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Thread: Life-Changing Experiences

  1. #1
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    Life-Changing Experiences

    What's changed your life? Something trivial, something non-trivial, something stupid?

    In early February 2000, PBS aired a NOVA episode called "Secrets of Lost Empires: Medieval Siege." It had a couple of teams competing to build, well, you guessed it: a trebuchet.
    I didn't see it. But some of my coworkers did, and talked about it at lunchtime. I did already know what a trebuchet was; even had a link to a site on my work computer. But I hadn't paid much attention.
    A day or three later, my union went out on the largest white-collar strike in US history. We had a couple of years earlier purchased our property near Port Townsend as a vacation home. So we packed up the kitties and came over here for the duration. Once a week, I'd return across the water to collect the mail, put out the trash, and walk the picket line two or three times.
    On this side, I organized the workshop, the garage, the office, and the shed. And got bored. (I apparently had a lower threshold of boredom then.) So I decided to build a trebuchet. Our internet access was nearly non-existent. As in long-distance dial-up. I couldn't really look for plans so I just improvised. Entirely from scrap.
    A piece of 2x6 that had probably had a vise on it at one time. Some bits of 1x2 left over from the installation of a screen door. A bit of longer 1x2 that I decided could be an arm. Assorted bits of metal for a fixed weight.
    I had no idea how to make a proper sling so I attached a bit of string to a foam practice golf ball. I also had no idea how to make a trigger, but I had a finger. I held down the arm with my finger, released it, and threw the little ball about 20 feet.

    Hooked for life.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  2. #2
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    I have had several life changing experiences. The first was having eye surgery to get rid of my Coke-bottle glasses. Getting diagnosed with Asperger's, for the first time I knew why I am the way I am. Getting therapy and meds for that and other psychiatric and neurological conditions, completely changed my personality and world view. Getting diabetes. Having my first seizure.

    Of course, all of life is changing, a long slow process that never completes as long as you draw breath.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  3. #3
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    Several. After my junior year of high school in 1978, I reported to USAF basic training, embarking on a 20-plus-year career. I became a father a few months later. Pulled a one-year tour in South Korea two years after that. My son was born a few years later. Divorce #1 came a few after that and I remarried after a few more. Eventually, I retired from the service and moved to Alaska whereupon divorce #2 happened. Marriage 3.0 was implemented almost 16 years ago , followed by the purchase of our house in Peters Creek. Since then itís been more life building than life changing.
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    I guess I should mention that I reluctantly agreed to go on a blind date in 1978!
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  5. #5
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    Two come to mind.

    I have always loved chemistry and had planned a career as a chemist. Then I started taking Spanish in junior high. I did not enjoy it. At a career fair I learned that a prerequisite for a degree in chemistry was two years of a foreign language. Oh, but look, engineers don't have that requirement. And you can be a chemical engineer. Close enough. (Never regretted the switch.)

    Some years later I was casually dating a girl who worked at a dinner theater. She asked if I'd help paint the cast room one afternoon. (Trying to impress) I agreed. One of her girl friends had also volunteered. That friend and I have been married for 46 years. I still remember how she looked the first time I saw her.
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  6. #6
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    All I will say is that I am the poster child for the Black Swan Effect.
    Do good work. óVirgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    All I will say is that I am the poster child for the Black Swan Effect.
    I had to look that up to see what it was. It is not a phrase I have heard used in Australia and especially not in Western Australia - we would have to call it the White Swan Effect!

  8. #8
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    Three years ago this month, Irene was in the NICU. Her being born changed our lives, of course, but so did that week.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

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  9. #9
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    The commissioning of the Nimitz class aircraft carrier USS Eisenhower. No, I never set foot on the Eisenhower and didn't want too. Nearing the end of my naval nuclear power training in 1976, our class learned that many of us would be assigned to the Eisenhower, which was nearing completion and was staffing up its engineering department. The 70's were bad times for personnel on US Navy aircraft carriers and I wanted no part of it. The deal with nuclear power school was that the top finishers would get their choice of assignments - the needs of the navy taken into account, of course. So I finished first in my class and chose a ballistic missile submarine based out of Guam/Pearl Harbor. Being a submariner changed my life in ways I could not then have imagined and I owe it to the Eisenhower.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    Three years ago this month, Irene was in the NICU. Her being born changed our lives, of course, but so did that week.
    Wow, I didn't know or didn't remember that!
    I've never seen a small child fly up and down stairs the way she did at our house.

    I've lately been thinking a lot about 20 years ago, when I was on strike; and 10 years ago, when my wife went to Tacoma to help look after my dying mother and wound up in the ICU on life support herself. The morning after the crisis, when it was still touch and go, I had to go talk to my Mom's doctor and agree to discontinue treatment. Not a day I'll ever forget.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Wow, I didn't know or didn't remember that!
    I've never seen a small child fly up and down stairs the way she did at our house.
    Oh, yeah, what I tell people is that, if you didn't know, you wouldn't know. She suffered almost no long-term effects--her ear problems are probably related to her NICU stay, given how common they are in NICU children, but they're minor enough so that I don't even remember when her next appointment with the ear doctor is supposed to be--but it was still a scary week. She stopped breathing about two hours before we were supposed to check out, and she had to be rushed up to Tacoma--possibly the same hospital complex?--in a heavy snowfall. The ambulance driver was very reassuring; he's from Alaska, and there was a button on the dashboard of the ambulance that made chains pop out. She was safer than we were. She spent that week getting stabilized, and they never did find out what had caused it. She had a 24-hour EEG that found nothing, and she was extubated pretty much as soon as that was over. She was breathing fine on her own again, and as soon as she was stabilized and self-regulating her body temperature, she was sent home. And three years later, she's an adorable, curious little bundle of energy.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  12. #12
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    Life-changing events often happen and we don't know it until much later. Others may be happening as we speak; my wife is probably having one right now.

    In August she ruptured her Achilles tendon and had surgery on August 28. No weight bearing for four weeks, support boot for two months, then physical therapy. The problem is that the wound wouldn't heal and continued to produce a very small amount of fluid, but constantly. Went for another touch-up surgery in November (skin-level only) and back in the boot. This month the doctor ordered an MRI and spotted some fluid buildup on the repaired tendon. He also ordered another culture (others had been negative) but this time it came back *positive. So she just had a third surgery yesterday. The wound is open (and packed) because the particular bacteria is anaerobic. We're hoping for wound closure in about 10 days and then back to physically therapy once the sutures are out. And hoping we don't need a wound vacuum.

    And no idea when she may be back to something resembling normal.

    *Finegoldia magna

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