Hot Fudge Reporting Back

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Re: Hot Fudge Reporting Back

Postby vlad the impaler » Sun Jun 18, 2017 3:41 pm

Sat on the backyard deck Friday night for the first time in a couple of weeks. Was relaxing in my favorite wooden Adirondack chair with my four year old boy on my lap when I noticed a yellowjacket between my knees. At first I thought he was just another roamer flying about but when several more suddenly appeared, I quickly realized there was more going on.

I jumped up and took a few steps with son in grasp. I figured I'd watch to see if more yellowjackets emerged from under the chair, and sure enough, more did. I knew a couple had followed me when I felt them get under my shirt and sting my neck. I rushed myself and my boy inside my house- luckily he was not stung! There is no greater terror to a kid than insect stings... had they nailed him, he would've been shrieking for hours.

Out in the garage, I had a can of wasp nest spray that I'd recently been using on carpenter bees who dug a holes in the wood eave above the deck earlier this spring. Their nest was hidden in the eave, so the only time I was able to get them with the 20 foot stream of poison foam was when they would enter or exit the pea-sized holes. Timing had to be perfect- one half second too early or too late with the spray meant the difference between a full dose of insecticide or the bee flying way unscathed. It took several weeks and several cans of spray to fully address the carpenter bee problem but finally it was resolved.

I have to admit being somewhat conflicted about killing the carpenter bees, seeing how they are pollinators in a world where pollinators are decreasing. But I have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to the natural world intruding on my personal domain and family's personal domain. The same draconian rules apply to the birds that built nests in the deck rafters above the bbq grill. Bird nests above a grill is a recipe to get sick, given how bird poop carries all sorts of disease, like botulism and histoplasmosis. For a couple of years, I would knock the nests down with a broom (sometimes with eggs in them, if I did not catch it soon enough), then I tried using a bird-repellant which came in a tube. But the "repellant" wasn't really a repellant; it was just sticky goop that adhered to bird feathers. Last year, I installed wire deterrent prongs on the rafters, a move which proved effective.

I could go on about my pest extermination techniques because I live in the ex-urbs and have all sorts of critters on my 3/4 acre of God's country. Like how the red squirrels would gnaw on my (now-gone) hot tub wires. All I can say is the .22 round is a very effective varmint round but you only get one shot because two shots arouses curiosity amongst neighbors. And last summer, a chipmunk ate into the wiring of my truck, which cost me $500 at the dealer to get a new harness installed. That situation was resolved by strategic placement of Decon pellets near the truck tires.

Back to the yellowjackets: since my deck is elevated, I was able to find an angle where I could see the hornet nest under the seat of the chair. It was about the size of an apple and yellowjackets where coming and going with frequency, no doubt riled up by my recent presence and the pharamones released when a couple of their scouts stung me. I was able to hit the entry/exit hole with a long, solid stream of death spray and hornets began to fall out the hole and curl and expire on the deck. I let the poison penetrate the nest for a couple of minutes before flipping the chair over and giving the nest hole one additional shot of foamy goodness. Out popped a yellowjacket twice the size of the rest, the nest mother I assume.

I swatted the nest with a broom, and it crumpled apart like wet newspaper. Inside was perfect honeycomb ring filled with 20 or 30 little eggs the size and color of tic tacs. I kicked the little nursery off the deck, and gave it a shot of spray just to make sure there would be no unattended hornet hatch. If that didn't do the trick, I can say for sure nothing was left when I ran over it with the riding mower yesterday.

Speaking of riding lawn mower, after I mowed I removed the blades for sharpening. I figured it was about time to get the blades sharpened, seeing how I bought the mower used four years ago and never had them sharpened. Let me tell you, easier said than done. First, I did not have the proper tools. Repeated attempts using an adjustable wrench were futile. After a couple of trips to the local hardware store I finally had the right size wrench (15/16" deep socket on a 1/2" wrench). I still couldn't get the damn nuts to turn! One more trip to the hardware store, I picked up a two-foot section of lead pipe for leverage. The nuts eventually gave, after I jammed a piece of 2X4 lumber between the blades and tugged with full body strength. Good thing too- the blades were as dull as your typical WCCCD student.

I could go on but today is Father's Day, so it's off to the in-laws for dinner and more Father's Day activities. Happy Father's Day to all six of you who still post here.
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Re: Hot Fudge Reporting Back

Postby middle aged female » Sun Jun 18, 2017 3:49 pm

And a Happy Father's Day to you from this Mother.

You sound like you're pretty handy with that wasp spray. Glad your kid was okay
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Re: Hot Fudge Reporting Back

Postby Craig » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:03 pm

Yes, a good Fathers' Day. Yellow jackets in my area set up in the door jams of parked cars and behind shutters. The fiction is that these "bees" won't bother you if you don't bother them firat, but these really aren't bees and once they're numerous enough they begin get attitudes and take o aaggressively patroing their local airspace. Chemicals do the trick, but the best tool is a one-dollar butterfly net on a five-foot bamboo pole that my wife got for one of the kids ten years ago.. Hornets start fucking with me, the net comes out, and PDQ i've bagged the offenders as effectively as the Luftwaffe's heavy flak batteries along the Rhine. As notes the foaming Zyklon B works but it's messy, not cheap, and tends to been nearly used up just when I need it most. Those hornet traps that rely on baffles and pheromones work for shit.

By luck most of the day was kid-free up here. The younger cohort was off on a church trip while others were working. Those who could, though, reached out, and my eldest came home for a short visit from his down-river digs before heading over to see his girlfriend. So there was plenty of time to relax and reflect upon where we've been and where we're going. A cool place to be in life.
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Re: Hot Fudge Reporting Back

Postby The Suburban Avenger » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:58 pm

I have been stomach-free since early Thursday and am starting to get bored off my ass. Tomororro begins the solid food test and, once I pass, I'm outta here. Crossing my fingers that's no later than Wednesday.

The surgeons said the procedure was a five-star job all are well needed: No need for a feeding tube and the pain has been surprisingly minimal.as these things go, I've been pretty damned lucky.
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Re: Hot Fudge Reporting Back

Postby middle aged female » Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:03 pm

The Suburban Avenger wrote:I have been stomach-free since early Thursday and am starting to get bored off my ass. Tomororro begins the solid food test and, once I pass, I'm outta here. Crossing my fingers that's no later than Wednesday.

The surgeons said the procedure was a five-star job all are well needed: No need for a feeding tube and the pain has been surprisingly minimal.as these things go, I've been pretty damned lucky.

I'm glad you're doing well, or as well as one can without a stomach. I hope you're able to eat the solids so you can get out of there and start to enjoy life again
Good luck
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Re: Hot Fudge Reporting Back

Postby pdtpuck » Wed Jun 28, 2017 1:05 pm

The Suburban Avenger wrote:I have been stomach-free since early Thursday and am starting to get bored off my ass. Tomororro begins the solid food test and, once I pass, I'm outta here. Crossing my fingers that's no later than Wednesday.

The surgeons said the procedure was a five-star job all are well needed: No need for a feeding tube and the pain has been surprisingly minimal.as these things go, I've been pretty damned lucky.

Yes, good luck SA!
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Re: Hot Fudge Reporting Back

Postby Craig » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:51 pm

Just had a hot air balloon land in my 'hood. This is suburbia but the streets and lots are not big enough for this kind of thing. Pretty strange to have this big thing with a noisy flame jetting away just settle down over the tree line. All ended well with no damage or injuries, and the pilot shared that there was no wind by which to maneuver and so there was no choice but to come straight down.
Soon I discovered that this rock-thing was true...
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Re: Hot Fudge Reporting Back

Postby middle aged female » Tue Jul 18, 2017 7:37 am

Craig wrote:Just had a hot air balloon land in my 'hood. This is suburbia but the streets and lots are not big enough for this kind of thing. Pretty strange to have this big thing with a noisy flame jetting away just settle down over the tree line. All ended well with no damage or injuries, and the pilot shared that there was no wind by which to maneuver and so there was no choice but to come straight down.

They used to take off from the football field next to our house in Almont and there was always a "follow" car that trailed them as they sailed across the sky to fields unknown. We followed the chaser more than once to watch them land a few miles away
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Re: Hot Fudge Reporting Back

Postby guest » Tue Jul 18, 2017 4:02 pm

middle aged female wrote:
Craig wrote:Just had a hot air balloon land in my 'hood. This is suburbia but the streets and lots are not big enough for this kind of thing. Pretty strange to have this big thing with a noisy flame jetting away just settle down over the tree line. All ended well with no damage or injuries, and the pilot shared that there was no wind by which to maneuver and so there was no choice but to come straight down.

They used to take off from the football field next to our house in Almont and there was always a "follow" car that trailed them as they sailed across the sky to fields unknown. We followed the chaser more than once to watch them land a few miles away


I went to school in Albuquerque and balloons are a big deal there; clear skies, open spaces and usually mild wind. They even have a balloon festival where they go up en masse, kind of like the bike ride thing but without the aggressive assholery.

So you'll be walking along, minding your own business when you hear a big whoosh!!! and look up and, hey, a balloon. (the burners are loud but they usually run silent with occasional blasts of flame to keep things inflated)

Doing this in populated areas can pose problems. One power line can really ruin a day.
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Re: Hot Fudge Reporting Back

Postby Craig » Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:37 pm

guest wrote:
middle aged female wrote:
Craig wrote:Just had a hot air balloon land in my 'hood. This is suburbia but the streets and lots are not big enough for this kind of thing. Pretty strange to have this big thing with a noisy flame jetting away just settle down over the tree line. All ended well with no damage or injuries, and the pilot shared that there was no wind by which to maneuver and so there was no choice but to come straight down.

They used to take off from the football field next to our house in Almont and there was always a "follow" car that trailed them as they sailed across the sky to fields unknown. We followed the chaser more than once to watch them land a few miles away


I went to school in Albuquerque and balloons are a big deal there; clear skies, open spaces and usually mild wind. They even have a balloon festival where they go up en masse, kind of like the bike ride thing but without the aggressive assholery.

So you'll be walking along, minding your own business when you hear a big whoosh!!! and look up and, hey, a balloon. (the burners are loud but they usually run silent with occasional blasts of flame to keep things inflated)

Doing this in populated areas can pose problems. One power line can really ruin a day.


Granted I know nothing about how hot air balloons work or are controlled but it's surprising to me that this damn thing didn't get tangled in any of the many trees and power lines in this neighborhood. In the aftermath that wasn't I was chatting with a neighbor who is a RC plane nerd and it was his opinion that our area is so full of obstacles that he wouldn't dare fly one of his toys up and down our streets. As I had a driveway full of equipment spread out I didn't chase off to see the spectacle but my wife and kids did, and they told me that the basket ended up resting on the ground while the pilot kept feathering the gas burner in order to keep the balloon inflated and erect (is that the right term?) until his ground chase crew showed up to help wrangle things. Honestly, I cannot picture any place in our neighborhood large enough to park a big, inflated balloon.
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Re: Hot Fudge Reporting Back

Postby ldodger » Fri Jul 21, 2017 10:58 am

Our house has been on a never-ending roller coaster ride of emotion since late December. My sister was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer shortly after Christmas. We've just finished up her treatment. I'm amazed she survived. Sis was 140 pounds before all this began. Week before last, she was 84 pounds. On Wednesday, after a CT scan, we learned no new cancer has appeared. The original tumor area is still under question as the chemo and radiation are still working on the cancer cells. We should know more in October.

When the doc first told me what he'd found after her biopsies, he didn't recommend treatment. He mentioned palliative care as a possibility. She was not a candidate for removal of the lung and other courses of treatment (based on genetics) would not have been effective. The doctors suggested she take a course of chemo and radiation, and she agreed. She said she would try one course of treatment, after that they could "fuck off." She finished radiation about six weeks ago. They had to stop chemo, as it was killing her. Their plan was to send her for another round of chemo, but that is just not possible due to other health concerns. The test results were better than I could have hoped. I've read the different prognoses as they relate to the different stages of her cancer. Deep down, I cannot help thinking this is just a temporary reprieve. All the studies show patients diagnosed with her stage and cancer are not around longer than 18 months.

Heart disease I know--my parents, sister, and brother all have/had it. I've been around heart disease. As far as cancer is concerned, this was the first time I was involved from diagnosis to end of treatment. What one goes through in the treatment of cancer is a damned shit show. I would never wish it on my worst enemy. What amazes me about modern medicine is that it is still a guessing game--throw something in here, a little something else there, and maybe it will be effective. Her care has been excellent, she will be released from the rehab this weekend, so this week was a good week. I am afraid to hope too much.

Last week, my nephew fell in his bathroom. He fractured his femur so badly, they had to amputate his leg. Apparently he had been unconscious long enough for the break to cut off circulation to the leg. By the time they got him to the hospital, there was no hope.

I am hoping this is the last of the health scares for some time.

I'm the youngest, and I'm also the only one in the family not to smoke. I'm hoping that will earn me a few extra years. The bad part of it all is, provided I'm not struck by lightning, I may be the last one alive in my family in the next few years. That thought sucks.
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Re: Hot Fudge Reporting Back

Postby middle aged female » Fri Jul 21, 2017 11:05 am

ldodger wrote:Our house has been on a never-ending roller coaster ride of emotion since late December. My sister was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer shortly after Christmas. We've just finished up her treatment. I'm amazed she survived. Sis was 140 pounds before all this began. Week before last, she was 84 pounds. On Wednesday, after a CT scan, we learned no new cancer has appeared. The original tumor area is still under question as the chemo and radiation are still working on the cancer cells. We should know more in October.

When the doc first told me what he'd found after her biopsies, he didn't recommend treatment. He mentioned palliative care as a possibility. She was not a candidate for removal of the lung and other courses of treatment (based on genetics) would not have been effective. The doctors suggested she take a course of chemo and radiation, and she agreed. She said she would try one course of treatment, after that they could "fuck off." She finished radiation about six weeks ago. They had to stop chemo, as it was killing her. Their plan was to send her for another round of chemo, but that is just not possible due to other health concerns. The test results were better than I could have hoped. I've read the different prognoses as they relate to the different stages of her cancer. Deep down, I cannot help thinking this is just a temporary reprieve. All the studies show patients diagnosed with her stage and cancer are not around longer than 18 months.

Heart disease I know--my parents, sister, and brother all have/had it. I've been around heart disease. As far as cancer is concerned, this was the first time I was involved from diagnosis to end of treatment. What one goes through in the treatment of cancer is a damned shit show. I would never wish it on my worst enemy. What amazes me about modern medicine is that it is still a guessing game--throw something in here, a little something else there, and maybe it will be effective. Her care has been excellent, she will be released from the rehab this weekend, so this week was a good week. I am afraid to hope too much.

Last week, my nephew fell in his bathroom. He fractured his femur so badly, they had to amputate his leg. Apparently he had been unconscious long enough for the break to cut off circulation to the leg. By the time they got him to the hospital, there was no hope.

I am hoping this is the last of the health scares for some time.

I'm the youngest, and I'm also the only one in the family not to smoke. I'm hoping that will earn me a few extra years. The bad part of it all is, provided I'm not struck by lightning, I may be the last one alive in my family in the next few years. That thought sucks.

I knew you'd been going through some real shit recently, but I didn't know it was this bad. I'm so sorry you and your family are facing this.
Have they tried any clinical trials on your sister? A friend of mine was found to have Stage 4 kidney cancer that had metastasized to her lungs and they put her through some trials and she is doing pretty well about 7 yrs out. I know one of the things she was on was Opdiva.
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Re: Hot Fudge Reporting Back

Postby Craig » Fri Jul 21, 2017 3:34 pm

That's a full plate, LD, for you and your sister. I hope that your sister is as comfortable and happy as is possible. And I hope that the care and kindness that you're showing to your sister brings the dividends that you want, even if it is only the satisfaction that you did what you could for someone whom you love.

I'm the youngest, and I'm also the only one in the family not to smoke. I'm hoping that will earn me a few extra years. The bad part of it all is, provided I'm not struck by lightning, I may be the last one alive in my family in the next few years. That thought sucks

It's not an uncommon outcome: the last leaf on the tree. I've seen it a few times recently, and it's sad to see the one that everyone else has left behind. A life well-lived is a life well-lived, but it seems that life is very different when literally in bosom of a community. It's everything from people who share your memories to having a network to get you to the doctor, and the one's who go first are better cared for and better remembered. Both of my grandmothers outlived everyone from their cohort by decades or more. Think about that: every damn person who might have been your friend or peer or colleague or neighbor was long dead. To whom do you turn when you want to confide secrets or how about just reminisce about how exciting it was to see and experience things in history like the end of the war or coming off of the boat at Ellis Island? It would be very isolating, I expect.
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Re: Hot Fudge Reporting Back

Postby The Suburban Avenger » Fri Jul 21, 2017 6:46 pm

Five weeks out and I'm almost back to complete normal. The drains in my abdomen were removed last week (and Christ, that was fucking painful) and the wounds have healed enough to allow me pretty much full motion. All that's left is a PICC line in my right upper arm that could come out as early as Tuesday.
Regular food is going and staying down OK and it feels like my energy is back to what it was before the surgery.

Back at Wrigley Field for an AP gig on Monday. Can't wait.
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Re: Hot Fudge Reporting Back

Postby Toolbox » Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:17 pm

Met Yamar at KDTW for food and drinks 2 weeks back, we were both flying out about the same time. Shits expensive at the airport!! Drinks that expensive should have sports or naked women in front of you...
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