So as the days pass I am learning the routine I need to maintain to at least keep my eye from feeling like it is going to pop out of my head. I need to be very active with using lubricating eye drops. I also have to take time every few minutes to force that eye closed so it stays moist. Last night when I was out doing my post work chicken duties I had the eye patch on to try to minimize the wind/dirt/sand from irritating the eye. By the end of the day the eye was still sore but not as bad as the day prior.
I also changed the time I am taking the prednisone. I was taking it around dinner but found it was making my sleep suck. Cindy’s Aunt Cecelia mentioned the sleep issue and recommended I take them earlier. I skipped taking them last night altogether and instead took them with breakfast. I had my first uninterrupted sleep since Sunday night as a result. This morning I woke up once again hoping someone turned the lights back on but a quick attempt to smile in the mirror ended that quickly.
So Kristen, our remaining Americana hen has now become low bird on the pecking pole. She runs away from pretty much every other bird we have when challenged, including the “babies”. However there is ONE bird she absolutely stands her ground to, the rooster, Daelin. It’s fascinating yet baffling why she stands up to the biggest bird in the group when she runs away from all of the others. Last night as I was out there the two of them had a genuine stand off that I had to break up. Daelin had his neck feathers standing out to look imposing, Kristen did the exact same thing back and moved towards him aggressively. Daelin was the one to turn and go the other way. Chicken social dynamics are very complex, you just never know what will shake out.
My dad called me yesterday to check in on my post Bell’s Palsy existence. During the call we talked about their upcoming move from western to eastern PA along with their roughly 20 farm animals. Thankfully dad has been paying for some help in the packing/moving process but it still is an absolutely massive task. By this time next month they should be transplanted across the state. One of the main driving forces of the move was to be closer to my sister Meg who is due to have her second baby very soon. The place they bought is still over an hour away from her but that is a lot more manageable than the roughly six hour drive that currently separates them.
My dad also talked about his upcoming surgical schedule. He had his one hip replaced roughly 5 years ago but still has been experiencing pain that was beyond normal. He was planning on getting his knees replaced but during the consult the hip situation was looked at further. It turns out that the initial procedure was not done as it should be and the end result was a tendon is rubbing on the artificial joint due to it being higher than it should be. So the new plan is to fix this hip, again and once that heals, do the knees.
With the long recovery required for these types of procedures you are looking at a period of potentially two years where you are going to be very limited in your physical capabilities. That doesn’t sound like an ideal situation for someone that just bought another farm with it’s long list of maintenance requirements. Hopefully dad can hire some farmhands to help handle the work so the entire load isn’t hoisted onto my step mom’s back.
At dad’s age this is a delicate wire to walk. He wants to get these procedures to improve his quality of life, he has severe pain that makes even basic mobility a pain in the ass. However two years of being more or less sedentary at his age could really make it difficult to get back to even where he is today if he doesn’t do the right things to manage his health during the recovery period. Your body doesn’t just bounce back when you are in your 70’s. It’s going to take a lot of hard work to make it happen.
So my waking hours have been pretty different since developing Bell’s Palsy over the weekend mysteriously. The deadening affect on the right side of my face has me conscious of looking stroked out. When I blink, even though it feels like my right eye is closing, it doesn’t. A weird side effect is my left eye appears to be blinking slower than normal as well. If I try to smile you can really see the affects, things just don’t move. My sense of taste is affected, certain food and drink taste differently and not in a good way. My lips can no longer be trusted to reliably drink without thought. I need to be very careful and deliberate when drinking or I will end up wearing it.
The most irritating and problematic part of this condition so far is the eye. Since it no longer closes when blinking, the eye needs constant attention with drops and me holding it closed for periods of time. Even with doing so, by the end of the day last night I was miserable. The right eye was super painful, red and the only real relief I got was when I closed both eyes. I have an eye patch but it doesn’t help all that much because it still does not make the right eye close, it’s still open just looking at the back of the patch.
I think my eye situation is made worse by the fact that I always have had some sort of cross wiring in my head that does not allow me to close the right eye independently of my left. I can not wink with my right eye, only the left. It’s always been that way. That lack of existing function paired with the BP is an unfun duo. My only choice is to just keep hitting that eye with good eye lube that Cindy bought for me and continue to just half grin and bear it.
The prednisone I am on has it’s own fun side effects. It has a tendency to lock up your intestinal track and it seems like my sleep sort of sucks. This morning I woke up at 4AM and stayed that way until the alarm went off at 6. The ONLY positive I can come up with is it felt like the steroid, despite only being on it for a couple days gave me a bizarre strength boost at the gym. I did my highest smith machine bench press ever at Planet Fitness and I probably would have gone for more if my buddy was there to spot me.
Each morning when I wake up I look in the mirror and try to smile to see if there is any change. So far there hasn’t been but hopefully that morning is coming, soon.
So yesterday before work I stopped at Walgreens to drop off my prescription for the two meds I was prescribed for the Bell’s Palsy. I got there about 7:55 but was surprised they only opened at 8AM. I patiently waited the 5 minutes and walked in with my prescriptions in hand. The clerk at the door said the pharmacy doesn’t open until nine, wtf. I asked if it would be possible to leave the prescription back there so they could enter it when they got in? Nope, not possible, for reasons unknown to me. So instead I dropped off the prescription over lunch.
I got a message on my home phone mid-afternoon that they were ready to pick up. I went through the drive thru window to grab the meds and head home. For some reason when I was about halfway back I decided to check the bag. It had one item in there, son of a bitch. I should know better than to assume someone is thorough. I called the pharmacy and said I was missing one of the scripts. “Whoops, our bad, it’s here.” So I will be making my fourth trip to Walgreens in two days to pick up the rest today. I did get the steroids which is probably the more helpful of the two drugs anyway.
So it seemed like as the day progressed my symptoms actually continued to progress. If you watch the video I did last night covering installing Slime in my KingSong unicycle, I look genuinely stroked out at times. My mouth was sagging when talking and the entire right side was drooping. Katie saw me for the first time last night since it happened and was shocked. This morning after a decent night of sleep I feel a little better, we will see how things look/sound by the end of the day.
I wasn’t quite feeling up to running Friday night but I did want to put a substantial cardio effort in. I hopped on our underused Concept 2 rower and put in a 30 minute session covering almost 6000 meters. It didn’t do it hard enough to generate the same cardio feel of running but it’s a more balanced workout with more strength benefit. After the workout Cindy and I enjoyed our traditional Friday night pizza, well she enjoyed it. For some reason the food did not taste good to me. Little did I know this was a very early sign of what was to come.
On Saturday I was busting it around the house attending to all sort of small tasks. I also came up with unintentional tasks. While I was turning on the pool pump the sprinklers on Zone 1 turned on by themselves, WTF? I was able to manually close the valve but I noticed it was leaking, great. As I inspected the six valve manifold I constructed over a dozen years ago I considered the prospect of replacing the bad valve. That prospect looked pretty terrible as I saw no way to do so without tearing apart and rebuilding the entire manifold.
However as I was considering my options it occurred to me that Shugs, Ali’s boyfriend has a ton of experience with sprinkler valves as he has worked on them as part of his job for years. I texted him and asked if he would be willing to take a look before I made a big mess of things. He said sure and agreed to come out on Sunday.
When he did come out the fix was really simple. He just unscrewed the jar top on the valve, cleaned out the sludge on the diaphragm and put it back together. That, combined with the new solenoid I bought seemed to do the trick. The valve fired on and off like a champ afterward. While he was there I asked him if would mind redoing my shared negative connection in a more professional way. Mine was a mess, it is a miracle it has worked for as long as it has. In 5 minutes he took care of that as well. I was very grateful for his assist and I picked up some basic knowledge that will help me if a similar problem pops up on any of the other equally old valves.
Saturday afternoon Cindy and ran to Home Depot and Rural King. I picked up supplies for two more projects. At Rural King I got a 150 foot roll of two foot high chicken wire. At Home Depot I picked up four massive pressure treated 12 foot 2×6’s. The chicken wire is for the back half of the chicken fence. When I built that fence I inadvertently used welded wire instead of twisted wire fencing like I have on the main property. That back half of the chicken fence is submerged under water for months on end thanks to wet season.
The welded wire does not hold up well in this environment and has rusted down low. The weed whacker has done a nice job of breaking the welds on that bottom wire creating lots of openings that are still too small for the chickens to escape but still didn’t give us a good feeling. I attached the wire at the fence posts with staples and Cindy followed behind me tying the chicken wire to the welded wire at spots to keep it tighter to the fence. It’s tedious work that isn’t done yet. The 2×6’s are to replace the rotted border around the orchard. It has needed replacement for 2-3 years so although I haven’t actually done the work yet, at least I have the materials to do so now.
Saturday evening Cindy and I went out to dinner for a belated six year anniversary dinner. We went to a small Italian restaurant we patronized once or twice before. Cindy really enjoyed her meal. I did less so, partially because of my affected sense of taste, partially because it was very oily. Saturday night we watched 22 miles, a crazy action packed 90 minute movie with Mark Wahlberg. It is quality B+ entertainment as long as you aren’t turned off by some very gory up close and personal kill scenes.
Sunday morning I again was busy right out of the gate. In addition to working with Shugs on the sprinkler valve, I changed the oil on my Tacoma for the first time in a couple years. Since I daily drive the Prius, the Tacoma normally only sees usage on the weekends. The end result is I put very light mileage on the truck. The last oil change was done by the dealer for free at the 20,000 mile mark. I has taken me almost an entire year until I reached the next 5000 miles to do another one.
I was a little rusty on the procedure since the truck uses a pain in the ass canister style oil filter. The dealer had the casing on ridiculously tight. I had to attach my impact wrench to the canister wrench to break it loose. I also wound up wearing a ton of oil as I tried to drain the filter. It was a big mess but I trudged through it. I look forward to not having to do my next oil change until 2020.
Mid-afternoon I wanted to test my KingSong 18L with the newly installed larger battery pack. I targeted the Ave Maria ride, the same ride I did with the stock battery that left me stranded a mile or so from the house when I ran out of juice. When I reached slightly farther than the halfway point I still had 69% battery left, I was thrilled. However during the last 5-6 miles I started getting speed warnings that start once the battery drops below 40%. By the time I got home I was down to 15% battery meaning I used a TON more battery life during the second half of the ride which didn’t really make much sense based on the riding conditions. I need to do more riding to see what sort of performance I get but I was disappointed with the numbers on that initial run. The disappointment was amplified when I checked the video from December when I took the demo 18XL unit, that has the same battery, on the same ride and returned with 43% battery remaining.
When I got home I wasted little time before jumping into another project, this time installing color bumpers on my One Wheel XR. This project did not go as planned either when I realized that I accidentally ordered the bumpers for a One Wheel + instead of a One Wheel XR. The end result was only one of the two bumpers actually fit. The video is funny but as you watch it, look at how my eyes are behaving, it was more of a sign of what was to come.
So the bad tasting food had continued all weekend. When I was editing the above video I noticed something very odd going on with my eyes, specifically my right one. When I would blink the right eye would not close, only the left would and it would sort of open slowly, it looked bizarre. I wrote it off as just one of those weird things that would go away.
So before bed I was brushing my teeth and Cindy told me to look at her. She saw the weird eye thing. She had me try to do a few things like smile, close my eyes and it all looked weird. I literally could not fully close my right eye. I am not the type to overreact to medical symptoms but even I knew that odd feelings/reactions on one side of the face can be a sign of stroke, which obviously is nothing that can be ignored. Even though it was the last thing I felt like doing or dealing with, I told Cindy it feels like we should go to the ER.
Luckily there is an ER nine miles from the house so it didn’t take too long to get there. The treatment I got from staff was wildly different. The Haitian woman that checked us in I assume has medical training. When I described the symptoms to her, or if she just looked at my face she should know that a stroke was a possibility which is very time sensitive and requires immediate attention. Nope, she just asked for my ID and insurance card and told me to take a seat. As we sat there for maybe 5-10 minutes I couldn’t believe I was actually in an ER for something potentially really bad, it’s never happened before.
So once I got taken back to a room a real nurse heard me describing my symptoms to another staff member. She came right in and started asking me questions as well as doing physical tests involving facial movements as well as appendages. The sense of urgency in her demeanor was worrisome, she said I had to get in for a head CT immediately to make sure this indeed was not a stroke, wow. As I got wheeled to the room the sense of disbelief only deepened.
As I laid there for the CT I struggled to keep my right eye closed which I could not fully. By the time I got wheeled back into the exam room a neurologist was already there, virtually. This facility has this “robot” that consists of a fully self driving system along with a video screen, two way communications and an exam camera the doctor can control. Instead of waiting who knows how long to be physically present it allows a doctor to be with a patient nearly instantly, it was extremely cool.
The doctor had me do more physical tests and as he did the CT results were almost instantly available to him. Everyone in the room breathed a sigh of relief when the neurologist said the head CT was clear, indicating this was not a stroke. Instead he said he believe I have Bell’s Palsy a condition with stroke-like symptoms. It happens when something irritates or inflames a facial nerve. This causes loss of control for that side of the face. In addition to eye/mouth problems it can also affect sense of taste, meaning I really started experiencing this on Friday, unknowingly.
The thing that is not great news is the condition can persist for weeks or even months. You never know. It’s ironic, one of the guys I watch on YouTube pretty regularly is Thor, also known as The Mountain. He is the current World Strongest Man. He has Bell’s Palsy as well and his symptoms although lessened have persisted for years. I was given a prescription for an anti-viral medicine as well as a steroid. The hope is the combination of the two will fast track healing of the affected facial nerve. We left the ER grateful that we went and that the worse case scenario was avoided, however this new scenario was pretty damn strange.
They put a bandage over my right eye. Once of the issues with this is since I am not really blinking effectively with my right eye it can make it dry out and become problematic. We were exhausted as we got home around 1AM. I slept with the eye covered as well and probably will be doing so until the symptoms improve. I awoke to the alarm exhausted but went to work anyway. Although Bell’s Palsy sounds scary, the reality is sitting home isn’t going to make me recover any faster. I plan to keep up my normal routine as much as possible because it’s the only option that works for me.
Yesterday I left the office early to go get my stitches removed. As I headed up Airport Road I ran into a literal parking lot. There were police at nearly every intersection, at the overpass, and I heard a helicopter flying above. What in the hell is going on? As I was sitting still getting increasingly annoyed Cindy texted me and said she had hit similar traffic. She said it was because VP Pence was in the area. I vaguely recall that being mentioned on the news a few days before but I totally forgot about it.
I’m not sure why he flew into tiny Naples airport instead of the Fort Myers location which is international and much bigger. The Naples Airport is two miles from our office so the local law enforcement basically paralyzed all traffic in the area until Mr Gay People Can Be Cured was driven out to his speaking arrangement at Ave Maria, a perfect place for his ideology to be barfed out onto other Trump acolytes.
I called my dermatologist to let them know I was caught up in the Pence Quagmire. I wound up getting there about 15 minutes late. Removal of the stitches was uneventful and it seems the incision is really healing well. I was worried about having a nasty scar on my forehead but it is looking like it will pretty easily blend into the other age appropriate creases on my face.
So I set up my follow up appointment with the med center. Oh the pulmonologist office STILL never called me back but at this point I don’t give a shit since the CT was posted to my account which showed that from a lung perspective I am ok.
I plan to be pretty aggressive in seeking answers at the appointment. Basically, I still have both symptoms I originally complained about last summer. Lower right side pain when doing even mild weight work, as well as come and go lack of endurance and weird sensations when doing cardio exercise which includes at times tingling and almost a clammy feeling. I am expecting to be referred to a cardiologist for the latter. With the mystery side pain I have no clue what to push for.
Yesterday I talked about in life, if you are passive about getting people to do things you will spend a lot of time getting nothing done. When our metal roof was installed late last spring I immediately noticed that the west side seemed to have mismatched metal panels on it. I pointed it out to the project manager. At that time he said that it was likely just because the metal was just installed and it should wear evenly once exposed to the elements. Well the picture you see was taken last night, some nine months later.
After taking this picture I contacted my project manager, who happens to be the husband of one of our employees at the tax collector. I sent him fresh pictures and told him that the mismatch is just as prominent today as it was on day one. I said I’m not happy with it, especially considering we dropped a lot of money on the project. I didn’t hear back an immediate response from him but I did talk to his wife today and he is aware of it.
My non-roofer opinion is either the installers did not have the same side facing up on all of the panels or the metal that was used simply was not all from the same batch. Regardless of the reason, the simple truth is the mismatch was evident immediately and there is no way the installers could have not noticed. They apparently just didn’t give a fck. So I am pretty sure the only resolution is going to be to tear that section of roof off and redo it, should be fun. Sure I could live with it but for what it cost, I’m not willing to let that go.
I’m hoping to have a productive weekend. I have a lot of stuff floating in the head to address. Man I keep thinking about the coop solar power project and how cool it will be if it works as I imagine…. I have already started thinking about phase 2 where I potentially power all of the charging of my PEVS via solar and maybe even run a 3D printer or two that way as well.
So last Tuesday when I had my high res chest CT I was told that the results will be available in 2-3 business days, meaning no later than Friday. I heard nothing by then but I was so busy doing party prep I hardly cared. When Monday passed without a call I again disregarded it and figured I would call Tuesday when I returned to work, a full week after the test was completed. I left a message and awaited a call back. When that call never came I called again on Wednesday, leaving a more irate message. When mid-afternoon hit with no call I called once again.
This time I actually got a person. I told the woman I had the test over a week ago and was told only 2-3 days for the results. I then said I had called the past two days and had not be contacted. She told me they got the message and someone would call me back by the end of the day. Well of course you know where this is heading, they didn’t call. So I called this morning and complained again and was told once again someone would be calling me asap.
After hanging up, just for the hell of it I checked my patient portal for our health plan. I saw that someone did actually post the CT results in there finally. The Cliff Notes version is my lungs seem fine and the nodule that they saw hasn’t changed and it is still believed to be nothing significant. It also said “no acute cardiopulmonary disease”. So I guess it’s good news except that the right side pain and extreme fatigue I feel at times when exercising remains unexplained. I scheduled a follow up with the on campus med clinic to talk about other options. Hey I don’t have a problem just living with the symptoms, assuming they are not a precursor to me dropping over dead.
I met a guy from the company that installed our gutters yesterday. I called because it seems that water is not flowing freely towards the downspouts in some sections which contributes to all of the debris that I found stuffing the gutters on Friday. He took a look and agreed that water is pooling in some spots but he didn’t have a great remediation for it. He said because the eaves of the roof slope downward they are limited on how much they can adjust the angles. He did agree with me that gutter guards would be a good idea for the parts of the roof that are adjacent to the massive oak tree to minimize the clogging. He also agreed with me that only having one downspout on the left side of the house was an odd recommendation by their sales guy when the gutters were laid out. When the gutter guards are installed he is going to also add another downspout to that side to help drainage.
If I have learned one thing as an adult, it’s that if you go through life waiting for people to come to you with answers to your questions/problems, you are going to spend a lot of time just treading water. You have to pull action out of them with repeated, sometimes aggravating effort and determination.
So for the past two months plus the house has more or less been in disarray with party related prep. Now that we are four days post party things are starting to slowly get more normalized. I am the type of person that feels very uncomfortable looking at piles of things around the house. Luckily most of those piles have disappeared and hopefully soon everything will once again have a proper home or be thrown out/given away, whichever is appropriate.
One of the remaining clean up items got taken care of last night, soft of. The old bathroom mirror had been in Cindy’s room to assist in work outs. However since Katie is now sleeping there most nights Cindy decided it was causing a problem space wise and wanted to get rid of it. We took it curbside hoping somebody would find use for it. Instead somebody found it fun to partially break the five foot wide mirror while it was down there.
Cindy picked up the broken pieces but there was still a large section of the mirror that would not fit completely in the trash bin. No problem, I told Cindy I would break the rest of the mirror while it was resting partially in the trash can. So I took a whack at it with the hammer which surprisingly did nothing. Granted I couldn’t get a full swing at it because I was trying to hit it low inside the can but still, usually when hammer meets mirror, hammer wins.
Ok well I guess it’s time to grab the mini-sledge. I take a swing with much more weight behind it, turning my head to avoid the shattered glass which was sure to come. Instead my ears are met with another loud clang as the sledge bounced off the mirror as well. Well damn, this is surprising. I came up with a brilliant idea. I stood maybe seven or eight feet from the mirror and the trash bin. I told Cindy I would throw the sledge at the mirror Thor-style. I’m not quite sure why I didn’t tell her to film the event, but I certainly should have.
As soon as I let go of the sledge I turned my head to avoid possible shrapnel so I did not see the impact, but I sure heard it. The mirror exploded but unfortunately the shards of glass did not fall quietly into the bin. Instead there was probably a 50 square foot kill zone that was filled with broken mirror bits. The big pieces we got by hand but we spent a lot of time with a dust pan and broom. I also was picking shards out of the grass. Just to be safe I ended with the leaf blower, just to make sure no instruments of tire destruction were left on the driveway.
Cindy was not thrilled with the outcome of my Thor hammer throw but to be honest, I would probably do it again.
So Monday was the last day of my extended weekend and I needed every hour of it. There was still some residual party clean up items scattered around believe it or not. Hosting a party for close to 50 people is not something I will be looking to do again anytime soon. I spent a good portion of the day attending to smaller tasks, some of which will lead to larger tasks.
One of those tasks was measuring the border around the orchard. When I initially planned to rebuild the dog deck I purchased four 8 foot 2 x 6’s for the work. Since the deck is no longer in existence I had them available for other projects. The border of the orchard is constructed of 2 x 6’s as well, which are probably more rotted than the dog deck was. The 8 footers I have will replace half of the border, I will need four 12 footers to complete the job which I will tackle sometime soon.
I also took my Kill-A-Watt and hooked it up to the coop to see exactly how much power is drawn to run the electronics and fan out there. The answer is not much. I saw about a one amp draw and around 120 watts. You may ask why I would be doing this? Because I want to try to run the coop entirely off of solar power.
I want to use a solar generator to make this happen. I currently have my sights set on a Yeti 1400 which is probably overkill for the job. It incorporates a battery bank, solar charge controller, and an inverter all in one package. It can be charged with conventional power but my intent is to hook up 200-300 watts of solar panels to the box. If it works as I expect, this package would allow me to pull the plug to the coop and run things completely via the sun.
During the day the panels would pull enough power to both charge the batteries and run the equipment. At night the beefy 1400WH battery is more than sufficient to keep the juice flowing. I think it would be an awesome project that I am excited about digging into. Of course as is the case with most things, it isn’t cheap so I am going to save my Amazon spiff bucks for a little while to help defer some of the expense.
Yesterday I installed a new CPU cooler into my HP Omen. You may ask why would I need a new CPU cooler in my brand new computer? I don’t. However this cooler incorporates cool RGB lighting that compliments the RGB lighting that is already prevalent throughout my PC set up. The case, my mouse, mousepad, and keyboard all have RGB lighting already. Installing the cooler was very straightforward. I really liked the visual afterward, it was $25 well spent.
I also got to work on my KingSong 18L. I bought an upgraded battery for it which should increase my range significantly. Installation of the big pack was pretty easy. I look forward to taking an Ave Maria ride soon to test it out. I tried the ride on the 18L with my original battery and ran out of juice with about a mile to go.
Cindy’s Aunt Cecilia flies back home to Illinois this evening. I gave her a hug before leaving for work this morning. It has been a lot of fun having her visit. Cindy and her have a very special relationship. It was cool seeing the interaction between them. I’m sure we will see her again.
With all of the recap I was posting in yesterday’s blog entry I totally forgot to mention that Sunday was Cindy and my sixth anniversary. Who knew an innocent invite to an arena football game would result in six years filled with adventures, smiles, laughter, and fun? I am lucky to have her in my life and hopefully she feels the same.
Wow, this has been quite the three day time warp. I took off Friday so I would be able to get stuff done in advance of Katie’s baby shower which was being held at the house Saturday. The first order of business was I wanted to get the grass cleaned up so I did a quick mowing session and weed whacked just around the immediate house area.
As I was mowing I kept looking at the front of the roof which has been dirty for a long time from shit dropping off the oak tree which is right by the house. I decided I would address that quickly with the pressure washer. Well it wasn’t quick. Once I got the ladder on the roof I got a good look at the gutters. I was not pleased when I saw the front gutter was totally packed with debris. I first tried just grabbing handfuls of the mess and pulling it out but I soon decided that was far too slow. I climbed up on the roof with the pressure washer in hand and started blasting the shit out of the gutters, sending brown debris everywhere.
I quickly discovered just how dangerous pressure washing a metal roof can be. You have to be extremely precise with your footing. The only place you should step are on one of the screw heads on the ridges. If you step on the flat section while it is wet you may as well be stepping on an ice rink, an ice rink with a 30 degree pitch. There were several times I caught myself while I was just on the edge of losing my balance.
The pressure washer did a good job of blasting the dirt off the roof itself as well as out of the gutters. However once the gutters were clear I was observing the way water flowed in them. In several sections the water did not flow or flowed extremely slowly towards the downspout. In some sections there was so much adhesive around the seams at the downspout that it created a small ridge around the hole which again restricts water flow. Since I paid $1500 for these seamless gutters to be installed I was not very pleased. I called up the company and asked if they could come out to adjust the gutters so water flows consistently out them. I also asked about possibly having gutter guards installed in the area of the roof impacted by the oak tree as it drops ridiculous amounts of organic debris.
So I was tired from my roof adventure but I came up with another on the spot task that I worked on while Cindy went to the airport to pick up her Aunt Cecelia. The dog deck, which was one of the very early outdoor construction projects I ever tackled after building the house, was rotting away after being in the yard for close probably at least 15 years. The one side frame support was collapsing.
So my initial plan was to pull the decking off and just replace the outer frame 2×6’s. The decking was expensive composite lumber that still was in decent shape. Removing it was a hassle as there were 17 boards that each had 12 screws in them, you can do the math.
So as I started pulling deck boards off the picture was getting less rosy. Not only were the outer pieces rotting but a lot of the support 2×4’s underneath were going bad as well. So then the plan in my head morphed again to me rebuilding the entire frame and just connect it to the 4×4’s that were cemented into the ground. Somehow in my head I thought I could possibly get this all done before the party at 2PM on Saturday.
So now I also had to rip off the old frame which was not fun. I decided to take the sawzall and cut it into smaller sections to make the job easier and make the pieces fit in the bed of the Tacoma easier. Well as I was pulling apart one section I hear a snap, one of the 4×4 posts snapped off which revealed it was chewed up from termite damage. Great, now I have to make a new anchor for that corner as well. However a few moments after that happened a revelation hit me.
I sat there and asked myself why I was even rebuilding this deck at all. It literally NEVER gets used. It was built originally for us to have a place to sit in the small elevated dog run we made prior to fencing in the yard. Since the yard has been fenced the dog deck has just been a place to sit a picnic table that never gets used either. It was like the clouds had cleared and the skies were blue, I didn’t need to rebuild the deck.
My remediation now became much simpler. I simply cut the remaining 4×4’s down to ground level and covered the deck area with sod which will eventually blend into the landscape. In comparison to the prospect of rebuilding a deck we will never use, it was a much more sane plan of action. Cindy agreed.
So Cindy returned with her aunt, whom she only discovered existed in the past year thanks to Ancestery.com. Aunt Cecelia is full of energy and gave me a big hug when she saw me. She already has familiarity with my world thanks to Facebook, YouTube, and my blog. It was very cool seeing her and Cindy getting to interact in person. Elsa was scared of Cecelia but that is pretty normal for anyone new stepping in the door.
Saturday was the culmination of literally two months of work for Cindy. She has been planning the baby shower and working her ass off making decorations, food, and games for weeks and weeks. It has basically consumed the majority of her free time. This party was going to be big, the biggest event ever held at the house by far. It was so big that she rented three additional folding tables and 20 chairs to go along with the large collection of stuff we already had. There was somewhere between 40 and 50 people in attendance.
We had stuff set up indoors, on the lanai and out in the yard, it was a very impressive spread. My role was primarily grunt work, moving and setting up larger items as needed. Cindy was running around non-stop all morning trying to get everything in place. Before she knew it 2PM had arrived and the food prep wasn’t completely done. There were plenty of other snacks and drinks to keep the guests busy while the food prep was being finished.
Once people started showing up I started drinking the Miller Lites to help keep my social interactions flowing despite my general dislike for party environments. I had the Backfire Ranger and Cindy’s Minipro in the backyard for people to ride on. Cindy’s ex-husband and his family were at the party.
I found myself hanging with his kids quite a bit, showing them the PEVs and my 3d printer set up. The one boy Evan is a big time gamer, one of those games being WoW. We talked shop quite a bit and I showed him my virtual set up.
I felt somewhat badly for Cindy. It seemed once Katie and Daniel opened up their presents the vast majority of people took off without sticking around to participate in the games that Cindy worked so hard in planning and creating. Luckily the people that hung around, including her ex-husband’s family did eventually get to play some of the games and it was actually fun doing it with a smaller group of people anyway.
Originally the thought was the majority of the crowd would be out in the yard which is what we planned for. However it turned out that almost everyone stayed around the house or pool. I said to Cindy how it was funny how most of the 40 and over crowd were sitting somewhere where as all of the “kids” were mostly standing in groups that migrated around the property, it was an odd visual dichotomy.
Two of Cindy’s ex’s kids were having a lot of fun on the Minipro. I came up with the idea of giving them the other one we have which is never used anymore. After getting the ok from Mike and his wife we told the kids they could have the Minipro. It felt good to give it away to a situation where it will get more use. We got a text the following day saying they rode the Minipro all day at home which is awesome.
Clean up from the party was a massive task that covered Saturday night and Sunday morning. Cindy worked tirelessly. As is always the case, we had way too much food and drink left over. We gave away what we could but most of it got tossed which makes me feel guilty. Our trash and two recycle bins were insufficient to hold all of the party byproduct we generated.
Finally Sunday mid-afternoon we were able to take a breather from party clean up. Cindy, Cecelia, and I drove into town. I dropped myself off at the Greenway to ride my 18L with the plan to meet up with them later after they did some sight seeing. They finally reopened the greenway path to connect to Naples so I was able to ride all the way down to the beach once again. It was very nice to just ride and be clear of the party madness that consumed the prior two days.
I wound up the crazy weekend with a two hour live stream that talked a lot about the rash of high speed EUC crashes lately and why they could jeopardize the hobby we all love.
So I have today off as well. I have a long list of things I could be doing but I would really not consume all four days of my weekend with tasks. We will see if I can find a happy medium somehow.
So yesterday was my MOHS procedure to cut out yet another spot of skin cancer. The appointment was first thing at 8AM. They got me in the room pretty promptly and covered my upper body with sterile dressing and tape followed by covering the general area of the cut with orange iodine. The procedure starts with the doctor injecting the area with numbing solution. After a few minutes the cutting begins.
He always says I should let him know if I can feel anything so he can inject more if needed. I always seems to feel it so he stopped to inject more a couple times. The sensation of having your skin cut off is never fun, even when numb. Evidently there was a lot of bleeding going on. He had the nurse applying a LOT of pressure at certain points as he used a cauterizer to stop the bleeding.
So he cut out the basal cell cancer and they applied a temporary pressure bandage. The next step is they test the perimeter of the skin to ensure all of the cancer cells are gone. After hanging in the waiting room for maybe 15-20 minutes they said they needed to cut again, fantastic. There was only a small amount they had to remove this time but in total I had a hole in my forehead about the size of a nickel.
Instead of just closing the wound right there they threw another bandage on it and said I should come back at 11 to get stitched up. This happened previously as well, I don’t quite understand why they don’t just stitch you up immediately however I knew the routine by this point. I hopped in the Prius and headed to a nearby Dunkin Donuts. I then just parked the car and sipped my coffee as I listed to a podcast to pass the time for close to an hour.
So getting closed up is often the least enjoyable part of this process. I once again had to request additional numbing as I felt the needle getting threaded through my skin more than once. The sensation of having the circular wound pulled tight into a line makes you feel like a human football. The doc said he had to make sure he was applying tension in the right way so it doesn’t pull up on my eyebrow, which would give me a permanent skeptical expression, which may be appropriate anyway.
I was glad when the final stitch was pulled tight. A massive pressure bandage was then applied which I am still sporting today. I was told to minimize my exertion for 48 hours and more or less be careful until the stitches are removed in eight days. They said to not get the bandages wet for the first 24 hours that they are required to be on. I managed to shower around them.
I got back to the office around 12-1. The numbing was still in effect, it in fact had spread to the top of my head. When I went to scratch my head it felt like I was scratching a piece of cardboard, I couldn’t feel it at all. However as the afternoon went on the numbing faded and the soreness and stinging was intensifying. It got pretty intense, I was considering heading out early but I popped an aspirin which at least took the edge off the pain so I stuck it out. Despite not going to the gym I felt pretty tired and wiped out last night, perhaps just the body’s reaction to getting cut on. I switched over to extra strength Tylenol which seemed to do a better job of masking the pain.
I got a call from my neighbor who was at work. He said he locked his keys in his car and wanted to know if I could jump start one of their other vehicles so his wife could go get him. There was a complication, the car with the dead battery was in their garage so it had to be pushed out so I could jump it with my truck. Cindy was giving me a hard time about it since I wasn’t supposed to exert myself. I assured her that pushing a car backwards is not nearly as difficult as she thought.
So we got the big Lincoln out of the garage and I hooked it up to the Tacoma. Our initial attempts to jump it were not successful as the motor only turned over weakly before stopping. I wasn’t sure if it was a juice thing or the terminals being pretty dirty. I decided to go get my personal power center that I bought a few years ago for race timing. One of it’s abilities is as an emergency jump starter. Our first attempt with it again failed but then after I rotated the cables around some more to hopefully get a cleaner connection the car fired up. I was glad we were able to help out although the neighbors will need to be replacing the battery in that car asap.
I forgot to mention an awkward, funny gym story from Tuesday. I was in the stretching room doing sets of push ups. As I finished a set a woman that was on her back stretching complimented my form and how many I could do. As I looked up to respond to her I see that she is holding her right ankle up to her ear during the exchange. I immediately felt awkward but said back, well I wish I was that flexible. She said she has always been very flexible in a way that contributed to the awkwardness. She continued to hold the pose as I turned the other way to finish my remaining sets and exit the room.
I am off Friday and Monday. I took Friday off to take care of whatever remains with prep for Katie’s baby shower. It’s going to be the most people we have ever had at the house by a factor of two or three. Cindy said there could be 35-50 people. The logistic part of my mind immediately jumped to the difficulties of 50 people divided by one guest toilet. Sure we could allow people to use the master bathroom as well but the idea of all of these people, coming from the outdoors where the party is being held, trampling across our bedroom carpet to relieve themselves just is not appealing. I guess we could lay down some sort of runner through the bedroom if need be.
Of course the house is in a chaotic state with all of the party prep going on which never makes me feel good. I am looking forward to the event being in the rear mirror so things can return to a more orderly state. By taking Monday off I hope to have plenty of time to make that happen.