Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Makin' Wood

Get yer mind out of the gutter, that is not a sexual reference.
I got a Stihl chainsaw for my birthday. We have 3 1/2 acres of mostly woods. There are a number of trees down that need to be turned into firewood. And several more that are standing but dead. The previous owner left about a cord of cut, split and stacked firewood in a wood shed.
I figured I need to cut, split and stack at least another cord to feed the wood stove.
We have a heat pump, but electricity is expensive, and the wood is free (if you don't count the cost of the chain saw).
I have cut and split a lot of wood in my life, but it had been a quite a while since I ran a chain saw. The still start and run the same as they used to.
The first log I tackled was a downed fir about 2 1/2 feet in diameter. The chain saw has an 18" bar, so it was a double cut to start and get the root ball off of the tree. Worked just like I knew what I was doing. I cut a half dozen rounds, muscled them out of the woods, split them and put them in the wood shed. No big deal.
You know what happens when you get cocky. Fate smacks you down.
I forgot to refill the chain oiler. Next this you know the saw is straining, and not making much progress. Then it started smoking.
I turned it off, and let it cool. When It had cooled off, it would not restart. I noticed that the chain needed tightening. But the chain tightener wouldn't work, and the chain wouldn't move.
So I go in the shop and start tearing it apart. By that time I had realized that I had run it out of chain oil and overheated it.
When I pulled off the side case, I saw that the clutch bell had gotten so hot it had melted the case. When I shut it off, the plastic hardened, and the clutch bell wouldn't move.
No biggie. I just took a small pick and broke loose the bell, removed it and cleaned up the case. I was putting it back together and decided to make sure it ran. I started it up, and saw a retainer fall off and bounce across the shop floor. I managed to find it, but could not find the retainer clip.
I ended up having to make a trip into Port Angeles for the part. I took the saw and parts with me just to make sure I got the right part. Good thing I did, because I had also lost a couple of extra parts.
The total bill including a chain file was $15, so not bad.
Brought it home and put it together. First thing I did was put the chain on backwards. DUH!
Reassembled everything and went out and cut a couple of rounds. After the second one, it wasn't cutting well. The chain was not sharp any longer. On the last round, I got a little too deep and hit the ground. Chain saws really, really don't like to cut dirt. No surprise there.
So the saw is in my shop with me new chain file. It will be ready to go when I get back from the Doc's tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Medical Run Around

When I retired from Boeing, they no longer provided coverage through Group Health, so I had to go find a new provider.
I am 67, so I get Medicare, and Boeing provides part D coverage through Aetna, so coverage hasn't been too much of a problem. The problem is that we were selling our house and moving, so I needed to find a temporary doctor, which I did. It was a hassle because I am a long term Percocet user. I have stage four kidney disease, so taking over the counter NSAIDS is not an option.
I have been in several rear end car accidents, and also have a sports injury in my neck, all of which combine to keep me in constant pain.
I don't have a problem abusing Percocet. I have been taking it fir about  six years, and don't use any more now than when it was originally prescribed. I use one or two a day. Usually one.
Enter the damn politicians. Because of the politicians, you cannot get a prescription for more than a month at a time. Not only that they don't allow refills. You have to get a physical piece of paper each time.
Once we got settled here in Sequim, I set about establishing a Medical Provider.
Not an easy thing. It took five weeks to get my first appointment. Since I am an insulin dependant diabetic, it is a priority that establish a Medical Provider.
I accomplished that, but the Medical provider will not prescribe opioid. I was referred to a pain clinic that is an hour away. I can't get in until next Wednesday, a week away. I have four pills left.
This is not good. I will probably go through withdrawal. I am trying to hold off using any of the remaining pills. Maybe if I take one tomorrow and one every other day I will be OK. Still not sure if I will be able to sleep at night.
I have been eating a half of a peanut butter cannabis cookie at night to help me sleep. Maybe if I up my intake...
And maybe if I stay stoned I won't go through withdrawal.