Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bugged - Badly bugged

Ok, so what was my reward for getting a major amount of work done to catch my MS Money database up to the  present?

I got to catch the flu …. big time!!!!!!

Days and nights of sweating to chills and gut pains to sharp spinal pains and  muscles that won’t quit twitching and get pulled if I try to scratch my eyebrow.  Boy!  Talk about un-fun days and nights. That has been my reward for the past 3 days.

Sure, I felt like I might have been coming down with something for the past week.   I had too much energy… a bad sign for me…. usually means my immune system has kicked in and is raising my entire metabolism to a higher level…. To be honest, this was a good thing while working on fixing 5 years of screwed up database and banking records, userids and passwords.  One slip of the mind there and it may not be possible to recover from the fubar.

Its done, though.  I still have about 3 or 4 minor accounts to cull for bad and missing records and then I will call it gold and, as Smith said in Backup! Back-up BACK UP!, it will get a certified backup.

its not important how it got this bad.. honestly, it could not be helped, but, for our future planning work and with the tightening economy we really need MS Money working with solid data. I will go into more details at some time in the future about its key role and how our financial structures are setup and work together (most of the time) but that’s a story for another day.

Meanwhile, God, please get me over this FLU!!!!!   PLEASE!!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bonus Post Today

In our procrastination Queue are a couple of things that need to be addressed, pronto!

One is reservations at Disney at the end of October (Our launch date). We are trying to sync that with a Shuttle launch from Cape Canaveral. I have always wanted to see a launch in person and there are not going to be too many more of them in this program.

There is one scheduled for November 12th but a wrinkle that has been in the works (and in our planning) is a visit by Merrily’s long time friend, Donna, who lives in the UK.

Donna and her FiancĂ©e’ are planning to come see a launch, also. Their plans are for one in May (there are actually 2 planned spaced 3 days apart).  We would really like to see them as well as Merrily’s brother and his family up in Jacksonville, FL . I think that the odds of actually being in the area when a launch finally occurs (they tend to slip around a lot) are a lot better in May with 2 of them.

So, our Disney reservations are still afloat as are those for dates after Nov 1.  Just yesterday, Merrily suggested Fort Desoto state park as a “next stop” after Disney. We have really wanted to stay there for several years but the locals seem to have it pretty well sewed up.  Only Florida residents can make reservations more than 6 months in advance so we are playing a waiting game. Guess we need some backup plans to allow for some slippery schedules for launches, full parks, etc.

Gotta get on that right away.


Fixing the Wasp Problem behind the refrigerator

The annual startup of the whole Bee, wasp, spider cycle has begun. I saw a few of each the other day and one of my primary projects for the colder weather was not accomplished, yet. I know that there have been wasp/Dirt Dauber nests in  back of the refrigerator. I have seen them going in and out last year.  I don’t really want to destroy any one of them. The spiders keep other insects in check and the wasps and bees keep the spiders in check… I just don’t want any of them nesting on or in my living spaces.

I am not a weenie about such things but I am also not stupid. Bumble Bees and Dirt Daubers are pretty benign and generally won’t sting if you don’t directly assault them.  But Paper wasps, Flickers, most of the other large varieties are pretty aggressive and unpredictable.  I have seen a few that managed to get inside DakotR and each is encouraged to leave through amply opened doors and windows rather than by attacking them. Trying to dispatch a wasp in a closed area is like trying to take a gun away from a green beret… you are coming away with pain no matter how it ends.

However, as a believer in prevention before cure, I decided to cover the vent holes I have seen them using for their transporter to the refrigerator cubby. They are the typical kind with 3 rows of shielded holes on 2 doors, one for the bottom to let fresh air in and 1 door at the top to allow the heated air to escape.I had planned to do this during the cold weather while they were not active.

In looking for a solution I found the typical RV pricing on packages of stiffened screens to stick onto the inside of the doors.  At about $32 a package (2 packages required) you can see why I was trying to work out another solution.

I was in the basement (of the nearby house) when I spotted some rolls of aluminum expanded web gutter shields, designed I think, to catch every pine needle that tries to escape the roof.

I cut sections of it that were long enough to run the length of a single row of venting holes, then folded that in half and cut off the very tips of the folds so that I had 2 equal sized pieces.

I got my Gorilla Duct tape (its not just for “temporary” use, anymore) and cut three – 4” strips for each vent row.

Then, each strip was folded lengthwise (gosh this would be so much easier if I had not loaned my camera to #3 son) and to fit over the open holes with a flange to tape down above and below the row.

Basically, end-on, it looked kinda like a “Z” with a hump in it. A strip of tape on each end (be sure to tuck the ends of the mesh down snug) along the long edges of the mesh and its done.

I am not totally positive that the mesh will stop all the dirt daubers but I think it will because the mesh fits closely over the venting holes and there is no room for the wasps to land and climb through it.  I figure that if they are able to get through then I can either remake the covers by first, squishing the mesh lengthwise so the holes are a lot smaller or by making a second identical screen but offshifting the holes 1/2 the size of the holes. I know they won’t get through that.

I sure hope that I got all of the active nests out of there before sealing it up. If there are still active hatcheries in there, its going to get interesting.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Don’t put off until tomorrow what you already postponed yesterday.

Yeah, I said that!  I am the captain of the procrastination team so its all my fault, anyway, so why try to hide it…. much.

I cannot believe that this time is screaming by as fast as it is. I honestly try to get a post on here every few days but lately, I am lucky if its every few weeks. Somehow, I have got to get a better grip on these things. If its this bad for something I love doing I must have no concept of how bad it is for the things that really deserve procrastination.

Having defended myself with that, I will try to catch up on things.

(knocking on some wood) Katie has not had a seizure in over 2 weeks.  This is a record untouched since about October 2008. I think its an indicator that her liver is kicking in and doing a better job for her and that the surgery must be working.

It has sure seemed that her typical responses to the medications have been slipping over toward the overdosing area and I have been backing them all down a lot. Most of them are down by at least 1/3 of the amounts she was getting the beginning of February.

She is more active and less sedated during the daytime, has better coordination (most of the time) and her disposition is settling in on the very sweet marker so I am thrilled.

Oh other fronts, the tax work is coming along and I am just minutes away from printing the final versions of the Fed and State forms…. I won’t say what year, though.

My own issues with my meds seems to also be settling down. Keeping a Patch on for 4 days is about  the limit I can stretch it to and its usually getting pretty uncomfortable at the 72 hours mark but I don’t feel I am staying as aware I as need to be if I just swap it out every 3 days and don’t touch base with the discomforts at least a little bit.

The Pristiq is certainly the hero, here. It has given me a lot of my life back and in particular, some predictability for planning purposes. As long as I don’t go skipping doses my unstable startle response stays nicely in check and I can now go places and do things that I have not ever before been comfortable with nor able to do without side effects lasting for days afterwards. One example is that I am now able to walk a mile or so a day. I haven’t been able to do that since about 1999.

Enough with the boring personal junk.  On the RVing side of things, we finished up the Workamping university’s Workamping 101 course which taught us how to go about finding and applying for workamping jobs that will suit our needs and spirits. Getting committed into a bad workamping fit is a real buzz kill from what we have heard from several experienced workampers we have talked with.

The Webinar was well handled and the content was definitely worth the tuition price. We feel like we have gained some actual experience in this area even though our first actual workamping experience is yet to be undertaken.

I have been trying to get an idea of what kinds of web based tools could help us while RVing and workamping.  I know there is plenty to search for and a lot of good content to work our way though but I am more concerned about being able to recall the information on demand that we have previously come across in our searches. 

Simple lists and databases get unwieldy as the content grows and the time to find exactly what we want gets longer and longer. I feel a more dynamic approach needs to be developed that makes it an ongoing part of the whole process. It needs to be readily available, current and self sustaining.At present, I am working up a prototype on a SharePoint services site that integrates all of the info we gather into separate entities that can serve as a full collaboration platform between us and those that we need to work with.

Once I get enough of it setup and working to my ideas I will make it visible to the public for  critique and suggestions. I certainly don’t have the ability to foresee everything it needs to be able to do, up front so getting critiques and suggestions will be vital to delivering a truly useful and well targeted tool.

Oh, the Smart car is doing great, too!  I know we need to name it and get our vanity license plate but its hard to be feel free to be creative with locked in mortal combat  with taxes every day. I only just got the dealer purchased standard plate mounted on it last night.

And to close out this epistle, we finally found a dance class we think we will like.  Its taught nearby and the first of 12 weekly classes will start on Wednesday, March 25 so we will undoubtedly be sore for a few weeks from the class and rehearsals. I think it will all be worth it when we can feel comfortable in a social dance situation. I am tired of feeling that I can’t dance without being an embarrassment to myself and Merrily. Now that I have the pills to keep the angst under control I might as well take advantage of this newly found insulation against personal embarrassment and develop some skills that I was always too shy to  tackle.

Looking forward to it all.


Friday, March 6, 2009

A brief status update

I know I was trying to keep this blog abreast of our daily activities as we work towards a full time life on the road in the US. It was a noble intent but sometimes the practical side of reality will not be denied and the time and attention to do this right was simply overwhelmed with the business of dealing with the alligators around our butts.

The truth is that we have wrapped up the issues with Merrily’s ailing sister and her affairs and she is settled and her stuff is stored. As I mentioned earlier, My daughters, Carol and Shawna helped Merrily take care of things in the proper way and all are back into their own personal lives.

Also, the ongoing drama of Katie the CockaPoo is improving. She had another seizure two mornings ago after Merrily had left for work. I was asleep (recovering from being up most of the night) and I was awakened by a clawing and struggling on the bed behind me. I turned over to see Katie on her side and trying to drag herself over to me.  She was in the beginnings of a seizure that had her legs just flailing and her head bobbing and jerking all around uncontrollably.  She was reaching out to me for help the best way she could.

I immediately slid my free hand over to her and up under her head and she just went limp with a big sigh as her head settled into my big outstretched hand. She was still struggling but was clearly relieved at my contact.  I quickly snuggled her up to me and supported her in a more prone face down attitude that had her legs tucked up under her.

All this seemed to abort the seizure and it never developed into the uncontrollable rigor in her legs and neck that typically has always happened before.  The seizure was mostly over in a few more minutes but she was still kind of wobbly and when she tried to walk around it was as though she was quite drunk.

I quickly got dressed, got her meds into her and then we started walking around outside. The more she walked the better she became and the less the occasional stumble or wobbles occurred.

I am somewhat suspect that she got into something when she raided the garbage can the night before and that may have contributed to this particular seizure.  Since it had been 11 days since her last one it certainly appears that her problem is becoming less sDSC00799evere as her shunt is gradually closed off by the cellophane restrictor band that was put around it a few weeks ago.  This is very encouraging though it will be probably 6 months before we will know if she will ever be completely free of the seizures.

On other fronts, The Smart car is here and so far, no surprises except for how peppy it really can be with the right driver attitude.DSC00760  As others have found, it is a little squirrily in the wind but it keeps up with traffic nicely, even at 70mph. if you are not carefulo the heated seats will melt your jelly beans and the A/C is pretty instant, too. Got to try it today.

Since our weather has been running from a few days of lows in the low teens and highs below freezing to days with lows in the mid 50s and highs in the high 70s, we have gotten a chance to check out its all season capabilities in just a matter of a week.

I will say that I am impressed with its ESP (electronic Stability Program) for controlling traction in slippery conditions.  The first thing I did when it snowed was go look for a hill to try to go up and see how it worked.  In short, it worked very well.  I was only able to find 1 place that I was even able to get a wheel to start slipping and the ESP took over, gave me solid traction in a split second and it was like another vehicle sudden gave me a push the traction grab was so solid.

More later but right now its Friday and Merrily should be home shortly and I need to get cleaned up from the day’s work before she gets here.