Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

Thanksgiving post. Probably every blog writer and his dog are going to punish the readers with a sappy thankful turkey day missive today, and I am no exception.

Sort of.

You already know I'm thankful surviving my crash and remaining alive and able to be a productive member of society. 

I have been reflecting a bit on the past, and came up with a few things....

  • if I had to have a divorce, I'm thankful that it was amicable and she was generous enough to let me keep the house and all of my stuff. 
  • I've got a few good friends that (maybe they don't know it) have stimulated my creativity and helped me to be a better woodworker 
  • I like pie
Everyone has a holiday tradition, right? Some sit home alone moping and resentful. Some that are alone make the best of it, and do something to ensure they're not alone for the holiday. Some overdo everything, causing themselves and everyone around them so much stress and anxiety....trying to make everything perfect, trying to do everything just right, just like the way they have always done it. 

And there's some comfort in that. I wish I could go to Grandma's on Christmas eve to eat chili and marvel at the greasy milk with lumps of snot ("oyster stew"). I miss Grandpa asking every time I'd see him the last week of June and until his birthday "did you get it yet?". 

But life changes, and circumstances change, and therefore traditions change. The last few years I've spent several holidays alone. Home alone, just George and I. 



So I created a new tradition. On holidays I find something I want to make and I make it. One year on Independence day, I made a pallet flag. I thought I had made a post about that, but I can't find it. I took step by step pics with the intention. 
Yes, I know, it only has 48 stars. 

Just this last New Years day I made a shelf for my kitchen. I can't find the pic, come visit. 

Today, thanks to Kelly for the inspiration: 
 Susie painted and took home these next 2:
 and here's mine. Instead of just painting on eyes, nose, buttons and mouth, I cut slices of wood to give it depth, texture, excitement. Those that know me well may recognize the scarf as one of the striped shirts that I wore often, but reluctantly. Often in hopes of wearing it out, reluctantly because fat guys shouldn't wear horizontal stripes according to the experts. I don't think the shirt was ever going to wear out, so I cut it up so I could quit wearing it.
The wood came from the Stewartville brush dump, in March. It's been laying next to my driveway since then, and is getting a little rotten. I like the colours of the maple, even though it's not traditional for a snowman. Of course, it's not traditional for a snowman to be made from wood. 

Why does a snowman have buttons? I think I'm going to add some arms.

Friends, be thankful for what you have, and make the best of it. If you don't have what you want, do what you need to do to get it. If you don't know what you need to do, ask me for advice. 

edit: I'm thankful for being able to realize my limitations. Some friends have sent pics of things they want, and I'm able to make those things. I'd never have thought to make these things without the inspiration. I guess what I'm saying and started to say above: I'm thankful for the friends that provide the inspiration, the challenges. And I'm thankful for the ability to figure out how to make these things. To gauge size by a pic, etc. And being able to get over the lack of initial creativity. 

If you look closely, you can see that the snowman has 3d eyes, nose, mouth and buttons. I added arms, but not symmetrical arms. Don't judge.....LOL

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

10 weeks recovery

Yes, I know today is Wednesday, and 10 weeks since the crash was on Sunday. But guess what? On Sunday afternoon, I was busy gathering wood for a project.

 On Sunday evening, I was busy watching the moon rise. 
On Monday I was at my community ed class. Tuesday night uhhhhhhhhhhhhh I don't remember what I did; I think I celebrated my printer working, by printing a huge file. Don't worry, nothing has changed....

Last Tuesday, election day I went to see my doctor, for a couple things. Mainly to talk about the victoza. She had reviewed my file from UWMadison and says I'm doing more great than any of you think. I told her it's because I'm from Iowa, but she didn't seem impressed. I went in search of the file, and found it, read some of the CTscan notes. Friends....I am a lucky dude. I think my head bled more than I initially thought. Kinda reads like it bled on 2 sides. And I punctured a kidney, but never had any blood in the pee.....that I could see. 

I had a little dizzy spell on Sunday after watching the moon. I notice a somewhat sharp pain in my abdomen when I sneeze. I'll do a little ab massage, and have George focus his purrs. LOL

I know you're wondering what class I'm taking. Or did I already mention it? I can't remember. Seems like I hardly ever remember what I post here...and it used to be that I'd always remember what I'd write...but that was when I was taking notes in high school. 

If I recall, the doc said that most people would be just now peeling themselves out of the recliner. I said I was back to work at 2 weeks.  Do most people have more tolerance for sitting around? Am I not smart enough to take it easy and rest to recover? I dunno.....I'm pretty sure that I only overdid things a couple times and not too severely. I don't think those times set me back at all....except on the Jenga project. But I finally got it done.

I built this for my community ed class projects. That was some hard wire....but I think I should have made the base just a bit larger.

What else can I tell you? My elbow does not like being used as a "kickstand" (can't prop myself on it). Recovery complete? 

Sunday, November 06, 2016

recovery, 9 weeks

For the last hour, I've been sitting here berating myself for being so out of shape. Then I listed what I accomplished, and I don't feel too bad about it. I worked in the basement for a few hours this morning, had a nap and lunch, then went out to do a few things outside. 

I didn't tell you the last 2 weeks, but the last two Sundays, I didn't go outside at all. 

And I wonder that I'm out of shape? LOL. After lunch, I cleaned my gutters. Always best to plan it when there's no plans to give anyone a massage, because it makes my hands smell bad for a day or so. Yes, I wash. The gutters were clear full, as usual, and the locust and elm tree are still covered with leaves. I may get to do it again! Yay!. One gutter to downspout connection needed repair, so that was fixed.

While the ladder is out, I better trim the tree from scraping the roof of the garage. That fiberglass pole saw has come in very handy over the years. Actually the saw sucks, but the small branch lopper is great. Just hook it over the branch and pull the rope. Do it too much tho and you'll have a sore chest.  Don't ask me how I know. LOL BTW, it helps a lot to lube pivot points of the mechanism.

Mow the lawn. Remember I mowed the flat section on week 2, and it hasn't been mowed since. Lucky it's been dry, I guess. It was much easier to start the mower today than that day, too. Maybe recovery helping. Wearing shoes also helps, can you imagine? Not going to trim....not even tempted. 


Sweep patio, haul freshly trimmed branches to the firepit. 2 wheelbarrow loads of leaves and twigs. Should be interesting, I'll put the 2 buckets of sawdust over the leaves, and then burn my bucket of scraps. Not sure when. Do you want to come over for the fire? Could make smores......last time I did that: built the fire on top of a pile of sawdust, the sawdust smoldered for about 3 days till it finally burned itself out, despite watering it before I went to bed. I've emptied the scrap bucket 3 times this year, it's a 32 gallon trash can...and the scraps are all short.

Put hose into new hose reel and store in garage. I don't like how it looked when it wrapped up, looks like the hose kinked. Normally I like kinks, but not in this application of the hose.

I guess all of that only took 2 hours. Driving a bus all day every day isn't good for me....but I hate the idea of giving up my shop time to exercise. Seems like shop time is (should be) exercise! 

Two years ago on Thanksgiving, a friend dropped off a whiskey barrel that he used as a rain barrel for a number of years, and it's been sitting on my patio ever since....I can't think of what to do with the pieces. It's rather weathered oak....and when I moved it today, the ungrateful fucker stuck a splinter into my index finger under the nail.  I understand very well why that was used as torture. 

Recovery. I had something I was going to tell you, thought of it last week. It was pretty good, too. Oh well...it's gone now. Can I still blame the concussion?

Got the hospital bill, and it's not as much as expected. However. If I pay $100/month, it'll take 70 years.....and I don't plan to live for 70 years. So that pic thingy you've seen on FB: I'm scheduled to work up till noon on the day of my funeral....that's me. Bill indicates that insurance hasn't contributed anything. Guess I'll have to call them. But....who? the hospital or the insurance company? Maybe send the bill to oBama....since he has made it so affordable, and whatever.

Maybe I was going to comment on my sleeping? I recall complaining about it once. Sleep is good. When the bed is not hard, I always sleep well. Well, that one time in February a couple years ago I didn't sleep very well for a while. But we're not talking about that.  Used to be (since the crash) that I'd have a dizzy spell when I'd lay down in bed, but that has pretty much gone away.  I've not had occasion to assume that weird bend to the left and turn the head to look up position for a while. 

Actually. Maybe I sort of did today, when I kinda washed the basement windows. I say kinda because all I did was take a wet cloth and wash the dirt off of them. And I also wiped the screen on the other windows. (that makes a lot of difference....if you're washing your windows, try washing your screens too). It'll be nice to have a little more light in the basement. But I don't remember being dizzy today when doing that. Hmmmmmmmmmmm

Everything else, though, seems ok. I feel a slight irritation/discomfort when putting a left sock on the right foot. J/K. somehow the sock (short/crew) somehow irritates that area that was rashed? I don't know, can't be bothered to look at it.  Rashy area continue to look better and less red, Hmmmm. want a pic? Ribs? what ribs. I don't notice anything. The back pain/discomfort went away when that weird pain in front went away.  Toes continue to improve very slowly. I still only notice then when I wriggle them.  My shoes, however, continue to come apart. I'm glad again it's been a dry autumn. 

Remember how I rode the motorcycle around the neighborhood on week 6. Well, I had to go to the post office on Nov 1 or 2, so I rode it over. And then I rode to work on Friday. Felt good to ride again, friends. I might ride again this week, depends on forecast. Riding can be therapeutic, too.

Unless you crash. Thanks for caring.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

8 weeks recovery

Yep, 8 weeks have gone by already. The time has gone fast, much faster than expected or anticipated. That's probably because I've stayed busy with my workshop renovation and work. And ignoring my garden and lawn and other outside responsibilities. 

I've been cooking just enough to stay fat. I have not bought a bunch of freezer meals or only eaten sandwiches or soup or cereal. I keep up on dishes and laundry, but I've really been absorbed with the woodshop. 

Not a bad thing, probably. Keeps me out of trouble and out of the bar. I've done a few little projects, maybe you noticed the floating shelf that I posted a pic of on the FB page. That one started life as a siding board on the barn on the farm where I lived a year or so. Then the barn fell down, I saved some boards and built an entertainment center. Then I took it apart and moved to MN, where I built another entertainment center with it. Then I moved and I used the board as a shelf on my workbench for a lot of years. I'm pretty happy with how the shelf turned out. It is 20" long, 6" wide, and 3.5" thick.

I used Flood's Dekswood to clean the board, and Deft lacquer to finish. I used 6d cc box nails to assemble it. I suppose I should add a finished pic. 

So....recovery. Direct pressure on the toes causes discomfort. Still have dizzy spells. Turns out a side effect of the medication they scribed for me in WI has dizzy as a side effect....along with a lot of other fun things. For example: constipation and diarrhea. Copy paste is my friend: 
Less serious side effects may include:
  • headache, dizziness;
  • upset stomach, loss of appetite;
  • nausea, vomiting;
  • diarrhea, constipation;
  • cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sinus pain, sore throat;
  • back pain;
  • tired feeling;
  • mild skin rash

I plan to see the quack about a few things, should be fun.

Memory? Uh, I don't remember how it was before. I think I told you about this before, I have a weird memory.....always have. I'll remember some stuff forever, and other stuff I'm lucky it hangs around 40 seconds. I'm certain there's lots of examples, but I don't remember. Or maybe that's normal, to remember the things that are important and forget what is not interesting.  It sure is frustrating at times. 

I see on FB that a guy that I might have gone to school with was in a motorcycle crash and lost part of his leg, they're having a benefit for him in about 5 weeks. I might go, if I can conjure up a memory of the guy.  I think I heard that a classmate also crashed his, and lost part of his leg. Yup, I was lucky. 

It's a very enjoyable mode of recreation and transportation. It's also irritating, expensive and frustrating. I've met some really wonderful people due to the motorcycle experience.  It's impossible to imagine my life without those people and also what my life would be like now, w/o having the motorcycle experience.  I'm not going to start listing names, because I'd forget to list only those that read this and they'd be offended. Well, probably not, since they are reasonable rational adults that don't get offended by stupid stuff or (most) memory lapses. 

What else? I think I'm going to hold off buying a replacement pickup until spring, unless something wonderful comes along. I think I'll just park the old one at the garden and hope for the best. I need to clean my gutters, but the locust tree on one side and the elm on the other have all their leaves on yet. I've got a big box of books to donate. I've got a large stack of books I need to list for sale. I need to visit the grocery store, but I got a hose reel on clearance at fleet farm. I need to organize my garage so I can store the yamaha...but where to put all of that wood? Holy hell. A guy had a bunch of wood in a garage, but had to move, so I took a bunch of it, lots of plywood and particle board/melamine. Hopefully I can use a lot of it on my miter saw station.

As always, thanks for reading my bloggy posts. I enjoy comments.....

Sunday, October 23, 2016

7 weeks recovery

Nothing new to report for recovery, but you can bet that I'll type a while anyway, and maybe find a pic or 2 to post.

I've gone days in a row (how many? I don't know, didn't keep track. at least 3) with no advil. And then I take it because my neck is giving me a headache. I still have dizzy spells when I tilt my head left and look up. For example, imagine one of those trendy canister lights that are put into finished basements. Think about how you'd go about looking into the damn thing to hook up the tiny springs that keeps the trim ring snug to the ceiling....fun times.

Ribs give me no trouble. Toes are the same, or maybe a little better. Road rash areas are the same...skin is a little thicker, and when there's direct pressure on those areas, it's uncomfortable still. Mostly the left index knuckle and the right wrist.

I spent some time tonight, between 2 and 3 hours working in my basement...I've been rearranging the thing, and the current project is the workbench and tool board behind the bench on the wall. The board measures almost 4' by about 3'.....which didn't seem big enough. And maybe it's not, I'm not sure yet. But....I've got my hammers hung, my pliers hung up, measuring and marking tools like the compass and rulers. I've made a hanger for my medium clamps and moved the smalls ones over to the new location. I have built a hanger for drills and jigsaw and biscuit cutter. The dremel thing will hang from a nail. 

I made a little shelf for spray lube and integrated storage for power screw driver things and pencil sharpeners. pry bars are hung, too. The problem I have are how to deal with the cords on often used items, like the dremel and glue gun....a hanger for them is easy enough, but often the cords don't cooperate.

What's next? Tool board will slow down now, I think and I'll start on either the miter saw station or table saw. Both are getting a total remake....

Made another shelf, repurposed a soap mold, made a drill bit block, which also holds the nail sets, and have no rib pain, no foot pain, not much shoulder pain ec. 

I'm still thankful that my injuries allowed me to come home and take care of myself. I'm thankful that I'm not more retarded than I have always been, thankful that I'm not more ugly than ever, and thankful to not be in pain. Also, glad to be alive. 

I suppose I should have saved that paragraph for next month. But I'm not that trendy. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

6 weeks recovery

But who's counting, right? 6 weeks ago today I got up, had a shower bent over in the tub (because the shower head was so low), packed up, and went next door to the combination McDonald's/gas station for breakfast. Lancaster, WI. Pretty crappy motel, actually. They had ice buckets, but no ice. The a/c made many attempts to start before running, was quite loud. But it wasn't too expensive, and was a place to sleep.

Recovery seems pretty much complete, except for a few minor details. Dizzy spells are fewer and less, as well as not as common or often, quite occasional, actually. Pretty much the only thing that triggers one is bending way over to the left and turning the head. For example...I had one while standing on a bucket, leaning over a workbench screwing a shelf bracket to the wall. (Fun getting off the bucket when the room is whirling like a tornado.) Another was when I was leaned over a bench (different bench) head turned so I could see to unscrew a shelf bracket. I was not on a bucket....much lower bench. And one other occurrence was when I was sitting on the floor, lying under a bench on my left side, with my head turned so I could nail on a staple to hold the power wire for my shelf bracket.  (not really, but I was trying to be consistent.) Lying or bending to the right does not cause dizzy, BTW.

Actually, the wire powers one of my more brilliant ideas...in my opinion. In an electrical box, I've got a switch and a receptacle. The switch powers one half of the "plug in" as well as a 6 foot cord that leaves the box. (the other half is powered as normal) I did that so I can plug in my soldering iron and be able to turn it on/off quickly easily and often. Or I can plug in my router, and flip it on and off with that switch. Or other motor driven things.  It's a 20 amp switch and receptacle so don't worry about that. I've had that set up for quite a few years, actually. Why mention it? I'm trying to impress you people, of course.  No, actually, I cut my bench down in size 2 ways, spun it around so it's on a different wall. It's part of my attempt to improve my woodshop. 

My ankle road rash has healed. My hand road rash looks good, too. Elbow as well. But I notice on my wrist and left hand when there is significant pressure applied there's some pain/discomfort. Like maybe the bone was bruised on the wrist? I don't know, it doesn't bother me much, doesn't slow me down.  My toes don't bother me at all, like mentioned earlier in a bloggy episode. The toe nails still are purple/black, and not from dirt or lint.

The fingernail I squished last week is looking fine...my fb post was premature, I think. It is still a little tender, if I grab something too strongly, I feel it. I just feel it when I use the shift key. Fun times. 

I guess I still have a little discomfort when I sneeze, which is fairly often due to all of the dust I'm stirring up downstairs. But otherwise, rib pain is nonexistent. I don't notice anything in any position. 

My Yamaha has been parked at the bottom of my driveway for weeks, with a for sale sign on it. I started it either 3 or 4 weeks ago, let it run a few minutes. It must have been 4 weeks ago, because I was feeling quite puny. Well, today, I thought since it was quite warm, I should give the bike a little attention, let it run a bit, charge up the battery a little. And so I did, except I forgot to do it until after dark, which is no problem.  It was still rather warm.  And it didn't start right up, but pretty quickly, all things considered. Battery is OK.  So there I am, sitting on the bike, it's rumbling away....so I put up the kickstand, and ride around the block. And another block. And then down the street and around a different block. LOL Probably a whole mile....maybe I'll look at the forecast and ride to work. 6 weeks, recovery must be complete......

Stay tuned...

Thursday, October 13, 2016

shop organization and a little recovery 10 13 16

It's amazing what I find in my shop....it's like an archeological site. I found a pair of sunglasses that have needed a tiny nut for years. I found a whistle. I have found so much stuff that I don't know why I kept....other than I was sure I was going to use it someday. 

For example....I have a velveeta box that is half full of twist ties for plastic sacks. They're great for tying wires up, etc. But staples also work, and better. I plan to throw the box away when I've got the shop all put together.  Keep them just in case, for now. 

Used band saw blades. It's a tiny bandsaw, blades cost less than 10 bucks. I may try to sharpen one, though, just for fun.  Broken drill bits. Bent nails. I've just used a bunch of pallet nails, "repurposed" if I'm going to be trendy....except "repurposed" isn't the right word, because they're still being used to hold wood together.  I also use them to hang up stuff, like a roll of masking tape or a small clamp.

I've got a stack of old dull circle saw blades, table saw blades, and miter saw blades. I've seen different things made from those, like a draw knife, which I do want to do. 

I found a copper wall tile, actually, I don't know if it's copper, but I know it came from the wall (backsplash) of my kitchen. I only kept one of them, to remember how awful it was. I also found the can of paint I used on the walls...the paint is totally dry and the can totally rusty. 

I used to work at a paint store, and I knew very little about paint when I started there. That paint store does not have a warranty on the paint, like a lot of others do, and of course, that warranty is a marketing ploy. I know this, because when we bought this house and moved in, we painted the upstairs with some Diamond Vogel paint and some Pittsburg paint. We means I, btw. 22 years later, it still looks great, except for the dust and cobwebs.  The kitchen got painted maybe 11 years ago, and looks great, except for some of the trim and cobwebs, etc. The living room didn't get painted, and just has some flat white. It still looks fine....and will probably get painted this winter, maybe. 

Raise your hand if you want to help. Painting party....I have booze and can order pizza.


 I've since filled the small cavity to the right of the paint with tubes of caulk.
This is that set of waterbed drawers, upside down on the table getting legs, a shelf and wheels. It works great.  The entire basement floor is that green colour. I don't know why....but 22 + years it's holding up quite well.

Recovery....I figured out when that pain went away....it had to be the day that George put his head down and purred on me. Today I didn't take any advil till late in the afternoon. A bunch of discomforts turned into a synergy that was really bothering me, so I took 2.  Everything else is going good. My left hand rash is odd, if something touches it, then the skin hurts? A significant amount of pressure on it does not cause discomfort.

Yesterday, when taking the sheet of plywood out of the pickup for the bottom shelf and top of that drawer stack, I slammed my finger in between the plywood and garage. Since it bled right away from the side of the nail, I assumed that it'd turn black and die. But there's just a tiny discoloration in the middle and just a tiny bit of discomfort today. Thank goodness for that....