Saturday, May 30, 2015

May downpours bring...?

Day lily.
Silverado Sage
I don't know what this is...except hot pink.
At least there is some beauty to find in the seemingly never-ending rains here in Texas.  The reservoirs are all overflowing, creeks are flooding, and quite a few folks have lost their lives, and many more had property damaged.
We are blessed to live on the high side of town, so no flooding here, plus DH fixed the leaking roof vent, so no more rain inside the house.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Midnight assist

Last night was interesting.  As has become the standard pattern for the NTX region, it rained hard during the day.  It has done that for 19/25 days this month.  All the area lakes are overflowing.  All the bar ditches are swamped.  There is standing water in fields that is beginning to look like lakes themselves.  Yesterday, the dam at Bastrop State Park failed.  Here are a pair of photos of that event. One showing the initial breach, the other, showing the aftermath.  (This occurred well south of DFW and us.)
Bastrop State Park dam failure

Panorama of the state lake, drained

For a change, it was actually not raining by the time I went to bed last night.  DH wasn't home, as he was able to get the swing shift on maintenance at holiday pay +10% shift differential.  So he went off to work before the late afternoon rains came and went.

Being on maintenance, he got the joy of driving all over NTX last night, trying to get cabinets back on power.  He was supposed to get off around 23:30.  It didn't quite happen that way.

On his last trouble ticket of the night, he discovered the tall grass in the bar ditch beside the cabinet wasn't as dry as it first appeared.  His very heavy work van promptly got stuck.

I got a text from him, telling me he was stuck, and the county road he was on.  Because I knew where that road was, I offered to bring out a tow chain so that when the midnight shift guy got to him, there would be a chain to help pull him out of the ditch.  I told DH to send me a Glympse (gps tracking program) so I would know just where he was.  He did so.  I never got it.

When I got to the end of the county road in question, I called him, as he was nowhere to be seen.  He asked what I was doing going that direction?  It soon became clear that while I had indeed driven all of the county road I knew was numbered that way, there was another road with the same number a long ways from where I was.  Figures....

Eventually I make my way out past the airport to the ditch wherein rested DH's work van.  The mosquitos were so thick it was like fog...and me in not much more than the PJ's I was sleeping in when he first texted me!  I realized that if DH had to wait until the midnight guy could get out there to tow him out, it was going to be after 02:00 before he got home.  And DH had to be in at work today for his regular 07:00 shift.

So I decided to see if my old Toyota Sienna mini van would have enough engine to pull him out.   DH got down in the ditch to hook the chain onto his van.  After performing a graceful 18-point turn to get my Toyota turned around without getting stuck in the ditch myself, DH hooked the tow chain to my hitch.  Putting it in Low, and taking it slow and easy, together we managed to pull/drive his van back onto pavement.
Old picture of my van.
It was late, and I could hear bed calling my name.  DH still had to go back to the garage for paperwork.  He did get home earlier than if he had waited until the midnight guy got there.  Still, he is running quite short on sleep today, and I am hoping he will sleep well tonight, provided the latest round of incoming storms don't keep us up.

Our next round of storms.

Monday, May 25, 2015

On Memorial Day

The end of the long Memorial Day weekend, the actual day of remembrance, broke here in Texas with the threat of yet more severe storms and flooding.  Some folks, rightly so, have expressed dismay and more, over the commercialization of this holiday, how it detracts from remembering the sacrifices made by those who served and did not return home numbered amongst the living.

I did not serve.  Though I wed one who did.  Two more of my best friends served and both saw combat, coming home to continue their lives while some they knew did not.  That is a burden I am glad I do not share.  I consider myself blessed, that I have not lost anyone dear to me to war.

My father served in WWII, as did his brother, though neither in this country's forces.  Dad, in the RMN, and Uncle Russell in the Somerset Light Infantry in North Africa.  The closest Dad ever came to combat was once when a ship of theirs over the horizon, lobbed some shells in their direction, or when they took target practice at a box kit flying off the stern of their vessel...  For Uncle Russell, it was different, though I never got the chance to ask him about it, nor did I know then how to ask.

Today is not about the barbecues, that was Saturday, our weekly BBQ get-together.  It is not a day to voice one's personal opinions on this country's overseas entanglements right or wrong.  Instead, simply remember those who gave their lives in the service of this country, and be grateful that there still people willing to risk that, for all of us.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Shoulder update

Today marks 3 weeks since I let Doc rebuild my left shoulder.So far, this one is progressing much faster than my rebuild from 2009 on the right side.  At 18 days post-op, I was allowed to remove the side pillow from the sling, and only have to use it at night.  That's huge, in my mind!  I also got to start ROM exercises with it, doing basic pendulum swings 3x a day.  The incisions are healing nicely, and being much smaller than in 2009, there won't be nearly as impressive a scar.

Doc asked how it felt, and I said it didn't hurt, unless I moved it too far.  That merited the raised eyebrow from Doc.  Then he asked if I was sleeping in my bed yet.  I replied that I had been sleeping in my own bed since I got home from the surgery!  He didn't believe me at first, saying nobody sleeps in their bed the day of the surgery...(except me!)  When I insisted I was telling the truth, and that I had even begun to try sleeping on my surgical side (left), Doc just looked at me and said, "You're just weird!"  DH and I both just laughed.

I am trying so hard, to behave, with my restricted activity.  I want to go out and ride, and thankfully, DH takes me out on the tandem on the weekends if it isn't raining.  We got 33mi in this past weekend, which was grand.  I want to get started on full blown PT, and to get lifting again...but that will have to await Doc's orders.  I sure don't want to screw up this repair, by diving back into lifting too soon. So I make due with bodyweight squats, lunges, Romanian split squats, one arm planks, leg lifts and crunches.  It's not a lot, but at least I think it is limiting the loss of muscle tone, in the legs anyway.  Plus there is riding the rear wheel trainer.  I can usually stomach 45-60min of that, and have been trying some HIIT workouts (high intensity interval training).  Hopefully this will give me enough in the legs to make a go of the 2015 Hotter 'n Hell bike ride at the end of August.  I SO want to do a sub-7hr century!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Maintenance time

DH was able to ride into work this morning, but got a pick-up after work due to more rain.  As we unloaded his Allez, he discovered a bit of lateral play in the rear wheel.  Hmmm...loose cones, or bad bearings?

So after dinner it was time for bike maintenance!  After adjusting the cones, he determined it was necessary to disassemble the rear axle.  One set of worn bearings and a pitted cone later, he opted to swap out the wheel for a spare one until parts could be sourced to repair the damage.

And since the bike was already in the stand, he decided to clean it, including the chain.  Now anyone who rides, is likely familiar with a grungy greasy chain, no matter what lube you use (except perhaps old school chain wax...).  

I retrieved an old metal coffee can from the garage, along with the Purple Power degreaser.  After pouring a bunch into the can, we dropped in the gunky chain, and began to swirl the liquid around to dissolve the mess.  Then I had a good idea!  No, not the Good Idea Fairy, a genuine good idea.  
Do you know what the black crud on your chain consists of?  Well, waxes and oils and dirt to be sure, but a lot of it is metal filings.

What's a good way to pull those bits of metal out of solution?  Why, a couple of rare earth magnets!  We have a bunch, so I snagged three of them to use. 
Just stick 'em on the outside bottom of that metal coffee can, and swirl the solution repeatedly, as the degreaser slowly dissolves the wax and oil, freeing the metal bits to wash out of the chain.

See that black ring in the middle of the picture below?  That's a bunch of metal filings, now stuck to the can bottom because of the magnet on the other side.  So when the chain is done soaking, the filings will be left behind!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day, in color

Wishing all my friends out there who are mothers, and their mothers, living or beyond the veil, a happy Mother's Day today.

Mom, with the tulips
And to my own mom, you know that I  love you! 

My second mom.
 And to my late mother in law, my 'second mom', thank you for my husband.  I miss you!

Monday, May 4, 2015

May the Fourth be with you!

Happy Star Wars Day everyone!  May the Fourth be with you!

And since yesterday was the Spring Open House at the Rescue Ranch, I was blessed with a chance to fulfill a promise and a mission I accepted last October.  That was to deliver, in person, a special copy of The Book of Barkley to a special man and his dear wife.  These folks understand what it is like growing up "different", and they understand and support adopted animals.

It took 7 months due to his schedule--after all he has been busy with all sorts of promotions, and travel etc.  But yesterday, amidst such gorgeous weather, dogs, and friends, it was Mission Accomplished!
Peter and Angie, God bless you for your friendship and support of the TIRR Rescue Ranch.  It was great to chat with you both yesterday an to finally deliver the book to you.  I know you will enjoy it.  May the Fourth be with you!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

A little Serenity...

A clip from our tandem ride today.  Yes I rode and it's only 4 days since my shoulder surgery.  It was a lot of fun, and didn't hurt,