Sunday, April 30, 2006

New Laptop

In preparation for the day when I do not have the use of the company laptop, I purchased a new one yesterday. It is the Sony Vaio TX750P/B. The main reason for selecting this laptop was its size, but I still wanted something that would not be obsolete in just a few months. I wanted something very small so I can use it for my GPS while driving. I have been using my Thinkpad which was small, but this is even more so. It make it less obtrusive while sitting on the dash.

This laptop has a wide screen that is only 10.7 inches corner to corner. The screen is only 9 3/4 wide and 5 1/2 high and I have never seen a screen as thin as this one. It is only a little over 1/8 of an inch. This makes the print on the small side, but since I usually have it actually sitting on my lap when I am using it out of the truck, it is readable. I have experimented with increasing the size of the font, etc. and found it is OK as it is for my needs.

It has a decent processor (Intel 753), an 80G hard drive (only 4200 rpm), built in wireless, bluetooth and even Cingular Wireless WAN (at $80 per month it won't get used!), and a built in double layer DVD burner. With the battery, which should last between 4 1/2 to 7 hours, it only weighs 2.8 pounds. Really a featherweight. It came with XP Pro.

So far it seems great for my needs and I have only found two things I need to get used to. The keyboard does not have all the keys nor the great feel of my Thinkpad and I am very used to the button mouse. I have never liked the glide pad but that is all this has.

One other nice built in feature is the A/V capability. It can be used as a DVD player without even booting to Windows so it is also a basic portable DVD player. Of course the sound is terrible over the built in speakers but with a headset it is very nice. I don't know that I will use that much but who knows.

So, the fun of customizing, loading software and moving data is already underway. It will probably take several days to get it set the way I want.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


I'll post an update! I am continuing to improve. That's it.

Didn't think that would work. I go to PT three times a week and do stretching and strength exercises. I am able to do more all the time, but I am still sore after each session. That's good they tell me. I also walk about one and one half miles every day. All in all I am making good practice and the ache in my back is less and less. I can no longer call it back pain. I go to the Dr. next Monday for my six week check up and will know what happens from here. I am still not released to go back to work and really don't see how I could as long as I continue with PT. It takes all morning and I sure don't feel like doing much all afternoon.

Dianna has returned from her week in California visiting her parents. They are both doing OK now. Seems she usually does not get there until things have settled down. By OK I mean that they are both at home, not in the hospital. The staph infection is much improved which is a good thing. They do have part time help coming in three days a week to help with cleaning and other chores.

Dom is in baseball again this year so we get to go to his games every week. He is doing pretty good this year.

Deidra is in her last year at the mid-school in Denton. Next year she will be attending the new mid-school near her home. That will be really nice. She currently catches the bus at 7:50 and does not get home until 5:00. That one and one half hour bus ride after school is a huge time waster.

That's about all I can think of right now.  It's tough to post when there is not much going on, but I appreciate everyone thinking of me.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Vitamin D

Now I am following another Dr. thread as a result of one of the tests prior to my  back surgery.  Found out I have very poor bone density.  My GP said I was way to low for a man (I assured him I was, which he already knew) and ran a calcium and Vitamin D test.  My vitamin D came back way low.  No idea why.  I am taking mega doses for the next four weeks to see if that helps. Then I have an appointment with an endochrinologist to see if we can figure out why and if it is anything to worry about.  All my other blood work is fine.  The only blessing in all this is that I have met my out of pocket insurance maximums for the year so I have free medical treatment for the rest of the year.

I really don't want this blog to turn into a running commentary on our medical conditions but it seems the easiest way to let everyone who has an interest in us know what is happening.

I am going to PT three days a week and seeing progress in my strength and flexibility.   At this point I don't know if my backaches are due to the surgery or to the workout these two sadistic young ladies put me through.  It is certainly a big improvement over my condition prior to surgery.  Then I had back pain.  Now I have backaches.

Thursday, April 6, 2006

More Scam Artists

We advertised our truck camper for sale on an online RV trading site a few days ago. When we bought it we thought we would use it for our Alaska trip after retirement and for vacations with the grandkids in the meantime. We have used it several times, but it is really not big enough for the grandkids and us anymore and we have decided to take our trailer when we make the Alaska trip.

Yesterday I received a nice response to the ad asking for photo's and additional information. It sounded like they were interesed so I sent some photos and a nice response. Then today I received an email telling me that they had decided to buy it and went on to explain how they wanted to handle the payment. I would receive a cashiers check made out to me and sent from some company. The check would be for about twice what I am asking for the camper because the company owed the buyer that much money. I was to deposit the check and wire the difference to the buyer. Then they would make arrangements to pick up the camper.

Of course, I immediately realized this was a scam attempt. What many people do not know is that cashiers checks are very easy to forge and not at all secure. The banking rules in most states require that a bank make the funds from any deposited cashiers checks available within 24 to 48 hours. This they do. However, the actual behind the scenes check clearing process through the Federal Reserve can take up to two weeks. It often takes that long to find out the check is worthless.

I forwarded a copy of the correspondence to Yahoo security since the scam artist was using a Yahoo email account, not that it will do much good. You just have to be very careful. Never, never, never send or give anyone goods or money in exchange for a cashiers check without having your bank verify that it is genuine.

Tuesday, April 4, 2006


At Richard's first post-op appt. yesterday the surgeon said his incision has healed like a baby's. He was given the green light to drive again which was welcome news. He's sore in his stomach and hip area and was told that's because his spine was stretched during surgery to remove the old disc and implant the artificial one. That explains it! He now goes for PT three times a week. TBI (Texas Back Institute) has just opened an office closer to us so he will be able to go there instead. He's taking fewer and fewer pain pills all the time so it's just a matter of continuing the healing process.

I got my embroidery machine out a couple of days ago for the first time in several months. I had gotten so frustrated with it binding up over the holidays that it sat for some time. My first project was this shirt for Mom L and all went well, though I held my breath the whole time waiting for something to go wrong.  I also worked on some Easter items.

My folks have been in out of the hospital several times over the past few weeks. Daddy was admitted again yesterday (as my mom was being discharged for gall stones & pancreatitis) as a result of a minor stroke, severe dehydration and a staph infection in his arms which is no better after having been treated for a couple of weeks. Our niece, Marie, works at the hospital where they go so she's been helpful in getting good doctors to see them.

Julie is an accountant and works 80-100 hrs a week this time of year. She's taken quite a bit of time off taking Mom & Dad to doctor's appointments, the hospital, etc. Her bosses have been very kind in giving her the time but it's getting close to April 15 and they are beginning to make noises. Richard told me yesterday he feels he can handle things on his own now so I will be going out next week for about 10 days to help out. We've hired care givers to come in several hours a day but they can't do it all.

I'm so grateful I've got family in CA who can do much of the care giving but I think we are getting closer to pulling the plug and maybe moving out there for a time to get things settled for Mom and Dad.