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Friday, April 24, 2015

My Random 5 April 24 2015

Though she isn't able to sponsor the R5F fun anymore, Nancy at A Rural Journal is still a website worth the visit.

My Random 5 for this week.

1.  My gut is just about healed from the diverticulitis.  YAY!

2.  Lake Lavon is almost full!  That is our local reservoir and primary water supply.  7 months ago it was 13 feet below full pool, and you could hardly see water in the north 2/3 of the lake.  This is great news for NTX, and especially the city of Allen TX.

3.  With all this rain, I have not been able to ride as much as I would like to, before my upcoming shoulder repair.  My back yard is a swamp.  My side yard is either a lake or a river (hard to tell if the water is flowing or just standing).  The Monkeys and the dogs are all restless and tired of being cooped up.

4.  My friend L.B. Johnson, has published her second book!  Saving Grace:  A Story of Adoption is available on Amazon in paperback, and soon to be on Kindle!  This is the same author who wrote The Book of Barkley.  I haven't had a chance to read it yet, as it only got released for sale today.  My copy's already on order!  But you can get your own copy, just click the link above.  Plus, on my sidebar, you can find links to the Book of Barkley, if you haven't already read it.

5.  I have to say, I am looking forward to the next installment of Star Wars.  I loved the latest trailer.  The last 3 seconds or so, are the best!  Welcome home, Chewie and Han!

Sunday, April 19, 2015


Sun's out!  Guns out!
Or in other words, somebody didn't use sunscreen on his bike ride yesterday...

Saturday, April 18, 2015

And the bright side of this is...?

Yeah, I am trying to find the bright side in my current medical rodeo.  So the days ago, I noshed on some smoked almonds, instead of a sweet snack, probably a cup in total.  Not anything unusual in that, so I did not expect what came next.

Diverticulitis.  Yes, my gut has staged a revolt, complete with gut-wrenching cramps, point tenderness in the sigmoid region (lower left inside pelvis), low grade fever and general malaise.  This is not my first diverticular rodeo, but the last time I had this crop up I didn't have shoulder surgery scheduled for next Thursday either.  The big D complicates things somewhat.

I called my doc at TDDC, bright and early this morning since it wasn't getting better on its own.  As expected I got the standard "It'll Kill Everything" prescription--levaquin and Flagyl.  I did ask if there was anything else I could take, and got the response, "not if you want to get well quickly".  This being my third go-round with Flagyl, I was hoping to avoid that one,  The side effects leave much to be desired. Nausea, loss of appetite, and the really fun one, a change in how everything tastes.  I mean, for me it is as if someone is constantly spraying your mouth with hairspray and perfume, 24/7. It's horrible!  And it doesn't go away as soon as you finish the medication either.  It continues on for another week or so.  My gut already hurts and I feel crappy, and now you want to medicate me with a drug that makes me

Plus, I'm supposed to avoid fiber for about two weeks, so no fruit, no nuts, (that rules out California, eh?), no veggies, no whole wheat bread.  I get to eat white bread and low fiber junk food.  That is, if the Flagyl will let me choke down any food.

I go for my pre-surgical consult on Monday afternoon.  I get to see IF Doc wants to still do the cut on Thursday, knowing I will have been on meds for 5 days, and that I will need to be on pain meds after surgery that will dramatically slow down gut motility.  It's up to Doc if he thinks the surgery will go ok, or if he thinks I should postpone it.  I don't honestly know what he will suggest.

This whole medical mess has me somewhat down in the dumps.  Can't go ride, can't go enjoy the gorgeous morning today,  will probably miss the Rescue Open House on the 3rd, have totally thrashed all my ride plans, goals and hopes, and I can't lift for who knows how long...

I keep looking for a bright spot in all this and am not finding it.  I had hoped to do another fox and hound ride with DH today since the weather is so nice after last night's storms.  Well at least he is out riding a 100k today.  Maybe I will go haunt the local bike shops and pick up some little goodies...Nuun tabs, latex tubes, and ...??

I guess there may be a bright spot in all this, if I really stretch it.  The nausea and loss of appetite, means I should be able to  lose weight without having to work out.  It's not much of a bright spot, but I'll have to take it.

Friday, April 17, 2015

My Random Five for 4-17-15

Although Nancy had to give up sponsoring the Random 5 Friday, I have decided to at least share my random five with the world today.

1.  I spent a fair bit of time on the bike this week.  It has been great too.  Sadly, with surgery for next week, I will not be riding outdoors for several months I suspect.  Such is life with bum shoulders

2.Of course, just to complicate things, my diverticulae flared up from too many almonds I think.  I am hoping to calm it down before surgery, otherwise I think the shoulder repair will have to be postponed a week or so.

3.  Being from the KC area originally, I was pleased to see the KC Royals get off to a good start on the MLB season.  And I know my dear friends, with season tix are ecstatic!

4.  Ranger is fitting into the pack dynamic well.  He minds better than most, and is playful with Indy and Shiloh.  Sometimes though, he and Shi will gang up on Indy, and pick on him.  Luckily, we intervene to break up these little squabbles, and Indy is pretty capable of holding his own if it happens outside our view.

5.  We have been getting a nice amount of rain since the end of February.  It is nice to see the ponds and lakes filling back up.  I do hope that Wichita Falls has been getting rain too, as their water levels were scary-low this past year.  But around here, Lake Lavon has gone from -13ft below full pool, to only 3.22ft below full pool.  YAY!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Fence project

This week, instead of riding, :-(, I will be working on our 100' run of fence that needs replaced.  Today (Tuesday) the fence supply company dropped off (literally) all the fence materials--stringers, pickets, kicker boards, posts, and 19 bags of 80# concrete.  As I had to move that concrete into the garage myself, I was reminded of how glad I am that I have been weightlifting all winter!  Monkey2 helped with one bag, and I got the other 18.  That was 1,440# of Sakcrete.  It made me glad I enjoy deadlifts.  It made me sorry that last night was a heavy leg and back day for lifting!

Once dropped off, then the Monkeys and I got to shift all the wood and posts, but not the pickets, to the back yard for painting.  This afternoon, I got to paint all but 7 of the stringers.  The remaining 7 will get done tonight.  The kicker boards seem a little damp (pressure treated pine) so I am hoping they will dry some before I have to paint them tomorrow.  The pickets will take the longest, as there are some 350 of them and they need painted on all sides.  I may consider enlisting the Monkeys to help paint the pickets, except for my fear of the painting wars likely to erupt.
By the end of the day DH and I managed to paint all the stringers, and the 16ft long kicker boards. They were easy to paint, as they are planed smooth.  We had everything propped up along the old fence to dry.  We would not be so lucky when it came to the pickets...
Stringers drying.

See that webbing?  It's holding up the old fence!

On day 2, we began painting the 350 pickets.  They are 4"x 72" rough surfaced dog ear pickets.  They are a pain to paint, being rough.  It takes a LOT more paint at $29/gal to cover them properly.  But first, while I took Ranger to the vet for a checkup, vaccination, and microchipping, DH and the Monkeys began moving the pickets to the back yard.  That's when they discovered the pickets were a bit wet from all the rain of late.  So they propped up all 350 of them to dry in the breeze.  About an hour after I got home from the vet, we began to paint.

Pickets and more pickets.
Of course nothing could be simple.  DH spotted on radar, a large line of storms to the west.  We had about 70 pickets painted, drying against the fence, when we had to begin to rick it all back up, and tarp it, to keep it dry from the impending storms.

Day three dawned dry, with rain in the forecast, possibly severe in the late afternoon or evening. After evicting the ant farm that moved from the tarp it had been living in, into the pile of unpainted pickets, we were painting madmen all day long!  Our lovely breeze from yesterday had vanished, and it was humid and warm all day.  It seemed like the pile of unpainted pickets never got any smaller, until just as we ran out of paint, we ran out of pickets to paint!

Much as yesterday, radar shows more storms inbound.  So after a quick run to Sonic for something to eat, it was time to stack everything up again, and cover it all with tarps.  That will keep the stuff dry, so the paint will cure better.

A little chainsaw art!
Tomorrow, Friday, is demolition day for the old fence.  We'll sawzall it into pieces, pull the old posts, re-auger the holes, set the new metal posts with 80# bags of Sakcrete, and if it goes quickly, we will get to put the stringers and kickboards up.
The former fence.

Friday, as the pictures above detail, was demolition day for the old fence.  Taking down the old panels was simple.  Digging out the old rotted-off-in-the-ground fence posts was not.  Some of the posts were barely set in any concrete.  Those came out with minimal effort.  There there were those that I suspect were used to hide pieces of Jimmy Hoffa, there must've been 160# of Sakcrete down at least 3ft.  One of those had it's concrete ball wedged under two other concrete masses that had to remain untouched, as they were anchoring two posts that were not being removed.  That was fun...

After that, it was DH and I running the large two-man auger to dig/redig the post holes.  It was both easy and hard at the same time.  Easy because it had so much power to dig through clay and caliche.  Hard in that it was big and heavy, and managed to 'walk' on us for about 3 holes.   That meant we had to 'keyhole' those holes so the new metal posts would be on the right line.  That was all hand-dug, made harder to do after the sharpshooter shovel broke.  We ended up using a small metal detecting shovel, the Raven by Predator Tools, and a Lesche digging trowel.
Setting the first kicker boards.
By Friday afternoon, we were setting the wood on the posts, leaving the hard slope and it's posts for later Saturday.  Everything was going well, and for the most part, our measurements were close enough.  At dusk, we were just plain beat down.  It's a lot more work than you might think, building fence.
Saturday was when we ran across our biggest measurment error.  One post hole had drifted too far east, meaning the 8ft stringers overhung the brackets by about 4 inches.  It also meant the gap to the next post was in excess of 8ft, longer than our stringers.  After several calls to various hardware stores in search of a fence splice, I realized I would have to make what we needed.  Fortunately I had some aluminum bar stock, a hacksaw, and a drill press!
Voila!  Instant fence splice!
Ready for the pickets!
At last it was time for setting the pickets.  DH ran the screw gun all day long.  The Monkeys alternated as "belly gunners" setting the bottom picket screws so DH didn't have to bend over so far.  I ran the string line, and spaced every picket vertically and horizontally.

The first pickets are on!
Monkey2 - hard working belly gunner.

Shiloh playing Straw Boss.
The dogs were hatin' life these last two days.  For with the fence down, they had go go out on a long line, in their Gentle Leaders to do their business.  Ranger did NOT want to do any business while on a line.  Period.  Eventually, he reached critical mass indoors while we were outside.  Poor guy!  He didn't mean to unload everything in the house.
Our neighbor, with whom we share this run of fence, not only split the expenses with us, but brought us some divinely tasty egg rolls and a case of root beer and Shiner too!  Those were some superb egg rolls! There was so much good stuff,  he had to borrow the big Gorilla Cart to wheel it into the yard for us.
OMG!  It looks like a fence!
Our side of the fence.
Finally, around 6:30pm were were done.  All that remains is to cut and cap the posts, and rebuild our gate.  The gate will keep until next weekend.  I'm ready for a day of doing nothingmore strenuous than a 12oz. curl or two!  Sunday, here I come!
It is!  It is!  It is a fence!