Story 26Jan2022: Susie and Fence

I sleep, waking a few times, until 8ish. I will be late this morning. I rush the writing and have to revise it more–you can’t rush writing. Breakfast and the morning tasks are rushed but completed. My ears are still snapping, and my hearing changes as my right ear fills and unfills. But it seems better.

I reached Forest Grove Rehab and Care Center at 3900 Pacific Highway, Room 44A at 11ish. Susie is sleepy but wakes up for me. I found her tiger on a shelf while she sleeps and put it back with her and her dog.

Susie is trying to talk more, but she tires fast and falls to sleep when trying to do anything. Part of the process, I am afraid, but sometimes it is heartbreaking for me. Susie tries to speak more, but her mouth seems not to work for her.

We call her mother to chat on FaceTime, and they have a long chat. Again, Susie can get the words out, but she is trying more, and some are clear.

Later in the day, I get a call from the hospice nurse that there is an issue, and they are working to have Susie’s mouth cleaned more often. I will also try to get some thickened water and feed that to her when I wake her. Usually, a little ice also helps in the water.

Returning to the story, we do some music videos, including the YMCA, and Susie’s hands move a bit–I do the arm movements, mostly getting them right. She sings along with 80s dance music from David Bowie and Mick Jagger, and I slide in some Anne Lenox too. We try Meatloaf, remembering we just lost him, but his videos are not really for singing along.

Note: I am beginning to think I should be a Cruise Director for 55+ folks. “YMCA,” “Let’s Dance,” and other 80s get-up and boogie music are my goto’s to start the day. Followed by my writing classes and my advanced Python class for the genuinely introverted. The evening is game night, including my painted (now) vintage Doctor Who Risk. This night closed by exploring coffee and rum-based drinks with flaming drinks are optional but recommended. Optional discounted coloscopies are available for those who keep putting them off, of course, with prep-flavors being rum, whiskey, beer, and unflavored for those who believe “what does not kill you makes you stronger.”

Returning to the story–daydreaming over…

Susie is sleepy, and I wish her goodbye with a kiss on her forehead (practicing for when I am on chemo as Susie certainly needs no exposure to more chemo).

I drive home and almost finish the KFC using the microwave to reheat it. As usual, I am watching YouTube stuff while eating. More new stuff from Nerd of the Rings on Tolkein, and I also slip over to The Broken Sword channel for even more stuff. Hobbits are covered by both in the last few weeks.

Today is a clean-up day. I need to get a few things done. I seal up the box to return the non-charging electric razor. I also pick out a lot of Susie’s clothing to send to Kat and Natasha Smith in New York City. Susie and I agreed to send some apparel that used to fit Susie or has been sitting around a long time to the Smith girls to see if they can use it (Susie’s previous figure is a close match to Kat, and some might fit the taller Natasha). If they cannot use some or all, they can use it as a credit at a legacy clothing store or donate them. I watched Disney’s Cruella a few times, and this is my reaction if you like to fashion sense reawaking.

Next is the fence. When we removed the dying trees on the back of the property line two years ago (just before the pandemic), an old and failing wooden fence was now visible. It is actually a bit charming as it still standing, graying, and uses metal fence poles that look new (zinc covering works well in the Pacific Northwest rain). But, one section has broken and is leaning and will soon expose the backyards.

I bought a few days ago a new wooden 1.5×1.5xlong to fit below the failed 2×4. I did not know then that 2×4 are actually 1.5×3, and thus the broken and rotten board is a cheap old 2×4. Being me, I thought 2×4 were actually what the specs said they were.

So I carry out the tools to the fence, drill, saw horses (nice plastic ones that are strong and light and fold-up–recommended!), new lumber, and some old wood that is only an inch thick I used to repair the garage years ago. I have 2″ and 1 5/8″ screws. I also found my cross-cut hand saw (what we called them in woodworking class in the 1970s and 1980s). I spray it with WD-40 lubricant and bring it out. I fit the splint under the rotten cross board. The old fence is nailed together (no screws), so it is very old.

I use the hand saw to cut the lumber to fit. It works but is slower than I like, and I decide I should look for a higher quality saw if I am going to use manual saws. It cut thinner wood with ease, but it may be getting dull from lack of use, or maybe I am.

Note: Later, I did order a new German-made saw. More on that when it appears.

I use my metal strips to attach the splint under the failing wood. The rot makes this unlikely to be successful. Lucky for me, the failing wood, rotted and broken, was a very cheap piece of pine with plenty of knots. These are still solid as they are full of pine resin and strong. I attach all my strips, stainless steel, to the many knots.

I then use the remains of the new board to splint the one board from the fence that has fallen. I am not going into my neighbor’s yard to fix his/her/their fence. I manage to get the board back in place. I use the 2″ nails that are just long enough to penetrate the boards on the other side and lock them in better. I used more screws to attach the new splint board to the bottom of the rotted board. I have to pull the fence back as it is bowed-out where the mainboard broke. I managed to pull it all to the splint. It will like hold until a nasty storm takes out the fence altogether, but the metal polls, a strange extravagance nowadays, will likely last until the big-one hits.

I finished and put back all the tools, the wood I did not need (thinking at first I would need a cross brace); it takes three trips. I then wash all the mud off my Air Force Ones that I forgot I was still wearing. I should have used my old pair. But, unfortunately, the perfect white that collectors love is now gone.

I then take the packages to UPS to get the clothing and failed electric razor on to their next journey.

Scott Aeschliman buys dinner for us at the house from GrubHub via Meal Train. Scott is from the Nike Core ERP group, my group, and is a specialist in extracting and conforming data for reporting and other uses, both inbound and outbound. I have known him for years, and we have worked more holidays and weekends together (data is hard work) than we should ever admit. Scott now faces a new world of streaming data which seems to have all the same problems we have already solved using legacy tools (again, data is hard work).

I watch part of the American NPR Newshour. I missed the BBC News, and I have a lamb gyro from Gyro House while watching; thanks, Scott!

I managed to read and sleep in the evening; the workout with the saw and the shoe cleaning was enough exercise to help me sleep. I nearing forgot to treat my ears and was up to almost midnight. Sleep comes easily today. Some things are done, and that helps, less to worry about.


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