Continuing with what looked like the theme for this year -- Death -- friends lost their lives and homes in Ojai, California, in January during a period of heavy fires. The following month, yet more friends died, swept away by flowing mud debris from hillside slides following the fires, in the Santa Barbara area.
Meanwhile, closer to home, my wife’s mother Panga (aka “Khun Mae”) continued in failing health. In total dementia, uncommunicative, and skeletal week-by-week it seemed like the end was near. The number of people I now specifically prayed for totaled six: the most I've ever had to worry about in my life; a sure sign that my time was coming, too.
I started to pull money out of my retirement account so we would have ready cash when the day came for Khun Mae.
Deaths were not the only downer. There were other little things that made this year’s beginning less than auspicious:
Ordering a new Sony Playstation 4 gaming console and it arriving with an inoperable fan. Then, the repair took over a month. Two bus rides to Udon Thani to deal with this cost me a day each.
Learning of good friend Larry’s cancer and praying that he can manage it and it doesn’t get worse.
The most expensive watch I’ve ever owned was messed up the mechanism by a “watch repairman” in the closest city to us (Nong Bua Lamphu). He was just supposed to replace the battery. I had to take it to the next province over (Udon Thani) and they not only scratched the watch face permanently, but were never able to successfully seal the watch from moisture. I had to take it back several times, requiring a day bus trip three times.
Meanwhile, my “Legendary Surfers” website went down for a month and came back with many files missing and many graphics not showing. I’m still dealing with this problem by leaving it as is (it is, at least, visible although looking like it needs repair) and porting my stuff over to another more stable site.
Meanwhile, I got food poisoning, taking me out of action for almost a week.
There were many, many area deaths during Spring and early Summer. You were reminded of it every day, as when people’s bodies were burned, three sets of three bombs are ignited. The “boom!” can be heard from as much as three kilometers away.
Then, finally, Khun May passed on...