Thursday, March 24, 2016

Fence Project Update

The "Mending Fences" project posted a days back is coming along nicely.  We're in no special hurry to finish it, but it would be nice to be through before the heat of Summer hits.

Judy has been a tremendous help.  I actually think she could finish the project herself.  The only thing she hasn't done so far is move the heavy compressor from the garage and use the nail gun to drive the nails in place.  Her Mom would cringe at the thought of her little girl building a fence of all things.

We've decided to just take it a couple of sections at a time instead of making a major commitment to finish up quickly at the expense of our health and comfort.  And it appears that we only have maybe three or four more sections that really need repairing due to rotting rails.  From there on the sections all appear to be in good shape.  I seem to remember repairing that section just a few years ago when we had some strong winds come through.

Fortunately, most of the pickets are okay.  It's just the rotten rails.  The rails are 'supposed' to be pressure treated, but apparently they are using a very weak solution of whatever it is they use to treat them.  I think Lowe's and Home Depot are being sold junk, and it won't become apparent to us until a few short years later when they start to rot prematurely.  How do you go back to Lowes or Home Depot and say, "Those $&#@ pressure-treated 2 X 4's you sold me six years ago are already rotting! What are you gonna do about it?"

Anyway, it's coming together slowly but surely, and should be in good shape for at least the next ten years or so.

Oh, and since I can't see well enough to drive nails with a hammer, especially the bottom rows, I'm using my pneumatic nailer.  No, not the big framing nailer (I gave that to Dave because he knows how to use it better than me), but my brad nailer.  Yes, my 18 gauge brad nailer.  It not only works great using 18 gauge, 1¼" galvanized brads, but they don't show the ugly nail heads like nails do. They hold the boards securely to the rails, but even if a destructive wind comes along again, it will probably do no more than just blow some pickets off without damaging them or the rails.  Then it's just a matter of  nailing them back in place.  But so far, they appear to be holding as good as the nails.

I also took the liberty of tying my fence posts to the cemetery's chain-link fence to give it more strength to remain plumb in high winds, which seem to be more frequent lately.

Anyway, we're on track and we're proud of our progress.

3-27-16 Finished...

Monday, March 14, 2016

Salado Eggfest 2016 Was Great

In spite of some really serious rain right up to the day of the Salado Eggfest this year, and some changes in the location and organizers, it turned out to be a very nice event.

We probably had only about a quarter of the attendees as in previous years, but considering the fact that much of the state of Texas was under water and still getting rained on, that's pretty darn good.

Speaking of 'good' the Cooks this year went overboard with great food.  And they kept it up even at the After Party.  I can't remember enjoying so much good food at an Eggfest.

Anyway, the new venue for this year's Salado Eggfest was held at The Venue instead of Pace Park as in years past.  It was a bit muddy (to be expected after all the rain) but when the sun broke through later in the day, it was clearly a beautiful site for an Eggfest.

And, of course, the famous Salado Eggfest After Party, was great.

Everyone is looking forward to next year.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Another Medical Scare With A Happy Ending

Having had a number of serious medical issues in my life, I’m careful to take ‘health-signals’ seriously.  As such, I visit my collection of doctors regularly, and for the most part, do as they tell me.

Possibly the only exception to their recommendations comes in the form of food intake and exercise.  I do enjoy eating good food.  And over the years I have taken up cooking as a hobby in order to at least try to prepare the most enjoyable food I can get.  I’ve become quite good at it too.

And I don’t mind exercising when I feel like doing them.  Sometimes I just can’t muster the strength to do the exercises.  It really has more to do with my lifestyle and energy levels.  But I do stay busy doing work that could be equal to or greater effort than just routine exercises.

And therein lies the problem of my being somewhat overweight.  And, as we are constantly reminded, being ‘somewhat overweight’ lends itself to potential medical issues.  So I try to do right by my diet in spite of the many temptations far and wide, and from my own kitchen.

During my regularly scheduled quarterly visit to my primary care doctor, he went over all the blood test numbers, weight, blood pressure, my own logs covering daily blood pressure and weight readings, and the results of my own self-administered tests for blood-sugar levels.  He is always complementary of my record keeping and efforts, and was quite pleased with my blood test results.

That, along with the usual listening to my heart/lungs sounds, resulted in his giving me a ‘thumbs up’ evaluation.

Then he asked if I had anything else we needed to discuss.  So I casually mentioned some chest pains that I had been having over the past couple of days, which I attributed to a possible muscle strain while repairing our fence (I lifted a very heavy air compressor to move closer to the project).  Or perhaps due to indigestion.  The pain was generally in the area of the heart but down and over a bit, so neither he nor I thought it was my heart.

But, knowing that I had a heart attack in the past (9 years before), he took the precautionary step of recommending an EKG.  I was, as always, receptive to his suggestions.  I’m not going to take any unnecessary chances with my life, especially when it comes to my doctor’s advice.

The EKG showed an irregular heartbeat.  Not much but noticeable.  He suggested that I see my cardiologist before the month was out just in case. My wife quickly replied that we would see him today if we could schedule the appointment.  So he gave us a copy of the MRI chart to take with us.

We went straight to my cardiologist’s office.  He was out but expected to arrive later.  They called him and he quickly agreed to see me at the end of the day after his other appointments.  Four hours later, we were back.

He first said he has known about my irregular heartbeat since my heart attack nine years earlier, but it was not all that unusual and was not causing any problems, so it wasn’t likely to be the problem of my chest pain.  But he could not precisely determine the source of the pain and strongly suggested that I undergo further testing to make sure it was not heart related.

So he made the arrangement s for me to check into Memorial Healthcare’s Woodlands Hospital that very evening.  He instructed them to perform a variety of tests during the night, with more complex tests the following day, if warranted.  The additional tests included a stress test.  It was not a ‘treadmill’ test as before, but a chemically induced stress test which basically caused my heart to go into a simulated stress that is very similar to the stress of the treadmill.  I found this fascinating, to say the least.

There were X-rays, injections of isotopes and sonograms and constant blood samples, followed by my being heart being ‘imaged’ by a giant machine similar to an MRI machine. 

By then I was starting to worry that perhaps he wasn’t telling me everything.  But as the test results began to come in, it was becoming increasingly clear that there had been no heart attack, and that I was fine and could return home as soon as the paperwork was finished.

What a relief! Now to Denny's.  I was hungry...

He called me later and we talked about it.  He said for me to enjoy my weekend in Salado Texas where we would be joining a number of our friends to cook for a large crowd of people to demonstrate the Big Green Egg, our favorite cooking device ever. 

There’s a lot to be said about taking care of yourself.  But in my mind, it’s even more important to have doctors who genuinely want to help you have a good life.

Update: 3-21-16

As instructed, I had a two-week follow-up visit with my cardiologist.  He checked me over good and said everything was "perfect."  My heart is strong, and although my blood pressure was up when they checked it, he wasn't even the slightest bit worried about it.

He laughed and laughed when I told him that Judy is telling everyone there's absolutely nothing wrong with me that a good bowel movement couldn't fix.  He agreed with her...

So we came home and tore down two more sections of the fence we're repairing.  It's good to be able to do some physical work without the fear of having a heart attack or something.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

2016 Eggfest Season is Here

As I've said many times, one of the great joys of being an Egghead is getting together with other Eggheads.

Sometimes it's just joining some friends for a night out or a small party, but no matter the size of the group, we all have a good time hanging with each other.

Of course, the best way to get to see a lot of Eggheads in one place is to attend an Eggfest.  They are pretty much everywhere in the country and in some foreign countries now, so finding one to go to is easy.

Heck, we have five Eggfests in Texas alone each year.  They include:

Salado Eggfest in Salado, Texas March 12th
Athens Eggfest in Athens, Texas April 9th
Texas Eggfest in Driftwood, Texas April 30th
Space City Eggfest in Spring, Texas May 21st
Jefferson Eggfest in Jefferson, Texas October 8th

So we will definitely be busy and enjoying every moment of it.

Hope to see you at and Eggfest.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Mending Fences

Judy and I have been mending fences again.  No, not between old friends.  I mean 'fences' as in privacy fences to protect us from sight and sound and critters and bad people.

The fence between us and the cemetery behind our house began to fall apart, mostly due to rotting rails and rot boards.  The posts and most of the pickets are still good.

We had a storm come through last year and blew over some sections but knowing that we would eventually have to replace the entire fence, we just pushed and propped it back in place.  It was a temporary measure for sure, but it worked until we took down the damaged section (about 30') and rebuilt it late last year.

Then a couple of weeks ago we had some really strong winds that pushed over another section.  So out came the tools again.  We took down another 30', salvaged as many pickets as possible and installed new rot boards and rails.

Today we installed the pickets.  They were pretty easy

Another section done.  It will have to work until we get ready to take on the next section.  Maybe in another week.  I sure hope the weather is like it is now.  Perfect for Fence Mending and we have another 110' feet to go.