Yet Another Journal

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 theyoungfamily (at) earthlink (dot) net

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» Sunday, September 18, 2022
Hospital Weekend and Other Stuff
 
James was indeed breathing badly by Sunday morning. So we ate breakfast, I packed up everything (including the C-PAP and his pillow), and we went to Emory St. Joseph. Last time we went there, I said James was having trouble breathing, and they whisked him right in. Today the place seemed chaotic; lots of nurses, no doctors. I finally asked if they could at least let him have some oxygen, and they did that. We finally went to the back and the St. Joseph's app still said we were waiting. So we cooled our heels for hours while they did blood tests and finally the x-ray: yep, more pleural effusions. He was back on the Lasix and a Foley cath and we had a room by dinnertime.

Basically he cooled his heels on Monday getting fluid stripped off him (but at the same dosage he was taking previously when he was on the furosimide/Lasix). I wondered why they just didn't keep him on it rather than putting him on the torsemide, but then I'm not a doctor. Thought he'd be there all day Tuesday, but they cut him loose just after dinner, back on the intermittent catherization and the torsemide. Watch his sodium! they said. We eat so low-sodium now—can we not even go out to eat?

The only good that came out of this was that when he called in sick to work, Tim was in a bit of a tizzy. James is basically the only person on duty on Sunday morning eight to ten. Tim had to call IBM to get a replacement for him on Sunday morning, and thus James lost his "reliable" status. For his last two weeks of work, he got put on Monday through Thursday, which was fine with both of us. James has been on Sunday through Wednesday for three years, and he's missed Sunday birthday celebrations all that time.

A few nice things happened this week. One of our floodlights has been out for at least a year. James is too unsteady on the ladder and if I go up more than two steps I get dizzy. If I had thought of it, I would have asked Clay to replace it for me when he was here two weeks ago. When I went outside to pay Alex (our lawn mowing guy) on Thursday, I timidly asked him if he would replace it for me. He went in the garage, got the ladder, I handed him the new bulb, and it was done. Must scrape up enough money to give him a little Christmas bonus when we stop having the lawn cut at the beginning of November.

We also ordered some meat from Patak's for the first time since they caught fire. Supposedly the store should be back open at the end of the month. We'll see.

Saturday evening we went to Taste of Smyrna. This was a little disappointing. There were no Asian foods at all, Mezzaluna and the 1911 Biscuit Company had already closed up shop two hours before closing, and all Copelands had left was white chocolate biscuit pudding (white chocolate has never, ever been any kind of chocolate). Everything else there was spicy or shaved ice, so all I really could eat was from the Atkins Park booth.

On the other hand, I made up for my three-year drunken pork drought by buying two servings of it (plus a chocolate peanut butter biscuit pudding dessert that I shared with James—quite good and not overly sweet) and then a third helping before we left (I'll have it for a lunch). James had some drunken pork as well, but skipped all the Mexican food left and instead waited in line something like 20 minutes for the busiest booth, which was Rodney's Jamaican Soul Food. He brought his home to eat.

I finished the weekend by transferring all my former Sunday chores to Monday. We didn't go anywhere, so I did load the dishwasher (again), tossed out a bunch of old or salty food I found downstairs (any salty food left was old, so it did not go for donations), put James' old TV in the Goodwill donation box, and vacuumed upstairs.

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Flourish

» Saturday, September 10, 2022
Starting With a Bang and Ending With a Whimper
 
So Sunday was James' birthday. He decided to take the day off, as well as Labor Day. I still did a few chores, but we had dinner at Longhorn (he was very circumspect, only an 8-ounce Renegade and mushrooms and onions; they told him to be good after his hospital stay and he's been trying hard), and they gave him a free dessert (vanilla ice cream with whipped cream, but at least it was decent vanilla, with chocolate syrup on it), and we went to Barnes & Noble afterward.

(I also decided I wasn't satisfied with the fluid I was getting from three catherizations a day—James' legs looked a little swollen to me, but his numbers had been fine when he was tested at the infusion clinic on Friday—and I added another, and hoped it would do. This is important to mention.)

Labor Day was quiet; I cooked St. Louis ribs with a low-salt Splenda and maple syrup glaze in the lower oven; they came out swell and we both had leftovers for a small lunch.

Two quiet days, and then we had a Thursday out: went to the first day of the Yellow Daisy Festival. Some of it was back out under the trees, but a lot of it was still on the street; once again, in the sun I was feeling hot and dizzy, and James kept getting lost on me and not answering his phone (because the volume was turned down low--not sure why this keeps happening; maybe because he uses the headphones during the week and they turn the volume down).

Well, it's happened: our Yellow Daisy days won't be the same from now on; the Country Pick'ns people are retiring after this year. I will miss them terribly, but I can't deny them the same status I enjoy. I have made so many shadow-boxes from these folks' things, most of which I have showed off on this page: my "me" shelf with other little miniatures I've added, a year-round autumn shelf in our bedroom, the seashore shelf in the hall bath, the kitchen-themed shelf in the kitchen, and the seasonal shadow-boxes (fall, up all year; Hallowe'en, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and winter), the "our house" heart-shaped shelf, plus the tiny shadow-box with the nativity figures on it, a couple of little miniature items like tiny Christmas arrangements, and the two little gifts I didn't give out last year, but will this year. Well, since it was their final year, I wanted to buy something, so I got a few little extra autumn things for here and there, and then I got a brainstorm. I've been impossibly enmeshed in these fanfic pieces I've been writing since last year, and it's given me such pleasure, and I got the idea to make a shadow-box of the fanfic elements. I'll add some decorative buttons and it will work.

We had lunch at Chow King, then moseyed to our appointment with Dr. Kongara (nephrologist) to finish out the day. He was pleased with James' post-hospital condition and sent us on our way (this is important for what happened next).

We got home to discover that Queen Elizabeth II had died. We had heard on the news earlier that she was not doing well. Two days ago she had met the new prime minister and now she was gone. Prince Charles is now Charles III.

Friday we did the shopping and there was another turn at the infusion clinic (this will keep going until he has the PICC line removed). Got lucky and there was a box of free books there, for anyone to take. I found a copy of The Personal Librarian, which I have wanted, about the woman who arranged J.P. Morgan's personal library for him; it was not known until just recently, but she was Black "passing" for white.

Saturday James was feeling "off" and decided to go to his club meeting online. I was worried about him and didn't leave the house except to gas up Butch, because I had a terrible feeling something was wrong from the way his legs looked. I was up half the night listening to him breathe in short, staccato breaths.

So you guessed it: Sunday morning we were going to be back at the emergency room...

...to be continued...

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Flourish

» Saturday, September 03, 2022
Probing New Directions
 
A new "thing" has been added to our medical routine.

When we went to Dr. Jefferson on Monday, he removed James' foley catheter and we thought he was going to do a cytoscopy (urethral scan) as well as a void test. However, Dr. Jefferson has decided all this trouble is caused by nerve damage stemming from 20 years of diabetes; since it is uncomfortable for James and also a UTI vector, a long-time foley was not acceptable. He has been put on intermittent catherization, which means he has to manually empty his bladder three to four times a day. Unfortunately due to his back problems and mobility issues, he can't actually do it himself. Guess what! Yes, a new skill in my "nursing career." I got a chance to do it once, and then we got sent home with red rubber caths and lubrication. What fun.

(I told Dr. Jefferson: "Oh, like Airplane Guy." "Airplane Guy" is what we call the dude who advertises urinary catheters on whatever side channel it is, how he's happy he can now fly his airplane again with his cath.)

The rest of the week was a little more cheerful, especially as September 1 rolled around so that it's meteorological autumn finally!

On Thursday we did our monthly drive to Canton to eat at Uncle Maddio's (yes, one guy still running the entire show!) and Books-a-Million. To my surprise, I came out with no books, but I did find one for Emma. Then on the way back we stopped at BJs and stocked up on fruit cups and other items to get us through mostly payless October. This week we also hit Nam Dae Mun for the first time in months since Publix didn't have any slivered almonds for my oatmeal.

Saturday we bounced: Sam's Club to Costco to Best Buy in search of a television. Since James is retiring, I'm hoping he won't be spending all his time locked in front of his computer screen anymore. So I told him that as a birthday/retirement gift I would get him a new TV for downstairs. Combined with the Amazon Fire Stick we got as a Christmas gift, it would make good entertainment while he's modeling. Well, turned out neither Sam's nor Costco carries under 40 inch TVs anymore! (Funny, they were there a few months ago.) So we went to Best Buy, but the TV we picked out was cheaper at Target! So off we went up Cobb Parkway and got the TV, which I spent all afternoon setting up. It's a Roku TV, so not only did I tune in all the local channels, but all the Roku channels he'd be interested in. Or rather I had to tune out the ones he wouldn't be interested in, which took a while, since the darn thing loaded about 300 channels. (I'd be willing to bet James will be watching the Caught in Providence channel, since he watches Judge Caprio every chance he gets.) I also had to log in on all the other services we get, like Netflix, Acorn, etc. before I could carry it downstairs and actually plug it in. (It's better to tune it in upstairs, where the Leaf antenna gets the most channels. But this television seems to be stronger at picking up signals and he's getting most of the locals downstairs, except for GPB which we can't get upstairs anyway and what I call "the God Squad," all the local religious channels.)

But...that's done.

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Flourish

» Saturday, August 27, 2022
Friends and Flying Things
 
Summer's fading away...and good riddance. It's been a crap summer, from the temps to poor James' perpetual illness. I started the last full week of August by "drowning" the dog—Tucker always makes me laugh; he looks pitiful through the whole process but is happy and smiling once I'm done and enjoying his nice clean coat, and the inevitable cookie. The next day we had the first of James' post-hospital doctor's visits, to his GP. 3:20 p.m. appointment; didn't see the doctor till five. Sigh.

Started the weekend early as we had some friends come into town on Wednesday staying over until the next day. First I did laundry and cleaned off some of the kitchen, though; they didn't come over until this evening, where we finally exchanged Christmas gifts. I had a nifty little pocket knife and also a Barnes & Noble gift card, so maybe I will get Ali Hazlewood's new book after all. James got a knife sharpener, which I hope will improve the performance of our steak knives.

On Thursday we met Maggi and Clay at the Tin Drum at Perimeter Mall for lunch, and to our surprise ran into Lin Butler there as well (she was having a monthly lunch with her old Coca-Cola co-workers. They got both Clay's and my lunch wrong, so it took a while. Then we all went off to Penzey's (the spice store). James and I picked up some sweet curry and ground celery seed, and he wanted to try some Aleppo pepper. Penzey's is next door to Trader Joe's and we filled two Trader Joe's shopping bags with goodies like their orange chicken (which is a nice quick lunch) and the chicken apple sausage, and they finally had fruit bars. James has tried the fruit bars at Lidl, but says they are too much cookie and not enough fruit. We parted ways at Trader Joe's; Clay and Maggi went south back to Warner Robins and we headed home.

Friday was our only morning appointment at the infusion clinic, then we went to JoAnn, where I picked up a couple of gifts and a mug for me that says "I've been ready for fall since last fall." (That's not true; I've been ready for fall since winter was over, which in north Georgia is the end of February when it starts going up to 70...). James said he wanted to go to Hobbytown USA; he didn't buy anything for himself, but he bought me a gift to make up for the horrible hospital week, a miniature Squishable white-and-blue budgie I named "Robbie." He is the cutest thing (but nowhere near as cute as Snowy).

Squishable / Mini Budgie Plush - 7"

And then we got the truck inspected so James could renew his license plates for the year, and finally we had the podiatrist appointment and we could go home.

Because we didn't go grocery shopping on Thursday, we had to do this Saturday morning. It actually wasn't too bad, although after Lidl James was stuck in the truck with the A/C on since we got leg quarters on sale for $1.67/pound and three pounds of ground beef out of the "too good to waste" bin for $1.50! Had to play freezer Tetris when we got home. Saturday I also made "gravy" with the boneless pork ribs I got off the manager's special bin at Kroger. We'll have a pair of leg quarters tomorrow for dinner and then macaroni on Monday because it will be easy (cook the macaroni and warm up the sauce) after James has to go for his cytoscopy.

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Flourish

» Saturday, August 20, 2022
PICC-ing It Out
 
The rest of this benighted week has been at least better.

I had to hustle to Kaiser Cumberland on Monday morning so James would have his sevelamer (apparently his phosphorus is too high) in time for lunch, then I had to play grocery store hopscotch since there was no shopping on Thursday, then I had to wash towels, and finally the nurse showed up from Pruitt Health Services to show us how to do the infusion. This is so much easier than it was last January! There's no pole, no bottle to mix, no long tubing. The ertapenem this time comes in a little round ball (smaller than a baseball) with tubing attached. After sterilizing and saline injecting the PICC port, you just twist it on and pressure pushes the antibiotic into the PICC line and deflates the little ball. Then you flush with saline and then with heparin and you're done for the night.

Thursday was James' followup at the oral surgeon, who said it was healing nicely despite his cleaning regime having been interrupted by hospitalization. He said it would be fully healed in three months and then James could think about implants. The implants are $4200 each. Are they mad?

Friday had lunch with Alice and Ken, picked up 2023 calendars at Dollar Tree, and James had his first appointment at the infusion clinic (the dressing on the PICC line has to be changed weekly, so we'll be at Kaiser every Friday for six weeks).

And finally Saturday was Hair Day, so we got to see more friends, and that was nice, although we left fairly early because I had the headache from hell. Had to put a strong reminder on the Echo because twice this week I forgot to take the antibiotic bolus out to warm up, so James got infused late.

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Flourish

» Monday, August 15, 2022
Hell in a Handbasket
 
Sunday night James had to send another note to his urologist: he was showing signs of a UTI again, and we had noticed that his urine output had been halved. He also had a low-grade fever all weekend, but it never got over 100℉ and the oral surgeon and the pain clinic both said what he had done could cause a fever. This is getting so frustrating. He does not want to go to Urgent Care; they'll just keep him there for hours and send him home with antibiotics and won't let me come in the back. So I spent Monday morning on the phone with Kaiser, and finally the urologist said to go give a urine sample. He worked a full shift and then we went racing to Town Center to make it before the lab closed at 8 p.m.

That should have been that.

So I sleep in on Tuesday and wander out to the land of the living to ask James, "Good morning, how are you?"

And he says, "I'm having trouble breathing."

Oh, why, oh, why, didn't you wake me up earlier?

He was so distressed I packed everything; if he was having trouble breathing I was sure they would keep him at the hospital, so I packed up the C-PAP and his pillow, and we went to the emergency room instead of Urgent Care. It cost more, but they let me go in the back. He had pulmonary edema, his creatitine was way up in the high fours, and all his blood values were crazy. Yes, of course they kept him, although he didn't get a room until almost midnight and it was a stuffy little triangle of a room; it looked like they kept junk stuff in there.

To sum up, he was in the hospital through Monday (the 15th, the Assumption, which would have been my mother's "name day"), infused with liquid furosimide and stuck with a Foley catheter. The infection in his bladder was e-coli and the nurses had to all gown up any time they came in the room. They stabilized him and got his creatitine down to 3.7 before they released him (although the first day they had him on so much diuretic that his creatitine went back up the next day!). He had prostatitis again, which was blocking his urethra and of course his bladder was backing up into his kidneys again and screwing up his creatitine and his GFR, but thankfully the IV antibiotics did not make him have breathing problems like the month of ciproflaxin did a few months ago. By the time Friday came he was tired of the hospital bed, bored out of his mind, and by Sunday I was so stir-crazy I was in tears. The Kaiser doctor said James couldn't go home without a PICC line to completely wipe out the e-coli, but they never put it in on Friday so we had to twiddle our thumbs over the weekend. After my meltdown I tried to put on a better face but it was really hard sitting around all day Monday first waiting for the PICC insertion and then waiting for the discharge papers.

In the meantime he couldn't take the second step post-oral surgery; he'd had five days of only rinsing his mouth out with salt water, now he was supposed to be irrigating the gaps where they pulled his teeth. I finally just got him a cup and salt from the cafeteria and he rinsed his mouth twice a day at least, but he confessed his gums were really hurting and we finally had to ask the meal clerk to send him meals that were easy to chew, as dry chicken breast just wasn't doing it.

The other problem was that he was so wobbly when they brought him in they put him as a fall risk and put an alarm on the bed and the chair they finally let him sit in and he got pissed because he couldn't move around. James is not used to being still and having to sit in a bed or, later, in the chair next to the bed, is anathema to him. Supposedly he was supposed to get physical therapy; he only got it one day, and one night he didn't get his Ambien and couldn't sleep—the whole thing was a mess.

The nurses were fab, the doctors were good, but the hospital still sucks and the cafeteria still has crap. I ate at Hibachi Grill one day and from Lidl the next, but got a couple of meals down there. The fried shrimp was okay, but it was fried, and one day they either had alfredo chicken breast (barf-o'-matic for both the breast and alfredo, neither which is edible) or something spicy, so I ended up having a hamburger with brown gravy over it. The menu posted on the front of the cafeteria wasn't what they served, and everything's overpriced.

Plus by the time they discharged him on Monday it was too late to go to Kaiser to pick up his meds. Sigh.

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Flourish

» Saturday, August 06, 2022
Mostly a Figurative Bloody Mess
 
Well, now that the toe, and almost the teeth, are out of the way, it's time to attack all the other little irritants. This morning I got up at seven (ewww) and drove Butch to Advance Auto to see WTF is going on with him. Got a ride home and did various chores until the insurance adjuster came; pretty much what I thought: won't reach the deductible amount, which is $1,000. Well, I'll see if anyone knows a good tree service...

This actually ended...happily. Alex showed up to mow the lawn Wednesday morning and I went out there to warn him about the tree. He looked at it and said, "I'll take the wood and cut the poison ivy vine and toss them into the very back of the yard, and it'll be $30." Blink. Well, sure, I'll take it! (And "I don't deserve this man.") When I paid him for the lawn and the tree I actually gave him a little more because I was so happy to be rid of the fool thing.

Once the tree was taken care of, we had to head to Glenlake to get James his steroid shots. Now, when he made this appointment, they gave him no specific instructions, nothing about fasting, etc. So he was going to quit work at noon, we would have sandwiches, we'd go get the shots. Well, they called him at 11:45 to ask if he wanted to come earlier. We scrambled to get dressed and I made myself a peanut butter sandwich and he just had a 90-calorie brownie and scatted.

And then when we got there he was honest and said he'd had the brownie.

They hashed this out for ten minutes and then decided the 90-calorie brownie wasn't a threat. He got five shots in his spine and I picked him up in the truck.

Well, he wasn't supposed to drive home just in case he had a reaction to the shots, but just as we were leaving, Advance called and said Butch was ready. Oh, Butch's problem was that the camshaft sensor wasn't talking to the crankcase sensor. When they don't talk to each other, apparently the car's computer system has hysterics and just quits! (God, I miss Twilight. He had sensors, but he had sensible ones. This was only for the anti-skid system. When the sensors don't work why not just turn the anti-skid system off rather than the whole damn car?) Anyway, $311 worth of two tires and the sensor thing brought it up to $1100. Urgh.

On the way we picked up supper at Zaxby's. Good God, wings have gotten expensive.

James and I wrangled about this on the way home (and this took a while because the stupid Braves game was just getting out and the traffic was unbelievable) and so I let him drive from Advance to home, following him carefully. The spinal shots gave him no problems, no swelling or anything, although they warned him his blood sugar might spike. Boy, did it, it was in the high 300s when he went to bed!

Thursday morning I got up about 8:30, and I looked at the calendar and there was James' oral surgeon appointment at 11:15. But why did it say it was on the 11th? And then I realized he had never put the oral surgery on his calendar; this was the original appointment that was cancelled when he made the July 28th appointment. James called them in a hurry, apologized, and they said they could get him in at 11:30. Whew.

So I sat in the lobby on the free wifi, typing a story on my tablet while I listened to Rupert Holmes on my phone, until he emerged about quarter to three, rather bloody around the mouth. We stopped at Kaiser on the way home to pick up his pain meds and his antibiotic, and then went home, where I spent the rest of the afternoon putting on and taking off icepacks. He had a hydrocodone around dinner time: I made rice and gave it to him in some Campbell's chicken broth cut with vegetable broth and some squished up canned carrot and Lighthouse salad bits to give it a little body and a little ginger. It tasted pretty good. I just had the rice in broth.

By the time bedtime came he eschewed the pain meds and just took the Zolpidem and Tylenol. The bloody gauze for a while was pretty gross, but he took it out about nine o'clock and never put any more in, nor did he have very bad swelling.

He woke up Friday morning pretty chipper despite my having a crying fit about seven a.m. about what to do about the antibiotics: Kaiser shorted us; we only got twelve. By the time I got up, I was in a better emotional state, called Kaiser and got through the four hours (it seems like it, anyway) of COVID messages to talk to advice, who connected me with the West Cobb pharmacy, and they said they were sorry and said they'd prep a bottle with the remainder of the scrip for me to pick up. So, took the dog out, dressed, got $5 worth of gas at the BP so I could make it safely to Costco to eventually fill my tank, picked up the rest of the pills at West Cobb, went to Lidl, went to Publix, went to Kroger, and then came home with relief to lose myself into Law & Order: Criminal Intent and sit under the fan.

Saturday I helped him make the meat for his lunches since the steroids don't kick in, according to the post-procedure instructions, for three to ten days and his back was killing him. We were rapidly running out of acetaminophen, and I didn't want to go to Costco on a Saturday, so I actually got on the computer and ordered that and two other things and they were delivered by dinnertime; the $6 Instacart fee was worth not having to go there on Saturday. These things are so easy...we're starting to call it "phonewavium" by how we can get on the internet and order things so easily.

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Flourish

» Saturday, July 30, 2022
The Grim Reaper is On the Job: Farewell, Nichelle Nichols!
 
Well, I shouldn't have complained about a quiet last week. Within a week the Grim Reaper cut a swath through the entertainment (and sports, although I guess pro sports is technically entertainment) industry and we lost Paul Sorvino, David Warner, Tony Dow, Bernard Cribbins, Paul Coker Jr (with "Mad" magazine and Rankin-Bass), basketball great Bill Russell, Pat Carroll, and last because she was the crushing blow: the wonderful Nichelle Nichols. Every day was a one-two punch, especially Nichelle. I didn't think she was ageless, but she seemed timeless. Farewell, Bright Lady, now your trip to the stars has really begun.

In the meantime James was in such torment from his back molars he called the oral surgeon back and they got him in on Thursday for a consultation. The result of this was that he will have five teeth (!!!) out on Thursday the 4th, the day after his spinal steroid shots, so he will only have to go off Plavix once for both procedures. In the meantime, he's back to salt rinses and more Ambesol.

We also saw Dr. Friedman on Friday and he said the formerly infected toe looks great and the next time he sees podiatry should be for a trim.

I had to call the insurance company this week: a tree from our neighbor's yard blew into our yard. It broke right over the fence, gave a minor tap to the deck rail, and is now sitting there like a rolled-over 18-wheeler. Positives: it's not a big tree, but of course that means it won't meet our deductible, whatever that is, so we'll have to pay for it. But someone will have to do it, since the whole honkin' thing is covered with poison ivy. I got itchy just looking it over.

In the meantime, James is happy with the new food processor I picked up on Amazon Vine...

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Flourish

» Saturday, July 23, 2022
The Incident of the Dog in the Night Time
 
Sort of a blah week, mostly chores and nothing much worth writing about, except that James finally got his Medicare card, so that we could fill out his Kaiser papers for Medicare Advantage. Oh, and we ended up going to two different Walmarts to find various little things. So exciting, eh?

Friday was a little more exciting because we went to "re-up" the post office box for the HOA and we also watched Encanto, which was colorful and fun, with entertaining characters. I love the aunt who always had the rain cloud following her around, and I felt bad for poor Bruno (who we really should have talked about 😔 ).

The other Friday event was a little more exciting in a way I didn't want it to be. When I took Tucker out for his nightly walk, we were accosted almost immediately by a rather...I guess I could say excited...pit bull type dog. He was not vicious or threatening, but Tucker felt intimidated and started growling at him, and this dog wasn't huge, but he was big and could have hurt either of us if "Little Caesar" there started being aggressive back. So I kept shooing him off and we did get back inside. But Tucker did need to get out and pee! So I finally loaded him into the car and went to the front of the complex, figuring maybe the dog belonged to or was visiting someone in the back. While Tucker was sniffing and peeing out front, I saw an SUV slowly coming down the street, and someone calling. When the car came abreast us, the woman driving called to me "Have you seen a blue pittie?" and I said yes, that he was down our street.

In fact the dog was just trotting up the street and was about two houses away. The lady drove her SUV up to him and I heard her say "You bad boy!" Soon he was whisked away and we got back in the car and drove the several feet home.

That's the most adventure I want in my week, thanks, unless I win the lottery.

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Flourish

» Saturday, July 16, 2022
The Medical Cart and Other Tales
 
This was pretty much a work week: two straight days (Sunday and Monday) of regular housework and then chores that are done irregularly (plus loading the endless maw of the dishwasher). On Monday Peachtree came by to look at the thermostat. The reason the Smart Hub keeps dropping out is something about it being a low voltage line in competition with surrounding high voltage. Yeah, but we never had these problems with the old thermostat, so can't you fix it? He fiddled around and did a few things. It still drops out occasionally, but I guess it's not so frequent as before.

Tuesday was the Great Dog Wash and Great Dog Bedding Wash, which pretty much knocks me out for the rest of the day, leaving me to indulge my Law & Order: Criminal Intent habit...

James had to take a half-day on Wednesday because he can't see his cardiologist at the end of the week. Dr. Shosh said he looked okay and that it was fine for him to be off Plavix for five days before having any teeth pulled. Alas, after having a toothache for several weeks, the dentist tells him he has to go to an oral surgeon because his roots have grown sideways or some damnfool thing. In the old days you went to the dentist, and if you had a toothache they just pulled it, no muss, no fuss. Sheesh. So we found out we couldn't get an appointment with the oral surgeon until August 11, and then that was just for them to look at his teeth, so he has to go another month on salt rinses and Ambesol. We've already spent about $30 on Ambesol already and it's not helping a lot of times.

Friday was a little bit fun: we had to pick up a scrip at Kaiser and then went to Sonny's for barbecue (nice big portions, so we have another dinner). Hit the nearby Dollar Tree and they must be very shorthanded because it looked like a bomb went off in the store: merchandise on the floor everywhere. So avoid the Dollar Tree near Sam's Club at the Big Chicken. We also went to Book Nook, and I want to applaud the employees for even staying there, because the A/C is on the fritz and it's like an oven inside. I did find another John Douglas book and one about forensics.

Anyway, July 12 was Prime Day. This year I bought nothing but a three-tier cart, rather than anything electronic. I'd never seen a cart like this, with little hanging cups and dividers for the trays and hooks. On Saturday I loaded up the cart—not with fun craft things, but with all of James' medical supplies: the gauze, the Coban, the Betadyne, the stretch bandages, etc. out of the box on the floor and up higher, with extra supplies down below. Now I can just roll it out when I need it and put it back in the closet when I don't.

Did a bunch of other rearranging on Saturday, too, and felt like I accomplished something.

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Flourish

» Saturday, July 09, 2022
Fireworks Large and Small
 
The week opened with fireworks! Nothing major, just Independence Day: James had to work as always, but nobody called, so we did our annual watch of 1776, and I put on the first five episodes of Alistair Cooke's America (from the Native Americans to the first westward movement). Used one of the pork loins in the fridge to make barbecue pork in the Instant Pot (pressure cooker settings) and it was quite yummy with sweet corn, plus watermelon chunks for dessert.

James went to the podiatrist on Tuesday. The antibiotic was already helping with the infection; the podiatrist cut away the left side of the toenail and then put acid on it to keep it from growing back. He has to soak his foot ten minutes in Epsom salts for a week and then I am to drown it in Betadyne and wrap it up each night. Business as usual, sadly.

The usual shopping on Wednesdays and then we had our monthly treat: driving up to Canton, having lunch at Uncle Maddio's (the owner is still running it alone), going to Books-a-Million, and then stopping at BJs on the way home for groceries and gas. I got three very interesting books in the remainder area: Law & Disorder by John Douglas, an FBI profiler (what I call my "Robert Goren made me do it" book); The Hunt for History by Nathan Raab, a historical documents collector; and also a creepy looking one about incels called Men Who Hate Women.

Hair Day was in the afternoon this month because Sheri had a baby shower in the morning, so we had time to drop by the Hallmark Ornament Premiere in the morning. I completed my "12 Days of Christmas" set, and got a Hallowe'en puppy, a miniature owl, and a "compass of my heart" that I couldn't resist. James got this year's airplane and the Mandalorian's spacecraft. Then we ate lunch at Okinawa and stopped at Petco for birdseed before going on to Hair Day.

The bad news is whatever recall work they did on Butch did not make any difference to the problem: the stabilization light is still coming on (and when it does the tachometer quits working!) and the car is still making stalling sounds and occasionally "starting soft." It did not thankfully stall out completely. Kia said "they couldn't diagnose the problem" (at least they didn't charge me for it!), so I'm going to have to call Mike. Also, the new thermostat is working fine but it's still saying half the time that it can't connect to the wifi or the "Smart Hub" (which is next to the A/C and is what really runs it), so I called Peachtree to come again and look at it.

Something kind of creepy: a celebrity I follow on Twitter posted pics of fireworks in NYC from their apartment balcony. Based on landmarks I could see and where the Empire State Building was in relation to the angle and then using Street View in Google Maps, I pretty much figured out where this person lives (at least the area!). Big Brother is indeed watching!

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» Saturday, July 02, 2022
Toe-ing the Line and Other Tales
 
It took me a whole day, but I spent all day Monday getting all my fanfiction (that includes the new Law & Order: Criminal Intent post-series stories, Remember WENN, Doctor Simon Locke, Lassie, and my two Addie Mills stories, plus the Doctor Who story "Busman's Holiday" which was actually printed in a fanzine, but which is the only piece of fanzine fanfic I have in electronic form) loaded onto Archive of Our Own. I have to finish loading them on Fanfiction.net, too, but that takes longer because they don't allow you to do them one after the other and they also have to be reformatted.

Did a craft project this week: have gotten tired of the sun streaming into our foyer in the afternoon and heating everything up, so I bought some foam board last week, cut it into strips, and covered both side windows bracketing the front door. The sun still comes through the clerestory window at the top, but it seems to have helped.

Believe it or not I didn't get Butch back until Friday. Supposedly the employee who does the diagnostics wasn't in until Tuesday, and then he couldn't do it then. They said they couldn't "duplicate the problem," and they didn't charge me for it. We picked the car up after I went with James to Social Security for his interview before final filing of his retirement papers. We also picked up two new fry pans at Bed, Bath & Beyond (good ones this time, and not T-Fal), and had lunch at Cracker Barrel.

The most important thing we did this week was to see James' primary care doctor. I noticed his right big toe was red and sore looking on Monday, and immediately dumped Betadyne on it. By Tuesday there was pus, evidence of an ingrown toenail. Well, we know what happened last time he had an ingrown toenail: four nights in the hospital, a fever and a threat of amputation, and forty days of a PICC line! Since he had to see Dr. Mobley on Wednesday for a followup on his UTI anyway, we showed him the toe. He gave James antibiotics at once, told me to keep up with the Betadyne, and to get an appointment with the podiatrist "toot sweet." (We got one for next Wednesday.)

And there is light at the end of the tunnel: I saw my first fall magazine on Saturday!

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» Saturday, June 25, 2022
Repairs and All That
 
Well, the truck A/C is finally fixed! It turned out there was no power going to the compressor, so while we were getting some cool air, without that power the A/C couldn't keep up in the heat.

That was done on Monday, and on Tuesday Robert came back and installed a new thermostat, and I discovered my Lennox account was never deleted at all. It was the iComfort account that was deleted. Apparently they're two different things; who knew?

On Thursday morning we brought Butch to Kia to have all the recalls done. I also asked them to look into the problem of the stalling. I think it's worth the diagnostic fee, but am hoping it's something Mike can fix, as I'd rather give him the money than Kia.

That was really all the big news at home. We did the usual shopping. The car was not ready by Saturday as Kia promised, but, again, I really didn't care.

I was still boggled by the fact that it cost James $50 to half-fill the truck tank! Prices are ridiculous. The ground turkey that was $2.89 in 2020 at Lidl is now $4.39! My favorite "dinner rolls" have gone from 59 cents to 99 cents. The only thing still cheap is the milk at the Mableton Kroger, and I know they use that as a loss leader.

This week, after being a member for six (honestly!) years, I finally started uploading my fanfiction to Archive of Our Own. I thought I joined a lot later, like 2020, but it turned out I never did anything with my membership because of James' heart attack. Kinda nervous because this is the first really public place I'm posting my Law & Order: Criminal Intent post-series stories, even though they're available on my website.

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» Saturday, June 18, 2022
Temperature's Rising, and I'm Not Just Talking Outside
 

It's been...a week.

Some positive things did happen. The most important is that we have found our old mechanic! James' truck needs work on the A/C; it either needs a shot of freon or the fan needs fixing. We didn't want to call True Automotive (what our old place turned into) since I'm pretty sure they overcharged me last time. We did get a coupon from an Advantage Auto Center on Cobb Parkway to have a free check of a car's A/C, so James called them up and heard a familiar name on the voice mail: it was Mike! So we have arranged to have the truck seen on Monday the 20th. I also made an appointment with the local KIA dealership to get Butch checked out; he has at least three recalls on him, including one to "update the software." So, my car needs Windows updates? I am wondering if this is what made the car lose power while I was driving it on May tenth. If not, I'm not sure if I want KIA to look at the car or just take it to Mike.

And James went to the urologist on Thursday and the NP pulled out the catheter. Hopefully the infection has gone away. I am less sanguine about the state of his prostate. I think it might be blocking his urethra again. This would mean more surgery. I hope this isn't the case.

On Saturday he had an MRI of his back. Orthopedics is trying to determine if there are some type of shots he can take as well as physiotherapy to help him walk a little better, so he (a) won't be in such pain and (b) will be able to exercise more. We were almost late because we were two-thirds of the way there and ran into a roadblock because a car had driven off Paper Mill Road. We were forced to backtrack and take another route and got stuck behind a moving van doing 25mph. How frustrating! But we did get there on time and it only took about thirty minutes, and James said the techs were very nice.

Our big problem started on Tuesday. Now, we got new HVAC in 2016, the day James had his first heart attack. We also got the maintenance plan; they do a checkup twice a year for a monthly fee. Well, less than two years ago they turn up with this new wifi programmable thermostat, as opposed to the old non-wifi programmable thermostat. I think the model number is a Lennox E30. Anyway, I did create an online account and it's nifty—like if we forget to turn on the eco-programming if we go away for a weekend, I can turn it on with the phone and not waste energy.

Well, the E30 is a finicky beast. The original they installed messed up less than a year into our owning it. It just quit working. This was when it was cold—maybe six months ago? They put in a new one. This one's been a little flaky—for instance, I have it in power save mode, which means the screen is supposed to stay off unless I wave my hand in front of it, but it turns off and on indiscriminately—but it's always held to the various programmed schedules fine. Until today. I walked past it and it came on...and what the hell? Instead of being on "summer" schedule, with temp set at 74, it was on "heat only" and already 77 in the house. Went to turn it back to summer schedule. Guess what. Touch screen has completely quit working.

Well, that's okay—we've got the app on both my phone and through my web browser, so I go into the phone app and reset it back to summer schedule. That worked fine. Me being me, I went into the app in the browser and tried to figure out what might have switched the scheduling off. Then I made the fatal mistake of going into "my account." I didn't see anything in "my account" that would make any difference, so I clicked the button that I though "closed" the "my account" box.

This is where I was really, really stupid. It wasn't a "close" button, it was the delete account button. Not designated in a bright color, or otherwise made so you could see it, but the same color as the border around the "my account" popup box. To add insult to injury, I didn't even get a nice friendly reminder that I was being stupid—you know, the "Are you sure you want to delete this account?" message that usually pops up. And...just like that! Gone!

I ran to the laptop and was still logged on there. Then I thought—I've got Firefox set up to sync between computers! What if they sync and I get logged off? So I closed Firefox so they didn't sync. But, you guessed it—when I reopened Firefox I couldn't get back in.

So basically now the only way I've got to control the stupid thermostat is that the app still works on my phone for no discernible reason (and—for some amazing reason—the app still works on my old phone, too) even though I deleted the account, and God knows how long that will last, and what the hell can I do if the phone fails and this stupid thing switches itself off again? So there I was, not able to use my phone for fear of closing that window, the HVAC people couldn't send someone until Thursday morning, and Lennox (the inventor of the app and manufacturer of this stupid E30 thermostat) couldn't do a thing for me because to set up a new account I have to be able to use the thermostat to get a pin number. Basically I screwed up everything with one click of the mouse.

To add insult to injury, our HVAC guy never showed up on Thursday. This was understandable—we're having a virulent heat wave, with temps up in the mid-90s, and I know there are people out there who have non-working units and they need to go first. We had him scheduled ten to twelve, but he was so far behind he could not have arrived until 1:30, when we had to leave for Kaiser. So we rescheduled for 6 to 8 at night, but no one ever showed up. I didn't even mind that, except that no one called. I called them back, as well as texted them, plus talked to someone on Facebook Messenger, and they said our case was still in the system and someone would call us Friday.

Friday I had to call them; I finally got them scheduled to come on Sunday.

I'm exhausted from riding herd on the thermostat and worrying about James, and basically spent a lot of Saturday in tears. So, good weekend? No.

[Sun, June 19:
A/C tech was here this morning and was downright surprised. Apparently he's never had one of these thermostats quit responding to touch. He did a whole bunch of tests including rebooting the thermostat, and, yeah, it's still non-responsive. He said since the unit's still working, he didn't want to just slap a regular thermostat on it, because it's not capable of coping with our two-stage system. He's just going to order a new one and come back when it comes in (why don't they keep these things in stock, I wonder?)—unless the system goes off. So we have a thermostat with a "unique problem." yay...

Plus, after holding to the schedule rigidly since it flaked out on Tuesday, the thermostat has flaked out twice today. I looked up at one point after I finished folding towels and the wall thermostat was saying it was set at 76℉. We keep it set at 74 so the temp in the main part of the house stays at 78. I had to reset it on the phone. A little later out of nowhere it reset itself to the "away" temp, which is 78℉. I had to cancel the "away," which I still don't know how it managed to set itself.

And before you ask, not even James knows the password to the thermostat. I set up the system, and I'm the only one who knows the password, and it's not a common word. Nor does anyone have our wifi password, which was totally randomly set by Earthlink. And there have been no power fluctuations today.]

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