25 January 2017

Water water everywhere. Especialy in the garage.

Last year, Los Angeles was supposed to be flooded by El NiƱo. It came and went, and the drought barely noticed. This year, however, we had more rain in two weeks than all of last year combined. At first, I was ecstatic. I missed the rain, especially nice, luod thunderstorms. Then the water started invading our house.

Off the master bedroom is a balcony inset into the mansard roof. It has stucco walls and a stucco ceiling. During rainstorms, water sometimes blows into the balcony and leaves wet spots. However, there is no known rain that blows up and soaks just one spot in the ceiling. Crap.
Ignore the different colors of stucco.

As the rain continued battering Los Angeles, the wet spot on the ceiling grow. Spots appeared in one of the walls, eventually connecting to form a giant blob of doom. The ceiling started dripping water. At this point we were convinced there must be some sort of roof leak. I constantly checked the master bedroom and the living room corners directly under the balcony for signs of moisture. Thankfully, the water seamed happy to stay on the balcony.

We emailed our contractor, who, while surprised, agreed to send out the roofer. The roofer found a leak, but, as of today, still can't fix it until everything finishes drying out.

Our garage is a completely separate structure set into the hill, with a rooftop deck covered in stone tiles. Clearly it felt left out, as it began leaking. First it was just wet cinderblock walls.
You can see some of the old stains on the left.
This was not entirely unexpected due to the waterstains all over the walls. As the rain continued, more water came through, until it was actually dripping down the blocks and pooling on the floor.

Cracks, hopefully from settling, formed between the deck tiles that wrap around to the sides and the wall stucco.
How cool would it be if they looked like the crack from Doctor Who?
Water penetrated the cracks, leading to water stains on the ceiling. By itself, this wasn't the moist worrisome thing ever.
Can you guess where this is going?
See that giant conduit? That's right! One of the leaks is directly above the electrical subpanel! Even better, the water is flowing down behind the particle board emerging where the wall changes to cinder blocks.
Even if the panel is waterproof, that outlet looks kind of skeevy.
Pools formed on the cinder block ledge, eventually overflowing to create nice puddles on the floor. We decided that the boxes of leftover glass tile were of low priority and left them there. Even if the boxes get ruin, the tiles will be fine.

Along the back wall was boxes of leftover hardwood flooring. I used the word "were" because Matt had to move the ridiculously heavy boxes away from the seepage. Hidden behind them, where the plastic wrapped boxes leaned against the wall, was a very odd pattern of water.
The garage has herpes.

We had absolutely no idea what the spots were until things started drying out and the spots turned red. Red? Yes, red. As in red mold. Later today I will call the mold company because it's such a large area and I won't feel comfortable until a professional looks at it.

23 January 2017

We can rebuild her. We have the technology.

Over a year ago, Reese started limping after a trip to the doggy beach. We initially chalked it up to too much running around and merely needing some rest. Alas, this was not the case. She would rest (read: not get her tennis ball thrown every thirty seconds) for a few days, then immediately start limping as soon as we ramped up her activity level. It was time for the vet.

The Dr. Vet poked and prodded her leg and knee, while Reese glared at him. The joint was swollen and clearly causing her discomfort. We tried everything Dr. Vet recommended, such as anti-inflammatories, but nothing produced a lasting result. Finally, months later, it was time to visit Dr. Orthopaedic Vet.

Apparently when dogs tear their CCL (cranial cruciate ligament, the doggy version of an ACL), it is usually degenerative rather than acute. That means instead of a sudden tear and lots of howling, it slowly tears over a period of time. Dr. Orthopaedic Vet further explained that the ligament can't recover from tears, but it can be replaced with string and scar tissue. She couldn't be 100% sure about how badly, if at all, the ligament was torn prior to surgery, but, in her experience, it was torn and needed to be fixed.

After much debate, we chose the less invasive option to fix her knee. Basically, a bunch of fishing wire is wrapped around the knee to hold it together, and eventually scar tissue builds up and keeps everything steady. As the knee heals, stretches and increased mobility prevent the scar tissue from locking the knee in place while simultaneously building up strength.

We scheduled her surgery for as soon as possible. Afterwards, Dr. Orthopaedic Vet said her ligement was 90% torn. She kept Reese in the hospital overnight for observation, after which she was very ready to come home.
The blue dangly thing is a leash.

Sadly for her, Reese had two months of rehabilitation in front of her. At first, she was stuck in her crate most of the time, to prevent her from trying to walk around. At first, she was groggy enough to not care.
Zero dragged over his bed to keep her company.
That lasted for about as long as you'd expect. With her normal imperviousness to pain, she wanted to run around and eat tennis balls. However, the doctor said she was limited to five minute potty walks and nothing else. Let's just say the two weeks until her stitches were removed were very loud.

Once the stitches were finally out, the cone came off and physical therapy could begin. At first she was super excited to be out of the house and meeting new people. When the therapist laid her on her said and began stretching and massaging her leg, Reese changed her mind and wanted out of there. It took at least one vet tech to hold her still enough for the therapist to do her job.

Next came the obstacle course. Normal dogs are lured through the course with treats, but Miss Picky Pants wanted nothing to do with the offered food. She even turned up her snout at cheese. Thankfully, she was willing to follow Matt through the course. I helped by pointing and laughing.

Finally, the water tank. It's basically a treadmill in tank with varying amounts of water. In Reese's case, the water resistance forces her to use certain muscles, strengthening them. As she still refused to be lured by traditional nom noms, they threw a tennis ball in the tank. That got her moving.

With increased activity levels and regular physical therapy, Reese's leg was clearly healing nicely. The only problem was that her other hind leg was getting worse. It is common for dogs with one CCL tear to tear the other one. What no one mentioned is that by favoring the good knee both before and after surgery, the good CCL can develop a degenerative tear. I'll give you guess as to what happened.

We got to repeat the entire process over again. Reese's other knee was fixed over Thanksgiving, as she needed to be boarded at the vet anyway since she couldn't run around at the normal place. She recovered more quickly this time, as there wasn't another torn ligament hindering her progress. And thankfully, she's out of knees to replace.

05 January 2017

Star Trekking, across the universe

Because we're super cool, Matt, a second Matt, and I went to a Star Trek convention in San Francisco. It was basically what we expected - standard nerds, some in costume. I wanted to dress up, but Matt (both, really) was boring and flat out refused.

I was planning on getting a photo signed by John de Lancie, who played Q, my second favorite Star Trek character. (For those wondering, my favorite is Garek.) The plan was to buy a picture of Q from one of the vendors. However, there were shockingly few vendors, and only one selling glossy 8x10s appropriate for signing. While mulling over the equally unideal choices, Matt noticed a picture of Terry Farrell from Trials and Tribble-ations, my second favorite Deep Space 9 episode. Anyone noticing a trend here? Anyway, I decided to get that picture as well and get it signed.

Next it was time to meet Q. He was very nice - he asked some questions and listened to my answers. It was almost like a real conversation! The table next to him housed Denise Crosby, who saw my four ponies of the apocalypse t-shirt. She struck up a conversation about it and told me about the Tasha Yar My Little Pony that someone made. She even looked up a picture of it on her phone!

After that encounter, there was only one logical thing to do. We found the hotel's business center and paid $1.90 for a crappy printout of the Tasha Yar My Little Pony.

When I brought it back over and asked her to sign it, she went nuts. Good nuts, just to be clear. She desperately tried to get John de Lancie's attention, but he was trying to ignore her and talk to another fan. After she signed the page, I held it up over the should of the other fan's head so he'd finally see it. At first he was quite confused as to what on earth was going on that required his immediate attention, but he eventually acknowledged the pony and its inherent awesomeness.

Inherent awesomeness.

Now that such a glorious memento is in my possession, I feel the need to create a ridiculously awesome photo album in which to store it. I'm thinking of making it look like a PADD.

Still basking in the glory from my successful encounters the previous day, I decided to brave the microphone and ask Q a question during his Q&A. There were two microphones, each with about five or six people waiting when I got up to the front. I patiently waited my turn as people alternated between legitimate questions and asking for validation on their creepy stalker stories and pet theories.

Finally, the person in front of me asked her question. All that was standing in front of me and 15 seconds of talking in front of hundreds of people was a kid at the other mike. The kid claimed to be 13, but he looked closer 8. And he was dressed like Wesley Crusher, complete with the sweater. I thought to myself, "If anyone is going to ruin my amazing question, it's going to be freaking Wesley."

Well, guess what happened next. While he did not ask the exact same question, it was annoyingly similar. I desperately wanted to yell, "SHUT UP WESLEY!" I even contemplated leaving the line, but I didn't want to be berated publicly by Q. I tried desperately to think of anything resembling a valid question. My idiot brain went completely blank. And then it was my turn to speak.

With nothing else to say, I gave up and just asked my original question. "Which captain did you most enjoy tormenting?" To no one's surprise, he replied that he just answered that question. "I know, but after waiting in line, I at least wanted a chance to ask." And I ran off to hide at the bottom of a deep chasm. Or back to my chair, which was slightly closer.

Thanks, Wesley.