Thursday, September 22, 2011

Protect Your Investment - CDN Freezer Alarm $8

Bought the CDN Audio Visual Freezer Alarm for our backup freezer.  When we had an addition added on to the back of our home, the electrical part must not have been done up to code because every now and then we trip a breaker.  I think it is when we run the air conditioner in the additional room AND use the treadmill.  Problem is, the outlets that it trips also run the standup freezer where all our backup frozen meat is store.

The other day, it tripped and Wifey figured it out about 24 hours later.  Let's just say there was some blood running down the inside of the freezer door thanks to the thawing.  I have had the freezer alarm on my Amazon Want List for a while as a redundancy check.  After this incident, and the fact that it was only $8, I went ahead and purchased it.

It is a very simple mechanism.  Powered by two AA batteries.  You simply stick it near the hinge side of the door on the outside and run a cable sensor inside the freezer.  Give the gizmo 20 minutes to get used to the new temperature and then turn it on.  It will let out a shrill alarm sound when the inside sensor raises in temperature.

Peace of mind for $8.  Gotta love that!


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Training on the Signa 1.5 Tesla MRI

Our Signa 1.5T MRI machine.
I've been busy the past ten days driving back and forth from my hospital (no MRI machine) to our East Campus (has MRI machine) to do my cross training.  It is actually more exciting than I thought it would be at first.

I've steered clear of those giant magnets after seeing all the pictures of gurneys and oxygen tanks sucked into the room and doing massive damage.  With my luck, I figured, that'll happen to me if I work in there.

But I've become more familiar with the machine and it's not such a big deal anymore.  There are safeguards in place such as questionnaires and metal detectors which almost guarantee no problems.  A verbal follow up with the patient and there is very little left to chance.

I've also learned that certain equipment has been made specifically for MRI rooms.  I took a picture of our oxygen tank which is rated to be usable all the way up to a 7 Tesla coil rating (our's is 1.5T).  The MRI table can undock and be moved outside of the magnet room if a patient is unable to walk into the room on their own.  We load the patient onto the table and wheel them into the magnet room for safety.

Our fire extinguisher is for MRI Use Only.
So far, I've done several MRIs and MRAs: Brain, COW (Circle of Willis), hand, forearm, and MRCPs for the most part. Soon to follow will be knees, shoulders and hips, I'm sure.  They seem to get ordered a lot.  Sleep time has taken a hit but someone once told me "you get enough sleep when you're dead."  Hard to argue that one.


Friday, September 16, 2011

New Developments

My plate: XR (xray) CT (ct scan) & US (ultrasound)
and my score card: six daughters.
It has been a busy week around here lately.  I've blogged about our recent birthday party and coming home celebration for a friend.  The school year is in full swing and mom and dad's taxi service seems to be running 24/7.

I tweaked my schedule a tad to add a little extra income for our upcoming annual trip to Disneyland.  It means a little less time at home for me but guarantees the family will have an unforgettable vacation in The Happiest Place on Earth.  We are already getting excited as we talk about what we will be doing.

An unexpected new development occured two Saturdays ago when I inadvertently crossed the path of my boss while visiting a friend at work.  And when I say boss, I don't mean my Lead (Manager), or my Director...I mean the doctor that owns the hospital.  He invited me to the hospital cafeteria and treated me to a omelette of my choice.  While waiting for the food we had pleasant conversation.  It's always nice when administration acknowledges your existence.  Working the night shift for so many years, I sometimes wonder if admin even knows who I am.

As I shifted the conversation from hospital financials to gainful employment, I admitted I was considering returning to school to learn additional skills.  I had began employment at this hospital after completing my radiography rotation here and simultaneously learned computed tomography.  I continued to work full time as I returned to school for yet another two years from which I completed training for sonography.

Having these three skill sets, X-ray, CT, and Ultrasound, my employment outlook was just about as bright as it could be...or so I thought.  As I mentioned the idea of learning echocardiography to my boss, he, in turn, asked if I could learn magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI. I mentioned echo training one more time to which he replied that he really needed an MRI tech on staff.  My previous Director had filled this position until his passing from cancer earlier this year.

Fast forward two weeks and I've been given permission to cross-train into the MRI department.  I now get called in to the hospital every time our PRN (part time employee) gets called in to do a study.  I started today and learned the protocol for performing an MRA Brain.  I will continue coming in and training every time an MRI is ordered until I am ready to perform the basic studies on my own.  Dare I mention (for fear I might wake up) that this is PAID training.

It became clear to me that our hospital is paying higher wages to PRN techs every time we get an MRI because we do not have a full time MRI tech on our staff.  Neither of our PRN techs can be hired full time (both have full time jobs already).  I hadn't really had time to think about all the possibilities of this new door I have opened until I received a text message from our Interim Director tonight.  He asked if I was interested in moving to day shift and becoming the hospital's full time MRI tech (after training).

Is this where I've been heading?  I've been on the night shift for so I want to go back to days?  I passed on the news to Wifey.  She was quick to point out that with such a move: 1) I would be home every night, 2) we could sleep in the same bed at the same time, and 3) I would have weekends off to spend with family.  She was clearly leaning to one side on the issue.  I don't blame her one bit.

Strange the way things play out sometimes.  But I won't count my chickens before they hatch.  First things first, let's get the training under my belt.  Then we can negotiate hours and pay.  So I'll be a little more tired for the next few months as I balance working full time with random returns to work to learn another skill.  It will probably slow down my blogging a little but I'll still post several times each week. I'm dying to post an xray of a male patient we had with a foreign body lodged in his rectum.  Did I mention it was a baseball?  Anyway, darn hospital policies prohibit me from doing that kind of stuff anymore.  Now it just gets locked away inside my little mental rolodex.  Lucky me :-(


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Luau Themed Birthday Party

Lexi, or #3 as Wifey calls her, turned eleven this past week and she requested a Luau themed birthday party.  Lucky for me, the local dollar store was chock full of Luau decorations.  All together, around ten girls came to the party.  Add that to my six and we had a full house.

The invitations asked the girls to bring their favorite games to the party.  They spent the first hour or so playing Clue, Connect 4 and other classics.  We played the movie Back to the Future in the background for anyone not interested in games.

As I ran to the local pizza joint for some last minute food, Wifey administered a game where she hung a dozen or so donuts from the ceiling by a string.  The girls had to eat the donuts without using their hands.  From the sounds of it, I missed some hilarious stuff.

The cake was from a local Albertson's store and followed the Luau theme.  Lexi asked for the icing that "tastes like whipped creme" so that's what I ordered.  Snacks were a plenty: pretzels, chips, salsa, coconut marshmellows, three types of caffeine free soda and more.

Everyone had a great time and cleanup actually wasn't too bad.  Lexi's favorite gift was a gold fish.  Yup, someone got her a gold fish complete with bowl and food.

Already planning to get THAT girl a drum set for her birthday gift.  Or any other LOUD instrument I can find ;-)

She named him Tommy and Wifey and I have started the countdown clock.  How long will he last?  Less than a week if my 2, 3, or 5 year old get at him.

Time goes by fast, I'm glad we took the time to set up for the party and enjoy her birthday.  We all spent the whole day cleaning and preparing.  Lexi didn't quite understand why we needed to do so much cleaning.  I tried to explain to her that nothing comes without a price.  She's still kinda opening her eyes to how the world works.  It's fun to watch...frustrating at times...but fun.

Pinata and Luau Beach House.
Happy Birthday kiddo.

Monday, September 12, 2011

It Wasn't a Ferris Bueller

Rules for a successful skip school day.
After a long, interesting day I found myself accusing my five year old of attempting to pull a "Ferris Bueller" to get out of school the next day.  FB is one of our favorite family movies where a high school student pretends to be sick in order to go site-seeing all day with his pals.

As Wifey and I laughed at the notion, the splatter of puke hitting the floor in our tile hallway could be heard...several times.

Guess I was wrong.  Somebody gets to stay home from school tomorrow.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Power Outage and Gridlock in California

Just three short weeks before our annual trip to Disneyland and nearby San Diego goes dark.  Reportedly, two main incoming power lines that supply southern California have been "severed".

Of course, no mention of HOW they severed.  Surely wouldn't be terror related.  Meanwhile, massive gridlock cripled the city and has spurred me to pack an emergency pack for our stay in Anaheim.

I'm thinking some emergency candles, coleman stove, first aid and rations should do.

Eating Healthy...well, healthier...

Now that Wifey and I have started back to the gym, I need to start eating a little better.  I'm slowly getting back into the morning protein drink routine.

On the right is a picture of my slow ease back into protein consumption.  I think the Whey is from Walmart.  I've had the flax around for a while, it may even be inert by now but I added it into the mix anyway.

A little bit of honey to sweeten the mix and it wasn't too bad.  I'm working on moving away from two large meals a day and back into three reasonable meals with healthy snacks in the middle.  I know a Best Buy promotional code that can get you a good blender to mix the protein.

Any recommendations on good tasting protein powder is welcome although, I'll have to admit, most of the time I buy based on cost (hence the Walmart protein).


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Puts my squash to shame...

Add caption
Stopped in at my local fav Farmers Market today for some apples and other juicables.  Laying in the pile of Butternut Squash was this monster.

Thinking my own B. squash skills had been put to shame, the owner told me this was a Banana Squash and it was average size for that species.

Wow. I couldn't resist sending a pic to Wifey.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Homemade Hamburger Beef Jerky

My Nesco dehydrator and jerky.
I made another batch of delicious jerky this past evening.  This time I used a different jerky gun adapter.  This adapter makes one big wide strip while the last one I used made two smaller strips.

I can say that the smaller dual strip adapter is what I will use from now on.  It makes no difference in the taste of course, but I noticed a big difference in space management on the dehydrator racks.  The dual adapter allows me to put more jerky per rack.

The fragrance wafting off this jerky was so wonderful that Wifey had a daughter blow out our fragrance candle so we could enjoy the jerky smell.

This is all part of the Nesco jerky kit found on Amazon.  I highly recommend it if you haven't already figured out your own recipe.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

I Should Have Seen It Coming.

Repair kit on the right = cheap
Broken porcelain on left = NOT cheap
One of our two toilets broke about a week ago.  I had to wait until I had a day off to fix it.  Imagine my surprise when the cost of the broken part was about $10.  Finally, some good financial news.  I should have seen it coming.

I began tearing apart the toilet.  Aside from the black stuff building up on my hands from the ten year old grommets in the toilet tank, the repair was seemingly straight forward.  I should have seen it coming.

Contorting myself to fit between the wall and toilet while  I bent on one knee with my left hand forcing a screw driver into the tank and my right hand ratcheting a nut onto a bolt under the tank.  I almost impressed myself considering I have ZERO experience with toilet repair.  That's when I heard it.

Crack!  My heart skipped a beat as my $10 repair turned into a $200 repair because I just overtightened the nut and cracked the porcelain toilet bowl.  I should have seen it coming.

For some reason, when I attempt a seemingly easy repair myself, it tends to turn into a big, hairy mess.

Which is why I took my gas guzzling Suburban to the shop for an oil change today.  $40 and 60 minutes later, Big O Tire informed me that the vehicle I would be depending on to take my family 600 miles to Disneyland in four weeks needed just under $2000 in repairs.

Low coolant led them to pressure test my radiator and I've been informed the radiator is "completely falling apart."  Of course, they can't recommend a new radiator without new hoses, thermostat, etc etc.

Long story made short, they recommended front hubs, a 100,000 mile tune up, complete radiator overhaul and more that I can't remember.  I went in for an oil change.  I should have seen it coming.

Some day I'll share the story about how I tried to save $50 and do my own tune up.  I cracked the spark plug in half inside the engine block.  The dealership had to take the head off the block and hone out the spark plug hole.  It cost me over $1000.

This day just plain sucked.

Friday, September 2, 2011

O...M...G !

I think it automatically cut off at this point. Damn Suburban's gonna break me.

Wanted: horse and buggy.

Surprise For Wifey

Surprised Wifey with some Bosch accessories.  Bought on the way to work and laid them out for this pic...then sent the pic to her.

In the words of Paul Blart's daughter (from Mall Cop)..."Yeah, I am pretty great."

Good Potato Yield

These were dangling from ONE potato plant. I'm plenty satisfied with this amount of yield considering each "plant" started as about a quarter piece of a single potato.  These were purchased from my local Sprouts market (grocer).

I also bought purple potatoes and while they sprouted terrifically ABOVE ground, under ground the spuds maxed around the size of a pencil eraser (the kind you stick on the end of a pencil). VERY pathetic.

Live and learn.

Sending mini posts from my Droid

I'm experimenting with sending mini posts from my cell phone instead of waiting until I can write up an entire page from my desktop. It SHOULD allow me to share more ideas "as they happen" but it looks strange to me to post such short blog posts.

Sad Pumpkin Yield

The results of my ENTIRE pumpkin garden [facepalm].

My Little Friend

Found inches from my front door.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I Found Lonesome Dove Tonight

Wow, what a great series!  Made in 1989, I don't know why I haven't watched Lonesome Dove before now.  With a cast loaded with terrific actors and actresses, I enjoyed all four episodes of Season One tonight.  I admit that I had a little trouble accepting the overly drawn out southern drawl from Tommy Lee and Robert Duvall but I quickly warmed up to it.

I spent my first 21 years in Oklahoma with the constant reminders of cowboys, country music and farmland.  Oddly enough, and perhaps due to the daily reminders, I wanted nothing to do with the country life.  I wanted to read the Wall Street Journal with a purpose and wear clothes that were called "preppy" by those that I went to school with.

I wanted to drive a Porsche or something similar and live in  Nichols Hills, known as a wealthy subdivision in OKC.  I'm not sure what influenced me onto such a tangent.  I came from a middle class family with not much in the way of possessions.  We had a modest 3 bedroom home on the edge of the city.  I had next to nothing but wanted to live like a king.

Funny how things change with age.

Funny I should pick up a subscriber named Duke
tonight.  I took this pic when I got to work a few
hours ago.
Flash forward 20 years.  Wifey and I talk about farm life, growing our own food, and yearn for a homestead outside of town.  We avoid roads with heavy traffic and shop at our local Farmer's Market for good, quality produce.  Our garden yielded nice produce this past season and we're planning our next crop choices.  There's nothing I'd like better than to get back to those country folks that always waved when we drove by and I'm quite happy in my plain t-shirts from Target for $8, thank you.

They say home is where the heart is and my heart is here in Arizona with my beautiful family.  But I guess a part of me will always be back in Oklahoma and Lonesome Dove sure made me miss it.

Hope the next series with John Voight is equally as good.  Too bad his daughter isn't in it ;-)