ON THE ROAD – Marilyn Armstrong

We are off for a few days, down to Connecticut. If the weather is with us, we may get to do “boat” and if not, we get to do “laughing with friends.”

Either is just fine.

I don’t plan to do much writing. I do have new pieces posted and scheduled and I’ll check in when I can, but I need a computer break, too! To explain how much of a break I need, I’m NOT taking my big camera. Just packing my pocket camera.

I need a break from all the things I do every day. We’ll be back at the end of the week.

All is well.

UPDATE: WEEK 2 – ACTIVATED COCHLEAR IMPLANT – Garry Armstrong

I feel like I should be singing “Getting To Know You” as I write this update.

It’s the beginning of the second week, wearing my activated cochlear implant.  It’s Saturday,  the first day of the 9th month.  If you sing “September Song”, I could probably hear most of the lyrics.   Maybe I’ll listen to Walter Houston’s memorable rendition of that melancholy song later today.

September is usually special because we celebrate our Wedding Anniversary and granddaughter Kaitlin’s birthday along with keeping eyes (and now ears) on our Boston Red Sox, hoping they can finish their 6-month marathon with a pennant championship en route to the World Series.

This September Sabbath began on a down note.  Blame it on the weather.  I’d planned on taking in a town event, “Uxbridge Day”, which figured to give my cochlear implant a public test,  mingling with dozens of people on our town square. Between the hot weather, an Excedrin Plus headache, and general fatigue from this long week prompted me to cancel plans.

We’ll hold off on the cochlear implant public début for a while.

Yesterday,  I received my first evaluation on the cochlear surgery and performance of the week-old activated parts. Marilyn and I shared our response to how I fared during the first week of my new hearing.

They were mixed reviews.  The audiologist did some tweaking, essentially giving me more volume. Now, I’m hearing louder bells, whistles, chimes, echoes and other “ghosts noises.”  I’m told these noises will fade in 3-months to a year as I adjust to this new way of hearing.

I’m from Missouri.  I’ll believe it when it happens.

Marilyn and I have discussed how we communicate with each other. This is a bonus because people with normal hearing have similar problems but rarely discuss it for fear of marital discord.  Who’s at fault? No one.

I feel as if I should be singing “Getting To Know You.” No, I don’t feel like Yul Brynner, King of Siam. I’m becoming more comfortable with my cochlear implant exterior parts. It’s somewhat awkward for me connecting the battery to the transmitter which sits atop my head and sends signals to “base headquarters” inside my head.

Usually, I need Marilyn’s help.  Today, I did it MYSELF!  Hallelujah!  It felt so good. I patted myself on the head, careful not to dislodge the transmitter.  Marilyn cut out a piece of my hair so it would be easier to find a landing spot, making it easier for the magnets inside the transmitter to secure a spot on my head.  Like a spaceship landing on Mars.

As I write, I’m getting mostly “ghost chimes” in my brain and ear. It’s peaceful.  The dogs are not barking. The TV is in repose.  All is calm.

So far, so good.

WORDPRESS IS ON THE FRITZ AGAIN

“On the Fritz” is a pre World War I (circa 1902), originally meaning “in a bad way” or “in bad condition.” Typically, it is the malfunctioning of an appliance, possibly originating from the German name Fritz, or by onomatopoeia as in imitating the sound of electric sparks jumping.


I think you could call this a transformative experience. Last month and until a week ago, we had the highest view numbers I’ve ever seen in a non-commercial blog and this week, we are barely managing to stay afloat.

I’ve watched stat numbers bounce around over the more than five years I’ve been doing this, but this was a drop like nothing I’ve seen before. I shrugged it off. I didn’t actually know something was broken. I figured it was us — and because I don’t use the new editor, I didn’t bump into the complete dysfunctionality of that software, which apparently isn’t working. At all. What I did discover is that we are 75% lower in views with no sign of a bounce back. A 75% drop is a lot. More than a typical bounce.

So I went to the Reader and saw how many people who usually have active blogs now show vastly reduced views … and apparently, the “like” is broken because there were so few of them. All the ones I’d entered were missing, too.

On this site, the “Like” has been erratic for a while. Personally, my likes and comments have been doing a vanishing act. They look normal when I enter them, but if I go and look — lost in the great virtual beyond. This isn’t the first time this has happened. If you’ve been lurking around WordPress for more than a few years, you’ve seen this happen, get fixed, happen, get fixed to the point where you don’t get excited so much as you get a migraine. Eventually they will fix it, but when? Could be very soon, like … today or tomorrow. Or it could be a month or more.

So if you haven’t heard from me, I’m not ignoring you. Something is broken. Again. Others are finding it difficult to get in touch with the engineers. I haven’t tried yet. This is such a major outage and seems to be affecting many people — thus far mostly American — the staff must have noticed. The engineering staff can’t miss this, can they?

If I don’t start to hear that it’s improving somewhere, I’ll dig in and try to get someone’s attention but generally, I ride these WordPress storms out. After a while, it settles down. If my problems persist when the storm dies away, THEN I get in touch with engineering.  Try not to let it get to you. This stuff can make you crazy, especially when you’ve been working hard and your posts come to nothing because they have “fixed” the software.

I do not mind them fixing the software. I mind them failing to test it to make sure it works before dumping it on their customers. And we really ARE their customers. Apparently, they don’t see it the same way we do.

Let me know if anyone sees an improvement — or actually talks to an engineer and has information!

LOST YET FOUND – THE WANDERING OF MY WORDPRESS FRIENDS

This morning, when I realized that Paula’s prompt was missing, I went into “managing my reader” and discovered more than half the blogs I follow were missing. I messed around with settings and refreshing for a while — and suddenly, everyone was back.

I should have known something was wrong when I saw I was getting so few emails.

Why do I figure it isn’t me alone? If your response seems much smaller than usual, make sure you still have “your people” attached. I don’t know what they are doing, but this is getting annoying. As soon as I fix it, it’s broken again. You might want to check and see if they have hit you, too.

COMPANY! HE’S HERE!

A few days of company. Gonna talk. Take some pictures. Have some laughs. See you all later. All the scheduled posts will go up, but otherwise, I’m gonna be “slightly missing.”

Later!

Meanwhile, our friend Ben is inhabiting our home, bonding with The Duke … and it’s so good to see a really familiar friend. Lifetime friendships are rare.

BUSY, BUSY – PART BETA

We got the taxes done. Bonnie was still feeling poorly. We came back from getting taxes done and lo and behold, she is feeling better. Better enough to want my sandwich. Which I gave her. Because she hadn’t eaten in days, so what kind of doggy mom would hold back on the sandwich? I thought maybe we’d try her out on upgraded canned dog food. She ate a little of it. Gibbs happily ate the rest. But cold cuts? That she was definitely into. She is still looking a bit peaked, but it’s a far cry from yesterday, so I moved the vet appointment to Wednesday.

What seems to be going on is that she eats something. I have no idea what, but I can guess. The dogs have a fully enclosed yard. Big space for two smallish dogs. Then, she eats something. Paper? Tree bark? Dirt? Whatever it is, it blocks her up and she gets all bloated and sick and then, a few days later, she’s better.

I would take her to the vet if I thought there was a chance of them figuring out what’s wrong with her. This isn’t the first, second, or third time this has happened. Last time … almost a year ago … it was a $600 bill. No medication. Just “wait it out.” Which we did. She got better.

This time, I thought maybe I should skip the $600 and wait it out, at least a few days. What happens when we do go to the vet is that they poke around and find nothing. They take x-rays. See nothing. Offer to run several thousand more dollars worth of tests, which we really can’t afford and usually, they find nothing.

So this time, after she decided she could eat a pound of cold cuts, we thought we’d give her a couple more days to see how she fares. She isn’t vomiting. No diarrhea. No fever. She is willing to eat … if we have food of which she approves.

This is where my desire to be a great dog mom bumps into my desire to not bankrupt us. So I deferred the vet appointment to Wednesday. Let’s see how she is doing in a couple of days. These are times when I fervently wish my dog could tell me what’s going on. Is Bonnie sick? Not so much as five hours ago. Why is she unwell? I’m guessing it’s something she ate … but I have NO idea what, though my guess is paper. She steals it, hides it, and chews on it. Gets sick.

We are getting a little money back on taxes and Bonnie looks better. So it’s already a superior day to what we expected. I hope this isn’t one gigantic hold-out for an upgrade in food prep.