Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Anyway, the first attempt to call in for a service problem resulted in a promise of a technician within 48 hours. Naturally, the technician never appeared. On Christmas Day, I received the email saying that my repair work order had been closed. They obviously had to use email because the phone still wasn't working!
Today the spouse called back and the company claims the problem is in the house, not in the line. And they will be glad to send someone right out to troubleshoot the house problem on January 8, 13 days from now!
That's BS! That is the attitude of a company that is loosing and knows it! I have been wanting to ditch the phone company for several months now and go totally cellular but the BSU has resisted. She doesn't want to give up her full size hand set and the comfort of being wired to something she trusts. But maybe that will change now as she has to wait to use Noah's or my phone to call her sisters.
If I can, I'll get her to go cellular with the rest of the family. Alternately, I've been waiting for Comcast to get voice service in my neighborhood and there is always the Vonage possibility too.
C'mon MCI! If you want to keep my business you're going to have to respond to trouble calls faster than 13 days!
UPDATE: The BSU has caved! After dinner tonight and a pep talk from Noah and I, she has agreed to go wireless! Tomorrow night, we go find her a phone! I did get a phone working in the house by bypassing the house wiring and running a cable out through the window and connecting directly to the phone box. Its ugly but it works until we get switched over to completely wireless phone service.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
What's done already? I've rebuilt the leaky fuel petcock, fixed the broken stud on the bottom of the seat fairing and relocated and reinstalled that with the correct hardware. I've replaced the 4 intake manifolds, two of which were completely separated and certain to be leaking. The battery box has been out, painted and reinstalled and the muffler has been cut off the frame where the previous owner had welded it in place. I've still got to find a better mounting system for that muffler.
I've got to order up a new set of handlebars, a clutch cable, new brake and clutch levers. There's one broken screw in the swingarm that holds a brake hose secure that will require some drilling and extraction efforts and one of the turn signals has a broken plastic screw stud that I'm epoxying and getting ready to re-drill.
After all that, I'll get to work making it run! So far, its a nice project.
Santa Claus did a very fine job at my house with everybody giving and receiving the gifts that were as well intended as they were happily received. The spouse is very happy, though intimidated with the new software to run her embroidery machine and she got a couple quilting books that she wanted. Son Noah got a 2nd hand Toshiba laptop and a new printer to take back to Logan for spring term schoolwork. Son Kye got 3 new tires to match the one he had to buy himself just a couple weeks ago and new snowboard bindings to replace the tired ones he had been struggling with.
Me? Well Santa brought me a new Cordless Dremel tool, a clock for my shop, a fat reference book, The Complete Encyclopedia of Pistols and Revolvers and a Grizzly Big Bore t-shirt. There's a terrific new sweater from Cabelas that the BSU wants to return for a smaller size, even though I think its perfect as it is.
Christmas day was spent pretty quietly with the boys and just 1 girlfriend in attendance. We had a nice ham dinner and pie and a couple drinks through the day. I talked to most of my family and found time to tinker on the motorcycle and installed Kye's new bindings on his snowboard out in the shop.
I did finally get to work and ski at Powder Mountain Ski Resort on Saturday, though I still haven't had the chance to ride the new high speed, Hidden Lake Express quad lift. The boss had me working at Timberline lift and I was by myself so I never took enough time to go out and ride that new lift. The reports I got about it from skiers say that it is really terrific and that each ride up takes only 7 minutes, instead of the 17 minutes miniumum that the old lift required to get to the top. This weekend I'll ride that new lift and play until I drop.
So its back to work, for a short week after a nice break and then another extended weekend coming for New Years. And more skiing is certainly in my immediate future plans!
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
The President has authorized the Department of Defense to assist Santa with the Twelve Days of Christmas. Status of acquisitions follows:
Day 1 - Partridge in a pear tree:
The Army and Air Force are in the process of deciding whose area of responsibility Day 1 falls under. Since the partridge is a bird, the Air Force believes it should have the lead. The Army, however, feels trees are part of the land component command's area of responsibility. After three months of discussion and repeated OpsDepsTank sessions, a $1M study has been commissioned to decide who should lead this joint program.
Day 2 - Two turtle doves:
Since doves are birds, the Air Force claims responsibility. However, turtles are amphibious, so the Navy-Marine Corps team feels it should take the lead. Initial studies have shown that turtles and doves may have interoperability problems. Terms of reference are being coordinated for a four-year, $10M DARPA study.
Day 3 - Three French Hens:
At State Department instigation, the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs has blocked offshore purchase of hens, from the French or anyone else. A $6M program is being developed to find an acceptable domestic alternative.
Day 4 - Four Calling Birds:
Source selection has been completed, with the contract awarded to AT&T. However, the award is being challenged by a small disadvantaged business.
Day 5 - Five Golden Rings:
No available rings meet MILSPEC for gold plating. A three-year, $5M accelerated development program has been initiated.
Day 6 - Six Geese a-Laying:
The six geese have been acquired. However, the shells of their eggs seem to be very fragile. It might have been a mistake to build the production facility on a nuclear waste dump at former Air Force base that was closed under BRAC.
Day 7 - Seven Swans a-Swimming:
Fourteen swans have been killed trying to get through the Navy SEAL training program. The program has been put on hold while the training procedures are reviewed to determine why the washout rate is so high.
Day 8 - Eight Maids a-Milking:
The entire class of maids a milking training program at Aberdeen is involved in a sexual harassment suit against the Army. The program has been put on hold pending resolution of the lawsuit.
Day 9 - Nine Ladies Dancing:
Recruitment of the ladies dancing has been halted by a lawsuit from the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell Association." Members claim they have a right to dance and wear women's clothing as long as they're off duty.
Day 10 - Ten Lords a-Leaping:
The ten lords have been abducted by terrorists. Congress has approved $2M in funding to conduct a rescue operation. Army Special Forces and a USMC MEU(SOC) are conducting a "NEO-off" competition for the right to rescue.
Day 11 - Eleven Pipers Piping:
The pipe contractor delivered the pipes on time. However, he thought DoD wanted smoking pipes. DoD lost the claim due to defective specifications. A $22M dollar retrofit program is in process to bring the pipes into spec.
Day 12 - Twelve Drummers Drumming:
Due to cutbacks only six billets are available for drumming drummers. DoD is in the process of coordinating an RFP to obtain the six additional drummers by outsourcing; however, funds will not be available until FY 08.
As a result of the above-mentioned programmatic delays, and due to a High OPTEMPO that requires diversion of modernization funds to support current readiness, Christmas is hereby postponed until further notice.
B. The housecleaning I intended to do before the BSU's return tonight did NOT get done.
3. Much more details and derogatory fisking of the emails from Husqvarna's software support will be forthcoming. In the mean time, my dealer fixed me up with a CD that appears to contain the correct software to make the Reader/Writer work. And he has promised to replace the Organizer Plus with the updated version as soon as he can get it delivered.
4. Christmas shopping is not finished. I know its getting close.
5. Finally, last Saturday, before the cruddiness completely enveloped me, I sat through the class, got my fingerprints and picture and signatures for my Concealed Firearm Permit and everything mailed in. In 70 days, I'll be legal...
Monday, December 18, 2006
I should explain. My BSU has a sewing machine, a Husqvarna Rose. This machine is designed to do embroidery, automatically, from these little cards that the user can load patterns onto, using their PC.
We have software for creating, modifying and saving the embroidery patterns. We have software that allows this special, proprietary card to receive the saved patterns for transfering to the sewing machine. Except it doesn't work. Now the software is several years old and the card Reader/Writer device connects to the computer using a parallel port, which should not be a showstopper, except that it doesn't work! I have tried on several occasions to get the card Reader/Writer to play nicely on our PC. I even emailed the company's software assistance hotline and their response was to go into my Windows XP and delete all my printer, fax and scanner drivers to see if the computer would recognize their equipment. I decided that sounded like a bogus fix and did not try it.
Instead, as part of my Christmas present for the spouse, I decided to buy the newfangled Reader/Writer that operates off a USB port! I went to our local dealer, explained what I wanted to do and he gave me a heck of a deal on the hardware and some 3D Organizer software which he said would be neccesary to get the patterns transferred on and off the card. But that doesn't work either! I brought my purchases home, opened up the box for the Reader/Writer and there's no CD containing software drivers! Rats, now I have to open the sealed package of software that I was hoping would not be required.
So, I did. I opened the software, read the instructions, followed the instructions, and no deal, there's no drivers for the Reader/Writer on the CD! I read the instructions again- they say I need the Husqvarna Viking 3D Embroidery Studio or the Professional version of the same! That's a few more hundred dollars, just to get some hardware drivers!
I persist. I emailed Husqvarna's software assistance hotline- again. This time the response is that I need the 3D Organizer, version 7.0. My dealer sold me 3D Organizer Plus, which is version 6.0! The stinking drivers aren't on this disc! I have already responded back to the first email telling them of my dissatisfaction with the company's rip-off methods in regard to their software. I've explained that I have 6.0, not 7.0, and could they please provide me with the neccesary drivers via download so that I don't have to completely blow my Christmas budget on more software. I'm awaiting a response- without much expectation of anything more than a canned, corporate response to go buy their latest, greatest, most expensive package so that my spouse can use her embroidery functions.
I also found, in just a few minutes Googling, a seller of the software I need, downloadable for a a deep discount price. This is obviously hacked/cracked software and I don't think I'll take him up on his offer based upon the way he demands payment. But I let the company know, in the email I sent to their software assist folks, that it is their corporate snobbery that encourages people to find ways around their exclusivity.
This shouldn't be so damm complicated. A piece of hardware should come with the software to make it work included in the box! There's just no justification for hiding drivers in an expensive bundle of unneeded software.
I really hate the Husqvarna people, no matter how good their sewing machines might be!
[UPDATE: From Jason in the software assistance department-
Thank you for your e-mail. There are two versions of 3D Organizer. There is 3D Organizer Plus which was part of the VIP Embroidery System 6.0 -6.3. There is also 3D Organizer 7.0 - 7.25, which is currently in stores. According to your email you purchased 3D Organizer Plus which does not give you the ability to send files to your machine. Please see your dealer for the correct software needed to transfer to your machine.Note that its just not simply possible to send me the files to update my equipment... Even Microsoft's not that damm pissy!]
You will need this software which has the drivers on the disc to make the connection.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Man I hate this!
Friday, December 15, 2006
I feel lousy.
So I'm snuggled up in my chair with a blanket, a cat and some medicine. I hope I can sleep this off real quick.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Turns out tonight, the rumor was not true. They are still supposed to be coming back to Utah, sometime. But not this weekend. Dang!
I think all I need is a little time off and some fresh snow to go skiing in to cure my doldrums.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
The reason this might be of interest is the mention in the story of the night vision goggle capability. The task I was hired here 7 years ago this week to do was make the internal and external lighting of the aircraft compatible with the night vision goggles. The AF was busy screwing the new lights, (internal and external) onto the aircraft at the rate of 30 jets per month. But the replacement, spare parts weren't available on the shelves for the maintainers to use to keep the jets flying.
My job was do the provisioning to make all those new parts available through the normal supply channels. Its been a challenge ever since!
I had a very pleasant and too-often delayed lunch with Friend Karen last week and it was really good just to sit down and chat over some good food for a bit. She's harried with school and some wonderful Christmas gift creation tributes to her family. I really recommend you go see the very nice creations she has produced on top of a hectic work, school and family life.
The spouse and I have a new place we like for dinner, TGI Friday's. The restaurant just opened a couple months ago and up until recently there was a line to eat even during lunch. I'm not much willing to wait in line for food so we had skipped the crowds until just a couple weeks ago. Now we've been there twice and both times the meals have been much better than we might have expected. They have a bigger menu and different items from our usual supper choice places and everything we have tried, we have enjoyed. Last night I had the Grownup's Mac & Cheese. This is served with a chicken breast but the elbow noodles are fixed up with 3 cheeses, bacon, onion bits and mushrooms. This was a really dandy dish of pasta! The BSU raved over her burger and the apple pie desert that came afterwards. I've still got to try their steaks and ribs, so there are still good reasons to keep going back.
Like every good motorhead related project, the motorcycle is coming apart further than expected. I've got the battery out and the gas tank off and parts being delivered already from BikeBandit.com. I've ordered a repair manual already and given the battery box and electronics mounting plate a Krylon restoration. I've still got to order new carb inlet manifold flanges and a gas tank shutoff repair kit. I do need to replace the handlebars with some with a bit more lift and pullback and start thinking about how to re-mount the muffler in a way that doesn't involve welding.
My Mom is back home in Alpena, as of last Saturday! She finally was allowed out of the hospital after her surgery and sent home to recuperate. She is so very pleased to not be in the hospital and not be imposing on Cousin Tammie's hospitality. She is back in her own bed and bedroom for the first time since late October and that makes her pretty happy. Mom says she is feeling well and that her brother Mike is a dandy cook,taking her place in the kitchen. I'm just really glad that she is recovering and is in good spirits.
The spouse leaves tomorrow for most of a week in Oregon with her sisters. That means Noah will get tagged with the Christmas tree decorating and I will be doing carpet vacuuming and shampooing during the hours she might normally be napping. Its also Grandbaby Astin's 2nd birthday this weekend and he, along with his Mom and baby sister are due back from Wisconsin this week. So I hope there's a birthday party to be invited to sometime this weekend.
Boy Noah completes his first term at Utah State this week and will be home by the weekend. I've arranged my half of next term's financing and he is supposed to be signing up for a student loan for his half before he gets home. He's not registered for next term's classes so that has to be arranged in the next very few days. I hope he's got some passing grades to show for this term's efforts!
So, Christmas shopping and decorating and holiday spirit efforts will be rising to the forefront of my time over the coming days. Right now, I'm woefully unprepared and unspirited. I don't know why. A present for the BSU really has me stumped this year.
Work continues to pile up. All of last week was spent making, and re-making new chart requirements, and meeting repeatedly to ensure that everybody's charts were standardized and believable. All that means is that no real work was accomplished but at least the bosses with eagles on their collars are happy with our chart making skills. Typical life in a cubical farm really.
Now its time for lunch with Melissa so I'll get this uploaded. Later I'll try to add in some links of interest. Or, I'll think about doing it. You never know.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
The rest of today has been equally nice. Oldest son Kye helped me get the nativity scene installed in the front yard for our annual Christmas tribute. I was able to relieve some of his financial burden by adding him to our family cell phone package and he got my current phone to replace his broken one. And I have a new phone as well, so now I need to learn how to operate all of its functions!
Thursday, December 07, 2006
So- a little project for the winter nights ahead, since I don't have any schoolwork to contend with! More pictures will surely follow as the work progresses.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
I have, in 36 months, completed 27, 8 week classes. I haven't skipped a term since I began this effort. I've had just one "B" grade, the rest have been better than that. I expect that my final class grade will be better than a "B" as well.
I've worked hard at this degree program. I didn't do as some of my friends recommended, getting by on the minimum amount of work to get a passing "C" grade. But I didn't do it that way.
Anyway, my work towards my BS in Logistics Management is complete. Graduation is in June. The celebration starts now!
Monday, December 04, 2006
Right now we are trying to get the first kit of modification parts on order so we can perform the first aircraft modification to prove that our plan
works. After that, we will be spending lots of money to buy lots of kits! Anyway, read the email!
From: XXXXXXX Robert D Col 508 ACSG/CC
Sent: Friday, December 01, 2006 5:32 PM
To: 508 ACSG All Personnel
Subject: Falcon Team of the Quarter
Please join me in congratulating the Avionics Sustainment Team as our Falcon Team of the Quarter for the third quarter.
Howard Swanson - Engineer
Lynn White - Equipment Specialist
Nate McCord - Program Facilitator
Thad Wyrobek - Equipment Specialist Support
Their efforts resolved a longstanding Block 25-32 landing light issue at cost $20 M less than previous approaches. There's a more detailed description below.
Congratulations again to the team for their great work!
// SIGNED //
ROBERT D. XXXXXXXXXX , Col, USAF
508th Aircraft Sustainment Group
* The Taxi Light on the F-16 Block 25-32 aircraft failed all FAA specs; mounting the targeting pod on station (5R) resulted in additional blocking and decreased illumination as night flight requirements increased - potential hazard caused ACC to request that SPO solve the problem
* LM Aero was contracted to design and provide cost data for a solution; their Block 40 design, although costly and time consuming, was selected because it offered the greatest benefits
- The proposed design required 91 depot modification hours
- Induction fee costs totaled in excess of $25M
* ACC found the cost and down-time unacceptable; team accepted the challenge to find a reasonably priced installation, reduce total mod hours and still provide a Block 40 design
- Their innovative revised routing plan avoided the number one landing gear matrix, reducing the requirement for many operational checks on the aircraft
- An ACC waiver provided an installation which reduced a 91 hour depot modification to a 40 hour field level modification, a savings of more than 2 down days per aircraft!
- The modification saved the Air Force $20M and thousands of aircraft down-time hours
* Hands on knowledge, creative thinking and hard work provided outstanding warfighter support, improved safety, reduced maintenance hours and created an AF model for the future
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Denzel Washington's the prime character in this story and he does a great job as the motivated, thinking ATF agent who is trying to solve the mystery of a ferry boat explosion in New Orleans. He finds himself wrapped up with some scientists and a bizarre twist that he at first can't believe and later can't wait to take advantage of to solve the disasterous ferry tragedy. Of course there's a beautiful woman involved and Denzel's character gets focused on how she dies to solve the bigger ferry explosion.
The story drags a little through the middle in spite of ambulance explosions and the arrest of a crazed bad guy before finally cranking up to a dramatic finish. There's a few too many rotating close-ups of Denzel, particularly in the early part of the film but overall, this is a very good movie. It is a suspenseful movie and the twists are dramatic and exciting. I liked it and the spouse liked it. Its a brainteaser, there's explosions, and its worth the price of popcorn and tickets if you like action movies.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
The story is a little bit preachy about man's affect on the environment through overfishing, global warming and litter pollution but the fantastic soundtrack and spectacular animation make up for the eco-environmental message.
Little Mumbles the hero in this story has no heart song to sing, in fact, he can't sing at all. His voice is good for nothing but scratchy squawks in spite of the best efforts of his talented parents and numerous song teachers. Instead, Mumbles has feet that just can't be still and he finds happiness with following the rhythms that seem to erupt spontaneously from his chubby, webbed feet.
This is a laugh-out-loud fun movie. The soundtrack of all the penguins in the flock sharing their heart songs will make you tap your toes and sing along. The scene of all the young penguins on their first trip to the water and then joining in Queen's "Find me Somebody To Love" under the shimmering, Antartic lights on an iceflow is a hilarious and ironic scene- my favorite.
Go see this movie! It is wonderful.
Friday, December 01, 2006
Breaking news of pharmaceutical manufacturing – a huge lot of infringing anti-ED medication was withdrawn from one of the official pharmacies in LA. The questions: "HOW come this lot passed the quality check and was delivered into one of the state pharmacies" along with "how many men have already bought it" still remains unanswered.I mean, who knew there were "official pharmacies" in Lower Alabama? "State pharmacies"? I don't think Utah has those. Are you folks in other states getting a benefit that I'm not getting out her in the west? Maybe the People's Socialist State of Kalifornia has implemented their own pharmacies, does anybody know? Finally, I am so glad that this spammer is offering me 100% generic pills for my safety! Imagine that, generic pills!
Therefore, drug manufacturers strongly recommend the people to purchase their anti-ED pills in the places where they often do it. Our site is really concerned about the situation – but we officially announce that all the medication that we offer is 100% generic. We always try to do our best to protect and improve your health simply because we hope for a long and successful cooperation with our customers. We don’t race after fast cash. We play fair! Don’t hesitate to purchase the medication from our Web-pharmacy – we guarantee 100% refund to those who get disappointed with the quality of the purchased product.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Nope, I'm not excited. Of course not. What's to be excited about?
I haven't seen the score from last night's test but I think I did well enough to pass. I'm not quite so close to being finished that I don't care about the grade...
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Overall, the Doc said Mom was doing very well and she had no apparent complications during the procedures. There's still a concern about having to re-open her if there is any internal bleeding that can't be controlled with medication. The Doc called it about a 1 in 20 possibility.
I am very relieved. I'm still worried about her but I'm relieved that this hurdle has apparently been cleared without fault. I can't wait until I can talk to her again!
I talked to her last night and she reports feeling relaxed, confident and in good hands with her surgeon. She has placed her circumstances in her Lord's hands and says she is not afraid. I believe her.
But that won't stop me praying for her safety and protection and her medical staff's skills, all day today. If you are of a mind, her name is Joyce McCord and I know she would appreciate your prayers too.
Monday, November 27, 2006
With a good enough snow dump, Powder Mountain Ski Resort may get open by the weekend so I can get out and play!
I sure am glad Noah & I installed the house Christmas lights yesterday when it was 45 degrees!
Good afternoon All,
Last week at the kick-off meeting of the Develop and Sustain Warfighting Systems Process Team, which is one of the Air Force's core processes under the AFSO21 umbrella (Gen XXXXX is Chair with Gen YYYYY as co-chair), we learned that our Centers will be required to invest significant manpower to work on sub-process improvement teams during the coming months. Within a week or two, expect a memo from Gen ZZZZZZ with this tasking.
We discussed the challenges we all face in sourcing more work at this time. In an effort to help us free up manpower to work on D&SWS, I agreed to collect a list the numerous forums/boards/IPTs that are within the control of the Air Force, and offer a recommendation as to ones that we could strategically pause for about 6 months while we devote concentrated effort on getting charter, scope, schedule, and teams with expected outcomes in place for D&SWS. Then we could revisit the list and determine which ones can be permanently deleted or merged into a new D&SWS team, as well as ones that should resume. This would free up some of us and our people to work on D&SWS.
I am tasked to respond to the D&SWS Team by XX December. My POC is XXXXXX, cc'd on this e-mail. He will work with your CAGs/PEGs to develop the list and coordinate recommendations, but I wanted you to know that we are doing this. It would be very helpful if you will send this on to your action teams with your endorsement -- I would also appreciate any feedback you have for me
Thank you and V/R
Sunday, November 26, 2006
He's unsure whether he'll make enough money to cover his $500,000 investment, but as sure as a kid's tongue will stick to a frozen flag pole, he's committed to the project.Brian has funded some of the aquisition of his little part of A Christmas Story by producing Major Award lamps and you can get one of your own by clicking on that link. Who wouldn't want a Major Award lamp anyway? I know I want one!
BTW, the BSU hates the movie. She just doesn't get it at all. I think its because she isn't from the Midwest. Somehow Ralphie Parker and his family seem like a symbol of the Midwest and I can see myself in Ralphie's shoes very easily. I guess its time to check the tv listings for this year's viewing!
Today, while I was out in the shop, I heard some odd, scratching sounds out beneath my bird feeder. I suspected that there were sparrows cleaning up from the spills but when I looked out, there were quail in my yard! There were 4 or 5 on the ground that I could see and it sounded like there were more on the shop roof. I called the spouse on my cell phone and she was able to sneak out and get a good look before the little bobble-headed birds startled and flew up into the big pine tree.
It was fun seeing the birds so closely and to watch them pecking about. I hope they come back though I may have to put bells on my cats to keep them apart!
Like what? Well, there was Turkey Day preparation shopping to be done and then Turkey Day preparations to be made and Turkey Day cooking and eating to be accomplished as well. Thanksgiving was a very nice day with both my kids in attendance and one girlfriend, (not mine!) too. We had all the usual fixings in generous quantities and it was all pretty wonderful.
Friday we all went to see the Utah Grizzlies hockey team kick butt against the Victoria Salmon Kings. Final score was 7 to 3 so the train horn that blows when the Grizz score got a good workout on Friday night. It was our first hockey game of the year and we had a great time, even the spouse, which I think is just great. I love it that she is finding pleasure in getting out and doing stuff that she wouldn't have considered just a couple years ago.
Saturday was chores and errands and cleaning up my shop. The shop gets piled up and cluttered mighty quickly with all the different projects I do out there and every so often it just needs a day's cleanup and tool put-away. I also replaced a dead battery powered light on the outside of the shop entrance with a wired overhead flood light and a waterproof switch. I have a combination padlock on the shop door and I had to have some kind of light in the entrance to see to operate the lock in the dark. Now I have plenty of light!
I also ground coffee for the office coffee bar this weekend and today Noah and I put out the house Christmas lights. The Thanksgiving display of my Pilgrim kids and pumpkins came in and the camper got moved and covered for the impending snow.
I contacted an Episcopal priest, Father Emenheiser, in Travese City, and he agreed to have a visit with my mom before she goes into the hospital for her surgery on Tuesday. I asked him to take Communion to Mom and pray for her before her surgery. Mom of course, isn't Episcopalian but I knew that a priest would be better prepared to take Communion to her than a pastor from her own faith that wasn't her own pastor. So, thanks to the internet, I set up a pastoral visit for Mom. When I told Dad about it, he figured Mom would probably try to convert the priest and set him straight during their visit! Its not out of the realm of possibility.
In between all this fun, I've done 6 or 7 chapters of Accounting homework problems and researched the review material for my 2nd test that I'll take later this week.
I didn't go shopping on Black Friday and I didn't get to go skiing at Wolf Mountain that opened today. I might have gone skiing but the boy still had a paper to write that's due tomorrow, so he couldn't go.
Can I rest now? Its been a really nice weekend and now the weatherman is promising heavy storms for later this week so ski season can only be days away. I'm ready for that!
Thursday, November 23, 2006
So I bought a white 2-wire extension cord on my way home from work on Wednesday last week, and after dinner, I carried the mixer out to the shop for a power cord transplant. I have changed many power cords over the years- its usually a simple task to open up the case of whatever appliance or tool that needs a new cord, disconnect the old cord from its connections and to install a new cord in its place. Not so much with a KitchenAid mixer though...
I spent an hour trying to take it apart. I could see where the ends of the cord were, I just couldn't get it taken apart far enough to access the connections. After an hour of fiddling, and after cutting the old cord off, which I had done first, before discovering I couldn't get the mixer apart, I gave up and went inside to look for some instructions. A little Googling did produce a PDF copy of the repair manual for these mixers, 28 pages worth!
It seems that to get the top cover off so that the cord can be replaced, a pin needs to be driven out and a planetary gear case opened up and all the gear grease drained out first. I decided that maybe I would find a real repair shop and let the shop change the power cord and reset the speed controller timing instead of me fussing with it.
So I did find a local repair shop and I took the mixer in to get it fixed. That was Thursday and they promised to have it back to me in time for Thanksgiving mashed potatoes and pie. On Saturday I got a phone call, the repair guy said he couldn’t fix my mixer. He claimed that the power cord was unique to KitchenAid and obsolete! He insisted tha no other cord could possibly be substituted in spite of the fact that it is just a rubber insulated, 2-wire cord… Good grief! In reality, it just sounded like the repair guy didn’t care to tear it apart either.
Monday found me telling this tale to my buddy Loc. He got busy on the KSL classifieds and found 2 mixers for sale locally. Or sort of locally, as it turned out, because the one that I wanted was down in Lehi, nearly 75 miles away. But the machine was nearly new and a price that couldn’t be ignored, so I called and ensured it was still for sale and then made plans to go get it after work.
In spite of numerous miles of backed up traffic due to lane closures and 2 accidents as we went through Salt Lake City, we did make it successfully to the home of the seller. After checking it out, the spouse declared it perfect; it is much quieter than the old one, and I paid for the machine and we headed home. We stopped for dinner on the way back home and by the time we finally got to the house, it was nearly bedtime!
The spouse loves the new machine and I still have to pick up the old one. I’m going to fix it myself, clean it up and retire it as an heirloom once I get it back home.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
And I'm not there to get pictures, rats! It seems we have a broken water main and at this time, from the live reports coming from the BSU, it is on the city's side of the meter. This water line break is the second one called in and being fixed on my block today. Hmm...
According to the nice lady in the water department, the city is installing some new pressure regulators in our system and the operational checkout of these new parts might cause customers to have low pressure, or high pressure fluctuations in the household water. Well, I think some of those high pressure fluctuations found the weakest links in the supply lines on my block!
Our leak didn't appear as a leak, just a humming sound in the inbound water supply line in our basement, beginning yesterday afternoon. It sounded like there was water running through the pipe so I had checked it out last night, going throughout the house and the yards looking for water someplace where it didn't belong. I didn't find any loose water, so I attributed the sound to the work the city was doing. The sound was annoying though and continued even this morning and that was enough to get me to call the water department to inquire about the cause.
And within the hour, the workers with heavy tools and motorized equipment showed up!
[This episode had nothing (consciously) to do with my comment on Terry's Wednesday One post about drinking water earlier today. Its just coincidence.]
There's a busy intersection at the bottom of the hill below my house. I pass through this intersection every day, as many times as I leave the house or return home. There are no crosswalks and it is in between two traffic lights, one just a block north and the next one 2 blocks to the south. During high traffic times, this is really a dangerous intersection and often the traffic flow just won't allow a left hand turn, so I end up turning away from the direction I want to travel and going around a block or two to get headed where I want to go.
Last night, this intersection claimed a victim. I don't have all the details but it was reported on the news that a woman was hit by a car as she crossed the street. There's an Albertsons grocery on that corner and many of our local people walk to that store for their shopping. I'm guessing that is what happened last night.
The BSU and I happened to see the traffic tie-up at the intersection because we were at the grocery getting some last minute Turkey Day necessities that she couldn't find at the commissary last weekend. At the time we did not know about the fatality, just that there was another not-too-unusual accident at the corner.
That must leave an awful hole in somebody's family during this Thanksgiving holiday time. I also learned this morning that a close coworker, Matt's father passed away last night after an extended battle with Alzheimer's disease. My sympathies go out to both of these families.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Its terrific! Thanks, Pirate!
Here's the direct link.
What do you mean- today?
Ok, more than usual.
I 'm really feeling a bit of malaise today over work and tasks undone, new systems to learn and struggle with, and ski season not starting yet. Its cloudy outside and matches my mood.
There's tuition checks to write, Christmas is right around the corner and the title to the motorcycle hasn't made its way through the DMV yet.
Monday, November 20, 2006
This morning I received notification that my big program that I am struggling to get implemented, has been entered into a new AF management program called PoPS. That's an acronym for Prediction of Program Success. This program is designed to standardize the methods used by Program Managers to report their program's status to senior leaders for management oversight. That seems like a reasonable idea, doesn't it. We should be reporting our efforts in a manner that can be easily reviewed and identified for "management assistance" when it is required.
Does an instruction manual that is 178 pages long give you any idea of the complexity of this new program? It should! Good grief! These are charts, not rocket surgery!
Of course, I have an entire week to read this manual and figure out how to get my charts in compliance with this new program… Talk about increasing my workload, this is ridiculous!
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Mom is still scheduled for open heart surgery on the 28th, so she's not out of the woods just yet. But she sounded good today and that's good news.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Mom's got surgery planned for the 27th of this month. I'll bet that she will be staying in the hospital until time for that surgery. Right now, I'm not planning to go back to Michigan, since I'm trying to write a check for Noah's tuition for next term.
I sure hope Mom's getting better.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
What is it? Its a space shuttle booster engine being tested, tonight out at ATK Thiokol, near Promontory, Utah. I heard about this from Noah last night, so the BSU and I drove out to see it after work tonight. Of course, a few thousand other folks heard about the motor test and drove out there tonight too! Night time tests are pretty rare so that explains the traffic jam on a road that is usually nearly deserted.
We didn't get there in time to get around to the front side of the mountain, so this little film clip is from the back side. It was very impressive! You can see more about tonight's test on KSL News' website.
3 other bodies have been found during the search! According to this report, there should be 3 more bodies of folks presumed drowned since 1995 that haven't been located.
It is a big lake, deep and very cold, year round. Its froze over for a few months of the year. But these folks don't have to die and they might not have died, except that its known that none of them were wearing lifejackets when they went into the water!
Its a damm shame that people have to die for failure to follow the most basic water safety rules. Its dumbass is what it is!
So, with the steadily increasing body count from Strawberry Reservoir, can Jimmy be too far behind?
UPDATE: The bodies of the missing Roundy couple have been recovered. Their funerals are set for Monday.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
I'm a former Haughton resident myself, having lived out there with my family in 2 different places when we first moved to Utah in 1989. Its a nice little town with lots of big pine trees in the yards and it was pretty rural while we lived there. I'm reminded that we had a resident woodpecker in our neighborhood that would intently hammer on the metal mailboxes like he was getting paid to make noise. He obviously wasn't banging to dig bugs out of holes so we were pretty sure he just liked the attention.
Anyway, Haughton visitor, don't be shy. Jump in and leave a comment or two and tell us what you like here at Wasted Electrons.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
It all has to do with reorganization, and as soon as I figure out a decent way to write about it, I'll try again.
So, what am I not cranky about? Mom is doing well out of the hospital and healing up, wating for her surgery. She has even been getting out of the house once a day for a walk at a grocery nearby and she got a permanent in her hair on Saturday. So that's good news. She does still need open heart surgery in a few weeks, so she isn't out of the woods just yet but she seems to be getting better.
Dad surprised Brother Mark by showing up at his church Birthday Breakfast unannounced! ou can read about his fun and adventure and his cough that he brought back with him. Its a good story.
I'm just about half way done with my last class, Cost Accounting and I got a 95% on last night's test. So with a couple more weeks of cranking on accounting, I'll be done!
And now, its late. Time to quit.
A senior Vatican cardinal on Tuesday condemned the building of walls between countries to keep out immigrants and said Washington's plan to build a fence on the U.S.-Mexican border was part of an "inhuman program".Sadly, I noticed no mention of the Vatican's imminent plans to tear down the walls surrounding their well-protected portion of the planet and open up their city to all the world's refugees and asylum seekers.
But I'm certain that's just an oversight and that the church will lead by example by tearing down their walls in the very near future. Right?
If not, these funny-hatted, robe wearing intellectuals needs to shut the hell up!
Monday, November 13, 2006
Normally, I use the truck but that beast is so long and big, and it has to be backed, that it just makes the entire effort troublesome. The camper's too heavy and ungainly to be moved without 3 or 4 guys and negotiating the gap between my carport and Leonard's garage is too tricky to be messing about without enough power.
So I think that's the solution, I need a tractor. Or an ATV. An ATV could be the right tool and I could plow snow during the winter months to keep my driveway clear.
Send money, ok? Lots of money!
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Obviously, since I got it done in just an afternoon, I took short cuts to get my roof done. I just rolled on 30 pound tarpaper, over the shingles, overlapped it and nailed it down with roofing nails and roofing nails with plastic flanges.
The best thing I did yesterday was buy a set of those carpenter knee pads while at Home Depot! I couldn't have gotten that job done without those knee pads! But I did get it done before dark and hopefully I'll have a drier workshop this winter.
Springtime will see me replacing the entire roof I suppose.
Today was yard cleanup day and I did get the front yard mowed and the leaves cleaned up. Neighbor Leonard was working on his yard and filling his trailer with leaves so I helped get it filled up and then emptied at the Green Dump drop-off station. I've got all those garden hoses put away and the power equipment treated with Sta-bil. Leonard couldn't get his creaky old RV started and its blocking part of the driveway, so I still don't have our camper tucked away for the winter, but maybe tomorrow I can finish that job.
Finally tonight, I bought a new printer for the computer. Our old one, a Canon, needed a new printhead and the only way to get one was through mail order from Staples and cost $50 plus shipping. I shopped around a bit this morning and tonight we went and spent a little more than that to buy a new HP printer. This one prints and copies and scans so I retired both the old printer and my clunky scanner too.
Now, tonight, I'm tired and stiff and sore all over! Tomorrow, more schoolwork!
Tonight while surfing through my bloglist, I found a Veteran's Day tribute over at Cowboy Blob's that is so moving that it deserves to be shared. Its A Pittance of Time, and its worthy of your time to spend two minutes and watch it.
Last night, the BSU and I went to the movies and we saw Flags of Our Fathers in keeping with the thoughts of Veterans on this weekend. It is a fine movie, touching but not too sappy or over the top. It is a good story of the fighting in the Pacific during World War II and how the lives of some and so many were affected. It is a sobering story of the men that fought to secure Iwo Jima so that the war could be won and ended. It was the perfect movie for this weekend.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
No, I didn't think so. That's ok really because the deal's not closed just yet. The paperwork is screwed up and the seller and his dad are fixing it. When that gets done and money gets exchanged- then there will be a motorcycle to talk about...
The electronic voting machines? Easy. A piece of cake. Are they infallible or piratable for vote rigging? I don't know. I just know that using it was easier than the paper ballot machine I've used every time before.
Lines to vote? You folks live in the wrong precinct! The spouse and I walked over to Taylor Elementary school, signed in, received a card and waited, ohh- 3 minutes, max. Actually, I suppose its best if you folks keep living in your precinct and waiting in hour long lines so you aren't clogging up my line...
And then, I was in bed at 7PM! I thought I was just going to take a little nap but it turned into all night and late this morning, since I didn't set the alarm. I ground a few pounds of coffee for work and then I cleaned handguns that needed cleaning from last weekend's trip. When I sat down it was 6:30 but I decided I just didn't feel too well and maybe a nap was in order. Next thing I know, the cats are pouncing the bed, anxious for their breakfast.
Which means for me that the scooter has been tucked away into the workshop for the winter, its gas tank topped up and treated with Sta-bil fuel stabilizer and the battery tender plugged in to keep the battery warm.
Ski season is rapidly approaching and I'm pretty excited about it. Noah and I have our ticket checking job again this winter at Powder Mountain Ski Resort and I'm hoping to be welcoming guests at the bottom of the new Hidden Lake Express lift. We need some really good storms in the next couple weeks to really get the ski season kicked off with a good start. Tonight is a Warren Miller movie with Noah up at his school, those movies are always fun and they really get the urge to go out and play in the snow cranked up.
I'm still waiting on the paperwork to get cleared up before I start telling any more about the motorcycle. Maybe next week...
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Mum's the word around the spousal unit!
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Saturday, before heading out to pick up Kenny, Dad, who lives in Florida, called me on my cell phone. Nothing too unusual there, we talk most weekends. But when he calls, it sounds like there is a party going on in the background, that's unusual. Then he says, "There's somebody for you to talk to," and hands off his phone. Next thing, I'm talking to Brother Mark, but he lives in Ohio! Seems Dad decided to break his "Not Above the Mason-Dixon line after Labor Day" rule and went on a road trip to see Mark for his birthday! And there was a party going on, a birthday breakfast at Mark's church. So they are having a great time though Dad did say he was under-dressed for the weather in Ohio!
Saturday was a trip to the desert with Kenny, though we nearly chickened out due to rain when we looked out our windows. The weather guessers had called for only scattered sprinkles though-out the day so we took a chance that the skys would clear as we reached our destination. And we guessed right, the skies cleared and the trails were dry where we wanted to be. We burned up plenty of ammo, first doing just a little rabbit hunting, then setting up some paper targets and did some shooting from a (lousy) bench. Mostly what we both figured out was that we need lots more practice! It was an extremely pleasant day out and probably our last for this year since winter is bearing down upon us.
Today has been accounting homework, morning and evening and in between I got some winter preparation done outside though there's more chores still waiting. Kye brought his car up to the house for some repairs that he needs to pass the state's safety requirements and he and I worked on those projects for a bit. We changed a tie rod end and some brake light bulbs and one headlight bulb. Noah showed up from college later in the afternoon and he saved the day on the leaky exhaust by welding up the cracks well enough that replacement shouldn't be neccesary. While Kye cleaned the glass for the first time in years, I took a Mother's Mini Powerball and some polish to the plastic headlights on Kye's car. THat little tool really cleaned up those faded headlights in just a few minutes and he should be seeing at night nuch better from now on.
Later we had all 4 of us sitting down to a home-cooked dinner, the first time in many months. It was really pleasant. Kye has headed home with his car fixed up and Noah's going home in a few minutes with clean laundry. I've sent both boys home with some fresh ground coffee.
So I think I'm caught up with my schoolwork and I had a productive and pleasant day with my boys. That makes for a really great Sunday.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Just about just as I write this, Mom should be changing her address and moving out of the hospital. She has had a few more tests and the Docs have determined that she is strong enough to leave and get into a more relaxed setting. She won't be going home to Alpena for several more weeks but staying in Traverse City at a cousin's house.
This is very good news. Its also a big relief to Mom as she just didn't want to be in the hospital setting if she didn't have to. Her sister will be staying with her while she recovers so she won't be alone should any crisis arrive.
Another milestone towards her healing is passed. Good!
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Brother Tim's birthday was today.
Brother Mark's birthday is tomorrow.
Dad's birthday is sometime later this month.
Grandma Manning's birthday is this month too.
Veterans Day often means the first skiing day of the year.
Thanksgiving means good food and too much of it...
Finally, National Ammo Day is the 19th of November. Kim's extending the holiday for the entire week this year and hopes to see 1 billion rounds of ammo go home with American riflemen. One billion rounds of ammo in one week? Yikes!
Actually, the goal is to get everyone that can to go out and buy at least 100 rounds of ammo. I'm pretty certain I'll be able to do my part... After all, I'm down to less than 300 rounds for the SKS and there is a gun show this weekend.
Honestly, if I could buy my 7.62X39 ammo by the pallet load, I would. Why? Every case of that commie ammo I buy is a case that isn't shipped to one of the countries where people are shooting it at American troops. So yes, if I could, I would buy much more than I really need.
So, its going to be a busy month!
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
So, I had a little look on Google and I found on Wikipedia,
this article about this terrible yet heroic battle. In spite of sub-zero temperatures and overwhelming numbers of enemy Chinese, the Marines, along with Army and British forces were able to withdraw under heavy fire and rescue many thousand Korean citizens through the harbor at Hungnam.
Marion survived this 2 month long battle in 1950. Just as importantly, he serves as the head of the Honor Guard for the VFW in Omaha. Last year he participated in over 400 funeral services for other veterans! This is what he does to honor all the men and women who have served sometime in their life. I think this is as heroic an act as being in Korea during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir.
He's a fine character, Marion. He's a devoted husband to his wife who is a patient the same place as my Mom. He cares about his service and he cares about honoring servicemembers in his community, every day. I'm proud to have made the aquaintance of this fine American.
Yesterday, at a rally for California Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides, Kerry told a cheering Pasadena City College audience: “Education, if you make the most of it, you study hard and do your homework and you make an effort to be smart you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”The American Legion has called on John F'n Kerry to aplogize immediately and put his money and support into funding our soldier's further education instead of showing his disdain and disrespect for our uniformed personnel.
How can so many Americans think that
Truth is, I haven't taken the time to point out the stupid people that I discover in the world very often over the past months. Blame it on school. Blame it on the job. Both are factors in my reduced ranting, I suppose. Mom says she isn't afraid to read my rants but she does appreciate the warnings if I'm writing about something "off color" or just tacky.
So, I'll try to get done with this last class and then I can spend a little more time making this hhumble blog more exciting with rants about the dumb people in the world that aggravate me the most. I'll try to get back to sneaking reports from behind the Zion Curtain out to the rest of the world so you can see what goes on here in my adopted state.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Anyway, Mom is recovering nicely. She is in excellent spirits and has been breaking the back of the mailman as he or she trys to keep up with her get well card delivery. If you care to send her a card, the address is- Joyce [you figure out the last name], 1105 6th St, Traverse City, MI, 49684.
She is walking several times each day and insisting today that I speed up, in spite of the fact that no one passed us all day! Her strength for walking has improved considerably from the first day I arrived and her gait and energy level are much improved. Today she wanted me to move along quickly enough to get her blood and breathing speeded up. I had to remind her that we were trying to avoid that very circumstance!
Somebody has been visiting with her the entire time this weekend and she seems to appreciate the company. Having several folks visiting doesn't seem to impose on her, instead she seems to welcome the company. This weekend, Brother Tim and GF Rhonda have been around as well as Mom's sister Marlene, her daughter and my cousin Tammy and Marlen's son Dennis have all been in her room, (me too!) most of the weekend.
There is still discussion of letting her go to Cousin Tammy's home, here in Traverse City, in a few more days. The Docs don't want to rush it and neither does anybody in the family. Me- I'd rather she stay until they insist she leave since her care is immediate and the walking exercise is easy in the long hospital hall ways.
I've talked to family friends this weekend that I haven't had contact with for 25 or 30 years- that's been interesting! I've also heard some family stories I haven't heard before and some of those defy telling, they are just too funny.
We all got to watch as Mom received an updated electrocardiam/ultrasound and that was very interesting. It left no question about the hole between her heart chambers! The technician said Mom's record would certainly make it onto her "best of" CD and probably end up being plastered on t-shirts for a fundraiser! How cool is that?
Anyway, she is doing well, all things considered. Her color is good and her energy and attitude are positive. She is cleaning up her plate and passing orders to the kitchen staff about how she likes her vegetables prepared. She had fruit plates with 2 meals today and if she gets hungry still, another sister sent over more fruit and some health food store treats.
Tomorrow, I have time for an early visit, then its off to the airport for me and back to Utah. I wish I could stay more, for my Mom.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
She continues to get much better. We walked again every hour today but for the time she was getting a shower in the morning and a nap after lunch. Most of the walks through the hallways were 15-20 minutes in duration. We walked to the windows where we could see the sun and we looked at the art work hung on the corridor walls.
Mom's hospital stay is breaking the back of at least one Postal employee because the stack of cards grows bigger every day. Yesterday I think 6 arrived, today it was 8 more cards from well wishers from her old workplace and numerous churches where she is known. She is very touched by the outpouring of kindness and prayers fpr healing and strength that have been said on her behalf.
I had a long chat by phone tonight with my favorite cousin, Billi Ann. We are the same age and spent our childhood's playing together whenever my family could get to Alpena. SHe's gone off to Florida, become a nurse and wife and Mom and goat feeder. It was so good to talk to her after many years without seeing her and we began talking as if we had chatted all the time, except this call focused around our kids and the pleasures of parenthood instead of how badly our own parents were treating us...
Still no schoolwork getting done...
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Her recovery so far is a little more than remarkable. The Doc called it a 1 in 100 recovery so far, meaning she shouldn't be doing as well as she is. Call it a miracle if you believe in such things. I know I do...
She is expecting to be released by Friday and esconced in Cousin Tammie's house just a few miles from the hospital for a week before being allowed back home to Alpena.
I just hope she didn't over do it today!
Now its late and I'm going to bed a little earlier than last night. But first, one more cookie from the kitchen...
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Actually, I'm in a hospitality room at a place called Munson Manor, which really was part of the State Mental Hospital some years ago. Now its a nice place to stay just a few yards away from where my momo is staying while she recovers fromher heart attack.
I saw Mom first, after I arrived tonight. She was so very pleased to see me. The kind nurses let me in way past visiting hours and I visited until 10:30 PM when I finally told Mom to get some sleep and checked in to the Manor.
Mom's not generally a touchy-feely kind of mom, but tonight she wanted to hold my hand the entire time we visited. Which is just fine by me! She looks tired and bruised from all the needle pokes and blood thinners she is getting but its clear her intent is to keep on living and to get her health back as much as she can. She has actually been moved from the 2nd floor critical cardiac unit to the 3rd floor today, which means the docs believe she is getting better. And her nurse tonight is the younger sister of her brother Randy's ex-wife! It is a very small world!
Seems there is actually at least 3 members or former members of the family working at this hospital. One of them is a teaching and supervisor type nurse. SInce the other nurses on Mom's floor know who she is, they pay particular attention to her care, since they also know this supervisor is watching out for her...
So, I've been traveling all day. From Salt Lake City to Detroit, then to Saginaw/Bay City by air, then across the state in a rental Malibu, which turns out to be a decent car, (29.4 mpg getting up here). I may take time to do a rental car review later. Its nice but has some faults that I find distracting in just a couple hours. Of course I'm breaking house rules with a big bottle of Rogue Brewery Juniper Pale Ale and there's a pint of Canadian Mist that might wait for tomorrow before getting cracked open. Hey- I had to stop and ask directions ans an open liquor store seemed the right place to get them. And I had to buy something, right?
Coming to Michigan always puts me in an odd mood too, so I may have to write about that this week too. We'll see.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
There's no details of how this fantastic scooter was powered but the video that's available seems to show it going down the road at a very reasonable clip.
I think it looks like too much fun! That is a very cool scooter and I'd ride it if somebody built it.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
I just received an update from Brother Mark about Mom's condition. She has had a decent rest overnight and this morning she is doing much better. The doctor says all the results from the ongoing tests are either staying stable or improving, all of which is promising for her recovery.
The doctor did say that without the medical technology, medicines and testing that is available today, that Mom's life would be over as a result of this attack. So we are all very happy to have technology on our side at this point in Mom's care. She is going to have to have surgery to repair her heart but it appears now that it will be several weeks away, not hours away.
Thank you to any and all that have sought God's care for my Mom over these past days. Your prayers and kind thoughts are well received and appreciated.
[UPDATE: Sunday evening] Mom is doing much better. I spoke to her tonight and she is hoping to get out of the hospital soon- but that's not going to happen just yet. She does sound good, better than I expected. My Sis told me she got to hear Mom's "washing machine" heart sounds where she should have the typical "lub-dub" sound. The doc is still saying 2 weeks before she is allowed home.
Apparently, the hole that she has between the atriums of her heart, and her survival to his point is a very rare circumstance. The nurse told brother Mark she had seen only one case like it during 15 years of cardiac nursing. I understand its almost always fatal and patients don't make it into the cardiac unit when this failure occurs. So we are all feeling pretty fortunate about Mom's condition.
I'm planning to head to Michigan on Tuesday for most of a week. My brother Mark and Sis will both have to be heading back to their normal lives on Monday. Mom will have her brother to stay with her but I think I will go to do my part too.
Friday, October 20, 2006
During dinner tonight I got a phone call from Brother Tim in Florida. He had received a phone call from Brother-in-Law Mark, in Grand Rapids. It seems my Mom had a heart attack today!
I've talked to my aunt Marlene, Mom's sister tonight. She told me that Mom is resting under heavy medication tonight and no action will be required until sometime later. Alpena's hospital doesn't do any cardiac surgical actions, if they should be required, so Mom would have go to Traverse City if that turns out to be neccesary.
As you might expect, I'm pretty worried about my Mom tonight. I already owe her some flowers because I missed her birthday last week, now I'm worried about her health!
UPDATE #1. Sis called this AM. Brother Mark is already in Alpena after driving all night to get there. It appears Mom may have a bad mitral valve in her heart. Since Alpena doesn't have a cardiac unit she will be transported to Traverse City, probably already this morning. If she needs surgery, it will get done there. Here is more about mitral valve repair. I may have to rub the numbers off a credit card to get to Michigan in short order. I'm still waiting to hear more before I jump on an airplane.
UPDATE #2. Sis called again just a few minutes ago. Mom is in Traverse City. Her heart attack was apparently much worse than previously thought. She has 2 blocked arteries, one of them is 90% blocked. The early diagnosis of a bad mitral valve was also in error. She has a a hole between the two upper chambers of her heart as a result of the heart attack and that hole is acting like a failed valve.
Flat on her back bed rest for 48 hours and massive drug regimes. The docs want to avoid operating on her heart if they can, for 6 weeks, to give the tissues time to heal and strengthen. She will be in Traverse City for no less than 2 weeks before being allowed home to rest up until she can have the surgery.
I haven't ruled out rushing up there this weekend but right now am leaning towards going next weekend when she might better be able to tolerate visitors. Sister Mel is keeping me posted.
It's a new, friendlier, done in confidence, spam that has been arriving in my inbox this week. I must have received half a dozen of these emails this week. My real question is, why can't the base network filter geeks prevent this junk from getting through and into the system?
From: MarkD [mailto:Mark_A@iti.uned.es]
Sent: Friday, October 20, 2006 11:21 AM
Listen, I am not sure whether you got my first message or not. I am sort of concerned. People are making me feel ncomfortable and I don't like being in the middle. Some of the staff are spreading rude jokes behind your back about your weight. I personally have no problem with you being you.
Please don't come back at me for informing. I just wish to help if anything. I thought about mentioning it to a boss but then to have something like this explode is silly and embarassing for everyone involved, including you being the center of attention. If you really want to make somewhat of a difference, I know my cousin and friend both used this and it worked very well for them. They grabbed it off the internet to keep a low profile & stay confidential. This was the site they got it from, if this helps any.
Again, I don't like people insulting others behind their backs. I am only trying to help. Which I hope I am.
Thanks for at least listening & I hope I am not out of line by writing this.
I am only trying to help.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
The oldest boy got his car impounded this week... I have been expecting it and I've warned him, repeatedly, to fix the problem. I'm certain he has had the best intent to get it fixed but it just never became important enough- until this week. Right now he's walking and facing some new traffic violations.
The car's not legal. It doesn't have legal license plates on it. He doesn't have title or registration for this POS Escort. [Redundancy Alert- I know already!] Historically, it was the Daughter-in-law's car that she brought with her from Illinois when she moved out here. But it was apparently titled in her brother's name. They managed to keep it registered and plated through Illinois until a couple years ago, when the engine died. Then it sat for a bunch of months, I installed a used engine in it, waited on an unscrupulous, not-a mechanic to finish the fuel problems, and finally got the car back to the kids last December, just before he got kicked out of the house and the couple split up.
I have reminded and encouraged him at every turn to get the paperwork straight. Now, I suppose he realizes I knew what I was talking about. We'll be talking more tonight probably to see what he has done to resolve the situation but my suggestion is that he pay his fines and let the county crush that car. He will need a replacement and I can see that I may need to assist in getting him back on the road.
I may buy him a bike from the Cash America pawn shop...
Yes, today it my beloved spouse's birthday! I won't tell you how old she is, but she is still a couple years younger than this humble scribe. The spouse is doing very well these days, healthier than she has been for many years. Long time readers know that just two years ago she was not healthy at all and her life was in jeopardy. Today, she is well and productive and I love sharing my life with her. Which leads me to the second reason for today's celebration, its our anniversary.
Not exactly 24 years ago today the spouse and I got married, barefoot, on Wynnehaven beach, outside of Fort Walton Beach, Florida and promised to love one another forever. In spite of some very troubled times in our early married life, and a 6 month break in service in 1992 when we did get divorced, we have managed to love one another through out these years. We are both surprised at how wonderful our lives together has turned out and remains. I must say that our love continues to grow with every year. I've not been a textbook example of a fine husband through the years but I keep getting better and my beloved spouse remains the biggest treat in my life.
That "not exactly 24 years'? Well that would be a result of the 6 month breakup back in 92 and the short-lived divorce. When we got re-married, we sealed the deal on her birthday. We even wore shoes and got married in our church's chapel the second time around. So far, it seems to be working!
I love you Sweetie, Happy Birthday!
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Well, why I haven't I written anything? After all, I'm out of school this week, so I must have time on my hands. Right? Not so fast there Bucko! It might seem to you outsiders that I'm living the idyllic life but hey, I've been busy.
Friday morning was studying for my Biology final exam, which was at lunch time. I got 46 out of 50 right on the test. I'm still waiting to see my final score for the class but it should be an A to match the A that I earned in Public Speaking. I've pushed my GPA up to 3.96 with these two classes. After lunch I loaded up and headed out to Impact Guns and their indoor range for some shooting and to test my newly purchased 17. But first I diverted to Wal-Mart for an oil change for the truck and to get pictures developed that were left over from son Noah's summer travels. I ended up buying a box of ammo for the Ruger 45 since I forgot to pack that into the range bag. The engine light came on for the second time in as many weeks while I was out, so I stopped into AutoZone and they kindly hooked their OBD-II tester to my truck's system and pronounced that I had a bad O2 sensor.
I did finally, make it to the range and you can read all about that fun in the post below this one. Friday night I got guns cleaned up and I think the spouse and I just collapsed in front of the moving picture box until I started snoring in my recliner.
Saturday I was up early because Honest-1 garage opened at 8 and they had already promised to get my truck in first thing and to try to get the lean condition reported by the computer tester fixed before we had to drive to Logan for Parents Day at Noah's fraternity. Luck was on my side at the garage because the mechanic very quickly determined that I didn't have a failed O2 sensor at all but instead a PCV vacuum hose had split, allowing air to enter the intake where it wasn't supposed to, causing the lean condition. The cracked hose was molded and the shop didn't figure Ford would have it in stock, so we agreed that some black RTV squeezed into the crack and some electrician's tape to hold it in would be a good fix. And a few minutes later, my truck was healthy again and the shop refused to bill me for the work! That was really decent of them.
So, back to the house in time for a shower, then off to Logan for Parent's Day. We had to wake the boy by phone when we were just 15 minutes out as he had slept in from the night before. We did make it over to the Sigma Chi house for introductions to some of the guys. There was some introductory remarks by the chapter president- only 6 years and he was already a senior, and a video that introduced the 7 initial members of the fraternity and their principles. We skipped the little bit of food that was available for a group lunch and had a little tour of the building with Noah. The words "fire trap" seemed to keep floating behind my eyeballs as we got the grand tour! Funky, nasty carpet runs throughout most of the building. The hallways outside the residential rooms was really bad, just gross! The meeting room in the basement was ringed by sofas that had obviously been carried in from other people's curbs. There were uncovered electrical boxes, holes in ceilings and walls and an air of more than just gentle dilapidation- it's a wreck! But the boy's not really as certain about remaining a frat pledge as he was some weeks ago. I think he has figured out that there may not be too many guys that he shares any common interest with- except the frat. He's also discovering that it is a huge imposition on his time and his other non-frat interests. I suspect that he might make up his mind to drop it for this year and reconsider later in his educational career.
After a dandy Korean food dinner with Noah, we returned home in time for me to get some of my winter preparation chores accomplished. I got the swamp cooler on the roof drained, dried out and disconnected and a new cover installed and lashed down. The only part of that task I didn't get finished was inserting the insulation plug into the duct in the house.
Sunday, I got to sleep in! I had coffee with Vickie the English professor for the first time in months. We had a very pleasant chat in the sun out front of the local coffee shop. Afterwards I ground 10 pounds of coffee into 106 individual servings, carefully sealed into ziplock baggies. Just as I finished, Daughter-in-Law Sara finally called me back and we made arrangements to meet her and her mom and the babies for dinner.
We had a really nice time with dinner at Sizzler. Grandson Astin, who will be 2 in December, is a whiz with a fork and spoon. The little guy really shoveled away his helping of macaroni and cheese, with very little mess and with a bunch of determination and dexterity. He even managed to eat most of his helping of JELL-O with his fork! In between bites we played with the John Deere tractor set that I brought for him and he even seemed to get less shy of me by the time dinner was over. Sara's headed back to the Midwest to return her mom to her home this week, setting out on a big road trip with such little kids. She says she will be returning in December, in preparation for getting back to work in January, so its going to be a little while before we get to see the grandbabies again... And I forgot to take pictures! Take my word for it, they are both cute kids!
Monday, yesterday, it was back to work so I could rest up but even that was interrupted with an early return home to gather up the BSU and take her to a Dr's appointment. In the evening it was the first extreme ski movie of the year, Anomaly by Teton Gravity Research. Noah even came down from Logan to see it with me then spent the night at home since he didn't have an early class today.
The rest of this week? Government business of course and the BSU's birthday falls on Thursday, so I have to call and cancel my lunch date with Karen for that day! Its also our anniversary the same day, so I suppose we will be celebrating with dinner out someplace. I'm hoping to get her embroidery sewing machine up and running as a gift for her.
Now its time for me to get some lunch!