Thursday, April 18, 2024

The Lung Doctor and Etc.

I saw the pulmonologist yesterdy.  I like him, I would go back there.  Actually I will be seeing him once a year.  His judgement on the CT scan was "the CT doesn't look bad."  There are two linear scars, they're small.  His theory is they're from when I had pneumonia.  There are also two or three "tree in bud" scars (I think they're scars) but they're tiny.  Everything is tiny. There are a few tiny nodules, just for good measure.  A vast swath of my lungs are clear.  So, he wants to scan once a year and see if anything is changing.

What, you wonder, is a tree in bud, in this context.  It's a small scar that looks like a tree branch with buds on it.  

There are no lung consolidations.  So, I'm not dying immediately.

We were up and out early this morning to ride, before it got hot.  We're in the 90's now.  This is a pano that google made for me.  The concrete sides of the flood control channel that feeds the Santa Cruz river have fallen off the bank.  They did not use any rebar in it, and rain has undermined the whole shebang. 

 It was a nice morning.  Later in the ride there was some cloud cover which was nice.  I'm always amazed at how fast it gets hot.

Today we made heat shields for the front door.  It's a single layer of metal, like a screen door, with a glass top section.  It faces west and admits a lot of heat when the sun is setting, so this will make things better.  It's bubble wrap with aluminum foil on both sides.  The RV was full of Reflectix on the sunny side windows.

This is what's holding it on to the bottom of the door.  We bought a package of  rare earth metal magnets.  Unfortunately, I can't get them apart. I got two separated off, but the other groups of three defy any attempts to pull them apart.  More larger magnets were ordered from Amazon, they came with spacers between them.  It's amazing how strong the little ones are.  After separating one from the stack, I let the remaining ones get too close to the one on the table, and it leaped up to join its brothers, catching part of my finger in between them, and drawing blood.  Now we are very careful to not let them get close to each other.

We had planned to replace the microwave in the fall, it's really old, the display is virtually unreadable.  However, I think the freezer in the shed has become a higher priority.  The seals are shot, and it does this.

So, the departure effort has begun.  We're still on the fence about the house we like.  The interior is perfect, there is enough space for all of our stuff; but there's very little mountain view, and there is the ham radio antenna next door.  That antenna will never leave until the current owners die.  I haven't seen them so I don't know how old they are.  It's been on the market for 80 days, so maybe they'll accept less money.  Ack, what to do, what to do.

That's it, that's all I've got.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Scenery and Handy People

Today was an early hike.  Could have left a little earlier!  It's not actually that hot, we're just no longer acclimated.  The skies were really clear, which is weird given how windy it was yesterday.  Here is some desert beauty.  The desert is still eerily green.

The ocotillos are having a banner year.  Rain has made them plump and luscious.

Happy brittle bushes.

Today we got rid of the dead TV.  A different handy man from Thumbtack came out and did it.  Took him about 15 minutes.  He does many things, so we can call him next fall.  Part of the shed floor is showing a lot of water damage, he says no problem to cut it out and put new.  For the unhandy, such as ourselves, a good handy man is a treasure beyond rubies. 

Before - the great wall of television screens.


Today was the second day of the Stormy Daniels trial, otherwise known as election interference.  It's not about hush money, it's him tampering with people's perception of him to win the presidency.  Apparently he doesn't find it all that interesting, because he keeps falling asleep.

We should start calling him Sleepy Don.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Health Care and Ukraine

It's warming up.   We're up and out earlier than we really like, but it's getting warm.  We had interesting clouds this morning.  We rode north with a tail wind, and suffered coming back in to the wind.  Leaving early was good.

We've started packing for the return to Spokane.  I'm sort of dreading it.  Somehow all the dentists in Spokane have decided to run monopolistic and predatory practices.  You can't just make an appointment for a cleaning, you have to have an entire lifestyle review; X-rays you don't need, CAT scans you don't want, evaluation of airway and breathing and a comprehensive health evaluation.  Oh yes, and there is a bite analysis, not that people our age would do anything to change our bite.  All of this costs mucho dinero.  Dental practices in Spokane are just the pits.  I only have to go twice a year, so I go in Tucson, but Jim needs more frequent cleaning.  I'm also dreading the yearly physical with the Physician's Assistant, she who doesn't review blood test results, and whose staff is unable to correctly call in prescriptions.  Then there is the substandard dermatology care, which is a big deal for Jim due to his pale British skin.  None of them use enough liquid nitrogen to burn the nasty skin things away.  ENT care is a joke, they book out a year in advance.  I can't have this!  If my ear infects itself, it must be treated ASAP.   Due to these issues, we're thinking about moving back to Tucson.  Yes, I know, global climate change, hotter weather, water, nut bag politicians and all of the negatives.  However, it worries me how terrible medical and dental care is in Eastern Washington.  There is a medical school here, which, I think, elevates the caliber of care due to teaching staff in the area.

We've been looking hard, it's not going well.  Part of this is self inflicted, we want to be in the neighborhood we used to be in.  Plus we want three bedrooms so we have space for the weight equipment, the rowing machine and the spin bike.  Most of the neighborhood is two bedrooms.  There is a house we like, a lot, but this is next door.

See the antenna on the right, closest to the house.  That extends to a height of 25-30 feet.  He's not supposed to do that during hours of daylight, but on the day of an open house he had it up.  No one really looked at the house, just the antenna.  It's a HAM radio antenna.  It's not going anywhere, the HOA approved it thinking it was an FCC protected antenna, but it is not.  They should not have approved it, but the former HOA president was something of an ass hat, and they did.  It's impacting the current owner's ability to sell.  I feel bad for them, they were there first and then the ugly house was built next door with the huge RV garage, and now this.  We're hoping they'll accept less money than we are willing to offer due to this impediment. 

Ukraine is losing the war with Russia, and it's our fault.  If the US had shipped mass armaments at the start, instead of dribbling out equipment, they wouldn't be in this position.  Last night the US shot down Iranian missiles heading for Israel, but we're not providing the same assistance to Ukraine.  I'm infuriated.  Speaker Johnson will not bring the bill forward to allocate help for Ukraine because the Orange Disaster is telling him not to.  This is what they're taking up tomorrow.

This is not satire, it's a real thing.

I saw this on Facebook.  It's funny.  This may be how the locals in Tucson feel right about now.

So this is some of what is occupying my brain these days.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Flying Monkeys and Foliage

The 162nd Air National Guard Fight Wing is flying today.  At the beginning, you can barely make out the F16 in the lower part of the screen, then I lost him.  We're on their flight path for departures and arrivals.

Today, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that the 1864 law that was put in place before AZ was even a state could be enforced now that Roe is over turned.  That would be the law that contains exactly one exception, health of the mother.  Previously, abortion in AZ was legal until 15 weeks.  That's a stupid law as well, but less stupid than the old law.  It's now a felony punishable by two to five years in prison for anyone who performs or helps a woman obtain one.  I really hate these people.  Abortion will most likely be on the ballot in November, there is an organization whose name I forgot who has collected 500,000 signatures to make it so.  Politicians in AZ remind me of the flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz.

Recent losses for the Orange Menace:  Judge Cannon (stolen documents case) ruled that witnesses names won't be published.  The  $175M bond to hold off asset seizures is not accepted, it contains language that the bond won't pay anything.  Did they think no one would notice?  The Stormy Daniels trial appears to be going forward on the 15th, despite his best efforts to delay.  Stormy is a criminal case, he has to be there in person four days a week.  Surely, he'll lose something, sometime.

Yesterday was the eclipse.  It was sort of a non-event here.  The sun darkened slightly, but not a lot.  Our neighbor had glasses, so we went out and looked briefly.  Then I came in and read about all the fake glasses there are on the market, and wondered if we'd wake up with burned retinas.  That's the last one for my lifetime. 

Then we set out for a ride into a vigorous head wind.  It was out of the north.  The wind here has an uncanny ability to switch directions in the afternoon, so head wind going out does not guarantee tail wind coming back.  We did not dawdle on the ride, having to fight the wind in both directions would have been bad.  Here is the back of Jim's head at Christopher Columbus park.  There were nice clouds.

The mallows are just lovely this year.  They're huge, they're everywhere.

Today Jim washed the bikes, I dried the bikes and then he lubricated the bikes.  At present I am waiting for a handy person I found on Thumbtack, a handy man website.  Thus far he has been a total flake, not returning calls, and etc.  He is now one hour late.  I guess the old TV (which is dead) will continue hanging on the wall, and the new one will continue sitting on a console table a little longer.  We have no idea how to de-install or install a wall mounted television, so a new handy man will have to be found.  I know, first world problems.  I was really hoping to get this done before departure.
Update to post:  The handy person never showed up, never called.  Nothing.

Really, I do not have much of anything to say.  OK, here is some desert beauty from two days ago.

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Wind and Cranes

Yesterday was every bit as bad as had been forecast.  We went to Costco, Home Depot and Target, and by the time we got home I felt very beaten up by the wind.  It was a cold front moving through, today it's much cooler.  Temperatures will start going up again, 90's are just around the corner.

This morning I was awakened by Mike who was coming to flush the hot water heater.  He arrived at 7:40.  We were sleeping!  Anyway, that was money well spent.  The thing was full of crud, calcium and who knows what.  He spent quite some time with a shop vac pulling crud off the bottom.  This is not at all like flushing a 40 gallon water heater, we know how to do that. This was way worse. Behold the heating element.  After taking a shower tonight, I believe that water is hotter, and the tank certainly recovered faster than before.

Since the sinking of Key Bridge in Maryland, there has been much written about US salvage capabilities.  Apparently we are way behind the curve in crane capacity.  Our maritime capability in general is not so good.  Actually, Croatia is building more ships than the US is. I read that the bulk of the defense budget goes to the Army, which in thinking about it is not so good if we're called upon to defend Taiwan from China.  Anyway, someone put up this picture of a real crane.  It's lifting a submarine.  It looks like a Permit class boat, weighing in at 4,300 tons.  We don't have anything with that ability to lift.  The crane working on the Key Bridge has the ability to lift 1,000 tons.

I found a bunch of you all in spam comments.  What the heck Blogger?  Steve and Ellen and other regular commenters were embargoed.  Steve, to answer your question, Scary Larry is an anonymous blogger who lives somewhere in Arizona.  He's a liberal guy with no use for republicans.

That's it!  That's all I've got.

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Being Outside

We appear to have turned the corner on the seasons.   We were out in Tucson Mountain Park before noon today, and it was already warm.  At 3:00 in the afternoon it's 86F (30C).  The days of the leisurely 1:00 departures may be coming to an end soon.  This is what's on tap for tomorrow.  April is windy as a rule.

I think we're not riding tomorrow.

Jim had an interesting letter yesterday.  Medicare cancelled his card and issued a new one with a new number.  Apparently 2023 was a bad year for Medicare fraud.  On Jim's behalf, the bad guys billed Medicare for $2,900 worth of catheters for home use in 3Q23.  It's not a lot of money, but multiply that by thousands of fraudulent claims that are submitted and it adds up to about $31B (yes that's billion) a year.

We rode yesterday.  A new building for retail on first floor and apartments up is going in.  It's down there by the Mercado San Augustin.  This man was up in the air, and sounded like he was agitated about something.  I'm in awe of the fact that he is even up there.  I'm assuming there is a safety harness in place and the camera couldn't see it.

Today we hiked - it was good, it was warm!  The desert remains eerily green.  Look center photo, there's a coyote moseying across the street.  They don't run, they mosey.

There is an amazing amount of Brittle Bush in bloom.

The republican party continues to flush itself down the toilet. I think I lack the energy to list all the ways it is doing this.  Ok, here's one.  Play this video.  This is MAGA Maine state representative Laurel Libby asking what the Nazis did that was so bad and what did they do that was so illegal and how did they infringe on anyone’s rights.  Unbelievable.  Don't get me started on the recent spate of white male republicans claiming that birth control turns women in to sluts, and etc.  These people are truly evil.

That's it then!