Always tweaking something!

Pics included

Joyeux Noel


From my family to yours, Merry Christmas to one and all.

Found this in New Orleans 6 years ago, corner of Dumaine and Royal in the French Quarter.


It’s more or less official

Tomorrow (Friday) a little teeny tiny black kitty by the name of “Diesel” will be introduced to our home.   The foster mom is going to bring him over in the morning, let him hang out for a few days and see how everybody adapts to each other.

It’s a bit of a trial by fire for the little Diesel.  Eric & Kelly are coming in for the weekend bringing their pup Dexter, an 80 pound sheperd/boxer/husky mix that thinks everything is a toy.  Fortunately Dexter also lives with a cat, so if Diesel hauls off and claws him in the nose, he’s already used to that.

We’re expecting things to go just fine overall.  Diesel is currently being fostered with his brother, and the foster house has cats & a big dog around too, so he should be learning some socializing skills.  After a weekend with Dexter, he ought to be ready for anything.

Here’s a couple of shots from the adoption site:

5 month old male kitten looking for a home.

5 month old male kitten looking for a home.

Diesel n Walker

Diesel (left) and his brother Walker.

No, we’re not adopting both.  Yet.  Time will tell.

Rumor has it Diesel is susceptible to bribing with turkey lunch meat.   So much for cold cuts for lunches at work, eh?

If I get lucky this weekend I might  get a picture of Diesel trying to charm out little Avery (or vice versa).  Yeah, I’ll share.  That little Avery is putting more and more words together – like “mommy, you go upstairs and change your clothes” which she spouted one night after Jill got home from work.  IT’s amazing how quickly they build on their base of knowledge.  When the boys were growing up I was much less aware of the changes, probably because I was living them minute by minute.  Avery I get to see on a weekly basis and the changes 7 days can bring are astounding.  To think there’s another one on the way!!

Oh – Bowling tonight too.  So far this season I’m keeping just a hair ahead of where I ended the season before my arm issues.  So far looks like the surgery is doing fine for my biceps, but it hasn’t turned my into a pro bowler.  Does seemed to have helped golf though.  No, I won’t be debuting on the Champions Tour anytime soon.  I DO have a new driver on the way to me though – can’t wait to get to the driving range and have all my hopes of hitting 280 yard drives that fly straight as an arrow shattered within the first ten swings.  (We’re calling that optimism tempered by reality and age).  Although honestly?  I do hit a few of those dream drives with my current gear – I’m just hoping to be more consistent with a club that’s designed to be more forgiving.  WE’ll see just how much forgiveness I need.

It started with painting the hallway

Day 3117

Missed my 8.5 year smoke-iversary last month. Same day as my parents 55th (!!) wedding anniversary. Since Mom never re-married after Dad passed 19 some years ago, it still counts. (For the record, I was born 9 months and 26 days after my parents were married. Coincidence? I think not!)

Anyhow. After finishing the master bath a year and a half ago, I still had to re-paint the upstairs hallway. Removing a door and patching the hole will make that a necessity it seems. After a bout of unemployment, job search, new job, newer (present) job, grand baby (still the cutest thing in the entire world) and arm surgery recovery, we were ready to go.

Then the cascade started. If I painted the hallway, I needed to do the stair case. But the stairs, newel post, balusters and banister were too dark. So we thought about re-doing the steps, except the oak of the steps wouldn’t match the Pergo floors. And we were planning on re-doing the basement this spring (it ain’t spring here yet – no matter what the clock & calendar say) and we needed flooring for down there. Somehow this morphed into pulling up the Pergo in the kitchen & living room and replacing it all with hardwood flooring. Of course the stairs and floor had to match so the search was on.

Here we are, barely a month from “it’s finally time to paint the hallway” and the Pergo is in the basement all neatly stacked, new handrails, newel post & balusters are on hand, new stair treads are on a truck being shipped in from Tennessee, and two guys are in my living room laying new flooring while I sit here at work wondering how they are doing.

But here’s the progress they made yesterday:

Quick look at the new kitchen floor.

Quick look at the new kitchen floor.

Today the living room gets done, then work progresses into the laundry room. Tonight’s task for me is getting the washer & dryer out of the way so the contractors can get the flooring in tomorrow. Time to call in the heavy artillery (Zach) to help with the washer & the behemoth laundry cabinet. Gonna be a joy.


Of course, the stair treads aren’t due to arrive till Thursday sometime (a week late!!!) and the contractors will be getting antsy to move on.  We’ll see how that goes.  I think we’ll be fine – contractor seems like a solid guy.  It’ll work out.


In other news, I snuck out and got in some bowling in the afternoon.  Good lord, I never realized the effort required from your forearm, back and legs.  Bowling alone may have something to do with that too – the frequency of throwing is much higher and those 15 pound balls aren’t going to move themselves!  It’s good to be able to be active again.  Last check in with the surgeon tomorrow too.  Just about 6 months from the surgery date and I will be officially done.  Still have strengthening to do, but at least I can now go at more aggressive pace.

Rough Year to be Me

Day 3028

Bad year to be me.

Lets count the ways!

1 Swimmers ear, Mexico, right side (thank god for OTC prescription level drugs in Mexico!)

2 Swimmers ear, NY, 3x right, left, right

3 Sore Elbow, right (tendonitis?)

4 Really sore elbow, right (still tendonitis?)

5 Swimmers ear, left

6 Torn biceps tendon (NOT tendonitis!)

7 Worst golf season ever (see 3, 4, & 6)

8 Surgery for #6

9 Swimmers ear, left

10 Middle ear infection, left

11 ineffective antibiotic, 10 days – 5 of them in NOLA (didn’t suck too bad)

12 New antibiotic, wiped out the buggers

13 Opportunistic fungal infection, left ear

14 Less than stellar reaction to fungal medication

15 There’s 25 days left this year – I’m still afraid.

On the other hand, good stuff happened too.

1 Got to vacation in Cancun

2 Came back from vacation to start a new, permanent, full time job with good pay.

3 Got a new primary physician in my neighborhood – not across town.

4 Quality time with the amazing little granddaughter (Monkey pants – because she NEVER stops moving)

5 Had a successful surgery to repair my tendon and really experienced very little pain throughout the entire process.

6 Got to enjoy a family reunion in Gloucester.  (The bad? – we’re responsible for planning the 2103 reunion for the other half of the clan)

7 Enjoyed another trip to New Orleans, in spite of the simmering ear infection at the time.

8 Monkey pants turned a whole 1 year old and is just an amazing little thing to watch.  She’s developing a vocabulary and is starting to explore developing an attitude too.

There had to be more that was good, I’m just not remembering it all.  4 & 8 ought to count triple too.  Those wee ones are a trip!  Oh yeah – we get to take her Christmas tree hunting this weekend.  Snow or not (likely not, L)

Some pics I owe

Arm Update:

12 weeks post surgery.  Scar is wider, but overall it's flatter too.

12 weeks post surgery. Scar is wider, but overall it’s flatter too.

Chicks dig scars, right?

Standing at the top of the stairs, looking down towards the entrance to my lab.  I counted 19 courses of cinder block, plus probably another 8 that are hidden in the shot.  How far is that?

25 courses of cinder block floor to floor

25 courses of cinder block floor to floor

Here’s the shot looking back up:

No, I don't know how many steps.  Too many is a good guess.

No, I don’t know how many steps. Too many is a good guess.

And a gratuitous shot of the cutest 1 year old on the planet eating her birthday cake:

You can tell she's a girl - not really messy eating that cake at all!

You can tell she’s a girl – not really messy eating that cake at all!

Well, reports to write, part specs to scrutinize.  Gonna be an exciting afternoon.

Number 6

Day 2966

Number 6 as in that’s how many ear infections I’ve had this year. Lets count them:

#1 – In Cancun in January, probably from snorkeling. Thank heavens for being able to get antibiotic ear drops over the counter there. Cleared up before the flight home. That was the right ear.

#2 – March-ish. Probably from slipping underwater in the hot tub. Used my Mexican ear drops again. Right ear, again.

#3 – April. Hot tub again. Went to see the doctor, got a script for American ear drops. Again, right ear.

#4 – September. Felt it start up the day of my arm surgery. Left ear this time. Ear drops again sufficed.

#5 – Last week. Right ear, just a quickie, ear drops wiped it out quick. Oddly enough it was a day or two after I got my left ear irrigated. It got plugged up with hair, ceruman and flaky shit left over from the previous weeks ear infection. I saw what the nurse washed out of my ear. Surprised there wasn’t a boot in there.

#6 – Now. Unlike the previous 5 that were “swimmers ear” this one morphed into full fledged “otitis media”. Doc looked inside my ear and started writing the prescription immediately. Left ear again. Maybe that previous infection never went away? We fly to New Orleans in the morning!! I have ethyl-methyl-deadly-shit antibiotics and a box of sudafeds. Going to do everything I can to dry up this ear before we fly. Right now it’s so plugged I can’t hear squat on that side. That really sucks when your going someplace known for the sheer volume & quality of music on hand.

Neat party trick – if I hold my nose tight and blow, I can send fluid up my left Eustacian tube and out my ear. I’ve drenched a couple kleenexes with this bit of fun.

In good news, my arm is moving along slightly ahead of schedule. The flexibility is coming back quicker than the PT gal expects. I’ve advanced to doing pronation/supination exercises with a soup ladle instead of empty handed, so we’re working in the rudimentary strength stuff. She also loaded me up with enough ortho sox to last through the trip.

Here’s immediately after stitches were pulled:

13-ish stitches out. I had anticipated only the cut along the creases of my inner elbow. The two running up & down my arm were for a fishing expedition. Had to go find the tattered remains of my tendon.

And here’s surgery + 22 (stitches out +12):

Some of Zorro’s early work. The crease of my elbow is just to the right (up my arm) of the cut that runs across the arm. Big freakin lump under that thing too.

I get to take my splint off at my desk, and I’ve been taking it off to eat (SO much easier!). Still wear it at night because you just never know what kind of stupid stunts your arm is going to pull when you’re not paying attention. I am still under strict orders to not straighten it out fully. So? HAve to put up with a little nuisance when sleeping. Beats the hell out of going through the surgery again.

Maybe I’ll drop in with a quickie post from NOLA – tease you with the good music & better food.

The progression

Day 2955, Surgery +10

If a picture is worth 1000 words, I’m about to drop 5 or 6k in your lap. Words, not $$. IT would take some fierce bartering to get $5K out of me right about now.

Anyhow. In the beginning. A severely damaged biceps tendon lurks beneath the surface: (Click to embiggen!)

My arm and a little office space. Morning of the surgery.

About 30 minutes after getting home from surgery:

Me and Sponge Bob, hanging out at home immediately post surgery. My right hand and arm are still profoundly numb at this point.

What the wrap looked like without Sponge Bob:

The wrap/cast without Sponge Bob. The whole mess weighed maybe 3 – 4 pounds.

This one may be considered slightly graphic. I’m leaving you some room so you can decide to fast forward through this one:

13-ish stitches out. I had anticipated only the cut along the creases of my inner elbow. The two running up & down my arm were for a fishing expedition. Had to go find the tattered remains of my tendon.

My stylin’ new splint!! All decorated for our trip to New Orleans in 12 days.

My Mardi Gras splint. In real life the colors are much closer to green, purple & gold. Really. Hoping to barter it for free cover into a decent jazz lounge.

I’m enjoying a slightly greater degree of freedom. The new splint can be removed for showers, and I can get the incision wet. Unfortunately, I can’t go hot tubbing yet as there is a corner on the cut that isn’t quite healed yet. Once it scabs over and that scab then clears away, I’m ready for a good soaking.

Also have to admit that the pain hasn’t been too bad. Some things hurt, like that reactive reach for something that’s falling. I’ve done that 2 or 3 times. Not fun at all. My current weight limit is a cup of coffee. Some days, it needs to be in a styrofoam cup, other days a ceramic mug is fine. It’s all about the angles.

Still have to eat lefty. Because of the splint I can’t bend my elbow enough to get even a long fork to my mouth. Consequently, I’m eating slower. This will have benefits, I’m sure. Other stuff hasn’t been as difficult as I feared either. Shaving is a challenge, but I’m getting better. Getting deodorant under my left arm is surprisingly challenging. Hadn’t anticipated that.

One other thing really surprised me. My surgery was scheduled for early afternoon. For this surgical center, that meant there were a dozen or so people (at least) that went through ahead of me. When I was done in recovery and it was time to get dressed, the nurse asked my what I brought for pants. Here’s what I remember of the discussion:

Nurse Chapel, “Time to get dressed. What did you bring for pants?”
Wonderful patient (that’s me!), ” I thought about this last week! I brought sweat pants.”
Nurse Chapel, “Really! You’re the first person who had hand or arm surgery today that didn’t bring button/zip pants!”
Quizzical patient (me again!), “Really? How did these people think they were getting dressed?”
Nurse Chapel, “It was a struggle, I’ll tell you! Now what did you bring for shoes?”
Wonderful patient, “Slippers”

I thought she was going to kiss me. What the hell are people thinking? You’re going in to get your arm fixed, you have to anticipate that you’re not going to have the use of your arm for a few days, how the hell are you going to fasten the button on a pair of jeans?

Seriously? I bought 3 pair of dressy scrub pants. That’s all I’ve worn since the surgery. Well, sweats around the house, but scrubs to work. Going to try jeans/khaki’s tonight, see if I can muster the oomph to button them. I REALLY need to get back on my better eating plan. Especially now that I really can’t exercise.

Last funny part. Well, to me anyhow. The gal that fit my splint asked me how I was with rules. I told her she better make her rules as conservative as possible, because I have a tendency to search for the limits. She also asked how I was on equipment. I laughed and told her heck, I ripped up my tendon GOLFING! I’m rough on everything, including me!

My splint is made of the thickest material they had on hand.

Ok, one more funny part. Again with the splint gal. The way things worked, I pretty much had my arm stretched across a table with her on the other side. As she was fittting and trimming my splint, she’s moving around, getting to the best spot for leverage, etc. I felt a quick brush of fabric early in the proceedings and looked up from what she was working on. That brush of fabric was her smock, right at the lower edge of her rib cage (I think). Had I lifted my hand, I’d probably been rewarded with a face slap. I can’t count the number of times I had to curl my wrist, just to avoid getting a handful of boob as she worked.

There was a Red Cross Blood donor gal that did the same thing to me once.

Oh, the things I’ve had to suffer!!:)

T-3 Hours to Surgery

Day 2944

My surgery isn’t till 12;30 this afternoon, so I came in to work to knock off a few tests. Great distraction. For posterity’s sake, I have a couple pictures of my virgin antecubital fossa (inside the elbow bend). See those nice creases right at the bend? I’ll have a new one – the scar – about an inch towards my hand from my elbow. If the doctor humors me next week, I’ll get a shot of it before he pulls the stitches out. Just because I like that stuff.

Last look at the virgin arm:

My virgin antecubital fossa!

My arm & a little office space

See you on the other side!