clearview Lane. There are some other problems with the hot spot box as well, but I’m not going into that. Maybe in a future post.
All that to say, that I’m working on getting back to livestreaming my Coffee and a Weather Map with Jeff series. I’m also planning on working on a vlog, too. I’m going to try and do it easy. A little filming each day, and then getting more done with it as time goes on. I really want to do this, since, we are trying to make a travel channel. I really enjoy what we are doing, even though there is a lot to learn.
I was in ICU for the night, and by the next morning I was being wheeled up to the Cardio-Vascular Unit. The next 5 days was spent getting me to walk, begin to eat (I had no hunger the following day or two.), etc. The staff in both ICU and CVU were great!
There’s not much extra to tell. After two days, I got my chest drain tubes taken out. I had to stay on oxygen through all but the last day. Each day was an adventure, as I continued to get stronger, and respond to what had happened, by getting my body back to the way it was.
They warned me in some of the literature that I would be emotional following the surgery, however, it didn’t hit me until I was being wheeled out. I had a hard time containing my tears and emotions that rushed out. However, with a 45 minute drive from Petoskey to Gaylord, I was back to normal.
This should, Lord willing, be good to keep me going for a long time. There are still a lot of things for me to work on, in this life…
It seemed like a dream. There was some sort of Star Wars theme to it. I remember thinking to myself, I have to remember to tell Mary about this, as my consciousness began to poke up passed the drug induced stupor. I was becoming more aware, and struggled to open my eye lids. I could see a glimpse of the ICU nurses. They were talking to me. I don’t remember what they said, but I realized, that the surgery was done. Something was in my mouth, oh yeah, the breathing tubes that the anesthesiologist told me about before the surgery. I faded out, and just before I woke up again, another Star Wars themed dream. This time, Mary was there.
I reached out to her and she took my hand. I faded out again, after a few minutes and after another Star Wars themed dream I awoke. Mary and my pastor was there. I held Mary’s hand, and Pastor Steve prayed over me. I faded out again.
I awoke again, and this time there was Mary and Trisha. My eyes were always heavy through this time. However, after Trisha left, I was becoming more able through the afternoon to hold my eyes open. I had a couple of events where I couldn’t quite coordinate swallowing with the breathing tubes in. The last time, the ICU nurse pulled one of them out. Then got the okay to pull the other one. Once they were out, I could talk!
It’s been another week since my triple bypass surgery. Things are beginning to progress well since I came home. However, when I last left you, I was two days out from being operated on. Saturday and Sunday passed without incident. I did my pre-op cleansings and at 4:00 am Monday morning, Mary and I headed north to Petoskey. We arrived a little early and had to wait. A little after 5:00 am they called my name.
I changed into a hospital gown, and then proceeded to be have both of my legs shaved, and my chest. It still looks funny today as the hair hasn’t fully grown back in. After that, I had another anti-bacterial bath, and then IV’s in both of my wrists. Mary was allowed back with me eventually and we waited. The PA for the surgeon came in and described the procedure to us and checked to make sure that the things were ready. Everything checked out.
The anesthesiologist came in checked a couple of things, and then began to roll me out. Mary and I were caught off guard by his demeanor and he didn’t say anything like, “this is it.” As I saw a door ahead of me, I realized that we wouldn’t get to kiss before I went in, so I said, “I love you!” and boom! I was through the door and being whisked through the hall to the Operating Room.
They moved me onto the Operating table, and began to connect me up to the IVs, EKGs, etc. The last thing I remember was the discussion on whether the music was appropriate with the anesthesiologist and the nursing staff. Then there was nothing until…
As the sun is shining over northern Michigan this morning, I pause to remember…
The remembrance is bittersweet, which, for a meteorologist, most are. The storms that gave us awe for the power of nature, also tends to take life. So we balance our excitement of a storm with the recollection that some people die within these storms…
There are about 5 different storms when I was a kid that kept me on track to become a meteorologist:
The storm was truly remarkable, with a low pressure of 978mb when the storm’s center moved to just southwest of James Bay, which allowed for the hurricane force northwest winds over Lake Superior and rest of the Upper Great Lakes.
The hurricane gusts reached into southwest lower Michigan. Those gusts stirred up the ashes in our fire place, which had a set of glass doors on them, and left what looked like ghostly imprints of dancers.
Of course, later we would learn via Harry Reasoner and ABC News (probably WZZM out of GRR as well) that the S/S Edmund Fitzgerald was missing and was eventually found in 530 ft of water north of Whitefish Point.
As I keep telling people, I’m training myself to be a filmmaker. I was in the process of trying to video this whole procedure, but there are times, when you just can’t, or maybe it’s just my anxiety in asking if I can record the different segments. In this case, I’ve got some clips, so here’s a bit more in my video words… (more…)
Hopefully, some will see this and read it. This has been an eventful last few days. It started off last week. Mary and I had a wonderful vacation in Phoenix with my parents and my sister’s family. Relaxing, fun, good family time. Then a few hours after my sister and her family had departed, my Uncle Dave called my dad, and told him that my eldest cousin’s daughter had passed away in her sleep at 27.
While the Lutz family is pretty big, we have all managed to stay in touch over the years. We have been watching each others kids grow up and I have gotten to know a few of them. Meredith was one. I can remember her a youngster with her brother and sister at the UM Church that served as our Thanksgiving Day meet up for most of the Lutzes. The one thing I really remember was talking to her when she was in high school, I believe it was at her grandmother’s funeral, my Aunt Tillie, most of the cousins where there then too. We had a conversation about what her youth group was doing, and I about how I was helping to lead one here in Gaylord. So when I heard she had joined Mission Year after graduating, and she had a blog for her year, I followed and commented. Her mom appreciated that I had gotten in touch with her to show support while she was there.
Since then we have kept in touch via Facebook. I was hoping that we could meet up with her during our ill-fated cruise, since it was ported out of NOLA, where she lived. However, with the cruise being cancelled and not having the money to stay in NOLA, it wasn’t going to work. So I apologized to her, and we went home. That was January, and here we are in March.
Then, this week as I prepared my lesson for youth group, my mind kept going back to a video about Ed Dobson that I saw a couple weeks ago. It is entitled “Grateful.” The series itself is about Ed Dobson’s life as a pastor, and now retired, living with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). The people at the web site turned this into a Lenten Meditation. That’s what I used tonight. However, as I discovered, this was being grateful through suffering. So we watched the video, and talked about it. Then I shared about Meredith. Meredith was always grateful and graceful to those around her. That is probably why she has as big a family, from her church and friends in NOLA, as she does in the several states that our clan has spread out. I was able to express my grief to the youth group and show them that Jesus is with us in the suffering.
Before this last week, I wasn’t sure that I would be around for another year in youth ministry. However, after tonight God said yes you will and I am with you even in the suffering. Why such a big turn around? Because, my message hit on something that one of our seniors got home to, a grandparent passing. She called Mary and I, and said how much she appreciated the message, it ministered to her without her knowing about it until the news dropped on her.
So as people and things pass, we do suffer, but Jesus is there with us in the suffering. On of my favorite verses in the Bible is John 11:35, “Jesus wept.” It’s the shortest verse in the Bible and speaks volumes when put into the context of the death of his friend Lazarus. So during this Holy Week, when Jesus dies on Good Friday, remember that he is with us in our suffering and promises Resurrection. Or as another pastor put it, “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming.”
I was out running around tonight, doing some errands for Mary, when it occurred to me that I’m more positive about this Christmas than I have in a few years. One thing that I do with the youth group is stress the Shema, or as we say in the New Testament of the Bible the Great Commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul and all your mind. Love your neighbor as yourself.”(Matthew 22:37-40). I also stress the things from the beatitudes, like love your enemy. Of course, I get some push back. The kids have been conditioned by the culture that says you do unto others, and then split, or get revenge on them.
However, this has had an effect on me as well. I think about a verse out of one of my favorite books of the Bible, the book of James 2:18, “But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.” So my deeds are always trying to show love and compassion.
As I said, I’m more positive about Christmas. The last few years, Mary has been on my case about being a Scrooge. This year has been different as I realize that while I want more than gifts, I have to love people where they are. I would prefer to do something along the lines of the Advent Conspiracy. Spend less on ourselves, do something as a family, and give the rest to those who need it. I’ve always pushed back at the culture, the commercialization of Christmas. The thing I realized that I can’t win against people who think that Christmas is about Santa, and not about Christ. I have to do as the bumper sticker says, “Act locally, Think globally.”
So my attitude has been just that, love the family where they’re at. Be content with what I have, and keep my attitude to be depressed about the culture in check.
That’s all I want…well, that and a Canon EOS 700D (Rebel T5i) and a lens. 🙂