Tuesday, August 4, 2020

CarPEEt Removal

Well, I can't let Blue Witch have all the home renovation fun this summer. If you remember, last year our cat Basil had all sorts of urinary tract issues and eventually wound up having corrective surgery. But not before he ardently let us know he was having issues by using our only carpeted room as his litter box. Time and time again I would shampoo this carpet, over and over and over again. I even used carpet deodorizor, and thought we had it taken care of - until we got the heat and humidity this year that brought back the smell.

Now, this is in our second bedroom, the one with the computer and otherwise used as an office and a place for much of my stuff. Yes, the room where the brilliance that is this blog is written.  It got a little old going to work every morning in here and smelling it, so the carpet had to go.  Last weekend was the time to do it, so it got done.  And it had to get done in a weekend so I could work on Monday.  We removed the carpet in the living room, hallway and bedroom #1 before we moved in. The carpet in this second bedroom was still in good shape so I decided to keep it at that time. I kind of wish we removed it back then, but I remember being pretty tired of removing carpet at that time, too, so that may have factored into my decision.

This time, just one room was more than enough for me.  My knees still hurt and my wife and I both still ache from the work needed to get this done.  It was a lot of stuff to move out of that room and back, but working on a floor is all down low work.  I don't do well with low work these days.  I remember telling my wife at one point, "The next carpet layer I meet I'm going to punch right in the mouth."  I won't, but they just go overboard with the hammer stapler and nails, it seems.  On the bright side, we have no more carpet to be removed.  At least the floor cleaned up pretty well, but it is noticeably a little rougher than the floors in the rest of the house

Not knowing ahead of time the state the floor would be in, we planned ahead.  We had a 7.5 by 9.5 foot rug in the living room that we bought shortly after we moved in and, while we like it, we replaced it with an 8 by 10 foot rug and moved the older rug into the computer room.  I didn't want to put a rolling chair directly on the hardwood, and we have the chair mat for a rug and it just made sense.  It's a little different walking into the room now and expecting a soft floor, but it looks pretty good and we'll easily get used to it.

Two things to end on.  First, I know I have two desk chairs at the moment.  One is for relaxing, the chair I enjoy, the other is for work, the chair that is better for my back sitting up and working.  I plan on looking for a better chair that can be for both, but I may have to spend more than I want.  Second, I took a bunch of pictures (more after the break!) and even a short time lapse video of myself removing the carpet and padding, before the real work began.  You can watch the time lapse video here if you want. I kept it private but I think you should be able to see it if I link it - if not please let me know.  But remember, I don't want to hear any plumber-butt jokes.  That's a warning!

Friday, July 17, 2020


Ready.  Set.  Firepit!  As I got ready to start a fire tonight, shortly before sunset.  I was out there over two hours and even had to put one of the logs you see leaning on the side back on the stack.  My firepit has become my solace in these times.  We did have two friends over for a short time to sit by the fire recently - socially distanced, of course.  I had a mandate for facemasks if they had to go into the house but it never came up.

Again, playing with the camera on my new phone.  Here is the Big Dipper, a common sight in our summer night sky, being crossed by the ISS, the brightest dot, of course.  I think this is a pretty good picture, at least probably the best my camera will do.

And just because I like it, here's a picture of a dragonfly that landed immediately in front of me as I was going to get wood for a fire earlier in the week.  We've seen a lot of them this year, which is pretty neat.

Tomorrow I have to go into work for a bit.  This will be the third time since the Covid hit the fan.  I chose to work a few hours on Saturday on a task that cannot be done remotely because there won't be anyone else around.  But I hate it.  In fact, this remoteness is not good for my job satisfaction, not that I want to go back to the office every day, anymore.  We've gone back on mandatory overtime recently and system issues along with poor communication has me a bit frustrated.  Why can't I just be a drone office worker?  I get lots of shit done, but it never seems like that's what they want.  They wanted me because I can think outside the box, but then only want improvements that follow the status quo.  They really just wanted another sheep.  I'm faaaaaaucked!

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Neighborhood Fireworks on the 4th

I had a firepit the evening of July 4 (surprise, right?) despite the current heatwave and was treated to a show that I wasn't fully expecting.  Oh, we always have some fireworks in the neighborhood, but with all the municipal fireworks cancelled due to the pandemic I was surrounded by pops, bangs and flashes for hours on end.  They came from all over,  but mostly to my right, and behind me to the left, but the biggest was in front of me and about a block away.

Here's a couple minutes of video I took of the fun - and illegal* - fireworks I enjoyed.

*Laws change wherever you go, but I believe the only things legal within Madison are snakes and sparklers, and absolutely nothing that goes into the air.  Thank you, neighbors!

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Happy 4th!

Happy holiday, everyone!  If you're like me, though, you're probably just staying at home.  The pandemic has made a comeback yet I see more and more people out and about and not wearing masks.  Alas, will it ever end?

I've been out by the fire the last two evenings despite the heat and humidity.  If I go out shortly before sunset both are falling so it actually isn't as bad as you'd think it would be, sitting by a roaring fire.  Maybe I sat a bit further back from it, but no other issues - except mosquitoes.  They have fully arrived now and will be with us for the duration of the summer.

I hope everyone is having a great holiday weekend!

Friday, July 3, 2020

More Firewood

Today, almost exactly two years after I got my first face cord of firewood we had our second one delivered.  I looked at a couple places online but wound up going with the same place I used last time.  While it was a little more expensive than last time, $159 then and $179 now, it was still cheaper than other places and I already know the wood is good.  Again, I got kiln-dried mixed hardwoods; Oak, Cherry, Hickory and Walnut - but I know I saw some of the higher-end Birch in there as well.  It all makes for good burning.  In the picture, the small pile on the left with the weathered ends is what is left of the old firewood, the pile next to it won't fit on the rack and is mostly odd shaped pieces that will be burned first, after the old stuff.

Before it got here I moved the last bit of the old firewood and set about leveling the rack a little bit.  Thankfully that was quick and easy because it is and has been very hot and humid.  I didn't know when it was going to get here, but I hoped sooner than later because storms are predicted late afternoon/early evening, and kiln-dried wood should be covered, I'm told.  The driver was a nice guy who used to work for the Milwaukee Bucks and I happened to have a Bucks t-shirt on.  He regaled me with funny and interesting stories about some players and the former owner, Senator Herb Kohl, as he unloaded the wood in the driveway.

My wife was away at her dad's so I set about getting it stacked right away.  It was a good workout, for all but my aching back.  Thankfully I didn't injure it, but it is very tired right now.  We'll see how much I stiffen up later.  I loaded the wheelbarrow from my knees and had a lawn chair by the rack to avoid bending so much, and it seemed to help.  I lost track of how many wheelbarrow's full it took to get the job done, but it's more than it looks, I assure you.  It took a little over an hour, and by the end I was tired and drenched in sweat, but it will be worth it for the next two years.  Still, what a way to start the holiday weekend.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Firepit Timelapse

I've been playing with some camera features on my new phone.  I did a time lapse of my fire last night, but this first one I did two weeks ago was better.  Enjoy the fire with me.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

LLP Bonus - Body Count's No Lives Matter

I read yesterday that Body Count just released their 2017 song No Lives Matter to radio.  I had forgotten about this song, especially since they released a newer album earlier this year so when I have listened recently it has been the new one.  Interestingly, I have to choose when I listen to this band as it is pretty angry music and can affect my mood.  I stopped listening to it when I'm at work, for example.

So the Black Lives Matter movement is almost 7 years in (per google) and going strong.  There are still protests here in Madison every day but thankfully I've not heard of any recent violence.  After it all blew up here at the end of last month all the stores at downtown gathering spot State Street had their windows boarded up, broken or not.  Then they had scores of local artists in to paint the plywood, trying to make it a little nicer to look at while being safer for the businesses.  Since then there have been marches down main roads and major highways all over town.

It's not surprising to me that Madison got so involved.  We have a large black population and made our own national news when a white Madison police officer killed local black teenager Tony Robinson in 2015.  The protests then were very much like they are now, and may continue to happen until some tangible change takes place.  Police do a vital service protecting us, but people should only be judged by their actions and not pre-judged, or 'profiled,' by their color, and there is a line that should not be crossed where the force used no longer equals the infraction.

You don't have to like the music to watch the video, but I would recommend at least listening to what Ice-T has to say for the first 40 seconds.  Better yet, listen to the song, hear the lyrics, the anger.

Body Count - No Lives Matter 

I don't have the answers, and I don't march, I don't yell.  I just try to be the best me, behave accordingly, and be aware of the things I can change.  What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Tropical Puppy*

It's not often we get a tropical storm here in Wisconsin, but that's what's going to happen soon.  Pretty much straight up from the Gulf of Mexico.  I guess it's just called a tropical depression now, but it is muggy and overcast, and the rain is supposed to start in a few hours or so.  At least it looks better than yesterday when it showed Madison as directly in the path, now it looks like it will go west of us slightly, the center anyway.  I think the storm had a name but I can't think of it now for the life of me.*

Should be interesting, I like a good storm.  It seems the big thunderstorms often fall apart as they approach Madison, perhaps due to the lakes, I'm not sure.  I don't want to see damage or anything, but otherwise I hope it's a good show.

On a cuter note, last weekend our friend Terry stopped over for a bit with her brand new 8 week old puppy.  She named him Karma, and I can't help but hope that doesn't come back to bite her!  Figuratively speaking, of course.  Very small, very cute and very much not welcomed by Hamish the hissy cat!

*Former tropical storm Cristobal.  No wonder I forgot the name.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Hamish and the New Fountain

While the cats were napping yesterday their new water fountain arrived.  They get pretty finicky with their old water fountain when it gets the slightest bit dirty, and it's a huge, heavy, awkward ceramic thing, so I thought I'd try to find a cheap and lighter alternative that may also be easier to clean.  We do worry about them drinking enough water, and Basil has had all his urinary tract issues, so the hope is they will drink more water now.  I got it all set up, and managed to capture a very cautious Hamish as he discovered it.  So while I'm posting videos today, here's another.  I even added suspenseful music quietly in the background.

Both cats seem to have taken to it well, so it will be moved to the landing where the other one is now and the old one will be stored or donated.

F-16 Flyby

Just got lucky and caught an F-16 out the window.  They're really flying today!  Though we see them almost daily lately, it's hard to be in position to get them on video.  Speaking of video, I'm trying the blogger version instead of uploading to Youtube since it's so short.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Nationwide Protests, Again

This is big.  This ain't right.  This is tonight, here in Madison.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Warning - Signs!

As I was beginning my summer-long ritual of cutting grass today I saw some new additions down the street by Starkweather Creek.  Actually, my third time mowing today but the first two times were only partial mows as grass in some areas grew faster than others this spring, so my first time mowing the whole lawn this year.  Anyway, the new signs were notable because we had just walked past the area yesterday and hadn't noticed anything different then.  Yes, we started going on short daily walks together this last week.  Both for exercise and to get out of the house more.  Now, how many more subjects can I add to one paragraph?

The sign warning of PFAS in the creek had been swapped out for a more durable metal sign, and a sign was added to encourage social distancing on the bike path.  I've heard that hardly anyone wore masks while on the bike path, but that was a few weeks ago so I hope that's changed.  Staying six feet away could be an issue on the narrower parts of the paths but usually there's room to step to one side.  Oh well, Wisconsin got a grade F on following the CDC recommendations of social distancing, mask wearing and gatherings for a reason.  Even though we Americans apparently are allowed to get 20 cm closer to each other than most of the rest of the world.

I almost didn't notice it, but off to the left of the slide area is what looks like a camera, facing south along the creek.  It didn't look like it was hooked up yet as it had a wire coiled around it and tape over the front, but still it made me wonder why?  Is it a trail cam to capture canoeists, to monitor activity on the creek, or to see if anyone is using the canoe/kayak slide the city installed last year?  Maybe I'll find an article in the paper on it soon.  Once it seems to be in use I may have to find my Halloween mask and get up to some hijinx down by the creek.

After the break are some closer pics if you're interested in reading the signs.  And I had a fire last night and I always seem to take pictures so I'll throw some of them in there, too.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Plant Day 2020

Yesterday was our annual spring plant day, when we get plants and fill pots.  With the current conditions we didn't want to go to a big place where there would be lots of people, so we went to a smaller, more local place and picked out a few things to fill the tree stump again this year.

Also, last weekend my wife planted several new plants, many in the tree stump area.  I'm glad we got the green coated chicken wire because it is much less of an eyesore, but if the plants will have any hope of surviving the rabbits they will need protection until they are better established.

Speaking of the rabbits, there's been a couple around (at one time I saw 3 at once in the back yard) but it still doesn't seem to be as many as last year - for now.  And I have chipmunks digging dens on the side of the house again.  I already trapped one (humanely) and let him loose down by the creek, but I may have to do it again.  Did I ever mention the time I trapped a squirrel?  Probably.

Several posts ago I wrote about the solar plastic owl I bought to hopefully keep the rabbits away.  Remember the clothesline post I was thinking of putting it on?  Well, I was out beside it and felt the top to make sure it wasn't rotted - and it snapped off in my hand.  The part that was in the ground was all rotten and just gave way at my light touch.  It surprised me when it happened, but not when I thought about it more.  I guess the surprising part should be how it stayed upright this long.  So far I have put the owl on a post of the back steps a couple times for a few hours, and it does seem to work.

So anyway, with nowhere to pull the clothes line to I took the old roll-up clothesline thing off the side of the garage.  It got used as a shelf more than anything, usually for a bluetooth speaker or just a place to put my phone.  The bolts are still there, maybe I'll put a little shelf there.  When it gets a little warmer it will be time to get going on the cat box area again.  This could be a quick little side project at that time.  Maybe.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Wings Over Wisconsin

Yesterday was Wings Over Wisconsin, a flyover of several hospitals in the lower part of the state as a thank you to all the healthcare workers.  Yes, the orange one ordered these flyovers through Operation American Resolve without realizing the cost of such flights, so our local Air National Guard integrated this into one of their usual training exercises.

By coincidence, the day before I finally got lucky and got a short video of one of the F-16s we have now based at Truax Field.  Yesterday I had the schedule, same as you see above, but I had no idea which way they would be taking off or landing or if I would even catch a glimpse as all the Madison hospitals are on the other side of the isthmus.  And jets are powerful, they get up and down much quicker than passenger aircraft.

As I was outside waiting I decided to take video of a squirrel romping around in the treetops.  Of course as soon as I started he settled down, but a few seconds later a passenger plane came in for a landing so I got a pretty good shot of that.  Later, as the jets were due to arrive back to fly over the Madison hospitals I actually did see them, though at a distance.  At one point I could see all 4 through the trees.  It was brief, but I finally got video of the F-16s!  I will keep trying for better.

Below is all 3 videos; a jet from Monday evening, passenger plane from yesterday evening and the jets in the flyover later last evening.  Best in full screen, jets are small in the last part.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

The Cat Tree Shuffle

Our cats, Basil and Hamish, turned 8 years old on April 20.  We didn't have a party or anything like that, but they were due for a new cat tree.  We get them one for their birthday every couple of years but for some reason I dragged my feet on it a bit this time.  After the smaller, first cat tree we found a nice, sturdy, tall one and while that second one, with the lighter carpet seen here, seemed a little higher quality than the brown one they replaced it with, we haven't found anything better since.

This blog is older than the cats, here you can see cat trees number one, two and three when they were new.  And, of course, this is the fourth.

When the first one got old we put it on the porch and put the new one in the house, as we've done each time since. The very first one got trashed when we got number three, but this time I took both the old ones and put the best parts of each together to make a pretty good one for the porch.  I'm not sure the cats liked seeing their porch tree dismantled, but it's now much cleaner and most of the frayed sisal rope pieces have been replaced with at least better ones, and the crow's nest part is brown now while the rest is the lighter carpet.  I just couldn't get the lighter top part clean enough.

In the picture, left is the second oldest, middle is the new one (go figure with the cats on it) and on the right is the previous one.  I didn't notice at the time I took the picture yet, but I put it together as a mirror image of the previous two, so I disassembled to make it the same since I think it works better for the cats looking out the windows.  And I seem to remember having to assemble and reassemble the ones before so why break with tradition, right?

Not terribly exciting, but it gave me something to do for a couple afternoons.  Happy belated birthday, Basil and Hamish, welcome to middle age!

Monday, May 4, 2020

Spring Weekend

We had a beautiful spring weekend, by far the best weather we've had this year.  The plants are growing well, trees are budding and the rabbits are back.  On Saturday we - mostly my wife - got lots of yard work done outside.  It was also the first day of the year we had all the windows open to let in that fresh spring air.  We just had to get the grill out, hamburgers for lunch and bratwurst for dinner.  Yes, we grilled out twice in the same day.  Why not?

Even though it was so nice out, it was also overcast most of the day.  Of course, until I started a fire.  It was still nice out by the fire, but very different than last time.  The temperature got up to 74ºF so I was in shorts and t-shirt rather than last fire when it was 48ºF and I was in long pants and jacket.  It was nice out there for a while but the wind picked up so I had to smother the fire eventually.  I have a lid for the firepit so I put the lid on it.

Sunday was also very nice but much more windy so it chilled too much with windows open like the day before.  And it sounds like this will be it for a while, unfortunately.  I think we may even be in line for snow flurries again later in the week.  Ah, yes, welcome to Wisconsin.  If you don't like the weather, just wait a few minutes...

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Lazy fool, any excuse to get out of chores and have a fire!

No leaves yet, but they're coming.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Friday's Firepit - Video!*

Friday afternoon the weather was so that I decided to have a fire while listening for the first time to the new Nightwish CD.  As I had to charge up my old phone that morning to check something on it, it occurred to me that I could use it as a camera still, so I did.  I wasn't sure how much space it had or how long it would run, but it was just an experiment and I didn't think anything would really come of it.  Turns out it's not so bad, really, and it lasted for almost the whole time I was out there.

So for some quarantine shits and giggles, here it is.  I've seen worse videos on YouTube, after all.  Never mind that it was overcast all day until I started the video.  Never mind that I initially forgot my headphones.  Never mind that I also forgot the fire poker in the garage.  Never mind anything at all and relax with this big oaf by the fire!

Email readers, use the link at the bottom of the email and visit the website to view the video.

*Aha! I found the embed problem in the settings, video can now be seen.  Sorry!  Friday, 4/24

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Virus Update, Fourth and Final?

I may have been a bit overly optimistic when I posted last Sunday.  I posted the timeline that day, and then in the wee hours of Monday I had my worst night of this whole ordeal.  I was up for almost all night just trying to continue breathing.  I was so, so cold and couldn't warm up for the longest time, then when I finally did I was so very hot.  All I could think about was getting pneumonia, and I really didn't want that.

When my alarm went off at 6 a.m. I emailed my boss and told him I had a very bad night and was still too sick to work.  We got in touch later and I said I needed to schedule the next two days off, he suggested the week, which is what eventually  happened.  So all this past week I've been off work.  Not exactly how I wanted to spend my spring vacation time, but so be it.  Better to spend the time now and get healthy than not spend the time and, well, you know.

Today is day 24 since my first symptom.  All week I've been resting and have slept a couple hours more a day than usual.  Shortness of breath and coughing has gotten better day by day, and is at its worst when I roll over side to side at night and also right after waking, but even that has gotten better day by day.  And my resting heart rate is almost back to normal.  I often still have that underlying feeling of being unwell, and can still feel the inflammation in my lungs with every deep breath.  I have a feeling this might linger for a bit, but as long as it keeps getting better and better one day I'll notice that I don't notice that anymore.  Back to work for me tomorrow.  The worst I foresee is taking a couple hours off in the middle of the day for a nap, otherwise I hope all goes well and I don't have too many things to clean up after all this time off.

One thing that I've purposely not mentioned about this whole thing so far is how I notice so many people not taking this seriously.  And I've not left the house in over 3 weeks, this is just in the neighborhood.  I've seen neighbors having friends over, one daily, answering the door for deliveries - and the delivery driver not flinching even though their restaurant is touting contact-free delivery in all their ads.  Even when we've gotten groceries or food delivered most drivers still seem surprised that we don't open the door for them.  No wonder infection rates are still rising.  Not to mention all the protests across the country breaking all social distancing and gatherings rules.  Don't even get me started on the orange idiot.  People are just being plain stupid and it'll be a wonder that we survive this despite ourselves.  Don't be stupid, please.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

F-35s Coming To Madison

Yesterday the U.S. Air Force made it official, Madison's Truax Field was awarded a squadron of F-35 fighter jets.  This has been a long process with lots of controversy.  Opponents mainly cite pollution and the noise factor and how it will affect some of Madison's poorest neighborhoods by the airport.  Supporters cite the jobs and economic impact it will bring to the area.

We've seen the signs in yards for ages now, and opponents will surely not go quietly.  The Madison City Council even passed a resolution against having them here, but the decision on where to base 18 of the 100 million dollar F-35A fighter jets is solely up to the Air Force.  Of course they held meetings, did environmental studies, etc., but they seemed set on Madison from the start.  Montgomery, Alabama was also named as a base for the jets.

Right now, Truax Field, home to 1200 Airmen of the 115th Fighter Wing, has an aging fleet of 21 F-16 fighter jets.  The new F-35s are to start arriving in 2023.  These jets can provide air protection for anywhere in the Midwest and at 1200 m.p.h. can be there in minutes.

That's a lot of facts and numbers, you can click here, here or here for more details.

Personally, I think it will be good for the area.  We live in the main flight path, and we have jets now already.  Yes, they do get loud, but only for seconds at a time and I find them fascinating to watch.  They go by so very fast that by the time you look up they're almost past, thus I've wanted to get a short video but have always been unable.  They usually go in twos, but even knowing that I've not been quick enough when I've been outside.  The new jets will be louder and the amount of flights is supposed to increase, but again, it lasts for mere seconds.  I know the new jets have been in and out of here at times already and I've not really noticed any difference.  I look forward this summer to trying to get video of the jets, new or old, now more than ever.

On a similar subject, I noticed an email at my blog gmail account (top right of the page) from the other day with the subject line 'Dane County Regional Airport Guide.'  At first I thought it was one of those spam comments we get on blogger, like when I post something about plumbing then get a comment from a robo-English speaker complimenting me on my work then going into their agenda and spam links.  But this was not a comment notification, it was an email from the Media Relations Manager for the Dane County Airport.  In her email she noted my blog post that was probably found in a google search, a post from June last year.

Apparently they've updated their website and she was wondering if it was possible for me to include a link on my site.  Okay, here it is, an informational airport guide website, but the official website still appears to be here.  Look at me, now seemingly an actual member of the media!  Wait, now that I type that I'm not so sure that's a good thing...

Sunday, April 12, 2020

My COVID-19 Timeline

March 27, Friday:  First symptom, coughing up yellow.

March 28, Saturday:  Noticed a little more of the same that afternoon.

March 29, Sunday:  Woke to headache, bodyaches, and likely fever.  Much worse than should be expected for the drinks I had the night before.  I had my first thoughts that I might have this.

March 30 to April 3:  First full week working from home.  Thought I felt normal, coughing up less though shortness of breath worsened day by day.  I grew more concerned as the week went on.

April 4, Saturday:  Like a ton of bricks.  Everything.  All doubt was removed from my mind that I had this terrible virus.

April 6, Monday:  Informed work, said I would work normally as nothing else to do.  Put in a full day and it was apparent I overdid it.  Contacted my doctor's office, they had advice but it was pretty clear I was not going to be tested unless I got much worse.

April 7, Tuesday:  Relinquished all work duties but one.  Let them know I was very sick, would continue to do what I could.  Put in part time hours through Thursday but looking back it was still too much.

April 9, Thursday:  Contacted my doctor again, let them know I felt the same and requested a note for the hours missed at work.  Received note and comments, more on this later.

April 10, Good Friday:  Holiday from work.  My first real appetite since the Friday before and all symptoms, even breathing, seemed to be getting better.  I finally felt I was getting over the hump.

April 12, Today, Sunday:  Day 17 since my first symptom.  Feeling much better, I am surely on the mend.  Coughing less and breathing better, but still tired.  I have to build up my strength and stamina again.  If I had to say, I'm probably about 80%.

If you missed it, I also wrote in more detail on April 5; I Have It, and April 8; Virus Update.

There are a few things I haven't mentioned yet.  Working from home I've been wearing my Fitbit all the time rather than just for sleep, and it shows my resting heart rate went from 59/60 when I was healthy to 70/71 while I was so sick.  And the dreams I had were just outrageous.  Maybe during or caused by fever spikes while I slept, but I've never had such vivid and off-the wall dreams.  This is definitely not a normal 'flu,' and while my symptoms would be considered moderate, I can certainly see how this kills people.

My doctor's office seemed to agree that I had all the signs, and mostly they wanted me to monitor my symptoms and if my breathing got too bad to go to the hospital right away.  Thankfully, it never came to that.  On Thursday my doctor responded:  "Sorry you are not feeling better yet, but from what we are seeing, this typically starts out mild, gets more prominent, and then will calm down over another week.  Typically, people are 2-3 weeks before they feel back to baseline."  This made a lot of sense to me as that first week I mostly was fine, then it really got bad and lasted almost another week like that, and now I'm slowly getting better.

I would like to again thank everyone for their well-wishes and offers of assistance.  I hope this is my last post on my personal experience with this virus.  Stay well, everyone.  Please.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Spring Around The Yard

As much as I looked forward to spring this year, it seems to have sprung while I've been sick recently (although it did snow on Thursday a bit.)  We don't have a whole lot in early spring, and we've done zero work outside so far, but here's a bit of what we do have.

All pictures were taken yesterday but the first, the Krokus' that pop up in the back of the yard are always our first sign.  That picture was taken when I had a fire 2 weeks ago.  Google likes to filter my pictures to vibrant colors, but I think I prefer natural.

Strawberry plants

Bleeding Hearts, red and white

Early Vinca flower

Peony, not sure about the green one

Hyacinth, if I remember right


Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Virus Update, Blogday

Tested positive, not an actual count.
It's been a week and a half since I started showing symptoms, and when this posts it will be 5 days since all doubt was erased from my mind that this is what I have.  I'm writing this on Tuesday night to post tomorrow, on my 11th blogday.  Happy Blogday to me.  Yay.

I contacted my doctor's office first thing Monday morning and they got back to me later with advice.  Fluids, rest, continue to monitor my symptoms and go to the hospital if necessary.  I did let them know that my wife is caretaker to her elderly father and saw him on Wednesday, they advised the same; keep monitoring their health.  My wife shows no symptoms though she has been cooped up with me this whole time, and thankfully her father shows no symptoms as well.  Testing was not mentioned, and I believe I will not be tested unless I get worse and have to go to the hospital.  From what I hear, only those that go and health care workers are being tested, which means you can throw all the numbers you see right out the window.  Real counts of those infected are probably much, much higher.  And my wife is no longer seeing her father, there are others who can fill in for a couple weeks.

Second thing Monday, after messaging my doctor, I messaged those I work with.  I let them know I was ill and that I believed it was this virus, but since I had nothing else to do I intended to continue to work as normal.  I put in a full day's work Monday, even signing off for an hour to take a nap at one point, but that still turned out to be too much.  Tuesday morning I messaged those I work with again.  Except for one part of my job that no one else can do at the moment, I relinquished all my daily duties.  I let them know the day before was way too much for me and I needed a lot more rest.  They do seem to understand and wish me well, and I know they will shuffle things around a bit and manage without me.  I wound up working less than half a day Tuesday and got some good rest.

I'm still getting headaches though not quite as bad (and I'm taking Menstrual Pain Relief pills because that's all we have that has acetaminophen).  I'm not coughing quite as much, and while I'm still expectorating yellow/green sputum it does not seem to be as much as a few days ago.  Even the shortness of breath seems a little better, or maybe I'm getting used to it.  The fever spikes and malaise continue and my appetite is not good.  I have to make myself eat, and it isn't much.

So, overall, I'm in no worse shape than when I wrote about it the other day.  Thank you to everyone who sent their well-wishes and offers of assistance.  We're otherwise still in pretty good shape at the moment, thankfully.  I just need to get better, and I think that will just take time.

Make no bones about it, this is a nasty, nasty virus.  My only solace is that when I get over this I (hopefully) will be immune.

Stay safe, stay in, and stay well, everyone.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

What A Hoot!

I bought an owl.  A plastic, solar-powered owl to keep rabbits away, and maybe squirrels out of the garden.  Every few minutes, depending on the solar charge, it moves its head around.  Kinda creepy, at least I hope the rabbits think so, too.  Directions say to move it around the yard and only put it out when the pests are being destructive.  I think the main spot will be on the post for the old, pull-out clothesline, seen outside right above the owl here.

This is right after I unboxed it and place it in the porch for the sun.  The cats were alarmed at first, and after only a few minutes the owl moved its head, but they soon dismissed it.  Let's hope the rabbits are a lot dumber.

Virus update coming in the morning.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

I Have It

What's more, I believe I've had it for more than a week.  I've not been tested, but it would be an amazing coincidence to have an upper respiratory infection right now that checks off so many boxes that's not this virus.

Before I continue:  WARNING for the squeamish.  I may go into more detail than you'd like.

My first sign came a week ago Friday as I was enjoying my firepit.  I expectorated.  Not unusual for me, I often cough and have sinus issues more than the normal person.  Something I attribute to smoking cigarettes for close to 30 years.  But this time as I expelled it I was shocked at the bright yellow color.  Having felt something in it, I just dismissed it as perhaps a piece of food got down the wrong pipe and this was my body getting rid of it.  The next afternoon I noticed more of the same yellow color.  At this time I did not suspect anything related to this virus - yet.  Saturday night I had several drinks and woke Sunday to a terrible hangover, highly unusual and much more than one would expect for the amount I drank.  I had a terrible headache and, looking back, probably a fever.  I also think I was getting just a little shortness of breath, and my sputum became more yellow/green.  I was getting concerned, and shared this with my wife.

Over the course of the week my sputum seemed to return to a more normal color, but the shortness of breath continued to get a little worse day by day.  It's hard to say if I was really feeling normal otherwise or not as it was not a normal week.  Working from home had really thrown me off from what was normal and what was not.  But as the days passed my concern grew.

Two days ago, Friday, I again stayed up and had several drinks.  I woke up in the middle of the night in a coughing fit, and my wife awoke and noticed my fast, shallow breaths.  My alarm went off at 8 a.m. Saturday morning as I was going to go into the office to do a few things for work that cannot be done from home.  Again, I awoke in a fit of coughing and expectorating, this time it was a dirty, pale yellow/brown/gray.  Not the best description, but the best I can do.  I felt like I had been run over by a truck and my head ached terribly, I didn't even want to move it.  We also took my temperature this time and I had a fever of 100.8ºF.  I emailed my boss, telling him I would not be going into the office as I think I have it.

I spent most of the day in bed yesterday, alternately sleeping and watching TV, which is part of the reason I'm up so early today writing this.  I felt absolutely terrible.  I didn't want to move, everything hurt and I had no appetite whatsoever.  The shortness of breath has been the worst part.  Not too scary for me yet, and as long as I stay calm I can control it.  Most of the last several hours in bed I was awake enough to avoid the uncontrollable coughing fits by making myself expectorate when I felt it was coming.  And the feeling of malaise has continued.

That brings me to now, 5:30 in the morning on Sunday.  My head hurts and I feel generally terrible, but I had to get out of bed as laying down so much has just been killing my back and I don't need my back to go out on top of this.  Today will be very interesting to see how I feel and if I will even work come Monday.  I'm sure I'll have to answer a lot of questions for my work, and I do plan on contacting my doctor's office, but what more is there to do but ride it out?

Monday, March 30, 2020

Latest Listening Pleasure 36 - Poppy

Not normally what I listen to, but there hasn't really seemed to be a 'normal' for me in quite some time.  And that's really pretty good, actually.  Poppy's made the music news the last few months, which initially got my attention, and now I'm really liking her new album, I Disagree.  This is her third album, and while the first two are, well, pop-py, this album has a distinct heavier edge that still fits nicely with her character.

Poppy - I Disagree

Yes, Poppy is a character, her real name is Moriah Pereira.  As I understand it, she started making videos for YouTube and it just grew from there.  She makes very interesting and somewhat eccentric or odd videos, which is part of the appeal for me.  Her character is just off the wall cutesy, soft and odd.  The "Kids React" channel on YouTube has featured her several times and the kid's reactions to her are just priceless.  There's a playlist of those episodes here.

There's also been a lot of talk of her and her creative partner separating before this album.  That sounds like a messed up relationship, with him having a history of controlling and abusive behavior.  I won't go into it here, you can look it up if you like.  But it may explain a few things...

Poppy - Sit/Stay

And though her music videos can be elaborate I've watched a few concerts of hers from earlier this year before everything was cancelled and enjoyed the live show as well.  Enough so that if she did play in town here sometime I would definitely make an effort to be at that show.

Previous LLP Posts:
LLP 1 - Pain
LLP 2 - Nightwish
LLP 3 - Die Antwoord
LLP 4 - Pain part 2
LLP 5 - Andrew Bird LIVE
LLP 6 - Nightwish part 2
LLP 7 - Paramore
LLP 8 - Newsted
LLP 10 - Nightwish Imaginaerum Movie
LLP 11 - Kiss
LLP 12 - Rick Springfield
LLP 13 - Hyrax
LLP 14 - In This Moment
LLP 15 - Faster Pussycat LIVE
LLP 16 - Sebastian Bach
LLP 17 - Cradle Of Thorns
LLP 18 - Amaranthe
LLP 19 - Lindemann
LLP 20 - Halestorm
LLP 21 - Garbage LIVE
LLP 22 - Arcade
LLP 23 - Nightwish LIVE
LLP 24 - Ace Frehley
LLP 25 - Darkc3ll
LLP 26 - Dementia
LLP 27 - Rammstein
LLP 28 - Marilyn Manson LIVE
LLP 29 - The Harp Twins LIVE
LLP 30 - Diamante
LLP 31 - Steel Panther LIVE
LLP 32 - Scum Of The Earth
LLP 33 - Marty Friedman LIVE
LLP 34 - Buckethead LIVE
LLP 35 - Alice Cooper LIVE
LLP 36 - Poppy

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Spring Fire

Last night, before the rain came.  50ºF, overcast and perfect.  It had been a long time coming and was a nice couple of hours.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Local Updates, More

Madison is in Dane County
It's been over a week since I last posted and it's still going to get worse before it gets better.  Since that time, schools have closed, retail has closed, restaurants are carryout or delivery only and gatherings of over 10 people is barred.  Now, as of tomorrow, all non-essential businesses in the state are to be closed.  Still not sure if that would only leave grocery stores open or what else.  We're one step away from a stay-at-home order.

The good news is we were finally able to get a grocery order in on Thursday, for Saturday morning delivery, and the toilet paper actually came.  Truthfully, we were still probably a week away from being out, but it was on our minds due to all the hoarding.  We're pretty set for food, if need be.  With the full freezer we could probably eat for months, but that's normal for us.

I forgot one key thing I needed for Friday to work at home so I had to go into work.  Today I went in for a little more than an hour then came home and worked the rest of the day - and made sure not to forget anything this time.  This was the first time I worked from home.  Tomorrow I'll have to go in again at least for a little bit to get others up to speed in the change of our procedures due to everyone working at home and not being able to print or scan anything.  (This is due to the nature of the work, not printing or scanning capabilities from home.)  Like today, I hope to be there for only a little while but it may turn into a half or all day as I know there are some things that need to be done that can't be done at home.  The good news is it's even more of a ghost town at work so at least there's much fewer people to come into contact with.

That's the state of things now and, like I said, it's going to get worse before it gets better.  Screenshots are from the site everyone has likely seen by now, CSSE/JHU.

On a different subject, I considered a fire on Friday and again on Saturday evening.  Friday was too breezy and Saturday was pretty cold.  Plus, the grass has not started growing yet and even though we got an inch or so of rain since my last post the rabbit pellets in the back yard are intact.  I think my only hope is for the grass to grow and hide the pellets until they can break down.  I've been yearning for good weather and a good fire but I think I need to put that hope back on the shelf until it is actually a more realistic time.

Overall it was a pretty cold weekend with highs just over freezing, but the extended forecast looks much better, thankfully.  Last night it snowed some, so I woke early to a light dusting still showing on cars and in grassy areas.  It may officially be spring but, indeed, winter has not left the building.  And neither should you, if you can help it.  Stay well, everyone.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Pandemic Panic?

The sudden burst of evening sunlight that comes with daylight saving time has been nice.  The mornings are still dark when I get to work, and once there I'm too busy to note when the sun rises, even with plenty of windows in view.  In fact, I shouldn't say I don't notice because I remember noticing a few times this last week. It was the orange reflecting off the next building's windows.  If not for that glare, though, it's no matter to me.

The warmer temperatures have been very welcome lately.  Almost all the snow has melted so now we are in the time of dirty grays and browns, waiting for the green to burst forth.  While it was above freezing yesterday evening the breeze was a bit much to have a fire.  The dirty brown lawn was also still pretty soft for lawn chairs and still covered in rabbit poop.  We need a couple good rains to wash away the remnants of winter and encourage growth and greenness.

Everything seems to be just about on track this spring, so why not drop everything and panic?

Okay, maybe not everyone is panicking, but many people seem to be.  And I saw it come to a head on Thursday, when seemingly every sporting event, concert tour and other events were canceled.  I've heard the stories of hoarding toilet paper and other toiletries, empty shelves and limits on items, and now we're advised not to go out to eat or order food in.  I even heard a bunch of people were lined up outside a local grocery store this morning waiting for it to open.

Also on Thursday, everyone at work who had the capability of working from home was required to stay home.  A friend at work was going to fly to Texas soon for vacation, he was told if he did he would have to self-quarantine for two weeks when he got back before they'd let him come back to the office.  It was a little odd at work on Friday as only about half the people were there that would normally be in the office.  I'm not set up to work from home, and there's much of my job that I can't do from home, so it looks like I'll be going to work as normal.  It was certainly the topic of discussion on Friday, and many jokes were made, but I guess if you don't laugh you'll cry.  "Social distancing" was discussed, and while I normally wash my hands several times a day I found myself using a big bottle of hand sanitizer a whole lot more.  This huge bottle was bought for my 50th birthday party and sat in a closet for a while and has now been on my desk at work for a year.  I had to hide it now so it won't get stolen.  Seriously.

Locally speaking, we had only one case in the area several weeks ago until another one was confirmed about a week ago, and now I hear several more in the last week.  Sorry, I don't know many details as I tend to not watch a lot of news.  I seem to get a lot from hearsay, the newspaper a couple times a week, or my wife who is much better at keeping up on things than I.

How else has it changed our life?  Well, normally my wife and I like to go out for food and drinks on the weekend, but we will most likely stay in this time.  And any stops at the local bar and grill any time of the week may end for the time being.  Otherwise, not a whole lot.  I can be content at home, home is my favorite place to be anyway.  At least I don't work in the service industry - what will all those people do?  They don't have a choice but to mingle with the great unwashed and take their chances.

Stay in if you can, wash your hands and don't touch your face.  Not a whole lot else to do - but panic!

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Spring Poop, And More*

We're getting there!  It got up to 62ºF on Sunday, and this week is quite mild with only high temperatures in the 40's for the foreseeable forecast.  But that's above freezing and I'll take it!

The snow is slowly disappearing and while there's still time for more I'm hoping not.  The area around and in the firepit is melting away, fallen branches from neighbor Dave's trees have appeared on my woodpile, and there are starting to be signs of plant life.  Daffodils, one of the first plants we see each spring, are starting to come up in a couple areas.  Sunday evening we even got the grill out and had the first grilled hamburgers of the season.  This all spells spring to me, and I couldn't be happier about it.

Poop.  Everywhere.
Not poop.  Daffodils!
My only real issue at the moment is the rabbit poop.  I know I've complained about all the rabbits before, there don't seem to be any predators in the area so the rabbit population has seemingly exploded and they've been running amok for quite some time.  I could actually accept that, and keep them out of the garden and flowers, but the poop left behind after the snow melt is just unreal.  You can't take a step anywhere in the back yard without stepping on several of the little brown pellets.  Look close at the picture, each little brown dot is poop!

Thursday is the Spring Equinox here in Madison - 10:49 p.m. to be precise.  I'm hoping to have an equinox firepit on Friday night.  Sounds like as good an excuse as any, right?

*Update, 3/12.  I'm wrong!  The equinox is next Thursday, the 19th.  I've pointed myself to that moment for so long now I guess I want it sooner than later.  And windy conditions may halt firepit plans tomorrow night, unfortunately.  If we all even live until then.  COVID-19 post coming soon.  Maybe...

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Leap Day This-And-Thats

Happy Leap Day, if you celebrate such things.  Today, while sunny, has only just reached the freezing point.  There has been some snow and some melting since I last posted two weeks ago.  You can just see the upper row of blocks of the firepit in the back yard now.  Spring should be so close, yet is still so far away.  I won't go into it again because I did that in my last post.  Since then, I've felt I should write something yet there really hasn't seemed to be much to share, so you know what that means - time to start typing and see what comes out!

  • We ordered new phones from Amazon the other night.  I don't want to say much yet because it's a new brand to us, and my wife will get hers in about a week while I have to wait about a month.  If we don't like it then things might change.  What was shocking, was the same phone was $170 cheaper in a less attractive color.  My wife got the cheaper color, and I feel like I should have, too, but I spent the money for the vanity black one.  This will only be my third cell phone ever, and I had to spend the last several years with a white phone, so I spent the money for black even though I will have it in a case.  There may be more to come on this, or else no news is probably good news.
  • Last Saturday afternoon I was sorely tempted to trudge a path to the firepit, empty the snow, melt what was left inside with the garden torch, trudge a short path to the wood rack and then start a fire.  The temperature was about 40ºF, the wood was dry and I just miss being outside.  But I didn't, and I can blame laziness and sanity equally.
  • I'm almost afraid to mention it, but we've only had mandatory overtime once (a week ago) in the last several weeks now.  If you've been reading for a while, I'd been on mandatory overtime (as much as union rules allow my employer to mandate) for over a year and a half.  It is such a relief to only work 40 hours, only 8 hours a day.  I want a regular schedule again.  I want to sleep later again.  I want to not be tired all the time or just not have time again.  You know, I just want normal life back, but I'm still not at ease yet.
  • I'm very aware that I've not had a Latest Listening Pleasure post since Alice Cooper last summer.  I've not attended any shows nor have I heard anything that really, really grabbed me in quite a while.  Oh, there's been good albums and good videos that I've heard and seen and enjoyed since then, just nothing that I really dug enough to overflow my musical joy and spill over to share here.  I came close once, but while I enjoyed them there were things that annoyed me as well.  Highlight right of the arrow, if you want to know the band's name. >  New Years Day
  • There are two 1' by 2' boxes full of albums in my closet.  I do have a record player in the closet, too, but no place to set it up even if I thought I would actually play the records.  These are mostly the albums I grew up with, either bought new, traded with friends, or sought out and collected.  Most are from the 1980's, and I've not even seen them in years now.  I should sell them, but first I need to go through them.  I may not be able to part with them all, but I really should part with what I can.  It's just one of those things I know I should do but keep putting off.
That's enough brain spillage for one sitting.  I've not really taken a lot of nice pictures lately, but I took a look and here's some views from here at the desk from past pictures.  To everyone out there, it's just that time of year - I've not been very outgoing, social, or even healthy and happy yet, but Spring is coming, and it won't be a moment too soon!

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Firepit Deep

The snow is about firepit deep in the back yard.  It was a bit deeper, but for the normal settling and melting, and the dark metal firepit insert melted the snow above it just to show me where I could be having a fire, except for obvious reasons.

All in all, I can't really complain about our winter so far this year compared to how I know it can be.  Still, I'm starting to get a bit of cabin fever, even while the more sunlight/longer days makes me feel better.  I've talked about how the cold this winter really hasn't affected me much, as in not having to wear bulky winter gear while still being comfortable, or ever being outside long enough to get that cold, but I just don't get to be outside then.  And that gets old.

I'm tired of wearing socks and long pants.  Long sleeves and layers.  And laundry - there's so much more to do in winter.  I look forward to the times of shorts and flip-flops, grilling out and firepits, bike rides and open windows, summer and warmth!

For perspective, here's a similar picture from last May 31.  The maple tree seeds littered the lawn then, and the hostas weren't quite yet fully grown.

I know spring is near, but we've plenty of winter left for anything to happen.  It's still been a winter, and I'm starting to get pretty tired of it.  But that's normal, and that's okay.  I think it may actually make spring that much sweeter.  And may explain why we Wisconsinites wear sweatshirts and long pants at 50ºF in the fall and shorts and t-shirts at the same temp in the spring!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Alternate Side Snarking

This just happened.

We have alternate side parking in the winter.  This means that on odd number days you park on the odd side between 1 and 7 a.m., and vice versa on even number days.  This is designed for snow removal.

This afternoon, knowing the parking rules, my wife parked across the street in front of a neighbor's house - as everyone does, all the time.  This is not unusual, people.  Now, normally my wife doesn't happen to park in that particular spot but circumstances today made it so.  And a very nice parking job it is.

A few minutes ago, while my wife was out back for a smoke, the doorbell rang.  I answered, and it was the owner of the house in which my wife parked in front.

A little back story.  We seemed to like her when we met her, when she moved in not too long after we did.  Then we noticed, um, things.  Lets just say I call her "princess" when we talk about her.  She seems very entitled and we have many examples.  For one, she once asked me to get a motion light for my front door light because our light, and I quote from her text, "shines right in my window in my eyes."  Really?  There's more, but onward.

"Hi, I hope I didn't wake you up!"

Eh, I'm pretty beat so that's not a knock.

"I was hoping I could get my spot back?  I know it's not 'my' spot, but you leave so early in the morning that it wakes me up!  My bedroom's right there!"

Pointing to the areas in question as she goes.  And my wife leaves at a reasonable hour.

"I'm sorry to ask.  I'm asking nicely!"

Now this whole time as she's talking my only response is to say her name, 3 times total, while glancing down and shaking my head.  You know the tone I had, the 'I-can't-believe-what-I'm-hearing' tone.  I had to put a rather quick end to this nonsense.

Without using her name here, I said "Neighbor, it's time to start Adult-ing."  With that, I shut the glass door as she said something about that not being very nice.  And then I shut the front door.

What would you have done?

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Sick Musings and Funny Videos

It's been over a week since I posted that I had the flu and I'm still sick.  No longer the flu, but the upper respiratory stuff, while much better, continues.  I still have a bit of a rattle in my lungs when I cough and still going through tissues like they're going out of style.  Other that, I've just been trying to stay rested and hydrated.  I really hope this goes away soon.

I've been around the internet while sick but haven't chimed in or commented anywhere.  Ghosting, you could say, as I've been feeling miserable and my attitude has often matched.  Best not say much until I feel better, I think.  With that thought, this will be a short post.  In fact, I'm not sure what else to say right now.  Let me take a quick look to see if I have anything to share.

All I can find or think of at the moment are two YouTube channels I recently found and have been enjoying lots.  They've both been around for a while now, but they're new to me.

First, the Manitowoc Minute.  A comedian from Wisconsin makes fun videos about, well, Wisconsin things, usually.  I featured one of his videos in a post last month.  Always fun to laugh at yourself, I find.  His channel is here, his latest video is below.

Second is a channel I'm still discovering.  It's by an ex-pat Englishman living in the Midwest U.S., currently Chicago, called Lost In The Pond.  That channel is here, and his most recent video is below.  But for a real good laugh see the video I first found of him called '5 U.S. States With Way Colder Winters than Britain.'  You just know Wisconsin is on his list.  In fact, that will be the video below, from just about a week ago.

Fun stuff.  Good times.  Hope I feel better soon.