Caveat: Tree #1776 “Broken wrenches”

This tree was there while I decided it was the time of year when I needed to switch to the studded snow-tires – snow is in the forecast for the next few days (though that can be hit-or-miss, here). The lug-nuts were very tight, and I broke not one, but two lug-wrenches, before I got them all loosened.


CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 5km; retailing, 1 hr; breaker-bar-banging, 2hr]

Caveat: Tree #1769 “임진강”

This tree was in a plaza I walked to near Imjingang (임진강), South Korea, which is at the DMZ border with North Korea. This was a walk I took in October, 2007, during my first Fall living in South Korea. I was revisiting haunts from my year stationed as a soldier in the US Army in the area, back in 1991.

A plaza of paving stones, benches and some orange-yellow trees, with a few pedestrians standing around

I have come to the realization that my 2 1/2 week long vacation down south wasn’t relaxing or recuperative at all. It was very stressful. I mean, I was glad to see all the people I saw, and I value those interactions highly, but Arthur was a pain in the butt with his constant argumentativeness over just about anything that could occur to him, any time we spent time together – which was more than usual because of the travel and such. He is constantly upset when I challenge his take on reality, but that take on reality feels increasingly detached from anything that feels objective or true. And since he rarely remembers a conversation from one minute to the next, we have the same arguments over and over and over.

Anyway, all I mean to say is that I will be quite pleased to relax and work at the store for 6 days a week for the coming month, and let Arthur stew at home with his incoherent obsessions. I can count on routine to protect him from self-damage, hopefully. There’s only so much I can do to protect him. He’ll sleep in the bed he’s made for himself – an aphorism he’s fond of citing. I am burned out.

CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 1.5km;]

Caveat: Tree #1763 “Backdrop”

This tree was a backdrop for some people being photographed at the Oregon Zoo today.


That’s me on the left. Beside me are Rita – a woman who was my 3rd grade and 6th grade teacher, among other things. Beside her is Jeannine, Rita’s daughter, one of my closest childhood friends, who I haven’t seen since high school graduation, maybe. And Jeannine’s child, River, who is recovering from Covid right now. So it was a kind of little reunion at the Oregon Zoo, which was sunny, not too crowded, but quite chilly, down in its little canyon west of downtown Portland.

CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 6km;]

Caveat: Tree #1762 “A tall yellow tree”

This tree is down by the gate to the road that goes up along the Tualatin river.


Juli and I and the dog took a long walk along the valley today. Then a bunch of Canadians showed up, including Wayne (the annual visitor to Rockpit, Alaska – a close friend of Arthur’s), who are Keith’s relatives, so we had a kind of pre-Thanksgiving. We’ll do the main Thanksgiving on Saturday, which is Juli and Keith’s tradition.

CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 6km;]

Caveat: Tree #1755 “Have a heart”

This tree is in front of Arthur’s infamous yurt, his bedroom-away-from-home since times immemorial (about 20 years).



Before the yurt, he had an ancient school bus converted to an RV, parked in a similar location in Juli and Keith’s yard. So Arthur calls the yurt “the bus.” Keith worries about Arthur being in the yurt, but I think he’s better off there than in some location (e.g. the guest room here) which is less familiar to him. Since he himself built the yurt, it’s quite to his liking and very familiar.

Art and I did another appointment at the VA hospital and clinics this morning. This time, he got an echocardiogram. The tech was very chatty and explained to me what he was doing and seeing as he did it, which made it pretty interesting for me. Art’s arhythmias were quite noticeable.

CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 5km;]

Caveat: Tree #1754 “Orange and yellow under the sun”

This tree was along the road just up above Juli and Keith’s. Apparently, it is Autumn.


I took Art to the VA hospital and clinics in downtown Portland, today. We saw doctor Kim, who is a very personable doctor and who is one of the few doctors I’ve interacted with, with Arthur, who seems to “get” Art’s mental style. It was a bit intense, as Dr Kim used the word “dementia” with Arthur directly for the first time. I really haven’t ever dared to use that word – Art has always been of the clear and firm opinion that that is something that happens to other people, not to him. So I guess I was relieved to let Dr Kim bring it up, in a medical setting. It could be between him and a doctor, and I wasn’t implicated except as a witness.

Next step is the comprehensive cognitive function evaluation, scheduled for next week.

CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 4km;]

Caveat: Tree #1751 “Chocolate and Flashlights and other very important things”

This tree is in Juli and Keith’s yard in western Oregon, where I’m visiting. The Fall weather is milder here than in Southeast Alaska.


I went to town to do shopping errands today. Into the giant Fred Meyer store (like a Walmart or Target, for those unfamiliar with Pacific Northwest). After all the time living and working in a tiny town on a Southeast Alaskan island, it’s a bit overwhelming, but not in a bad way, at least for me. You have the thought: this store feels bigger than the whole town!

There was an amusing incident. Arthur insisted on coming along on the shopping trip. He’s been quite anxious, since leaving home, about his lack of a certain brand of chocolate that we’ve been planning to “refresh his supply” on this trip. It’s a kind of separation anxiety, almost. We had run out of his brand back in August or so (we keep a lot on hand, and refresh once a year shopping down south, or order online), and we’d been unable to re-order online: vendors were “out of stock.” It was a distressing situation for him.

So he wanted to come along, so we could stop at the big stores and look for his brand of chocolate. We found it at Fred Meyer, and we bought 24 “giant size” bars of chocolate – maybe (only maybe) good for a year back up in Alaska. But it was all they had in stock.

The thing that was so striking: the moment we put the chocolate bars in the shopping cart, Arthur’s anxiety melted away. You could see him visibly relax. And then he announced he was tired, and he went and sat down at the front of the store to wait for me to finish the rest of my shopping.

So I got to spend a few hours with Arthur in a less anxious state. Of course, within a few hours, he’d found himself a new thing to worry about: flashlights! He wanted to make sure all the flashlights worked, that he could find in his yurt (his room-away-from-home at Juli’s, since time immemorial).

CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 3km;]

Caveat: memes and mastodon

I haven’t really mentioned, on this here blog, the fact that over the last year I have become a consistent user of “social media” again. Unlike a decade ago, when I was quite active on facebook for a few years (and to a lesser extent, I was using the Korean social media ecosystem branded “Kakao”), this time, I’m using a social media thing called “Mastodon”. Mastodon is quite different in one important respect from the social media that most people use: it is not owned or controlled by a large, for-profit corporation. Mastodon has a similar feel to twitter (or also, facebook’s main feed, ca. 2008), but it’s “open source” and “non-profit” and “non-centralized”. That ends up being an important distinction. It has no advertising. It doesn’t manipulate what you see – you yourself completely control it – there’s no “algorithm” to struggle with.

I’m not posting this here to try to convert anyone. Everyone has their preferred social media spaces, and among my close family and friends, the readers of this here blog, that’s largely limited to that ubiquitous and amoral behemoth, facebook (which I abhor but remain engaged with in a mostly ancillary way). I have the option of “cross-posting” entries from this here blog to Mastodon, and I do so, not inevitably (I like the control) but anyway, more often than not. And on Mastodon I’ve done something I haven’t done elsewhere on social media (or the internet in general) – I’ve completely elided the long-maintained separation between my geofiction-hobby identity (aka “Luciano” aka “geofictician”) and my poem-writing-tree-photographing-Alaska-dwelling identity (aka “caveatdumptruck” aka this here blog).

If anyone is interested in exploring mastodon, they can scroll through my feed, here: If you’re interested in joining (making your own account on Mastodon), go here:

One thing that any social media is very good for is for finding amusing bits of humor and “memes” as the kids call them, these days.

I ran across this one on Mastodon, yesterday, that I rather liked.


CaveatDumpTruck Logo

Caveat: Tree #1748 “Things done by wind”

This tree was forced to oversee the wanton destruction, by wind, of yet another tarp-based storage structure on lot 73 (tarp-based storage structures have suffered terrible fates on lot 73, in past years – this most recent iteration was something that neighbor Brandt had put up, ancillary to his construction project on my shed thingy).


CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 2.5km; retailing, 1hr]

Caveat: Tree #1742 “Dailier than ever”

This tree is dailier than others, along the road to town.


Art had a difficult night last night. He has a thing that happens sometimes, where he wakes up disoriented – much more than usual. He needs to get up to go to the toilet but he can’t find his way from the bed to the bathroom. He crashes into things. Of course it doesn’t help that he is stubborn, in persisting in the belief that he can navigate in the dark. It’s impossible to get him to adopt a habit of turning on a light to find the bathroom – he believes with his heart and soul that his excellent spatial memory can get him from on place to another in a familiar environment, in the dark. Leaving a light on is useless – he’ll grumpily turn it off the moment I go to bed. He insists on sleeping in absolute dark – to the point of closing the blinds against the moonlight.

Anyway, his excellent spatial memory is long gone. He wakes up disoriented, can’t find the door out of the bedroom, stumbles around. I awoke to a loud crash at around 11:30 PM, and went down stairs. I found him lying on the floor. There was urine all over the floor near the door. He seemed to have head-butted the wall where a small heater unit is installed, damaging the wall and the unit such that repairs will be recovered. I don’t even know how he did that.

It took us more than an hour to get him back into the bed. In his disoriented state, he couldn’t figure out how to stand up. He’s week, and with shaky balance, but when his mental faculties are more normal, he’s able to get himself up off the ground or floor. But last night it was a struggle. I kept trying to explain to him what he needed to do: “Roll sideways, get a knee under you, lever yourself up by grabbing the edge of the bed.” These instructions just made him sullen, as if I was giving impossible advice. And I’m not strong enough to lift him. So we had to wait out the lack of ability – in the end we got him close enough to the bed that I was able to kind of lever him up onto the bed, against much protestations of suffering and agony (he had bad arthritis in the shoulders).

I got the floor cleaned up. I disabled the damaged heater so it won’t be a hazard, pending repair, and later I gifted him a portable one that I have been using to heat the RV, to control mold.

In the morning, he asked me what had happened to the heater – he apparently didn’t remember anything that happened. It’s unrealistic to expect him to be grateful for the help I give him, when he can’t remember needing my help.

It was a hard night.

CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 4km; retailing, 3hr]

Caveat: Tree #1730 “Frost and leaks”

This tree saw the first frost of the season, on the hood of the blueberry (Chevy Tahoe).


I had a truly horrible day. It was all because of plumbing. I had a small leak in the well-house (on lot 73) which had come to light when Richard did all the installation in August. I’d been procrastinating on it, but I hoped it would be fairly easy to fix – the first frosty morning of the Fall inspired me to get busy with it. So I went to fix it. Somehow it was a kind of chain reaction – trying to fix the one leak led to the appearance of another leak. I would guess it’s related to putting strain on the manifold of pipes in the well-house. Soon I had several leaks. The whole manifold needs to be rebuilt. I am not a plumber. I shoveled dirt for a while (filling in the hole Richard left by the well), expressing my frustration, but there is still much dirt to shovel.

CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 3km; shoveling dirt, 1hr]

Caveat: Tree #1725 “Identifying the season”

This tree is the pussy-willow tree I (trans-)planted last year. It seems to have figured out when Fall is.


A customer came in the store, with her child. The woman was speaking Haida with the child. This is what you do when you’re trying to help a child develop some bilingualism – it’s an attempt at some immersion. When she bought her products and was checking out, she said (I’m pretty sure) “Háw’aa” which means thank you. That was the first time I’ve had a customer speaking Haida in the store. The language is close to extinct, but there are strong community efforts being made to resurrect it. I told the woman I thought she was doing a wonderful thing.

CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 4km; retailing, 9hr]

Caveat: Tree #1721 “Trees or ditches”

This tree saw some clouds in the morning, but fewer clouds than yesterday.

Some trees with some clouds above, shaded pink and gold by morning sun

After working at the store for a bit in the morning, I drove around running errands (buying gas, which requires a special drive over to Klawock, since Craig has no gas station these days). Then I came home and since it wasn’t raining, I worked outside, on that “last six feet” of my electrical conduit on lot 73, at the top of the driveway, connecting to the little well-house there. It was brutal work, but I exposed the previous conduit (a stub I’d put in 3 years ago, determined now to be the wrong size), pulled it out, and put in a new piece of larger-diameter conduit. I now need to expose the water pipe because there’s a rather bad leak on connector to the down-the-hill line of water pipe – I never was able to test the water pipe before, since it’d just been a stub, but when Richard helped install all the downstream faucets and connectors back in August, I had a chance to test it all, and sadly, there was a leak at the uphill end of everything. So that can be a project for the next few days – when it’s not raining again next.

CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 4.5km; retailing, 3hr; ditch-digging, 2hr]

Caveat: Tree #1715 “The tree that fell down”

This tree is a guest tree from my past. It is a tree that fell across the road between Coffman Cove and Thorne Bay, about 40 miles northeast of here. I photographed the tree in October, 2009. I wonder if I’ve posted this picture as a daily tree, before, but I can’t find it if I have.

A tree fallen across a gravel road, at an angle and somewhat cleared so it is possible to drive underneath

I did a lot of work around the house today – it’s the first day I haven’t gone into work over two weeks – since the big transition to ownership (mentioned in last blog post). I did work on winterizing the plumbing repairs I did earlier this past summer on where the water comes into the house at the west side of the boat shed (basement). I helped neighbor Brandt with his sheetrocking efforts in his new laundry shed. I made a giant batch of spaghetti sauce to eat as leftovers for the coming week.

CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 5km; lifting sheetrock to the ceiling, 2hrs]

Caveat: Gift Shop Tycoon

Over the years, but mostly many years ago when I was younger, I used to enjoy the genre of computer game known as “simulation games”. The king of these games, in my opinion, is the SimCity series – I have enjoyed all of them, from way back in the early 90’s. Also, there’s SimCity’s knockoff, the Cities: Skylines games. There are many other entries in the genre, though. I’ve enjoyed Civilization, of course, and all sorts of minor titles like SimTower, SimEarth, Railroad Tycoon, Capitalism, Shopping Center Tycoon, Theme Park, and many others. The genre, and my experience with it, goes back even further than the PC era, though. I remember playing a game which I know now was called “The Sumerian Game” while tagging along with Arthur up to the computer lab at Humboldt State in the early 1970’s. Arthur was a student at Humboldt, and I was a 7 or 8 year old kid but I spent many hours on the pre-PC mainframe (more likely a “minicomputer” but still a bunch of networked green-screen terminals) playing that Sumerian Game, pretending to be a Sumerian King who had problems with starving peasants and such things, alongside teaching myself BASIC.

All of which is to say, I have long history playing these types of simulation games.

Well, recently, I seem to have started a new game. Without going into too much detail, I was made an offer I found difficult to refuse, and I bought the gift store where I’ve been working for the last 3 1/2 years. This only happened about 3 weeks ago, and the transfer of ownership was last weekend, on the first of the month. The whole thing happened very fast because the previous owners, my former bosses, ended up confronting major life changes and moved back to Michigan somewhat unexpectedly, and were seeking of offload their business commitment here in Alaska.

It’s been a huge amount of work, getting things set up. Setting up accounts, vendors, payroll, making sure all the paperwork is in order. I already more or less know the business – the “customer-facing” side of the business doesn’t feel challenging or overwhelming to me. But the “back end” is hard, and I’m not very good at bureaucracy or paperwork anyway. But as I sit navigating spreadsheets and lists of vendors and charts of accounts in a bookkeeping application, I can’t help but feel I’ve started playing a new type of simulation game – just one with quite real-world consequences, because it’s with real money.

I’ll try to give more updates as things progress, but right now I’m mostly “heads down” and working about 3x more than before trying to get the whole thing working. I’m grateful to my coworker Jan, who knows the business even better than I do and who has stuck around as a continuing employee, and to Arthur, who gave me a “family loan” (against my well-funded but illiquid IRA account) to make it happen.

CaveatDumpTruck Logo

Caveat: Tree #1701 “Barnacle Day”

This tree existed.


Today I spent a major portion of the day scraping barnacles off the bottom of Arthur’s boat. Arthur tried to help but he didn’t really do much.

It’s not perfect, but good enough to put into storage for the winter. Here’s an effort to compare “before and after” on the debarnaclization project – it doesn’t show up very well but the right side in the picture below is already scraped.


It’s easier to see on the back of the boat.


CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 3km; barnacle-scraping, 5hr]

Caveat: Tree #1700 “Jeep”

This tree remained unaware of my newly acquired junker vehicle.


I bought a junker vehicle yesterday. A Jeep. Doing so was a kind of “chess move” in my battle of wills with Arthur over his wanting to drive. By making clear that the Tahoe is his car, and that I’m borrowing it, I’m hoping he’ll back off on his ambitions. So I’ve explained I bought the jeep in order to have a “backup car” here, but it also means that if he insists, I have an alternate route to town. Anyway he can feel that I haven’t taken his car away from him. I’m somewhat confident that it will be like the situation with his boat: by telling him he’s free to take it on his own, anytime he wants, I believe he’ll feel okay about the situation and never avail himself of the “right,” so to speak.

I got a CT Scan this morning, part of the annual post-cancer wellness check. It’s the first scan I’ve gotten since returning to the US. Hopefully everything’s fine – I’ll find out results at some future point. I realized as I lay there that it was the first time I had a CT scan where the attending technician spoke to me in English. It was a bit weird. in my mind, I was expecting the instructions to be in Korean. [UPDATE, a few days later: The results came back fully negative. No new cancer.]

CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 3km;]

Caveat: Tree #1698 “In an anthropomorphized manner”

This tree expected the sun to set, in an anthropomorphized manner.

A dirt road in Southeast Alaska with trees lining either side, and the setting sun touching the tops of a few

I had a very stressful day.

This was due to a conversation with Arthur, this morning, at airport after seeing his brother Alan off. We had driven into town for the early flight at Klawock Airport, and I’m sure that in Arthur’s reasoning, it would have been helpful for him to drop me and for him to come get me from work later – saving me a trip out to the house to drop him off and come back. He was just trying to be helpful, at first, and forgetting (as he so often does) his disabilities, or the years elapsed since their onset.

Arthur: I can drive. I’ll drop you at your work in town and come back later to pick you up.

Me: You haven’t driven in 4 years. I’m not really comfortable with you driving.

Arthur: I can drive fine.

Me: I told you before, you’re free to drive, but I don’t want to ride with you. I don’t feel safe.

Arthur: (blank look)

Me: Four years ago, when we were driving to town, we had an incident where basically you seemed you forgot you were driving. You were trying to multitask, digging around in your pocket, and we went into a ditch slightly. I got scared. I told you I didn’t want to ride with you when you were driving after that.

Arthur: I don’t remember that happening.

Me: I’ve told you about it many times since then, but yes, you’ve forgotten. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

Arthur: (a confrontational look, right at me) I think you’re making that up.

Me: Why would I make that up? What reason?

Arthur: (Angrily) I don’t know!

Anyway, I think with all the guests we’ve had over the past several weeks, this broader social context has “stirred Arthur up,” in the sense that he’s suddenly feeling more constrained by his lifestyle than his usual pattern of disregard and lethargy. I also think with my recent increased responsibilities at the store (and his financial loan) has got him feeling more “entitled” at some level to concessions on my part. In principal, this makes sense.

I understand where this is coming from, but frankly it terrifies me. Although this is maybe the third time he’s directly accused me of making up a memory of something that happened as a way to thwart what he expects to happen, this is the first time it’s been about such a serious subject – the previous times were about whether we’d watched a certain TV show episode before, or bought something or not at the store. I’m not sure how to handle this. Especially in the context of the other stuff happening right now.

Later, after I cooled off some, I tried to talk about it more. But he then he kept wanting to change the subject. He did say at one point “I want more access to the car.”

I reiterated what I’d told him before: “I won’t tie you down and prevent you from driving, but I won’t ride with you. And with what’s happening with the store, I realize you have less access to the car than usual.”

So now I’m thinking – maybe I need to buy a car. Just so he has the car sitting there in the driveway, to assuage his sense of abstract liberty – I suspect strongly that he won’t actually use it. That would be the same as with the boat: I’ve told him many times that he’s free to go out on his own in his boat, too – how can I prohibit that? I only reiterate that I think it’s not safe. And he’s never done. Perhaps he’d do the same with the car, sitting in the driveway?

CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 4km; retailing, 9hr]

Caveat: Tree #1694 “The boat”

This tree was by a boat.

A small, somewhat decrepit-looking sport-fishing boat strapped onto a trailer near the shore, with a tree farther away on the right

Art, Allan and I drove up to the north end of the island, on a sight-seeing tour. We went to a village called Whale Pass. We didn’t pass any whales, though. We saw this boat, a float-plane dock, a “city hall” (?) and “clinic” – all closed. I was reminded of some of the end-of-the-road towns I saw in Chilean Patagonia, with no commerce and just some wooden houses and a few public services type buildings but nothing happening. It rained most of the time, though the sun peaked out as we drove back south, at one point.

CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 3km; driving 200km]

Caveat: Tree #1681 “The blueberry bush”

This tree was behind a purple-leaved blueberry bush.


Because of his memory issues, sometimes I’ll end up having to have the same exact conversation with Arthur 3 or 4 times in a day. And he gets offended if I point out that it isn’t the first time we’ve had a given conversation – but somehow I can’t resist pointing it out, as it gets emotionally exhausting reviewing where the spare chargers for his ipods are for the 4th time, while he seems anxiously puzzled that he didn’t know where they were (or that he has them at all), though he’d placed them there himself.

CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 4km; dogwalking, 3km]

Caveat: Fishing Report #(n + i)

You will have noticed the lack of Fishing Report features on this here blog, this summer. I have avoided going out fishing with Arthur through the last several months – though Arthur, too, has been avoiding, in his spectacularly non-communicative way. But now that Wayne is here visiting, you would think there would be fishing reports.

Actually, Wayne and Arthur have just now gone out fishing in the boat for the third day running. And I’ve avoided going with them. This has forced me to acknowledge a very difficult emotional truth about myself:

I hate fishing.

I didn’t used to hate fishing. I used to rather enjoy it, I think.

But nowadays, Arthur’s spectre hangs over my shoulder and whispers to me, inevitably, that I am doing it wrong. That was Arthur’s habit in the best of times – he’d tell me I was doing it wrong, or worse, just barge in and take over, because he wasn’t always great at explaining how to do it right. He was better at demonstrating. But at least in the past, his telling me that I was doing it wrong was accompanied by an effort to teach me how to do it right.

The last vestiges of that mentoring behavior evaporated last summer. It was in that moment when he announced to me, forlornly, that he’d forgotten how to deploy the downriggers on the boat. That left me doing everything, while he just watched sulkily.

And yet… he still found it in himself, later on that same trip, to tell me that I was doing it wrong. I think it broke something inside me.

So there is just no way I want to go out fishing with Arthur. Nevertheless I have neither the self-confidence in my own ability, nor the cruelty toward Arthur, to somehow go out fishing without him.

So I’ve been miserable. And I’m done fishing, I guess.

That’s too bad.

I’ll be glad when fishing season is over and the boat is back in the barn, and the people around me stop talking about fishing constantly.

CaveatDumpTruck Logo

Caveat: Tree #1665 “Not fishing”

This tree was on the shore while Arthur and Wayne went out in the boat to try to catch fish.


It was nice to have a break. As I’ve mentioned before, fishing with Arthur, for me, is not actually fun at all. Arthur has strong feelings about how fishing should happen, and he doesn’t have any confidence in my ability to navigate or assist. I’m still a 12-year-old kid in his eyes, often times. But with his cognitive and physical challenges, these days, he isn’t really equipped to actually be the captain of the boat. So going out in the boat with him is a huge emotional challenge. He gets mad and has tantrums, or he just gives up and sulks. Or he gets obsessed about one issue or another, like the time we spent 40 minutes circling a spot in the water because we’d dropped a bucket in the water and he insisted we try to get it back.

Anyway, I expect the dynamic with him in the boat with Wayne would go differently. Art and Wayne are peers, firstly, and secondly, Wayne is the person who actually taught Arthur much of his fishing skills and boat-craft, many years ago. So Arthur will not distrust Wayne’s suggestions or skills.

Regardless, I could tell Wayne was tired from their half day out on the water together. Simply communicating with Arthur is exhausting – the combination of incipient deafness and difficulty with language processing combine to make it a slog to interact with him.

I haven’t been avoiding going out in the boat with Arthur – if anything, he’s been avoiding going out in the boat at all. He seems vaguely aware of his issues and limitations, at some level, and so he spends a lot of time making up excuses for why we don’t need to go out fishing. And I’ve been happy to enable him. And I was happy, today, to let Wayne take it on. I feel guilty that I was happy about that. Living up here, it’s very hard to explain to the people around me that I have come to actually rather strongly dislike fishing. But that’s what’s happened. I’m sorry.

They caught a few salmon, and a ling-cod.

CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 4.5km;]

Caveat: Tree #1632 “Plumbing my limitations”

This tree was out behind my shed-greenhouse thingy.

Some trees, some closer than others, and the sticking-out rafters of a small shed

I made a lot of progress the last few days. I finally took on the giant plumbing project that I’ve been procrastinating on. We had problems with the water-intake into the house freezing the last few winters during cold spells. The “heat-tape” Arthur had wrapped the inlet pipe in 20 years ago seemed to have failed, and last summer there were of course the issues with the main house filters (including UV-lamp sterilization, given the water is just runoff from our hillside). So I took everything apart, dug everything up, and re-plumbed things.

I still need to apply new heat-tape and winterize things, but the basics are in place and the set-up is more logical now. Here are the pipes at the point where they enter the house (on the west side of the boathouse, below the main house, straddling the electrical conduit, also visible). I will now have to bury it all.

A hole dug on the side of a house, showing part of the foundation, and some new pipes (plastic) and valves entering the house

And here is the new filter set up, directly behind the previous picture, inside on the wall of the boathouse. I will want to build a little insulated enclosure since the north end of the boathouse still gets below freezing sometimes in winter, it’s not well heated or insulated.

Some pipes attached to a piece of plywood, in an arrangement with valves such that two filters (a paper large filter and UV-light filter) can be activated or isolated

CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 5km;]

Caveat: Tree #1630 “Eagle waits for the bus”

This tree had to take a back seat to a grandstanding bald eagle standing by the side of the road looking for a ride to town (or so it seemed).

A fairly-close up view of fat bald eagle standing at the side of a dirt road, with some bushes and trees behind, under blue skies

I had to drive to town twice today. I’m trying to solve plumbing problems and needed to get supplies, and didn’t plan well what I needed. So I made two trips to the hardware store in town, where I spent money on plumbing fittings.

I’m finally working on solving the long-standing “pipes freezing in winter” problem we’ve seen sporadically the past two winters. The water intake for the whole house is exposed to the air where it enters the boatshed (the basement of the house). So when temperatures are sub-zero, the water will freeze and the house loses water. Interim solutions have involved running a hose (through snow drifts) from the well to the house, and also running a giant kerosene heater outdoors in the area where the pipe enters the house. A long-term solution requires digging up the pipe a bit, changing its configuration so it won’t freeze in the winter.

CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 5.5km; dogwalking, 3km]

Caveat: One Decade Cancer Free

As mentioned the other day: I’m not dead yet, as far as I can tell.

The Fourth of July was always a kind of uninteresting holiday to me, I confess, until it became my cancerversary.

These days, I feel like my health is fine, but I’m not in the best place, psychologically. I’m struggling with a lot of inertia – as if Arthur’s glacial pace of thought and decision-making has infected me and slowed me down.

Well, I’ll just wait that out.

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Caveat: 10 years ago today, I was diagnosed with cancer

A photo of my diagnosis paper from the Korean hospital where I was being treated; it's all in Korean but it says I have cancer

I wrote about it on this blog at that time. I wrote:

The doctor said: “You have cancer.” Well. No ambiguity, there.

It was stage 3 cancer of the tongue, with possible metastasis in lymphs of the neck. The metastasis on the left side of my neck was confirmed after surgery, though pre-surgery, diagnosis had been more optimistic. Anyway, lymphs were removed, along with the tumor at the base of my tongue. My tongue was reconstructed with spare parts from other parts of my body – I have a weird bioengineered transhumanist tongue.

The statistics at the time of diagnosis was about a 65% survival rate. That later dropped to around 40% survival rate, due to the additional complications during and after my procedure in the hospital. I beat those odds. I had a 9 hour surgery. I was in the hospital for almost a month. I underwent 6 weeks of radiation a few months later, which I discovered is an amazing weight-loss program. Would recommend.

I’m still alive. Presumably, cancer-free. Either that, or I’m a ghost with a very convincing schtick.

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