November 2018

I finally managed to get a decent picture of one of our hummingbird visitors, These little guys are only about 3 inches long, with VERY thin beaks that can get down into the slots in the base of the feeder, which other birds can’t do.

Ah, the dumb things we do sometimes. I was Dead Ending some cables this week, which involves stripping a length of sheath off the end, slicing it along its length, and sliding back over the rest of the sheath, so that the jack can get in there and tension a Dead End Anchor onto the cable, and then sliding the sheath back into the Anchor. I was wearing gloves, but on the last cable to be done, the hook blade slipped out from the sheath and went right through the glove on my left hand. I was very proud of the calm way that I handled the situation (after cursing loudly, of course), keeping pressure on the cut while keeping it inside the glove, then calmly grabbing the First Aid Kit from the truck and spreading its contents out on the work bench to find a suitably sized gauze pad. Once the glove came off, staunched the vigorous bleeding, wrapped it up in the gauze, then used some of the repair tape I had been using on the cables to tape it up. Not exactly elegant, but it did the job, and by the time I got to the nearest Urgent Care Clinic, it had closed over. Once it was anaesthetised, I was able to watch the doctor stitch it up (chalk up another life experience). Then there was the problem of getting the cables to the customer. Called him and told him what had happened, left the lock on the workshop door unlocked, so that he could come and collect them, and went home.

I worked from home the next day. This picture was taken on the following day. Very hard to get the phone’s camera to focus on the thing in the foreground!

Back to the hummingbird feeder. Equally hard to get a decent picture through the dirty glass of a sliding door, but it’s the first chance I have had to catch one in the sunlight. According to Julie, this is “the green one”. We didn’t know until now that they come in different colours.

Just one week later, with the stitches out, I am able to use the thumb normally, albeit tentatively. But if I happen to bang it on something, you can almost scrape me off the ceiling!

I came across this picture in a news feed today. The Prime Minister of Canada and the President of the United States. Classic body language.

Another week later, a lot of the damaged area on my thumb is numb. It feels really weired to use it to tap the screen on my phone and feel NOTHING. I have also had to replace that fingerprint on the phone, to use the pad of the thumb, not the tip. And looking across the area, I can clearly see a substantial valley in it.

Duncan in action on the ice.

Hmm. Maybe the camera CAN get in close. You can see where the 3 stitches were inserted.

Thanksgiving for us this year was in Spokane, where Julie, Janet and Nancy were together for the first time since Bob died back in 2012, and the first time for Thanksgiving for about 25 years.

Even closer on the thumb. You can see where there’s a bit missing.

The next day, at Jan & Steve’s place.

After a tough time on  a short stretch of freeway, back at the hotel.

Next morning, in the cold light of day, looking out of our window.

At breakfast that day, Julie had gone back to the room, leaving me to finish eating. I was joined at the table by a young couple and we talked about yesterday’s road conditions. When I mentioned that I work part time at CenturyLink Field, the husband suddenly recognised me as the person who had returned the tip of his crutch to him several weeks ago! Small world.

On the way home, we were pushing along at the maximum allowed speed. As we approached vehicles in the fast lane, usually all it took for them to move over was a flash of the headlights, except for one idiot who jammed on his brakes (on a wet road), almost causing an accident. When the opportunity came up to move into the slow lane, I took it. A little later, with a big chunk of open road in front, I hit the gas, only to find that the idiot did the same. When I ran out of road, I had to tuck in behind him again, so he slowed down. After another iteration of this crap, I remembered that I had the dash cam running, so we pulled into the next rest area and switched it off to retain the footage.

On the way out, we had stopped at the little town of Vantage, and had found a really great burger place called Blustery’s. On the way back, it was a mandatory stop for burgers! From there, we explored the Gingko Petrified Forest area, stopping off at the gem shop there. This is their mascot.

When we got home, I plugged the card from the camera into my laptop, only to find that because I had transferred the card from another camera, which had already filled the card in different folder, all I had was just one segment of us following the idiot. Pity. I would have loved to submit that to the State Patrol. Lesson learned: If you’re going to move a card from one camera to another, format the card!

Wow. Nothing stands still in this household. Just a few months ago, I could run up the steps from the upper concourse at CenturyLink Field halfway up to the top without slowing down. Now, going up a half-flight of stairs to the apartment leaves me gasping for breath. When I mentioned it to my primary care doctor about a month ago, I also mentioned that since I have blown my deductible for this year, which means insurance pays for everything for the rest of year, and if we were going to do something, then before the end of the year would be best for our struggling finances. Her response was to refer me to more than one specialist group, so that I would have a better chance of achieving that. While the huge Providence group couldn’t see me until the end of February, the local medical group surprised me by being able get me in for an appointment in less than 2 weeks.

That was earlier this week. He is the first doctor or specialist I have seen that explained to me the meaning of a bi-cuspid aortic valve, which means that my aorta has only 2 valves instead of 3, because I was born that way. After that things progressed VERY quickly, The nurse did an EKG even before I saw him, and she squeezed me in for an echo cardiograph the next day. I am now scheduled for surgery in the first week of December. The specialist I consulted is also the surgeon and he uses a minimally invasive method to inflate a small balloon in the surrounding arteries and/or veins. Even more crazy is that I won’t be fully asleep for the procedure. She said that people often watch the screen. Don’t know whether that’s a TV screen or the screen that the surgeon is working with. That would be cool!

I had lunch this week with manager Mark and colleague Ralph, plus Steve who worked with me when I started. Steve had a video on his phone, which he shared with me. He said that the adjacent cable had experienced some issues while it was being stressed, so he stood there, off to one side, holding his phone very steady and hoping to capture something. He did! This is precisely why you don’t stand in the “line of fire”.

There are numerous brass statues scattered throughout Downtown Everett. This series is called “Hike and Seek”.