Saturday, March 27, 2010

Gonna Have Nookie in Bed Tonight!

Given my severe lack of anything resembling a sex life, there are only three things that give me pleasure these days (kids notwithstanding):
1.  Books.
2.  Technology.
3.  Food.

So, of course, when the eBook readers came out, I started looking at them.  They were ridiculously expensive, too large to slip in a pocket, and the books were overpriced (between $10 and $20 no matter how long the books were available as cheap paperbacks).  

I decided to go ahead and just use my cell phone as an eBook reader.  Cool.  It covers #1 (Books) and #2 (Technology) perfectly.  Sit there reading a story while munching on a bag of Fritos and I hit the trifecta!

I've been happy...except for the cost of the books, of course. 


But then, I discovered that Ohio's public libraries offer free eBook loans.  Woo hoo!!  About 10% of their selection are available as .mobi books (which you can put on any smartphone).  Yay!!  But it didn't take me long to realize that most of the books I really wanted to read were in ePub format, which would require reading on my computer (not gonna happen) or purchasing either a Sony Reader or a Barnes and Noble Nook reader.  After checking them out, the Sony Readers are really junkie.  The Nook is awesome, but overpriced ($258).

So the devil on my shoulder sat there whispering in my ear.  "You know, you read a book every two weeks or so.  Since these books are free, that savings over buying $10 books every two weeks would pay for that Nook reader."  I never gave the angel on my other shoulder time to talk sense into me.

I drove up to Akron yesterday and bought it.  It's amazing!!  It does the eBooks and periodicals, of course, but it also displays my pictures, plays music and best of all, plays audiobooks.  It's still a little large for me, (about the height and weight of a paperback, but much thinner) but I'll get used to it.  

Here's a shot of King's Under the Dome on my cell phone and as a hardcover.  Since I've already read it, I pulled up a different story (James Patterson) on the Nook for comparison.  


The Nook is perfectly viewable no matter how bright the sun is shining on it which is awesome and that's one of the problems I've had with my cell phone.  It doesn't have a backlight which is a bummer, but I can always clip a light onto the Nook.  

So tonight, I'm gonna enjoy some Nookie in bed!

I just found the most amazing leather cover for it online...more about that another day.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Grandpuppies are Priceless

Back in September, my dad called.  I couldn't quite figure out what he was saying, because he was only able to utter a few words mixed in with gut-wrenching sobs.  I finally understood what he was saying "Camshaft broke her leg and the vet says she has to be put down."

Cammie, an 8-year-old very overweight lab is my dad's life.  This dog (his grandpuppy) is more important to him than anything.  When the vet said they couldn't help her, he just couldn't accept that.  They sedated her and the next morning we took her to a specialty animal hospital.  They took better x-rays and determined that the break happened the length of her leg bone, rather than breaking it in half down the middle.  

The vet agreed that with damage like this, it is definitely a case for putting her to sleep.  But...with enough money, yes, they could fix her.  Did I mention that Cammie is Dad's life??  They gave an estimate of $3,100 to place internal screws and rods and straps in addition to having two "external fixators" that would give extra support.

The problem was that the break was unusual (she was just standing up from a sitting position when it just snapped) in presentation and it usually happens from bone cancer, which is prevalent in her breed.  They wouldn't know if she had osteosarcoma until they got the path reports back...two weeks after the surgery.  

Dad readily whipped out his checkbook.  She underwent surgery immediately and we went back in the next morning to pick her up.  

It amazed me that she was able to walk (and was happy!) just hours after surgery.  That Fentanyl patch they slapped on her was a miracle!  The best news was that the surgeon saw no evidence of cancer.  Woo hoo!  The bad news was that the $3,100 estimate somehow went to $4,000.  But oh well.  When you see the picture of Cammie as she looks with adoring eyes at her Grandpa, it was worth it.


Two weeks later, she went in for a re-check.  Bad news.  The path report said that it was probable osteosarcoma.  We were looking at a two- to three-month lifespan.  It was just devastating.  Dad said "then she'll have the best three months of her life."

We had to keep going back to the doctor every two weeks or so for x-rays. (Which were not included in the price quote. Hmmph.)  She was able to hobble around fine, but she wasn't allowed to do any stairs.  So how exactly are we supposed to carry a 120-pound dog?  My dad always says "Where there's a Wood, there's a way."  He attached a ramp to his house and made a portable ramp to get her in and out of his van (that has the license plate "CAMSHAF" because he bought the vehicle just for the dog!) and even transfer her from one van to the other.  


So, she was very happy and obviously nobody ever told Cammie that she only had three months to live.  Apparently they never told her she has cancer, either.  Because it's been six months, she just had her final vet visit and he said "she's a miracle.  There are no signs of tumors, she doesn't have cancer.  Let's get this fixator taken off of her so she can be happy." 


And she is.

Oh, and final tally - nearly $6,000.  Worth every penny.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

She's Driving Me Crazy

Bugs scare me.  Climbing more than 5 rungs on a ladder sends shivers down my spine.  Getting a letter from the IRS could make me wet my pants.  

But none of those is  more terrifying than teaching my 16-year-old to drive.  Wait...that's a bit of a misnomer.  I'm not teaching her anything.  I'm sitting beside her in a 4,000-pound lethal weapon white-knuckling my grip on the oh-shit handle while stomping on the imaginary brakes while screaming "look out! Too close!! AHHH!" while she calmly rolls her eyes and keeps muttering "you've gotta trust me sometime..."

When I say I'm terrified teaching Heather to drive, it's not an exaggeration.  She's had her permit for a year and has only been driving probably 10 times in that timeframe, all because I'm too scared to take her.

I just saw that Honda has a driving simulator.  You they have for pilots, but this is intended for cars.  Why haven't they been doing this for new drivers for years?  Instead, they just let kids get behind the wheel and give their parents heart attacks. 

  The all-new Honda automobile driving simulator is something all secondary schools should l...

I think insurance companies should pay the $66,000 and put one of these in every town.  Let kids learn to drive before they actually start driving.  And save me from needing a heart transplant.

Meanwhile, Heather just set up her appointment to finally have her first in-car driving lesson with the instructor at Frenzel's.  I hope they take their heart medication.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Another year older, another year wiser...

So, yeah.  It's been a whole year since I've blogged.  Did ya miss me?

I miss blogging.  Facebook is fun, but there's only so much info I can give in a quick little update.  I miss telling the story of my life, rather than just posting a snippet.

So, I'm back.  I hope you are, too.