Tag Archives: Mrs. the Poet

OK we have a date

Mrs. the Poet has a really bad back, but it’s something that can be fixed with an operation. But she also doesn’t like hospitals and she really doesn’t like operations. Even just thinking about them causes her distress, the closer the person is to her the worse the distress gets, so you can imagine what it’s like when the person getting the operation is her.

Well now she has a date for/with a spinal fusion. She is getting three vertebrae turned into one, and then as soon as that heals she is getting physical therapy to strengthen the muscles on either side of the fusion to keep it stable. I think I mentioned at some point her main problem is stenosis compressing her spinal nerves because she has scoliosis from repeated insult to her back. And no, not because I was making fun of her, the other kind of insult, repeated minor injury to her back, in this case her back muscles. As she got injured the injured muscles got tight, making them more susceptible to further injury, which made them tighter and led to a vicious circle that wound up with Mrs. the Poet unable to get to the bus stop, even with a cane, because the scoliosis causes the top and bottom of the stenosis to compress the nerves in her spine causing numbness and paralysis.

And now March 3 2020 that’s going to get fixed so that her legs and feet will work normally, again. That means I have to cook and clean the house, and basically act like I do when she’s not here except I have to take care of her as well. Now what I’m told is she will be eating at the table, or at least capable of that, before she gets out of the hospital. And it might only take 3 days for her to get out of the hospital. All we need to do is get stuff I can fix to feed her with, that we can get a bit at a time so we don’t have to spend the money all at once the end of February.

The pre-op synopsis is that Mrs. the Poet should be walking as normally as she ever will be by the end of March because that’s how little surgical insult there is with this operation. Basically there will be no tendons, ligaments or muscles damaged that will be still allowed to move after the surgery fuses the vertebrae (or vertebras if you insist on anglicized plurals) so the recovery time is essentially just the time needed to heal the incision enough to not bleed every time she moves her back. This is entirely unlike when my hip was repaired 18 years ago because there were 3 major muscles that had to be cut to get the hardware in and then back out 18 months later. As I understand it there will only be one small incision that they work/look through and instead of cutting through muscles they will be spreading apart the muscle fibers to get things out, which has a much better end result than cutting through the muscles.

Anyway, when I know more about it, and Mrs. the Poet approves of me posting it, I’ll tell you more. As for me I find it fascinating in a mechanical sense, because we are all just organic machines moving around and breaking down and either self-repairing or getting repaired. Machines that can repair themselves has been either a dream or a nightmare, depending on how you feel about getting replaced by a machine. But since we are all machines already (Calcium is a metal according to the periodic table, between Potassium and Scandium) just using a different mode of using energy than electricity or steam. We aren’t getting replaced so much as making way for the newest models.

Another update without real information

First of all the good news, Mrs. the Poet has lumbago and can be treated by a combination of steroid injections and physical therapy. That means she might stop yelling every few steps as her back locks up and her feet go to sleep at the same time as her back goes wonky. Her TBF is about 6 feet now when it was 10-12 feet just a few weeks ago. She also has an issue where here spinal column is smaller than it should be where the actual nerves pass through which also contributes to her pain and feet going to sleep.

The “meh” news I was awake all night last night thinking about alternative rear suspension/engine mounting for the A/MOD car and I’m writing sleep-deprived again. Also was thinking about alternative front suspensions for the same car because why only change one thing? This was because I changed the engine from the cruiserbike V-Twin to a Predator 670 V-Twin and the exhaust and the drive are on the same side meaning the engine has to go on the left of the car to keep the engine from blowing exhaust right in the driver’s face. The cruiserbike engine has exhaust on the front of the front cylinder and the back of the rear cylinder meaning it can be run out the right side of the car and the drive is on the left. All this means is the jackshaft for the 670 has to be longer than for the cruiserbike because it has to go all the way across the engine while the bike engine just has to go far enough to reach the drive chain from the transmission.

I also thought about a mount on the rear suspension like the old Malibu Virage cars and some Chinese kart style dunebuggies and some RC cars, but I discarded the idea as having too high an unsprung weight with the engine bouncing around with the rear axle. It sure did simplify the drive to the rear axle though and lightened the car up a bit.

I need a new term for “writer’s block”

Because what I have is not reaaaally “writer’s block”, it’s more like “no news” or “not doing anything”, I mean yeah I’m doing stuff, lots of stuff, but reading science fiction on Kindle (Light of Terra: a Duchy of Terra book 1) and watching instructional video on YouTube (I’m trying to find out how to make the lighter 4L60 series transmission work without a computer, like the heavier 4L80 will do with just some shorts in the external harness and a toggle switch to lock or unlock the torque converter as desired) just doesn’t lend itself to epic thousand word descriptions. I mean it took way less than 100 words to describe it just now.

So, I will describe a typical day without Mrs. the Poet here at Casa de El Poeta. I usually wake up around 1300 but don’t get up until 1400 or so because that’s about how long it takes to get my eyes working these days. I grab a bowl of cereal or a package of PopTarts with something cold and caffeinated to wash down my daily meds and read the web comics that didn’t update before I went to bed that morning, then peruse Twitter for my daily dose of outrage to get the blood up. That usually takes me to lunch, usually something with peanut butter on whole wheat bread, when I look up instructional video on YT and maybe catch some old anime or Steven Universe episodes, or videos of cats being silly, and usually about this time I try to make a post here like I’m doing now. About midnight I fix something hot for dinner, then settle in as the web comics start to update starting at 2200 for those posted on Atlantic time and some at 2300 for Eastern, then a whole bunch that update at midnight Central(US) time, including a large batch from the UK and Europe for some reason. Then there is a lull until the West Coast creators start pushing their comics out at 0200 my time. Then I either try to build something for the Mini Sprint-T or open the Kindle for some recreational reading, and usually get to bed about 0500 to 0600. Thrilling, isn’t it?😴

Toes are done, birthday party with kids is also done

OK this was a well-filled day, as we celebrated 3 birthdays and a wedding anniversary. The younger daughter was 38 on the 4th, and the eldest was 41 on the 8th, the son-in-law turned 38 on the 14th, and I have been in wedded bliss with Mrs. the Poet for 41 years tomorrow. And for those of you doing the math, I found out Mrs. the Poet was pregnant when she called me from the hospital to tell me she was going to miss our dinner date because she gave birth to our son. Y B Normal?

In other news, I have a trip to the Whataburger tomorrow to get Mrs. the Poet a Mushroom Swiss Whataburger while I get my usual Bacon Cheese Jalapeño Whataburger and use the coupon deal to make Mrs. the Poet’s burger free. Because she wants a Mushroom Swiss Whataburger and it’s our actual anniversary date. Forty-one years ago tomorrow I told her “This is your last chance to get away” and she didn’t take it and she’s been stuck with me ever since. So I try to be nice to her every now and then.

Negotiations have been made

Mrs. the Poet and I have negotiated a peace for our time. She has agreed to a date for the trip to the upscale burger place so I can get my free burger and I can buy dinner and we can sit down together and share a meal out. The problem is Mrs. the Poet has a back problem that causes her to drag her foot and finds the 0.4 mi. walk to the bus stop uncomfortable at best, with varying levels of pain when it’s not the best, and I have funds that I have earned from various gigs that I wish to spend on her, taking her out to dinner. The compromise is sometimes she has to go out and do financial things in person at the bank, and when she has to walk the 0.4 mi. anyway she might as well go out with me. I know that doesn’t sound like much for some people, but I count it as a win.

Yesterday we had a RPG session/dinner. I have noticed a tendency for my fellow party members to insist I do the tank thing because “the Old Man can’t be killed” which is “not factually correct”. My character can be killed and has been killed once in session, and three times in back story, and getting killed is “not pleasant” for me/him. I mean seriously, if my character wasn’t already insane but functional, getting killed over and over would push him over the limit. Of course the game setting we are in human or other sentient life has minimal value to the society, so they are just playing the way the setting dictates. The dinner part was the guy who hosted the game had attended a catered soiree and got to take the leftovers home, then they had dinner, and we got to have dinner from the leftovers of his leftovers, and were sent home with the leftovers from our dinner. That’s a lot of leftover.

Something else that has been “fun” has been the paperwork for signing Mrs. the Poet up for Medicare, which she has to do this year or else face a financial penalty. They can’t call it a “fine” because fines are either a criminal or civil punishment for breaking a law and require a court judgement, and this just gets assessed without going to court. Of course almost none of the docs we have been reading are in English, American or otherwise, but are in that opaque dialect most of us call “legalese” which is close to actual English, but some of the words don’t mean the same. In fact some words in legalese are the exact opposite of the same spelling in English, being the meaning they had 200 or 300 years ago when legalese was declared the official language of laws. Anywho, wading through the paperwork has been so much of an exercise we could count it as an anaerobic workout.

And one of the things about building a car from nothing is there are so many sub-systems that require planning that they are separate projects in and of themselves, like the fuel system. I have been looking at the fuel pumps and fuel fillers for the 16 gallon fuel cell blanks Speedway Motors sells, specifically the one that has a long dimension of 25″. I have been thinking of putting that behind the rear axle on the left side to clear the center section and QC gears that will be offset to the right to line up with the engine that is offset to balance the driver on the left for racing. Street driving is not as critical about left to right balance compared to racing, because street driving almost never gets to lateral accelerations or transitions where that degree of control is important. So I can put the heavy gas tank on the same side of the car as the driver for the street as long as I drain the gas out before going racing and switching to a tiny tank that has just enough capacity for one or two runs that doesn’t change the balance of the car as the run progresses. And I could use another blank cell as the trailer storage tank for holding the gas while I’m racing or driving ridiculous distances between gas stations. I think 32 gallons total should be enough to cover the distance between gas stations no matter how far apart they are in the real world. Seriously, the 16 gallon US tank will be enough capacity to get me anywhere east of the Mississippi River without fear of running out of gas, and doubling that will take care of west of the Mississippi without range anxiety. Also I have been looking at a Holley part that bolts to a fuel cell in place of the plate that holds the filler cap and functions as a filler and also holds the pumps and the connections to external plumbing to feed the engine, but there is a snag with using it for the way I want to orient the blank fuel cell in the Sprint-T. The standard assembly from Holley only works up to a 12″ deep tank, and as I want to use it the tank will be 17″ deep. Normally this tank is 25″ wide by 17″ long by 9″ deep, but I want to rotate it to make the 9″ dimension the length and the 17″ dimension the depth. In reality it would be less expensive to use separate components for the filler plate, pumps, and pickup, and do the same thing performance wise as the Holley assembly, but it would be less tidy, especially since I will have two tanks to feed from. Using just one external pump with switched pickups between the two tanks will be cheaper and less complicated. There is a 3/8” hole in the center of one face of the 25″ by 17″ dimension that was formed by the manufacturing process used to mold the cell. This would be the perfect place to route the line from the pickup to the pump as for street use it wouldn’t be that much of a restriction to have two right angle fittings on either side of a bulkhead fitting. Inside would run to the pickup, outside to the switching valve between the two tanks and the fuel pump. Installing the filler plate would be the same as installing the Holley assembly except without the falderal of making sure the pickup on the fuel pump(s) reach the bottom of the tank.

Now on the trailer tank the 3/8” fitting will probably be used as a drain to transfer the gas back to the car after the race day is over. And the pump doesn’t have to be the same high-pressure/high flow pump used to keep the fuel injection fed on the car, it just has to move gas at a reasonable rate at no pressure in particular from the trailer to the car through a filter. Gotta use a filter transferring from one tank to the other, the transfer from the car to the trailer likewise has to go through the fuel filter so the gas going to the trailer is free from dirt so the filter going from the trailer to the car doesn’t have as much work to do. If I could put a filter on the filler I would do that, too. Dirty gas is very bad for injectors.

And now I need to read my e-mail before the battery dies.

I can’t decide

I can’t decide if I’m just cheap, or acclimatizing to the heat, or what. Because it doesn’t really bother me that it’s 84°F in the office, the real concern is for my electronics, some of which are not performing correctly, like this laptop. Since I have to use the on-screen keyboard to use some of the keys, things like cursor control are important right now. But the cursor is wandering all over the screen without any input from me. I used to be able to park the cursor on top of the <m> key on the on-screen keyboard and just tap the touchpad at the bottom of the keyboard to type the letter “m”. And the cable box is a little wonky too but nothing I can put my finger on to say specifically what’s wrong. It might just be the remote instead.

But me? I’m just dandy, if a little damp. Not sweaty, just not dry, damp. Also not uncomfortable. Which is why I think I should be getting the new unit for the bedroom instead of the office except for the electronics, which are much more heat-sensitive than me. That is my dilemma, save the electronics that will cost a fortune to replace, or have a bedroom Mrs. the Poet can sleep in. But she’s leaving for the summer, so that has to weigh heavily in the decision. And before anyone says anything, Mrs. the Poet spends most of the summer in Upstate NY every year, and has since we moved to TX back in 1989.

Trying to find my old poetry

I have been turning the house upside down to find where Mrs. the Poet hid my collection of poems. They had been in an old briefcase with a broken latch, which I found sitting empty in the dining room. I did manage to track down some of the best ones in my performance folio, which was hidden under a pile of bike parts in a tool cabinet. This still leaves the question about the location of the other ones, and even if they still exist. The performance folio has the stuff that did well on stage, but not necessarily the best actual poems. I mean I had what I considered pretty good works that just did not translate to spoken word, especially the one that was entirely in punctuation that I wrote after reading about it in a Douglas Adams book. That one was greatly up to the emotional state of the reader, and after a spoken performance it tended to get locked into the state expressed in the performance.

And there are the ones that have been lost to time, like Lesbians in the Living Room that I wrote while my daughters were in High School. And Hot Monkey Love that I wrote for the Alternative Sexuality group at the pagan community center. And a whole host of ones I have forgotten even the titles.

But I have found some good ones, that I will be transcribing into the blog on days I don’t have anything to say.

Christmas lists at Casa de El Poeta

We have 3½ lists here at Casa de El Poeta: Mrs. the Poet, Clint and Clyde, and yr fthfl srvnt.

Clint and Clyde are the easiest to shop for, they need to get fixed, neutered, castrated, rendered incapable of reproducing. And shots, but you have to get the shots before you can get them fixed. You get the idea. That’s why we have 3½ lists for 4 individuals. Oh, and some cat treats, because they deserve a little something and neither one likes catnip or toys because they’re both weird.

Mrs. the Poet needs a new can opener because the one we have now came with the house mounted to the kitchen cabinet over the stove when we bought the house in 1994. So it’s kinda worn out now and is really tricky to use to get cans open. She can’t use the hand-held kind that clamp to the side of the can because her hands don’t work like that any more. And of course she always needs a new mop and broom every year. I know she wants other things, but will she tell me what she wants? No way. Aside from getting the plumbing fixed and the holes in the shower wall fixed, which is a little out of my price range.

Now my list, but my list is going to sound greedy because I know what I need and want, the cats can’t tell me and Mrs. the Poet won’t tell me unless I happen to be standing there when she notices she needs something and she can complain about it. But if she doesn’t have anything to complain about when I’m standing there she doesn’t remember to tell me she wants or needs it. But I have a bunch of things that are no longer working or that I need and don’t have. One thing I have falling apart is the laptop I’m typing this on. There are keys going out, especially the arrow keys, and if I ever unplug from the battery charger it dies because the battery is no longer among the living.

I also need that engine hoist I have been mentioning forever, a floor jack, and new glasses. My stupid glasses have been falling apart for over a year now, and I keep putting them back together and hoping they’ll last a while longer.

I don’t know who I expect to fill this list, but I’m kinda just putting it out there that there are needs that need filling and kinda hoping someone will fill them.

Happy Day to my fellow vets

Today is Veteran’s Day (observed), so I’m wishing a happy Veteran’s Day to all my green-blooded brothers out there (in joke).

It was cold last night but warmed up this morning enough that I wore my normal next-to-nothing today, which annoyed Mrs. the Poet as she was wearing long pants, t-shirt, and a sweatshirt over it with fuzzy socks on her feet and complaining about the cold. We have vastly different temperature tolerances all year long as I go out and walk or ride my bike in both the summer and winter in weather that has Mrs. the Poet staying indoors or kvetching about the heat/cold as appropriate for the season. I think it’s kinda funny, but that’s because I’m not the one complaining about the cold or heat. My nose does get cold when Mrs. the Poet is complaining about the cold while I’m in a pair of shorts and nothing else, and when I get cold enough to put a shirt on my ears are also getting a bit chilly while Mrs. the Poet is busy putting on everything in the closet and dresser. And I’m not as cold-tolerant as I used to be back when I wore shorts and t-shirt in freezing weather, scaring the rubes when I walked home from work. I saw people tossing liquor bottles out of car windows after seeing me walk home in shorts and T-shirt with heavy frost on the ground. This was back when I was in my 30s, long before I got hit with the truck. I can’t quite do that these days, one of the downsides of years of conditioning myself to be able to ride in ridiculously hot and humid weather.

I’m still stymied at trying to get something moving on the TGS2 build, beyond getting the spindles installed on the axle, which also hasn’t happened yet. I mean I don’t even actually have the donor vehicle in my hands yet, just a car cover for it when I get it so it doesn’t get towed for not having registration since it can’t pass inspection. Since the registration sticker is on the inside of the windshield if you park under a car cover they can’t check to see if your vehicle has current tags. I guess I should be doing something with the parts I have to work with just to be doing something that moves the car build forward, but it is very hard to become inspired for building when you will still have next to nothing to show for it when you get finished except a few more parts not in separate piles. I guess this is another symptom of my depression, the inability to inspire myself to do things. Writing I don’t consider “doing something”, it’s more of a way to avoid doing things. It’s much easier to write about doing something than to actually drag myself into a situation where things are getting done. Also I write when I’m depressed, the “the Poet” in my name came from writing free verse during depressive episodes. I even got some song lyrics down from some of my depressive episodes. Some were good, others were scary bad. Bad as song lyrics, but passable as free verse.

Another day that didn’t go according to plan

Well today I was supposed to go pay for the return tickets from the eclipse viewing, and I even woke up early to do it. I was ready, but the check I deposited last week was not. For some reason it still hadn’t cleared. So I got out the money to get replacement ID and get my toes done went to the post office and got the money order for the ID and then got my toes done and walked home. I was a lot more comfortable walking out of the nail salon than walking in. I also picked up some bodywash on sale at the grocery store next door so I don’t have to wash with shampoo or smell bad.

Speaking of smelling bad, Clyde has been missing Mrs. the Poet something fierce. When I was shutting things down last night there was a bad smell in the bathroom where he was resting, so I blamed Clyde for using the bathroom as a litterbox as I took him to the front door. But when I got back to the bathroom the smell was gone. But the front door smelled like a litterbox until Clyde decided to move on to other things. My theory is he’s depressed because Mommy has been gone for so long and he was Mommy’s cat. When Mrs. the Poet is here Clyde spends most of his time on her lap being adored. And now he is going through withdrawal from Mommy Pettings. He did smell much better after being outdoors last night and most of the day. And now he’s curled up next to me a safe distance from my office chair listening to the TV show I have making noise while I write. That’s what he does with Mrs. the Poet except he sits in her lap. I move around too much for lap sitting when I’m working because I move forward to type and then back to proofread and think about it before I lean back forward to type some more.

Tonight I have the Velocity channel program Bitchin’ Rides running as inspiration, not so much for engineering ideas as for paint and trim and general design, and also for fabrication ideas. Also because I like watching people work metal, especially going from flat stock to a 3D part like a fender or a door skin. This program they scratched the entire floor for a ’52 Pontiac. But even when they aren’t making something even close to my car, it’s an inspiration for my car because they are making something. I want to be making something. That’s part of the reason why I’m making the small scale mockup of the TGS2, so that I’m building something.

And now I have to take care of the cats again before I go to bed.