This website is dedicated to real street performance and my current sports car, a 2001 Honda S2000. Is this website for a business? No. Cedar Crest Speedlab is simply a nickname for my home garage, where I enjoy honing my shade-tree mechanic skills. You can find me in there tinkering with my vehicles a lot of the time. I take a lot of pride in my vehicles and one look at them will be proof of that. I consider myself a pretty good mechanic and very rarely will you see one of my vehicles in a shop. I prefer to handle virtually everything with my vehicles so I know it was done right and economically. When you can save money on labor it certainly justifies any improvements from a budgetary standpoint.
I have always been interested in cars, learning how to wrench on my first driver at 16, which was a 1979 Chevette. Cars of that era required constant maintenance so I was always getting my hands dirty with the help of my dad. He taught me a lot about cars and what it takes to keep them running and looking nice. I hope I can pass that on to my young son as well. This site has been on the Internet in some form or another since 1998 if you can believe it. It became Cedar Crest Speedlab in 2010 (formerly myturboregal.com) and was migrated to WordPress in 2014 for ease of updating and cataloging garage blog entries.
In “real life” I work in healthcare information technology. I have been an MCSE since Nov 24, 1997, and I continue to remain certified as new products arrive on the market. I taught classes at Purdue University Global for six years and it was some of the most enjoyable and rewarding time I have spent. I met a lot of new people that were more than students … they became friends. I know a lot of them have gone on to rewarding careers in information technology and it is nice to know that I had a small part in that success.
I play tennis quite a bit all throughout the year thanks to the great indoor and outdoor courts in my area. I play most Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays (depending on my schedule) in a men’s league at Black Hawk Tennis Club. I also lift weights four days a week at FIT as I try to stay in the best shape I can. My son and I enjoy summer water sports, such as boating and jet skiing in Clear Lake, Iowa at my parent’s place. We spend a lot of time at the lake on the weekends during the summer months. There is nothing better than water sports and then enjoying all of the good places to visit in downtown Clear Lake. One of my favorite places to visit there is Collector’s Wonderland since they have a ton of vintage stuff including a great selection of LP records.
You’ll find me in the garage a lot since I like to take care of my vehicles to the best of my ability. I find it a great stress reliever to spend time keeping my vehicles running well and looking even better. Listening to good music or watching my favorite car shows in the garage while I am wrenching or polishing up a car is time well spent. I’ve always believed that maintaining your car will pay you back in the long run, especially with labor savings. A clean, well-running car shows that you have pride in owning things and that’s something I hope to pass on to my amazing son, Benjamin.
Benjamin is currently (as of 1/2023) a senior in high school and is planning on going to school for cybersecurity and possibly a minor in a trade, like automotive or welding. I will be proud of him no matter what path he chooses.
Organ Donor Advocacy
In early 2022, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 renal failure with a prediction that I would need dialysis or a kidney transplant in ten years or so. My condition declined rapidly in May and by October 2022, I was sentenced to three hours in a dialysis chair three times a week. This was incredibly challenging to undergo such a life change after 40+ years of being healthy and active. I was in a deep, dark place for a while.
Enter my friend Tom R. Tom offered to donate a kidney to save my life, so we both underwent screening at the transplant center. After a couple of months, I was finally approved for a transplant that will help me back on the road to becoming the version of myself I was proud of. We were not a direct match for each other, but the transplant center coordinator found a pair that matched us both, so we are doing what is called a paired exchange. Tom gives his to his match and I receive one from my match … a trade so to speak. We will both be in the hospital for the week and then I have to make weekly visits for tests and evaluations for a month or so afterwards.
I can’t express how grateful I am for Tom and the other pair for making this possible. It has given me a new outlook on life and an appreciation for how valuable it is. It has made me think about all the things I haven’t done but I will have new opportunities to do so. As Ewan McGregor said in a commercial, will you regret the things you didn’t buy or the places you didn’t go? For me, it is the latter. I only realized it after my prognosis when my son and I went for what I thought would be my last vacation to South Dakota in the Deadwood area. I really thought that was it for travel since I was confined to dialysis three times a week.
I am looking forward to returning to a former version of myself. To anyone considering donating a kidney, do it. You will save a life, it will be something the recipient will cherish and you will be proud to have done it.
Transplant Complete! February 20, 2023
The transplant happened February 20, 2023 and I am happy to report that everything went as well as it could have. My labs are all in line and I am feeling better than I have in over a year. I have a lot of work to do to get my strength back in my legs and upper body, but I am ready for the challenge. The last 6 months have been quite a challenge, but I am ready for a return a version of myself I am familiar with.
For more information on my transplant surgery, you can check out my YouTube channel:
Two-month update – April 25, 2023
It is about two months since I have been discharged from the hospital. Things are going well, but I am having a hard time keeping my phosphorous and magnesium levels up since the new kidney is filtering out too much. My albumin and creatinine levels are completely normal so as a result, I am able to put back some of the muscle I have lost. I have been back in the gym for two weeks now and it has been going well. I have gone from 119 lbs up to 132 lbs in the past two months. I am very aware of what movements place stress on the incision, so I am very careful about what I do. It is going to take a while to get back to where I was, but I don’t expect to be in the same shape I was in even 3 years ago. Age is a factor now and I realize that.
Three-month update – May 22, 2023
It is three months since the transplant and my labs are still stable. Now that I have been back in the gym, the muscle has come back quickly, much to my surprise. Now that I am processing protein, muscle is developing well and I am almost back to the build I had. The strength isn’t near what I had before, but I am also not training as hard as I did when I was younger. It will come. At some point, you’d think I can’t train like I did at 30 when I am 50. 🙂 I am very pleased, but there are a few issues that will plague me for the rest of my life. I have developed neuropathy in both feet and it makes things a challenge. Every day is different, whether it is pins and needles, coldness, ankle pain, or sometimes all of the above. I have yet to find a way to manage it. I doubt I will be able to play tennis again due to the fatigue and pain my feet experience. I just hope there is some way to slow the progression. At least I got a couple of good weeks feeling good post surgery. That’s my life with a pair of chronic conditions that led to complications, a word I despise.