musings


Dual-bevel sliding miter saw

Yeah, baby!

Ever since we borrowed a miter saw to build our deck a couple years ago, I have been quietly pining away for one. Specifically a Makita LS1013 dual-bevel slider. It can cross-cut a 4×12, weighs only 46 pounds so one could conceive of it as “portable”, and is legendary for its accuracy and smooth action. It’s a really nice saw. It also costs at least $500, which is far more than I could imagine spending on a single tool.

Well, Makita decided to retire the LS1013 and replace it with a new model. I discovered this on a routine shopping trip to the Home Depot, where I saw they had been marked down to $299. They had an open box left, and the display model. I thought, “Gee, it’s almost affordable, but still more money than I have. And it’s big, so where would I put it?” I let it go. (more…)

Homemade teardrop trailers

Homemade teardrop trailers

Stayed up late last night to feed Ian and stumbled upon something that has captured my imagination: do-it-yourself teardrop camping trailers! They are just so cool, they’re better than Tumbleweeds!

So I am presently addicted to browsing forums, personal construction odysseys, and photo galleries of how ordinary folks built their own replicas of 1930s and 1940s miniature travel trailers. Oh, and you can camp with them, too!

Last week was rather eventful. There were three major crises, one after another.

Crisis #1: Baby Ian has been in and out of doctors’ offices while we try to diagnose his tummy issues. He has been in a lot of discomfort and pain. We think we’ve figured it out, though, that it’s severe acid reflux. So the doctors have prescribed a variety of medications to help keep things flowing smoothly and relatively painlessly.

Crisis #2: Just as we were beginning to resolve Ian’s medical problems, Wifey got the call for her outpatient surgery. So she went in on Friday. It went well and she’s doing fine now, but the timing wasn’t ideal. We had arranged respite care for Ian but our respite provider came down with the flu, so I had to pick him up before mommy’s recovery was over.

Crisis #3: As we were heading out the door Saturday morning for another of Ian’s doctor visits, our 12-year-old kitty, Spaz, practically knocked me over trying to get inside. It took me a minute to realize he wasn’t moving his hind legs. Apparently he had been hit by a car. I had to take him and LE to the emergency vet while Andrea took Ian to his appointment. Spaz had a fractured pelvis, a fairly typical injury for an auto accident. Surgery was recommended but would cost over $3000, and as much as we love our kitty we can’t justify that let alone afford it. He has a very good chance to recover on his own, so we got kitty pain meds and a pet crate. He will remain in the crate (with a few outings for lap time) for the next eight weeks while he heals up.

Things are a little more settled now. Ian is feeling much better, mommy is feeling much better (though still sleep-deprived), and Spaz is pooping (which is a great thing if you are a geriatric cat with a fractured pelvis).

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, this might come as a bit of a shocker.

We aren’t going to build our homestead in Benson after all.

At least not for a while. A while being like ten years or more.

It was a really hard decision to make. We’ve invested a lot already and it’s hard to switch paths in the middle. And we were this close (visualize my thumb and index finger almost touching) to getting a building permit. But we know sticking around our home in Tucson is the right thing to do. (more…)

ihouse

Okay I’ve always wanted to build my own house, but I have to admit this is cool.

Mortality Diagram from Florence NightingaleOne of my coworkers sent a link about Florence Nightingale’s lesser-known identity as a medical statistician. I sometimes have trouble explaining to people the nature of my actual employment but this article does a wonderful job for me. It rather dramatically illustrates the impact of medical statistics; my employer is all about building software to facilitate medical statistics so hospitals can be safer and more effective.

I work in the user documentation department. Part of my job is to make the software easier to understand and use. I don’t always enjoy what I do because, given a choice, I’d often rather build things with tools than sit at a computer and be in my head all day. But this article was encouraging because it helped me to see that what I work on has a positive impact on the world. I hope to always be doing things like that.

My low today was watching the DJIA plummet 800 points, then recover to close below ten thousand for the first time in four years. Our house fund is about 80% invested in mutual funds which until the last couple months was doing okay. Well, out of this experience I’ve realized that I have been feeling very insecure. Only not about losing money. About a lot of things.

(more…)

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