Nostalgia, DVDs, old movies, television, OTR, fandom, good news and bad, picks, pans,
cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.
Contact me at yetanotherjournal (at) mindspring (dot) com
. . . . .
. . . . .
» Sunday, July 26, 2015The Black Goop from Below
We counted on a nice quiet day, as we only had milk to pick up. So I walked Tucker and we had breakfast, then, instead of going to Kroger, decided that we would go to Costco instead. Milk is cheaper there, and I was hoping I could pick up Skinny Pop, if they were still carrying it. [They aren't. They still have that loathsome Boom-Chicka-Pop instead.]
The first thing we saw as we got in was Omeprazole on sale. Score! (When omeprazole is only $10, you grab.) We also stopped a few minutes to look at a Surface Pro 3 tablet. It is mighty pretty, and I heard some nice things about it on "The Tech Guy." I hear the pen is excellent. Then we strolled about the store, checked out the books and the DVDs, then made the rounds getting a couple of samples. We bought milk and the Omeprazole, and are trying a new kind of chicken salad which sounds like it's very close to the "gourmet" chicken salad that I used to love at Trader Joe's, but which they quit making.
On the way home we did stop at Kroger, but just for me to run inside to get a newspaper and for James to get gasoline, as we have gas points to use up by Friday.
When we got home we had to deal with a rather grotty problem. I rewashed a load of dishes yesterday because the first run had not gotten them clean. Well, they still weren't clean. I took the dishes out to see what was wrong, and there was a crust of something black on the filter. I have seen this black stuff before and just clean it up when I do. I cleaned it all off, then we consulted the dishwasher manual to see if we were supposed to remove the filter to wash it. Now when we read the manual the first time it said the filter was not removable, and sure enough, we confirmed it: "under normal conditions," states the manual, if you scrape the dishes before washing, the "filter is self-cleaning." Anyway, we ran an empty load, then ran another and put two cups of white vinegar in the rinse. When that was through, it looked clean, although we could still see some black under the filter. So we washed the dishes again, and they came out dirtier! All the black stuff from under the filter was now coming out and depositing itself on the dishes. The filter was curled up at one edge and I put my finger under there and it is completely filled with this black crap! "Self-cleaning" my foot!
So I washed all the dishes by hand. The only thing we can think to do is somehow take that filter off and scoop out all that disgusting goop. I'd rather get rid of the disgusting thing. It's ten years old in a few months and never has washed the dishes properly anyway.
In nicer matters, we had the Butoni chicken-prosciutto ravioli we bought on twofer with vodka sauce for supper. Had enough left over to make a lunch for me and one for James. For the evening we watched Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.
Oh, and I got a call on my cell, which surprised me. The only person who usually calls me is James! It was my team lead. Because of the water main break in DeKalb County, there is still a "boil-water" advistory on. They can supply us with bottled water to drink at work, but if we go to the bathroom we can't wash our hands safely. So we have permission to telework tomorrow. Yay! An extra hour's sleep!
» Saturday, July 25, 2015Empty Ports and Empty Shelves
I was really ready for this weekend, because the week ended on such a sour note.
On the way home Wednesday, I was within four miles of the house when the car began to overheat. I did as my dad always told me to do if that happened, turn the heater on full blast. I opened all the windows, but driving home when it's nearly 90 with the heat blasting on you is not a trip I'd recommend. At least it was only four miles. I found I could turn the heat off so long as I did not turn the A/C back on.
So on Thursday I had to take the car in to get it checked out, but I had to wait for the lawn to be cut before I could leave so I could open the gate. This didn't happen until almost noon, so I went the long way round by Sprouts to get dinner for Friday night (Italian wedding soup, of course) and supper for that night, since Thursday is potlucks night (chicken noodle). Then I dropped the car off and got a ride home.
So the car wasn't ready by the end of the day because it turned out a switch burned out, which caused the fan to the A/C to burn out as well. They had to go to Chrysler to get the part. I got work done, which pleased me no end (all I'd seemed to have done all week was e-mail, printouts, and telephone calls), but had no car on Friday. Teleworking again was nice, and I got several orders done before the end of the day, when the car was ready.
Meanwhile, we were having a bit of trouble with the television. On Thursday I couldn't get a signal when I turned the DVD recorder on. I thought it might be the cable, but if I plugged it into a different HDMI port, it worked. On Friday the HDMI port that the Dish DVR was plugged into died. I tried to plug it into another port, but that one was dead as well. So we ended up watching television later that night through the DVD recorder.
In the meantime we had the wedding soup for supper, then went to Publix to pick up a plethora of two-for-the-price-of-one items. Sadly, the milk wasn't on sale this week.
This morning we decided to go out to Trader Joe's, and, because we hadn't been there in a very long time, first out to Fry's. This meant using the power chair, and soon we were tooling to Roswell and then north to Alpharetta via Roswell Road. There are several antique stores up in Roswell Square that I keep saying that I'm going to visit when the weather is better, but when fall and winter come I always have something else to do. Whatever. Maybe this year?
Fry's is looking sadder and sadder. I remember the first time we came here, and it was packed with every sort of electronics, electronics accessory, computer, computer accessory, DVD, CD, computer books, boxes of software, television, camera, etc. They still have a lot, but there aren't as many DVDs, accessories, and almost no software and the books are all gone. The store is dotted with "As Seen on TV" stuff, and junk like perfume. Plus the cafe is pathetic; they didn't have half the items on the menu, including tuna salad. I had to have grilled cheese. Still, I bought a new surge suppressor for the television, etc., as I was advised that might be the cause of the HDMI problems, and also got a cheap new telephone for the library (the phone down there now hisses and you can't hear anything else when you pick it up). Cast a covetous eye on the Channel Master 75-mile fringe antenna as well. That I would have professionally installed.
We came home by Trader Joe's to get some lunchmeat, crackers, sausage, etc. and then brought that food home to drop off so we could go out and eat. We were quite stuffed by the time we got out of Tin Drum—their rice bowls are quite filling—and then we spent a nice half hour or so across the street at Barnes & Noble. James got a couple of magazines, and then we came home so I could take Tucker for a walk.
When we got in after supper, the television was completely off, saying no signal again. I'd left Snowy watching PBS through the DVD recorder, but we'd had a power failure. I couldn't get the DVD recorder to come back up, so took some advice from a friend on Facebook. I unplugged all the HDMI ports, then unplugged the television. It was off for a good twenty minutes while I changed clothes, made the bed, took my pills, and walked the dog. Once I did that, HDMI 1, 2, and 3 worked. 4 is still dead. The DVD recorder was working again, too, so for the rest of the night we watched Dave Allen at Large.
» Sunday, July 19, 2015Keeping the Fitbit Busy 3
This morning we slept in until ten, and that was totally delicious, and I still was reluctant to get up. Only thinking about poor Tucker crossing his legs made me flee my nice foam mattress and soft sheets. Did the usual Sunday chores besides dog-walking: sorting my meds for the week, getting my clothes out, tossing the week's towels and clothes into the hamper. Then it was another snatched breakfast so we could go to Kroger for the rest of the essentials: sandwich buns for me, burritos for James' breakfast, sugar-free pudding for his lunch, Pepto Bismol, small Vidalia onions, and other odds and ends.
We brought the stuff home and then decided to go to Ikea. Don't have money saved up for bookcases now, but we hadn't been in a while and I was hoping to get another of their dollar alarm clocks for the kitchen, as the little clock in there has died. (The clock on the stove died several years ago.) Of course school starts in two weeks here, so there were tons of families in the store, and the restaurant was packed. I tried to be good and had the salmon with potato/spinach cakes. The salmon came up on me all afternoon, and the "spinach" cakes had broccoli in them. Spinach I could have tolerated, but broccoli...ugh. It didn't help that it was sour!
We picked up a bunch of little things: drawer dividers, soft containers for organization, a strainer dipper, a steamer basket, plus what is supposed to be a laptop case that James is going to use as a carrier pouch on the back of the power chair. It's very heavy and sturdy, and even expands via a zipper.
That was the good part, but the crowd, the heat, and the terrible noise was exhausting. I felt like we were hemmed in on all sides and the place was very warm with all those people there. After walking through the first floor had to go to the bathroom and throw cold water on my face and arms, and by the time we got done my back was screaming in protest.
And you know what? I never did find the clock!
So we came home and James and I changed the filters in the air conditioner, and by then it was nearly supper time. We had another Asian chicken salad, except we were out of almonds, so had pecans with it instead.
Just finish up one shopping trip just to start another shopping list.
Been watching North Woods Law all evening. How nice the snow looks!
» Saturday, July 18, 2015Keeping the Fitbit Busy 2
Accordingly, we were up at eight to get dressed, grab a nosh (James had a burrito while I walked Tucker, I had a Belvita bar), and then load the power chair to go to the market. We wanted to get there early before it got hot, but we arrived a little after nine and it was already blazing. My skin hurt from the sun.
We had Tucker with us, and he had a great time touching noses with every dog he could get to, including two American bulldog puppies that were seventeen weeks old and bigger than he was, a couple of greyhounds, a very chubby corgi, and several mixed breeds. The only dog he couldn't get to give him the time of day was an apricot miniature poodle, who did not want him near. We had a nice time talking to his owners, though.
We never found any small Vidalia onions, but we bought a pot pie, scones, some boiled peanuts for James, some chocolate chip cookies for a dessert, and a bag of "Big Daddy" homemade dog biscuits. We weren't halfway through the booths before I had sweat running in a steady stream down my back. It was 87°F out, but with the heat index it was 108. Urgh.
We brought the things home and left an exhausted and happy Tucker back in his crate and went out to brunch at the IHOP. Took us a while to get a seat, and then we relaxed eating a steak sandwich (me) and a turkey dinner (James). By the time we left the IHOP, we were both already drained by our hour in the sun at the Farmer's Market. We had talked about going to Hobby Lobby but I couldn't face one more minute of the sun (or rather raising and lowering the power chair in the sun).
James was actually sick for the rest of the afternoon, very woozy and with a headache that wouldn't quit. I wanted a nap desperately, but instead spent the better part of late afternoon, off and on, dubbing off the three Doctor Simon Locke episodes I missed last time. I'd recorded it on videotape in the spare room and on DVD-RAM in the living room, then transferred to videotape, and basically had to keep swapping tapes because each of the stories had drop outs, but in different places. I had a DVD-R disk die after fifteen minutes (at least it didn't wait until the third episode!) and other wonderful delays. I also did things in between recording. The sound levels were different on the two recordings, so the cobbled-together episodes sound odd, but, there they are. Now I need to get the other two I missed and the one that came in badly. (And RetroTV needs to find the three missing episodes, too. :-) )
Lunch was so big I just had cereal for supper.
» Friday, July 17, 2015Keeping the Fitbit Busy 1
As we get deeper into fourth quarter spending, the more I need a compressed Friday, and boy, was I looking forward to this one! Slept in until 9:30, then walked Tucker and had breakfast. Finished up the morning by doing some corrections on my Doctor Simon Locke web page, then tackled an ongoing problem.
When we bought the "pickled" finish cabinet a few years back at the Georgia Apple Festival, we used it to replace a microwave cart, which became a television stand in the spare bedroom. The microwave cart that was currently doing duty in that space went downstairs for James to reuse it in his "man cave." But he really hasn't any room for it, so it got pushed back between the bay of his books in the library. He was looking for something down there before Timegate and pushed the cart out of his way. It's been taking up room in the middle of the floor for months.
I don't really want to just toss it out, but it's a bit battered to be donating. For now I have put it into the hallway, but it's too bulky for there, too. It's going to have to go somewhere sometime.
Anyway, there were a good three months' of already read books piled up down there, ready for shelving. So that's what I did, shelved books for over an hour, acutely aware that the history books are running over. Need more Billy bookcases. I put at least a half dozen in the box for McKay's, and tossed out all the Amazon Vine ARCs that I'm not permitted to donate. And finally I vacuumed down there. There were still bits of Christmas detritus in the rug: tinsel, "pine needles," artificial snow, glitter. I didn't shelve the Christmas books, but they have to be added to the Christmas book list when i do that.
Also cleaned out the hall bath and tidied up,
We ate in tonight because I was recording a Doctor Simon Locke I missed on the last go-around, but once that was over, we went to Publix to take advantage of the twofers and other sale items, then hit Sprouts for fresh produce and meat and bulk nuts.
Finally it was early to bed because we were off to the Farmer's Market tomorrow. We haven't been in weeks!
» Sunday, July 12, 2015Time for Fun and Fur
Sigh. Bulletin: It would be easier to sleep late if my knee would quit hurting. We were in bed until ten, but I wasn't asleep most of the time.
Breakfast, and then it was time for a little fun: we had Barnes & Noble coupons and decided to go into Buckhead to use them. This meant a nice drive down West Paces Ferry Road, which is where the Governor's Mansion is and which is lined with old homes and new McMansions. You have what was an expensive ranch- or colonial-style home in the past cheek-by-jowl with new homes with multi stories, porte cocheres, and one home that looks like an Italianate palace. Then you go between the golf club and the Atlanta History Center, which is preparing to receive the Cyclorama, a diorama of the Battle of Atlanta, which has been located in Grant Park for years, but has just closed to be moved to the History Center.
The good thing about the Buckhead Barnes & Noble is that it has lots of things the other B&Ns don't have, like certain magazines and additional books. It has more books, I think, than the two story-store on Akers Mill. Of course the bad thing about the Buckhead Barnes & Noble is that it has lots of things the other B&Ns don't have. LOL. I found what I was looking for, the "Life" magazine special on To Kill a Mockingbird, and I also got the new "Remind" and another magazine, "American Spirit," which is published by the DAR (it had an article about Samuel Slater), plus "All About History," which had articles about Victorian crime and good ol' "John Lackland" (King John) of England. Most of the books I wanted were hardback, then I saw Providence Noir in the mystery section. I don't like noir, but I had to. I mean, there's even a story called "Meet Me at the Shepard's Clock," plus a story set at a Waterfire, so, both old and new.
That reminds me that I have never bought and/or read the book about Roger Williams that was published recently...
Then we came home, picked up Tucker, and took him to Unleashed. He hasn't had a bath since Mother's Day and has begun to pick up what I can only describe as a "locker room odor." Well, he's nearly two, so he is an adolescent dog; can't be much different from an adolescent boy. :-) He was really happy about the trip until (1) I made him behave and sit down and (2) he realized where we were the minute we got there.
Back at the tubs, there was a huge Newfoundland dog already being bathed. Not only a Newfie, but a Landseer type (black and white). He was a beauty, especially after his bath, and his name was Peyton. I should have whipped my phone out to take a pic of him lowering his big, bearlike head down to sniff the nose of 10-pound Tucker (Peyton was 140 pounds, and he's only a year old and still technically a puppy). As always, Tucker sat there in abject misery while I washed him. Peyton, on the other hand, didn't want to leave—that's a water dog for you! There was also a boxer there.
I curried Tucker off after I soaped and rinsed him, and got more than a big handful of hair. I would think he's lighter tonight.
Picked up gas and a sandwich at the Race Trac, then came home to cool off under the fans. Spent the afternoon reading The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate and also washed out the dog's bedding. We had Oriental chicken salad for supper and watched Fat Guys in the Woods. I wouldn't want to be out there camping, but frankly that 36 degrees in Michigan sounds really good now, since it's going to be 92 tomorrow.
How many days until fall again?
» Saturday, July 11, 2015Beat the Clock Saturday
The weekend didn't have an auspicious beginning, as James ended up working two and a half hours overtime due to a long call. So we didn't eat until nearly eight (Hibachi Grill, because by then we were both starved and the buffet was just easier), and then had to stop by a grocery store to get the ingredients for succotash to take to Hair Day. James cooked it up when we got home, so it was ready for this morning.
Unfortunately I was an English major, not a math major and can't count. :-) This explains why, to get to a store that opens at eight o'clock, I set the alarm for 7:45 instead of 6:45. At least I got almost eight hours sleep, which I needed, because we ended up at pretty much a dead run for the rest of the day (well, except...). I walked Tucker and then we were off to Betsy's Hallmark because—how fast the Earth spins!—it's already Ornament Premiere weekend. The crowds had apparently thinned, because there were only two young women and another woman in the store when we arrived (you should have seen the huge pile of ornaments the two women had). James bought the Enterprise C, the Waco airplane, Snoopy in his Sopwith Camel, and the Y-wing fighter. (The P-38 Lightning isn't out until October.) I bought two mini-ornaments, the Blue Bunting (cloissione) and the "world within" ornament with a scene inside, "A Home for Wren" (new Marjolein Bastin) bird ornament, and the fifth "Twelve Days of Christmas" ornament, which is a ring-necked pheasant (they have figured that the "five golden rings" in the song refer to pheasants). Also a [mumble] for [mumble] (can't tell; it needs to go into a package to be mailed), plus the ornament I was waiting for, the anniversary ornament. The "Our first Christmas together" ornament that we have is a pair of doves, and this ornament is a pair of doves as well, white etched in silver highlights, and I wanted it because this year will be our silver anniversary.
We didn't get to Hair Day all that late, and ended up doing some historical research between chatting; Oreta is looking for stories for her schoolchildren (she's a librarian) about successful or heroic African-Americans who aren't escaped slaves or Civil Rights figures. She had found a photo online of a prohibition officer in 1926 who was black. So I went searching on my tablet and we discovered Samuel J. Battle, the first African-American police sergeant, and Annie Malone, who was the first black "millionairess" (before Madame Walker), and James brought up Jesse L. Brown, the first African-American Naval aviator. According to searches, there were Federal agents of color during Prohibition. The book about Battle looked pretty interesting.
Unfortunately, we had to leave before lunch was served because James wanted to get to his club meeting, but Ron gave us a container so we could take a portion home. This was great because Terica makes super chicken and dumplings.
So James dropped me off, picked up the power chair, and was off. I was upstairs, debating on whether to eat something or go to Publix to see if they had chicken and wild rice soup, when I noticed I didn't have my cell phone. I called James from the house phone and yes, it was in the truck, and he was already at Wendy's picking up a burger to replace his lost lunch. Okay, I guess I was going to Publix, so I did, rescuing my phone on the way.
No chicken and wild rice soup, but they did have pork loin chops on twofer, so I got those, and some bagged salad so we can eat Oriental chicken salad tomorrow night. Luckily they also had Smart Balance on BOGO as we are completely out. Then I went across the street to Sprouts and got some of their wonderful beef stew meat (very flavorful) and big drumsticks (I think I'll make chicken cacciatore this time) and some potato soup for lunch. With about a teaspoon of bacon bits in it, and with a side of bread and butter, this made a nice lunch.
My eyelids finally grew heavy about four o'clock, with the nice somnolent dimness in the spare room calling me like a siren. I napped until James got home, and then we had the luscious chicken and dumplings after I took Tucker outside. The folks down the street are having another party! Tucker was overjoyed, however, at the opportunity to chase both a cat and a rabbit.
We did a few errands after supper. We had a 30 percent off CVS coupon, so bought some more Breathe-Rights. At Bed, Bath & Beyond we used an expiring coupon to get James a new carbinator for his Soda Stream, but we had to order the "Cola Free" syrup because they didn't have any (again). I also bought more Plinks for the garbage disposal with another coupon. Finally we went to Kroger to get milk and some vegetables. I found a new "Just Cross-Stitch" on the magazine rack. I keep reminding myself that it's almost August and the first fall magazines should be out soon.
Today has been a lot of great exercise, but damn, I'm tired. Watching game shows on Buzzr is a nice way to wind down. Tucker wouldn't let me take him out; James had to do it! I think he figured James was better protection if the neighbors started "shooting" at him again.
» Sunday, July 05, 2015Pop! Goes the Weekend; Freak! Goes the Dog
It was a good thing that what happened on Monday happened this week, but all my plans for this weekend also flew out the window. You see, because Independence Day is a Federal holiday and falls on a Saturday, I had Friday as a holiday. But Friday was my compressed day off. Ergo, I got Thursday off, too. I had pie-in-the-sky plans: changing the bed, maybe driving into Buckhead on Friday to go to their Barnes & Noble. Something different. Thankfully, I had two days to decompress.
Since I couldn't do laundry on the usual day (Tuesday), I had to do it all on Thursday. It ended up being five loads. Urgh. When I got up the internet was down, so I spent two hours just figuring out what was wrong. I called up Earthlink tech support, which is always a bad idea, and had already done everything tier 1 support suggested I do: (1) turn modem off and on, and (2) unplug modem. Neither had worked, so they turned me over to tier 2, who had me reset it. That didn't work, either; finally he asked if I could plug the phone line (we have DSL) into a different jack. I did, it worked, and he told me to keep it like that for a day. Oh, sure, leave a phone cord stretched across the highest traffic path in the house. I changed it back ten minutes later and the DSL was again working on the proper phone jack. They refuse sometimes to believe it's their problem.
I did get to work on one of my web pages (so long, in fact, that I forgot to start dinner until twenty minutes before James got home) and my story, so, minor yay. Plus this Thursday night Turner Classic Movies was running "Treasures from the Disney Vault," so we watched Johnny Tremain (nice shorthand version of the book, but the book is oh-so-much-better). I recorded "The Liberty Story" for later so we could watch Doctor Who, skipped Living Desert since I have all the True-Life Adventures on the DVD sets, and recorded Treasure of Matecumbe and Rascal to watch later.
Friday it was dark and gloomy, and I got a few things done, but not enough to satisfy me. During lunchtime I watched Rascal (another movie that is not so good as the book, but which is good-natured and suitably nostalgic). James got home early, so we used the opportunity to go out early as well and have supper at the West Cobb Diner. Took half my dinner home, as did James. We also went up to Barnes & Noble at West Cobb, where I picked up Laurien Berenson's newest mystery (in paperback). James had coupons and was going to pick up the new "1632" book as well as an S.M. Sterling anthology, but he decided to put it off until tomorrow when he could use his Barnes & Noble credit card and get five percent back. They were having Doctor Who trivia, but James was so tired we didn't stay. Later on we watched "The Liberty Story," the Disneyland episode that was a promo for Johnny Tremain, and included the cartoon "Ben and Me." The "Ben and Me" story was different at the beginning from the cartoon that was released to the public as a short; instead of the "tourguide" sequence the short begins with, there is a longer narrative where Amos Mouse talks about his ancestors and the great things they did.
In any case, Tucker needed us. Around us fireworks have been popping all day, and Tucker has been completely upset. He went out that afternoon with his tail down and looking woebegone; by the time I took him out at nine o'clock I practically had to carry him down the stairs. The "pops!" were in the distance, but it made no difference to him.
Saturday morning was even worse. Usually we open the gate at the top of the stairs and he bounds down four steps at the time. Independence Day morning he had to be coaxed down the stairs, and I barely got him to do his business. He was all alert for firecrackers and didn't even care to sniff one of the electrical connector boxes on the street that is a magnet for all the dogs in the neighborhood. Later when I took him out he was so nervous that he completely missed the rabbit sitting in the middle of the next-door neighbor's lawn.
Just to get out and get some moving around, we went back to Barnes & Noble after breakfast; I had another coupon and got the newest Manor House mystery, and James picked up the two books he left behind last night. I also found a cool-looking book called Oregon Trail, which I ended up ordering with a digital-only coupon I had. Since we were across the street from the West Cobb Kroger, we just went in and finished the shopping. At last, a store which does not over-bake its sandwich buns!
After we got home, we put the new Blu-Ray copy of 1776 on. It really does look as if you are sitting in the theatre, watching it on stage, the picture is so vivid. We watched the extended version, with the longer versions of "Piddle-Twiddle" and "Lees of Old Virginia" (and a few lines that I don't even remember). If we want to watch the new commentary, however, we have to watch the director's cut. We got the receiver to work, finally, so the music sounded great.
For supper James grilled the ribs we bought at Publix on Friday; they were buy one, get one free. I rubbed them with salt, granulated garlic and onion, and ginger, and he basted them with a mixture of "Smack Yo Mama" barbecue sauce, mostly Big Kahuna (sweet) with a bit of Georgia Gold and the other molasses-based type. We had them with a cucumber and tomato salad, watching the rest of 1776, the news, and finally the Boston Pops streaming online. The latter was a little rough at first, partially, I think, because they were piggybacking a Twitter feed on the live stream. I finally quit using my browser, but even that didn't help; when I finally turned the wireless off on the laptop it finally settled down. Great concert, and good fireworks, except they were lost a bit in all the smoke! They ended up looking like a Monet painting.
Following the Pops I put on A Capitol Fourth and we watched that until bedtime.
Pretty much the entire evening one of us was holding Tucker in our lap. He stayed with me for a while, trembling, then wandered around, then slept on James' leg for over an hour. I can't say I blame him: they passed a law that you could have fireworks in Georgia (folks have been buying them illegally from surrounding states for years) and our neighbors down in the cul-de-sac apparently bought out an entire store. It was like a freakin' Civil War skirmish out there.
Today was quiet. Tucker just stepped outside like nothing had happened, but he had to catch up on a bunch of his pee mail. We had breakfast at IHOP off the senior menu, then went to BJ's for mushrooms. Well, initially for mushrooms, anyway. LOL. Bought more omeprazole and various other things, and James gassed up the truck, then we dropped the things off at home and got gasoline for my car. James took a nap when we got home, I sat blogging while listening to Christmas music, and we had our leftovers for dinner while watching PBS.
And now some numbskull is shooting off firecrackers again. I haven't been able to get the dog to go out since five o'clock. ::growl::
» Wednesday, July 01, 2015Time After Time After Time After Time...
Monday was a usual workday that ended annoyingly: there was an accident on the ramp I use to get on the freeway. It was twenty minutes of five before I even got on I-85 north to get on I-285 westbound. It took me 70 minutes to get home. James had gotten in late and was looking weary. Good thing dinner was simple: chicken and dumplings from Sprouts, plus a cucumber and tomato salad. Watched Police Surgeon at its new time, and the usual Monday stuff.
At bedtime I put Snowy in the bedroom and covered him up, and Tucker had been put into his crate. When I came out of the spare room James was sitting on his computer chair with a peculiar look on his face. He had told me before that, since he began having the lung problems, he sometimes gets a tightness across his chest. He usually takes some Naproxen and it goes away. But tonight he had the pain, plus a radiating pain in his jaw, and heartburn, and the Naproxen hadn't worked.
Well, we had to go. At 11:30 a.m. we found ourselves in the Wellstar emergency room. When they found out he had chest pain, they immediately took an EKG. The last time this had happened, they had us in the back with James all hooked up to monitors; I don't know what the EKG showed, but this time we were just stuck out there in the waiting room. Waiting. And waiting. About 3 a.m. we were starving, and shared a bag of Doritos. (Why are there no healthy snacks in hospital waiting rooms? No juice, just soda, and a snack machine full of chips and cookies.)
Since we were just sitting there, I did ask if they had found something or not. I mean, if he was having a heart attack, wouldn't he be in the back room all wired up? Anyway, finally they called us back after three a.m. (yes, we're into Tuesday morning now) for the blood test. Then we went back to the waiting room. The emergency folks didn't seem to be all that concerned!
At 4:30, they finally brought him into the back. They said his tests looked normal, but there was something the attending was not sure of and they wanted to admit him. It took them another 90 minutes to reach Kaiser, who of course said they couldn't admit him at Wellstar because it's not their hospital; they would have an ambulance take us to Northside Hospital. At this point we had both been up for 24 hours straight and were exhausted, and tired of repeating the story about the hypersensitivity pneumonitis and the pains to everyone who wandered in. The registered nurse who was taking care of James, Ben, offered me a sandwich because we were both hungry, but James couldn't have anything, not even a juice, in case they had to give him a test. I ate it but was so upset by that time I almost threw it back up. Plus I was having my usual "I'm-in-a-stressful-situation" problem: multiple trips to the bathroom.
At 7 a.m. the ambulance finally showed up. Ben waited to go off shift until we left, which was nice, and the two ambulance people were funny. I took everything we'd brought with us, and went home to wake up Snowy and put the television on for him, then take Tucker for a walk. I had some oatmeal, yogurt, and milk. By that time it was rush hour and I don't do I-285 until after nine o'clock. I put Tucker out on the deck and sacked out next to Snowy for an hour; then let Tucker back in because the sun was getting strong on the deck and slept another half hour. Then I got up, got James a change of clothes, the charger for his phone and his tablet, and a few other things, and I also packed up my laptop in case he was going to have to stay overnight. I could work on my story or we could watch a movie on Netflix. Once Tucker was back in his crate, I was off.
Parked in the garage at Northside, then had to find James. I followed the directions on the garage elevator and went to the eighth floor visitor center, then somehow started talking to a very nice Indian lady whose name I have now forgotten. She led me through a long walk at the side of the hospital, into a hallway, and then got me to the fourth floor elevators, but when I told someone on the fourth floor I was looking for the cardiac recovery unit, they sent me down to the first floor (I'm so glad I used the luggage carrier for the bag of James' things and the laptop). There in the cardiac center, Sandy the receptionist made a few phone calls and found James—back on the fourth floor. All I had to do when I was up on four was to turn left; what a rabbit warren that place is. I figured I'd have to use a sherpa guide, a GPS, and a seeing eye dog to get back to the garage.
James was in one of those little cubbies they give to you when you actually don't have a room yet but they are testing you, with a bed, a chair, and a television. He had already had a CT scan with dye and they took some more blood. He hadn't had a meal, but his nurse, Holly, who was an absolute doll, had let him have some graham crackers and some juice. I had a peanut butter-and-honey sandwich and a plum with me which I ate over the course of the afternoon.
In the afternoon, he had an interesting test. First they made him swallow a very low-level radioactive isotope and drink water to get it through his system. They then took a CT scan of his heart with the radioactive isotope running through it as a resting phase. Then he had to wait a bit, and they gave him a stress test. Because he can't walk well enough to do the treadmill test, they used a drug to artificially stress his heart. They warned him that he might feel all sorts of things, like a bad hot flash, or other symptoms of a racing heart, but he said all he did was "feel odd," like he knew his heart was being stressed. This was the only part of the test I didn't see; I even got to sit there for the first CT scan. After the stress test was over, they finally gave him some food: three small meatballs in chicken broth, and a bag of chips and some soda.
Then we had to wait to take one last scan, and they did it about three times because the picture wasn't coming out the way they needed it. Finally we went back to Holly and the little room and sat and waited. She had ordered supper for him, and he shared with me; some roast beef and rice pilaf and a bowl of peaches and tiny little containers of juice.
About four thirty, the doctor came in and said they could find nothing at all wrong with his heart. No signs of a heart attack, or an obstruction, or anything. The doctor said the pain was probably from the lung problem. She told him to take Tylenol instead of Naproxen if it hurt again. We were free! And finally, too, because we'd both been without sleep for 35 hours (except for the short respite I had in the morning and the nap he took before bedtime on Monday night). He got his release papers, and when I told Holly where I was parked, she knew a way to get us to the door closest to the garage exit. We were looking forward to getting home, having a small meal, and getting some sleep.
Holly stayed with James while I headed off to get the car. As I was walking across the little round area between the garage and the buildings, my heart gave a little jump. This happens sometimes when I get very hungry.
Except it kept jumping. I could feel it start to race and was appalled. I've been exercising more lately—I'm doing a mile just walking the dog; that doesn't count the other walking I do—and I haven't had heart palpitations since 2009! All I could think of was get to the car and take my pill, which is what the doctor told me to do if it happened, and what has always worked. I went up in the elevator, found the car, took the pill and sat there for a few minutes feeling my heart dance around in my chest. It takes a while for the pill to kick in.
But I knew what I had to do. I drove the car down to where James and Holly were waiting, and asked her if she could take my pulse. She did and agreed with me that it was racing. I sat down on the bench while she went inside and called someone; a couple of nurses came running out and circled me, asking all sorts of questions. I explained this had happened before and I had medication I took for it, and I'd taken that. Someone showed up with one of the heart/pulse monitor machines and my heart rate was bouncing back from 178 to 87 to 158 and then settled out at 185. All I could do was groan. Why now? It was five p.m. and we had almost made it home.
So one nurse wheeled James, and one wheeled me, and back we went to the emergency room. Now I was the one with the monitor, and the IV, and getting my blood taken. Of course, by the time we got there, the pill had done its job and kicked in. My pulse went to 85 for a while, and then went back down to 75-77 as we sat there and got hungrier and hungrier and more and more tired. A doctor came in after about an hour, and I explained for about the third time about the first time it had happened in 2002 and then again one other time, and then in 2009 and it hadn't happened since then. I was pretty sure it was a combination of stress and hunger and sheer tiredness. The room they put us in was like an oven, and I had to sit there on the gurney and watch poor James try to not collapse under the weight of his slowly drooping eyelids.
Finally we got sprung around nine o'clock. I guess they didn't find anything wrong in the blood test, but I have no idea because I know I signed the release papers and when we left the room I was assigned to I didn't see anything left behind, but the papers never left with us.
We had one last minor bobble. Holly called someone to make sure my car didn't get towed, but the nurses in the emergency room were only allowed to wheelchair both of us to the doors of the emergency room, and that wasn't where we were parked. Someone called security and they took us to the car.
James actually drove the car but we were both on the lookout on the way home because we were so tired. We stopped at Wendy's to get small hamburgers each (I would have preferred soup, but Wendy's was the closest place to home), and, despite wanting to go to bed, sat up watching Doctor Who so we could at least digest our food a little before sleep. At least that was the plan. After "Happiness Patrol" ended, James disappeared. I had put Tucker in his crate while watching the first part of "Silver Nemesis," and then went to check on him. I figured he was taking a shower. No, he had stretched out on the comforter and was already asleep. When I poked him and asked, "Don't you want to take a shower?" he murmured. "No! I'm asleep!" and that was that.
Oh, well. What the hell. I can wash the bedclothes all out on Thursday, since I'm off work. I crawled on top of the bedclothes with one of the fleece blankets from the spare room and was out like a light.
So today we slept until 10:30 (11 1/2 hours), then got dressed and went to Panera for lunch (chicken soup and a grilled cheese sandwich; mmmmnnnn), picked up the medicine for James' lungs, then came home, took showers, and went back to bed until about five. Sat outside in a rainstorm breathing the nice cool air. Watched Police Surgeon and the game shows, and then Planes: Fire and Rescue, which was just what we needed. The short which comes with it is hilarious!
And oh, yay, it's bedtime again. I love that word. A superb word.
Oh, James' results came back from the blood test they took to see what caused the hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Everything was negative including the bird test.
» Sunday, June 28, 2015The Calm Before the Storm
It was a quiet day. We slept in and had a quick breakfast, because some things had been forgotten at Kroger (wish I hadn't gotten the milk at Publix now) and of course a paper. I went in on my own. Brought them home and I put the perishables up while James stayed in the truck, and then we went to Microcenter. Just because. To do something different. We met Jerry Lawson in the store and chatted for a while, then strolled around. Found a new belt case for James' phone (his is getting raggy) and he bought a gadget that might help the next time he has to work at home; I bought a spare "red dot" for Tucker (you might as well buy another laser pointer; it will cost you that much to replace the batteries in it). Then we came home, since between the ride and talking to Jerry James was already exhausted.
James talked me through cooking some thick pork chops I had found; seared them first, then braised them in apple juice and plum slices, with some black cherry balsamic vinegar on it. Didn't taste particularly of plum or cherry, but it was good.
» Saturday, June 27, 2015Fuss and Feathers
Another work day for James; at least he could sleep in until eight. Being supplied with halfway pleasant dreams—one of them with Sam Groom—I slept until ten, only to discover that Northwest had shown up and didn't ring the doorbell. And of course they didn't get into the back yard, which is the essential part, as we don't want ants in the kitchen. Gah.
I took Tucker for a walk and ate breakfast, then started cleaning out the area around the bird cage. I'd cleaned this out after Schuyler died, but it was still pretty clotted with feathers and seed shucks. I tossed out some things, like those awful plastic millet clips, and when all the dust was gone, polished the area down with Pledge and also cleaned off the secretary. Everything was thoroughly vacuumed in front and behind and on top, and I put things in gallon bags, like the cuttlebone and the perches.
Once that was all clean I vacuumed the dining and living rooms, occasionally stopping to talk to Snowy.
I had a coupon for 20 percent off Petco, so I called up Unleashed, the nearest Petco outlet, to see if they had the Purina Pro Plan shredded Tucker likes. They told me they had two flavors, chicken and lamb, so I decided to go there instead of trucking all the way out to Akers Mill. When I got to the shopping center, first I visited the ATM at my bank, then went into Publix for twofers. When I went past the yogurt, it was such a good price I got a bunch, and then figured, okay, I'll get milk, even though Publix's prices on milk are highway robbery. It's worth anything to stay out of Kroger. Also got some ice creams for dessert. I put these and the milk into the insulated bag and sprinted across the parking lot to Unleashed, only to find they only had chicken flavor, and none of the little "sauces" I put on Tucker's food at night. I walked out in disgust and brought the groceries home.
It was four by then, but I didn't feel like eating the lunches I brought home from Publix—they finally had chicken and wild rice; I've been looking for it for weeks—so I cut a slice of the bread I bought at Sprouts and spooned a little of the soup (it's really thick) on top of a split slice. With a chaser of cherries and a glass of milk I made a nice lunch of that, and then settled down to watch Island of the Lost.
Does anyone remember Off to See the Wizard? It was an anthology series that aired in 1967-1968, with cartoon versions of Dorothy, Toto, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion and the Wizard introducing family films from the MGM library. They showed Zebra in the Kitchen with Jay North and, one I loved, Captain Sindbad with Guy Williams. The movie made especially for Off to See the Wizard was Island of the Lost, a pretty standard family film for the time. Richard Greene (Robin Hood!) plays Josh McRae, an anthropologist with a theory about lost islands in the South Pacific. He puts up all his money and sets sail in a schooner called The Quest with his two daughters, college-age Sharon and pre-teen Liz, teenage son Stu (played by Luke Halpin of Flipper), and two graduate students, Gabe Larsen and Judy Hawllani (plus a pet sea lion); ends up on the island with a young native boy named Tupuna undergoing a maturity ritual. On the island: "wolves" (German Shepherds) with fangs, ostriches with horns, ruffed crocodiles, volcanic action, and headhunters! And instead of Flipper rescuing them at one point, Dip the sea lion does. It's really weird because George Bruns did the music for this, so it's an Ivan Tors film with Disney music. Harmless, but I liked it more when I was twelve. :-) If you're interested in seeing it, it's on Amazon Prime.
Incidentally, I didn't realize that it was for a documentary for Off to See the Wizard that Eric Fleming from Rawhide died.
Anyway, six o'clock rolled around, I walked Tucker, and then James arrived home. I still had those Petco coupons, so we went to Tin Drum for dinner and then I picked up dog food, puree, and millet at Petco before we came home, where I finished Island of the Lost and am now watching Corwin.
» Friday, June 26, 2015Time Travel Trips
I've been toying upon this idea since the new year, but have wanted to get all the background info set up before I went live with it. I still wish I'd started it in January, because this isn't how I wanted to present it, but if you care to read as I intended, you might want to begin with the January posts and work forward in the year. I'm hoping to include some of Mom's stories in here, and a few of Dad's, a budgie story or two, family memories, things like that, to go along with the old photos I've been posting on Facebook.
Mementos from the Attic
» Sunday, June 21, 2015Weekend
Well, it's been a very blah weekend for both of us, but especially for James who coughs every time he takes a deep breath. He wanted to go to his club meeting on Saturday, but he couldn't even make it down the stairs Friday without losing his breath. So we slept in Saturday morning and I walked Tucker, and then about noon we left in time so that we could have a quick lunch at Panera. Wow, the Chipotle next door is always crowded, with a line nearly out the door.
Then I dropped him off at Hobbytown and went to Hobby Lobby. My wrists are starting to ache again from all the typing at work, and I can't find either of my support gloves. I was rooting around for the one at work on Wednesday, and it wasn't there. I couldn't find the one at home, either. So I used this week's coupon to get myself a new set. They have several aisles of fall out already and I barely restrained myself from hugging the garlands. In the back they are starting to stock the papercrafting items for Christmas; some of it is so beautiful I want to buy it, but what will I do with it? There are vintage looking tags, and beautiful old-fashioned scrapbook papers. So lovely!
I was able to pick up something on clearance to use as a gift, too; that was a plus.
The rest of the time he was at the meeting I was at Barnes & Noble. I had another coupon and got lucky; they had put Grapes of Math out early (it's not due out until Tuesday). Wandered around the store and noticed they have greatly cut down on their mystery books; took out at least two, maybe three sets of shelves. Bothersome. This must be why they don't have the next Henry Thoreau murder mystery out; no room!
I got a severe thunderstorm alert on my phone, and it thundered while I was in the bookstore, but it never did rain, but at least brought up the clouds to get rid of that annoying sun and make a breeze.
I had set out back to Hobbytown just as James called to come pick him up. He emerged feeling bad and exhausted. I still had soup left from Sprouts, but he stopped at Wendy's to get a plain cheeseburger and a Frosty, and could not finish the former. Then he went to lay down for a while, but he couldn't sleep. We basically sat and watched Doctor Simon Locke all night.
Got up this morning intending to run to Kroger and then walk Tucker, but...no, it would be too hot when I got back. So I chivvied the poor dog through his walk so I could beat the Baptists to the grocery store. Bought gasoline, got the necessities of life (milk, yogurt, bread for sandwiches, Those Damn Bananas, etc.), and came home, broiling hot just from walking into the store and back to the car. But I put things away and went to Publix anyway; there were a couple of twofers I needed, and I found a nice portion of lamb steak and bought a baguette.
James was cooking lamb stew in the crock pot when I got home. We had some neck bones to which he added broth, carrots and celery. Once it's done, he's going to cook it with potatoes and make it a proper stew. It smells lovely, but he looks so tired. He said he thought he was breathing a little easier this morning, but by afternoon he was coughing again and looking very tired and drawn.
Been reading this afternoon after paying some bills and checking off the bills James has paid. Chicken and salad for supper tonight, with a Mrs. Smith mini-chocolate silk pie for a special Father's Day dessert, and watched the three-part This Old House where they built a house for a double amputee (arms) veteran, and The Last Alaskans. Still hungry, and not much of a good day for James.
» Friday, June 19, 2015Glitches in Time
It's been that kind of a day, but then it's been that kind of a week.
James started having problems with shortness of breath again on Sunday. He stayed home from work and called the doctor on Monday, got an appointment on Tuesday and was told not to drive. I teleworked for about three hours Tuesday morning, then took him to Kaiser. We were there pretty much all day. Took us a while to see the doctor, who then sent us downstairs to the lab and x-ray. They went to lunch at 1:30, but we got there at 1:10, plenty of time. Nope. They took James' blood and then at 1:20 everyone vanished and we had to sit there for an hour waiting for folks to come back. I've no objection to any worker getting lunch. But why all at once? Can't one person stay and one person go, and then swap? Stupid. We hadn't had anything to eat since breakfast, and neither the drinks machine or the snack machine would take bills although they said they did. I finally used James' change and got a bag of potato chips out of it. That's what we had for "lunch," half a bag of potato chips each. Then, finally, back upstairs for more of the doctor. We got home at 4:15, whereupon I immediately started cooking supper. You betcha.
So James went back to work Wednesday and Thursday, came home exhausted and short of breath both days. Thursday night he fell asleep from eight to ten; not sure why he even got back up since by then it was almost bedtime!
Anyway, the doctor gave James a referral to the pulmonary department, but he couldn't call until this morning. According to him, James' heart is fine, no reason for it to affect his breathing. His white count was normal and the x-ray showed no signs of the pneumonia. However, the radiologist was concerned about "reticulations" in his lungs, and when I mentioned how often the C-PAP is hissing, the doctor wondered if he needs a different kind of mask and, if perhaps the sleep apnea is not being treated properly, that may be causing the shortness of breath. So he's got an appointment next Wednesday. In the meantime he has to wheeze his way through. Sheesh.
He had today off because he worked last Saturday, I was on my compressed day. I had nothing planned for today except a trip to Walmart for a couple of new tank tops and a pair of shorts. Well, we went, but later than I would usually go on my own, and it was already hot as freakin' hell. October, hell. I want it January. January right now! Bloody bastard summer—how I hate it.
James scraped a big silver-dollar patch on his left arm raw getting off the power chair lift and we had to wander through Walmart with him pressing a napkin against the wound to stanch the bleeding. Had to buy green shorts, the only ones in my size. All the black ones were huge. There were tank tops everywhere, but I could barely find the shorts. For a minute it was like walking through Target. Also got James some diabetic socks and bought him a little side pack and a bicycle bell for his power chair.
We'd talked about going to Hobby Lobby, but the heat was already a menace and he needed the wound cleaned up, so we came home. By then it had stopped bleeding, and it was washed, smeared liberally with Neosporin, and covered up.
Have spent the afternoon watching stuff: Star Talk off the DVR, and then I made my way over to ABC.com so we could watch the episode of Astronaut Wives Club (the premiere) that we missed last night. Well, I'm so sorry I hit the "upgrade" on the television this morning; they have completely upgraded the "recently viewed" bar at the bottom of the television menu and erased all my preset broadcast channels to make it easier to access YouTube and a bunch of crap games. Really pissed about that. Then I get to ABC.com and have to go through a song-and-dance because of the brain-damaged browser on the television. The first thing it did was pop a banner message at the top of the screen that says "it looks like your browser is not set up to accept cookies; click help and see how to fix this." Well, this browser is so primitive you can't even do that; ABC.com apparently expects you to be on something intelligent like Firefox or Chrome. So we were stuck with that for the 3/4 of the episode we got to see on the television, and then, because the stupid browser locked up at the last commercial, we had to watch the last few scenes on the laptop. God, what a piece of junk. Right now we're watching The New Screen Savers from a few weeks back.