28 Jul

Wavy Yellow Slide

My 73 year old Dad collapsed at our home today, repeatedly, before paramedics arrived to assess him and truck him to the hospital for evaluation. It’s possible the causes were heat exhaustion, dehydration, and stress from the fight he’d had with my stepmother before coming over-or a condition triggered by those stressors. By the time he left for Good Sam with the paramedics, he was joking with the response team. My stepmother met the ambulance as it was leaving our house–she and my Dad live only two miles away. Our local firehouse is the same distance in the opposite direction–it took them five minutes to arrive.

That’s the stage. This entry is more a note about emotional response. Even though it was my father on the floor, it seemed easy for Debby and I to be calm and methodical in helping him, fetching him a pillow and orienting his body, feeding him aspirin (in case of heart attack), and ignoring his weak shouts not to call 911. (You lose that right the minute you become the focus of a medical response). We were calm while the team was here–perhaps more talkative from stress than necessary. They left 30 minutes ago and now the stress is rolling in–not in breakers but small tidal surges. Life rarely crashes–that happens only in extraordinary circumstances. It presses and pounds, kneading away energy, washing away layers. Or, perhaps a better analogy is that I feel like I’ve been handed a large stone, large enough that I have to curl my body to hold it, and wonder if the burden will become the new normal, or that the stone will be absorbed. Forecasting, I think the reality is more that I’ll drop the stone sometime soon and without knowing it, but will often be looking over my shoulder.

Looking now out our dining room window at the play structure our kids have almost outgrown and its wavy bright yellow slide, I also think I may have other options.

27 May

Feckless no more?

Black Diamond run aheadAh, my ASUS “Black Diamond” wireless router just arrived–this means that by Monday (Memorial Day) I could have a wireless network at home that I don’t describe using words like feckless. And I can attach our printer and a centralized backup/media drive to it. And our Wii won’t say “wha?” when I ask it to stream. And I can even use WPA2. And, hopefully, I will be able to connect to HTTPS domains from home using my work laptop.* It’s my little slice of nerdvana.

* Said machine is a new Lenovo Thinkpad (or Stinkpad) running Windows 7–a sturdy, reasonably fast laptop that is in mysterious wireless conflict with my wheezing wireless router when WPA is enabled. I’ve never had this issue before and don’t have it with the nearly as new netbook (running both Win7 or Linux). It’s a valuable but frustrating lesson when tech fails to work.

Update: The router took me less than an hour to set up that same night, including connecting a printer. The reviewers all love it, but warned that its admin screens are more complex than most routers to configure. Not compared to the admin panel for the router it replaced. And my goodness it’s fast.

Update: The conflict with my older router was related to DNS at my workplace and a Windows 7 update. It’s annoying to step back 10 years and have to update the local hosts table manually, but that’s what it took to fix the problem. Still love the router.