What am I doing with the gardening?
To understand that, you have to understand my situation and it is a complex story.
First, I have the health problem that was caused by the virus I got from my second ex-wife. Why, thank you, darling. That virus has caused a condition call Hypervolmic-hyponatremia or high water blood level and low salt blood level, which screws up everything in your body from head to toe.
The hypervolemia or high water blood level force defuses water into all of your cells and causes them to be inflamed and can reach a point to where cells begin to die and you will eventually die. It kills people every year. This is because the water being forced into the cells causes the cell walls to distend so that they are not putting enough pressure on the molecules in the cell to keep those molecules in close enough contact with each other for the molecules to properly react with each other and, if it gets bad enough, the molecules will actually "float" away from each other and completely stop reacting with each other causing cell death and, if enough of the right cells die, you croak.
At the very least, this decreases the work and recovery your cells can do during any period of time because it slows molecular activity, which causes chronic fatigue syndrome in that, when trying to do work, you fatigue very quickly to where you can be completely incapacitated just like a marathon runner who hits the wall and collapses, which I used to do until I finally figured out how much I could and could not do and was able to pace myself better.
When my chronic fatigue syndrome was finally diagnosed, it was diagnosed as "severe chronic fatigue syndrome", which ain't no fun. Basically, it meant, I couldn't do anything.
When it was first diagnosed about a decade ago, all I had been able to do for about 1.5+ years was sleep from 15 to 20 hours a day, fix one or two TV dinners a day for food, and sit in a chair staring at four walls the rest of the time. You have no idea how much me writing these essays was purely by inspiration from God because I couldn't write them on my own. I know, I tried and I couldn't. I tried writing books to make money but couldn't even put together an outline for a book to work from.
Once I knew what I was dealing with, I began using all of my training in biology, the sports sciences, and sports medicine to ever so slowly begin to work my way out of it but I still have a long ways to go. I have improved quite a bit but still have further to go than I have recovered.
If you want determination, you fight that fight for a decade.
Also, research has shown that inflamed immune system cells decrease the ability of the immune system to protect you so you get sick from bacteria and viruses easier and for longer periods of time with a greater chance of being incapacitated or dying. When we finally figured out what is causing my problems and that the doctors can't do anything for me, I quit going to see doctors and to the hospital because that is where I kept getting deadly diseases like the super bug, C-dif, the pig flu, and others and I have stopped getting sick as often. I can still catch diseases from other people, especially cashiers at stores but the worst places to go where you are most likely to catch the worst diseases are doctors' offices and the hospital because people sick with those diseases go there and take their deadly diseases there for you to share.
In total, largely because of my weakened immune system, I have had about a dozen different ailments in the last 15 to 20 years that kill people every year, including two types of malignant cancer, and that dropped off after I quit going to see doctors.
Basically, I pert near croaked a number of times, baby. It has been a real battle for my life and I got to fight most of that alone, just me and God.
Second, the Hyponatremia caused the salt in my nerve and brain cell sodium pumps to diffuse into my blood to try to keep my salt blood level above 15 milligrams per unit of blood because, when your salt blood level drops below 15 milligrams per unit of blood, your nerve and brain cells can't function, you go into a Hyponatremia coma and better than 90% of the people who go into that coma die.
I almost went into that coma about half a dozen times and when tests finally showed what was happening, on my own, I started keeping a 32 oz bottle of Gatorade in my refrigerator (in sports medicine, you learn to deal with Hyponatremia because we regularly cause it in marathon athletes but MDs don't learn that) and, when I would begin to feel those symptoms, I would quickly down half that bottle of Gatorade to quickly get my salt blood level back up to keep from going into that coma and my symptoms would begin to go away within about 15 to 20 minutes. I also increased my salt intake in my diet, especially during the summer when it was hot and you tend to sweat more and lose more salt, which can kill me. No low salt and salt free foods for me, baby.
Basically, I pert near croaked a number of times...again, baby.
You see, when they finally ran tests on me so we could find out what was wrong with me, I used my knowledge in biology, the sports sciences, and sports medicine to stay alive when the doctors, who only knew the biology, couldn't help me, said so, and gave up on me. God and Carl take care of Carl.
Then there is the problem with the brain cells not functioning right because of low salt levels in the sodium pumps causing the muscles in my mouth and throat to lose their muscle tonus and, when I fell asleep at night on my back, dear old gravity would pull those floppy muscles down and against the back of my throat cutting off the air to my lungs called a sleep apnea, which causes hypoxia or low oxygen blood level and kills people via cardiac arrest. Better than 90% of the people who die from sleep apnea die from cardiac arrest caused by the hypoxia caused by the sleep apnea.
When I was first diagnosed with sleep apnea about a decade ago, I was diagnosed with "severely life threatening sleep apnea" and was told my sleep apnea was so bad that I should have died at least 2.5 to 3 years before because anyone else would have. Yes, nothing like a little encouragement and motivation.
When your oxygen blood level drops below 70%, it is considered life threatening because most people go into cardiac arrest and die. My oxygen blood level was going down to 59% and they think the only reason I didn't die was because of the cardiovascular system I had developed as a marathon athlete because my resting heart rate during training had been 37.5 beats per minute.
Yep, pert near croaked again, baby, a lot of times. Yee ole grim reaper and I are on a first name basis, his name is Fred. He kept tossing the dice and I kept winning purely by the grace of God. Talk about a near death experience, my life was an almost constant near death experience. Satan was trying to kill my butt big time but God wouldn't let him finish the job; pert near but pert near don't count in dying, baby.
Then, the hypoxia or low oxygen blood level caused by the sleep apnea exacerbated the chronic fatigue syndrome (and sleep apnea) because, if you study exercise physiology, you learn that better than 90% of your body's recover work is done at night burning fat, which requires oxygen and, because you ain't getting any oxygen, your body can't do the recovery work so your cells just keep falling further and further behind on recovery so they can do less and less work before they fatigue. That is why I was diagnosed with "severe chronic fatigue syndrome". I was all screwed up, baby; a real human mess.
And, oh yeah, that fat you can't burn at night because you ain't getting enough oxygen to burn fat gets stored on your body so that, even if you could exercise, which, of course, you can't, you can't burn the fat doing recovery work at night because better than 90% of the fat you burn is burned at night doing that recovery work and, of course, I gained weight from about 170 pounds up to 260 pounds of encumbering lard that just makes life even less fun. I was almost 100 pounds overweight because of my sleep apnea and there was nothing I could do about it because the chronic fatigue syndrome meant I couldn't exercise and no matter how little I ate, I couldn't burn most of the fat so all of that lard made itself at home on my body. We were family.
Also, being stuck in my house, I had become vitamin D deficient because I couldn't get enough sunlight to generate enough vitamin D, which is also used for processing fat.
I was a real mess, baby, but that was just the basics I had to deal with but Carl didn't quit because God taught me to be a scrapper and to keep fighting no matter what, regardless of what the all-knowing, all-wise, highly educated doctors said because NOTHING is impossible with God. I put my faith in God, in spite of the doctors, and fought like the third monkey getting on Noah's Ark and it was raining.
By the start of 2016 I had recovered enough of my health, in spite of what the doctors said, that I was hoping I could start using mild exercise to increase my fitness and health a little more quickly along with getting enough vitamin D and fresh air to also help. To do this, I decided to use light gardening where I planted about half a dozen to a dozen food plants like tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, and cantaloupe (one or two plants each) to get good food instead of that crap in the stores from my exercise at the same time. Hey, killing two birds with one stone.
I didn't take into consideration that we were also in a drought at that time, which required more watering just to keep the plants alive, much less the plants being able to bear even stunted fruit because of the dry heat, which stunted fruit is all I got. Also, the heat of the summer really sucked the energy out of me and beat me up so bad that, by September, I was so trashed and fatigued that I simply couldn't water anymore and had to just let everything die. It took me 3 to 4 months to recover that fall and winter but I had done more work that year than I had been able to do in one year for more than a decade so I thought about it, worked it over in my mind and decided to try again.
Do you better understand how sick I was?
I did the same thing in 2017, got beat up by the heat and work, had to quit in September and just let everything die but had done just slightly better than the year before so I thought about it all fall and winter while recovering and decided to try again this year. I was improving very slightly but I was improving.
In March 2018, I could "work" one half an hour to a maximum of two hours in one day for one to three days and then I had to take off for from one to three days to recover but I was doing a little better than in 2017.
Then I suddenly started to improve a little faster so I planted more seeds to grow more plants to make me work more to get more exercise, sun, and fresh air. As I improved, I planted more seeds and then planted the plants in the ground when I figured they were ready so I had to start digging plant beds, carrying sand from a pile of sand that had been on the land when I moved here, and had to water more plants.
It was great because I was suddenly doing more and more. By July I could water 6 to 8 hours a day 7 days a week with plenty of rest between each watering cession.
Part of what I was doing was experimenting with seed germination techniques, plant growing techniques, soil mixtures, and watering techniques to learn what worked best to use for the next year to do better. I wasn't planting for this year; I was planting for the future.
At the end of 2018, I am beat but am still watering in October, at the height of the gardening season I had over 100 plants I had put in the ground and was watering, and I had learned a lot about gardening or farming in this desert, construction material for adobe houses we call soil, and the effects of the sun, dry air, and other things on the plants.
I still have a long ways to go but the improvements I made this year far exceeded anything I had expected. What I was able to do, by the grace of God, blows my mind. Every time I think about what I accomplished this year, you know, the old fart the doctors said should have died more than a decade ago, I am overwhelmed. It is absolutely amazing what God did for me and through me this year.
I started out planting quite a few annuals just for fun but, as those started doing well and my health continued to improve, I changed to planting perennials in hopes they will come back next year so all I would have to do for them will be to fertilize and water them so I can expend more of my energy doing other things to improve my situation. It is called resource management, baby.
As my health improved and I realized that I could start making some changes to improve my living conditions, I planted seedling trees to provide shade for my house and a few other buildings here to save money for cooling a few years from now so I could spend that money somewhere else to make things even better. I also built a strawberry patch and beds for other food plants to have better food for less money for next year and possibly eventually begin to sell some food to help cover the expense of feeding and watering these plants.
Suddenly, I could plan something meaningful for next year so I decided to use climbing vines to further decrease the sun heating my home sooner and save me more money on cooling sooner that I can spend somewhere else sooner, again, planting perennials so I won't have to plant them again so I can use that work and energy in future years to improve something else. I am now investing in my future for the first time in a long time. I am not just surviving any more and I am more excited than I have been in more than a decade.
So, while doing the research for the vines and deciding which vines to plant and where to plant them, I also began to plan for two years from now by planting a variety of fruit trees to provide me with better food and some food I could sell to increase my seed capital for doing other things. I was finally able to begin clawing my way out of my illness, poverty, and the gutter to where I can live and do things and it is fantastic. I love work, work is great.
Before I began this experiment to improve my health, my slightly improving health had caused me to lose about 20 pounds to where I only weighed about 240 pounds at the beginning of 2018. By doing the watering with a 2 gallon water can instead of a hose and with my improving health, this year I dropped more than 40 more pounds and lost more than 4 inches on my waist so that I am now finally down below 200 pounds again and that is fantastic.
Then I began to have problems with my car idling so I realized that, since I have been forced to neglect everything here, including my car, for the last 12 to 15+ years, I will have to eventually over haul my 71 VW bus, which will require some seed capital and better health. So I began to research working on my bus while working to improve my health and figure out ways to increase my income. Those V dub parts ain't going to be free, baby.
You have to understand that a VW bus is just a big box your little engine is trying to push through the air, which is a lot of work for a 1600 cc engine that only puts out 65 horse power. Then you add just one passenger and you can feel the car start to lumber, even on flat ground without any wind. Then, if you add a load, you know, like you will do when doing work, the car really lumbers.
So I knew that, if I am going to have to use my bus for any type of work to help me get back on my feet, I better increase the horse power or "hot rod" the bus at least a little, when I rebuild the engine. I would like to get her up to at least 100 to 200 horse power so she can handle at least some workload. So I have also been researching that. Plus that little girl is going to need quite a bit of other work before I can use her for work.
The only place I have to rebuild that engine, transmition, and rear end is in an old 20 x 30 foot sheet metal work shop but there are some issues with that building I have been thinking about for a few decades. First, it is at least 30 years old, second, it has been neglected for at least 25 years, is falling apart and filled with dust and dirt, and third, it was poorly built.
For example, they built it at the bottom of a small water shed or run off and poured the foundation flush with the ground.
What will that do?
Well, when it rains, water runs in through the front door.
Then they didn't condition the wood they used to build it and, in this very hot, dry, thin air desert wood dries out very quickly or what we call "gets the dry rots". The wood dries out, cracks so bad it can't hold nails and screws, and when our annual winds of from 30 to 70 mph hit the building, it shakes the nails and screws loose so the building will just eventually fall down.
Then there is the matter about the dirt that blows into that place every time the wind blows or a dust devil hits it and dust and engines just don't do too well together for some reason. I knew that, if I were building that engine and a sudden gust of wind or dust devil hit the place, my engine would be filled with dust before I could throw a sheet of plastic over it, I would have to tear the engine back down, clean it out, and start over again, meaning I might never get that engine built. I need some place better to build that engine.
To raise seed capital for doing other things, I have been thinking about starting a fruit stand in my drive way about 4 feet from the property line. I know that I may have to start with a folding table and folding chair I have and use the income to build a small shed but I could also find some packing crates to use to build that fruit stand for free.
So I was out looking over the end of the drive way by the street to figure out where and how to build the fruit stand when God said, "Hey, stupid, how about this" and I listened.
That driveway is about 22 feet by 36 feet so, by the strangest of coincidences, I could build a 20 foot by 30 foot garage/fruit stand/workshop/office to sell fruit and other stuff, rebuild my car, and do other business. So I am researching that idea while trying to figure out how to finance and design it.
You also have to understand that I have been sick and unable to work for anyone else since 1999 and I will be 70 years old this April so NO ONE is going to hire me so I HAVE to start and build my own business, which is going to require some seed capital. Living on just $674 a month on Social Security ain't going to give me any seed capital to start a business so I can now finally try to figure out and plan a way to start up a business with pocket money. I have to nickel and dime a business to life, you know, like the old folks used to do...and the way I did with the Los Angeles Racing Team. By the grace of God, I can do this.
So, right now, I am working on, first and foremost, getting as much of my health back as I can as quickly as I can so I can start a business and take care of Carl better. Living in poverty kind of sucks just a wee bit and it would be nice to get out of poverty so I can at least go out to a restaurant once or twice a month. Without your health, it is very difficult to do anything, sometimes impossible. Your health is priceless.
Then I will need to start selling anything I can, you know, like food and potted plants, to generate the seed capital to start and grow a business to make life be better so I am planning on trying to sell some produce and whatever else I can do to create seed capital to start some kind of business. This is going to be tough but God made me tougher.
So, I am focused on improving my health and finances to improve my life but, for the first time in a long time, I can dream a little because I can finally work, achieve, build, and create and it is great. I still have a long ways to go but I am finally going somewhere again. I don't know where God is taking me but I am going there. It may take me the rest of my life but I don't have anything better to do...or I could just sit on my butt and live in poverty the rest of my life.
Truly, God has blessed me much more than I had expected and it is wonderful.
Dare to dream, put your faith in God, and then work your butt off to achieve your dreams.
What can I do?
By the grace of God, any number of things. For example, I could use that garage to start a small bike shop. I have most of the tools but need some expensive bicycle shop tools and would have to have a reasonable parts inventory so I need the seed capital.
Also, when I started building the Los Angeles Racing Team, I was working for MDR Bicycle Shop in Venice, California when it was considered one of the best pro bike shops in the US, a Campagnolo representative told me I was considered to be one of the top 50 bicycle shop master mechanics in the US, and I was later trained by the USCF (now USAC) to be a race support mechanic, and I can easily run a pro bike shop.
For such a small town as Alamogordo, with only about 30,000 people, there is an unusually good market for this. For almost 2 decades, the German military has been sending troops here to learn to fly and maintain the F-16. at least 5,000 to probably more than 10,000 of them have left the German military and stayed here because they have more economic and financial freedom than in Germany. Many of them have even started local businesses. Bicycle racing is the second most popular sport in Germany.
Also, at least 2 to 3 other European nations are sending troops here to learn to fly and maintain F-16s with bicycle racing being the second most popular sport in those nations too.
Then the Mexican border and the city of Juarez are just 90 miles south of us where bicycle racing is the second most popular sport in Mexico with many of them having moved to Alamogordo, El Paso, and Las Cruces.
Plus the topography and weather are fantastic here for bicycle racing with the riders easily being able to ride their bicycles more than 300 days out of the year.
Yes, I really do research such things and don't just guess because something sounds good.
I could then use the bike shop to start a racing program/team that I could use to begin building the local racing circuit to where it could be European quality within about 5 to 10 years and provide a reasonable income for me.
You have to understand that, when I studied sports at UNM, their program was ranked as one of the top 3 to 5 sports programs in the US because they hired the best specialists they could.
The late Heck Kenny, Ph.D. was ranked as one of the 2 best athletic administrative specialists in the US and was easily one of the best in the world and he taught me how to design, build, and manage any sports program and the required facilities from the high school and collegiate level to the professional and Olympic level.
Heming Atterbom, Ph.D. of Sweden was one of the best exercise physiologists in the world and his book was used in ALL of the top universities in the US and Europe for more than a decade after he requested I assist him on a study, which I had to decline because I already had too many other commitments and I knew being his assistant would require at least 40 hours per week.
Toe Deem was ranked as one of the top 3 NCAA athletic trainers in the US, you know, that sports medicine thingy.
Dr. Papsy was ranked as one of the top few sports physical therapists in the US, you know, that sports medicine thingy.
All of the staff were ranked among the top in the US and were some of the best in the world so that I didn't just study exercise physiology, athletic administration, and sports medicine, I studied some of the best exercise physiology in the world, some of the best athletic administration in the world, and some of the best sports medicine in the world. I was trained to participate in, coach, officiate, manage, and promote almost 20 different sports.
Do you understand why I knew more than the doctors about how to keep me alive? Do you understand why, when I went up against those coaches whose only credentials for coaching bicycle racing were that they were has-been athletes who didn't even begin to study what I had studied, I trounced them and they black listed me?
If I get my health back and some seed capital, you can't begin to imagine what I can do.
Let me put it this way, I am sure I caused the FBI to do the investigation into USAC about them black listing me and others and, because of that, they no longer have their black list and I can come back in bicycle road racing with a vengeance. If you are one of them and I get my health back and some seed capital, you might not want to sleep too well at night because their worst nightmare just might be back soon and I have had a lot of time to think about how to improve on what I did with the Los Angeles Racing Team, which caused them to black list me. I can do better.
I would love to build a 250 meter indoor board track here and use that as the base of operations for building a world class racing program here to teach kids to dream and teach them how to achieve their dreams.
When I was coaching the Los Angeles Racing Team, young men came to my program from all over the US for my coaching and I can do it again. The people running bike racing in the country of Belize asked the FICA (international governing body for amateur bicycle racing) to hire me to run a 10 day clinic in their country for their coaches and racers without me knowing about it until I got a letter from the FICA asking me to run the clinic. I was also hired as a consultant by the USCF following the 1988 Olympics for rebuilding our national Olympic Development Program. I can do this, by the grace of God.
By the grace of God, all I need is my health back and some seed capital and I can be back and do anything I want because nothing is impossible with God and for the first time in more than a decade, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is fantastic to once again be receiving God's blessings.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.