Archive for the 'shit happens' Category

BZZZZZT!

Short Circuit AftermathThe Better Half had a little mishap yesterday when she went to the electrical outlet in the hallway to plug in her camera battery recharging unit. Upon her attempt to plug the little unit in, she was greeted by a shower of sparks, a whiff of ozone and a tripped circuit breaker. I was in the courtyard when I heard her yell for me. I came running to see what happened.

(Clickable) image: Outlet under repair. Note the black mark inside box.

Not knowing what the problem was, I went to the circuit breaker box and attempted to reset the tripped breaker with no load on the outlet. No dice, it wouldn’t reset.

The only recourse was to open the outlet in question with the breaker still off. Once open, I immediately saw the problem - the bare earth ground wire had been looped around the outlet such that it was in close proximity to the screws on the hot side. The wire had actually fused to one of the hot screws and burned it in half, apparently when TBH jostled the outlet plugging her charger in resulting in a dead short hot to ground.

I cut the ground wire away from the hot terminal and prepared the end to be reconnected to the ground terminal away from the hot side. After reassembly, the circuit breaker set correctly and the outlet (and the rest of the several shared outlets) functioned correctly once again.

TBH and I recall having interfaced with the electrical guy that worked on the house as it was being built. We both thought he was a flake at the time. It makes us wonder how many other little time bombs might be lurking in the other wiring around the house.

Good Trip Save For A Minor Annoyance

Detour

This evening, The Better Half and I are safely back in our lovely little home. The trip to K-Stan was uneventful and traffic was lighter than the last several times we have gone. We did have one minor annoyance when our usual off ramp was closed and we had to detour to the next ramp which is about twelve more miles along I-10 in a one-lane restriction construction area. The net result of the detour cost us an additional five miles and delayed progress due to the construction.

The really annoying thing is that there was nothing wrong with Exit 31 to US 60. ADOT had a contraption set up just before the off ramp closure, but the ramp itself was completely functional. Plus there would have been zero construction delays on our original intended route. The G-maps above show the detour and intended route with construction delays highlighted.

Ah, well, we’re both happy to be home and happy that the rest of the excursion was uneventful and traffic was light. Next month, we’re using a different route that includes Northern K-Stan, Utah, Nevada and Southern K-Stan. It should be fun.

Post Surgery Report

Yesterday, The Better Half and I drove to the ENT Doctor that performed the surgery to have the sutures removed and to get the lab report on the tumor that was removed. The suture removal was a snap since there were only six. It took him under two minutes to get them out. The residual scar is at the left behind the clickable title. There are still some swollen spots which gives it a raised appearance which should diminish and smooth out the skin in time.

As for the biopsy report, the main finding was short and sweet: “periparotid hyalized nodule and intravascular organizing thrombi - negative malignancy.” Quite a mouthful to try and say that, but I love that last part - no carcinoma. There were a bunch of other notations by the lab but after the good part, none of that mattered much.

There are a couple of after effects which are forecast to disappear after some recovery time of unknown duration; one is a numbness in my left cheek and the other related neurological effect is range of motion in my facial muscles on the left side. My crooked smile is even more crooked. But everything works well enough for speech, eating and such.

Between the folks on Fecesbook© and here, the thoughts, wishes and prayers have done the job again.

Surgery Completed, Recovery Initiated

Yesterday was the day I went to the Same Day Surgery Unit for the procedure to relieve the blockage from a salivary gland. Each of the two parotid (pah-roh-tid) glands accounts for less than one-fifth of human saliva produced. In fact, in my case, the duct was almost completely blocked, so I shouldn’t notice much difference when all healed up should they completely remove the gland.

[Animation - click to alternate between description and image]

The Better Half took the image seen in the alternate-action animation above shortly after we arrived home form the ordeal. If you look closely, you can see the initials of the incision Author, Dr. James Osborne. No, he didn’t autograph the work, he used that as a mark to locate the swelling under the skin prior to surgery a.k.a. left parotidectomy with facial nerve dissection.

I actually negotiated the incision the doctor made with him while I was being prepped. I read about the big incision typically made where they split you open from the top of your ear and down in front of the ear, continuing along the mandible for a total of about eight inches long. The doctor would then fold the large flap of skin forward to access the gland and other exposed tissue. Click on the big incision link for the post-op incision. Talk about the Acheson, Topeka and Santa Fe . . .

Anyhow, I’m really glad he could fix me without going to all that trouble. He removed the tumor, tied off the blood vessels that led to it and (I presume) most of the left parotid gland still resides within my left cheek.

They normally prescribe Percoset pain killer for the procedure, but I refused it and today, the day after, I’m comfortable just taking the meds I use for arthritis. I am also taking an antibiotic for a few days until we have our follow up in another week or so.

The procedure left me with some mobility issues in the muscles on the lower left side of the face (I have a really crooked smile now, more than before) but, in time, those should clear up when the nerves resume their previous functional capacity.

Thanks for the wishes, thoughts and prayers. They’re working.

Big Rig Mishap on Interstate 10

Rollover

We passed this rolled big rig in the median along I-10 just west of Quartzsite, AZ, today. You can see “Dome Rock” in the background of this (clickable) image The Better Half took as we passed the mishap. There were two big rigs in the median, this one and another that was still upright. There were crews working to upright the rolled rig, but, as TBH notes, there were a lot of “supervisors” too.

I don’t know how this happened; the rolled rig was facing westbound on its side, and the other (upright) big rig in the median was facing eastbound. That seemed peculiar to me on a four lane divided highway.

Whatever happened, we pray for those involved that they may quickly recover. BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!

Desert Dust and Sand Storm

Sand Storm

This (clickable) image does not do justice to the terrible driving conditions we encountered crossing the California desert on Interstate 10 from Desert Center to Blythe. The Better Half took this image at one point where you could see dust and sand flying aloft, but there were times when the obscuration was so dense that it approached less than a tenth of a mile visibility. And the gusting winds had me white-knuckling the steering wheel trying to keep the truck and trailer between the lines and not always successful at that.

It was grim in some places, but we managed to get past the worst of it unscathed. By the time we crossed the Colorado River into Arizona, the dust had settled (mostly) but the wind gusts persisted until we were across the mountains east of Quartzsite. These were the WORST conditions we have ever encountered during the many years of transiting this route.

I am SO glad that when we bought the trailer, we insisted on a four-point anti-sway hitch and tackle. It’s heavier than hell and not particularly easy to hook it up, but by God, it did the trick today while nature dealt out its punishing blows.

We’re home safe and sound, the trailer is secured in its usual spot on the RV drive and the truck is in the garage. TBH made sure we were fed a delicious meal when we got here and we are currently enjoying some adult beverages while watching baseball and football on the TV.

Computer Glitch

Laptop

The blog has been silent for a few days. On Friday last, I had an accidental spillage of my beverage at the workstation, some of the liquid getting into the laptop keyboard. The Better Half quickly got me a towel to start mopping up. I did the best I could cleaning up the desk and the outside of the computer, but unable to get inside the keyboard area. I disconnected the laptop from external devices and placed it on a dry towel with the keyboard pointing down.

The next morning, I hooked everything up again and booted the computer up. I was able to sign on with my password, but once I was into the applications (browser, file manager, etc.) the keyboard would do weird things, popping up dialogs and who knows what else. The mouse worked fine, and the display worked as well.

TBH and I had talked about upgrading the computers before something crapped out, so I decided that the time had come because of my malfunctioning keyboard. Unfortunately, I would be unable to upgrade and migrate the applications beforehand. I drove to Walmart and bought two new Hewlett Packard HP 15 touch-screen laptops, one for each of us. Walmart had a good deal on these as they were being closed out.

Back home, I opened up one of the computer boxes and began the process of getting it set-up. Since I had to go on to the old computer for reference, it was at this time that I discovered that tapping with a little force on the CTRL and other keys cleared up the keyboard problem I had been having. My original laptop was working normally.

The new laptop has Windows 8.1 operating system and since we are both using Windows 7, there was going to be a transition period for us to get used to the changes and to customize the computer with our applications, etc. I decided to upgrade The Better Half and return the second computer I bought since my laptop is again alive and well. I will upgrade when it is practical to do so.

When TBH’s upgrade takes place I will have already installed Windows 10 on her machine and get her a 20 to 23-inch HDTV monitor to replace the old VGA external display she uses. The new computers have an HDMI interface, but no VGA.

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