Saturday 41274

Feeling just wrung out. Jane took my pulse yesterday and found it a bit rapid, so I'm not exercising, just sitting. Whatever it is I get at Tomato Street, and not just one recipe, is the culprit. A host of symptoms, but giving way to just blah-exhaustion once it clears my system. I'm disgusted. On a more fun note, my memory arrived. (Just what you need to do: install computer bits when you have the shakes.) I took out the battery, opened up my system memory access plate on the bottom, and discovered...only one memory slot, and it's empty. Well, *that's* odd. Obviously there's a chip somewhere. So I went online (on the desktop) and found out that the D800 Latitudes have one chip (dimm A) under the keyboard. And on this machine that IS a gig. So they'd sent me two; but at least, thank goodness, I don't have to pull the newly-installed keyboard. I went ahead and put in a 1 gig chip in the accessible slot, bringing me up to 2 gig; and then Jane decided, well, she'd put the other chip (rather than the expense of shipping back) into her D510 Latitude. They check out compatible, re chips. She has a 256 chip, and it's not playing nicely with the 1 gig, so she's getting another. That will help that machine a lot, since it only had a total of half a gig---not enough, with the programs we run, and the demands of XP.

Sunday 42699

Well....remember the big pipe-cleaning operation we did in the kitchen sink? Bad idea. Our kitchen sink plumbing is now blocked. We spent the day bailing and using caustics, and vinegar, and just about everything, finally took the trap off, and ran the ribbed hose up the drain pipe for the sink: blocked. We are now washing dishes in the bathroom sink and I am having to remember not to toss water down that drain.  Sigh. Isn't it amazing how one disaster proliferates into another? We have to call the plumber and get them to run a snake down that pipe, which runs across the downstairs library ceiling. In my jittery downtime yesterday, I ran through Jane's 16th-great-grandparents: her people had a penchant for recording their relatives, and she has a lot of them...but it's getting fun: she's related to some of the movers and shakers of England of the 1300's, and they're in Wikipedia. I'm finding out all sorts of dirt. We now have 2 huge notebooks full of printout...all in sheet protectors, so it's not quite that thick, but it's at least a notebook and a half, of the largest sort. And it's amazing how related we are. At a certain point we share multiple ancestors---what time they aren't having at one another with swords, assassinating one another and beseiging one another. The Black Douglases, the de Percys, the de Bohuns, and no few Plantagenets, de Meschines, de Braoses, and de Beaumonts, Beauforts, Beaumounts and Sackvilles---but no Bagginses.

Tuesday. 36176

Another really good skate. We got the gang together and went out to Tomato Street for supper. Jane had gotten the long-threatened haircut, and we were kind of spiffed up...a good feeling after all that wallowing in salt water last week. I even got inspired to call Dell and make a second try at getting them to replace my broken, limping keyboard. Since Dell had some bad publicity about service problems, they’re trying hard to recover their image, and you could tell the difference—I got a sane, fluent person who understood my complaint (the last had tried to tell me a wornout palmrest key could be fixed by software) and ordered a new keyboard. Which, thanks to the fact I have a home-visit policy means they come to my house and I don’t have to schlep it anywhere or do it myself. I am so looking forward to a mouse key that works and a spacebar that works.

Wednesday 37222

I couldn’t skate today. I took a lesson, but my legs were shaking terribly on everything. I finally had to get off the ice. I don’t know what’s wrong—allergy, maybe. But it’s just nasty. And after waiting all day for the Dell repairman, he was a noshow. When he was officially late, I went onto Dell’s chat—and they found out the repair guy had left no phone number. Well, they said they’d put "expedition" on it—and when I got back to the locker room I had a phone call from the national service company in Las Vegas, who swore that I would get the guy tomorrow, no question. I guess that’s what Expedition means.

Thursday 38021

Today skating went much better—except the kid quotient: we did get a pack of young hockey players with attitude who just made life miserable for everybody, throwing gloves, which can kill somebody if they plunk one in front of a figure skater; we got off the ice a bit early, because the ice was crap and we decided to go to Tomato Street again. Which we did.

Friday 40417

NOW I know what’s wrong. I’ve got the shakes again, probably won’t skate today unless I can cure them with electrolyte balance stuff or vitamins or something: I’m allergic to something Tomato Street is using, probably onion salt. I’ve gotten to where I can tolerate a little real onion in a sauce if very slight and cooked to mush—but neither Jane nor I can tolerate onion or garlic powder. Jane’s knees swell to the point of pain—and I get the shakes as if I were on a 3-day caffeine overload. Sigh. So our once-favorite restaurant is now off the list of possibles, for us. We can't afford to lose a day to that kind of thing every time we eat there. The computer guy did show up, the old Dell has a brand new face and keys that work again—next week I’m getting another packet, one I’ll install myself: 2 gig of memory. I can’t believe I’m getting 2 gig for 75.00. And the old machine will run much more happily with big programs.

Sunday 22181

At about 8 am we had a power out. Glitched the whole house. I went downstairs to administer more buffer and do a water test—and the sump had more water in it than it should—and the "down’ hose wasn’t pouring any more water into the sump—thank goodness. I started investigating and discovered the 300.00 Iwaki 100 pump, though running, had seized up and decoupled its impeller. All of which was to say—those pumps don’t grow on trees and can’t even be replaced without a 4 week delay. And a tank can die in hours without the pump going. I got myself together and went to the fish store in fond hope they had one in stock: no, no such luck. They did sell me a Mag 18, which should be able to push the water upstairs. I brought it home, took things apart, put it on (imagine lots of salt water and crud and plumbing fittings and wrenches and pliers and swearing while working in cramped spaces) and it didn’t work 5 minutes before IT quit. At this point Jane got into the act and pointed out the hose could be clogged. Well, the only thing going to push a clog out of the hose would be, yes, a running Iwaki 100. So we drained the whole sump, overturning its sandbed: (imagine 30 gallons of water that looks like the muddiest stinkiest creek you’ve ever fallen in now in a 32 gallon trashcan, while I now hand-scoop the nastiest smelliest sand and rock you can imagine out of the sump into a bucket, incidentally killing off innocent micro-crabs and the like and swearing the while: no way to save them. The whole system can die.) We have now lightened the acrylic sump enough that we can lift it at an angle so Jane can unscrew the Iwaki, which has its nose threaded through a bulkhead into the sump. Freeing the pump, we then attack it with screwdriver and extract the impeller box, but can’t get at the impeller. A phone call to the fish store proves, yes, just tap it, it should come apart. Well, it did. The impeller assembly inside—remember that brown gunk I was complaining about?—had electrostatically fused itself as pure calcium carbonate gunk to the surfaces of the impeller, and clogged all our hoses like hardening of the arteries. ThAT’s why the pump quit. So we look for a way to clean 15 feet of hose that is threaded through our living room floor. Did I mention I also found a snail blocking the impeller? The final insult that had stopped the system...so we remove snail. Jane brilliantly finds some ribbed black hose just large enough to fit into the other hose and is using it like a bottle-brush, cleaning out gunk you wouldn’t believe. I am using 2 gallons of vinegar to clean the pump guts. We work a long time at this. The clock which had read 0:00 since the power-out read 9:25 by the time we put the whole thing back together and turned it on. No joy. One final set of pipes connected to the tank itself. We disassembled those—which were actually clean—and found one lousy pointed snail shell serving as a perfect stop-valve to the T-joint where the two outlets reach the tank. We removed the snail and tried again. We were soaked in nasty water, the tank was completely cloudy with gunk (I completely despair of the frogspawn) and we headed out to eat...I wasn’t fixing dinner with those hands, no.

Monday 23465

Everything is still running, we are sore from all the running up and down stairs, and the frogspawn lives! I’ve resumed adding buffer, and so far, so good.

Tuesday 24818

Good lesson today. The tank suffered a ph setback from all the goings-on, but is back up into the 6's in alkalinity, and thanks to the fact my tank has two sandbeds (the sump and the main tank) the one sandbed kept the tank alive while the other was disrupted.