Dad’s Alaska

11 March, 2020 Woden’s Day

With the light coming back and daylight savings making it possible to work longer so I got in ten hours of productive behavior. Got going at about 9:30 AM by cleaning the kitchen and loading the dishwasher. Then I warmed up ‘The Beast’ and loaded the trash bags for a trip to the dump.

I got on the road at just before 11:00 AM on my way to the dump. As I was rolling along toward Homer it occurred to me to stop at the health clinic to have my blood pressure checked. The stop at the clinic took about 30 minutes. Whilst standing there I noted that they had signs up “If you have a fever, put on a mask and use the hand sanitizer”. I made a remark about this Covid-19 panic was about the stupidest thing I’d ever seen. Another patient took exception. He was standing there rubbing sanitizer on his hands and wrists. He had that panicked look on his face and when I moved a step toward him he backed up a step. His reaction was funny. He went on to proclaim that the virus was killing people like me and him. I tried to explain that most people that died were on and average 80 years old and already had other serious health problems. I asked him “Do you have a respiratory problem?” No reply. I continued “I don’t and I’m not really worried about a virus with the mortality rate at 1%.” His reply “That’s ten times worse than the flu.” I laughed at him and asked him how many people are, actually, infected?” This pissed him off. I continued, “You are more likely to die driving home today that dying from the coronavirus”. He stomped away toward the elevator to his dental appointment. Were I as scared as he, I sure as hell wouldn’t have someone gouging in my gums and opening the skin up to potential infection. People are always panicked by the wrong things. Bottomline is that in the USA only 35 or so people have died. Most of those deaths (26) were in one nursing home and all of those were about 80 years of age and very sick. There are, perhaps, hundreds of thousands exposed, if not millions, exposed worldwide it seems dumb to be in some kind of blind panic when there have only been about 3000 deaths worldwide. Except for the 35 or so in America the balance of those deaths are in countries that have 2nd and 3rd world medical systems. Swine flu in 2009 killed about 17,000 and hospitalized 300,000 people worldwide during the ‘flu season’ with millions having been affected. The one number you aren’t hearing is the number of people who have recovered. This is a number that is likely in the hundreds of thousands. Straighten up your thinking and where’s the logic in hoarding toilet paper.

My next stop was the dump. There were no wonderful things left in the Recycle Tent and I had forgotten a few things that I intended to leave in the tent for someone else to repurpose. Every now and then I find something that I can use.

Spenard’s Building Supply sold me 12 pieces of 2″x6″x8′ lumber. I checked to see if there were damaged materials that might be available. Found that they had a 2500 gallon water tank for about 1/2 price. Talked with Summer later in the evening and she agreed that we should buy it.

Finally, back at the homestead, I suited up to get down into the mud. Yep, mud. The sun had thawed the ground under the edge of the house where I was working. Because we are rushing toward ‘break up’, I decided that the continued lowering of the house needed to be halted. The house needs to simply be leveled where it is. It has been lowered about 3 inches and was planned for a total of 6 inches. It occurred to me that there was little to be gained by lowering the additional 3 inches. This epiphany led to leveling the 16 feet of the front of the house by pairing up the 2x6x8s under the beam across the pilings under the front of the house. This made much of the front of the house level. Tomorrow I will finish the main part of the house (an additional 8 feet) and then start of the old trapper’s cabin portion of the house. I have a 6″x6″x10′ pressure treated beam to go under the less than adequate existing beam. By the Monday I hope to have this leveling project done. I finished up in the mud pit at just before 8:00 PM.

Tomorrow, I intend to open a brokerage account. I’ll be waiting until I think that oil stocks are near their low and then buy a few thousand dollars worth of it. Nobody can call the bottom but this is a buying opportunity that comes along only once or twice in a lifetime. I had no money (two kids, wife and mortgage) to invest in the 1989 market crash. Now I have a few bucks to spare.

Again. Calm down, go on working and please Stop Hoarding Toilet Tissue!!!

Dad’s Alaska

March 3, 2020 Tuesday

Much of Monday was spent doing the mundane things that are necessary to living ones life. A trip to the see a lady to get the new version of my Medicare card and thence onto the dump. From dumping the household garbage I returned home. I did some laundry, cleaned the kitchen, brought in some fire wood, released the dogs to chase the geese and a dozen other small chores. I really did not get much done in the way of house lowering except that I located the four missing screw jacks.

The snow slides off the roof continued this morning and I didn’t want to be caught under one of them. These mini-avalanches weigh several hundred pounds and I know that there are chunks of ice in them. I cleared one out of the shoveled path to the storage container that weighed most of ten pounds. I just figured that it was better to wait until Tuesday to get back to lowering the house. The temps will be dropping and the wet snow on the roof will freeze to the roof again. I have no aspirations to be lying in the snow and under the snow. And most certainly not while unconscious, concussed and bleeding profusely from a head wound. I am most especially careful since I am here alone from 9:30 Am until 5:30-6:00 PM. No one drops by to visit and the only neighbor is a hundred yards away is a recluse who rarely leaves his home. For all practical purposes I am alone. Though I always keep my phone with me. However, if I were unconscious that would be of no use.

Miss Suzy, my late wife’s Yorkshire terrier, had one of her seizures last night. It started at about 8:30 and ended about 1:30 AM. I’m her human now. I held her while Summer administered an injection that is supposed to shorten the event but does not seem to do so. She has very rapid breathing, stiff limbs and any effort to stand ends in falling over. I have to sit and keep her in my lap as she has fallen off the bed once when I thought that moving to the bedroom was a good idea. I was surprised that she didn’t break something as the fall is almost three feet. I got to put my head on the pillow at 2:15 after taking my meds, setting up the morning coffee and brushing my teeth. This contributed to my lack of interest in lowering the house almost as much as the prospect of dying frozen and bleeding in the snow. I was just plain old tired.

Miss Suzy being blow dried after her bath
The drying continues.

Here are some photos from the front of the house where I am raising the house off the pilings in preparation of lowering it to a level position.

Front of the House
A new piling. The light colored board is the new lower level.
One of the old pilings with new one in the background.

A screw jack holding the house about 6″ above the new level

A view from the front of the house.

A cow moose standing in front of the house last summer.

Got up this morning to find it snowing. There was no forecast of snow. Yet here it is in big fluffy flakes. The temp was up to 14F by 9:30 AM. I was still drinking coffee and contemplating what to do about breaking my fast whilst listening to Rush. The snow got worse and was blowing. The definition of a blizzard, I guess. Watching it made me wish that I had found a snow blower last Friday.

After 48 ounces of coffee and a couple of slices of buttered toast w/grape jelly, I decided it was time to get to work. Before I go to work every day I check my blood pressure. This morning it was 194/104. The high pressure gave me a start and I decided that I wouldn’t be going out to work after all. I spent the entire day sitting in my recliner and check my BP every hour or so. About 10:00 this evening I decided to go to the Emergency Room. I preparing to leave I went into my bedroom to take my meds including my blood pressure med. As I was taking the meds, I was reading the labels. Of the ones I took not one of them was my blood pressure med. That’s when I remembered that I had a few left in the bottle and had tossed the empty. What I didn’t do was get the new bottle off the shelf and put in with my meds. It appears that I may have gone 5-6 days without taking the BP med. I’m chalking this up to either stupid or too many irons in the fire. After another half hour of vacillating, I decided that another trip to the Emergency Room was in order. Blood pressure had gone up to 219/119

Got back home at 3:30 AM. Made a peanut butter/jelly and went to bed. Tomorrow is another day, so they say.

Dad’s Alaska

Went to the doctor yesterday to get the diagnosis for my extremely high blood pressure. While I do have some restriction in the artery feeding one of my kidneys the other is fully open for business. The restriction in my right kidney is minimal and something to be watched but requires no intervention at this point. As with all things unknown, I was expecting the absolute worst possible outcome. Human nature is to expect the worst. As you might expect, I am greatly relieved to learn that the problem was caused by the new gout medicine I’ve just started taking.

Now that I know I’m not on the imminent handicapped or death list, I’ve got to get back to the leveling (lowering) the house. The problem I’m facing at this point is that the soil has fallen away from the pilings. This has left me with no place to set the jack and the jack posts. With that problem having reared its’ ugly head, I am being forced to engineer another way to set up the jack and jack posts. What I’m thinking is that I may be able to put some heavy lumber in place of the soil. Place it on the uneven ground and tie it into the pilings further back. The problem is that I need to support something like 10-15 tons long enough to cut the pilings to the proper level. Also, after the pilings are cut, there needs to be enough heavy structure to support the jack posts I am going to use to lower the house to its’ final position. On top of the engineering problems, there has been a foot of more of new snow. This means plowing through 2 feet or more of snow carrying heavy stuff.

As I sit here, writing this blurb and sipping coffee, it has begun to snow again. The temp outside is up to 22F. Not too bad. It is cold enough to need to layer up on my clothing . Once I start moving the 4″x10″x12′ timbers I will start to sweat and need to shed some of the clothing. Sweating in the cold can lead to hypothermia. Hypothermia is not a good thing. After I have dodged the kidney failure bullet, I don’t want to maim or kill myself by getting frozen appendages or freezing to death in my own front yard.

Moving to Alaska and Homer, in particular, was a kind of spur of the moment decision. My wife of 43 years had died. Summer and I were sitting, in her Florida house, sweating and talking about having to replaced the faltering A/C unit. I had an acquaintance that makes a trip to the Homer area several times a year. His description of the area made it seem very attractive. This led us to looking on Zillow for a place to live. That’s where we found this dilapidated house. After much talk and hand wringing we made an offer on the house. Unfortunately, they accepted our offer and here we are.

Just looked down out of the bathroom window to the area I’ll be working in. The snow has drifted to about 4-5 feet deep. This is just another in the long string of impediments in getting this house level. Well-l-l-l, I guess I better go layer up and get on with it. See ya later.