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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The rest of the weekend

There was still weekend left over after the Balloon Fest event ended.  There was also a lot of stuff that needed doing around the house.  DH hasn't been able to help out as much as he normally would, since his hip/pelvis is still very painful after the bike crashes, and this restricts his mobility.

Nevertheless, we started tackling the jobs around home after Sunday worship.  There was a plumbing job that needed doing, and an auto repair too.  To wit, one toilet was out of commission, and in a house of 5, being down to one working toilet is a bit of a crisis...just saying.  And the van desperately needed new rear shocks, which would improve handling and towing.

Now, I am the house-plumber in the family, while DH is normally the electrician.  We both work on cars, provided the job isn't too major.  Rear shocks on a Toyota Sienna are relatively simple.  Fixing a toilet usually isn't a major repair either...until you bust something you need.

We ended up starting in on the van before I tackled the plumbing.  I had intended to be the one working under the van to make it easier for DH.  But sometimes there is no substitute for muscle, so DH ended up under the van and doing most of the grunt work in spite of the pain.

It did take loading all three Monkeys and DH into the back of the van though, to compress one spring enough to get the shock seated properly.  Not a big deal, and after than it all went like clockwork.  A quick drive around the subdivision confirmed everything was reassembled ok, and that was enough to level the rear shocks to normal ride height.

Onto the plumbing.  All was going well until I encountered a fitting I couldn't loosen.  DH wedged himself between the plumbing and the sink cabinet and managed to loosen it for me.  Unfortunately for him, getting UP from there proved problematic, and irritated things internally.  During this, one of the internal bits in the tank I had not intended on replacing, broke.  Great.  I tried to Southern Engineer a fix with gutter sealant, but no joy.  It refused to set up firm enough to hold, but leaked slow enough to make the unit useable, at least in the short term.

Monday was DH's orthopedic consult.  This isn't as bad as it could be, since we both really like our ortho surgeon.  He's done quite a few repairs on us both (getting old sucks, but it beats the alternative!).  Once in, and the Xrays examined, Doc came in and began to poke and prod DH.  "Show me where it hurts.  What does it hurt like?  Here?"  as he pushes a thumb into DH's hip.  "No,that doesn't hurt."  "Oh?  How about here?" as he sticks his thumb higher up and more to the side.  I watch as DH suppresses a howl of agony, and restrains himself from decking the doctor he actually likes.  I note that the painful point is NOT DH's main point of contact with the ground.  After this, Doc simply says, "MRI time."

Monday evening saw me back doing the plumbing gig.  We had purchased the needed part after the Ortho doc appointment, and there was time between dinner and the MRI to get it done.  This time it went off without issue, and the Monkeys are happy to have a working toilet again, and so am I.  I'm not sure why so many folks think household plumbing repairs are hard/awful.  I understand copper pipe to be more difficult, but here, it's all PVC tinker toy stuff.  I might not 'enjoy' resetting a toilet on a new wax ring, but having seen it done, I could do it if needed.  And any other toilet repairs have no 'yuck' factor.

So Monday night, late, found us both sitting in the MRI office waiting room. At least they have a Keurig knockoff, and lots of tasty cookies for folks to raid.  It took an hour or so to finish up and then we left with a disc of DH's finely sectioned innards.  MRI's are kinda cool, especially if you once entertained ideas of becoming a body mechanic (aka doctor/surgeon).  We now just wait for the radiology report, and to hear from the Ortho again on what all is going on in there.

So, what level of household repairs do you tackle?

YAY!  The good news is there are NO fractures in DH!  However he is badly bruised, and it will take a fair bit of time to heal him.  He will be out from work for a bit longer,

Monday, September 15, 2014

Balloon Fest...sort of!

This past weekend was one of the local hot air balloon festivals.  Always a pretty sight, the balloons that is, the kids and I were committed to help out our friends at TIRR for the Dog Adoption Rally held during the balloon fest.

Friday afternoon was designated the set-up time, and we got there just before 1pm.  Unfortunately for the whole event, it was cold, windy and rainy all afternoon!  Cold enough to want a coat!  Well, it was about 62*F, but when you consider the 25mph east wind, and rain, it was cold.  It was also 40* cooler than it had been the day before!   Talk about temperature shock...

The dogs had it better than the people I think, since they had the crates covered with tarps to keep the rain out.  The first day there were only a few dogs both at TIRR, and at the other rescues that were setting up.  Saturday was more crowded, and better weather.  There were also more groups set up with more dogs, so it was a bit barkier the second day. 


The four shown above were just some of the Ridgeback mixes we were showing at the festival.  The purebreds were shown on Saturday, including showing off my baby, Indy, and my good buddy, Tucker!  Tucker is the King of Chairs...

Tucker, King of Folding Chairs.

I decided Saturday, to take Indy out with us.  For one thing, I wanted to show him off to the folks at the county shelter, so they could see how well he is doing with us.  I also wanted to expose him to new sights, sounds and smells.  This perhaps was not my brightest idea...

We knew Indy can be a bit spooky at times, afraid of brooms (guess somebody chased him with a broom at some point), moving cars (he must've come close to being hit at some point before the dog catcher saved him), and now since Balloon Fest, we are pretty sure somebody took a potshot or two at him.
Indy emulating Tucker.
Apparently the festival had brought in a group of cowboy re-enactors, to stage a gunfight (with blanks of course).  DH and I were walking Indy around the show, when the shooting started, and he freaked out.  4th of July didn't seem to bother him much in town, but the blanks at Balloon Fest really scared him.  So much so, that I am pretty sure some farmer/rancher has taken potshots at Indy when he was running stray.  He bears no sign of ever having been hit by pellets or rock salt, but he sure knew that sound.  Oddly enough, two other dogs at TIRR, reacted just the opposite to the mock gunfire.  Rodney and Rowdy both pricked up their ears, and spun around in their crates, at the sound to see where it came from, and were all excited, not scared.  I suspect they had been positively exposed to gunfire, perhaps in preparation for use as a hunting dog.

Finally, by the time Dog Alley ended Saturday afternoon, the winds had calmed enough for the balloonists to begin to inflate the hot air balloons.  They are so pretty, and it is fun watching them.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

To Track, Or Not To Track...

That is the question.  With the obvious and not so obvious amount of information on each of us, that the government and other interested parties maintain, legally or otherwise, why would you consider adding a tracking program to your own repertoire?  Primarily I speak of those systems that are cell phone driven.

Do you transit through unsavory areas on your way to and from work?  Do you like to 'play', out in the county on rural roads or trails, hiking or biking, or riding horses?  Do you have a plan or two, just in case something bad happens?

As someone who bikes the rural roads of North Texas, as does DH, we have opted to make use of a couple of Android tracking programs, Glympse and Real Time Tracker 1 and 2.  They operate differently, and each has its own advantages.   For cycling we tend to use Glympse the most.  DH sends me a text with a Glympse URL in it, which connects me to their server.  This allows me to see where he is, on his commute home, or county ride, especially helpful if he is calling for a pick up.  With Glympse, the sender chooses who can see the track, and how long the system will track you.  This allows you a lot of control over your info.

When I do a tailwind ride, I usually send him a Glympse when I am about a hour from being done.  That gives him time to head out from home, and chase me up the road until he catches up, then we load the bike and head home.  When I got run off the road last year, I had Real Time Tracker 1 running.  Though I was able to call DH and tell him where I had crashed, had I been unable to call, he would have been able to find me via RTT1.

Which brings me to this week and why I choose to use the tracking programs I do.  Tuesday, DH was riding home from work, on his evening commute.  He always sends me a Glympse when he leaves work, so I can follow his ride home, and to better time when I make a protein smoothie for him.  We've done this so often that I know when he should be at a certain point, and how fast he should normally be moving.  So Tuesday, as he sprinted through a narrow construction zone, to allow the cars behind to pass safely, his cleat pulled free of the pedal, causing him to crash at a speed of about 23mph.  No cars were involved.  But what I saw was his icon come to an abrupt stop in the middle of a high traffic intersection.  I knew immediately something was not right.  His speed did not pick back up.  The icon didn't move.  Before he even had time to call me, I was heading out the door to the point of the crash.  Then he called, giving me some tension relief, as I knew he was still amongst the living! 

The crash resulted in a trip to the doc-in-a-box e-care that we drive by all the time.  There, they were able to clean out the deeper wounds (can you say chainring imbedded in your leg anyone?), bandage him up, and administer a tetanus shot too.  For those of you who want to see the gory post-wreck photos, you can go to DH's blog,  and read all about it.

Fast forward to Friday, when I was at the hospital for a test.  DH had gone out on the recumbent for a nice easy ride, staying fairly close to home.  Suddenly my phone chimes, with another Glympse link.  Yeah, a second crash, this one caused by an expansion crack in the pavement, which trapped the wheels on the bike and threw DH to the ground.  More lost skin, more bike damage, and what we were afraid might be a cracked pelvis or hip.  Eventually, xrays were used to rule out any fractures, and DH's regular doc gave him the cheery news that a deep bone bruise like he sustained would probably take longer to heal than had he actually fractured a bone...(assuming no surgery).  So DH is at home this weekend, trying to get healed up enough to go back to work tomorrow.    Wish him a speedy recovery, via his blog, if you would please?  He could use all the support he can get.