Categories
Life Writing

My Vicci, Part 2

Let’s see if I can finish some more of this six months after the fact.

That last “I love you” was the last I heard. I waited all day to hear something, assuming Ivy would be able to get my number or contact me eventually, or that Vicci was just super quiet because she was undergoing emergency heart surgery or something.

I even had my volunteer team at church pray for her that evening around 6pm.

After I got home, I realized I had a message from someone in NV via Facebook telling me that she found me on Instagram via my sister who was more active and not so anonymous, and to please contact Ivy at such-and-such number, that they were trying to get ahold of me all day.

I called immediately and was asked, “Are you with anybody right now?” My heart refused to sink, and I said, “No… but please go on.”

And I heard the words, “We lost Vicci today.”

Her next words are a bit of a blur, though I understood that as soon as Ivy arrived, she went about taking care of cats for the day, gathering up a few things, continually checking with Vicci as she tried to figure out how to get her to the car and the ER.

Then she heard, “Oh God,” rushed in and found Vic gasping for breath, convulsing, and quickly asked, “Do I need to call an ambulance!?” She got a nod, and in 5 minutes paramedics were on the spot, performing CPR, trying to get her calmed down, wheeling in a gurney, and carting her out.

An hour and a half later, Ivy, still at the house, got the call that they made it to the hospital, but they were not able to stabilize her.

This conversation ended with me pacing frantically up and down my hallway, not able to think, not wanting to breathe myself… Ivy asked me if I had family I could be with. I said yes, but it was an hour’s drive. She said, “Please don’t let yourself be alone, but please be careful.”

I thanked her and kept pacing. Calling my mom, I tried to explain everything in tears. She said to get over there, that she could send Dad to get me. I told her I just needed a little bit to calm down, pack a bug-out bag, feed the fish.

On the drive there, before I could call Mom, my sister and her husband called.

They didn’t know what to say, but they offered to put me up as well, that they were heartbroken for me, that they didn’t know if it was too soon, but that they knew that I was so good for her. I told them my thoughts, my fears on her eternal soul, that …is there even any chance that I could pray for God to give her one more chance even NOW. Andy had the best words:

I think that these are the mysteries that God keeps from us. We always ask these questions, but we get no clear answers because He wants us to trust Him. If He is truly a loving Father, He has our best in mind, and NOTHING He does will be for our harm. With that trust, sometimes all we can do is say, “We won’t know until we’re there ourselves,” and at that moment, we will be given that understanding, and everything will make sense.

It was a sleepless night at my parents’. Sunday my sister invited me over. I took them up on it, talked with them, tried my best to calm down.

I was in frequent contact with Ivy, who told me that they had the family down from Cedar City, UT to look at things, that she had Vicci’s mom there, that they were really at a loss because nobody could find a will and everyone was trying to frantically figure out the legalese of probate and such. I told her I didn’t know if I could get off of work to come help, but I absolutely knew I had to make something happen.

I stayed with Andrea and Andy on Sunday night, a bit more restful, but not great.

Monday I went into work, having emailed the upper management with the details and that I may need to be taking some vacation to take care of things.

They were shocked, supportive, and said, “When you figure out what you need to do, just go. Go take care of it. We’ll be here when you get back.”

In the middle of they day, I got a call from Ivy saying, “We REALLY need your help here. The family is unable to function and we’re making very little progress with decisions.” I said I’d try to take care of it, and wracked my brain on how I could scrounge up some money when I realized I had a round-trip ticket for January 1st. Some research revealed that I could get a credit refund for almost the exact amount that a one-way trip would cost, and I would just worry about the return trip when I figured out what I was doing and how long I needed to stay in Vegas.

That night, I packed up from Andrea’s and had Dad take me to the airport. Monday night I was landing in Vegas and meeting with Ivy and Vicci’s mom, Julia. A quick trip left us at the house with the cats and a lot of memories, but no Vicci.

And this is the point at which I’ll stop for now. We’ll see if in six months I’ll be able to put in ANOTHER large portion of this story, though things are becoming easier to deal with emotionally.

Categories
Life Writing

My Vicci, Part 1

December 7, 2019 I experienced what I never thought I would so early in life. My girlfriend of five years passed away suddenly due to respiratory and heart failure in her home in Las Vegas.

She had stayed home from sick the day before because she could not catch her breath and didn’t feel like she could function at work. I told her that this sounded like the same symptoms my dad went through when he had his heart attack.

The next morning, she messaged me early asking if I could call and talk because she was lying in a pool of her own sweat having a massive panic attack over the possibility of said heart attack symptoms. I immediately called and we talked for a good hour and a half with the sole purpose of just calming her down. During this time she dozed off, but I could hear on the phone her labored breathing and was tempted at one point to even call 911 and have them redirect me to the Henderson emergency services.

She woke up and we started talking again, and she eventually asked how my dad managed to handle a heart attack and asked to hear all the details. I gave them freely, telling her that once they had him, they hooked him up to every machine and had him stable within a half hour and were super awesome about it.

This eventually convinced her that she should just pony up the $400 copay for the ER, call her friend Ivy, and have her come over to take her in.

Ivy was unavailable initially, so we talked for another half hour. Eventually she said, “Ivy is on her way over,” and then ten minutes after that, “Ivy is here. I’ll try to keep you informed. I love you.”

Categories
Electronics Life

CB Radio

I got all inspired when I went camping with my brother-in-law in September. His friend from Fort Collins has a fully tricked out off-road vehicle complete with a CB radio. Well, I got excited about that because, since the late 90’s we’ve had my grandfather’s old Ford van, and he was big on CB, having a camper and secretly being a tech nerd before it was cool. I still have his mobile CB radio, which we tried out at the end of this camping trip.

Except I can’t seem to get it to work. It turns on, it hisses, and the squelch feature seems to work to some extent, but I get absolutely zero variation in the noise, even when moving the little 3-foot whip antenna around, mounting on the truck roof for grounding, and everything else I could think of.

That’s when I decided to “invest” in a Monkey Ward 775 CB radio. I’m assuming this is probably also a mobile model due to the u-bracket on the top. However I’m looking up how to make a home-brew antenna for this, and I’m guessing it’s the 3-foot whip that makes a mobile station mobile. Maybe a base station has more features and such, but I’m new at this anyway!

However, the issues I have at the moment are crippling: The radio came with a power input cable of two wires and two tab connectors, a keyed microphone, and a user manual. That’s it.

So I need to come up with a proper power connection of 12VDC, and somehow create an antenna that will work and be ideal while still not violating the HOA covenants of not having anything over the roofline of the house. Additionally an 8-Ohm speaker or headphone converter may be necessary if the keyed microphone doesn’t also have something built in.

But on to antennas! I found this website from the Thunder Mountain Radio Group. They say that ideally, a base station antenna for CB frequencies needs to be around 102 inches (a quarter wavelength of ~11 meters). And this is not a single whip antenna, but a combination of two antennas in a dipole arrangement, each at 102 inches.

That’s 8.5 feet of wire extending from a center point where 50-ohm coax is connected and runs all the way back to the actual base station radio.

My idea when it comes to this antenna – since I’m not permitted to mount this thing so high up that I’d be able to talk to people in Denver, how about I instead run the antenna wires horizontally beneath the top bar of the vinyl fence that runs along the side of my property? It’s actually kinda perfect – minimal metal to screw up the signal, and sort of out of the way of everything else except for a few aspen trees. It’s not THAT ideal, but it’s at least something better than a 3-foot whip. The only other solution I could think of would be to take the rig all the way to work and mount it on the roof there. I know Steve at Mountain States Electronics has always had a nice setup of his own. Maybe I could talk down the block to him.

Then comes the coax. I am thinking standard 50-foot RG-58 spool, which I can buy with UHF connectors pre-installed for $17 on Amazon. Or I could get a single connector from Digikey, a spool of RG-58 for $20, and make my own.

Categories
Gardening Life

Botany v2

Remember this little guy? Read all about him here!

https://www.ppsstudios.com/blog/2009/07/botany/

Well guess what! This little orange tree from seed is now an actual tree! It is still alive, and doing very well, save for the periodic bug problem. It occurred to me that having written about it in July 2009 means that I probably planted it about around April, ten years ago!

Happy 10th birthday, little orange tree.

Categories
Games Life Web Writing

Diplomacy

I just finished listening to NoDumbQuestionsEpisode 53 – What Would Happen Every Time You Restarted Earth? I have to say, the discussion definitely got me onto two things which I briefly mentioned in my comment on Reddit (I don’t know if my thoughts will take off at this point, but I wanted to put them out there).

Categories
Gardening Life

Our Fancy-Pants Pine Tree Hunt

I realized only a few days ago that it has been NINE YEARS since we last cut our own tree for Christmas. That record was finally broken today when my sister, her boyfriend, and I went up Rist Canyon and visited the Christmas Tree Ranch.

Categories
Life

Henderson

So it turns out I spent the weekend in Henderson, NV with my girlfriend. She is a coach for CCSD, and today (Monday), I am also chilling/hanging out with her at work. Turns out this is relatively boring. However, it’s okay. I found things to do. Such as sit here, filling up her browser history with weird entries.

Categories
Life Writing

Foundation, Part II (The Encyclopedists)

“Foundation” by Isaac Asimov, excerpt collated by psikeyhackr at sffworld.com
LibraryThing | Goodreads

Categories
Life

Seriously!?

I’ve only had my domain switched from my Blogger to the new WordPress site for a mere two hours and already I have to moderate a spam comment.

Didn’t take them long.

Categories
Life

My Mom’s Pickle Recipes

Last week my mom shared with me Ree Drummond’s “Quick Pickling 101” recipe.

Yesterday I asked her to also share her own 1-day pickle recipes that she’s had forever. Here is my “translation” of her 30yo handwritten notes: