Thursday, September 9, 2021


Some of you have asked how Ren is doing, which made me realize it’s been awhile since I’ve written a proper update. So, now I present to you, ANSWERS TO ALL OF YOUR PRESSING QUESTIONS ABOUT REN: 

Answer #1: First, and most importantly, vacuuming is still Ren’s life source. Or should I say life force?! I guess it’s probably both. The kids know if dad is vacuuming, all is well with the world, and if he’s not, well, something’s off. Some of you may call that an obsession. I call it the world’s easiest way to know if your spouse is feeling ok physically and mentally. And, I can tell you, Ren is feeling fine!

I’m not sure how SHIRO feels about Ren’s vacuuming habit, but I’ve got to admit, I’m a huge fan of the reduction in dog hair around the house. Given the fact that she dutifully comes and lies down next to him when he grabs the vacuum and the bag of dog treats, I’ve got to believe she doesn’t mind it too much!

Have I ever told you how good Ren is at getting animals to do what he wants them to do? Are we the only family with a cat that knows how to beg for food?

Answer #2: The spine is still in one piece. Well, actually, it’s in a lot of pieces, including a not insignificant quantity of extra titanium pieces! But, for now, the pieces are all where they belong. In fact, they’ve been in the right place for TWO WHOLE YEARS, which, trust me, in the world of spine surgeries feels like a blessed eternity. 

X-ray from Ren’s 2-year follow up appointment

We know that one day it is likely that what remains un-fused may go south like the rest of the spine did, but that day is not today. And, Ren is tremendously adept at making things work with the spine he has. The man has more overall flexibility than I do (darn him!), and aside from a few notable (and entertaining) exceptions (like swimming and being able to get himself out of a deep chair…and, oh yeah, the alpine slide), you would never know he’s had seven spine surgeries!

Answer #3: Ren’s playbook of luuuuv, a lifelong go-to source. How do I know he loves me? He makes my tea and picks up the dog poop. When it comes to words, though, his skills are less developed. I’ve been working on a translation guide:
Standard Japanese  /  Ren’s Japanese


Hello? (On the phone) / uhn

Welcome home (when I get home from work) / uhn

How was your day? / (silence)

Yes. (In response to a question, even if it’s not a yes-no question) / uhn
I read somewhere that the average number of words exchanged between a married Japanese couple in a day is well below 100 words. I don’t know if that’s true, and I can’t remember the exact number. I just remember thinking it was shockingly low. But then I started noticing how many words Ren actually says in a day. Many people say that a healthy relationship in Japan is one that requires few words. Lucky for us, then!!

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