2001 Notes

Rev. 2002-03-01, 2003-07-21

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2001-01-12 - I begin to write this on the day of my knee surgery, which seems to have gone quite well. Arthroscopic surgery was done and two places with torn cartilage were worked on.

2001-05-30 And I didn't add much, did I? Most of the notes are in the Medical Diary We spent Memorial Day weekend in Louisiana doing a 50th Anniversary for the grandparents of Cameron Francis Fisher who was baptized on Sunday and may be seen here.

2001-06-17 Gigi & Puppy Last Tuesday evening, Gigi listened to the whining of a puppy outside until it bugged her enough that she went out and found it in the back of a pickup truck in a neighbor's drive. Using the cordless phone with Spanish speaking Suzanne on the other end, she queried the neighbor who said it wasn't her puppy, so she brought it home. During the night it kept both of us awake at hourly intervals as it got fed, taken out, and cleaned up after. At one point, Gigi fell off the front ramp and hurt her leg and knee, so she stayed home on Wednesday and took the puppy to the nearest vet for shots and de-worming, which it needed badly, as shown in its bowel movements. The puppy went longer intervals between food and going out and had fewer accidents. Wet food supplied by vet disappeared down gut at prodigious rate.
I stayed home Thursday (my day off) with the puppy and when left in the kitchen for 2 hours while I went to the doctor and 1 hour while I went to vet for more food.
Thursday evening a pair of girls about 12 showed up at door saying it was their puppy and they had left it in the back of their cousin's truck (and no, it wasn't the home owner's puppy.) Both Gigi and I made it clear that we thought the dog was not well treated doing this and we described it getting its shots and keeping us up and being treated for worms. We gave them the puppy food and off they went. Gigi revised her plans for Friday made to cover the puppy while she was at work.
Two hours later the puppy was back. They said it wouldn't stay in the house. I also think it was whining and perhaps pooped on the floor. Gigi re-revised her plans for Friday (her day off, but planned on working with Suzanne & instructors around the wheelchair.)
Friday, suddenly there was an opening at the no-kill animal shelter and Gigi got Myrna to run it over there.
Friday night, the two girls show up again, saying they have a chance with another puppy, and want to do it right, so they are asking Gigi for advice on what has to be done with a puppy and how they take care of it.
Meanwhile, in the back yard a black cat is showing great signs of friendliness with Mike .....

2001-10-01 Mike and Blackie The cat Blackie (or CatCat) adopted us.mentioned in the last line above has hung around and Mike has gradually worked on its affections. That means feeding it mostly and petting it when I can. After a couple of months, it decided to come inside on a rainy day and it now eats on the freezer lid on the back porch and started curling up on the bed, whining when she wants to go out. I spent a couple of hundred dollars early on shots and monthly anti-flea/tick/worm medicine and planned to have her spayed, but the vet actually opened her up before discovering that she had already been. At first I thought she was an all black cat, but once she relaxed and turned over, she has white on her chest.
AND EVEN MORE OF THE PUPPY - I mentioned the puppy had gotten first shots, well, the animal adoption place was worried because someone had dropped off a cat with parvo. The puppy got it, but survived, probably because of the shots.

2001-10-6 Once again we got most of the average rain for the month in a day, 1.9" this time, and it has gotten seriously cool, supposedly down to near 40F tonight. The heat came on for the first time a couple of hours ago. Even last month, we had already had enough rain for the year that if we had no more for the rest, we would be ahead of average.

A few minutes ago, replying to an e-mail, I got on a roll about not owning a car and wrote the following, which I am not sure I have recorded in these notes before.
> How do you get to work?  Are you close enough to walk there, or do you use the bus?
  I work across town at Elliott's Hardware (near Parkland Hospital) There are two sets of easy bus routes - past the front door - and one set that requires walking 4-5 blocks from Harry Hines.   We moved to this spot in town because we are near a well served bus route, since my wife is a blind person and uses the bus to go to work downtown.  
A couple of years ago, we owned a Chevy Van that was getting really tired and my wife wanted/needed a bunch of blindness related equipment that would total about $7,000.  She proposed not getting a replacement car immediately to make paying off the loan on the equipment easier.   I was very uptight about the complications, but tried the bus stuff before we sold the van and found that I enjoyed reading and writing on the bus.  But then, I mostly hated driving the commute, which was alway tense and constantly making choices about the least bad route to work.   
When we seriously need a car, we rent one, usually for a cheaper weekend from Enterprise.  I have at various times also rented a full-sized van, a wheelchair accessible van, a box truck (U-Haul 19.95+miles) and, rarely, borrowed the use of a car or truck.  When going to the in-laws, I rent something with cruise control as I have not been able to hold a gas pedal in position for long periods for decades - hip problem.  We rent on the weekend about once a month and I save up errands.  
Usually twice a week, I ride my bike to work - over a carefully selected route that combines least effort with safety (low traffic) - totaling about 25 miles a week.  My primary reason for riding, besides it being the only exercise I get, is the rotten bus connections on Saturday - I have a choice of leaving early from work or taking well over an hour to get home.  It takes me about 35 minutes in the morning and about 40 minutes at night.  I have had two moderately serious accidents on the bike and if you add up what the insurance finally paid for the long term consequences, about $15,000 for 2 day surgeries, I could have had a good used car - if insurance had paid for it.
  After we had been without a car for about a year, my wife, Gigi, started asking if I wanted a car, or if I especially liked the car we had rented.  It turns out she was thinking about being without a car for about a year and my long term choice is not what she had in mind.  When one rental car was hit by hail and it cost me nothing.  When the semi-annual "non-owners" insurance statement from State Farm arrives and it is for about $135 - which saves me from having to buy the stupid daily comprehensive at $9.99 a day on rentals.  When I listen to car repair blues or read my book on the bus, I find it astonishly easy to keep on not owning a car.
  The only complication so far is that I always put a trailer hitch on all my recent cars and at the time we sold the van, owned a nice flatbed that I expected to put a portable glassblowing rig on.  Vehicles that the rental company allows to tow a trailer turn out to be big enough to take everything one could put on a trailer (except a glassblowing rig), but cost a lot more to drive.  A rented trailer (before I owned one) was a much cheaper alternative to renting a truck when moving myself or friends, easier to load too.

2001-12-29 As 2001 winds down, I find myself dealing with Lyme disease consequences again. The lack of sensation has crept from the balls of my feet where it had resided most of the year to almost my heels and I have been feeling a lot of pain in my right hip and leg. I am back on antibiotic and neurontin.

Meanwhile, Bianca has been getting antibiotics by sub-dermal shots that I have been giving her for treatment of a sore on the right leg that she has had and been licking for too much of the year. She has had to wear an "Elizabethan collar" to keep her tongue from reaching the healing sore and so she and tongue look like this.Bianca in December 2001 with protective collar while leg heals.

The picture above was taken with my Christmas/birthday/Valentine's present, a Nikon Coolpix 995 digital camera which is every bit as good as I hoped. As a digital camera, I can run out to take a picture and come in, dump it to the computer, edit it and upload it immediately, without processing or waiting for the roll to get filled. I have a choice of resolutions (Bianca was taken twice as big and reduced to save download time) and can use the camera on fully automatic. It allows multiple photos at 1/2 second intervals (whirly jig, back arrow to return here.)
What made it really attractive to me, and caused me to drop my original plan to buy something in the $300 range until prices had dropped, is that in manual mode, it has all the controls of a film camera, that allow depth of field, film color balance, and film speed control. I have carried the camera to work and used it while working on projects to snap pictures as I go. Further, I can take extra images if I wish and trash the extras and instantly see what was taken to review whether I need another.


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