Tag Archives: Mrs. the Poet

I’ve been busy with Mrs. the Poet being sick

Mrs. the Poet has been ill for over a month, and lately I have had to step up with her transportation issues, as she doesn’t have any transportation apps on her phone. Not that she could use them if she had them. That’s how sick she has been, on the verge of throwing up constantly and still unable to eat until we can get her meds from the pharmacy.

Anywho that’s why I haven’t been posting lately, either taking Mrs. the Poet somewhere, or trying to sleep, or trying to get my neck fixed. I have been good at taking Mrs. the Poet places she needs to be, so-so at trying to sleep, and failing at getting my neck fixed. Nobody has been able to keep the neck fixed for more than an hour or two. I think I might need another surgery to fix my neck after the surgery in 2015 to remove the roughly one-pound fatty tumor that was squeezing muscles and nerves and just about paralyzing my right side. But that will have to wait until my Medicare kicks in next September if the GQP can be prevented from taking my Medicare away. But that is a discussion for a different blog.

OK I’m getting rid of Mrs. the Poet

For most of the month of July, she’s going to see her mother for the first time since she had her operation. She’s leaving 7/6 and coming back 8/3. So I’ll have to fix ramen and frozen pizza for a month, or some kind of other quick-fix food. I usually lose several pounds when Mrs. the Poet visits her mother. My blood pressure usually goes up a bit while she’s gone as well.

Anywho this excursion is costing me over $400, which will get replaced in my account soon. But this also means I’ll be all by myself without even any cats to keep me company for the entire month. I’ll live, “but I von’t enjoy it.” In case you don’t know where that quote comes from, it’s Chekov from TOS, when they found the thing that made people age rapidly, everybody but Chekov and they took tons of samples for analysis. But getting back to nobody to cuddle this is the first time since 2015 Mrs. the Poet has gone away without any kitties to snuggle and take care of. She didn’t go 2020 or last year because of operations and the pandemic. 2019 she went twice because our niece got married. She had to get pushed around the airport in a wheelchair because her back was so bad, but she got where she was going. This year I got her non-stop tickets because 2019 one of her flights she had to spend the night sitting in a wheelchair because her connecting flight was canceled for weather. This way if a flight gets canceled she can just stay home and not spend the night at DFW or LaGuardia.

Well the month of July is going to be a lonely one for me so if you wanna stop by and bring me dinner it would be much appreciated. It’s either a lot of beans and rice (because each batch makes like 8 servings), frozen burritos, pizza, and ramen, or people sharing food because I only know how to cook beans and rice, and reheat frozen food.

I’ve been dealing with health issues

That’s about all I’m gonna say about my hiatus from the blog. Health. Issues.

In other news I’m taking Mrs. the Poet to get her first Moderna shot tomorrow. I have to go because she has no idea on how to use the Lyft app, and because there has to be someone with her to keep an eye on her in case she has a reaction to something in the vaccine. I make frequent jokes about Mrs. the Poet being a Luddite, but she really is “challenged” by technology. Witness that her phone has no apps that were not pre-installed from the factory. And she has no interest in learning how to use my Lyft app to get around even when all the rides are paid for by me. So if she needs to get someplace she can’t go by bus, she has to get me to take her on my Lyft, or talk someone else over the phone into taking her.

On other fronts I got out and got a full massage for the first time in weeks. The weather and fallout from it has kept me almost house-bound since the Snowpockalypse as places recover from the damage of the cold and from the electrical blackout that came with it. And also walking around paying my phone bill showed I was really close to having to call 911 for help because of my balance when I just walked from the house to the bus, from the bus to the phone store, store to bus, bus to house, and collapse in the house. Those last few steps from the mailbox to the house were hard, especially for balance. And no, these are not part of the health issues that have been keeping me off the blog. I’m also thinking about using the parts and tools I bought to get some work done on the front axle of the Sprint-T.

I know what to do, I’m just having problems getting to the garage and doing it. A big part of the problem is navigating the obstacle course between the house and the garage, because I have to move the garbage can and the roll-around in order to get to the door, the navigate the garage to get too my tools which also got moved to places I can’t find them. If I didn’t know better I would swear my stuff got moved to the places it was hardest for me to get to on purpose…

So, anywho, what I need to do is mock up the axle brackets with the heim joints I’ll be using so the spacing is correct, set them on the garage floor 31″ apart outside-to-outside, then set the axle down centered on the brackets and rotated so the kingpin bosses are inclined 7°±0.5 positive caster then use my oxy-acetylene torch to heat the tips of the brackets and where they rest on the axle cherry red to pre-heat the joint before laying a tack from my flux-core welder. I have to do that because even at its highest setting my poor welder can’t handle the thickness of the brackets and the axle. The brackets are 5/16” and the axle is 1/4” wall thickness, and the max rating for the welder is 3/16” wall or bracket. And that’s probably more information than you wanted to know. Yep my cheap Harbor Freight welder can’t handle the biggest joint on the car, but if I do it right I can get a good tack weld so it can be welded by someone with a bigger welder.

And that seems like a good place to end this.

Things in the kitchen that only I use

I mentioned the crock pot and how I was the only person using the slow cooker yesterday. Well there are some other things in the kitchen that I’m the only one using them.

One thing I’m the only person using is the rice cooker. I think that might be because I bought it a while back with money I made with M-points, back when they were still a thing, and that gives you an idea of how many M-points I got, that first I could pay for a rice cooker and second that the rice cooker was high enough quality to last this long. Or it could be that Mrs. the Poet really doesn’t like to use the rice cooker/vegetable steamer for some reason unknown to mankind.

Now this is an odd one, but I’m the only person using the Keurig, for anything. I use it for many things that don’t include making coffee, like teas, soups, and other hot drinks. I can use it to get 2 cups of decent tea out of a teabag, and every once in a while we actually buy the K-cups and I make coffee with it. But that is rare, mostly because we (I) drink a lot of coffee and making it one cup at a time in the Keurig is Ex$pen$ive and for the most part not as good as making drip coffee by the pot. I drink coffee from a mug that holds almost a quart, Mrs. the Poet has an 8 oz. cup once a day. So unless it’s coffee that someone has given us, or a nearly free buy at the local grocery, we don’t use the Keurig to make coffee.

So we have 3 kitchen appliances that Mrs. the Poet doesn’t use but I do. Make of this what you will.

This is boring

I have been mostly staying in and taking care or Mrs. the Poet as she recovers from her surgery, and she’s slowly getting better. And as she gets better there is less and less to take care of because she’s trying to assert her independence while she’s recovering her mobility. But I’m still cooking dinner.

The lady who used to live with us was laid off from her job as the owner decided she didn’t have the money to ride out getting shut down by the city as a non-essential business. Which pretty much describes her used clothing store in a nutshell. It’s a “nice to have” rather than “essential”. I mean when the new clothing stores are “non-essential”, used clothing is definitely not essential. Which means she needed help to navigate applying for unemployment, applying for a new job, and also finding a new place to live as the place she lives now is also downsizing for what I understand is the person who owns the house wants to sell and move into either a smaller house or an assisted-living apartment, the person relaying the story was not very forthcoming on that one. So after much pulling of hair trying to do the computer things with so many other people trying to do the same thing, we cued up some movies on the DVD player we had to buy because we couldn’t keep on the internet with the laptop also playing DVDs.

I got to catch up on some movies I hadn’t seen, basically all of them, I haven’t been to a movie since the last How to Train Your Dragon came out. We saw Secret Life Of Pets 2, SWTLJ, and another movie that made so little impression on me I can’t remember the title. Also some parodies of Batman V Superman done with cats.

And I bought things online. I just got a case of Cactus Cooler via Amazon that you can’t get in stores here in TX because we are outside the distribution area. If it ever gets to local stores I would definitely buy it in 2-liter bottles, because it costs too much in 12 oz cans, but it was definitely worth the $30 I spent to get the case to find out if I liked it. I wonder if they have a sugar-free version, because it’s basically flavored corn syrup diluted with carbonated water in the state I bought, and that’s a bit heavy for me.

I’m still waiting for the hat I bought online to get here because it was delayed by the CA shelter in place order only allowing 3 people in the warehouse to ship stuff which is way under the regular staff. Last update my hat should get here tomorrow.

Something else I should mention is my appointment was moved to May 26. So about 4 months after the last appointment I get back, which is twice as long as was planned and also a month longer than normal, but I have an appointment.

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.