Wednesday, February 25, 2009


The past few months, I had been having trouble with my back again.  Nothing overwhelming, but enough so that I got it checked out.  After some examinations and an MRI, turns out the disc had burst again.  Well not technically I suppose - discs are made of fibrous casings containing a more fluid filling.  The fibrous case is similar to hair, in that it there is no blood flow to it and it cannot heal.  So when I got my back fixed the first time, the surgeon just trimmed away the part of the filling that had pushed out of the casing.  But the hole remained, and it looks like more filling has burst forth.

In anticipation of surgery, I decided to get my car serviced, since I didn't want anything to happen while my Mom was here in town driving me to and from the hospital.  It was time for some fluids and filters.  The day before I went to Jiffy Lube, I happened to get a low coolant warning.  What good luck - I was headed in anyway.  As I pulled up to the garage, though, I noticed more smoke than I'd like to see coming out of my hood.  Turns out I had burst the upper coolant hose from the radiator.  Luckily, the service station next door was able to fix up my car in fairly short order.

Now, I'm fit to burst.  My do-over surgery was scheduled for tomorrow.  The doctor's office just called, and informed me that due to an emergency, my surgeon is unavailable until Monday.  I will probably be "first on the list" for surgery then.  Great news, now that my mom has paid to fly down here, I've arranged my work schedule to accommodate the next two days off, and I have arranged everything to take care of this Thursday.  So now I get to take more time off next week to get the new surgery date, and need to find someone new to take me to and from the airport since Mom will have flown home by then.  Just a string of bad luck lately.

On the other hand, Matt has some great ideas for a possible home-built CVT road bike for me.  That's worth getting excited about.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Busy but Bored

I've been very busy the past few weeks, trying to shepherd a project to a significant milestone.  I've been in the office early, leaving late.  I don't care for it.  And even though I'm busy, with many tasks to occupy my time, I'm bored.  I really look forward to having it done.

On the flip side, once I get my sweet Stimulus Money, I found something to spend it on.  I mean, that's what we're supposed to do with our extra money from tax reductions, right?  Well, I may do my part.  I mentioned once before the Ellsworth bike that uses the continuously variably planetary transmission.  Well, there are more out now from other manufacturers that use the same transmission, for much cheaper.  So I'm considering getting the Cadillac Bikes AV-T .  It's a "commuter" bike - I'd use it to replace my old Head hybrid, which has been pretty much demoted to fluid trainer duty.  Though I may wait just a little longer; I'd really like to get a CVP-equipped road bike.  Someone just has to make one...

Sunday, February 01, 2009

C'mon baby hold together

There have been a few instances lately where my car, Stella, has not exactly driven trouble-free.  The worst was when she went into "Limp Home" mode while I was trying to give Steph a ride to the airport.  Turns out it was just a completely drained battery that was not even accepting a charge from the alternator anymore.  Easily fixed, but catastrophic in its impact.

Other minor hiccups have been popping up - some brake squeal, some indications the belts need to be adjusted or replaced, a telltale shimmy crying for a tire alignment.  My favorite, though, was just today while out running errands.  Everything was fine, but the gas gauge didn't register at all.  I knew the tank was at least one quarter full, and there was no indication of any kind of leak.  Must be the gauge.

Now, how many times has a mechanical device or electronic doodad failed you, and you couldn't help but knock on it a few times hoping it would kick back in?  Has that ever worked?  But you try anyway.  As I did this morning - and it springs right back to life, one quarter tank.  I'm not sure if I should worry, or just enjoy being Han Solo to my car's Millennium Falcon, Fonzie to it's jukebox at Arnold's.

Really, besides the battery fiasco, there have been no major issues with Stella.  But I've had her for 10 years now, and she's a 1996 model.  I have to admit I'm thinking of finding something a bit more current.  Too bad those affordable, practical electric cars aren't around yet.