Things could change again tomorrow but for now, I’m pretty pleased (and a little embarrassed that I feel like it’s such a big deal).
Things could change again tomorrow but for now, I’m pretty pleased (and a little embarrassed that I feel like it’s such a big deal).
Song: “Strutter” by KISS
Sorry I haven’t done any posts for the last few days. I think it was a combination of being tired, thinking really hard about some stuff, and time getting away on me. Things have been fine (although today was really frustrating, more on that in a bit) and I’m doing alright. Let’s see, what’s happened over the last couple of days…
FA and DM came over on Monday afternoon around four-ish. For whatever reason, I had a panic attack shortly before they arrived, so J ran interference and took care of things until I’d calmed down and had towelled off most of the flop sweat. I don’t know why it happened, but I could feel myself winding up (which happens), and then it was almost like I could hear a tree branch break and some kind of monster fell on me. Jeebus, I hate panic attacks. If anyone reads this and has the power to do so, I will happily have five more kidney stones than one more panic attack. Seriously.
Anyway, the PRNs, breathing, and grounding did their job, and the timing worked out pretty well so I don’t think I was missing from the party for too long.
The visit was great – we talked about all kinds of stuff, ate pizza, and talked some more. I thoroughly enjoy it when the four of us get together, regardless of whether we’re inside shooting the breeze or doing some kind of manual labour outside in the sun. When DM mentioned that they should probably be heading out, I was gobsmacked that it was almost 9PM. It was a very good visit and I hope we get together again soon!
One of the things that we talked about was DM and FA’s plans to move – I think I mentioned it briefly a little while ago. It turns out things didn’t work out so they’re staying put for now. I won’t lie and say I’m not happy about that, but I don’t like it when friends or family are really hoping and planning for something and it falls through – particularly when it’s not because of a lack of effort or bad luck/timing/whatever, but because someone deliberately gets in the way. My mom always says things like, “I’m hoping for the best thing to happen,” which normally makes me roll my eyes, but I think I’m starting to understand what she means.
Yesterday I spent a lot of time playing around with my little EKG Arduino module. I’d tinkered with it a while ago and wasn’t very pleased with the results, so I did some research into what different kinds of noise in an EKG look like and how to reduce or eliminate them. I rewired everything, shortened everything, and used some aluminum duct tape to make a ground plane under the whole thing. The result was pretty good:
On longer samples (60-120s) there’s still a downward spike every once in a while – I’m pretty sure it’s noise. I suppose it could be me but I’m not dead… so yeah, it’s probably noise.
I speed-watched through another end-of-the-world movie called The Darkest Dawn. It wasn’t bad at all (particularly with a $40k budget and only 12 days of shooting) but there were two parts that kind of bothered me, and I’m still trying to figure out what happened at the end. Apparently TDD is the second movie set in the same world and the first one does more world-building and puts some stuff in perspective. Still – for a low-budget alien invasion movie, it wasn’t too shabby.
Today was PARCELPALOOZA! For the last week or so, J and I have put in various orders for things, and four parcels arrived today. Very exciting! Everything from CPAP machine filters, to SDR parts, to parts for a new project that FA and I are working on. It was like Christmas, but warm enough to spend more than 2 minutes outside in shorts.
One of the things that arrived was a USB to serial converter. I’d been waiting for it for a while because I have a couple of cheap but interesting microcontroller/camera/wifi devices that I couldn’t program. So… I spent the afternoon playing with converter and the microcontrollers. To be more correct, I should say that I started the afternoon playing with them, then I argued with them, then I took off the gloves and fought with them. I think I was more frustrated this afternoon than I have been in quite a long time. I could not get them to connect to the wifi. It didn’t help that the documentation that’s out there is far from complete. Anyway, long story short – I wrecked both of them, did a pretty bad looking patch job, and now they’re both working.
Whoo… just thinking about that stuff is making me tense up again.
J’s got a lot of stuff going on at work nowadays. Sounds like there are more dark clouds on the horizon, and some of the people she works with are wandering around blindly, unaware that anything is going on. I don’t envy her the stuff she has to put up with right now but I’m proud of her for how well she’s doing it. Plus, she hasn’t kicked me in the face when she gets home from work (yet), and I appreciate that, too. I hope that whatever’s going to happen just happens so it’s done and over with and she can figure out what she needs to do and move on. Fingers crossed…
FA is coming by on Friday for a burrito lunch and to work on her new project. There’s one more shipment that has a couple of parts we need so I really hope it gets here in time, but it’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t. We have no shortage of things to talk about or tinker with. I’m really looking forward to it!
Tomorrow I have an appointment with Dr C. I want to drive there myself. I’d planned to go out and give the truck a once-over today, but with banging my head against the wall for four hours I lost track of time. My appointment is at noon, so it would be great if I had enough time to go over the truck in the morning and maybe drive around a bit before I headed to my appointment. It would be really, really good (for a lot of different reasons) if I could get out there and drive to my appointments. I will let you know how it goes!
Song: Playground Theme From Donald Duck’s Playground (C64 Game) by Al Lowe
It was much brighter and sunny outside today. I didn’t sleep well again and tried the “get up, breakfast, take nap” technique but it didn’t work. Oh well.
I don’t know where the day went. And I don’t know why it’s already quarter after midnight when I’m starting to write this.
I spent quite a bit of time on electronics stuff, making cables for my garden project and fiddling with some Arduino things I’ve been thinking about.
A bird house is something I wanted to build back in the spring but I didn’t get to it (I’d like to put a camera in it to watch them). Anyway, I was wondering if making and putting up a birdhouse now would be a good idea since summer is almost over and I didn’t want them to fill up with snow and be useless. I did some investigating and it turns out that there are quite a few birds that stick around in the winter, and there are three things you can do for them that helps them out: put out (the correct) food, have a heated birdbath that keeps water from freezing, and provide a roosting box for them to shelter from cold and bad weather.
I’ve looked at a couple of plans for roosting boxes and they differ from birdhouses in that the entry hole is near the bottom (to help retain heat at the top), there are perches inside for the birds to sit on, and it has thick walls and/or insulation. The birds don’t lay eggs in the winter but if the weather is nasty they will pack into whatever shelter they can find to try to stay warm. The perches are needed because if they’re all piled on the floor, the birds at the bottom can suffocate.
The roosting boxes don’t seem to be all that big, and I think I am going to try to make one that’s convertible to a regular birdhouse in the spring. I’m waffling over making it out of wood or printing it up, but either way it’s probably going to have a lot of insulation to keep the little guys warm. J and I don’t use the deck in the winter; maybe we can put a roosting box and a feeder or two out on the deck railing for the cold season. Something to think about.
J got home later on this evening – she had another crappy day at work and wanted to mindlessly browse the mall to relax a bit. When she got home, we talked for quite a while and then watched two more episodes of Schitt’s Creek. We’re into season four now.
There’s nothing critical going on tomorrow, but I hope to FINALLY get that stuff outside (although I realized I need to switch the end on one of the cables, whoops) and into the garden. After that, who knows. Maybe my parcel will arrive and I’ll have some new stuff to play with (and hopefully not wreck). J has the afternoon off and it’s a long weekend coming up, so that’s going to be great!
Song: “Spider-Man” by The Ramones
I had trouble sleeping again last night. I tried to pay attention and see if I could figure out whether I was thinking of something or if I was uncomfortable or whatever, but I didn’t have any luck.
I got up and had breakfast and found I was really tired, so after breakfast I figured I’d see if I could get any more sleep. I got into bed, did some breathing… and somehow fell back asleep for another hour and a half. That 90 minutes of sleep sure made a difference – I felt a lot better when I woke up. I’d like to not make this a habit – waking up, eating, then going for a nap sounds like something out of a Garfield comic – but it sure helped today.
As the day went on, it got darker and gloomier out, with rain on and off. I listened to music for a while, then switched over to airport traffic. Man, those air traffic controllers can talk fast and be very calm at the same time!
I did some cleaning around the house and worked on some electronics stuff. It went pretty well, and the kitchen is much less horrible now. I misplaced the breadboard that held the “garden” part of my garden electronics thing so I rebuilt it again. Of course I found the original one right after I’d finished the new one, but it turns out I built the new one in a way that used fewer parts and less space. Hooray for losing stuff!
One of the movies on my speed-watch list was I Kill Giants. I’d heard good things about it so I figured I’d take a look and knock it off my list. I had expected kind of a quirky drama/comedy but shortly after starting the movie I could tell I was wrong. I stopped speed-watching, went back to the beginning, and watched the whole thing through. Definitely not a comedy… REALLY not a comedy, but I enjoyed it.
J had some stuff to do after work so she got home a few hours later than usual. We talked for a bit and then watched two episodes of Schitt’s Creek. The writing and acting in that show is pretty great, and I like how the characters are evolving.
Tomorrow I have a Dr W appointment. I’m not really looking forward to it because I still don’t know what the right answer about the medication stuff is. He is very good about being available, though, so if we make a change and it’s not working well, it’ll be easy to get ahold of him.
The weekend went well. J had a good trip out to see her folks, I drank a lot of diet Dr Pepper, caught up on some shows, and I think I’ve finally – FINALLY – chased down and eliminated the Raspberry Pi SDR noise. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to nap and I didn’t sleep all that well again. Win some, lose some.
Last night was about the same. It’s taking me an awfully long time to get to sleep and I don’t know why. If I wake up, it’s tough to get back to sleep. I don’t think there’s anything new or different going on as far as anxiety or thoughts go. My mom and aunt are also having trouble sleeping, they’re blaming it on the weather changing. With no other ideas, I guess I’ll go with that for now.
Today was a decent day. It took me a while to convince myself to haul my butt out of bed but once I was moving I had a pretty productive day. I’ve been fiddling some more with the SDR stuff and ordered some parts for it today, and I spent a lot of time rethinking and redoing the power for my garden project. Yes, it’s almost September… and yes, I know I was talking about this back in June, but if it works, it’ll work all year round (except for the sprinkler part). So I spent a lot of time measuring and chopping and soldering.
I texted and emailed with FA a bit today, she has an interesting project coming up and we discussed it a bit. I like thinking about different stuff like that – it feels good to bend my brain and I like having new things to ponder.
We got a couple of good downpours (and some good thunder) over the last day or two and the lawn has greened right up. FA and I were talking about that exact thing last week and we were wondering how quickly grass could actually change from yellowish to green and how it would do it. I should’ve put out a time-lapse camera to record what the lawn did. Speaking of which, our ZZ plant sprouted a new… branch? Stalk? Leg? Whatever they have. Anyway, it’s growing like crazy.
J was feeling quiet this evening so I puttered around with some stuff upstairs and then went downstairs to give her some room. She was feeling more like herself later, I think there’s work stuff going on again that’s bugging her.
Not much going on this week except for a Dr W appointment on Wednesday. He’s going to ask me about whether I want to reduce some medications again, and I’m not sure what the answer to that question is. If I don’t need the stuff then I would rather reduce or get rid of it, but I haven’t been sleeping well and past reductions have made it difficult to get to sleep for a few days. I need to do some thinking tomorrow.
Song: “H.M. Jollies” by Kenneth Alford
Last night didn’t go so well. Despite trying everything I could think of, it was after 5AM before I finally dozed off. I got up several times, sat out in the living room, read and re-read sales flyers, did grounding and breathing, checked to make sure I took my evening medications, did everything to “reset” my going-to-bed routine… but no luck. I wasn’t any more worried than usual, there weren’t any unusual sounds or smells, so I have no idea what happened.
So the good thing was I finally fell asleep. The bad thing was someone rang the doorbell and knocked at the door about five hours later, waking me up and startling me a bit. Probably just as well – I don’t want my sleep schedule to get messed up. They left a pamphlet in the mailbox so at least I know which organization woke me up.
I was doing some printing for FA yesterday and yesterday morning the power went out and stayed out for about 90 minutes, wrecking the print. Today the power went out again and stayed off for about 90 minutes again. The two outages taught me three interesting things: one, it’s VERY quiet here with no power; two, the fish don’t seem to care if their pumps aren’t running; three, my phone battery does not last very long when I’m watching Netflix over the cellular network.
Aside from the long night, short sleep, and power outage, today was not too bad. I spent far too much time chasing ghosts, but I think that my crappy sleeps lately are more responsible for that than anything else.
I spent quite a bit of time today working on my Raspberry Pi SDR. My battery solution… well, it “works”, but when I compare the signal the SDR sees running off the battery to what it sees running off the official Raspberry Pi Foundation AC adapter, it’s pretty bad. So it’s back to the drawing board as far as that goes.
J headed out of town this afternoon to visit her folks for the weekend, so I’m batchin’ it for a couple of days. I have supplies, a long list of projects and things to work on (see previous paragraph), an enormous queue of shows and movies to watch, and what looks like fair weather, so I’m in pretty good shape. I also plan to take a day – maybe tomorrow – to take it easy and go for a nap if I’m tired, see if I can catch up on some sleep. We’ll see what happens.
Song: Theme from Paperboy (Commodore 64 Game) by Mark Cooksey
Okay, so every time I say “this is going to be a short post,” it usually ends up being not short. So… BULLET POINTS!
And that’s about it.
Song: “Venus” by Shocking Blue
Just a quick post tonight – I’ve got to be up early tomorrow.
I didn’t sleep all that well again last night but made up for part of it by sleeping through both of my alarms this morning. Fortunately, I didn’t sleep in too much so I was still able to get everything done that I’d planned.
FA came over in the afternoon with printing filament and sweet, delicious burritos. We had lunch and started in on another conversation that, over the afternoon, covered all kinds of things. FA is working on a project and asked if I wouldn’t mind printing some stuff up for her, so once we were done lunch I set the new filament to dry and we started pondering and working.
One thing I really like about working on stuff with FA is that we often look at problems from different angles and have different approaches to try and solve them. Then, we sit there and poke holes in each other’s plans until what’s left of both ideas either fits together or completely collapses (in which case we start over). You’d think that this would lead to loud arguments or burrito wrappers and glasses being thrown, but it’s worked for close to 25 years.
25 years… holy crap…
Anyway, FA did some tweaking of the 3D model and we bantered back and forth about scaling, then we started up a test print. Unfortunately, while trying to get the test done as quickly as possible, I set the speed to high and the temperature too low, so it ended up missing… things. Fortunately, it was good enough for FA to use as a test once she got home.
After everything was running, she showed me some tricks with Fusion 360 which (if I remember them correctly) will save me a lot of time and let me do some pretty neat stuff I’ve never been able to do before. Thanks, FA! 🙂
Then we wandered into the living room and sat and gabbed about all kinds of stuff again. J got home from work a little while later and the three of us talked for a while before FA needed to hit the road. We pried the test print off the print bed and she headed for home, while J left for an appointment.
You know that feeling you get when you’re done, say, a three-hour physics exam? Not the “oh thank Jeebus that’s over” feeling, but the feeling where it’s almost like you can hear your brain ticking as it cools down, like a car engine after a good long stint on the highway. I like that feeling – it reminds me I’ve been concentrating on something (or multiple things) and progress has been made and I’m not feeling any frustration or angst. It’s really quite pleasant.
A parcel arrived today. In it was mostly pretty boring stuff but three things stood out: I now have the parts to make custom short USB cables for my Pi power plans, I got a great new antenna for my SDR (which I am now listening to), and I got several pieces of the Adafruit DIY HDMI cable parts, which, after hooking them up properly (not backwards – bad Mark, bad!) work like a charm:
Note the absence of a three-foot thick white cable with large ends.
Later after J got back from her appointment, we hung out for a while and watched a very frustrating episode of Diagnosis. Yes, some doctors are jerks, and when your illness forces you to visit a lot of them, you’re much more likely to run into one of those jerks. But when you have a port at your skin that leads directly to your heart AND you have a diagnosis, don’t ignore the diagnosis because the first dweeb doctor that told you about it. My official diagnosis as to why this poor girl has had her problems is old fashioned Bad Mom Disease (BMD, sometimes seen as IBMD, where the I stands for “Insufferable”). The sadness I have about her condition is hammered pretty flat every time her mother talked and made the whole discussion about her. Here’s an answer. Here’s a treatment. You’ve talked to someone else with the same thing and he says it works great. Want to try? No? Why not? Because you don’t feel like that’s the diagnosis? They did the test and it came back strongly positive, so no problem, we’ll let your daughter feel like crap and live alone until you decide you stop hating the diagnosis and start getting her fixed. There are people on this show who are being told there’s no treatment and no cure, but they’re just so happy to be able to put a name to it and that there were other people out there who were like them. Then there’s this family who, after having a bad experience with a terrible doctor, decides that whatever he told them has to be wrong, regardless of how many other doctors come up with the same diagnosis. Arrrrgh.
Okay, I spent way too much time talking about that. FA checked the fit of the test print before it crumbled away to nothing, and confirmed that it was the right size so I took the filament out of the dryer, loaded it up with some desiccant bags, and then turned on the printer.
Not a good sound, so I looked around and found it was a fan inside the control box. I’ll need to replace it soon but a few sharp raps on the box and it settled down nicely. I purged the rest of the previous filament and started up a print. It’s going to take a while but it seems to be going well so far. Hopefully that’ll keep up!
Nothing further about the volunteer opportunity for J and I, we’ll just sit and wait. If it doesn’t work out, that’s just fine.
Tomorrow I have my cardiac stress test tomorrow morning, and a Dr C appointment in the afternoon. I have a lot of new stuff to talk to Dr C about, and even more questions, so I’m glad she’s back. I will be glad to get the stress test done because this will be a great way to tell if I’ll be able to start in on some other exercises that will get me all sweaty and gross. Plus, I’d really like to know that I’m not one sneeze away from a giant MI.
Song: “Acapulco 1922” by Kenny Ball
I didn’t sleep all that well last night so it took me a while to get going this morning. J wasn’t feeling well so she stayed home and slept until almost 1PM. She’s feeling a lot better now, though.
Having J around (even when she was snoring down the hall) was a nice treat, and once I got moving I got a fair amount of stuff done. Nothing too exciting, but progress nonetheless.
This afternoon J and I hung out and did our own stuff, too. We watched another episode of Diagnosis this evening – this one was a little different, as ten minutes in they knew the diagnosis but spent the balance of the episode trying to find someone else with the same disease. I like the show a lot (but I’m a sucker for medical mystery stuff) but boy did they pick cases that make me feel awful for the patients and their families. The one we watched yesterday in particular really got to me. Watching people trying to go about their days and find some normalcy… I wish I could make everyone better.
Oh, and in case you’re keeping track, our Diagnosis score is now 15-10 for yours truly.
I’ve mentioned a few times now that there are a lot of rabbits in the area, and a few of them vacation in our yard. I enjoy watching them stop by to eat some dandelions or take a nap – as long as they don’t build a bunny hut in our yard. They haven’t been around as much lately, but yesterday there was one who was really chilling out at the bottom of the deck steps (which is where they usually rest):
We used to have guinea pigs and they would do the same kind of thing when they were relaxed – lean over to the side a bit and kick a leg out. It’s weird how long the rabbit’s legs are, I guess they’re not usually out like that. Aww maaaaan, now I want a jerboa…
Sounds like FA will be swinging by tomorrow around lunch to work on some printing stuff. As always, it will be good to see her again – even when we’re concentrating and trying to figure out some weird problem, it’s still interesting and fun.
Wednesday I have two appointments – a cardiac stress test in the morning and a Dr C session in the afternoon. Other than that, I plan to get some more electronics work done and spend some more time outside (it’s been beautiful lately). I’d also like to get out and do some more driving. We will see what happens.
Sorry I haven’t posted for a few days. Lots of stuff going on, I’ve been pretty busy, and I’ve been doing a LOT of thinking.
This past week has had some ups and downs but for the most part it’s been okay.
Let’s see… trying to remember the big things that happened…
Dr H had referred me to a cardiologist about my weird “lungy” feeling, and my appointment was Wednesday afternoon. I wasn’t a big fan of the clinic, but the doctor and his staff were very good. I was having some problems with staying calm but J drove me and stayed with me and was (as always) tremendously helpful (thank you!!!) They took an EKG, the doctor asked a whole bunch of questions and did some more tests. Of course I wasn’t feeling any symptoms at the time; even so, he is pretty confident that my heart is fine, which is great news. You know, obviously. Just to be on the safe side, he wants me to do a cardiac stress test so that’s happening next week. He expects it will be normal but even so, it’ll give us a baseline to compare to later on if things change. I’m pretty pleased with how it went.
I spent a lot of time this week working on various projects. My new laminar nozzle is put together and ready to test, and I hope it will do the trick. I also designed and did a test print of a stand for some of J’s stained glass and it turned out alright. I spent a lot of time listening to the SDR – I like music in the background when I’m doing stuff, but having the airport or some other channel playing is pretty interesting too.
Oh, and I have successfully fused several short lengths of filament together and re-spooled it for use later, and the fused joint stays together and feeds into the printer and extrudes normally. It might not be perfect but it’s nice to be able to actually use the various 5% or 10% full spools that are kicking around.
Friday was an interesting day. I had a bone scan scheduled for 8:20AM, and we needed about 45 minutes to get there and sign in, so I ended up getting up at 6:30AM. At least that’s what J told me – I was still pretty groggy. I think the test went okay.
After the test, J took me to meet up with FA. Funny story – due to a slight misunderstanding or miscommunication on my part, instead of getting together with FA and tinkering with stuff or playing board games, I instead volunteered to help her hang and mud some drywall. So yeah, J stopped the car, dumped me out and pointed me at FA, and I just kind of wandered around and tried to not get in her way. After a little while my head cleared up and we had a really good conversation while we worked. FA and I have always worked well together, and despite the fact I was putting up drywall in a pretty warm second floor stairwell instead of drinking lemonade while playing Carcassonne in an air conditioned room, I had a great time!
We went for lunch at a different burrito shop and it was very good. The dough wasn’t as good as the place we usually get burritos from, but I had the pulled pork and it was SO GOOD. Plus, I had a diet Lime Fanta. Plus, the restaurant was aggressively air conditioned. Plus, before we ate, I went into the washroom to wash my hands and, after noticing that the sink was reasonably large, I stuck my head under the cold water and ran it for a little while before drying off and heading back out to eat.
After lunch we got back to it and after a while, the first coat of mud was done and we were tidying up. FA drove me home (thank you!!!) and we stopped on the way to get her an iced coffee and me a faux slurpee, which was delightful. I stepped in the door, put my stuff down and took off my shoes, and slowly oozed up the stairs, turned on the air conditioner, and sat directly in front of a fan to eat/drink my frozen beverage. I was pooped.
Here’s the thing, though – I was out of the house yesterday for EIGHT HOURS, and neither of the places I was at were familiar to me. Yes, I did dip into the PRNs a few times, and yes, I snuck in some breathing and grounding (although FA may have just been too polite to say she noticed), but I was out of the house for a good day’s worth of time, AND I spent most of that time working on stuff! I haven’t even stood up that much for a long time, nevermind actually accomplished something! FA said I was useful, too, so assuming she wasn’t fibbing, that’s even better.
So, as I sat on the couch feeling like I was about to keel over, I felt pretty good.
A little while later, J got home and brought supper (BEST WIFE EVER) and we talked about our days while we ate (although it was more like she talked and ate while I sat there all glassy-eyed). We hung out for the evening and tried out a new show called Diagnosis. It was good – J and I are playing a game so whomever figures out the illness or gets the closest guess first gets ten points, and the person who suggests the right treatment first gets five points. So far it’s 10-5 for J.
I crashed pretty hard after taking my evening medications last night and I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow. I slept like the dead, too – a good seven or seven and a half hours. I don’t remember waking up once, and don’t even remember having any dreams. J says she lifted up my arm and shook it so my hand was flopping around and I didn’t even grunt.
Okay, so this post was supposed to be about the last few days but it was mostly about yesterday. It was a pretty big day, though.
And it’s nice to know that my heart isn’t about to give up the ghost, too.
Have a good weekend!