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Judy Anderson (yduJ)

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So, that caffeine thing... [Oct. 14th, 2018|01:08 pm]
Judy Anderson (yduJ)
[Current Mood |discontentdiscontent]

I mentioned in a previous post that I was stopping caffeine to see if it helped my irregular heartbeat. Well, it didn't in the first couple days, but after 2 weeks it was pretty noticeable. Like completely better. Then, I had a Mountain Dew three days in a row last week because I was having a work training that required my presence early in the morning, and the irregularities started up again. Cleared up after three days of no caffeine. Bummer. I'm feeling kind of after-lunch-blahs and normally I'd pop a Mountain Dew to improve my mood, but I think it's not a healthy choice. I expect I'll have caffeine only on days when I really care about my square dance performance... Caffeine is also a mood enhancer, at least for me, and so I'm sure this lack is contributing to my distress in all the other parts of my life which do not seem to be going as well as I'd like...

Much pouting.

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Entering the expensive phase of pet ownership... [Oct. 12th, 2018|05:18 pm]
Judy Anderson (yduJ)
[Current Mood |melancholymelancholy]

My cat has been hacking more frequently than cats ordinarily hack (Bill The Cat notwithstanding). Nothing ever comes up and it seemed to be getting more violent. So, off to the vet. I recorded an episode for them with my cellphone, which they seemed to appreciate, the vet listened intently. Then, an xray. Well, there's something in the lung. Temp's normal so probably not pneumonia. Should have done it while we were there, but the vet just called and asked for blood work, we're going in tomorrow. The real thing we need is a cat scan. (pun not intended.) Which looks to run about $1500... Probably I'm going to do it, even though this is not the best cat on the planet. If it had been Mottle, it would have been a complete no-brainer. I kept that cat alive for an additional four years by the application of money and time. I might consider "letting nature take its course", but the episodes are pretty unpleasant to listen to and they can't be fun for the cat either.

She's 14.

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Home Improvement [Sep. 23rd, 2018|10:15 pm]
Judy Anderson (yduJ)

I'm sure that a professional wouldn't have taken 8 hours on this task, but now we know why anything you want done costs $500...

Today's activity was replacing the vent cover on a crawl space vent. In particular, the hard one, which has the new gas meter in front of it, and through which they drilled a hole and ran a pipe, so you can't just take it off, it's trapped by the gas pipe. Further complicating matters, the outdoor faucet is just slightly above the cover, and the people who replaced the faucet had randomly nailed on a large board to hold the faucet. Fortunately, it was only overlapping the cover a little bit and no nails or screws were entwined in the two projects.

My first idea was to try to cut it in half, since to replace it, we'll need two separate boards with half-holes in them. I was constrained by the fact that there's a wood lattice behind the cover, an unknown but small distance, and by not wanting to damage the gas pipe.

Since the moto tool already had the cutting tool on it, I decided to try that first. Fail! The cover is made of a tar-like material, and it melted all over the cutting disk. However, that did give me the idea that it was pretty easy to shred (I should have been able to figure that out by the fact that it has a huge hole, necessitating the whole enterprise in the first place). But it's held in by a wooden frame, so that needed to be cut somehow, in order to pass the gas meter.

So my next trick was to take everything holding the frame off. This included nails, screws, staples, hardware cloth, and duct tape. I was then able to wiggle the frame away from the wall by a few inches (still trapped by the gas meter), and was able to bash at the thing with a saw. Success, it was removed! (With only a little bruising to the surrounding boards, and no damage to any gas company equipment.)

I rewarded myself with a waterski run, having seen the neighbor out mowing his lawn and verified that he was also interested. Yay! It was nippy but not that bad and I didn't use a wetsuit.

So, now the task is to construct a two-piece replacement with the random plywood we have lying about that I used last time. Lay the old one on top of the board, carefully trace, remember that there's always a 1/8 or 1/16 inch gap between the actual ink and the place it should be, run the circular saw.

Cut in two at the appropriate place. Maybe that was the wrong thing because now I have to cut two half-holes and maybe it would have been easier to just cut a hole. Or maybe not, as we only seem to have a 1 inch hole borer, and the pipe seems to be 1.5 inches. Much ineffective screwing around with hole borers of various smaller sizes to try to get something the right size and shape. The drill is acting up. It randomly quits and I have to wiggle the forward/reverse switch to make it start again.

Finally I notice we have a sabre saw. Well, I've never used one before, but it can't be worse than all the random crap I've been trying. In fact it works pretty well.

So, now to try fitting the boards into the slot. Hm. One of those 1/16 inch differences between the drawing on the board and the cutting of the board wasn't right and it doesn't quite fit together. Sabre saw to the rescue, and while that gives a horribly ragged edge, I find the parts to make the drill do sandpaper (continuing to fight with its randomly cutting out). What I really need to do is learn to use a plane. This 1/16 inch thing happens to me all the time, and I just want to shave a little off the top of something.

Finally! It is fitting! Well, almost. There's a 1/16 inch gap cuz I went overboard in my correction. I think I should find some weatherstripping for it.

Next step: Get out the paint. Waste time with some old dried out paint before I notice there's a sign "discard" in the box. Find the paint. Find a paintbrush. Find something that's not really a paint stirrer but has obviously been used for *this* paint before. Set up paper etc in the porch, get the boards covered with the first coat.

I plan to paint the second coat tomorrow evening and install the boards later on. Currently there is a complete lattice work covering the opening, so small creatures like mice and chipmunks can get in but nothing larger.

There's one more of these that needs replacement, but it shouldn't be nearly the enterprise this was.

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Power Grid [Sep. 21st, 2018|11:32 pm]
Judy Anderson (yduJ)

OK, after saying Perry wouldn't do anything with me, he deigned to play a game. It was a very tense game of Power Grid, which in the end came down to bidding up the last power plant, and gambling on whether the next-to-be-revealed plant would be able to power 7 or more cities. We were exactly even in powered cities, and our expected expansion and resource costs were comparable, and our to-be-replaced plants were exactly the same size. Perry had the edge in money, so after we bid for a little while I decided to let him have it and take the gamble, which didn't pay off, so Perry was able to power one more city than me and thus won the game. We didn't actually play out the whole last turn, having calculated it for 15 minutes before starting the bidding. It was a good game, I had fun even though I didn't win.

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Home not quite alone [Sep. 21st, 2018|07:07 pm]
Judy Anderson (yduJ)

Valerie and Ken are in England for a week, and Jocelyn is away at a school thing for 3 days. So it's just Perry and me, which is a little like being home alone, since he won't eat anything I cook, and is random about whether he wants to eat with me, or in fact do anything with me. So I'm making some meat things for myself to be nice to my intestines, doing a lot of work, and hopefully on the weekend getting some crap done around the house.

We will take a few hours on Saturday to start the ...drumroll... College Visit Process. We're going to WPI for the official tour, which I think might be a good fit for Perry. Streetviewed some stuff yesterday and printed directions, in case my phone leaves me in the lurch GPS-wise (which it does with rather too high a frequency. I think I need a new phone.)

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My partner wrote a children's book! [Sep. 10th, 2018|10:33 pm]
Judy Anderson (yduJ)

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weekend bike adventures [Sep. 9th, 2018|07:46 pm]
Judy Anderson (yduJ)

Saturday, Jocelyn had a birthday party to go to in Hingham. So, I took her, and since it's most of an hour's drive there, it's kind of stupid to turn around and go home, I also took my bicycle. I intended to ride to Cohasset, which is on the shore, and ride along some beach access roads, but instead I dorked around in Wompatuck State Park for a while, and then on my way to the beach, I got a flat! Probably my beach plans were overreaching anyway, but once I had to spend 20 minutes swapping tubes, it was clear I should just go back. I'd been worried about the timing but I did make it in time for pizza and cake.

Sunday, Valerie and I had a gathering to attend in Arlington. I've ridden there before, so I thought I'd do it again (and get a ride home in Valerie's car). Somewhat more than 25 miles depending on route. I allegedly left myself 3 hours, but really it was more like 2:45 by the time I actually left. At 16 miles, I only had an hour and a quarter before I was supposed to be there, and was right at the Forest Hills MBTA station. I figured it would be faster to ride the T and also cut out some of the nastier urban riding. What I didn't know, until I'd spent 10 minutes struggling with my bike up the elevator and adding funds to my CharlieCard, was that the T wasn't actually RUNNING. Instead there were shuttle buses. You would THINK that the person who helped me get into the elevator could have mentioned this. Anyway, getting my bike onto a shuttle bus didn't excite me, so I found out where first open station was, and headed off on my bike. I should have just continued all the way to Arlington. Because when I got to the station, the train didn't leave for several minutes, and then when I got to the station where I needed to change, I couldn't find the elevator to the other platform and had to carry my bike on the stairs. Then THAT train didn't come for several minutes! All in all, I was 35 minutes late (not a disaster, merely embarrassing). Probably would have been more like 20 minutes late if I'd just ridden!

Both of these shortened rides made it so I don't get my 100 miles for the week:

Monday: 11.4 RT to grocery store
Tuesday: 8 RT to bank
Wednesday: 14 RT to yoga
Thursday: 10 RT to bank (again)
Friday: 7.5 Moose Hill
Saturday: 20.1 vicinity of Wompatuck State Park in Hingham and Cohasset, in 1:52 for an average of 10.7
Sunday: 21.07 to Arlington with MBTA adventures, in 2:05, for an average of 10.0 (better than I expected given the walking around T stations at 2mph and urban riding I failed to skip)

Total 92.

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Dead bicycle [Sep. 3rd, 2018|09:43 am]
Judy Anderson (yduJ)

Saturday I took apart my old bicycle. The wheel worked great in the new bike, so I have 2 year old wheels on it now, yay. I'm keeping the original equipment wheels from the new bike, just in case. I took off any parts from the old bike that I thought might be irreplaceable, such as the seat and the handlebars. I didn't keep things like brake pads, even if they weren't completely worn, it's not worth the effort. Then I climbed a ladder and installed a hook very high in the garage to store all this stuff. Our 3-car garage is way too full, and what it's not full of is cars!

The resulting rusted-out skeleton looks very sad.

I ended with a small bag of parts that didn't lend themselves to hanging from a hook. I considered labeling this "Persistence of Vision". (Vision is the manufacturer...)

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Heartbeat [Sep. 3rd, 2018|09:06 am]
Judy Anderson (yduJ)

A few weeks ago I noticed that my heart wasn't beating in a normal rhythm. Mostly I noticed this at night because I have a stupid ear that echoes my heartbeat in certain positions and makes it hard to sleep. Well, having my heart go bump-pause-bump-bump made it even harder to sleep...

Eventually I took myself off to the doctor. I mostly noticed it when I was trying to sleep, and it seemed to happen more often then; when I took my pulse at random times during the day the effect was there but the pauses were not nearly as frequent. Thus, of course it didn't show in the EKG.

While chatting with my doctor I pushed at him about how it mostly happened at night, and during the day much less frequently, so he said we'd do the EKG again, and run it for more than 20 seconds (well, duh no wonder it didn't happen! Also I had been way too interested in the procedure). For the second EKG, I tried very hard to meditate and breathe slowly and think sleepy thoughts while waiting for the nurse, and then tried not to pay attention to what she was doing to me, and they ran it for 2 minutes. Ding! We got one. (Only one. I was surprised, since while I doing the "think sleepy thoughts" part, I felt several of them.)

But anyway, one was enough for him to say it was a "classic missed beat", and was completely benign. He didn't have an answer to why I was having 10 of them every minute, but he wasn't concerned, since I didn't have any of the other classic heart problem symptoms such as shortness of breath or pain in my left side and my overall heart rate was good. In fact, I've been happily bicycling to work, waterskiing, going to yoga, all my stuff, and feeling completely fine about it. He suggested that I try stopping caffeine use, so I'm trying that, since I only have one caffeinated beverage a day. He also suggested stopping chocolate, and that I'm less willing to do. So far no real change, though I've been sleeping a little better.

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woah biking!! [Aug. 25th, 2018|01:16 pm]
Judy Anderson (yduJ)

Discovered that the weather was congenial and I could blow off some morning meetings, so I could ride my bike home from work on Thurs and then back in on Fri. Then today, Ken wanted to go on a long ride, so we went up Great Blue Hill!

Adventures were had. On Thursday I hit a pothole, and 1/2 mile later noticed my odometer wasn't recording. Well, that happens sometimes, so I got off to poke at the wires. While at it, I noticed my front wheel was wiggly! What? The quick release had released. You know how in recent years (like the last 40...) they've made forks so that it's a little fiddly to get the wheel out when you want to change a flat? Well this is why they did it! So I could ride along instead of crashing, even with my quick release failed. It wasn't fatal, I was able to get it tight again and get on my way.

Today's adventure was that my rear tire seems to have acquired a slow leak. Halfway up Great Blue a hiker commented "you know your tire is kind of flat?" Well, no, I didn't know... Pumped it up, continued up the hill (not making it all the way, had to push on the short 12% pitch). Rested at the top, admired the view for a bit, then pumped it up again. It had gotten down to about 60psi during the short ride and the break. Dithered about whether to change the tire there, at a Dunkin Donuts further down the hill where maybe I could use the bathroom after to get clean, or just stop and pump up a few times on the return. Elected for the last, because I want to try the wheel from my old bike in this one so changing the flat might be wasted effort. It only took 2 times of stopping to pump up, though it was down to 30 both times.

Sunday: 12
Monday: 23.54 to waltham
Tuesday: 6
Thursday: 25.34 recorded in 2:21 for an average of 10.8
Friday: 25.81 in 2:22 for an average of 10.8
Saturday: 21.77 up Great Blue in 1:59 for an average of 10.9

Total for the week: 114. Sunday and Tuesday are estimates, I didn't know I would get anywhere close to 100 for the week so I didn't record it.

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