Archive for the 'shit happens' Category

Hurricane Preparedness

TofuThere are currently three hurricanes active in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. All are posing risks to Caribbean islands and to Mainland US destinations. The most significant storm is Irma, currently wreaking havoc on Puerto Rico and likely to devastate its way through the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba and thence up the east coast of Florida. At 941 millibars central pressure and winds of 160 mph, it is possibly the strongest storm ever seen in the Atlantic. We will be praying for those in the path of the storm to be well and safe.

All seriousness aside, I have included a (clickable) whimsical photo (I forget where I stole it) of the vegan section in the deli department of some store in Houston where folks there stocked up on everything but the tofu crap. Who could blame them?

Oh, and stand by for the calls by “climateers” to blame this on man made greenhouse gasses instead of the natural forces on the planet as intended by its creator.

Monsoon Season is Upon Us

Monsoon Radar

Last night, tonight and for the next few afternoons and evenings, the radar image above is typical of the precipitation activity over our state. We experienced our first downpour late yesterday, with the results being a lot of flooding and debris in the usual places. There were reports of downed trees in town and emergency crews restoring electric power and other interrupted services.

We were fine here, albeit a bit shaken when lightning struck just up the hill behind our house. It seemed to rattle the dogs a bit too, but no harm to anything we could detect. None of our utilities were interrupted (other than satellite TV due to the precipitation) and we stayed cool (104° and 77% humid outside).

Our retention walls behind the RV drive did the trick yesterday, with the heavy runoff diverted to the west side of the property and down the creek that The Better Half and I devised in early 2016. We should continue to be OK in the weeks to come.


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


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


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!

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