Sunday, October 21, 2007

What's comin' up...

In October –

Next week I pick up Joycie’s “old” computer... the one that Nathan built for her for her 16th birthday... it’s been at Computers To Go at the Midland Mall getting a major repair job. Joyce began having problems with it months ago, and then it would freeze up, so she would turn it off. Long story short, we think it was probably infected and the resulting crashing fried the motherboard, along with one of the RAM sticks. Since it wouldn’t boot up, we thought at first it was probably the hard drive, and I got an excellent deal on a hefty new hard drive at Best Buy... but the original hard drive is fine. So is the video card. So now we have a “slave” hard drive, too. Yay. Anyway, the diagnostics have taken some time, and John, the owner, is treating me most excellently. In the end, we’ll have an essentially brand new, very robust computer for a relatively small sum. I highly recommend Computers To Go. And also kudos to Nathan because the guys at Computers To Go said that whoever had built the computer for us did a really good job. Joyce is not so thrilled, however, because I’ve decided to officially kick Sammy off from my computer and put Joyce’s “new” computer into his bedroom. Joyce wanted it to go back into her bedroom, where she would actively retain ownership. But Joyce is rarely here, and when she is home, she’s not using computers... she’s been spoiled with the high speed Internet access on her laptop at college. So it is still Joyce’s computer, but it’s going into Sammy’s room, where gloom and doom (clever rhyming, huh) await him should he fail to treat it with the proper respect.

In a little more than 1 week, we will, hopefully, finally, finally have high speed Internet access. Getting high speed has become pretty important to me so that I can work from home more easily. I have investigated several providers in our area, such as speednet, Charter, etc, etc. A couple ISPs would pass the online test for our address, but once I called them, they would tell me no service. We are in a rural area, but apparently we’re in a border zone for several ISPs, or as a couple of them put it, so eloquently, a dead zone. So I caved and contacted Dish Network. We have our satellite TV through them, and I feel like we’re paying through the nose to watch so many commercials that an hour-long TV show is really 40 minutes of excellent drama (anyone else loving Damages?!!). But Dish Network it is... satellite high speed Internet for a mere $200 initial fee and $60 per month. Ugh. We currently have dial-up access through, and they are excellent people there. I get practically unlimited web space and 10 e-mail addresses, along with excellent tech service for under $15 a month. I checked with them first thing about getting high speed access, but... no service for us here. So, anyway, for the time being, I’m sticking with, using Dish Network high speed, and I’m going to somehow figure out that damn router thing they mentioned to make it wireless in our house.

Halloween! I love Halloween. I asked Sammy what he wanted to be this year, and he said he didn’t know if he was going out or not, that he had to check with his guy friends. *sniff*

November –

Sammy will be turning 13 years old on Nov. 4th, and I just don’t think I’m ready for that. Where the heck did all those years go? I was talking with my BFF Sandy yesterday, and we concluded that being a mom makes the years go faster and faster and faster. (Sandy is in South Texas this weekend visiting her daddy, and she was just fixin’ to make meatloaf from buffalo meat... mmm... and she told me it was 98 degrees there and the flowers were spectacular... I told her it was a cool, crisp sunny morning here and the trees were in spectacular fall color... I’d rather be here than there! I have had enough warmth lately... hot flashes galore lately. Oh it sucks.)

Joycie will be celebrating her 19th birthday at the end of November. 19. Oh.

And, I'm going to participate in NaBloPoMo again this November. It was fun last year. I hope I can stick to it this year... having high speed access will definitely help. Sometimes lately, though, I get home from work, get the few things done that I must, then crash on the sofa until it's time to go to bed... it's my literal pain in the neck. I still have a listing of blog post ideas that I created last NaBloPoMo and have kept maintained... that should help.

Also, by November it is possible Kev will have moved to a different job at the plant where he works, and this would mean 2 very wonderful things, 1) no more midnight shifts, and 2) no scheduled weekends. Having a 5-and-2 schedule (this means Monday-Friday, not a regular working schedule on any weekends) would be very nice, but not having to work midnights would be absolutely wonderful. The job would be days and afternoons, so every other week, Kev would work from 3:30pm until 11:30pm, and we wouldn't be with him in the evenings. That sucks, yes, but midnights are so difficult on him from both a physical standpoint and resulting mental-standpoint-from-lack-of-sleep that I would love it if he didn't have to work midnights ever again. The downside is, of course, an initial cut in pay (which is what happens whenever one moves to a new job where Kev works, kind of as a deterrant by the company for employees moving around frequently from job to job, which makes perfect sense). Also, the new job would have less overtime hours, so less pay annually, but more Kevin time at home. That falls most definitely into the "plus" category. Fingers crossed.

January 2008 –

I will be having surgery on my neck on the 18th. I explained that I have an extra bone growth on the right side of my C6 (cervical) vertebra, and it is pressing against, or as the neurosurgeon phrased it, abutting my spinal cord. This has caused the pain I’ve had, from the nerves being affected. The 2nd neurosurgeon I saw recently described the surgery exactly as the 1st neurosurgeon had described it, so I’m convinced. This 2nd doctor is the one who did surgery on my Dad’s back a couple of years ago, and all my family just loved him. He’s brilliant, and he cares about his patients. His conclusions differed from the 1st neurosurgeon in one extremely important area... whereas the asshole neurosurgeon I saw first told me the surgery was “elective” and when I finally pressed him, he said that meant when the pain got too bad, I could elect to have the surgery. The 2nd brilliant, caring neurosurgeon told me that he suggested I have the surgery as soon as possible for two reasons: 1) I have already lost strength in my left arm, and that will likely progress until this situation is fixed possibly resulting in permanent nerve damage, i.e., I could potentially lose the use of that arm eventually, and 2) that piece of extra bone abutting my spinal cord presents a danger where a simple accident from which the typical person would get up and walk away could leave me paralyzed or worse... it is like that piece of bone is a splitting maul wedged against my spinal cord waiting for the proper pressure to slice through it. Ain’t that a lovely thought. For the surgery, which will be done by the aforementioned brilliant, caring neurosurgeon, he’ll go into the back of my neck, basically carve off that extra bone matter, and then stabilize the C6 to the C5 with permanent pins on both sides of the vertebrae. So I’ll be hospitalized for a few days, then having a rough 4 weeks of pain, with a few more weeks of recuperation before I can return to work from that surgery. Having it on Jan. 18th lets me get through 4th quarter & year-end close, and be back at work in time to prepare for 2008 1st quarter close. I explained my job to the surgeon, and he agreed that would be excellent timing, also because he probably couldn’t fit me into his surgery schedule until January... he said it was important to have the surgery ASAP for the 2 reasons he mentioned, but that he didn’t consider it an emergency situation. Then he told me not to plan any trips to Cedar Point. Duh. But then we talked some more about how I should behave until the surgery, by not taking any unnecessary road trips... do the driving I must do in my normal life, but where possible, don’t get in the car as a driver or passenger. The biggest risk, of course, would be if I were in a car accident, such as being rear-ended... I told him no problem, that I didn’t plan to even walk on an icy sidewalk! He didn’t laugh with me at that; he told me that is a very good plan. So having high speed Internet access so that I can easily work from home has become very, very important to me. On those days of snow storms and icy roads coming up, and until Jan. 18th, I’m not driving into work but will instead be able to work from home without the hassle of slow connections.

This situation is one of those where I’m looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time. I’m lucky, though, coz once the surgery is done, that’s it, my problem is solved. The surgeon did say that the surgery isn’t being done to help the pain, and that hopefully it will help, but I could likely have neck pain from here on out. I can live with that. The tingling numbness down my arm is gone now anyway, and that, along with the itching palm thing were more of an annoyance than anything. Having the surgery will allow me to be less afraid of what’s around the corner, if ya know what I mean. I can resume my version of a normal life. I’m lucky. A friend of mine at work learned recently that his wife has an awful type of leukemia, and their lives have been turned upside-down... and they have 2 children, ages 11 and 12 or so. So you see, I’m very lucky. By the way, her name is Kelly, so feel free to include her in your prayers.

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