20 November 2013

One step at a time

SIL update:  Doing better every day.  Weekend was bit rough, had some fluid build up, in a good bit of pain and she was not sleeping well.  The one good thing is all of the ancillary support she has gotten from friends and family.  Being a doctor, she has lots of doctor friends who work in the very same medical center where she is now camped out.  Several volunteered to visit/stay with her over the weekend which gave us a much welcomed break.  My wife has been up there every other night and that can make one a bit loopy.  With her friends helping out, it has definitely made a difference.  She was having problems breathing (fluid build up) and they put in a drain which immediately helped.  Things improved over the weekend and they removed the epidural (pain medication) and foley (drain) on Monday and she is now ambulatory (able to walk).  Pretty aggressive recovery schedule - she is up several times a day doing breathing exercise and taking walks around the nursing station.  She hasn't yet started back on solid foods, but that is something she is working on.  We are hoping that she will be able come home around Thanksgiving.  

Been an interesting/full week.  With my wife is spending a good amount of time between the hospital and home, I am trying to help out on the home front.  Grocery shopping, cleaning, dog walking, laundry, car maintenance are my chores right now (don't expect a lot with the laundry).  I took the dogs into the vet for a grooming (long overdue).  We needed to get them seriously groomed down to get a handle on the hair around here.  With these two, lately there has been tumbleweeds of dog hair rolling across the living room.  Helpful advice for potential dog owners:  if you don't like dog hair, perhaps Golden Retrievers are not the dog for you.        

Speaking of Goldens, I am keeping up with Golden events and spotted this tidbit from across the pond (amazing how much time you have when you have a iPad and unlimited WIFI at the hospital).  It seems that the Golden Retriever Club of Scotland had a gathering in Tomich, Invernessshire (birthplace of the breed) last month.  

As much as I tout our little annual picnic gathering, I have to admit that getting 222 Goldens to sit for a picture is a pretty amazing feat.  

13 November 2013

On the road to recovery

Things are going well.  The doc finally wrapped up the procedure around 2100 last night.  That makes for one long damn day. SIL was rolled into the OR at 0645 to start hooking her up to all sorts of tubes and equipment.  The actual surgery started at 0800 and they rolled her out to ICU around 2100.  By my math, that is 13 hours.  Imagine being on the table for that long.  Damn.  It didn't take me that long to fly to London in September.  I am trying to picture how the OR team handled it.  Did they get a smoke break?  What about eating? And let's not even stop to consider potty breaks.  

Still, it came out well.  Wife got to see SIL after the procedure before they rolled her to the ICU.  She was doing well, just groggy.  She should be moved to her own room later today.  She'll be in the hospital for the next two weeks to recover and then home for several weeks to get her strength back.  Will be a while before she is able to do any twerking.

12 November 2013

On call

I've got to admit that I am somewhat distracted of late.  Oh sure, work is keeping me hopping, dogs are just as needy, things to be done, reports to be written.  But we are trying to juggle a whole different issue issue altogether.  My SIL (sister-in-law) went in for surgery early this morning.  Remember her?  Something about a new couch/chair recently?  The kidney doctor?  The one with a herd of cats?  

She has been diagnosed with cancer of the appendix.  Been feeling pretty lousy lately and finally got checked out and got the news a few weeks ago.  She has been preparing herself for this procedure for a while, but that's a hard diagnosis for anyone to swallow. This procedure will remove the tumor and the appendix and treat the area locally with chemo.  A VERY long procedure.  Projected to last from 10-12 hours.  Heck, my surgery 6 years ago was barely over an hour, I cannot even imagine going under for that long.  Some of my plane trips haven't been that long.  We are on watch at the hospital for the duration.  I am trying to serve as the anchor and instill some calm, this but my wife is really worried over her sister.  Waiting hours in a hospital waiting room really is not my cup of tea.  

10 November 2013

Smoke test

Sometimes, I throw out sayings that I assume that everyone else understands.  Trying to toss out some military or industry jargon to give you the impression that I've got really cool job.  I had a similar discussion with my controller who is from India and did not understand the term "smoke test".  I have to admit that I am not a true country boy, but I do seem to maintain vast array of useless or trivial knowledge on a few things.  Smoke test is an old plumber's term to test the pipes after they have been brazed.  Something about filling the system with smoke to spot any leaks along the line.  According to Wikipedia:  After a smoke test proves that "the pipes will not leak, the keys seal properly, the circuit will not burn, or the software will not crash outright,"the system is ready for more robust testing.    

Actually, this was not my term - it is part of the project leader's plan to make sure everything is copacetic before we turn the system back on on Tuesday.  So far, they are ahead of schedule and we are hoping to fire it back up late tomorrow afternoon.  Lots of IT people in over the weekend making magic in the server room and insuring things got changed.  I keep picturing lots of Mountain Dew, hot pockets and butterfingers (aka Dennis Nedry in Jurassic Park).   

A fairly quiet weekend.  No real agenda, no real plans.  Took the dogs to the dog park yesterday to make up for being out of town the past few weekends.  They were happy with chance to hang out with the other dogs and roll in the mud.  Two guesses on which one got muddier.  Despite the mud and water, both were thoroughly exhausted the rest of the day.  I am debating doing a blog on the dog park scene.  The number of parks around here has exploded over the past few years.  At some parks, there are certain cliques/pecking orders and a certain social etiquette that rivals some soap operas.  Of course, my two dogs are oblivious to all this drama.


09 November 2013

Fashion challenged

Last weekend was another blur for me.  We are wrapping up our validation project at work after 11 months of testing and re-writing reports and testing and more testing.  A real painful, slow project that is finally going live this weekend.  We took the system down on Friday and will install the upgrade and bring it back up (hopefully) on Tuesday.  I am not in the IT department, so my role is just to watch the process and assist when they reach a roadblock.  In the interim, everyone is supposed to stay off the system (under penalty of death) before the new system comes on line.  I have a small task on Monday to do a “smoke test” when it is partially up just to see if things look ok.  For us, we are glad to have this project come to the end of this phase.  Lots of work after it gets installed, but that is way easier than all of the testing and report writing we have been arguing over for the past few months.  I, for one, will be elated to see this turkey fly.   

I did a few home chores last weekend.  Was playing catch up from last week’s road trip to SoCal, I had a few things to clean up, put away.  I got shanghaied recruited to help my SIL in looking at a new couch and chair for her living room.  Since we had the bigger vehicle and I can brave freeway war zone, I was asked to chaperon her and my wife to a big store north of town.  Now, this is where issue #1 comes into play.  For those who have not read between the lines on my little blog, I am NOT very fashion unconscious.  I blame it on my genes, my brothers, the time I spent in the Corps, those 4+ years in the Army, or just being a guy.  Whatever excuse, I will freely admit that I have the fashion skills of a monk.  That is why my wife has the role of interior decorator for our house.  If left up to me, our home theme would fall somewhere between camouflage and duct tape.  If I had my druthers, we would still have the old beer can coffee table I built in collage.  Needless to say, momma has been the one who put taste and class in our humble abode.  That is why I normally look upon furniture shopping about like getting picked for jury duty.  I would rather give a cat a bath.  Somehow, I got recruited to help out on the furniture trip so I just had to man up and make the run.  Besides, we were hoping to find a chair to replace the ratty old 1970s Herculon chair that my parents bequeathed to us many years ago.  It has been a staple in our bedroom for a long while and eventually wound up becoming a dog bed.  First Shadow staked his claim to it, then Grayson and finally Claire.  

After all those mutt butts, the old chair has seen better days.  Threadbare, tears in the fabric, sagging cushions, creaky springs.  One arm had become so threadbare, I resorted to duct tape to correct the problem (Motto:  If it moves and it is not supposed to, use duct tape.  If it doesn't move and it is supposed to, use WD-40).
Now SIL has very eclectic styles and will buy whatever suits her fancy for that day.  She relies upon my wife to pick out stuff that actually looks good.  My wife found a nice couch and chair set that were very conservative, blended well with the house and, after some debate over fabrics, SIL made the call.  My wife lamented that she liked the set up and we still needed a couch/chair for the living room after our last couch left for college a few years ago.  The front room is a formal living room and doesn't see much action except for holidays, so it was lacking proper furniture.  I prefer the uncluttered look.  Heck, if it were up to me, I would have put in a pool table and dart board, but that idea got voted down rather quickly.  Now, momma was pining for a new set and I told her that getting me out to do furniture shopping was about as easy to do as herding cats, so I told her that we should go ahead and get them.  So, long story short, we have a new couch and chair to adorn our formal living room.  Of course, I was off at work when the new toys were delivered, so momma sent me pictures.  The movers even came and hauled off the old dog chair (we used the old sectional sofa for the dogs).     

Imagine my surprise when an hour later, she sent me a picture of our new couch with an addition included.  Apparently, someone has given his approval of the new arrangement.  

I guess somebody approves of the change. 

01 November 2013


Like Terri, I think my two kids might be a wee bit spoiled.  And it ain't my fault!  My mom likes to comment on how spoiled my dogs are but I happen to catch her this past weekend "red handed".  Spoiled?  Those two mutts?  Ya think? 

I've been trying to post up from California, but the net connection was really sucky and kept dropping me.  It was a good trip out to Cali but not without some challenges.  4 days in Orange County (east of LA).  Two companies to audit, lots of LA freeway traffic to battle.  Audits went well.  Weather was fantastic - clear skies, temps in the mid 60-70s.  I finally got off my lazy ass and got back to running in the morning.  On these audit trips, I typically make it a habit to put in some miles to work off the meals we eat on the road.  Normally like to wake up early and hit the trails before we do our audits (ala 0530) to give me an head start on the day.  My buyer has been working hard on an exercise regime and trying to stay focused on her training (has dropped 30 lbs since she started it) and wanted to take a run with me one morning since she has a 5k Zombie run coming up next weekend (still trying to get me to run as well).  Our hotel was located next door to the Honda Center (basketball & hockey) and just across the freeway from the Anaheim Angels stadium (baseball).  Being a real sports nut, she wanted to run a lap or two around the stadium while we were in town and I was willing to lead the route.  So we hit the streets around dawn and ran over to the stadium for a lap or two.  A bit of a convoluted trail, but we managed to get to the stadium without any issues.  Nice old ball park.  Did a couple of laps and had a chance for a few pictures for her kids before we headed back.  When we got back to our hotel, we noticed that the ongoing street construction adjacent to the hotel had gotten a bit chaotic.  There was a 20 foot tall geyser going on in the street with water flowing everywhere.  After working our way around the flood, we made it back to the hotel but it dawned on us that this broken main might have a bit of an impact upon our hotel.  Yep.  It turns out that the entire hotel had no water pressure.  Normally not a problem except we had just done a decent 5k run and were pretty gamy and had a flight to catch back home.  

Improvise, Adapt, Overcome - my coworker resorted to using the cache of bottled water given to us my our last supplier as a means to combat the situation while I took to the hotel pool/hot tub to rinse off.  Not exactly per the plan, but it did work out.  I felt sorry for the staff having to deal with all of the irate guests and hassles of no running water.  I was emphasizing with the manager on how hard it was going to be to recover and clean up before the weekend crowd hit town.  

Now, if that wasn't enough drama, as we were checking out this morning, along comes the news about the shooting at LAX.  We were not going through LAX for any of our travels (avoid it like the plague), instead we were going through John Wayne Airport.  We were not sure on how this news would impact our plans, but expected the worse.  Given that LAX was completely closed down for hours, we expected pandemonium.  Turns out not quite as bad as we had feared, but still the flight was full with people who had to change plans to catch connecting flights.  Despite all of those challenges, we made it home on time and was able to greet momma and the kids when I got home.  Between all the slobbery kisses I got, it's hard to say which one missed me more.  

Working to catch up with everyone.