Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Hole in the Ear

This is what your ear drum looks like.  The vertical thing is one of your hearing bones.  I have to say, the anatomy of the ear is a total mystery to me.  I keep reading about it, and I keep not understanding it.  There are ligaments in there.  Ligaments attach bone to bone.  The hearing bones are suspended and attached by ligaments.  What eludes me is how is the eardrum attached to the ear canal?  Or is it?

Anyway, the hole did not close itself. 

Although Jim and I both heard the surgeon say two weeks ago that the hole was in the center of the graft, apparently it's not.  It's off to one side.  I'm obsessing over this a little because I still don't know if it's on the very edge of the graft.  Actually, I don't know if that's important, either. 
When my heart went bad, I went to school on flutter and fib.  I learned to recognize a flutter wave on an EKG.  I actually knew that one of my cardiologists was misreading an EKG and that the drug he wanted me to take was not safe or effective.  The heart stuff I could understand.  The ear is just confounding me.
The surgeon did the paper patch myringoplasty today.  We go back in two weeks to make sure it's still in place.  It can take up to six weeks for the hole to close, if it does.  The thought of staying here for another six weeks is depressing the hell out of us.  Dr. Duong is funny, he seems to think we're based here and that we go and come back here.  So far we're not clearly communicating the fact that we want to get the hell out of Dodge and head south.
If the patch doesn't fix it, the next escalation is to harvest fat from the ear lobe, and create a plug.  Again, the hope is that the hole closes over the plug.  If that fails, then I have no idea.
So, for the next six weeks, I'm still showering with the cotton ball, the Vaseline, the band aid and the dixie cup over my ear.  This is getting old.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Capitol Hill

Today no one was interested in doing the 4 mile hike.  I think we've done that enough for one year.  Instead, we parked in downtown Seattle and walked up to Capitol Hill.  It's an eclectic area of the city.  It's home to many of the LGBT citizens of Seattle, as well as the central community college.  Currently it's in transition from a fairly gritty area to less gritty.  Most of the new construction, and there is a lot of it, is fairly low.  Some of the old buildings are being kept and refurbished.

Dick's is a Seattle institution.  There is always a line.

This is a sign of the gentrification that's occurring in the area.  The store sells frozen entrees.  There are Indian, Thai and comfort food sections.  A single serving of basmati rice retails for $4.50.  Their prices are cheaper than eating out, but really, frozen rice?  We loved the cow.  That's real grass.

As you head out of the urban core, the old neighborhoods start.  This house sits up on the bluff and looks at Lake Union.  When Jim and I win Powerball, we'll be seeing if they would like to sell.  It's just a gorgeous old brick.

There are new condos on the street that were really nicely done.  They have nice little courtyards with splashing fountains.

Another cool old house.

Old and new.  The house on the right will be coming down.

We were both taken with the vines growing up the house and the palm trees.

I used the zoom to get the items on a table in their front window.  The phone is pretty cool.  If you look carefully on the right, there is an old family photograph.

Here we are going back down the hill towards the truck.  The area foreground is a transit center.

It was a nice change of walking area.  We got time on our feet and hill climbing.  The weather was just perfect, topping out in the low 70's with sun. Sun! Sun in October.  That never happens.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Salmon Days

Salmon Days was held this weekend.  It's a festival to celebrate the return of the salmon to the fish hatchery in Issaquah.  We went 19 years ago and it was a small, underwhelming collection of a few tents.  It has grown significantly in the mean time.  Jim and I are pretty sure that the older we get, the less we enjoy stuff like this.  Too many people, too much noise.
There was glass art.

There was metal art.  I can't say that this speaks to me.  The yellow one was $2,800.  The orange one in the back left was $3,700.  I'm thinking there are better uses for that much money.

Here is the salmon float.

There were several animal rescue organizations in attendance.  One lady had three adorable kittens that were sleeping through everything.  I had to walk away immediately.  The alpacas were also adorable.

The primary vendors were food.  Several streets were lined with food tents.

It's important to start your children off young with healthy eating habits.  Note the corn dogs and hot dogs on the stroller. 

I realize that I have lost touch with my culture, but this really leaves me stumped.  Why do people pin bushy tails to their pants?  What is the significance of this?

In addition to food, and arts and crafts, there were rides.

This is where they take your money and you can't win.

Of all the rides, this looked like the best.  The entire arm spins, and then each car also spins.  It was definitely generating the most screaming.

I'm glad we went, but I think we're good for another 19 years or so.

Jim rode out in the Carnation Valley today.  I did the 4 mile walk while he was gone.  That includes a 1 mile hill with a grade that ranges between 8 and 12%.  I'm not as fast as I was, but it's getting better.  Anyway, last week a private pilot crashed out by Fall City.  He lived, but ended up with compound fractures of his legs.  Looking at the cab of his plane, it's not surprising.  They removed the wings to get it on the flat bed.

Other than a fish festival and a downed airplane, I have nothing much to offer.  Tuesday is the return to the surgeon to see if the miracle occurred and the hole in my eardrum closed.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Revisiting the Sea Wall

Today was another in a short string of good days.  That ends tomorrow.  We decided to go downtown and see what was happening with the sea wall replacement.  Apparently it's now running $70M over budget, and is two years behind schedule.
This is the always lovely Elliot Bay.  If you look in the way far off distance you can see the remnants of the morning fog.

It's a big hairy deal of a project.  The original sea wall was made primarily of untreated wood.  If you look on the far side of the photo on the right, in the middle, that may be original timber.  Gribbles are eating the wood.  If the sea wall is lost, it'll take a big chunk of Seattle with it, including the Alaskan Way Viaduct, which you can see in the background on the right.  The other difficulty of the project has been moving all of the utilities along the water front.  Look underneath the reddish metal beam spanning the ditch, those are utilities hanging underneath.

This is a water pipe, suspended from a piece of wood which spans another ditch.  Upper right in the photo is a closed fire station. 

This we did not know until today.  Replacing a sea wall is difficult, because you must keep the water out while doing the work.  Here is an interesting article on the subject.  There is a local company, SoilFreeze,  which has created a 35 foot wall of frozen water.  This greatly lessens the need for de-watering, which causes ground levels to drop, damaging foundations and water lines.

We'd looked at these white blobs on piping and thought they were plastic blobs.  That's ice.

More ice, and a lot of pipe wrap.

We walked back via Pioneer Square and discovered the Milepost 31 museum.  It's a very well done telling of the story of how Seattle got the way it is.  There were glaciers, which extended as far south as Olympia.  There was the Denny re-grade.  Now we are having a deep bore tunnel drilled (maybe).  They had some interesting stuff on the tunnel.  As Bertha moves through the dirt, she also builds the tunnel walls from pre-cast conrete sections.  Berth uses a power vacuum to pick up the sections, each of which weighs 37,500 pounds.

An entire tunnel ring is 10 segments, and can be put in place in 30 minutes (when she's operating, which she's not at the moment.)

An interesting fact from the museum was that a tunnel boring machine was run under the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi's giant church in Barcelona.  They were able to get the tunnel done, and install a high speed train in the tunnel without collapsing the church.  It's an amazing structure. According to the exhibit, some of that expertise is now here.  Tunneling has worked well in Europe, just not so much here.

This is the historic pergola in Pioneer Square.  It's been awhile since it's been hit by a lost truck.

In my humble opinion, the Seattle area has just lost its mind. About 5 years ago, DOT started tolling on 520, which is the northern most bridge over Lake Washington.  People hate tolls.  So they started driving I5 and using I90 instead.  This week on I405, DOT installed tolled HOV lanes. People won't pay it.  So, they're taking surface streets around the top of Lake Washington and totally clogging up those communities, and they're also using I5 instead.  So I5 is just taking it in the head with traffic.  And remember, when the Alaskan Way Viaduct comes down, two lanes of traffic carrying capacity will be lost, and shift to I5.  The new tunnel will be tolled, so that will also move traffic to I5.  Can we spell gridlock?

So, that was our day.  Then we came home to learn about the mass shooting in Oregon.  It's the 41st shooting this year.  There are just no words.