Wednesday, September 08, 2010
Our youngest daughter showed up at 5 AM for her lap-band surgery this morning. The BW was more nervous than the daughter, and when I came back from my walk she was up and pacing. In the end we went shopping, first to Costco, then to Dillardís. Then we had to walk to the other end of the mall to Rack Shoes. She found what she wanted at each store, but didnít buy anything. I offered lunch out, but she wanted to come home.
Our son-in-law had left a message that the surgery went well, and the daughter is in recovery. The doctor is pleased and there were no difficulties. He promised to call later -- after eight. After that, the BW settled down to having some salsa and chips for lunch. Now weíre waiting another couple of hours for a live conversation because we were out shopping when the first call came Ė around 11 AM.
The only thing left to worry about now is a quick and full recovery without complications.
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
We had another Kiwanis meeting this morning and read the list of proposed officers for the third time, and it looks as if Iíll be the treasurer for one more year. To celebrate I put the Metropolitan Advertising money and cash for two Entertainment Books in the bank, and was authorized to pass out two refund checks for receipts that I gave to our secretary. Then there was a lot of other business, and I need to plan for 150 customers at the Lutheran Church this month.
Today is the BWís birthday and our 53rd wedding anniversary. Annie sent a bunch of old pictures attached to an e-mail instead of flowers, which was more impressive to the BW than flowers. Unfortunately, everyone looks so young in the pictures itís a tiny bit depressing.
In the preliminary plans, the BW wanted first to go to Clearwater beach for a fish house, then decided on a place in Dunedin for lunch or supper. Then today it was the beach for a while, but really it has been flat on her back for most of the day, and I hope she makes it to go anywhere. The shot in her hip didnít seem to do the trick, or her back is really bad. Itís still early, but I may just bring home some take-out if she doesnít improve.
The day before yesterday we had a short thunderstorm and a tree that I hadnít notices was dead decided to fall down. It was in our neighborís yard to the east, and it wound up across the fence and filling the side yard behind the garage. After I came back from the bank I started cutting it up for the trash man, who shows up around 1:00 today. It didnít take long until I realized that I didnít need hand pruners Ė the whole thing was dry and brittle, and I just broke all the branches up to about an inch in diameter by holding them in two hands, or snapping over my leg if they were too big. I put them in a leftover 20 gallon trash can that is intended to store water in case of a hurricane, and carried three cans out to the dumpster, which I had put on the curb last night after forgetting about the tree. Fortunately it was only the main branch, and just about five inches at the base, so it wasnít too bad. The third can had all the stuff that I cut up with a chain saw, and I did walk slowly with it. The heavy stuff on top pushed down the trash on the bottom, and it all went in OK, and by two oíclock, when I came home again, the can was empty. I really like the new garbage service. The yard is clean again, and the container is empty.
Now that I realize that the rest of the tree is dead, the grass will like it, but I'll miss the shade.
Monday, September 06, 2010
I put a post in on my side of the fence and attached it to the fence with two three inch angle irons and four 1 Ĺ inch screws. Since it is a holiday, that was it for the useful chores today.
I had another serving of the Spanish rice and Boca Burgers I made for supper last night, read the paper, and fooled around with Spark People. It took 80 minutes to get through the standard stuff without writing a blog, and I think I need to think about using that much time on this every day.
One person had a blog where someone had complained about Spark Points Ė apparently having said that they were stupid, and that you could read an article without clicking on the ďpointsĒ box at the end. That was what I did in the beginning, until I caught on.
Late in my work life I signed up for the Senior Management Executive Program offered by the Naval Aviation Executive Institute, which is part of the Naval Air Systems Command. It was a four year or longer program that you worked through while still working full time at a paying job. It was a mix of work assignments, short courses, and odd jobs, and one of the short courses was a two week long class in Nashville, Indiana run by the Army. It was called Personnel Management for Executives, and the classes ran from 8 AM to 10 PM for two weeks. By 10 the first night I felt as if I had been there for my entire life. There were a lot of lectures, but the one that stuck with me the most clearly was done by a psychiatrist from Rose Hulman. He had several points that stood out and stuck in my mind. One was a checklist.
If you want someone to change, you need to catch them doing something right, and praise them. If you canít catch them doing anything right, catch them doing something sort of right, and reward them. If you want to punish them, ostracize them. The most vicious punishment is to ignore someone.
He had lots of arguments, and one I recall was when he came home, his wife immediately told him all the bad things his son had done that day. It had been a hard day for the father too, and he just started to walk upstairs. His son said, ďBut Daddy, arenít you going to spank me?Ē The kid would rather have a spanking than be ignored. That brought the concept home for him.
The key on the rewards is a checklist. If you want people to do a job, break it down into individual tasks and make up a list. Have the worker check off each task as it is done. Each check is a little reward, and getting all checks is a big reward. He had several examples of hopeless employees who eventually turned into great workers, all from the use of the checklist.
The Spark Points are a checklist, a series of small rewards that get you to bigger rewards - the icons. If you go down the list to see what they pay for, you are getting an education on what behaviors will help you become as healthy as possible for your own situation. There are articles and e-mails that I donít read carefully because they donít apply to me. Iím not raising small children. On the other hand, I have never sat through a short course, no matter how well I knew the subject, where I didnít learn something Ė usually several things that I would not have learned without the course. I run across very interesting articles during the collection of Spark Points, and save them. Sometimes I donít save one and later wish that I had. I would not have run across them without the discipline slowly imposed by the Spark Points. I like them. I have even started doing exercises - reluctantly.
Sunday, September 05, 2010
This morning I cut the grass, edged the concrete, and blew off the residue. Then I ran the weed eater around the fence and house to make the BW happy. The place where the camphor tree was is very soft Ė itís just dry sand, so I need to mix some wet in with it and run the reclaimed water on it for a while.
After lunch we drove down to St. Petersburg to check out the Palladium Theater parking, and the two lots that we saw definitely donít hold enough cars for people to fill the theater, so we plan to get there for the opera early and hang out in a coffee shop thatís just a block south of the larger lot. We took the dogs along because we werenít leaving the car. They are very good about staying home alone, but they really would prefer to go with us everywhere.
After that we came home and traded cars because the BW wanted to go with me to Home Depot. The Stratus makes a better truck then the Camry, but the back seat doesnít split, so there would be no place for her to sit. I got a treated fence post and a posthole digger, and she rode home in the left rear seat, behind me. At that point I was tired and had had one shower today, so I decided to wait until tomorrow to set the post and connect the fence to it. We had a posthole digger in Indianapolis, and itís a little irritating when I realize how many things I had that were only used rarely, that were given away, thrown away, or sold at auction. Over the years it seems as if Iím slowly buying them all back.
The post will be on my side of Robís fence, secured with four angle brackets to two fence sections.
Saturday, September 04, 2010
Yesterday I suggested a route to the BW and got an agreement on what order to visit people so that we werenít backtracking all the time. When we were living in an RV I remember making three round trips between Milwaukee and various places in Ohio. That was six trips through Chicago, one of my favorite places not to tow a trailer.
After she agreed, I searched out motels, and after she agreed, made a reservation at each one. They are all non-smoking rooms, all on the first floor, and all expecting two dogs. It doesnít seem like a terribly difficult task, but I spent several hours at it, and did agree to stay in Norwalk instead of Mansfield two nights.
Then we agreed that the plan is fixed, we arenít going to stay longer anywhere, and we arenít going to add new side trips just because one of the relatives thinks we should. Because she didnít want to do it on the phone, I wrote an E-mail and sent it about half an hour after my bedtime. We have reservations, with confirmation numbers, in 8 motels covering 12 days, and I have two copies of everything Ė one stashed in the car we will take and one in a pocket notebook that I will put in my shirt pocket when we leave.
Today, after walking the dogs and having a shower and shave, I made it to Burnhamís house before Papuga got there. We have two six foot by two foot grills mounted on a light utility trailer, which we use to cook pancakes and (if we get the front one working) grill sausage. The front one is one that we had given away, then recovered after it sat unused for a few years. At our last pancake event, the sausage guys couldnít light the front grill.
We unbolted and lifted the top off the front grill using chains wired to each end of the steel grill (it is heavy). The second step was to disconnect and remove the burners that John Burnham had wired in place. Then I fired up my compressor and we waited until it got to 100 PSI, before trying to blow through the plumbing. We couldnít feel anything coming out of the tiny mixer holes, so we removed a couple of the fuel/air mixers that feed the burners. That didnít help Ė there was still nothing coming through.
The next step was a complete disassembly of the stove, burners, and everything else. When everything was in pieces, we could blow into the pipes and still not get anything through. That was when someone (not me) realized that the burner valves were turned off. Burnham grabbed the handles, and it turned out that we could in fact blot through the black iron pipes. At that stage we had the plumbing out of the case, every screw nut and washer carefully laid is four separate piles, and no excuse for not having a working stove. We did blot high pressure air through each burner, and a little dust came out of each one, but they werenít blocked.
So we just laid the plumbing back without tying anything down, replaced two mixers, stuck the burners back in the mixers, and hooked up the propane. John had bought a pressure regulator and connected it in the hose line that runs from the tank to the grill, and when we turned the gas on, the burners lit. Then I turned the pressure up, and they almost went out. I looked carefully, and the way you turn the pressure regulator up is to screw the handle out, and screwing it in to turn it off allows the gas to make it through the regulator. The best guess anyone could make is that the regulator was turned the wrong way at the Triathlon.
So Three guys spent three hours this morning, working hard to learn to read the instructions on a new device. It reminds me of my early days as a design engineer when a complicated breadboard didnít work right Ė you spend eight hours slaving away, and in the end change one resistor. Then the thing works the way you want.
PS. We put everything back together before Papuga and I left.
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