Monday, December 29, 2008

Before I Forget

A thank you note to Greg for his care-package.

I take the glucosamine-chondroitin and also a calcium supplement whenever I can remember. The Emergen-C is good also, we now have four boxes, luckily each is a new flavor. The book was fairly good. I finished it this morning.

The snow is nearly all melted with all the rain we're having. I'm still enjoying my time off, but each day I'm puttering around more looking for things to do.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Post-Op Follow-Up

Had a follow-up appointment with my Neurosurgeon yesterday.

He ripped the bandage off, looked at the incision, and essentially said "looks great, see you in 6 weeks." . . . I then went through my written list of questions.

I don't have to wear the foam neck brace anymore. I can move my neck in the full range. I was getting tired of the Frankenstein pose. Yes I do have a permanent o-ring shaped artificial disc. It is not absorbable like some. The center is where the bone graft is and will eventually be solid bone from one vertebrae to the other (C6-C7). The front is held together with a titanium plate and screws. The titanium does not preclude having an MRI in the future. I can go back to work with restrictions. I'm not to lift over 35 lbs, and not to do repetitive or extended duties which cause discomfort. He did remove the bone spurs. He also enlarged the foramen on both the trouble side, left, and the right side, so the pain Im having on the right is simply what he's calling "reffered pain". I can get renewals or any other pain med prescription I'd like, just call. He feels the amount of pain I'm having is normal.

I still have a fair amount of pain. In the neck, shoulders, and on the right in the shoulder blade and outer arm areas. It's the worst when I wake up and begin moving, after a night of the pain meds wearing off. I take vicodin or percocet, prilosec in the morning, sleeping pills at night sometimes, and sometimes the muscle-relaxant also.

I've taken off the foam coller and the bandage. Also the steri-strips have come off. There's still a lump under the incision area, about the size of a small baby-carrot. The bruising is beginning to diminish. I've started to get about and do things again. I've been shoveling snow (slowly) yesterday and today for the fun and excercise.

In 6 weeks I have another appointment and will get an x-ray at that time. I have next week off from work still and am enjoying all the time off. Today I have to pay bills and balance the accounts and see where we stand again (I've been ignoring that detail the last 3 or 4 weeks).

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

I haven't posted in a while, but there's not much new. The neck feels more stable and I sleep better with less caution at turning over. I still feel more pain on my right side, but hope it will eventually go away with the healing process and not require more surgery. I have a follow up with the surgeon on Friday after christmas.

I spend my days pretty much taking it easy with at least one nap if not two. I've gotten out today and yesterday for a short walk in the snow with Beth and the dogs. Today I slipped on one foot and caught myself. No fall but a slight jolt up the spine. A good reminder that although my surgery was done short-stay/out-patient it still was major surgery by any other description.

If I go to bed early and sleep in, I wake up with considerable pain when moving. Like someone really beat me up good. The long time in bed means the pain meds have worn off. Another reminder that I've had major surgery.

With the kitchen remodel having the place torn up we have not done any Christmas decorating at all. I wrapped the couple of presents for Beth that I bought before surgery. It's short of what I would usually get her but haven't had the time or opportunity. With the surgery and the snow storm we've been home-bound and getting cabin fever.

Tomorrow we'll spend the day at her mothers as usual. We've got the chains on the 4 wheel drive and should have no problems getting there and back.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday morning

Friday morning. Four days since the surgery. It seems much longer and when I'm thinking I should be better by now I must realize just how short the time has been. I still have a fair amount of pain on the right side (The left side is what started this). I'm assuming it's just side effects and will go away. I have a paranoid fear that having fixed the left side and removing the disc, it's now compressing down on the right side and we'll have to go in and fix that also. I'm doing my best to say it's just side effects from the surgery in that area and give it a chance to have the swelling come down.

I'm doing better at sleeping. The turning from back to side is easier as the neck seems to gain strength and I'm less cautious about moving about. I spent all day Thursday in my pajamas. A few hours up and then back to bed. Tuesday and Wednesday were similar but with less frequency. Thursday I think I must have gone back to bed four times.

When I looked at the incision yesterday it actually looked worse. The bruising is turning lovely shades of purple and yellow.

I would love to go for a walk and get the blood moving and stretch a bit, but the chances of slipping on the ice and wrecking havoc on recent spinal work is too much.

I have my first follow-up appointment with the neurosurgeon next Friday, the day after Christmas.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion

Here's the lovely foam brace. It's hard to eat with it. It not only hold the jaw, but it holds the adam's apple and makes swallowing hard to do.
ACDF stands for Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion. "Anterior" means working on the backbone from the front of the patient. The spinal cord is behind the backbone and discs and so would be in the way working from the back. Also the back part of the vertebrae is where all the tendons and muscles attach. The surgeon said the disc was not just bulging but had ruptured. I still can't recall any traumatic event that caused it, just little things over time.
The incision. No stitches with thread nowadays, these are called "steri-strips", kinda duct tape for surgeons. I don't know why I was expecting the incision to be vertical. I haven't asked the surgeon if muscles were cut or not. When lying down I'm so cautious that I'm very paranoid about lifting my head. I usually place a hand behind my head for support to get up or turn from my side to back.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Health Status Dec 9

I'm back at work this morning. Monday I had called in sick. It's been a strange weekend of symptoms. I'll try to keep these explanations short.

The pain med narcotics have a side effect of constipation, that situation feels better this morning but is not completely unblocked or gone.

The irritable/painful bowels was only a brief flair up and was healed by sunday morning.

The acid reflux / stomach ulcer flair up of late sunday and monday is better this morning.

The back situation has changed over the last week and a half. I no longer have the extremely painful muscle spasm/knots, but still have some minor pains. The neurosurgeon prescribed Norco as a pain med. Norco is a version of vicodin, so this is a step down from the percocet I was taking, but since the muscle knots are mostly gone it's enough. Whether the decrease is due to some recovery of the bulging disc or that the nerve damage is going beyond that I can't say. I've had an increase is muscle tremor in the arms.

I had Flu like symptoms most of the weekend. Periods of clammy sweatings and episodes of teeth chattering, body shaking chills. Whether it was the flu or nerve related I don't know. This morning I've only had very minor signs of these.

Considering everything, I actually feel pretty good this morning. If I can actually get something accomplished at work I would feel really good.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

No Guts, No Glory Update

Well if things couldn't get worse. It finally dawned on me that my intestinal pain seems familiar. Oh yeah, I've had this a few times before over the last few years. Stress and bad diet lead me to essentially tear up my guts. I think the doctor's might call it "Irritable Bowel Syndrome". I can't remember when I last had it, maybe even a year ago. Anyway, bland diet and pepto bismo usually takes care of it in 2 or 3 days.

On a positive note, the back and shoulder are actually feeling fairly reasonable. The MRI doesn't lie and I'll still go through with the surgery. I've been using a tempurpedic neck-roll pillow I had in the closet. A few weeks ago it actually brought on more pain, but now it seems to be helping.

New meds

The neurosurgeon, Dr. Darrell Brett, has taken over my therapy and wrote my new prescriptions for meds yesterday. Norco (a pain killer), Zanaflex (a muscle relaxant), and Lunesta (a sleeping pill). I continue to take the Prilosec.

I was taking Prilosec (acid reducer for my now cured ulcer), Percocet (narcotic pain killer, a step above vicodin) and occasional Unisom (sleeping pill because narcotics lead to insomnia). I was also taking the unisom to help with my anxiety level of laying in bed thinking the worst. I still take the prilosec because all the drugs along with the pain and anxiety can be harsh on the tummy.

Yesterday Beth went to Freds pharmacy to get them, she picked up a percocet renewal (which I'll keep in reserve), the Norco, and Lunesta. The Zanaflex had to be ordered. Anyway, she got these and paid for them and had them home before I found out what the Lunesta costs. If I had known the price I would have told her to skip that one, after all it's just a sleeping pill. One script of Lunesta is $247 ! The others have generic counterparts and are reasonably priced, though I've yet to see the cost of the zanaflex.

No Guts, No Glory

The glory must be raining down on me this morning because I'm sure feeling my guts today. Painfully feeling them. The Percocet pain meds have a side effect of making a person constipated. I've been trying to watch things but yesterday was not a good day so last evening at dinner I took an Exlax along with my pain meds and what little dinner I felt like putting into my already bloated belly. This morning I'm having all sorts of painful cramping. I've had two movements but things still are cramping and painful.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Neurosurgeon

Went to a neurosurgeon this morning. He looked me over and reviewed the MRI images. We agreed the best course of action is surgery. He's going to see about getting me in within the next couple of weeks. He works out of Adventist Medical Center where Beth and her mom worked for years. The general consensus is the guy has a lousy bed side manner, but is an excellent surgeon. I did call a couple of other places, one had their new-patient scheduler on vacation with no one covering and the other could get me in for a new patient consult in say. . . March.

The surgery will remove the bulging disc in the base of my neck, trim away the growth of bone spurs that is also present and then fuse the two vertebrae together with an artificial disc and a metal plate with screws. Sounds fun eh?

At HP I have the full week of Christmas and the week of New Years off which will provide a nice recovery time without missing scheduled work days. I may miss a few days depending on when in the next 2 weeks I go in for surgery. It's bad enough not having insurance, but to be risking my position by taking too much time off.

The surgeon is cutting his fee in half for a cash patient. Everything on his side will be about $5000. However this doesn't include the "facilities charges", which is everything else other than the surgeon. The surgery room, nurse, anesthetist, etc., I can only guess at. I have two options for where to have it done; at the hospital with an overnight stay, or at the East Portland Surgical Center as an out-patient (3 hours in and out).

Beth's mom has had this done three times (different vertebrae). I'll start saving for the next time, and praying there won't one. I wouldn't wish this pain on anyone.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Just a little PMS

According to GenderAnalyzer there's a 59% possibility that I'm a woman (or rather that Fuzz Butt's blog is written by a woman).

I don't feel too bad, Gordon came out at 60% chance of being a woman (Zeta Woof).

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My Christmas Wish-List:

Dear Santa,

I would like to not be in pain.

Much love to you and Mrs Claus,
R.

I'm not squeamish, are you?

Below is a "reply/comment" to an article about the Mumbai terrorist's and their origins and reasons. I completely agree that this is one of the main differences between conservatives and liberals. I'm all for Reagan, white-hat-wearing, cowboy-style diplomacy.

The real problem is that far too many people around the world have become squeamish about killing the bad guys. Liberals are cowards at their core, and rather than simply acknowledge this and go on about their pathetic lives, they have to convince everyone else that their's is the correct path, and it's not really cowardice, it is "intellectualism", or civilized behavior, or some such nonsense. It is a very seductive argument, because who would not want to live in peace and leave the hard choices to others? In the mean time, the criminals, the psychotics, the terrorists, the barbarians, grow stronger and more plentiful.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Walther or Not

Mumbai Bobbies

The weekend's news story.
(photo is not of India's police, but a historical British "Bobby".)
Bapu Thombre, assistant commissioner with the Mumbai railway police, said the police were armed mainly with batons or World War I-era rifles and spread out across the station. snip

As the siege at dragged on, local police improperly strapped on ill-fitting bulletproof vests. Few had two-way radios to communicate. snip

But the National Security Guards, which largely devotes its resources to protecting top officials, is based outside of New Delhi and it took the commandos nearly 10 hours to reach the scene. snip

Even the commandos lacked the proper equipment, including night vision goggles and thermal sensors that would have allowed them to locate the hostages and gunmen inside the buildings, Sahni said.

What strikes me about this story is not that there's a country in this world with an inadequate and outdated police force, but that the same country has nuclear weapons.

Friday, November 28, 2008

MRI

Got a voice mail from my doc about the MRI. Hard to garner any real diagnosis from a few words. Something about a "severe impingement" on the left side, and something about "bony changes"? He also said mentioned a referral to a neural surgeon.

I suppose I could speculate what he means by bony changes, are we talking breaks?, degenerated bone?, just severe mis-alignment? I can't assume this means surgery. Oh well, we'll find out this next week.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

White plastic, Blue stripe.

You shut your eyes in an MRI.

You might as well, there's nothing to see. You lay on the little table and they put the receiver on your chest and they slide you into the tunnel of the big donut. There you see a stunning view of cheap white plastic with a blue stripe painted down the middle. After 15 seconds of this you close your eyes and think of something else.

The surprising thing about MRI's is the noise they make. You would think that something that is purely electronic (I assume) would be a bunch of quiet wires with electricity flowing through them. No . . . the first thing the technician does is hand you a pair of ear plugs to squish into your ears. After a few minutes you wish you had opted for the stereo headphones in addition. Remember back when we were kids and we played with electric buzzers. The type we'd wire up to a lantern battery and a cheap switch and pretend we were learning Morse code. They were a couple inches square and made a good buzzzz buzzzz sound. Take one of those and make it about a foot square and 30 pounds, that's what an MRI is like. But not all the same sound. First they buzz low and short bursts then higher and longer, then off and on, then they stop for a while. I kind of figured it would turn on, buzz me from top to bottom and then turn off and be done. Nope, it goes through 10 or 12 different sequences of different rhythms of sounds. I also had no sensation of being moved in or out. My elbows were resting on the inside of the donut and other then the first slide in I felt no movement of the table.

My doctor had guessed that an MRI could cost around $2000. That would be for one that included other options, drugs, and what not. A simple neck scan is $1100, and for a self-pay they cut the rate to their lowest charge, which is equal to their Medicare charge, and we paid a mere $545. After thinking of $2000 for the last month of more we sighed a sigh of relief and gladly earned some Fred-Meyer credit card points.

Report to come later. Perhaps Wednesday.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Humiliation

As if the collar wasn't bad enough.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Pain

Monday was a chiropractic adjustment. Tuesday was a massage. Wednesday was a deep tissue therapeutic massage and then a chiropractic adjustment. Wednesday I left work at 1pm because of the pain and the loopiness and nausea of the pain meds. Thursday I left work at 12 noon. Friday I didn't go to work at all. There's been a few times this week when it's just gotten to be too much and all I could do was cry and sob. Partly for the pain, partly for it being there so long, and partly for the worry of what's to happen. Friday I saw my doctor again, then in the afternoon saw an acupuncturist (Beth's and her moms idea). The acupuncture didn't seem to do much good but they say the first time can be like that. There were moments when it did seem to have affects, so I may try again. The doctor renewed my pain meds (percocet, I do about 3 a day) and we agreed to go the next step. I'm scheduled for an MRI on Tuesday morning. On the home front I continue with some stretching, some exercise, and rigged my traction sling to my weight bench so I can lay down and have the neck traction. Without have to lift the weight of the head I can get the same effect with 5 lbs rather than 16 (much easier on the jaw and teeth). It doesn't seem to help a whole lot but at least it makes me think I'm doing something. That's been one of the problems with this whole mess is nothing seems to do a whole lot.

Just an ol' Bonneville myself.

25 miles per gallon

Created by The Car Connection

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Instruments of torture.

When your in pain . . . You'll try anything.

My back machine is great for about mid chest down. I've had it for years and it's worked for the other spots in my back. As good or better than a chiropractor. Not working for the problem spot I've currently have.
Inflatable neck traction. This is fairly comfortable. You can watch tv while you play with it. Downsides are it presses on your collar bones and makes them sore and it doesn't get far enough down the neck to hit the spot that's bothering me.
I currently have this set up in my office, but I wouldn't want to use this for hours of tv watching anyway. I do about 15 or 20 minutes at a time. Downsides; to open the joint bothering you it pulls at all the joints in the spine. This makes the tendons and joints sore. (maybe I should use a little less weight). Other major downside is the main strap is pulling your jaw up and clenching your teeth together. I definitely recommend an athletic mouth guard to cushion the teeth.

Hell

I hurt like hell. There's just no other way to put it. This pinched nerve in my neck and the muscles that it locks-up in spasm can at times be excruciatingly painful. The doctor's prednisone anti-inflammatory for a week and a half seem to have accomplished nothing. I've started to go back to the chiropractor. I had a visit last Thursday and one yesterday. I'm also doing some neck traction with a sling that I got on the internet. Sunday I also did a little weight lifting because I've held these muscles immobile for so long they were getting stiff. I may have overdone the traction and weights this weekend though cause last night was miserable again. I've found a great sympathy for those who live with chronic pain. This has been going on for about 10-12 weeks now, with fairly constant pain. There are times when it's so bad there's nothing I can do but break down and cry. A good cry must release endorphins or something cause it does seem to provide a minor relief. I'm mostly living off pain killers. I'm currently using percocet and although I'm using one at a time, I'm using 2 to 3 a day along with extra strength aspirin, tylenol, etc in between. I'm using enough drugs that my stomach and digestion are being affected. I was using prilosec anyway, so I'm just continuing to use it daily. Dad called this weekend about the status of the kitchen remodel. It's hard to tell him that I've done nothing since he left and it'll probably stay that way for a while. Work continues ok. With all the recent layoffs and what-not things are slow anyway, but with pain it's hard to get anything done. If I was a regular employee I'd consider extended medical leave. As it is I'll probably just beg a little time off here and there for chiropractor appointments or sick days. We might have the week of thanksgiving off but I've yet to hear any confirmation of that.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Happy Days

What's bizzare about this is how much the other pundits laughed at him and tried to ridicule him. If I was a congressman I'd have this guy in front of a committee telling us what he thinks we should do.

From The Doc is In.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Health Care Cost reason #1

If you can picture the scene of Mr Gauer the pharmacist in "It's a Wonderful Life", you can imagine the origins of the pharmacy bureaucracy. In those days a pharmacist actually mixed and diluted chemicals, measured and prepared strength per dose, and packed individual capsules. It required a Bachelors degree of chemistry and medicine. It was exacting procedures and took time and attention to detail.

Today all this is done at the manufactures. Today your grocery store pharmacy does . . . what? . . . I'll tell you, they count pills out of big bottles and put them in small bottles. They type your doctor's instructions onto little stickers and stick them on the small bottles. Drug interaction and consultation information is spit out by the computer behind the counter.

All this could be performed by a certified tech with a three month course in how to read drug names and decipher dose instructions from the doctor's. So why are we still paying for Bachelor degree educated people? Does it take a degree to count? 1 . . .2 . . . 3 . . .

I dropped off a prescription at the counter for 30 pills of a generic common pain killer . . . "Oh, that'll be ready in an hour."

1 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . .

Oregon's Non-Progressive Governor

Kulongoski's "New-Deal" to employ people on road construction jobs is in part being funded by incredibly drastic increases in car title and registration fees. Title fees will see a 100% increase and registration fees will see a 200% increase.

I had thought that Democrats were for a progressive tax rate and for taxing the rich. Here we have a TAX increase (it's not a "fee" people . . .) that is straight across the board. As a percentage of income it's drastically non-progressive. Oregon's title and registration fees are not based on vehicle value as some other states.

Just our governors way of "stickin' it to da man", the working man that is.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Further rumors

I went through all the phases of grief when I thought I was going to be laid off. I'm at the point where I've accepted it and am looking forward to being on the government dole (unemployment) for the first time in my life. I was looking forward to some vacation, some rest for my back, to get some kitchen remodeling done.

May not happen.

There's an engineer here who has been assuming that when his technician leaves that I'll be the one to help with his projects. He's even spoken with the manager about it. According to him I'm not to be laid off. I've never approached the manager (none of us Techs have). He's not an approachable person and there is no answer to "how secure is my job?" anyway, so none of us have bothered to try to find out. We just come in each week and wait for the axe on Friday. Such is the life of a contract worker in hard times.

I had assumed I was being laid off because my "contract end date" in the online employee phonebook was changed from 2 years from my hire date to the end of November. Other Techs have seen this and got it. The engineer says this must have been a mistake in my case and says it'll be changed.

I've made as much in this 6-1/2 months as I made all last year (though Beth is without her corporate job now). I was ready for some vacation.

Sheetrock Finishing pics




Sunday, November 9, 2008

Done and To Do.

Things completed:
removal of cabinet hardware and doors
demolition of cabinets
trailer of wood to recycle center
demolition of lathe and plaster of walls
trailer of lathe to recycle center
first meetings with cabinet maker
demolition of first layer of flooring and subfloor particle board
trailer of plaster to dump
electrical plugs and switches installed or relocated
insulation of exterior walls
repair of window sills to make weather tight.
hanging of sheetrock over lathe and plaster ceiling
hanging of sheetrock on walls
taping and finishing of sheetrock (for the most part)

Things to do next:
build two soffits in main room of kitchen
provide final measurements and approvals to cabinet maker, get cabinet building going.
sheetrock, tape and finish soffits and do final details of plastering.
texture all sheetrock
paint all sheetrock with primer
paint ceiling.
remove last of old flooring
install new 1/4" plywood subfloor (varnished for temporary use as floor)

And all the rest:
cabinets, appliances, countertops, flooring, light fixtures.

The list is so long with all the details. It makes it seem as though we've just gotten started. I try to keep in mind I'm doing this part-time on weekends with plenty of delays due to current back problems.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Taping and Finishing

No pictures at the moment, maybe tomorrow or Monday.

Dad came in Wednesday and left about 3:3o today. The place is looking great! 95% of the taping and mudding is done. The archways still need a final coat of plaster, mainly because they're an area that is a fairly thick fill. I still have yet to build the soffits which will also have sheetrock on their faces, so I can't say we're finished sheetrocking yet. But having the place taped just gives the walls that completed look, like you're on the downhill stretch of getting things done.

Of course, there's still a looooonnnnnng ways to go, so stay tuned and I'll keep blogging away.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Medical status

Went to my Doc yesterday. I figured I should get a medical opinion before continuing with chiropractors or other things. General consensus is a pinched nerve from inflamed soft tissues in the spinal column or perhaps a swollen disc. Probably not a bone chip or fractured vertebrae. Probably in the C6 area (I was thinking C7). Chiropractor would be ok, or Physical Therapy with traction if I want to pay for either course. In the meantime I'm on Prednisone to reduce the soft tissue swelling and Percocet for the pain. I'll do the drugs for now and maybe do some more massage/chiropractor later if still needed.

Doctor's visit and both prescriptions $125 on the barrel head. A lot cheaper than insurance premiums so far. Though if I end up needing an MRI and surgery we're talking a couple of years worth of premiums.

The Red State of Oregon

Is Oregon really a Blue State? Here's Oregon's electoral delegates choices by year.

1900 republican
1904 republican
1908 republican
1912 democrat (Woodrow Wilson over incumbent Taft)
1916 republican
1920 republican
1924 republican
1928 republican
1932 democrat (Franklin Roosevelt over incumbent Hoover)
1936 democrat (Roosevelt)
1940 democrat (Roosevelt)
1944 democrat (Roosevelt)
1948 republican
1952 republican
1956 republican
1960 republican
1964 democrat (L.B.J. over Barry Goldwater)
1968 republican
1972 republican
1976 republican
1980 republican
1984 republican
1988 democrat (Dukakis over Bush Sr.)
1992 democrat (Clinton over Bush Sr.)
1996 democrat (Clinton over Bob Dole)
2000 democrat (Gore over Bush Jr.)
2004 democrat (Kerry over Bush Jr.)

2008 ???



My Analysis:
First let me say I'm not as accomplished a history reader as Gordon or Ron. I'm more the Joe six pack, common sense, gut reaction sort of guy.

Wilson over Taft in 1912 I'm not familiar with.

Roosevelt in 1932 was obviously a pendulum swing from the crash of wall street 1929. Roosevelt remained in office for three reasons. One: the great depression continued, some say longer than it would have without government interference. Two: Roosevelt had an incredible political machine behind him. Three: He ignored the founding father's value of limiting presidents to two terms. It later had to be added to the Constitution to prevent a similar long presidency from ever occurring again.

1964: Barry Goldwater . . .

Since 1988: One: the children of hippies come of age to vote. Two: hippies are now middle age and have come into positions of power (school boards, teachers, college professors, elected officials). Three: the affluence gained since the second world war reaches a peak with a spurt from the Reagan years. Lower class people who suddenly find themselves well-to-do can't handle it and feel guilty about having a good life while somewhere in the world there are poor people. (For an example of sudden-wealth guilt just look at Hollywood actors turned activists).

Since 1988 alternative analysis: Oregonians don't like the name Bush (or Texans?), and even I didn't really want to vote for Bob Dole.

Recommendations?
One: Stop feeling guilty for having a good standard of living that you yourself worked for. It's completely natural for any organism to strive to better its own predicament. Two: The sooner the acid dropping, kum-ba-yah, liberal, socialist hippies die the better.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sheetrock done . . . almost

All the sheetrock is hung. It's nice to have the walls covered again. It's actually beginning to look like a room again. Well, almost all the sheetrock is done. I still have to build soffits on two walls in the kitchen and one in the (breakfast nook) extension. I want to do the soffits nice and straight and level so they will meet with the cabinet tops. I would have completed these sunday, but my back is killing me again.

For those who don't know I have a pinched nerve or herniated disc or something in my back just below the base of the neck (C7 or maybe T1). It's causing me intense pain in my back, my left shoulder and left arm. It's also causing some tingling and numbness in my arm off and on. It's been going on for about 10 weeks now. At times it's gotten better but came back last thursday pretty bad and doing what sheetrock I did this weekend was all I could stand. I see my doctor this afternoon. I did a few sessions of massage/chiropractor which may have helped but wasn't a fix. I had a similar episode of this 2 years ago. It was less intense then and my doc just had me do physical therapy.

Anyway, back to the kitchen (bad pun?). I had a call from Dad and he wants to come up and help with the finishing of the sheetrock. He'll be here Wednesday. I think I may finish what I have, build the soffits later and sheetrock and finish them then. The texturing I'm still deciding on. Do I hire a pro for a 1-1/2 hour job, do I get Mike Sparrow to come do it, or do I buy or borrow the sprayer tool and shoot it myself?

What looks bad is while I sit and moan in intense pain, my 79 year old father will be up on scafolding finishing sheetrock.

Teach 'em a lesson.

I was thinking the other day about Obama's desire to tax only those with high incomes, the 1% or 5% or 10%. What he's neglecting is that those 5% already pay a huge portion of the federal income tax revenue, 30 to 60% of the revenue depending on what top percentage you're referring to, and in contrast the 40% of the population paying no taxes at all.

What Obama is missing is that it wouldn't take a large number of people rebelling to drastically sink the tax revenue. What would happen if these people decided to simply take a year off. If they're so wealthy as Obama thinks they are, they could certainly afford to do so. What would happen if the upper middle class and the upper classes were to decide to limit their lifestyles and suffer some inconveniences in order to put the maximum amount possible into tax-exempt accounts. What if corporations were to increase their matching contributions to 401k's, not only reducing their own taxable profit, but further increasing the tax sheltering their employees do.

With all the deficit spending the feds do they probably wouldn't immediately cut a single program in response to even a dramatic downfall in revenue. As a matter of fact the response of Democrat/Socialists would be to simply raise taxes. (That's exactly what Oregon's Multnomah county did the last time). It may not change anything immediately but it would sure send a visible and I think powerful signal.

Instead of paying the tax on the Tea, we may just dump it in the harbor and see what Obama can do with it then.

Freak out

What freaks me out the most are people who actually want to pay more taxes.

Here.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Questions I have

I want to know: why are his personal records "sealed" from public view at so many places, his birth certificate, his college records, his master's thesis, his work records at his previous employment. If Obama is elected, 350 million people will be under his leadership. 350 million people have a right to know who he is. At this level his personal privacy should come secondary.

I want to know: why his internet fund raising dropped all checks and safe-guards. He claims to be checking on donation validity afterward. How? Wouldn't it have been easier to let the credit card computer systems automatically check them in the first place? I and many others can only assume he is not only receiving illegal contributions from within the U.S. but also from overseas. Is he nothing more than a "Manchurian Candidate"? (cross out Manchurian insert any conspiracy).

Friday, October 31, 2008

Love ya too, man.

It wasn't until this year that I started using Wikipedia. I've found it to be an absolutely amazing source of answers to absolutely anything at all. I was watching a John Wayne war movie, popped open the laptop and looked up Naval rank insignia. The other day for some reason I found myself looking up heat-engines and learning about the Stirling engine.

Today I'm reading political articles and saw this picture of The One. Not being young, hip, or cool I found his hand gesture peculiar. Luckily Wiki has the answers.



Of course, if I were Italian I'd be offended.

Hillary for President?

Wow. . . I'm expecting a couple of days of a couple of riots here and there, but this ladies' scenario is like the worst-case ever. (The Perfect Coup).

Her theory is this;
Obama wins election day.
Obama is afterward proven unqualified to be President.
The electoral college is forced to chose Hillary as president based on: 1) a democrat win on election day, 2) Hillary's second place posting in the primary, and 3) Hillary having actually won the popular vote count of the primary. Biden is made Vice-President.
The House and Senate are forced to ratify it.
Riots by Obama supporters lead to serious general civil unrest.
Martial law is implemented.
The National Guard is not enough, the Military is called in.
The U.N. and Mexican and Canandian troops come in for assistance.
After a year of martial law . . . and so ends chapter one.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Obama supporters stance on the issues.

From an article about a Howard Stern staff member interviewing people.

Here are some questions to the first of three Obama supporters:

QUESTION: "Obama or McCain?" ANSWER: "Obama." QUESTION: "Now what don't you like about McCain?" ANSWER: "McCain seems to not know what he is doing right now." QUESTION: "Are you more for Obama because he is pro-life or because he thinks our troops should stay in Iraq and finish this war?" ANSER: "I think it's because ... finish the war." QUESTION: "How about as far as him being pro-life? Do you support him in that cause?" ANSWER: "Yeah, I do..." QUESTION: "And if he wins, do you have any problem with Sarah Palin being his V.P.?" ANSWER: "No, I wouldn't. Not at all."

Part of the next interview: QUESTION: "Obama or McCain?" ANSWER: "Obama." QUESTION: "Obama says he is anti-stem cell research. How do you feel about that?" ANSWER: "I wouldn't do that either. I am anti-stem cell research." QUESTION: "If Obama wins do you mind Sarah Palin as V.P." ANSWER: No... No, I don't."

And finally, part of the last interview. After saying that she is an Obama supporter: "Do you support Obama more because he is pro-life, or because he says our troops should stay in Iraq?" ANSWER: "I guess both." QUESTION: "And if Obama wins, do you have any trouble with Sarah Palin being his V.P.?" ANSWER: "Nope." QUESTION: "Do you think she will do a good job?" ANSWER: "Yes." QUESTION: "Are you glad he asked her to be V.P.?" ANSWER: "Yes."

I have no trouble with Sarah Palin being V.P. either.

Staying home Wednesday?

I've been reading a lot of news articles lately, it's been slow at work. It gives me the impression that this presidential race has people wound up tighter than they've ever been. The maniacal frenzy of Obama supporters leads me to believe we will probably have riots at least somewhere on Tuesday night / Wednesday morning. I also think the outcome of the race won't make any difference. A Democratic win gives them approval to act and a Republican win will be seen as being cheated and so as justification to act.

It makes me think of how much of our National Guard is overseas. I think we're going to need them over here. . .

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Not a Math major . . .

In an article about students hiding out overseas to avoid student loans they find they can't afford, a guy named Chris left college with $160,000 in student loans. He thought the most he'd have to pay would be $600 a month. Turns out his student loan payment came to $2400. He eventually went overseas looking for better work and when it didn't pan out, he's staying overseas and avoiding the loan.

Being a little brighter than Chris in basic math I could only shake my head. What sort of loan terms does Chris' $600 payment actually fit? Here's the numbers:

If the interest rate is 4-1/2 percent or higher Chris can pay off his student loan in. . . well, never. $600 is interest only at this point, he could never pay off his loan.

At 4.0 percent he'd be paying for 55 years. Chris is how old?

3.5 % = 42 years (longer than any home mortgage).
3.0% = 36 years
2.5% = 32 years

Even at 1.0% interest Chris will have to spend 25 years paying off his college kegger days.

Chris by the way has that most lucrative of degrees. . . a Masters in Music.

Re-Education Camps coming?

A friend of mine at work and I were chatting about this and that the other day and he has what I find an incredible to believe idea. Let me see if I can get this right and if you can follow it as he intended. He believes that in order for a democratic society to make good and correct voting decisions that at least the majority of voters need to be intelligent. He believes that people should have to pass a test of minimal intelligence in order to be granted the right to vote. He qualifies this view by admitting that currently there is no way to truly measure intelligence as that all current methods are flawed by such varying things as the language they're based in and so on.

He is of course a liberal voting for the Messiah.

I occasionally have a fleeting idea, which I immediately dismiss upon further thinking, that those who pay no taxes have no right to vote. As a conservative I strongly believe in democracy and one person one vote. It should be noted however that we of the United States do discriminate for voting rights. Those under 18 years old are not allowed to vote, and serious (lawless) criminals are not allowed to vote. In addition non-citizens are not allowed to vote in our elections.

My amazement at my friend is; how a liberal who believes in socialism and the concept of the equality of all people in all things finds it just as easy to justify the discrimination of voting rights based on intelligence.

I wonder if his version of intelligence also includes agreement with his political and economic ideals and whether those that believe in capitalism and the belief that the only way for a nation to truly have a future is for people to have personal responsibility and support themselves will be found as having faulty sub-standard intelligence. Freedom minded Republicans . . . prepare to be hauled away to re-education camps to have your intelligence raised to a minimal socialist acceptable level.

Ted Kulongoski is nuts . . .

The latest global warming idiocy from our esteemed left-wing governor is a MANDATE to have
"net-zero greenhouse gas emissions for homes and buildings by 2030".

The left of course don't bother to explain how they propose to do this.

Well let's see. . . if the home were to use only electricity and you could somehow claim that all the electricity came from zero gas emission production methods then I suppose that might be a zero greenhouse gas emission home.

But what about . . . the hundreds of thousands of homes that use natural-gas for heating, or natural gas for cooking, or wood-stove owners, or people who occasionally have a fire in their fireplace or let's nit-pick it down to everyone who lights a candle. What about these homes? The only way for them to be "Net" zero is to produce energy. Not just conserve energy or use less or buy their energy from zero-emission sources, but to actually produce energy.

All new homes which choose natural gas will be mandated to also install and operate solar or wind energy production equipment. Also, this energy can not be used within the home that generates it. The amount of energy of the natural gas going into the property must be equaled by an equal amount of energy going off the property in order to come to a mathematical Net-Zero.

The natural gas and propane industry is going to have a cow . . .

Monday, October 27, 2008

Another Monday

I sometimes wish I had three day weekends, two just doesn't seem long enough. I've had three day weekends in the past, but at the expense of 10 or 12 hour work days. That didn't work as well because with 10 or 12 hour days you don't seem to get anything done in the evenings and your so exhausted by the long days that one of the weekend days is just to recovery. Four 8 hour days would be nice (with a 40 hour paycheck of course).

Well the badge opened the door this morning so I guess I'm employed for another week. I really must keep some motivation to actually do some work. After all they are still paying me even with the impending cloud of doom hanging and I really need to be laid-off not fired.

I've looked into what unemployment benefits would be and balanced out the accounts this weekend to get an idea of where things stand. It's not as gloomy as I first imagined. We should be fine for a number of months, just hope the economy is not as blasted to heck by this liberal mortgage mess as it sometimes appears.

Read a good one this morning; If Barack The Messiah is elected and manages to stay in office for the whole of one term, it will be the longest he's held a steady job.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Kitchen actually making progress again.

This weekend I finally feel like I'm making some progress again on the kitchen. The only thing I did last weekend was get in a load of sheetrock from the lumber store. This weekend I finished hanging the sheetrock in the breakfast nook and both the east and north walls of the kitchen and even one piece on the west wall.

Here is a picture of the north wall being shimmed out to be flush with the stove pipe. I put another full sheet of plywood above the one in the picture. This will give mounting for the cabinets that go here.
Here's the same sheetrocked wall. You can just see the stove pipe underneath the clock.
The sheetrock lifter is used for more than just the ceiling.
Here's the original framing of the breakfast nook arch. This was covered with short pieces of lathe and plastered.
Here I've replaced the lathe with 1/4" plywood bent into place.
The sheetrocked breakfast nook.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

"campaigns" happen

In an article on Palin's clothes:

Also on Thursday, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, a private watchdog group in Washington, filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against Palin, the Republican National Committee and several political operatives alleging that the purchase of clothing for Palin and her family violates Federal Election Campaign Act.

The law prohibits a candidate for federal office from converting campaign funds to personal use.

Does it bother you that "Federal Election Campaign Act Law" just coincidentally has an acronym of "FECAL".

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Kitchen Layoff plans

It's beginning to look like I might be laid off. My first thought is of course how we're currently spending our savings on a kitchen remodel and if layed off how we're going to need that rainy day money.

We're already committed to the cabinets by contract so my thought is to continue the remodel with the exception of three major items which we've yet to purchase. These will be countertops, flooring, and sink (oh, and also light fixtures). I will go ahead and spend some minor money to get the rest of the project put together, things like; sheetrock finishing and painting, subfloor plywood, outlets and switches.

As a temporary finish I will do countertops out of melanime particle board, use our existing sink/faucet, and the ever so chic bare-bulb light fixtures. The floors will remain the new 1/4" plywood subfloor. I might paint it just to be able to wipe up the dog mud and still be able to glue flooring effectively when we do get to it.

So long and thanks for all the fish.

One on the things we contract workers at Atch.Pee.have been doing is watching the phone book. The HP online "people finder" phone listing includes office location, department, manager, and if your a "contingent worker" it not only says that but it says when your contract is due to expire. Generally this is set at 2 years from when you're hired. This week mine was changed from 4-27-2010 to 11-27-2008.

Makes me think longingly of just being the village sandwich-maker.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Disappearing Workers

A few weeks ago I noticed my HP cube-mate wasn't there Monday morning. I thought he took the day off, or was on vacation. A few days go by and we start asking around. No one knows anything. A couple of weeks go by and we're forced to assume he's been layed off.

Being contract workers we are not privy to any meetings or company info. We don't get two weeks notice or even a chance to tell our friends we won't be back. One of the funny aspects of this is that these people's desks/cubes are left just as they were, as if they simply went home for the day. The desks are piles of papers. Equipment is left in mid-experiment.

Yesterday Roger, across the aisle from me, didn't show up. We heard he'd been layed off. His cube looks completely untouched. The only indication is his white-board where he's crossed out his name and wrote a note:

"So long and thanks for all the fish! R.M."

Monday, October 13, 2008

Kitchen marches slowly on.

Things are moving slowly on the kitchen remodel. I've had a pinched nerve in my neck/back for 6 weeks or so and just haven't felt up to a lot of work. Add to that a mild ulcer from job/financial stress and I've been moving rather slowly lately. Or it could be not having coffee in 4 weeks.. .

This weekend I finished some minor details but no sheet-rocking. I used up the sheetrock we had last weekend and haven't made the trip to the lumberyard with the trailer for more. Finished out the insulation of the exterior walls. Also finished the shimming of the wall with the chimney. The chimney has a 8" clay pipe sticking out of it for the original wood stove. Instead of trying to tear it out and re-mortar the brickwork I'm letting it be and extending the studs out to the point where the sheetrock will be flush with it and make for a flat surface. This will require 1-1/4" of material. I've shimmed the studs with 1/4 plywood then covered most of the wall with 1/2" plywood. Following this with 1/2" sheetrock will do it. The sheetrock will still have a hole cut in it for the pipe, but will fill in flush with joint compound. The 1/2" plywood will give something for the pantry cabinets to mount into without concern for where studs or the chimney are located.

The other work this weekend was scraping the exterior window sills. The paint on these is absolutely cracked and peeling. The wood is also cracked somewhat on 2 of the 3 and the third is not only severly cracked but has some rot. As Greg would say "where do you stop?". I not going to do a This-Old-House. I scrapped and sanded, then jammed nearly a full tube of caulk into all the cracks and joints, then painted with a good primer. The dry-rot area I filled with some wood-filler and then caulk. It's a pretty hokey repair, but I'm going for mostly-water-tight not structural soundness. I just had to draw the line somewhere. Shhhh... don't tell dad.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Super Corgi !

I'm usually not one for internet video stuff, but this video is incredible.

Palin and Obama


Javno.tv has a report that Sarah Palin is 10th cousins with Princess Diana. Sarah is also 9th cousins, once removed from Franklin D. Roosevelt. The report goes on to say that Barack Obama is related to . . . Brad Pitt.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Who we're really voting for.

Gordon's post reminded me of something that's been mentioned once or twice around the work-place.

We're probably not voting for McCain or Obama, but rather Palin or Biden. Why? because regardless of who wins neither will probably serve out a complete term. One by natural causes and the other by un-natural cause (in a nation of 330 million there's probably at least one nut job who'll get pushed over his limit).

I'm voting for Palin myself and hoping McCain can hold off the heart attack for 2 years to allow Palin to run for two more terms.

I still don't get it . . .

Barack Hussein Obama



Barack ---- Hussein ---- Osama,

What were Democrats thinking? I realize it's just a name, just words, but really, in a game of popularity like politics the right look, the right sound, the right mannerisms make a lot of difference to voter's who don't have time or inclination to read up on issues. I mean think of what would be said if the Republicans had nominated a man named "William Adolph Bushe".

When the primaries started and the field was full of possibilities on both sides there were three people I seriously thought had no chance. 1) Hillary; in my opinion nobody would want to see Bill Clinton back in the White House in any way, shape, or role. To see him chasing interns in our nation's capitol again? I just couldn't see it. 2) McCain; he's already ran twice and didn't make it. Did Republicans really want to put forth a two time loser. . . again? 3) and finally Obama; it just hasn't been that long ago, and we're still fighting a war. I just couldn't see a name familiarity like Obama/Osama making it in American politics at this time. The three I thought had no chance made it to the top.

Monday, October 6, 2008

rumours

Friday there was a rumour of more layoffs to occur at HP this week. As a contract worker (read: second class citizen) I'm not privy to any meetings or announcements by the company. I don't mind being a contract worker, but in addition to being in a sinking ship company the stress is a little unsettling. Well at least my employee badge still opened the door this morning. It's probably would be good to get a new resume back on the internet job sites just in case.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Side note

A side note on the kitchen demolition.

When we took down the lathe and plaster from the walls (ceilings were left as is) we seperated the wood lathe from the plaster. The wood was taken to a recycle yard. The plaster was piled in the driveway. Beth then shoveled it into the trailer and took it to the dump.

I was just looking at the receipt from the dump and was astonished at the weight! Granted it may have gotton rained on a little, but this is only the plaster from the walls.

1,360 pounds!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Before and After

Multnomah County Animal Shelter rescue of a dachshund.
I can only assume the neglect was due to mental illness, otherwise someone needs to be flogged and put in stocks.

Wall Street Mental Health and Addiction

Last night the US Senate passed a bill to so call "rescue" Wall Street mortgage speculators from this so called "Crisis". I won't get into what I think of this mess itself, what I'm laughing at today is the Senate's Bill. Last night during my commute home I heard on the radio that the bill includes numerous pork barrel projects; millions of dollars to cut 6 minutes off the Portland to Seattle Amtrak run, money for rum (not kidding), and various other nonsense.

With the public eye on them closely I couldn't believe they were trying to pork barrel this bill. Today I looked up the Senate roll call vote on this bill to see whether our senators voted for it. What I cracked up over was what the bill is titled . . .

H.R. 1424 (Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007 )

Then the light bulb clicked and all the pieces fit together. A few days ago they said the Senate can't initiate a bill like this, that it has to come from the House. Well they didn't initiate a bill. They took this little pork barrel bill which started out in the House as a Mental Health proposal and amended it to include the $700 billlion wall street bailout. After all, with the the US economy staring at another Great Depression (so called), they couldn't very well ignore the protocol procedural rules of their little senatorial cliche. (REPOST amendment: Ok, it's not just procedural rules but the Constitution, but really was this the only bill lying around? )

Since the bill is now amended it goes back to the House. Personally I think both the Senate and the House could use a little mental health and pork-addiction treatment.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New Feduhrawl Hollydaih

Washington Post:
Senate leaders vowed to take action this week. However, under the Constitution, such a bill is supposed to originate in the House, which is not scheduled to convene again until Thursday because of the Rosh Hashanah Jewish new year holiday.

I could have sworn we had a seperation of church and state in this country, especially under a liberal democrat controlled congress. I wasn't aware that the Jewish new year had been made an official United States Federal Holiday. Funny, . . . I'm at work, but congress isn't at a time when they all say the sky is falling.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sheetrocking Begins

The insulation in the breakfast nook is completed and I set up dad's sheetrock lifter. It's large and awkward at times but you really can't do without it. Beth shoveled the plaster from the demolition into the trailer this last week and took it to the county dump/transfer site. This weekend we got the sheetrock up on the ceiling. It's a slow start on the sheetrock, but the cabinets won't be ready soon anyway so we've got plenty of time to let the schedule slip. I've gone from thinking the kitchen will be done for Thanksgiving to maybe done for Christmas. It really hasn't been that bad. The stove and refrigerator have remained in the kitchen and work. The kitchen sink has been kept functional and the dishwasher was a roll-around model anyway, so we're really not doing without anything. Countertop space is the only thing missing at the moment, that and having half the kitchen in the kitchen and half in the dining room.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

PGE's Electric Car Charging Stations

Several New Electric Car Charging Stations Now In Portland-Area

I have to laugh at parts of this article.

Currently the charging stations are free. I can't wait until some guy pulls his electric car up to find an extension cord plugged in that leads into the bushes to some homeless bum and his electric blanket.

They also plan on utilizing power from the car's during peak power usage. I can just see it; you commute to work and pull up knowing you've got just enough charge to make it home, so you plug in to top it off. Then you come out after work to find your car dies three blocks down the road!

They will eventually install debit card readers to pay for your fill up. How many times will you find that someone switched cords during half the day? Will they charge you for a fill up but not credit you for draining your battery during peak usage times?

Liberal Educators

Monday, September 22, 2008

Electrical / Insulation

Almost all the tear-out is done. The green and white tile will come up later exposing the original fir flooring. This will get covered with 1/4 inch plywood to make a smooth surface for new linoleum. The ceiling lathe and plaster is staying, but will be covered with sheetrock. With 9 foot ceilings, losing a 1/2 inch won't be noticeable.
The few electrical changes are all but done. I still have to route the wire for the second oven, and later install a couple of new breakers and tie in the wires to the breaker panel. This picture shows the backside of the original circuit-panel / fuse box. You're looking at the north wall of the breakfast nook. The panel is in the entryway to the side of the back door to the porch. The new panel is in the basement (under where the dishwasher will go). The old panel is still used as a junction box to tie some of the new breakers and wires to the original wiring. About 1/2 or 2/3 of the house is still original wiring.
Here I'm getting started on the insulation of the exterior walls. This is a shot into the breakfast nook. It'll no longer be a breakfast nook so I'm going to have to call it something else. To the right will be a baking center (mixers and maple cutting board countertop), but to the left will be the fridge, microwave, toaster, and second oven.
Here's what I'm thinking for countertops. It's a Corian style solid-surface material. I can buy it over the internet for $400 a sheet (30" x 120", 1/2" thickness). Beth is thinking some sort of light green wall color, and we're thinking a medium grey stone tile look for the flooring sheet vinyl. (basically the same floor we have in the upstairs bath).

Thursday, September 18, 2008

kitchen

I'm losing track already, is this week 3 or 4. ( 3-1/2?)

Beth has been busy ripping up the vinyl and particle board from the floor. Exposing more of the green and tan tile squares. I've been puttering around with the electrical. Drilling holes and pulling wire around to the different plug boxes. It's a challenge getting the wire through the studs in a corner. I've been fishing a string through using bailing wire to push it and then hook it. Then I tie the string to the electrical wire and tape it up. Then push and pull a few inches at a time.

This weekend I plan on insulating the exterior walls and maybe some sheetrock work.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The BIG (left) news

The big news today is the uncovering of the scandalous activity of Governor Palin. Allegedly she installed a tanning bed in the governor's mansion.

Let's see . . .
The governor's mansion is her home where she lives. . . She bought and paid for the tanning bed with her own money. . . Tanning beds sell for as little as $1600. . . She's a good looking woman in a career where looks count. . . Living in a state with little daylight hours. . . Light therapy and vitamin-D are necessary for health. . . She's a woman who cares about how she looks. . .

Yep the left-wing media sure have a scandal here!

Monday, September 15, 2008

You Know You've Got Too Much Money . . .

when you have to hire a "forensic accountant" to make sense of your finances.

What is a forensic accountant? Does he figure out how your checking account died? (The wife did it, in the kitchen, with credit card tied to a blunt object).

kitchen status

No pictures at the moment.

The walls are now stripped down to the studs and cleaned up. We still have most of the flooring to tear out. We're removing the vinyl and 3/8" particle board and the tile under that to get down to the original fir floorboards. The stuff comes up easy enough, it's pulling out all the staples that held the particle board that is a pain. ( Hey Beth, I have a job for you . . .)

I'm starting to place the new outlet and switch boxes and begin running some of the electrical. The hardest part of that is figuring out what to connect to what circuit. The existing circuits are a resuult of several modifications over the 80 year life of the house. Anyway, Sunday, I stood in the kitchen with all my diagrams and spreadsheets of the existing circuits and finally figured out a reasonably simple plan. It only involves two new circuit breaker circuits. One for all the plugs in the old breakfast nook, and one 220v for the second oven we'll eventually put in.

The cabinet guy is supposed to show up today to measure things out.

I'm starting to get estimates on countertops, but I'm also thinking I might do them myself. There's an internet company that will sell solid surface material directly to the homeowner. (most all stores only sell through installers). The stuff (Corian, etc.) cuts and routers like hardboard and glues together with epoxy. You don't have to be neat with the epoxy either because you just sand and polish down the seam afterwards. I think I could work it. It would save 50% of the cost and that's $1500 we could use elsewhere.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Won't somebody think of the children. . .

Or "why I don't like lying socialist democrats".

Here's an article lamenting the increase in the number of "homeless" children in state schools. It states that Oregon has about 16,000 "homeless" children in our schools.

It then goes on to quietly admit that not all these children are living on the streets. Liberals are classifying children living with relatives as homeless.

Let's get this straight: if your son (who drives your Beamer to high school every day) is living with your sister's family, while you and your wife spend the year circumnavigating the globe in your 25 meter yacht, this makes him "homeless".

Liberals in their drive to make our country a socialist nation are doing their best to classify the most people they can as "in need of government help".

Cabinets

Met with the local cabinet shop last night. Decided to go with them over HomeDepot. HD would have been about $8500 and the cabinet shop will be about $10000. A difference of $1500. But that gets a better quality cabinet, custom fit to our room (no filler pieces in between cabinets), without the problems of fitting a standard factory size cabinet into the one or two problem places.

Instead of going with clear finished cherry we've decided on alder with a cherry stain. This will provide a more even color and the natural cherry darkens in sunlight. The darkening looks fine, but it doesn't darken where the doors cover it so when you open the door you get an ugly look. Alder is cheaper but with the labor to stain it's a wash. The real savings will be installing them myself which I was going to do anyway with HomeDepot.

The countertop brand the cabinet shop carries priced out very expensive (with installation) so I'm still looking.

I said to Beth 'with the cabinet's higher cost we could do cabinets this year and countertops and appliances next year'. I don't think she took me seriously.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Got my vote

Now here's a vice-presidential candidate I can support!
Hand me a brewski, heh?
Governor Palin at the Little Norway Festival, Petersburg Alaska.

Schedule

Well we're two weeks into the kitchen remodel and already behind schedule.

I didn't recall just how much work demolition of Lathe and Plaster can be. I only figured one week and it's definitely going to take two full weeks. That's ok we still haven't ordered cabinets yet. The estimate from the local cabinet shop came in and it's quite a bit more than factory cabinets from Home Depot. I just have to convince Beth that factory cabinets will be fine.

This week is more lathe and plaster and tearing up old flooring.

Week 4: electrical
week 5-7: subfloor, sheetrock, and taping and finishing.

Mice, Wasps, and Treasure.

Here you see a little mouse nest next to the heating duct. About 5 feet from the floor. You can see where he chewed away the insulation to the metal duct. Hope he didn't get Asbestos cancer.
Above the kitchen sink windows I found this. Luckily it's been abandoned for some time. We did have the stucco of the house redone about a year after we moved in, so that's been about 8 years ago.
Paper Wasps. No honey.
Interesting color striations.
Here's some of the buried treasure we've found. It looks like a house key, but I wonder what the stamped numbers are about.

Weekend 2, Lathe and Plaster

We've finished the lathe and plaster tearout in the main kitchen area, but still have the breakfast nook to go. The white stack in this picture is a heating duct going up to the 2nd floor. It's a standard sheet metal duct, but is wrapped in Asbestos. Since the asbestos is contained in the wall and the inside of the duct is metal we'll leave sleeping dogs lie.
Here's the west wall. It looks like this is where the original sink was located. Strange it wasn't under the windows, maybe the windows were added later.
The lower half of the north wall. Here you see where a lot of new electrical and plumbing was ran when that was redone years ago. The white/gray column is the chimney of the furnace and water heater.
Here's the upper half. You can see where this chimney also had an duct for a wood burning kitchen stove. However, there is also an original wiring box for 220 volt. Whether the original was a wood stove or whether the wiring is not quite original I can't say.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

You are here. . .

Paste this into Google Maps search.

33.784824, -117.896615

Satellite view and zoom.

I found this one myself while dog paddlin the surf board in calm net waters. It's been a slow day.

Palin's Speech

Read the transcript (mostly, a lot was cookie-cutter poli-talk.) in the Huffington Post that Gordon's blog linked.

What struck me was how the editor Boldfaced the print in the two sections of the speech which criticized Obama. I can make numerous guesses as to why but I'm not in the mood for political rantings.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

End of the World?

Reminds me a little of some bad science-fiction plots.

On September 10th, 3am (ET), the world's largest super-collider will fire up for its first shot. It will fire protons around a 17 mile circumference ring and smash them into each other . . .

. . . Just to see what happens.

One thing that could happen is the creation of microscopic Black Holes. Black Holes which could grow and devour the earth.

Monday, September 1, 2008

World's Worst Movie

Well not quite, but darn close.

1997 remake of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea with Michael Caine and somebody Dempsey.

Trust me, don't rent it, don't netflix it, don't bother.

Walls and Floor demolition

Labor Day. Began removing some baseboard and door/window trim, then started on the floor for the heck of it. One reason I'm pulling up the floor is the top of the current vinyl is 9/16" above the hardwoods of the hallway. That's quite a toe kicker actually. I'm taking it down to the original Fir flooring. The rest of the house is Oak flooring, but kitchens and bathrooms were done in Fir. There is some remains of an early sheet flooring under the cabinets. Just some fiber backing material (asbestos?). That was removed and the square yellow and green tile put in. This was covered with 3/8" particle board with the white vinyl on it.
I set my skilsaw to just cut through the particle board and cut the vinyl and particle into roughly 12" squares. Made it easy to pry up with a crowbar. I've only completed a part of the room today. ( I'm ready to go back to work and get some rest. )
The stove area. An empty hole, a 120v plug and gas pipe for gas stoves and a 220v plug on the floor for the electric. Other than replace the plugs with new for good conductivity, I'll keep both options. The stove is moving, but only a few inches to the left.
How it currently stands.