Goodbye, Papi!

It’s 5:20 p.m. on Wednesday. Kelly called me downstairs, she said that Papa’s breathing was getting slower, and more labored. We knew the end was coming, but we had no idea of knowing when that end would be. I sat down with him, holding his hand, with my other hand on his wrist, seeking out his faint pulse. I was watching his chest slowly go up and down, his mouth open, breathing so peacefully. I couldn’t get a reading on the O2 finger reader, so I knew he was near the finish line. 

For some, when the loved one goes, they say they felt them actually leave their body. Others say they saw the spirit lift out their body, and float away. For me, it was just peaceful. Nothing more, nothing less. Nothing else in the world mattered at that point in time, at 5:26 p.m. on August 5, 2020. I felt his pulse slowly stop, and his chest went up, and then down, and then it came to a rest. Afterwards, when asked about what it was like, the best way I could describe it (being a life-long mechanic), was to have a flashlight losing battery power, and the light just slowly fades, until there is just a faint glow from the bulb, and then, you blink, and the glow is gone, softly fading away from the image sitting at the back of your vision.

I held his hand for some more, waiting for a twitch, or a sudden burst of energy, or a sign of life, or movement, but I knew this was the end. For over three years, it was my honor to care for Papa (I started calling him Papi late last year), seven days a week, 24 hours a day with my wife. She lost her father, her mother’s husband of over 60 years, and I lost the man who gave me my wife, and my best friend.

I will miss you Papi, you were one of the hardest workers I knew, working for the Post Office for over 50 years, never once calling in sick in those 18,250 days, and always cheering, and swearing, at the LA Dodgers. It will be a while before the tears stop, and I know that there will be days when the tears start to hurt. But we will get through this, you made a strong family, a very proud family, and it has been an honor to have been a part of your long long life.


July 2020 Update

It’s been a long time since I have done any updates to the site. For that, I’m sorry. I did not really want to pour my sob story out to the world, but after talking to a lot of people, the consensus was to give you all a brief update about what is actually going on.

My wife and I are the full-time caregivers for her two parents, both 88 years old. He has really bad dementia, had cancer surgery a few years ago, and is real weak, requiring full-time care for all of his movements, from bed to toilet, to eating and drinking. So my days are basically either hands on with him, while watching the mom (diabetes, heart, and other issues), and being basically the hospice nurse for them both.

As for my health, I am supposed to have two more major back surgeries, but they are both on hold, for now. Not only because of the pandemic, but also a major insurance coverage issue. The two surgeries will be the most intense I have ever had in the eight previous attempts. One of the surgeries will be through the front, where he will go through the stomach, opening everything up, and he will have to break two ribs to get to the upper thoracic area he needs to get too. He will either remove the discs, put in new plastic ones, and then fuse the front of the spine. Then he will flip me over, cut me open, and take out the five levels of rods and screws in there now. He will then add new rods and screws, going all the way to the thoracic area, either T10 or T12, depending what he finds out when he goes in. After that, it’s cross your fingers. What this will do the current caregiver situation is anybody’s guess.

So that’s the update in a nutshell. There’s a lot more going on, but this is the basics of what’s going on, day-to-day. I have a new graphic designer on board, and he has been a blessing. I am working when I can, either from a modified bed/desk during the down times, or downstairs with them from time to time.

If you have ever taken care of a hospice parent, or have been involved with hospice care, then you know what this is like. Thank you for all of your support, and your patience, while we all get through these times.

I am not giving up, just trying to find ways to make this work. With a lot, if not, all the hobby shops closed or shut down during the pandemic, I could not get the magazine printed and mailed out, and be able to recoup the mounting costs involved in printing and mailing the magazines. Have I thought of doing only digital magazines? Yes, I have thought of it, but that would seriously be a last resort option. I have done the digital version of Slot Cars, and I’m still waiting to get the printed copies out to the subscribers. It’s a delicate and fine line, if I had tons of money, then I wouldn’t even worry about this, but I don’t. I have tried to do a GoFundMe page, and I may push this forward in the next week or two. My hit-and-run car accident case is still on going, more like it’s in a stale mate, they won’t settle the case without me getting the two surgeries, and I can’t get the two surgeries with the case still open. Oh well…

So that’s my life these past two and a half years. Thanks again for all of your support and patience.

Gregg Hutchings

Contest Issue, #206, is DONE!

Issue #206 was mailed on or about November 7, 2019. It should be getting to your mailbox within the next week or two. Not everyone will get the magazine at the same time. If you have followed some older articles on this, it depends on how many people are in the same zip code, bundled in batches of six. Not everyone will get the magazine the exact same day. Mailing the magazine under the periodical rate (the only way that magazines can be mailed and be profitable) is subject to a set of rules and guidelines, meant to make the mailing as efficient, and cost effective, as possible. Sometimes it gets to readers quickly, other times it takes weeks longer. We have no control over this. Sure, we could charge 20 times more per copy to mail it, and have it sent via First Class Mail, but then we would have no subscriptions.

If you started a new subscription after October 31, 2019, you may not receive this issue (#206).

One thing I noticed just today is that this issue will mark the 20-year anniversary for Model Cars Magazine. WOW, 20 years! That’s a milestone. Although it doesn’t feel like it, especially since I have been so far behind. But, as they say, the worse is behind us.

Here is the Editor’s Corner for this issue, which tells the story of all the setbacks with me, and the magazine, over this past year or more.

Editors Corner #206

Updated, Jan 21, 2019

A lot of you have asked for another update, so this is what I can say now.

As for Issue #206, I’m still working on it! I really miss Harry P. The work he did was incredible. I know this issue will show how bad I really am at this whole graphic design stuff, but I have been copying, I mean creatively borrowing, his old layouts/styles/etc. I have also been reading a ton of design books, something I should have done back in 1995 when I started in all of this publishing stuff. Back then, I would see layouts I liked, in “real” magazines, and adapt them to Plastic Fanatic, and then later in Model Cars.