Wednesday, October 10, 2012

3 Months and change

Get it? 3 months and change. Change as in 3 months and a few days but also 3 months of change. Ha ha ha I crack my self up sometimes. (slap on the back) Chortle chortle chortle.

This last couple of weeks, for the fans who have been following right along, have been yet again 'quite a ride'.
The post I put up yesterday (or tomorrow; not finished as I write this, I keep having to restart it) had me looking at woman kind from some new and some old perspectives. Over and over, as is the way my mind works. I don't know if any of my conclusions are worth a damn but it is better than obsessing on the decline of the newspaper business as is the usual.

Speaking of my small business. I was raised in the proud tradition of Scottish frugality. Aka I'm a cheapskate.  Even if I had lots of money or a big income I doubt much would change in the way I approach my personal spending (nicer car and the house would have a new roof of course). I point this out because I tend to expound on my shortage of cash in this blog a bit more than is necessary. The dramatic effect makes for a fun tention in this writing. Since I have gotten so good at being cheap over the years, even though the money I make selling and delivering newspapers is much less than it was in say 2009, I live pretty much the same way. With two main differences. The county, for the time being at least, has got my health care covered. From November of 05 till October of 2010 I could afford to have a guy fill in for me 2 mornings a week. Now I work 7 days a week. I'd like to have days off but what the hell would I do? Until I figure out a way to have a social life that includes out of town trips working 7 days is fine.

What brought this to mind was the cluster of expenses that had me very stressed last week.

The dentist filled a tooth to see if it would become stable enough without root canal and a crown. The one on the top on my right next to the missing one is in danger of the same thing. She also wants to re-crown about 6 others. This is when I told her that I was not a fan of crowns since after a while you just have to pull them anyway. At this point I have to get dentures anyway so I say extractions are $95 whereas crowns are $500 each, let's go with extractions. She convinced me that root/crown the top right one for the sake of appearance would be best if filling it failed to stop the decay. After all the cavities are filled and that one possible root/crown the denturing process begins. $$$

For the past year or so my favorite audio books have been what they call the fantasy genre. My favorite of these has been The Dresden Files novels.. Stories about a contemporary wizard that works as a detective in Chicago. Great fun. One of the quirks of magic in Dresden's universe is that post WWII technology messes up anytime he or other magic folk get near. I am considering that it may be possible to contract this particular cosmic dysfunction back here in the non-magical world. Maybe contact with the books is to blame. Afterall magic might be a real thing. Every time I go to one of the art events in town I see fairies. ;-) My gadgets especially the electronic ones have been acting weird and screwing up for no apparent reason. When the new iMacs are available I am ready. I've been approved for 0% interest at the Apple Store. The old one has been on it's last legs for quite a while. Crashes are becoming more frequent, fingers crossed that the last crash happen after the new one gets here. Even with 0% it's still a $$$ proposition.

Unfortunately even new gadgets are not immune. My car has taken to locking the doors on it's own with the keys inside. Luckily the windows have been down. Just today winter started so the windows won't be down so often. Time to hide-a-key an extra key.  I decided on the Scion xD because Scion is a division of Toyota. The xD is like the Toyota Yaris in  most ways but is a bit more stylish. Only 2 or 3 of the current econo-bubble cars look like the xD. I bought it new so that my expenses would be stable and predictable for 12 to 18 months (60 months of payments). Notoriously when you buy a new car the set of tires it comes with are the lowest quality they can get away with using. Just good enough to get you off the lot. 20,000 miles is about as far as I have gotten in the past. At 19,000 I got a slow leak in a tire that registered on the low tire idiot light one the dash. I tried putting air into all the tires because they all looked fine. Still the light was on. Just as it was my turn to load the Friday paper one of the other guys noticed my right rear tire was very low. After loading I limped over to a gas station for air. By the time I got to my farthest drop at the state prison it was time for the donut tire. (I put on the spare) Next day at the dealer I was told that the tire couldn't be fixed safely and that I really need 2 tires. The flat one had a rip in the sidewall and one other had "bulging". "We have 2 and only 2 in your size, sign here" the invoice said $397 for 2 tires. WTF? Small cars have small tires. It's an economy car for chrissake!
After driving to half a dozen tire shops I figured out that the xD's "a bit more stylish" means a non standard tire size. I finally found a shop that offered tires in that size as low as $57 each (plus mount, balance etc, no warranty) I settled on two for $294 out the door. They include up to 80,000 miles and an all inclusive warranty). I had to do the Saturday run on the donut tire no spare and one tire with a "bulge". Finally on Saturday afternoon I got my stable and predictable for 12 to 18 months 2 of 4 tires. I expect the other 2 to go at any time.

Just to make things a little more stressful my time at the tire shop made me too late for my haircut that day. I had been waiting a week and a half to get in with my hair gal. I really have been enjoying wearing my hair longer. It is not easy to find someone who has a feel for the way I like it cut and doesn't try to slip in something more contemporary. Besides Beauty on the Bluffs has just a too cool name ans it 3 blocks from my house. Crap, I am going to have to pay for the missed appt then hope she has a time for me later.

It's not all bad and/or frustrating.
A really good thing happened this week.

14 months later KMC finally came through with a new biPAP machine to replace my ineffective CPAP machine. How this all came about is another clusterfuck story about how Kaiser is all about profiting and not about cures. I'm out of rant for today so on to the good part. I had been getting less and less actual restful sleep in the last few years. I thought the CPAP machine was fine. Too many mornings I'd wake up with the mask pulled up past my nose and mouth or off completely. Or I would just not be able to make myself put it on before sleeping. This meant no Deep or REM sleep for weeks at a time.
The new machine is a whole new world for me. So far.
Already my brain is beginning to recover. Years of low oxygen has added to the confusion and fatigue of no REM. Some damage may not be reversible but it has only been a few days.
I can feel my cognitive abilities getting deeper and clearer.
My senses are reporting more detail. I didn't have to get all the way into the kitchen to detect dog pee on the floor yesterday.
For most of the last 30 years I can't remember a time when any type of activity was preferable to a nice lie down. Several times so far when I would have ordinarily found a reason to sit or lie down I found myself doing other things. Enjoying cleaning the kitchen, changing sheets and other housework before would only happen after several cups of coffee.
In recent years I could tell that I had had real sleep because on those days my libido would kick in. The past few days I keep sensing something from down below my belly. It kind of sounds like "What is the Poon Tang you speak of?"
Best of all, well maybe the libido thing is best, anyway, I think my sense of humor is coming back. Humor and cracking wise has been such a big part of my life since I was a kid that I can do it out of reflex when needed. Like when in front of an audience. Teasing and giving someone a hard time is just a pattern once you learn it. What I have missed so much is the humor that comes from deep inside me. My sense of the absurd coming to the top of it's own accord. Often dry as toast.

It's way too early to tell for sure. With everything else I have been extra absent minded and light headed with a kind of dizziness. Let's hope it is just some adjusting going on. I really really hope all this good stuff is really happening and I am not just fooling myself. It would be nice to live a life again.

Today's weigh in 326.5
down 1 since last time
down 27.2 since June.

I have no explanation, I had expected more loss. I have been eating less in general and virtually no sweets or other carbs. I started going to Physical Therapy for my butt pain so am getting a little exercise. More than before. I have taken to meal replacement shakes because they are convenient and I feel full for hours. I still don't have hunger pangs but as I become more generally alert I find myself seeking out food for boredom eating. I've gotten all serious junk food out of the house but extra bites of real food aren't good either. The "shakes" I got at Costco are the right price but contain fructose and other carbs that are not good for my purposes. After some research I found that while whey protein is the most popular basis for shakes used by dieters and bodybuilders it is not cheap. Soy protein is also popular but has problems of it's own. The other main sources of protein used in shakes are eggs, almonds, peas, a few others and Hemp seeds. Hemp seeds as it turns out are one of the highest in protein and includes an impressive array of vitamins and amino acids and are low in carbs. Evidently you could live on these seeds alone if you had to. What I like is that even though the powder cost $13 a pound plus shipping the unhulled seeds cost just $2.99 a pound and are higher in fiber than the hulled seeds. When the shipment arrives testing begins. Coffee grinder to pulverize the seeds is at the ready. Lower carb not artificial sweeteners are ready to be tested as well.

My first 2 goals in dieting were to get back down to the weight I have been for the last 20 years or so. I did that. The next goal I knew would be harder, to get down under 300. Each week I'll need to increase efforts till the next 5 or so go. That should get the ball rolling. The physical therapist has been very helpful. I should be back at the regular gym soon.