When last we left our intrepid heroine she was bravely surviving the Great Heat Wave and courageously conquering the Epic Computer Build of 2017. Let us back up in time, to Friday, the day before all the computer parts arrived.
I finally left the house despite the continuing heat wave. I had no choice, I had three images to be taken at Radiology Ltd. Let me say I have never encountered anyone who works there that was less than pleasant, friendly and competent. It is a very comfortable place to have images taken. And I scored a covered parking space. You have no idea what a difference shade makes when you climb into a car sitting out in temperatures well over 100°. (Or maybe you do and you realize what a big deal this is!)
First up, the pelvic ultrasound. I ignored the instructions to drink 40 ounces of water one hour before my appointment and thereby avoided the embarrassment of peeing all over myself and/or the technician. Instead I drank my normal amount of morning water and then right before I left the house I peed, drank 8 ounces of water and then sipped a few more ounces on the drive to the appointment. My bladder was full enough for imaging but not so full as to be painful. And as soon as we were done the technician took me straight to the restroom without being asked. Perfect!
Then she walked me over to have my hands x-rayed as I had time before my mammogram appointment. The hand x-rays took no time at all. Then I was escorted to mammography where I had a bit of a wait. Part of that was due to the scheduling and part due to the fact they were running a bit behind. It happens. I had my book and access to a bathroom (yes, of course I needed to pee again) so the wait wasn’t bad.
And the technician was good. And the room was warm. In the past I have had some very painful mammograms. My breasts are very dense so sometimes they feel the need to really crank down on the machine. This one did not do that for which I am very thankful.
And I walked out the door less than two hours later thinking, gee that wasn’t bad at all!
But wait…the day got even better. After the imaging I had arranged to drop my car off at Jack Furrier up the street from my house. For months and months (okay, more than a year) I have had a shimmy in the steering wheel between 50-55 mph. I diagnosed the wheels needed balancing and maybe I was missing a wheel weight. When I went to pick the car up I was told the problem was actually a leaking valve stem in the left front tire. Now I knew the tire had developed a slow leak and we kept putting air in it but I had kind of forgotten that. Well, they fixed the valve stem, re-inflated the tire and that solved the shimmy problem. AND THEY DIDN’T CHARGE ME FOR IT! Not a dime. Thank you Jack Furrier.
So a day I had been dreading turned out to be not only not so bad, but kind of good. Life is funny like that.
I love it when a good idea turns out to be… a good idea.
Since the beginning of the year my 9 year old son and I have been talking about building a gaming pc. My son is into all things computer and I thought it would be a really good experience to learn more about the hardware side of things. I told him we could build one over summer vacation. I said this despite having no idea how to build a computer. NOT A CLUE.
I spent a few days earlier in the year researching parts and found a great website where you pick your price range and you are provided a list of parts. Easy-peasy. No doubts about things being compatible or missing cables or fitting inside the tower. I bookmarked the website and moved on with my life.
My son kept talking this and that about different requirements and I smiled and nodded and life was good. And then the end of school neared. Luckily we were going on vacation the day after school let out. I assured my son we would order the parts after we returned home and had a few days to get sorted out.
And the day came when I could no longer put off “The Epic Computer Build”. I showed my son the website and heard the shriek of “that is not building your own computer!” Really? Don’t we have to actually assemble all these pieces? Isn’t that building your own computer? Apparently not.
So he made me a list of parts and I made a list from the website and we went through it item by item. And we made choices from both lists. We looked at cost and capabilities and looks. We discussed pros and cons and tried to figure out if things were compatible the best we could. We worked together. And we placed our order.
And then somehow I managed to not think about the computer assembling process AT ALL. And before I knew it I had a big box of computer parts and one very excited child. The parts came on a Saturday afternoon and my son was going to a baseball game with his father bringing me another day’s reprieve.
And darned if I didn’t climb into bed that night and realize I still had no idea how to even begin assembling a computer! So I climbed out of bed and looked at a few websites and watched a couple of YouTube videos and came up with a plan.
Honestly I expected “The Epic Computer Build” to take at least a week. The start of Day 2 had us putting in the final component (the Optical Drive) and checking the cabling one last time. We plugged it in…and nothing. And we were not surprised. Two people who have no clue as to what they are doing do not expect success on the first try. There was no clear directions about connecting everything together so I had let my son do most of it. Now what?
So we unplugged and opened the tower and thought about it. One of the videos I watched talked about the cables for the power switch and LED lights and how it was easy to screw them up. So I unplugged them and started over. I examined the diagram in the motherboard manual closely and re-connected. And it seemed different than the first time.
Once again we plugged it in…and the sweet joy of success! Until we realized we had no wifi. What? I thought all motherboards had built in wifi but apparently most don’t. So day 3 we went to the computer store and bought a PCI-E wifi card and installed it with nary a cuss word. And while we were in there we also figured out why we didn’t have any sound and fixed that too.
Yup, less than 3 days to build a computer from the ground up. My son and I keep looking at each other with big we did it grins. We have really bonded over this achievement and I think we have each developed a bit more respect for the other’s capabilities. And I have been reminded that I can do anything I really want to do, especially if I want to do it with someone I love.
So today the computer usage limits have been suspended and we are having ice cream to celebrate.
P.S. Want to know the hardest thing about assembling a computer? Teeny tiny screws in teeny tiny places. Seriously.
With all the rain and tropical systems and storms you may not realize it but we are having weather in the southwest too.
It is no secret that I am not a fan of living in the southwest but I have been trying to make the best of things. This week I was a bit dubious of the crazy hot temperatures forecasted but it turns out crazy hot was the correct forecast. And then I had one of my mini-epiphanies: this is extreme weather. This is my blizzard or hurricane!
So I acted accordingly. I made sure we were well supplied with toilet paper and popsicles. I made a rough plan for my son and I. We would each have the morning to do our own things. Computer time for him, laundry, housework and blogging for me. After lunch we would do some sort of cleaning project, work on a puzzle, play games, watch movies. We would hunker down and wait out the storm, er hot air.
Whadda you know, the forecasters were right! We topped out at 114° between 3:30 and 5:00pm
On Monday I swam from 8:00am to 8:45am taking advantage of the still shaded pool. I had all the laundry on the line by 9:00am and in the house by 11:15am. At 11:15 it was already over 100°! It was time to hunker down.
After lunch my son and I completed our project for the day, sorting out his bookshelf. We came up with 3 bags to take to Bookman’s next week after this spell of ferocious weather passes. Then we worked on this puzzle:
Followed by watching what has to be one of the worst sea creature movies ever, “The Creature From the Haunted Sea“. The creature had ping pong balls for eyes and regular swim flippers for feet. The plot line suited such a bad creature. The movies most redeeming feature was the fact that it was just over an hour long. Whew. Maybe it would have helped if I knew it was supposed to be both a comedy and a thriller? (Probably not.)
Then we put together dinner. I decided that in the event of extreme weather (as long as one has power) comfort food is called for. We went with meatloaf, mashed potatoes and broccoli.
And then the pool beckoned for my son and his neighbor friends. And after the neighbor kids left I got in the pool and paddled around watching the day end.
Day 2: The Summer Solstice
Pretty much a repeat of Day 1 but with clouds. Odd clouds. It never felt like rain and it is unusual to have clouds in the morning. During the summer you may see a few puffy white clouds floating around in the morning but monsoon rain clouds don’t roll in until late afternoon or evening.
But today we had flat whitish gray clouds pretty much covering the whole sky most of the day. But it didn’t affect the heat, still 102° at 11:00am when I brought in the laundry. We topped out again at 114°, but by 4:00pm it felt like storms might be edging in. The air went from dead calm to breezy and the temperature plummeted to 110°!
I am probably one of few people in North America who is celebrating that the days will now be getting shorter. Less sunshine, yeah! To celebrate I decided ice cream sundaes for dinner and to make them extra special I baked a pan of brownies. For dessert we had leftover pizza.
Then we waited for the winds to die down a bit, peering anxiously out the windows to evaluate the clouds and look for rain or lightening. We didn’t see either so then we took our traditional Summer Solstice night swim. When we exited the pool at 8:45pm (full dark here, no gloaming time in the southwest) it was 100° and we could see stars.
Day 3: Officially Summer
9:00am: pool temperature 92°, air temperature 98°
Found in the bottom of the pool:
Seen above the pool: seven F-16’s from the Air National Guard unit. Obviously trying to get the day’s training sorties in early. (Sorry I didn’t get a picture but I was, you know, in the pool.)
Noon: Air temperature, 109.5°. Despite the morning and evening excursions outside to the pool I was starting to feel a bit cabin feverish. And I really wanted a bagel. Did I dare make a run to the grocery store down the street? I dared.
Hey, what were all these people doing out and about? Didn’t they know they were supposed to be hunkered down? I hoped they all weren’t craving bagels too! Whew, scored one sesame seed and one blueberry bagel. Home safe again.
2:00pm: Movie of the day: “The Karate Kid”. How awesome and totally 80’s! My son, “This is just like ‘Rocky’ “. Good catch son!
5:00pm: Games played: Kerplunk and three months of Payday.
6:00pm: For dinner I decided on brats and corn on the cob cooked on the grill. Air temperature had dropped to 104° with monsoon looking clouds and wind. That is okay because my husband does all the grilling. I stayed inside and set the table.
Day Four: The Last Day
Sure there are three more days of pretty darn hot still ahead but who am I kidding? That is how the whole summer is. But this is the last day of our heat wave saga.
8:00am: air temperature 91°, water temperature 92°. I drag myself into the pool and do a few low energy laps. I need a break.
listening to the cicadas play their ode to heat
birds exchanging morning gossip.
High above F-16’s roar west
eager to escape the rising sun.
2:00pm: Movie of the day: “Young Frankenstein” . I laughed a lot and small child frequently looked puzzled, especially at the end. You’ll get it when you’re older kid.
4:30pm: Looks like we are topping out at a windy (but no clouds) 108° today. The Heat Wave is over! To show solidarity with my southeast rain soaked brethren I have decided to make coconut shrimp (Trader Joe’s), oven fries and cole slaw for dinner. We really need key lime pie for dessert. Do I dare venture out? Nah, I’ll enjoy my last hours of hunkering down!
There you have it, how I survived ‘The Great Heat Wave of 2017″!!!
As the phlebotomist stuck a needle in me for the third time I found myself wondering who said the famous adage: “You can’t get blood from a turnip”. (I could not find a definitive answer but maybe it’s from the bible.) And the third time was not the charm for the blood draw and thus ended a very long doctor visit.
And how did the visit start? With me being asked to sign a form stating that since this was an “annual checkup or wellness visit” the following may not be covered: referrals, new prescriptions, changes to current prescriptions, blah blah blah. Um, what exactly was covered then? Does this mean you can only get an annual check up if you are healthy? The receptionist was stumped when I asked the question. Apparently everyone just signs the form and hands it back, I was the first to actually read it. I pointed out the word may and let her off the hook. I have to trust the billing department knows all the right codes to put in.
Happily I love my doctor. She really listens and we went through my whole list of concerns. We talked some about menopause. What I thought were typical crazy menopausal periods may be something more. We discussed the joint pain in my hands and while I was thinking carpal tunnel she is leaning towards rheumatoid arthritis. So on Friday I am getting my mammogram, x-rays of my hands and a pelvic ultrasound. And I have to go back and try to get my blood drawn again to check for hormone levels that would indicate impending menopause. This time making sure I am well hydrated.
But guess what? I don’t need a colonoscopy! I do need to uh, mail some poop off and while that seems rather ew it is way better than getting knocked out and having something inserted where the sun doesn’t shine.
Now the long wait until Friday and hopefully some answers….to be continued.
(Random Yosemite photo above, chosen for it’s soothing nature!)
I was supposed to be attending a three hour photography course this morning but upon arrival found my other two classmates standing outside the door. After waiting 15 or 20 minutes we gave up on the instructor and went our separate ways. Apparently the class was cancelled due to problems with the a/c and the instructor drafted an e-mail but forgot to send it. These kids and their technology issues. 🙂
Since I now had a few free hours and I was so close to the mall I decided to go shopping. This is very rare for me. Typically I dislike the mall and I am not really a fan of clothes shopping but I had a specific goal. I have two ancient t-shirts, one orange and one red that really needed to be replaced. Of course I have a ton of other shirts but I needed a solid red and a solid orange.
I have read a bit about capsule wardrobes and decision fatigue but honestly I am just not interested in wearing a “uniform” (21 years in the military will cure you of that) or only having seven or thirty-three or whatever number pieces of clothing. I seldom have a problem deciding what to wear and I wear everything in my closet at some point in a given 365 day period.
That being said now that I am in my fifties (gasp!) I think my casual bordering on slob look could use some updating. I have many older items that I wear but that honestly I don’t love. I have done a pretty good job over the last couple of years of purging items that didn’t fit or were badly worn but there was still some purging room in the ‘but does it make me feel good’ area.
And here is where the “Good Witch” comes into it. Catherine Bell plays Cassie Nightingale. I have been watching season three currently on the Hallmark Channel and catching up on seasons one and two on Netflix. Catherine Bell is only 2 years younger than me so she is the right age to look to for fashion ideas. And I love how serene and unflappable “Cassie” always is. And then I realized how much I like how Cassie dresses (aside from those high heels!). She often wears casual shirts with jeans or skinny pants. Shirts that look comfortable, not too tight and a step up from a plain t-shirt. So I had my shopping inspiration!
I arrived home with four new summer tops, one winter shirt (from a clearance rack) and a lightweight cardigan. Once home I went through my summer t-shirts and pulled nine that I didn’t love. For now they are in a bag in my closet and if at the end of the summer I haven’t missed them, out the door they go!
And then there are the shoes. I will always be a sneaker wearing kind of girl. For years I had a pair of pale yellow LL Bean canvas sneakers. I loved those shoes and wore them out. I finally got rid of them last year and I have been pining for a pair of yellow sneakers ever since. And this is what I bought today:
How cool are these!!!!
So what do you think? Age appropriate? Casual yet stylish? (I am talking about the clothes, no matter what you say about the shoes I looooove them!)
Here in the United States today is Flag Day. Thank you Betsy Ross!
Sadly a walk around the block revealed we are the only house flying our flag today:
I am going to go out on a limb and say we are also the only house where peanut butter cookies were baked and decorated with red, white and blue sprinkles. “The colors red, white, and blue did not have meanings for The Stars and Stripes when it was adopted in 1777.” I read somewhere that Betsy Ross just used whatever scraps of fabric she had lying around.
And I may be the only person wearing a flag shirt at my doctor’s appointment this afternoon:
And for dinner we are having Patriot’s Day pancakes from Katherine Hall Page’s book “The Body in the Bog”. All red, white and blue all day today, despite the fact that flag colors weren’t really planned out!
I have a solid four to six weeks of nothing but sun and heat ahead of me. I know there are people who would love that. Not me. I am a four seasons girl and I love all types of weather. It is hard to truly enjoy sunshine if you never get any rain. This is what I have to look forward to:
HIGH / LOW
NW 10 mph
NNW 10 mph
NW 11 mph
WNW 11 mph
WNW 10 mph
NW 10 mph
NNE 9 mph
NNW 12 mph
NNW 13 mph
NW 13 mph
NW 13 mph
N 12 mph
W 11 mph
W 13 mph
WSW 12 mph
Those are Fahrenheit temperatures, for all my Celsius friends just trust me, it is going to be hot!
(In all fairness I believe this is a bit extreme even for us. I would also like to add that once you get over 104° or 105° all that hot feels the same to me.)
I miss watching the Weather Channel. Oh, I still check in from time to time but I no longer have a need to watch it. Even when the monsoons start there is no way to accurately predict when they are actually going to hit your neighborhood until maybe ten minutes before they do and by then you have figured it out yourself. Tucson and Pima County are too large and sprawled to get any accurate information for somewhere as specific as my house. I find watching the Weather Channel just makes me homesick or roll my eyes a lot. Really, 90° is a heat wave? Ha! That’s a cool down for us. Plus the southwest is seldom on the weather channel until after we get weather. Not enough population and too unpredictable. Once Jim Cantore was across the street from me at Sabino Canyon Rec Area reporting on all this monsoonal rain we were supposed to get. Not a drop fell here in the foothills! It all fell to the south which is pretty typical.
For those in more well rounded climates think of this as my version of mid-January, weeks of horrid weather staring me in the face. But up North one usually catches a break for a day or two. Snow can be fun and with the cold I can enjoy curling up next to the fire with hot cocoa and a book. There is nothing fun about the heat. But I am trying my best to endure. (I have yet to find a bright side to summers here so endure with grace is the best I can do.)
My attempts to make the best of things include swimming early in the morning and late in the day to avoid the worst of the heat and sun. (I could not believe it either the first time I said “It’s too hot to swim right now.”) My son and I took advantage of today’s “cooler” temperature to stock up on ice cream and popsicles. I have a stack of library books and many options DVR’d. All of our ceiling fans work. As of right now I have nothing on the calendar that will force me to leave the air-conditioned comfort of home next week. That is the best I can do.
We are back from our two week vacation to California. The remaining weeks of unencumbered summer stretch before us. I love not having to set the alarm, love the idea of stay at home and hide from the heat days. Lovin’ the 90° pool water.
But I am sick to death of parenting. I can not say “please brush your teeth” one more time. Six plus years of saying it multiple times a day is enough.
So I am taking the summer off from parenting (except in the event of true danger of course). No more teeth brushing reminders (the cost of any cavities will come out of his college fund). Snack away my son because I am not doing much for dinner these days anyway. Okay, don’t shower or comb your hair, the only place we are going is in the pool anyway. Yes you need to be in bed by 9:00p at the latest but you can stay up and read as long as you want.
And while I know the answer will not always be yes at least now I am offering alternatives: “No”, we cannot go to the park at 11:00a.m when it is already 100°, how about going in the pool instead?
Because my son would happily play on the computer 12 hours a day we sat down together and wrote some agreed upon guidelines which I printed out and placed next to the computer.
GUIDELINES FOR COMPUTER USE
No more than 4 hours per day. (Be honest!)
Only use the computer when time is available. Don’t forget to:
Play with friends
Play with your other toys. (Legos, cars etc)
Do chores and errands
Go places and do fun things
No computer use after 6:00p.m.
Stop using the computer when you feel cranky or frustrated. (Or when Mom says enough!)
Do different things on the computer. Don’t play Roblox or Minecraft for 4 straight hours!
Remember that using the computer is a WANT not a NEED.
***NOT FOLLOWING COMPUTER GUIDELINES WILL RESULT IN A 24 HOUR LOSS OF COMPUTER PRIVILEGES!!***
Personally I would prefer a 2 hour limit per day but I am trying to be flexible and open minded. (I am also secretly hoping that after a week or two he will get kind of sick of the computer and move on to other things.) The great thing about this list is there is no arguing or discussion. I merely say a number and he gets it. Yesterday for the first time I did not remind him of rule #3. At 6:30p.m. his father reminded him because he needed to use the computer. At first my son tried to argue about the consequences and I simply said if you don’t want to follow the agreed upon rules then we eliminate any computer use for the rest of the summer. Hardcore and Easy-Peasy at the same time. Guess who spent three hours in the pool today, read a book and finished building the Lego set he got for a good report card? Guess which mother and son are both perfectly happy?