Thursday, January 31, 2013
Waist = 37.0"
Height = 5' 9"
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Here's the context, in case you don't want to read the previous post that this is a continuation of. My washing machine's spin cycle is weak due to a faulty transmission. So I was using my bare hands to wring water from my freshly washed clothes before I put them into the dryer.
I wouldn't mind a simple transmission design that would let me choose the gear or pulley for the cycle that needed to run. Sure, I wouldn't be able to start a load of laundry, go out for an hour, and then just come back and expect to transfer the completed load over to the dryer. But I'd expect such a machine to last much longer than eight years, or at least be much easier to repair and maintain.
Actually, this wasn't the first thought I had along these lines. I was actually wishing for a simple wringer that I could use to easily squeeze out excess water from my clothes. Then I thought of the manual transmission.
Lastly my thought was this: why bother with a machine at all? Why couldn't I revert back to the days when we would agitate the tub of clothes with a large wooden paddle or a hand crank? Then I'd be able to wash clothes and get in a good workout at the same time.
But today, things are different. We buy time-saving appliances that enable us to go off to work at a job to earn enough money to pay for them and repair them. Now I know why today's typical household needs two wage earners to make ends meet, whereas fifty years ago, a single income was all that was needed.
In researching wringers, I came across this wonderful blog post of a washing machine soul mate. I would love this, but, of course, my wife would shriek at me with so much intensity, it would blow the clothes right off my body, and there'd be nothing left to wash.
Monday, January 28, 2013
Our washing machine hasn't been spinning out the water too well lately. The repairman said that the transmission was shot.
We can still use the machine, and we do. But at the end of the last spin cycle, the clothes are soaked with water. They're not quite dripping, but I can wring out water from the items. I get the most water from a towel that's at the bottom of the load.
I was wringing out the clothes last night when I had two ideas about washing machines. I'll write about just one of them in this post.
The first idea came about because I decided to wring out each article of clothing into a bucket right at the machine rather than at the sink five feet away behind me. Lately I've been getting dizzy and off balance from making such short abrupt movements. So at first, I just wanted to eliminate moving back and forth the between the washing machine and the sink. But then it occurred to me that I could pour the wrung out water back into the washing machine and use it for the next load. (I already pour in water from the dehumidifier.)
Then it occurred to me that the last tub of water in the machine is essentially clean water or at least a little soapy. So rather than discharge that water into the drain, it could be diverted into a reservoir near the washer. Then you could pump that water back into the tub at the start of the next load of laundry. That would save
one whole tub of water each time. One caveat is that you wouldn't want to use liquid fabric softener -- it would neutralize the detergent of the next load.
The same idea could work with the dishwasher, too. But there would need to be a way to heat the water efficiently. That would entail another hot water heater in the house.
Even if you don't want to reuse the water for your dishwasher or washing machine, it could be used to flush the toilets. That would also entail an investment in plumbing.
Probably the easiest way to reduce water use is to divert rainwater from the roof and collect it in rain barrels. And have I done that? Regrettably I have not.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Waist = 37.0"
Height = 5' 9"
Sunday, January 20, 2013
This is a vegetarian meal, BTW.
1 Here are step-by-step instructions for the "egg crust" part of the recipe:
- Pre-heat an 8" fry pan on medium heat. (I use a cast iron pan on an electric stove. This has more heat capacity and lag than an aluminum pan on a gas burner.) Add 1 tbsp (15 ml) ghee and coat the bottom and sides. I use the same pan that I fried the vegetables in, so it's heated well and uniform.
- Crack two whole eggs into a bowl. Add 1 tsp (5 ml) of water. You could also add a dash of Tabasco sauce, if you want a little excitement. Break the yokes and scramble well until the yellow and white are well-blended.
- Gently add the scrambled egg to the fry pan. Try to not displace the ghee, otherwise the egg might stick. The pan is at the right temperature if the egg sizzles but not too forcefully.
- Reduce heat to low and cover for about three minutes to steam-cook the top side of the egg which will get nice and fluffy.
- Lift the cover and check that the top side of the egg is no longer liquid. Then flip the egg.
- Add the fried vegetable topping, keeping it away from the edge about 2cm. Add salt, pepper, chile powder as desired.
- Place the cheese on top. I buy mozzarella cheese in blocks and hand slice it, so my slices come out 2-3mm thick. I use four slices to ensure complete coverage.
- Turn off the heat and place the cover on the pan. Let it sit for about five minutes, or until the cheese has melted.
- Lift out of the pan into your plate with a spatula (or eat directly from the pan). I eat this with a fork -- it's way too floppy to pick up by hand as with a real pizza.
Saturday, January 19, 2013
Not long after the sleep study, the respiratory therapist showed up at my home for a morning appointment. This was the exciting day I would start using my CPAP machine, which was programmed to inflate my airway with enough pressure to keep it open all night long. Tonight would be the first of many nights in my own bed without sleep apnea.
"Jenny" introduced the machine to me -- a ResMed S8 Escape. She explained the one and only setting that I could adjust -- the ramp-up time to full pressure. It also came with a humidifier, but since it was August, we decided to leave it unconnected.
She also fitted me for a mask -- the Fisher Paykel FlexiFit. It felt like the same one that I wore during the sleep study, designed to fit over the nose only. She explained how to put it on and take it off, as well as how to adjust the Velcro straps to make it tighter or looser. It felt snug but not uncomfortable, at least for the 30 seconds I had it on for. And when she started up the machine, it made an airtight seal.
Now I realize it may seem odd that this woman was at my home helping me with a device that I would use while in bed. So let me pause here to explain that we were seated at the kitchen table, both fully clothed, and my wife was puttering about in the background.
I slept very well that night, despite looking like I had an alien attached to my face, and despite the purr of the novel machine and the Darth-Vadar-like sound of my own breathing. I felt somewhat refreshed the next morning. However, I was bothered by the sore spot on the bridge of my nose where the mask was the most snug. The area was bright red with a few yellow oozing pimples.
"That's a nasty staph infection you got," my wife said. "You better call the doctor and get some antibiotic."
"Nawh, I'll just wash it and put some ointment on it."
"Don't fool around! If that gets into your eye you could go blind!" she replied, in a tone that was far from reassuring.
I did not call the doctor right away, but I did call the CPAP machine supplier. I had read all the literature. The mask was supposed to come with two seals, but I had only one, which was marked "small." The other seal, which I did not have, would have been marked "medium." So I explained the problem of the staph infection and the missing seal. They promised to send a new seal out to me in the mail.
The literature also directed the patient to wash the mask with warm soap and water between each use and let it air dry. It's very likely that the mask was contaminated with some bacteria either from Jenny or myself or from whoever placed the mask components into the kit. Or the bacteria may have been present on my face. In fact we're covered with all sorts of bacteria just waiting for a break in the skin in order gain a foothold and multiply.
The infection only got worse, so I went in to see the doctor the very next day. I started on a course of oral antibiotics and kept it covered with a topical, over-the-counter ointment.
Eventually the infection cleared up and the new, medium-sized seal arrived. I washed everything thoroughly. At bedtime I carefully readjusted the Velcro to achieve the minimum tightness that would prevent air from escaping. As well, I turned off the ramp feature. I found that I could set the fit too loose and sometimes not realize it until after the machine reached full pressure. It was better for me to start the machine off at the final pressure and then adjust the mask.
I never could get the larger seal to fit properly. During the night the mask would shift slightly and allow air to escape, usually near one of my eyes. Every time I'd try the small seal, I get the sore, red mark. So I settled on the medium seal. However, I should've requested another brand or style of mask. As I lie on my back, I like to arrange the hose so that it goes straight from the mask under the covers to my belly button, and I hold it in place with my two hands as if clutching a teddy bear to my chest. This keeps the mask from shifting too much.
After a few months I stopped washing the mask and went a long time nearly without incident. The incident occurred when we went on vacation to Mount Pocono. I brought the CPAP machine and mask with me. In the act of packing and unpacking, the mask probably got contaminated because after the first night in the hotel, I had that infection again. I wound up calling my doctor from afar. But because it was the weekend, I spoke with the doctor on call and had to explain the whole business with the mask and the infection. No problem. He called the prescription in to the nearby (and ubiquitous) CVS pharmacy, with which I had an account in my home state. They had all my records stored electronically, even my insurance information. So I bought the antibiotic, plus some ointment and bandages for the rest of the vacation.
This vacation-infection scenario played out once again. Then I got smart and decided to wash the mask while on vacation with it.
Anyway, I really like the CPAP machine despite its imperfections. I have been wearing it for about six and a half years every night for the entire night except when I was too congested to breathe through my nose. It, along with my special diet, has made a big improvement in my life.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Find someone who's struggling and help him or her.
Last night, I experienced euphoria. I was picking up my daughter from school. One of the other moms was stuck. She couldn't start her car -- the battery was weak. I drove over, hooked up my jumper cables, and gave her a boost. Also I popped open the battery filler ports and showed her that the water was low. The woman I helped was my daughter's friend's mom, too.
She was so grateful, and so was my daughter. But I am even more grateful for the opportunity to make a real difference in someone's life. And I get another topic for my blog.
How do you become euphoric?
1 Euphoria would be a good name for a rock band. In fact, it is the name of a rock band!
I started a new, more powerful antibiotic last night, plus Medrol. I noticed some improvement this morning and all day long.
Waist = 37.0"
Height = 5' 9"
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Unfortunately wall-mounted planters are not common, at least not those made for indoor use of a certain size and color. So when I saw a white vase with rectangular base, I decided I'd figure out a way to hang it on the wall. True it doesn't have drainage holes, but I figured this was a close as I was going to get. Besides, the previous planter seemed to work out well.
|White Vase -- 10" x 4" x 12"|
|Wire Handles From a Turkey Roasting Pan|
The wire is heavier than that of a standard wire coat hanger. I could bend it properly only by first locking it into a vise. I knew it would be strong enough to hold the planter. What I ended up with is something that looks a lot like a plate holder. But there is a very important extra piece of wire that I bent to clip onto the vase from behind the main piece of wire. It prevents the vase from toppling away from the wall. Since the wire is steel, and since it will be used in a bathroom, it will be important to paint it to keep it from rusting.
|Wire Bracket For Mounting Rectangular Vase on the Wall|
While I was taking pictures, I figured I'd include a shot of a miniature trellis I made from green-dyed bamboo. I tied the four pieces together with green twisty-ties. Our first cat's hindquarters can be seen in the upper left of the photo.
|Green-Dyed Bamboo Trellis|
Here's a shot of the finished result. I chose to plant several cuttings of Golden Pathos, a plant that I've had in my living areas since the mid 1980s. The plant is hardy and fast growing. It will not only tolerate cramped root system, it actually prefers it that way. Which is important, given that I don't want to repot this planter for a very long time.
There is a white plastic shield juttng out from the bottom of the planter. I formed this from a large container of cat litter. It has two purposes. First, it prevents the wire from scratching the planter. Second, it hides the wires so that my wife can't tell that I used scrap materials to make the hanger.
Now, actually, my wife's reaction was that it looks like a paper towel holder, especially with the white shield in place. So I took it off, and she saw the wire, and she actually preferred it that way. But I had put away the camera, so I don't have that picture handy.
Saturday, January 12, 2013
I brushed off the sinus infection thinking that with my low-inflammation diet, herbal remedies, neti pot, steam treatments, Reiki and over-the-counter decongestants that I could recover without medical intervention. But after a while not even the Sudafed could open my nasal passages, so steam and neti pot became futile.
My condition worsened while off from work for Christmas. And I was surprised. I had expected to improve once we had a nice layer of snow to seal off the mold from leaf decay. It was the waves of throbbing head pain that clinched it. Not wanting to start 2013 sick, I decided to finally visit my Primary Care Physician (PCP) on New Years Eve Day.
He prescribed Ceftin and recommended Mucinex and steam treatments. I discontinued the Sudafed. It wasn't working, and it would only increase my borderline high intraocular pressure (glaucoma). Very soon I started to improve. The headache was gone within several hours. I was thrilled with every wrinkled, dense, yellowish-green booger I could dislodge.
But after four days I stopped improving, reached a plateau, and thereafter slowly got worse. With one day's dose of Ceftin remaining, I called the doctor and explained the problem. He responded with a prescription for Medrol and Levaquin. Yes, this was what I needed. I've been through this once before, and the combination of a systemic steroid and powerful antibiotic (plus a steroidal nasal inhaler) restored me several years ago.
I'm on Day Four of the six-day course of Medrol and ten-day antibiotic. If I were to just stay as well as I am now, I'll be happy.
I 've heard from others in my circle who are also battling their own sinus infections. One theory for this confluence of illness is that mold developed here in the Northeast from the flooding from Hurricane Sandy and aggravated many.
How has your health been in 2013?
Thursday, January 10, 2013
12 Dozen Places To Educate Yourself Online For Free
I started a new, more powerful antibiotic last night, plus Medrol. I noticed some improvement this morning and all day long.
Waist = 36.25"
Height = 5' 9"
Sunday, January 6, 2013
It seems to function as a cup holder, but I'm trying to figure out how. I fill a paper cup with red wine and place it on the left side of the center dowel. There is another thicker piece sticking up from this part of the gadget, too, but I don't notice it until I try to place the cup there. So I cut the cup to make it shorter and then place it on the gadget. Now it seems to fit. But i still can't figure out the purpose of the intricate piece or how to operate it.
At that moment my cousin Karen walks in and greets everyone all at once. I respond with a smile and a "hi" in chorus with my other relatives. My cousin Donald is with Karen, too, but I remain silent when my family greets him. Why? Because he's dead. I know that he died about 30 years ago. He also looks different. The Donald I knew had blonde hair and blue eyes. This man-child has dark hair and dark eyes.
Knowing that I am in a dream, I attempt to accept that this is really my dead cousin, so I focus on him and ask him how things are on the Other Side. But the dream fades before he can give me a meaningful response.
[After typing this in, I looked up Donald's date of birth in my mother's old record to see if it was today. But it wasn't.]
I'm looking out the back window absentmindedly. I see the unmistakeable silhouette of a portable radio that's sitting on the ground. I'm dismayed because I know that the radio will be ruined soon if it's not brought inside. It might already be ruined.
I talk to my wife on the intercom. She's in the main part of the house, so the intercom is the only way I can reach her from here. I ask her if we have a portable radio because if we do, it's outside in the rain and needs to be brought inside. She doesn't know anything about it and is unconcerned. I was hoping she'd just go and get it, but that's not going to happen.
So I get up from my repose and go outside with just my regular clothes and rain boots on. By now the rain has tapered off to just a very light sprinkle, and I can feel no soaking rain. But I can feel the soft ground pulling at my boots each time I lift my foot to take a step.
I reach the radio, which is beside a tiny but swelling stream. I find that the radio is still on and operating, even though the power button is dim and the sound is very low and distorted as if the battery has run down to almost nothing. I pick it up, pulling it out of the two inches of ground it had settled into. I notice that the radio is facing away from my house, so I walk in the direction that it's facing, which is downhill, hoping to find its owners.
It is rocky and wooded. There is no clear path, and I doubt whether I can go far and whether I can make it back. There is a steep decent. I'll need both hands free in order to get down without falling. Then I see another way on an outcropping of solid rock. The slope down is steep. There's no way I want to walk down. It's wet, narrow and steep. So I sit down at the top and work my way down like a two year old uses his bottom to go down a flight of stairs.
I manage very well. But now I'm at the halfway point, and the grade steepens even more. There's no way I can maintain control of my descent, so I lean back and allow myself to slide down the rest of the way. I finally reach the bottom without harm, and I'm relieved. I look around and see a tall narrow brown house with a few cars parked around it about 100 yards away. I easily walk toward it.
I'm standing at the front door of the house looking for a doorbell or a spot on the door to knock on. But I notice a dark tortoise shell cat in the open kitchen window to the right of the door. Beyond the cat I see the mom at the kitchen sink that's situated at another window on the right side of the house. There's no need to knock -- the cat has heralded my arrival like dog, so I simply wait for the woman to dry her hands and come to let me in. Instead, she signals for me to come in, so I let myself in.
As I walk in I hold up the radio and explain how I found it and that it still works. The woman is Hispanic and has two children. She is friendly and neither very well off nor poor, and I feel comfortable with her. The cat is walking between my legs and clawing and biting at my feet, ankles and calves as any good watch cat should do. Then I see her (the cat) grab a thin board in her teeth and drag it around. The thin board is about eight inches by 36 inches and is designed to close off a gap between a cabinet and a closet. The board has a D-shaped cutout in it that's about the size of a banana. The cat sleeps in that gap at night, and the board is used to contain her.
Friday, January 4, 2013
All I did was think to ask my wife, "Who does this song?" and I started laughing.
Naturally, she looked at me as if I were a moron and asked, "What's so funny?"
After another fit of laughter, I managed to say, "I was just thinking how funny it would be if I asked you, 'Who does this song?'"
"The Who does this song."
"No, no, you're supposed to say 'Yes.'"
"But Yes didn't do the song. It was The Who," she said, earnestly.
The hilarity of the situation was more than I could bear. Tears were forming in my eyes. I couldn't speak, she was so stiflingly serious.
Annoyed she stated, "Well, I'm glad I don't have to occupy myself trying to keep you amused. One less thing for me to worry about."
"But it's a joke!" I tried to explain, between gasps for air.
"It must be that anti-biotic you're taking. Mental changes."
Eventually I managed to dry my eyes and leave for work.
You get it, don't you?
Thursday, January 3, 2013
You can choose to believe that the hardship will last forever (permanent), that it will affect all areas of your life (pervasive), and that it is direct solely at you (personal). Or you can take a more realistic approach and realize that nothing lasts forever, that the setback alters just one relationship or activity (in the case of a break up or a layoff) and that these things happen to everyone at one time or another -- it doesn't indicate that the universe is "out to get you."
Click here to read the article in full.
1 Depression and Resilience, Neurology Now: March/April 2010 - Volume 6 - Issue 2 - p 18–25 doi: 10.1097/01.NNN.0000370189.53041.59
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Waist = 36.25"
Height = 5' 9"
It's later, and I've just gone to bed. It's too bright in the room, so i get back up and go to the window to adjust the shade, which hasn't been pulled down far enough. I adjust it carefully so that the bottom lines up with the window sill. As I do I look outside and see an amazing full moon setting in the West. (This does not strike me as odd even though I'm aware that a full moon at that hour should be rising in the East.)
My mind wanders about how much I appreciate it when someone cooks supper for me. I then think about some of the easy suppers I can cook, such as a reheated can of beans. I start to think that I should walk across the campus to get something, but then I decide against it.
Then I remember that I never searched the apartment to see if someone else was in it. So I get up again and go into the main area. I see the sticks again -- still there. I go through some closet doors that don't open / close properly. These are small and are sub-divided with drawers in them. "Why am I checking small drawers like this?" I ask myself. There's a tan shoulder bag on the floor with many zipper compartments. I open a few and see some small items. They are not mine -- neither is the bag. But I don't find any papers or an ID. I conclude that the bag belongs to someone else who uses this apartment occasionally. It's amazing that I've never met him. Then I see a larger bag that's also tan. I check that one, too. As I open the main zipper compartment, I hear a mechanical sound, like a printer or fax machine. After i get it open all the way, I see that it's a printer. The last thing that's printed is "PDO OPEN" like a status. It's monitoring itself and keeping a status log! Perhaps it's also reporting back to whomever it belongs to! I close the zipper carefully (so as not to generate any unnecessary status messages) and leave it alone.
I am baffled.
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
I look up in the sky and see several iron girders lined up end to end but with a few gaps where girders are missing. They are not suspended -- they are somehow, improbably, floating in the sky.
At another location, I'm watching a fence installation. A coworker, the Erp guy TM is concerned about how his wooden fence section will look next to the other non-wood section. The other section has elements that are oriented horizontally, but his wooden fence has vertical slats. So he changes his fence design so that the slats are horizontal, and so it looks like a log cabin. It's a better match with the other section. But he's still concerned that the other section of fence has openings that allow someone to look through it. So I suggest some black fabric like material to staple on the inside of the fence. We have something we can use at work. I find some black foam sleeves and show him how to cut them so they make a flat material rather than a tube. But the foam is very porous and does little to block one's vision. I also see stacks of anti-static foam, which is undoubtedly expensive. That dense material is certainly opaque, but because it is so expensive, I do not suggest using it.