Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Blue Uniform Blues

I go back on my diet on Friday, and back to work on Monday. Still, as you can see here, it's going to be tough to get into my uniform.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Bluetooth Bites

I went for another short ride yesterday with my trailer. It was colder so I wore a few layers of clothes, even under my helmet. It was a tight fit. Every time I swallowed, I called Sarah's cell phone. After a few times, I realized it was because my chin moved when I swallowed pulling the helmet strap against the headset, so if I quickly opened my mouth after it dialed, I could hang back up again. If riding at 0º wasn't enough, gasping like a fish while doing it, might have made me look crazy.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Duty Blog

I've been just sitting around eating, which doesn't make for very interesting blogging. It also doesn't do anything for my self image, or, especially, my mirror image. I waddled in front of a mirror and it took so long it was like watching a train go by.
I did go for a bike ride tonight with my new trailer....
I had to take a break from typing to go have some pulled pork, which sounds vaguely obscene, but really was more about deadly sin number two, gluttony.
Anyway, the ride was nice. I only went as far as Home Depot. A little comedy of errors in the store, so it took longer than I expected. I said something about hoping my bike wasn't stolen and the clerk said it didn't seem likely anyone would steal a bike in this weather. The weather takes a (frost) bite out of crime.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Civil Servants Run Amok

I don't want to be a told-you-so, but I'm afraid that if I don't remind you, you won't remember that you heard it here first.
The city of Anchorage has stopped accepting glass for recycling, saying there's no market for it. So, why are we continuing to force city residents into mandatory recycling?
If you were a lemming parent do you think you'd even bother to ask your kids if they'd jump off a cliff just because their friends did it?
What's really roiling the talk radio septic tank is news that the city has banned Snowzilla. Opinions are split between those that think this the first step down a civil rights/free speech/artistic freedom slippery slope, (ha ha, a little snow joke) and those that wish that the city would make him clean up his junk in the summer, too.

Let It Stop, Let It Stop, Let it Stop

We went to a wedding reception on Saturday. In the best man's toast, he said that he and the groom had worked together one summer. They were really funny, but they were the only ones who noticed. I got it, hard.
Sarah's in Seattle. She didn't mean to be, it's just that's where she was was when the weather canceled all the flights in the northwest. It gives us an extra two days to talk about cleaning the house before she comes home.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

And To All A Good Night.

Those scientists at Stonehenge and Mt Palomar can paint themselves blue and shake their fists, but for all practical purposes, the winter solstice comes today, for me at least.
After I get off work this afternoon, I'm on vacation until the 5th of January, and I don't plan on even going outside until then, unless there's a prospect of food. For that matter, it's Christmas Eve, too, since I won't be delivering any more Christmas presents this year.

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's Not Just Sarah And ME

Ha, according to Grammar Girl's podcast today, misuse of "myself" is one of the top grammar peeves of 2008 according to her online poll. Another one; we don't like to be called pedantic for preferring correct usage.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Only Clout I Have Is A Breechclout

I drove to work today. On the way, I stopped for gas and while it was pumping, some homeless guys came over and asked for a ride. I think that's what they said, they were pointing and talking, although it sounded like they said something about the moon. I told them I wasn't going that far, just up the block to the post office. They said okay, and I went to work.

When I got out of the car there, I realized why I looked like part of their tribe, my sweater was hanging out of my coat and down between my legs. Maybe my dishevelment had something to with this; last night, Karen said my coat was in her way, so she crawled over the cart that was in her way and moved my coat "just three feet away" under the kitchen table where the dog slept on it all night. Why she did that is a long story. Thirty three years "on our way to forever together."

Once Again, We're Part Of The Problem

I read today about a man that lost control of his car. His 10 year old son was killed when they slid into the path of a semi carrying Christmas trees. How many more people, and trees, must die before we end this madness?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Apparently My Blank Stare Was the Tip Off

I talked to some of the carolers at church on Sunday. They noticed I didn't seem too enthused about having a bunch of people in front of my house wishing me a merry Christmas. I explained about the PICC line and the garbage buffet, and they seemed mollified, but I'm taking this opportunity to tell you right now, I don't have any, and will not have any, figgy pudding.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hmm, I Found a Perfect Link to a Course About Zombies to Use in This Post, But Somehow, I Never Even Got Around to Mentioning Zombies

Last night after work I had to pick up three prescriptions from Fred Meyer's for Karen. Even though it was three separate prescriptions, I managed to get them all with only two separate trips. Today we took Karen to the infusion pharmacy to get her medicine changed. My father used to say that before you can do something, you have to do something else. Before we could get the medicine, the nurse said we had to go to the emergency room and have the PICC line changed because it had pulled out too far. We went to the emergency room where they interrogated us about what would make us even think we could get a PICC line at the ER.We should have been at the out patient infusion place. The in patient IV team lady put a peripheral line into Karen's hand. I called the pharmacy to tell them we were on the way back to get the medicine, but the nurse there said that was not acceptable. Then a lot of other stuff happened, culminating in Karen getting a PICC line installed and her medicine changed at about 7:30 this evening. Then home, to clean up the garbage buffet the dogs had spread out in the living room. Okay, Karen cleaned that up, but the whole time she was doing it, she was explaining that she wouldn't have had to do it if I'd been a better father. Which reminds me, I told Karen, who was getting a little cranky at the hospital, "Look, we saved your life, and brought you home, don't make us regret it." The IV nurse said, "That's good, you need to keep your sense of humor."
"Okay, think of that as a joke," I told her.
As the day wore on and on, I felt more and more like one of those unhappy people in a TV Christmas special who just needs that one thing to remind them that life is special because of the special people in their lives and about the true meaning of Christmas. So, you'd think when a bunch of carolers from our church down the street rang our doorbell and started singing to us that that would do it. That's what you'd think, but of course, you've never been the morose guy in the special.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Snail Mail

Outside's the rain, the driving snow
I can hear the wild wind blowing
Turn out the light
Bolt the door
I ain't going out there no more
-From Cover Me-Bruce Springsteen
Yesterday was icy, but the walking wasn't too bad because I have little spiky things, called spikies, on my boots. Today it started to snow, but the snow wasn't anchored to the ice and the walking was terrible. Each swing took about twice as long as the one before it and I wasn't sure if I'd ever finish. I felt like Zeno's mailman.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Really Dead Letter

One of Sarah's friends, wait, based on how many times he's sent me National Friendship Week Announcements, and by the way, when isn't it National Friendship Week...
Let me start over, I know a guy, and he was telling me that Boston is such a confusing place to drive, that someday he expects to drive into a cul-de-sac that's one way. I was worried about a similar problem when I had a certified letter addressed to Mrs. X, decd. Luckily it wasn't restricted delivery.

Fair Enough

As I understand it (based on a dim memory of some sixth grade memorization, and a quick glance at Wikipedia) the sixth and fourteenth amendments to the constitution guarantee Americans a fair trial. But one of our local serial killers already had a fair trial, and it turned out really badly. Even though he was showing off the body of his victim, the jury believed his story, "She was already dead when I found her and started bragging about killing her."
Now his attorney wants to throw out evidence in his latest trial for torturing and killing a different woman. I don't think so. We did that once, and look what happened.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Do You Really Want Seconds on That Salad?

I was off yesterday so we went to see the visiting nurse (instead of her coming here which Blue Cross is getting tired of paying for). She called Karen her miracle patient since when she first met Karen she was barely conscious, but yesterday she was able to walk and talk all on her own.

The carrier that takes my place had to cover two other routes as well, so he was out until after eight last night. About fifteen years ago, I had a piece published in the Anchorage Daily News about delivering mail in Alaska. I said that it's a poor business plan to schedule your heaviest workload when there's no light and it's bitterly cold. I'm pretty sure it was only published because I had taken a class from a friend of the editor. The class was on writing for publication. Like I said, it was a long time ago, before blogs. Then, you had to bow to the tyranny of editors who wanted stuff to be interesting. It was so long ago that dial-up referred to those phones that had a dial that you had to spin, instead of buttons to push. We were still, as an alien in the book, Chocky, said, in the thrall of the wheel. The writer, John Whyndam was pretty prescient. His most famous book is about talking plants with poisonous whips that almost take over the world after everyone goes blind, so I would advise treating your flowers with a little more respect. You'll want them to like you when the verdant uprising occurs. Back then (when I wrote my article, at the top of this paragraph ) there wasn't much of an internet, at all. We had a 300 baud Modulator-Demodulator so we could communicate with the library very slowly. We could have probably communicated more quickly by just going there, but we wouldn't have been nearly as cool.

I wrote once about the creation of the universe and how scientific speculation didn't seem any more plausible than the idea of turtles holding up the earth. I mean, where would Atlas stand? As of this morning, when I weighed myself, he seemed to be standing with me on the scale.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Zen Dentistry, One Hand Claps, The Bridge is Nowhere

Karen made an appointment to have her bridge replaced, but here in this magic realism house, the bridge is missing.

Monday, December 01, 2008

It's A Small World After All; A Small Creepy World

Leah has begun to look for an apartment. Yesterday I found a house on craigslist in a great neighborhood for an unbelievable price. So unbelievable in fact that when we sent an e-mail, the response came from a "missionary" in "West Africa" and said all we had to do was call him so we could send him some money and he'd send us the keys.
What's weird and creepy, like one of those scary campfire stories, Leah's been getting phone calls late at night from the same number.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Baroness Munchausen and the Bridge to Nowehere

Karen was flossing tonight and pulled out a bridge. Anything for attention.

What's My Motivation Here?

Since our station manager went mad and was shipped off to the air force base post office, we've only had an acting station manager. He's not very convincing in the role, though.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ignore Him, Maybe He'll Go Away

That advice might work on a bratty little brother, but it turns out that huge piles of mail are impervious to snubs. Yesterday we were told to leave behind mountains of non-preferential mail so that we could help on other routes without using overtime. I had to invoke the "Pay me now, or pay me later" clause because as Chico Marx said, "There is no sanity clause."
Today, I had to work long after dark, but luckily I had a new ball cap with a light built in. Delivering mail in the dark used to be depressing but with the advent of LED's and lithium batteries not so much. It's so much easier to see, and if the light burns out, you can always eat the battery.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Going in Circles

I forgot to mention that the other day that as we went in circles between visits to doctors and a pharmacy Karen did manage to get her blood drawn and tested. Her potassium and saline levels are just exactly perfect.

In other circular news, I've eaten so much lately and our roads are so full of churned up snow along with a threat of rain, and when I got home from work today our dog was in the garbage, that I may already be living in the:
Third Circle
Cerberus guards the gluttons, forced to lie in a vile slush made by freezing rain, black snow, and hail. This symbolizes the garbage that the gluttons made of their lives on earth, slavering over food.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

We'd Call It Blockbuster and We'd Hate it

I told Sarah that I bought six new phones and scattered them around the house. The most brilliant part is that the main phone's handset is attached to the base by a cord. "Oh sure," she said, "and what if we could just get in our car and take our movies back to Netflix?"

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Red Steam Rising

We went back to the hospital tonight, but it's not what you think. Karen just needed some blood drawn before she sees one of the doctors she has an appointment with tomorrow. It was snowing and slick, but what can you do?
Except the nurse I talked to at 3:30 didn't get the order faxed to the lab, so we drove over there and back and Karen still has all her blood. A little of mine boiled away.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Shopping Therapy

Karen came home from the hospital on Friday night. Saturday was our 33rd anniversary. This year, rather than try and find one restaurant that satisfied both of us, we ordered take-out from two different ones. To show how committed I am to the relationship, I ate too much Italian and Mexican food.
Yesterday, we went to Costco, and then after a break we went to our new Target. I think it felt pretty good for her to be out. I was a little bored at Target, or as Leah put it, "I hear you were a jerk."
"Really," I said, "your mom said that?"
Leah said, "No, but I've been places with you."
Anyway, Karen got pretty worn out at Target and today she's been complaining of a headache and tiredness. In spite of that, her blood pressure is still good. Tomorrow she's supposed to have blood work, and then see some doctors on Wednesday

At First It's Horrid. Later, It Probably Won't Be.

I'm still shocked at the recent death of one of my customers. Part of what's horrid, is that life goes on so easily around the family. People still get mail and watch TV. There were obituaries in the paper today, but also wedding announcements. I imagine that life going on is what allows people to pull through as they're pulled along. Still.
According to Brueghel
when Icarus fell
it was spring
a farmer was ploughing
his field
the whole pageantry
of the year was
awake tingling
the edge of the sea
with itself
sweating in the sun
that melted
the wings' wax
off the coast
there was
a splash quite unnoticed
this was
Icarus drowning~William Carlos Williams

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Beet's Me

Here's a link to the blog written by the Freakonomics guy. His guest author says that Aussies eat beets on hamburgers. I've had to accept a lot of things over the years, but this just seems a little hard to swallow, like beets.

The Wisdom of the Crowd, Or, Why I Hate Everybody

A truly wonderful doctor on my route was killed a couple of days ago. He was driving a dog team near Kotzebue (where he had traveled to run a clinic for Native children) when a drunk on a snowmobile (Satan's own personal transport) ran over him. The local newspaper allows people to post comments on their articles. I thought I might post one about what a loss it was, but first I started to read the other comments. They started out well enough, but soon the talk turned to snowmobiles and not as you might think, that they were the kind of thing Satan would ride to the store to get a leaf blower, but the word itself. Apparently, up here we call them snowmachines, not snowmobiles, like that's the important issue. It's people that make comment sections so worthless. Present company excepted, of course.

Friday, November 21, 2008

We're Going Home, I Guess

I heard a story recently on Radio Lab. They said that even brief exposures to cold temperatures cause people to be less trusting. It may be true; I was outside all day, and I pretty much hate everbody.
I don't know how people described paradoxes before Joseph Heller wrote Catch-22. Karen is being released in a few minutes because she's stronger and less confused. She's still a little confused, though, sometimes, BUT, she called Sarah and said we were treating her like she was retarded. The thing is, how would she know?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Good News Mr. Postmaster, No Polyps

I was talking to the hospital chaplain that came to visit Karen yesterday. She represents the United Church of Christ. They're not the fiercely rigid church of Christ, they're the hippies of the church world. They don't actually seem to believe anything, which, I suppose is handy in a hospital chaplain environment since you can agree with everybody. I told her that lately it seemed like we take one step forward with Karen and then fell off the world backwards. She liked that analogy. I told her (because I'll tell anybody) that in August I rode my bike 100 miles and that since then our lives have been like a roller coaster. In August, we were climbing up to the top, and now we've been plunging for so long that the people around us are starting to speak Chinese. She said, "Nope, still prefer the falling off the world backwards, one."
Recently, our station manager went mad, and so they moved him to the post office at the air force base. Many organizations like to look around and promote from within, but I think it's important to not have your head within your duodenum, so to speak, when you're doing the looking. I wasn't sure exactly what the duodenum was, so I had to look it up. I think they were in the inferior duodenum (I'm sorry, I just like saying duodenum) when they found our replacement station manager. Today our supervisor was showing him how to use a graduated stick to count mail (high tech in the 21st century, 21st century BC , that is). In his next lesson, he has to learn that it's just a stick, not a scepter.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Usually When Someone Says Something This Stupid, They Work For The Post Office

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Mona Lisa Smile

One of Karen's doctors was just here. He said she was an enigma. I think that's as good a description as I've heard.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bitter Medicine

Karen is still in the hospital, although she's alert and going to PT every day and going for walks in the hall. She's in a very bad mood, but the doctor says that's a good sign. He said that after poking his head in the door and quickly withdrawing it.
That doctor, and I, want her to think about going to a different facility for intermediate care before coming home. That, along with everything else, makes her angry. But that's a good sign. Not as good as a sign that says, "Exit", or as pleasant, but still, pretty good, I guess.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

At The Center of the Universe is a Black Hole, a Needy Black Hole

Karen's potassium level was reported to be "critically low" yesterday morning, but it turned out that they were actually testing the cleansing solution in her IV. Her potassium was low and she was critical, but those were two different conditions.
One of my customers welcomed me back from my vacation today. Never one to pass up a shot at sympathy, I told him that I hadn't been on vacation; my wife is in the hospital. I passed him again a few minutes later and he said something, but all I heard was, "getting out soon?" I said, "Well, they've offered me an early retirement, but I don't think I'm going to take it." He gave me a look, "Um, I said is your wife getting out soon."

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Another Really Long Post, And Why? Because I Have Time On My Hands.

It turns out that what we had thought of as our wits end, was just a portal to the next level of the inferno. Over the last few days, Karen had seemed to be slipping away from us. She was almost never awake, and when she was awake, she was confused, disoriented and hallucinating. Finally on Friday, she never was able to wake up at all. I called her doctor's office and insisted on talking to someone. Eventually, the PA said that she would send the visiting nurse over to turn down Karen's pain pump and to add a saline drip. She called a few minutes later to say that, no, Karen should just go to the hospital where arrangements had already been made to direct admit her. We found out later, that was because the visiting nurse refused to turn the pump down as drastically as the doctor wanted. That's why it was such a surprise that the EMT's gave her Narcan, which completely counteracts the effects of Fentanyl. So that rather than have a debate about how quickly to titrate her down, the EMT's just threw her into immediate withdrawl. Apparently if they don't find an emergency, they have to create one. I suppose by the same token a fireman should bring his own matches. By the time she arrived at the ER, she was having DT's. They're called the shakes, but that doesn't really do justice to the bed-shaking, uncontrolled writhing, and arm and leg flailing. About then, the ER doctor told me that, in fact, there were no orders to admit Karen. I'm afraid that I used a very bad word to explain how I wouldn't have come at all if I'd known that, since we've made so many fruitless trips to the ER. They did admit her after a few hours with a promise to not make any changes in her meds till we came back this morning. Which, of course, was one more lie. When we got here, her meds had been cut by almost 80%. When Dr. Childs, DO. finally showed up, I asked him if that wasn't a pretty big drop in one day. "Do you want to take over her case?" he asked. Really, he said that. I told him that, no, I didn't, but, gesturing at Karen, I told him I wasn't all that impressed with the job he was doing. "Well, maybe we should arrange for another practice to take over." Amazingly, Leah, of all people stepped in and smoothed things over. It's like we were playing good cop, bad cop and I was the bad cop this time. Playing bad cop was fun. Sometimes, I bet the bad cop isn't even playing.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

How Sweet

It turns out that a lot of doctors prescribe placebos, which makes them little better than witch doctors and faith healers. I think something a lot of people might have overlooked is that maybe when people taking sugar pills get better it's because sugar itself is a superfood.
Anyway, it was just Karen's luck to go to a doctor using nocebos.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

"The Heartbreak of Remoras"

I called in sick Monday and Tuesday because I had a dreadful sinus infection, and today, and probably tomorrow because a confused Karen kept us up a lot of the night last night. A nurse came to draw blood on Monday and Tuesday, but didn't get any, but today one was successful, although dismissive of the tests that had been ordered on it. These tests are supposed go to a kidney/hypertension specialist that we'd hoped to see this week, but now just hope to see ever.
In the meantime, with her hyponatremia or whatever is wrong with her untreated, Karen appears to have become the goddess of a new canine cargo cult. While she eats, our dogs sit at her feet worshipping and adoring. Eventually she dozes off, and a feast slides into their open mouths. They have their reward in this world.
We voted absentee in the elections that just passed. We decided to vote for Ted Stevens because we thought it was more Alaskan to vote for a felon than the dweeb that was running against him. The apparent reelection of Don Young, though, is just inexplicable.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Karen's Still Sick, Confused, In Pain, and Falling

I'm not sure how to express the inexpressible. Inarticulate frustration that really cries out for something like "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGGH"
This is why comic book writers have it all over bloggers. A couple of big "POWS" made Adam West's career.
Anyhoo, Karen's still sick. There's no real treatment plan in place, no doctor's appointment in sight, and our friends from Homer are leaving the state tomorrow. Because she's falling when she tries to walk by herself, she can't be left by herself. Our paid FMLA is almost used up. There's a state program that pays for caregivers to come to your house, but, for now, we still have too much money to qualify. The lady on the phone misheard me, "The fact you're unemployed will really help," she said.
Last week, Sarah heard that Karen was being rushed to the hospital with low potassium. She sent a health drink with potassium up to us, but by the time it arrived, Karen had low sodium instead, a condition that might be exacerbated by excess potassium. When we tried to get Karen to drink it (because her potassium levels aren't really all that high, or even quite normal) she said it smelled like tears.
By now the whole house does, or to put it another way:

Friday, October 31, 2008

What Not to Watch

It's my day off. I'm indulging my cold by staying mostly in bed, and I was indulging Karen for awhile by watching, What Not to Wear. Today's show was about a tiny woman who shopped in the junior section. It's hard for small women to find clothes. There used to be a couple of shops in Anchorage that catered to small women. Well, no that wouldn't have worked, because small women don't eat, but it did sell them clothes. They're gone now, but there are a couple of stores that sell to larger women, and they're busy, you can't even get through the doors. They're thinking of larger doors.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

In the Kitchen With Zippy

I was a little rude to one of my customers yesterday. She came to the door because she heard me saying loudly, "Are you there, are you there?", and I was all, "What?" to her.
I had been on the phone with my daughter and Karen's doctor's office all morning because Karen has been so confused and weak, and then suddenly, there she was on the phone seeming almost completely normal.
She's been, we think, suffering from low sodium levels that her doctors aren't treating. Yesterday we took matters into our own hands, or handles, as it were, and just starting salting everything she ate, using jerky as our standard measure of saltiness. It seems to have worked, but, of course, a woman who has been suffering from edema for the last couple of years, probably can't stay on this regimen for long. It's like cooking on a tightrope, while an angry mob of monkeys throws doctors at you.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Oh, And Another Thing

For being in such a literally visceral profession, doctors and nurses use a curiously bloodless jargon. They gave Karen some medicine to relax her before sending her to the MRI. As they were injecting it, hey presto,  her blood oxygen saturation dropped from 98% to 90% and then all the way down to 80% and she stopped responding to her name. They slapped some oxygen on her and sent her on her way. They told the transport guy to be sure and keep a monitor on her since she had de-satted. 
I suppose all people with  careers that involve blood and despair find a vocabulary to insulate themselves from the horrors they see every day. For example, I'm sure it's much easier for mass murderers to think of themselves as ethnic cleansers. See, cleansing, it's a good thing. 

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Postal Supervisors Are a Necessity. Necessity is the Mother of Invention. Ergo, Postal Supervisors Are What?

Today they announced they're changing where our mail trucks park. They didn't really announce it; the news just dribbled out. The rationale is that subs can't find their trucks since they currently aren't in route order. One carrier pointed out to our new supervisor that if they couldn't read the map of the garage, they shouldn't be delivering mail. Later that same day, that same supervisor drove up to me on the route and asked where a certain street was. 
It's as if the post office is continually re-inventing the wheel, without ever realizing that what makes wheels so cool is that they're round. 
Yesterday at the hospital one of the nurses made Leah so angry. She didn't seem to take the infection control protocols seriously. I thought Leah might be over-reacting until I noticed how she was cleaning the cap on the PICC line going into Karen's arm.

Friday, October 24, 2008

It's Almost Halloween, and Karen's Doctors Are Pretty Scary

Today at the school where I deliver mail, the secretary invited me to guess how much the pumpkin in the office weighed. I guessed 53 pounds which was way, weigh off. As a math project, the older kids are measuring the pumpkin's circumference, and the home-ec kids are dividing that by 3.14 to make pumpkin pi.
That's about as far as I got today, because Leah and Ambre couldn't wake Karen and she was sort of twitching, so they called me, I told them to call the home health nurse and she told them to call 911. I came home and Karen was awake and mad, but nothing would do, but another ambulance ride to the hospital, another eight hours in the ER and then bounced out. The ER doctor said she was fine. She's home now and still barely awake and sort of twitching; another triumph of the medical arts.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I Love You Sarah Palin, But Someone is Coming Between Us.

Another day, another doctor's visit.
Ralph Nader is starting to sound less and less crazy. I don't think he even minds that he might take votes away from Obama.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Here's Something Irritating Although If You Don't Work at the PO It's Going to Seem Sort of Random and Jargon-Filled. How Irritating

I got two letters from the postal service today. One was about the FMLA case that they still haven't approved, and the other was from the District Manager saying that times are tough, but one way they're saving money is by cutting back on supplies. All well and good, I guess, if they were writing to school children or idiots, but where I work, they just hauled out all our perfectly usable cases, and replaced them with new cases that are almost as good as the old ones. Okay, that's a lie, they're nowhere near as good as the old ones, they're just maddeningly impossible to work with. I thought I could be so clever and sneak back and get dividers since I have one of the few routes that the old dividers would still work on, but they had the janitor throw the (perfectly usable) shelves and dividers in the dumpster. So, thousands of dollars to turn p/u equipment into trash, but just try and find a freakin' rubber band during Austerity Days here at the Penny-Wise-Pound-Foolish Office.
See Comment for link context.

The Mask Comes Off

I never saw the Mission Impossible movie, but I think there's a scene where a character pulls off their face and turns out to be Tom Cruise. In a move that can only be compared to finding out that your companion is a monster a la Tom Cruise, or maybe that sweet Bathilda Bagshot is really Nagini, health insurance companies are finally admitting that they are not primarily involved in healthcare at all. Here's an excerpt from an LA Times article:
Federal banking regulators insisted on classifying WellPoint as a healthcare company. And that was interfering with its efforts to open a bank.

The Federal Reserve Board eventually agreed that the company's core insurance business could be considered financial services. But what about its mail-order pharmacy and its program for managing chronic diseases, which was overseen by WellPoint doctors and nurses? Wasn't that healthcare?

WellPoint finally convinced the Fed that those activities were merely "complementary" to its main business -- financial services. It pledged to limit them to less than 5% of total revenue...

"We want the customer to be empowered," Rowan said.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Good News, The Pump's Fine

Our friend Ambre was with Karen yesterday. She called me and told me I was supposed to call Ivy Infusion so they could tell me that they tested the pump and it was fine. I couldn't bring myself to do it, though. I really don't care if the pump's fine; it should be, it just took 3 days off.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Opposite of a Bad Thing Must Be...

a different bad thing. Awhile ago, Karen's pump thought it was empty, so it stopped pumping, even though in reality it was still half full. Today, the nurse came to change the bag of medicine because it was time and the pump said it was nearly out, but no, it had only claimed to be pumping for the last few days and Karen (who has been complaining about being in so much pain) wasn't getting any medicine at all.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Safari can’t open the page... because it can’t find the server “”.

That was the response to a link I got in a brochure from the postal service offering me early retirement. It's just as well that apparently the offer was a prank, since I can't afford my life now, better yet on 3/5 pay. I'm not sure I could tell the difference anyway, considering how little I've worked lately. I had hoped to be able to go to  work today by getting three ladies to come and stay with Karen, but only one returned my call and she would have had a tough time ignoring me since I actually found her on the street a block from here and followed her until she said she would do it. That covered two hours, which allowed me to go grocery shopping. That was nice since I was getting tired of moths flying out every time I opened the refrigerator. 
Anyway, how could an inquisitive person ever leave the postal service with opportunities like these?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Beware the Medical-Industrial Complex

Karen's doctor called me yesterday and told me that Karen had to be admitted to the hospital; I had to take her as soon as I got home from work. She called back to say that although she had tried to get Karen admitted directly, we would have to present at the ER and then they would read her notes and admit Karen. Except, they didn't. They did blood work, and checked her vitals and sent us home a little after midnight.

I say that Karen's doctor called me yesterday. In truth, just before she hung up, she said she didn't want us to think of her as Karen's primary care doctor. This, after more than a year of agreeing with us how good it was to have Karen's pain and family practice doctors together in one clinic.
"And never a human voice comes near
To speak a gentle word:
And the eye that watches through the door
Is pitiless and hard:
And by all forgot, we rot and rot,
With soul and body marred."~from the Ballad of Reading Gaol

Thursday, October 16, 2008

You Know I'm a Mailman, Right?

Karen's doctor called me at work today and asked me why Karen wasn't admitted to the hospital yesterday.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

She's Still No Fun

Today, Karen was at her doctor's office when, on the way back to the exam room, she fell right over.  I was all, "Oh, she's just looking for attention," but the doctor thought that maybe the falling over and the twitching that's started recently might indicate some kind of problem. Perhaps her extremely low sodium and potassium levels were to blame, and since they not only can cause muscle weakness, but also cardiac problems that need to be monitored, she should go back to the ER. Oh, and in an ambulance, because, "David, you'll be all by yourself in the parking lot and if she falls, you won't be able to get her back up." I thought maybe they could help me get her in the car, but no, paramedics were called.
At the hospital, it took hours before they did anything, and they never did monitor her heart or even her pulse, nor did they give her potassium, they gave her magnesium because apparently those two minerals like to hang out together.
While we were there, I realized this might be the part of a new tradition; it was a year ago today that Karen fell, and broke her arm and ended up in the ER.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Maybe Gilligan Was the Wrong TV Metaphor

Maybe instead of referring to Karen's Medical Mystery Tour as Gilliganesque, I should have compared its plot twists about innocents marooned in incomprehensibility to Lost. The difference being that Gilligan played its castaways for laughs.
We recently started the third month of so-called recovery since Karen's day surgery went bad. To celebrate, yesterday Karen came upstairs for the first time since August and looked around a little like a prairie dog. Things had changed a little. For one thing, it was snowing. Some things stay the same, as Jean Baptiste Alphonse Karr pointed out (so long ago that no one remembers who said it, which happens all the time, which in a very neat and contained way makes his point). After two months of nursing Karen, I'm still waiting for the Post Office to approve my request for FMLA leave.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Classical and Modern Combined in One Man, One Man Who, Rather Than Cleaning the House, Is, Even Now, Sitting in a Recliner Blogging

According to Wikipedia, " More than other sins, the definition of sloth has changed considerably since its original inclusion among the seven deadly sins. In fact it was first called the sin of sadness or despair."
Um, I've taken Zoloft for the last seven years, do I have to say anything else to show my classical bona fides for this original meaning of sloth? I hope not, because it sounds like a lot of work, and, also according to Wikipedia, "Current interpretations... portray sloth as being more simply a sin of laziness or indifference, of an unwillingness to act, an unwillingness to care rather than a failure to love God and his works."
I don't want to brag, sin number seven, and the root of all other sins, but if I was any more slothful, I'd be hanging upside down from a branch eating leaves.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Perspective is All

 I was followed all day by a pair of supervisors evaluating the latest adjustment to my route. I was afraid that they might not have had enough cold weather gear for our first snow fall. It turns out they did: a Jeep Cherokee.  I'm pretty sure that from inside their heated automobile, my job looked like a pleasant walk through  swirling, downy feathers of joy. I know from where I was trudging up slippery driveways, it looked like they were just sitting on their keisters all day.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

One Step Back and Running in Place

Don't you just hate those people that take two steps forward before they take one step back?

 Yesterday, after my sketchy trip to the pharmacy, Karen took some Sudafed and felt much better. Some nurses with needles came by in the afternoon and made seven unsuccessful  attempts to draw blood from Karen's arms (which are made of turnips). They finally took it from the PICC line. While this was easy, it wasn't their first choice since the blood was to be tested for its antibiotic level.
Last night, her headache returned with a vengeance, no wait, that was Bruce Willis, her headache returned with nausea and kept her awake all night, and me awake intermittently. Today I took her to the doctor who took one look at her lab results from yesterday and said, "These aren't the tests I ordered."
So more blood draws today, from the PICC line at least, and another trip to the doctor tomorrow.
One huge bright spot, though. Grilled salmon and broccoli from Jan DeYong. Those of you who have eaten at the DeYong's know what she's capable of in the kitchen. The rest of you, be jealous, very jealous.

Monday, October 06, 2008

"She's No Fun, She Fell Right Over"

 Today was the first day in almost 2 months that Karen was to be left alone for a short time during the hours that Leah and I would both be at work. While I was getting ready, she was using her walker, when she appeared to swoon and then topple over. I was there, and caught her and helped her back to a chair where she could sit down and then I called in.
She claims she's dizzy from a sinus/ear thing, and asked for Sudafed yesterday. I don't know when the last time you bought Sudafed was, but as an ingredient in meth, it's  pretty strictly regulated. I tried to buy her some, but the pharmacy at Safeway was out. This morning I went to a different pharmacy. I'm sure I looked a little sketchy standing there when they unlocked the door at 9am, needing a prescription for pain meds and a box of Sudafed.

Friday, October 03, 2008

I Hate Hate Crimes. Wait, Can We Say That?

I really do think the concept of hate crimes is pretty stupid. We already have laws against murder, assault and what have you; it shouldn't matter what the mindset of the perpetrator was, the victim is just as dead or beat up. I don't suppose it's even completely possible, given the state of our technology, to know for sure what the criminal was thinking about while committing his crime. I think designating something a hate crime is just a way for certain people that think a certain way to feel better about themselves.

Alaska is a very large state, one fifth the size of the continental United States. Even though some of it is mountainous, and some is wetlands, there's still a lot of land available for landfills. No one has convinced me that it is more environmentally responsible to ship cans and paper Outside than it is to bury it here. Regardless, Anchorage residents are being forced into curbside recycling and paying more for the service. One of my customers, a few weeks ago, was telling me how great this program was. I told her that I didn't believe in recycling, but, and here I was sputtering a little, I rode a bike instead of driving a Suburban like she did. I'm sure she feels good about her choice to recycle, but why drag the rest of us into it?

Since, in my own mind, I'm such an environmental wunderkind (I don't which is more pathetic, that I think I'm all that, environmentally, or that I think I can still be any kind of "kind") and we're having a little snow mixed with rain today, it might be time to put my brand new Nokian 294 studded tires on my bike. I'm pretty excited.

I'm a Blogger, Does That Qualify Me to be a Pundit?

Some of the real pundits are saying that Palin won on style, and Biden on command of the facts. A writer at National Review hints that the reason Biden had the facts at his command was because he made them up on the spot.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

It's The Water

And, if it wasn't the water, it would be some other damn thing. It turns out that besides battling meningitis and high blood pressure, Karen is suffering from water intoxication. It's apparently not too severe, she's just been told to lay off the water and get plenty of soda and juice. Maybe now, she'll stop breaking her bottle of Evian and yelling, "I can take on the lot of you."
They removed her Wound-Vac a little while ago. We hope that it will be easier now for her to move around without ending up like a portable maypole.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sarah Hates Doctors, But That Can Be So Limiting*

In the last post, I said that Karen would be discharged in a few minutes. It was actually a couple more hours so we left the hospital at almost 10 pm. Yesterday the home health nurse came by to draw blood. She said she couldn't recommend that Karen be prescribed oral pain meds because she had an infusion pump providing pain management and that according to the log, Karen wasn't availing herself of it as much as she could.
Now we've been waiting for almost two hours, with no end in sight, for someone to come fill the pump which they've let run empty.
Oops, false alarm. The nurse has come and gone. The pump wasn't empty, the bag was mislabeled, so it just thought it was empty.

*Sarah Hates Doctors

Friday, September 26, 2008

Discharged Without Cause

I used to have a replacement carrier for my route. He used to vacation at the Alaska Psychiatric Institute, so you can take this with a grain of salt, or thorazine like he did, but he once said about me, "It doesn't take a genius, but luckily we have one." That was supposed to lead into an idea I had at work today, but first I'd have to explain in punishing length some of new policies at the post office which I don't think I could sit through. Suffice it to say, in a moronocracy, even a half wit can look bright.
Karen is being discharged in a few minutes. It was sort of a surprise to the nephrologist, and the home health nurse, but her other doctors have all the confidence in the world, which if you can believe them, they created.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Today We Learned That Kidneys Have Six Different Functions

When I got to the hospital after work today, Karen was being seen by a nephrologist. After we talked, he said, he didn't think she'd be going home tomorrow, either. As he put, "She's ill."
Sarah and Sean were scheduled to leave Tuesday night, but they extended their stay. It's been a godsend to have them here. Do you think it's Pagan to say "godsend", instead of "Godsend"?
I've been riding my bike home from the hospital in the dark. The light I have is just barely bright enough to light up the trail directly in front of me. In order to see things that aren't directly in front of me, I put an old light on the handlebars, and the light I had there, on my helmet. I didn't have a mounting kit, so I used a purple bungie cord I had been using to hold my cuff out of the bottle cage on my bike. I'll use it tonight for the first time. I'm thinking that not only will I be able to see, but people will be able to see me. I imagine they'll think I look pretty clever, pretty cool, not the least bit geeky.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


They disconnected Karen from all her pain meds today and sent her down for an MRI. Part way through, the lack of pain control caused Karen to abort the mission and she returned to her room. Since that means that we have nothing to report, I'll just include this link and let The Onion do my work for me.

Wait, Aren't Women Supposed to be From Venus Anyway?

I read a short story when I was a kid about a country sheriff who doomed Earth's chances for space travel because when the people from Venus met him, the "leader", he brusquely refused their offers. See, he thought they were from Venice and he didn't want to go there.
We now have an update on why Karen didn't get an MRI yesterday. When she got down there, she said she wanted to use the open MRI tube, which -who knows why- is only available to out patients. We don't know if Karen was brusque or not, or if the MRI techs were from Venus, but we do know that they heard her stating a preference as a refusal to have an MRI at all. Today we return to our regular ward, square one.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Populist Post

I went back to work yesterday, and not a minute too soon. We were playing around with Karen's O2 and pulse sensor yesterday and my resting pulse is almost 20 beats a minute faster than it was when I was playing with her sensor a month ago. A customer today was telling me that when her daughter was in the ER last year, they billed her $56 for "pulmonary function testing". We probably added several hundred dollars to Karen's bill with our so-called fun last night.
As it stands now, the doctors are treating complications from her earlier treatments. The beauty of the system is that they can keep making things up, and making things worse, and then continue to send us bills. It's just crazy; like loaning people money they'll never be able to pay back, and then expecting the taxpayers to buy all the worthless loans from the millionaire bankers. Karen is still running a fever, and her kidneys haven't exactly quit, they're more just working to rule. Yesterday a doctor said that she had no idea what was wrong with Karen, and she'd like to do a full body scan, but that really would be just a shot in the dark. Today they came up with some kind of rationale, and took Karen down for an MRI that she really didn't want. As it happened, this was along the lines of the deal where they pretend they're going to execute prisoners, and then at the last minute give them a reprieve. We have no idea why they took her down there, or why they didn't give her an MRI. We don't even know for sure who's handling her case. This last is of more than academic concern. Not only does the Postal Service not pay sick leave for FMLA cases, but they've sent me another ream of papers to further justify my time off. I need doctors to fill out forms labeled cardiac and even, this is true, orthopedic. I don't know what that's about, but it certainly gave me one more bone to pick with the Postal Service.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

This Blows

We met the doctor this morning that's subbing for Karen's infectious disease doctor. She was funny and encouraging that this visit will be short, and gave some indications that the doctor's do know what's going on. Disconcertingly, though, when Karen dropped some pills the doctor picked them up, blew on them, and invoked the five second rule.
I've been saying that I was probably one of the people that disapproved of the Family and Medical Leave Act when it was enacted in 1993; calling it an unwarranted intrusion into collective bargaining and the free market. Now that I'm availing myself of its protections, I've been singing a different tune (We Are Family).
FMLA is set up to protect families from financial disaster during medical crises, except for the Postal Service implementation. If you need more than two weeks to care for a sick family member, you cannot use sick leave, you must use leave without pay, or annual leave. I've spent 30 years accruing sick leave, but now that I need it, I can't have it. Luckily, I do have enough annual leave to cover at least this period. Karen has a room with view, but it's still not exactly where I'd planned to vacation this fall.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Can You Believe This?

It's a day later, and unbelievably, we find ourselves back in the ER with Karen about to be admitted as if the last six weeks hadn't happened, and wouldn't that have been nice? They're concerned that she has a whole new infection in her spine, and they want to try a whole new antibiotic.
The good news is, I asked if we could have our old room back, and they came very close. We're going back to 5 North. It's a relief because I didn't want to have to start all over trying to charm a new set of nurses.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Buck Rogers Goes to the Doctor

We're waiting for the nuclear medicine (which sounds very cool in a 1950's vision of the 21st century sort of way, but is really very mundane, although, come to think of it, at one point there was a geiger counter) staff to tell us if Karen's spinal fluid is leaking. If it is, that's one thing, but if it isn't, we've got a new, out of the blue, condition; apparently she may be readmitted due to renal problems.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

We're Partly Home

We were at the ER for about three hours. They treated Karen with, or rather, to a turkey sandwich, and sent us home. As we were leaving, the woman that had been threatened by thugs was trying to get into a car full of thugs. The police were trying to stop her, but she explained that they were her thugs.
We have to go back tomorrow for an MRI, and a nuclear medicine study. Actually, they're only doing the MRI because they don't have the dye for the nuclear medicine study and they want to look busy until it arrives.

Back Home

This afternoon the home health nurse stopped by and changed the dressing over Karen's wound Vac. Subsequently, Karen had a splitting headache and nausea. The home health nurse called to check on Karen, then called back to say "Get to the emergency room right away."
Apparently the fluid coming out of her back didn't look like normal wound drainage, so now the concern is that they were PUMPING CSF out of her back.
Now here we sit in the full ER waiting room. One bright spot, some thugs are supposed to be coming to finish beating up a woman and some families have decided to take their emergencies to the other hospital. So we're getting close to the head of the line.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ross: That's Painfully Funny. No, Wait, Just Painful.

Karen came home from the hospital today. The pain doctor that was subbing for her pain doctor told us she'd be discharged and was turning to go. "Um, her blood pressure is still wildly out of control," I said. "Oh, yeah, I'll have the hospitalist stop in.

Here's a little background, back a couple weeks ago when she had an intrathecal pump, it had Clonodine in it. That's a high blood pressure drug that has some efficacy in pain control. Her pain doctors replaced the Clonodine in the pump with a Clonodine pill.  According to the hospitalist, Clonodine works to control blood pressure, but when it's given just once a day, it has a rebound effect that's worse than the original problem. Ha, ha, part of the reason Karen spent 13 days in the hospital was that her doctors were making her blood pressure worse. Oh, and not scheduling the cardiologist that they said they would at the beginning of her stay. 

In about 45 minutes, I'm going to take a stab at running some antibiotics directly into Karen's vena cava.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I Don't Just Deliver GQ, I Live It

There were a few little glitches at work yesterday, but overall, not so bad.   A couple of my customers mentioned that the substitute carrier wasn't dressed as neatly as I dress. I'm not sure what to make of that; perhaps he was wearing pelts.
Karen is supposed to go home tomorrow. Yesterday she took her first faltering steps out of the room since she got here almost two weeks ago. Leah and I are going to be trained to do things with her medicines and PICC line. Ah well, it's true, man proposes, God disposes; the plan when I married a nurse was to have someone to take care of me.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Yesterday I had almost reached the point that if I stayed at the hospital any longer,  I was going to grind up match heads and give myself a tattoo. So, I went home and went to bed, and this morning I went to work for the first time this month. Considering that delivering mail is so mindless and rote (at least the way I do it) it was amazing how stimulated and vital it made me feel today.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

No, Not That Anniversary

So even though Karen's head hurts worse than it has, and she was throwing up this morning, there is one bright spot. Now that she's had all of her pain-controlling-appliances removed, she can have an MRI. Some time today, they're going to look inside her head and see what they can see. Several people have noticed that one of her eyes is wandering away on its own, so maybe whatever is causing that, is also causing her headache, but on the other hand, they think the headache might be muscular, or really, who knows, it's been a month today since the surgery that landed her in this nightmare, and we don't know when she'll feel better, or even when she'll be out of the hospital.
All we know for sure is, that as I type this post I seem to be getting more and more irritable. 

But That Was Yesterday, and Yesterday's Gone

Karen had a headache and nausea overnight, and our release date has been pushed back, to when, we don't know.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Oh, What a Night

Except for a few small interruptions, Karen and I both had a good night's sleep. Karen was quite loopy most of yesterday, but today's she's back. A discharge planner has come by. We may be leaving someday.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Johnson and Johnson Merge With Hoover

The doctor just popped in. It will be Friday at the earliest before she's released.  Just now, wound services has arrived. I could be wrong, but I think they're going to attach a vacuum cleaner to Karen's wound. Nope, that's what they're doing. Apparently this device will improve the drainage from her incisions, and help the healing process by "putting traction" on the skin drawing it together. As a side benefit, no dust bunnies.

It's Quiet, Too Quiet

Karen's still in the hospital. The infectious disease guy poked his head in this morning, and said the infection seemed to be clearing up nicely. Her head still hurts, though.  We've seen no other doctors today, so we're just hanging out. Karen's room has a beautiful view, and there's an NCIS marathon on, so I guess we'll just stay busy staring out the window and watching TV.
Tomorrow it will have been a month since the day surgery that started this. We got the EOB yesterday for the two days Karen was in the hospital after the surgery. Not for the day of the surgery, or the surgery itself, mind you, and it was just a little less than twice what we paid for our first house. To be fair, our first house didn't have Wi-fi.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Alarums and Excursions

I think it's Monday morning now. A very long, difficult night. Karen was complaining of a headache that wasn't being controlled by really large doses of pain meds. Her arms and legs where the RSD is, and her back, where her incisions are, weren't bothering her, just her head. That was alarming enough that her doctor ordered a CT scan about 4am, and drove in from Wasilla to read it. The scan was completely normal looking, so along with everyone else coming in to look at Karen today, they've added a neurologist. The infectious disease doctor poked his head in around 7 this morning. The infection appears to be subsiding, good news in an otherwise pretty gloomy report.
Karen had a new nurse's aide last night. She said she was from Grenada. "Oh," I said, "we invaded Grenada."

Sunday, September 07, 2008


A day of ups and downs. Karen seemed so weirdly out of it, that I took the nurse aside to tell her about it. I didn't feel that great myself, even though I'd gotten twice as much sleep as the night before, almost a full five hours. As the day went on, though, she perked up and I took a short nap. We also had a visitor who brought sunflowers and dahlias from her garden.
Tomorrow is going to be a big day, she's got a cardiologist, the Providence wound team, visits from her doctor, and her infectious disease doctor, and whoever else they can fit it in between taking vitals and blood, and giving pills and meals. Then, if all goes well, she might go home on Tuesday, although that is sort of speculative, depending as it does, on her temperature coming down and staying down, her pain being managed, and her incisions starting to close. That may be a lot of pressure to put on one day.

Too Early on Sunday Morning

A much better night. The infectious disease doctor finally showed up around midnight. It turns out that I'm his mailman. He asked if I'd be going back to work on Monday. I told him, "That's pretty much up to you." He told us that the most recent cultures were negative, and that, along with other signs, seems to indicate that, at present, with a nod to the unkowability of the future, she might be going home next week.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

It's A Saturday Night, About 8:30

The doctor came by this morning and adjusted Karen's meds. She had a much better day than her night before. We've been waiting ever since then for the infectious disease doctor to stop by, since she's pretty much here because they were worried about an infection in her spine.

Come Saturday Morning

A rather long night. Karen had quite a bit of pain, and finally around 2am the nurse called her doctor and they increased her meds, but it still took until 4am for her to finally get even a little bit comfortable. Then we both slept lightly, or rather, coldly, the thermostat in the room was set on "glacier".
Now it's about 10am and her fever has returned, so that's a disappointment although the room does seem a little warmer.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Update and a Cozy Little French Real Estate Term

They finally came just before six this evening and got Karen for her surgery. The doctor talked to us about the PICC. After she goes home, sometime next week, they will be pumping antibiotics and whatever else comes to hand through the line...
The doctor just called, it's about 9:20 pm and they'll be sending Karen back up here to her room. I got them to bring up a bed chair, so we're going to be cozy in our little pied-à-terre.

Bigger Keyboard, Same Story; NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH

After the last post, Karen's doctors determined that the tube from her implanted infusion pump was leaking, and in fact, had snapped. This meant that her CSF wasn't just oozing out, but was being drained out by the part of the tube that still extended into her spine. The grapefruit-sized lump she had in her spine since they implanted the stimulator was in fact, spinal fluid, which is what we had seen oozing out of her incision. They opened her back up, and repaired the line, and said that she'd be going home the next day, yesterday, but she didn't.
Among the worst possible outcomes from this latest operation was the possibility of infection that would mean removing both of the devices that are implanted in Karen's spine to control her pain. That surgery will be sometime today, but first they have to run a PICC into her vena cava.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Copy, Paste, Repeat

So, once again I find myself sleepless,typing into my phone,waiting for Karen to get out of surgery. She's been experiencing, "the worst pain of her life" for the last couple of days. Last night we noticed that she had drops of a clear liquid dripping out of her incision. It was like a little spring bubbling up out of her back.
You know how when you're at the ER, there's always an annoying person down the hall that's making so much noise and you wish they'd be quiet?
It turns out it's because they're in a lot of pain, possibly like Karen because their last surgery is still going horribly wrong.
Anyhoo, she's going to spend the night here and hopelessly she'll be coming home tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Spending Spree

We spent time at Karen's doctor's office today. They've scheduled a CT scan to find out why her head still feels like it's going to explode. They ordered some of the medicine that Blue Cross doesn't pay for, so we also spent a small fortune down the hall at the pharmacy. I went back there later to pick up another prescription, but, alas, I couldn't; that prescription for breakthrough pain was being filled too soon. Apparently pain can only break through so often in Blue Cross's world.
So, no sleep last night, and based on mean time between moans of agony (no time at all), no time spent sleeping tonight either.

Well, I Guess, It's True; There is No Rest For the Weary

I know Karen's having a much tougher time recovering from her surgery than I am, taking care of her, but it's a sad commentary that work (where I'm not going to be able to go today) is my respite program.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

From Haiku to Roku

Sarah and Leah gave Karen a Roku Netflix player for her upcoming birthday. It's sort of a one trick pony, but it's a very good trick. It took about five minutes to set up, and three of those were unsealing the batteries for the remote. It quickly logged onto our home network, and instantly we were able to watch movies from our Netflix playlist. Amazingly simple, amazingly cool.
The service is unlimited, or limited only by the fact that not all movies are available to play instantly.
Just one more nail in the coffin for the postal service, I suppose. They're offering employees a voluntary early retirement, although they're not adding any incentives, so I don't think it's that great an offer. When people used to ask my father how he was doing, he used to say, "Clinging to the wreckage." Which could be our employee motto.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

My Life in Seventeen Syllables

As part of the unraveling of the disastrous route inspections and adjustments this summer, several of our routes are up for bid. I asked a carrier this morning if he was going to try to get a route of his own, after being a substitute carrier for the last few years. He said, no, that having just one route was too boring. I told him that just like a Japanese poem can examine one leaf in exquisite detail, delivering the same route day after day allows you to see nuances and relationships that you wouldn't notice if you just blew through and moved on. I was so eloquent, that after awhile I began to believe it.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Alaska Love Letter

I suppose it's incumbent on me as a card-carrying Alaskan to say something about Sarah Palin. For starters, her last name is pronounced Pā´-lĭn, rhymes with Wailin'. She's wildly popular here with two exceptions. One is a sore loser she trounced for governor, and the other one is a local talk show host, Dan Fagan, who broadcasts live every day from deep inside Exxon's pocket.
She endeared herself to Alaskans by standing up to the corrupt leaders of the Alaskan Republican party. By now, of course, we all know just how corrupt they were, since some of them are in jail, and some are on their way there, but in 2005 and 2006, she took a very brave and principled stand.
She has no foreign policy experience, just like Barak Obama, or for that matter, Bill Clinton when he was elected. Of course, the vice-president with the most foreign policy experience recently was Dick Cheney. She has dealt very firmly with Exxon, a company that is like a country; a vicious, oligarchic, invading, country.
Unlike the three senators running for president and VP, Sarah has actually had some executive experience, being a mayor and governor.
The only reason we'd be sorry to see her go, is we'd be sorry to see her go.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

We Wouldn't Have Even Had to Leave the House

"Then I saw in my dreams, that, when they were out of the wilderness, they presently saw a town before them, and the name of that town is Vanity; and at the town there is a fair kept, called Vanity Fair. It is kept all the year long. It bears the name of Vanity Fair, because the town where it is kept is lighter that vanity, and also because all that is sold there, or that comes there, is vanity; as is the saying of the Wise, 'All that cometh is vanity.'"

We could have just stayed home and enjoyed Vanity Fair, but instead, we drove up to Palmer, to Gluttony Fair. We took a quick spin through the Salmon Parade, and then ate. After that, we had to walk around for awhile killing time, until we could eat again. We checked out cows and quilts, pigs and politicians. While we were doing that we stopped in at several food booths and had some snacks to keep our strength up until it was time to eat.

Speaking of politicians, yesterday was primary election day here. Our 84 year old indicted US Senator easily won the nomination for reelection to his seat. Our 75 year old arrogant, bullying, under-investigation-but-not-yet-indicted, US House member, may have won the nomination for his seat as well. It's too close to call, which in a way shows how clean the election was. His opponent is head of the division of elections. Still it's pretty depressing that we keep voting for crooks. We're sort of like Louisiana, but without the killer cuisine.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Notes From Notes From the Underground

"The main issue for the Underground Man, is that he has reached a point of ennui and inactivity~Wikipedia
I confess, I've never read Dostoevsky's Underground Man*, but, man, I didn't really feel like a surface dweller for the last couple of weeks in the corridors and rooms of the hospital and then at home with Karen. On Saturday, I crawled back up into the light, squinting, and went back to work. My legs were almost as tired after walking my route as I was after riding my century. Apparently sitting around isn't the most effective training method.
Tonight after work, Rich and I went for an hour's ride. Nice, very nice, to be back. Tomorrow, it looks like Karen and I will be going to the fair. In anticipation, I've abandoned my diet after just four days.

*I don't know if you can tell it's downloading from the Gutenberg project in the background

Thursday, August 21, 2008

"You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout Till you have drenched our steeples, drowned the cocks!"

It just poured this afternoon. Water was pooling and then flowing in the street, and on the sidewalk, and even down our stairs, where we could literally have had salmon spawning, except we won't have those kind of carrying-ons at our house.

An Afterthought on Shut Up, Just Shut Up, Okay? Or, Not For the Squeamish

Yeah, so if ignorance is bliss, and we're supposed to follow our bliss, why are people always telling me things?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Shut Up, Just Shut Up, Okay? Or, Not For the Squeamish

Once, when we were on a jet taxiing out to the runway, the pilot came on the intercom and explained that we were going to just sit there for a moment because we had made such good time out from the gate that they had burned less fuel than they expected and we were too heavy to get off the ground. After we had lumbered down the runway and into the sky, the pilot explained that we wouldn't be able to climb to our optimum altitude until we had burned up more fuel because we were still too heavy.
Today Karen had her procedure. The doctor stopped by to explain how it had gone. To avoid a risk of infection, he hadn't wanted to go straight in by the original incision, so he came in from the side, he said, but then he had to be sure and avoid going into the abdomen, or puncturing the spinal column, so he just took a long needle and he knew he was getting close when the end of the needle ran into bone.
The only abdominal consequence was that it sort of turned my stomach. And other than that, the blood patch seems to be working. She needs to remain in bed for one more day, and have the doctor look at it on Friday, and then Saturday, I'm going to rejoin the workforce outside the home.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

For the Squeamish

Karen has developed a post operative condition. When we went for a dressing change yesterday, Karen's regular doctor wasn't there. The doctor looking at the dressings suggested a procedure, the first one on the list. Karen didn't want to do it because after the way the last surgery went awry, she didn't want medical people approaching her with anything sharper than a spoon. The doctor said that the alternative was to remain for weeks even more bed-bound than she has been, even going so far as to mention bedpans. I really pressed her to go ahead with the procedure. I've been nursing her for a week, and I really didn't want to add bed pans to my duties, plus more importantly, I told her, why should she suffer so much pain for weeks when a simple ten minute procedure could alleviate it.? Plus, if they did it, no bed pans.
They scheduled it for this morning, but then decided that due to the redness of the site, they might want to wait an extra day, so now it's scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. The doctor said that by then Karen's regular doctor would be back, and she could do it. I told him, "I don't know much about medicine, but I know what I don't like." So, now, he's going to do it, although, since it's on her back and they wear masks, I don't know how we'll know for sure.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Conserving Energy Through Recycling By Posting an E-Mail I Already Sent

Karen has the TV on Discovery Health's Disgusting Conditions show. She's asleep, so I guess I could change the channel, but why bother, I can't see the TV. We've got Leah's bed set up in the living room. I've been sleeping on the couch. It's not very comfortable, so last night I slept on the floor. When the newspaper came, Ellie started barking and woke me up. I had been dreaming that I was telling someone my back hurt because I was sleeping on the floor.
Of course, just like you can't complain to a bear mauling victim about a hangnail, when your wife is weeping in pain from the headache that may be caused from spinal fluid leaking, no one cares if your spine is a little sore. We'd hoped she'd recover a lot quicker than she has. You'd think she be in a better mood because I just realized that I've been getting up every six hours and giving her her antidepressant instead of her antibiotic. I think that only happened at 2 this morning, but still it must at least have made some bacteria happy. The pills look almost identical, and I was like the sleep deprived interns you see on Discovery Health; like I told one of her anesthesiologists, "I'm not a doctor, but I've seen them on TV.
By the way, what does it say about our theory of medicine that everything we put in our mouths is "anti-" something. Why can't we be a little more upbeat in the way we view health. Oh, yeah, because then we'd be like Andrew Weill and no one wants that.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Like a Mother's Tender Love

As I was staring, mesmerized, at the washing machine filling up with water, I realized, if Karen's asleep, I should be napping.

Musings of a Sleep-Deprived Round-the-Clock Nurse

I wonder if the phrase "round the clock" will fade away since with the advent of digital time-keeping devices, few people think of clocks as round, or even think of clocks at all.

Why does the word "loner" even have a plural?

Shouldn't round-the-clock nurses work in shifts? I was off my diet so long (until yesterday) that I think I should be wearing a muumuu instead.

If you could put time in a bottle, what would you do with it? Would it be an interesting idea to break the bottle to launch a ship?

Friday, August 15, 2008

I Just Enjoy Saying Gumminess Quotient

So, Karen is still home, and so am I. I'm kind of a bad caregiver, in that when Karen is asleep (or awake) I do puzzles on the internet, and read the news. The keyboard is pressing into my wrists, and my hands keep falling asleep. Then they wake up, look around, "Where am I?"
Comparing her post-op symptoms and internet sites, leads to phrases like, "Everything is still fine, maybe we should double up on your antibiotics."
I'm about to give you a cooking tip for mashed potatoes. I got it from a book that Sarah sent me to read while Karen recuperates. What's weird is, I think that's now one of our family traditions. How many times have I done this, I wonder. It reminds of those years when we still had a family. Every summer we would rent a houseboat from the same guy to spread ashes in Big Lake. The minimum rental is overnight, but it never took more than a couple of hours. The last time we did it, the rental guy said, "You know, you can keep it till tomorrow." Sarah said, "Dad, how many people would have to die so we'd need the boat that long?"
Anyway, the idea is that you cook the potatoes up to about 160°, then cool them before reheating them to about 180°. This reduces the gumminess quotient.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dateline: My Living Room

Karen did come home yesterday afternoon. It's good to be back, although I do miss the round the clock nursing, the housekeeping, and the staff that would respond to any request at the push of a button. She still has all that, it's just that now it's me and Corinne that come running, and I think Corinne's getting ready to go to her home.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Going Home, Maybe

Karen hasn't been discharged yet, and we don't know if she will be, or if she even should be. In the meantime, I love the new room. It has a bathroom. Being in the CVIU room meant going about 300 yards down a hall to a public restroom. The first room had a metal toilet under the sink like a soviet motor home that could be pulled out, but we never did.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Gilligan Goes To the Doctor

Yesterday Karen went to Providence Hospital for a three hour outpatient procedure at Day Surgery and we're still here. One of the doctor's came out after the surgery and in that Chuck Yeager drawl that minimizes everything right up to a wing falling off, told me that her lungs had filled with fluid, and she had stopped breathing, everything was fine, but they were going to keep her here for a day or two to make it even more fine. Just now we left the CardioVascular Intervention Unit where we spent last night for a regular room, so we're making some progress.
I'm sorry if this seems a little incoherent, I've only had a couple hours sleep in the last two days. I'm sorry if this doesn't seem a little incoherent, since that means I'm never all that.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

If You Fry It, They Will Come

To celebrate our accomplishment, we had a barbecue last night. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had been training harder for that than for the ride itself. That training paid off, as I was able to pace myself through the hot dogs and the battered deep fried pizza, all the way to carrot cake and ice cream with many scenic side trips through chips and baked beans. Dennis, our cook, had put a hot dog in the deep fryer to see when the oil was hot. I'm not proud of this, but as a child of depression era children, I believe in, "Waste not, want not," and to be honest, deep fried hot dogs are a perfect blend of fat, and a different kind of fat.
Incidentally, battered fried pizza is worthy of its own booth at the fair. I'm not sure I'm the one to run it though. I'd probably eat up the profits; I'd probably tell potential customers, "Hey, if you want a slice, get your own booth."
A sad note, one our Hardly Davidsons went for a run instead of riding with us, and was mauled by a grizzly bear. She survived the attack and a harrowing walk for help, but will be hospitalized for awhile with broken ribs, a collapsed lung and other serious injuries.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

So, A Quick Recap, Well, a Recap Anyway

And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap*

Yesterday morning dawned clear and crisp. My friend Rich and I rode along the coastal bike trail. Because it was so cold, Mt. Susitna across the inlet seemed to be floating up out of the fog at its base. The ride across Anchorage was just to build up speed like the probes sent to the outer solar system loop Jupiter to build up speed before being flung on their way.
There is a bike trail all the way to North Birchwood Road, and then you are unceremoniously (we had hoped for bagpipes) dumped out on the highway. By then, you're almost in the wilderness, or at least, that's what I'd always thought while driving it. I mean I didn't think that every time, sometimes I thought about the difference between funnel cakes and elephant ears on the way to the fair. In real life, as viewed from a bike seat, there are a lot of on and off ramps to cross while the traffic makes minimal effort ( a minimal effort consistsof horn blowing) to avoid hitting you. Despite what you may have heard about Anchorage being bike friendly, the shoulders of the road were thickly coated with loose jagged rocks. About four miles along the highway I had my first flat. I fixed it, and we got ready to ride off, when Rich discovered he had a flat. Apparently hidden in the rocks was a windshield wiper assembly. I see now why they call them blades. By the end of the ride, I'd had two more flats, and, on reflection, maybe replacing my good road tires with much narrower ones that only cost $6 each was a poor decision.
The rest of the ride to Palmer was lovely, crossing the Eklutna Flats, and the Palmer Hay Flats. It was pretty, and, refreshingly, as you might imagine, flat. When we reached Palmer, I saw a bike shop and went in and bought an extra tube, a good investment that would pay off before we got home.
Rich has a friend in Palmer. She wasn't home, but she'd given Rich the code to her garage door and we went in to eat lunch. She had bought us some fried chicken. At that point we had ridden 58 miles and at the first bite of chicken, I knew my life till then had been only prologue. Being in the house was perfect as a little thunderstorm rolled across town while we ate and watched it rain. It had moved on when we left, although a few minutes of riding allowed us to catch up with it. It rained hard, but only briefly and the last couple hours of the ride were once again in sunshine.

*I don't want to paint too vivid a picture here, but after sitting on a bike seat for 100 miles, my manhood wasn't worth much either.

Friday, August 08, 2008


We're in Palmer and hearing thunder, but we pretty much had to ride to the only cloud in the sky.
We're both a half mile from a PR with 42 miles to go.
2 flats.

We few, we happy few

So in the end only 2 of us showed up, even our honor guard that was to escort us out of town failed to show. We're 25 miles into a beautiful ride having coffee in eagle river.

Well, Bushy Tailed, Maybe

Robert Parker's character, Spenser, once said his dog got so excited to go on walks, that it made it almost impossible to take her. He actually said it better than that, if you can believe it.
Anyway, I woke up at 3:45 this morning, and was awake for quite awhile so I could be not quite my freshest when we hit the trail in about an hour and a half.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

I'm going to bed shortly, and when I get up, it will be a new century. Check back during the day for updates.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Mmm, Deep Fried Something

Our good friend Satan is staying with us this week and doing our menu planning. Supposedly I'm in training for a century ride on Friday, but if that doesn't pan out, I may consider a food eating contest.
Oh damn (ha, ha, Satan reference) I was looking for a cute link to a food contest and found this at the International Federation of Competitive Eating safety page:
The IFOCE is against at-home training of any kind... The IFOCE urges all interested parties to become involved in sanctioned events -- do not try speed eating home.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Skirts and Flip-Flops

A lady on my route, recently returned from Seattle, gave me an an article from the Seattle Times about a Lacey (the town where he lives, not a comment on his manliness) letter carrier lobbying to make kilts part of the men's postal uniform.
I looked at the picture, and, call it what you will, it's a skirt. I'm reasonably secure, but I already walk a Pomeranian and wear spandex bike shorts, so I think wearing a dress (especially the one with the frilly collar) to work would remove some level of ambiguity.

Do you remember I told you about casing mail and muscle memory? When I first started at the post office (delivering stone tablets for Herodotus,) our cases had seven shelves. Then, controversially, they changed to six. When we started vertical flat casing, they went to a four shelf configuration, which we have used for maybe 15 or 20 years. Now, another, unexplained, innovation, we're going to five shelves. If casing is a dance, we're going to be going, for awhile at least, from grand jete´ to something more hokey and pokey.

Back in the '70's, Neil Young sang, "I was thinking about what a friend had said, I was hoping it was a lie." It turns out my informant at work was wrong yesterday. We're not going to a permanent third bundle. I think Neil and I are both relieved.

I Guess Imelda Marcos Now Manages the Post Office

You know how sometimes you have to "wait for the other shoe to fall"? Apparently the Postal Service has invested in one of those carnival pitching machines to just hurl shoes at us constantly. This morning our letter trays were scattered around in no order, although that was more of a sandal than a shoe, but then, I had a conference on the next set of adjustments in store for my route. I was exhilarated at the proposed changes, and that thrill lasted all the way from the meeting to the garage where I heard that starting next week we will have machines sorting even more of our mail. Do you remember me saying that having to carry a third bundle of mail is difficult and time consuming? Every day from now on.
When, and if, it happens, I'll probably have a guest poster to describe it; Dante, if he's available.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Running Down... to the Starting Line

I'm reading a training guide to getting ready for a Century Ride, like we're having next weekend. Apparently, I'm in the taper phase of the training regimen. The scary part is that the taper phase is way more intense than anything I've done so far to get ready. It's probably too late now to try and do everything they recommend, so I'm working on the eating every 20 minutes that they suggest for these last six days. At least I think that's what they said.
I intend to post updates here from the ride. I imagine they'll be mostly about how beautiful the scenery would be if I could catch my breath and hold my head high enough to see any of it.

Friday, August 01, 2008

If You Used to Work to No Purpose, but Now You Run a Coal Mine You Could Be an Ex-Ploiter

Today I read about a word that didn't make it all the way into the language; "ploiter" which meant to work to little purpose. I can't believe that a word that summarized the whole human condition, my "career" and the book of Ecclesiastes in two syllables didn't survive. Man, what isn't pointless?

Also today, it was clear and warm. Before I had time to really get going about how uncomfortably hot it was, it clouded back up.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


That last post was a test of a different way of posting. So is this.

Fwd: What a Difference A Day Doesn't Really Make

Yesterday was gorgeous. The temperature unofficially rose into the 70's and it was only partly cloudy. We went for a ride as far as Mchugh Creek and then up to the third parking lot. You know how great it is when you do something you're proud of, and you have that quiet sense of accomplishment? You know the one thing better than that? When you ride up what's practically a ladder, and someone you know is in a car at the top. Plus, I got to meet his fiancee, and ask her what she was thinking of marrying a man almost twice her age. I told him, "Geez, Pedro, she's younger than the girl you tried to get me to set you up with!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Politics as Usual

The senior senator from Alaska, the longest serving Republican in history has just been indicted. What I really wanted to talk about, though, was our only House member, Don Young. He's a buffoon and a bully, and for years he's been a joke we've played on the rest of the country. Now there's an ad running in which he talks about increasing the federal gas tax. He's coherent, and lays out reasons why this would be in the public interest. This ad is being run by the people opposing Don Young, who has already disavowed the only thing he's ever said that made sense.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Bear This in Mind

The bear that was frolicking down the street from here made it onto the front page of today's newspaper. He was up in a tree in one picture and he looked so cuddly. So cuddly, as bears in pictures often do. There have been a lot of such interactions here in the urban/wilderness interface. That's the kind of jargon that people looking at pictures of bears use. Confronting a real bear in your little corner of the interface often leads to screeches and then sprints. "Sprints", it turns out might have more phonemes than any other one syllable English word. It has seven, which kind of casts doubt on the whole meaning of the word "syllable". Good to know when you're running for your life. Well, maybe not just then, but if you survive, you'll have a good story, and you can just kill on trivia night.
By the way, is it just me, or I should say, me and Rush Limbaugh who I still can't stand but who has been blaring down one of my streets lately (and now, a new aside, a lady on the new part of my route asked me today if I would always be coming about that time; I had to tell her that I didn't even know from day to day if I would be coming back at all) so by the way is it just me (and Rush) but what's the deal, is Obama running for the presidency of Germany, or of the world, or what?
Now, for extra credit, you can diagram that last sentence.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"To say that for destruction ice Is also great And would suffice."

That poem by Robert "Jack" Frost perfectly summarizes our "summer" so far. The paper reported the "news" that by any measure-temperature, clouds, news stories, overuse of quotation marks in a blog post-this has been the coldest summer ever.
To further confirm the ice age aginess of it all, the snow has crept farther down the mountains (on little polar bear feet, I suppose Carl "Ice Fog" Sandburg would say) and a bear was frolicking for about 3 hours yesterday in a yard about 8 blocks from here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Advertising v Reality: Life Is Not a Dream

"A typical weekend in Anchorage is the dream of a lifetime anywhere else," says the Big Wild Life ad. Unfortunately, my day off this week was Wednesday, July 23rd. We had scheduled a ride, and even though it was pouring rain, ride we did, about 25 miles out towards Eagle River and back. Cold, wet, colder, wetter, painfully cold, scalding hot shower,and then later in the day looking up and seeing fresh snow on the mountains.
I'm still kind of waiting for the rosy retrospection to set in.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

This Practically Made Me Happy

Reading a list of biases and flawed reasoning does lead to one conclusion; a nice thing about seeing the world through black glasses and glasses as not half full, but ready to break into flying shards*, is that it spares you from a certain number of decision making errors. For instance, I never suffer from rosy retrospection.

*I just found out that when I changed the settings on this post, I did get a pale yellow background.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Shiver in my bones just thinking about the weather. Quiver in my voice as I cry, "What a cold and rainy day. Where on earth is the sun hid away."*

The clouds were so low today that it seemed like I could reach out and touch them, but I didn't have to because after noon, the clouds started reaching out to touch me.

*~10000 Maniacs

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Yesterday Only

So far this summer you could cast aspersions, you could cast stones, you could cast a die, you could cast lots, you could cast lots of dies, you could cast a pall, you could cast for fish or at the same time you could cast bread on the water, you could cast pearls before bears, you could cast your cares on the Lord and your fate on the wind, you could cast spells, you could cast a broken arm, you could even cast a movie, but it's been so gray that it was almost impossible to cast a shadow. Until today. For about an hour.

Oh, by the way, I used Skype for the first time last night to talk to our little Russian girl who has been sent home for a longer vacation than she'd planned. It was amazing; it was clearer than talking to her when she's here, and she has an iphone.

Friday, July 18, 2008

No, This Time I Mean It

Another cold day, so cold in fact, that I really could see my breath for most of the day. Yesterday, the weather service was telling us how normal this summer was, and then practically in the same breath (that you could see!) they mentioned that yesterday tied a record for the coldest high temperature ever on that date and the most rain.
Things are getting back to normal at the post office. That is to say that after doing route inspections that took forever, and then making adjustments that didn't make much sense, they are throwing the whole process out, and starting over.