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03/22/2004 Entry: "Looking up through the smoke"

Things are improving. I tell myself that. I feel like I am picking my way through the wreckage after an "all clear," ever wary of any bombers returning.

Fran's condition has not changed much. He's got some fluid in his lungs, which they can't operate on because of his advanced liver failure. They are trying other things and hopes the body drains the fluid on its own. People are getting their act together more and more around Jacksonville, and now we actually have fairly steady a chain of communication between Fran's doctor and the rest of Fran's relatives. It's pretty assured Fran only has a few months to live in the very best of circumstances, and he's pretty much accepted his impending passing. But at least the chaos has settled. We have a plan in place when Fran passes, we've priced out how to get to Jacksonville, and still have money left over (barring any more misfortune) to go to New Orleans for our 15th Wedding Anniversary this year.

My grandmother is having lucid moments, which is a surprising improvement, and "refuses to die," according to my Uncle today. She may last years longer at this rate.

I feel better. Being with my friends on Saturday into Sunday helped. It helped a lot. I thought I had lost on Friday, I really did. My emotions just totally fried, and I was way out of whack. My friends were sympathetic, but not OVERLY sympathetic, so I didn't feel awkward.

I get my new computer by as early as the end of this week, possibly as late as early next week. This is the first computer I have ever gotten strictly assuming I'll never load a Windows OS on it (it's getting Fedora Core Linux). Most Linux boxes I have had were leftovers, and this will be the most powerful box in the house. The specs are (assuming the order goes through):

- 3.0 ghz P4 chip w/800 fsb
- Intel 865PERL Motherboard
- 1GB Kingston RAM
- NVidia GeForce FX5200, Dual VGA w/TV output

The rest of my hardware will come from my present box (assuming it's okay), and some spare hardware I have lying about. I really want to thank the people who let me have this stuff. I really know who my friends are, and thanks to Christine who let me spend a little extra for the new video card (thanks mostly to a larger tax refund than normal, and April getting us a new table). I did a full diagnostic and determined that the power surge had killed my sound card, CDRW, my second IDE channel, a 128MB RAM chip, two fans, and my serial and parallel ports. I didn't test the USB or Zip drive (who uses Zip anymore?). In addition, my LAN is flaky and the clock loses about 5-10 minutes per hour. Both hard drives seem fine, the Athlon 800 CPU seems okay (although on bootup, it gives a fsb error, and drops the fsb to "safe" 100mhz), and the video card is fine. Ironically? This old box was a gift from Brad, back when I lost my main box also to a massive hardware failure. Thanks again, Brad, you have so totally come through for me so many times in my life. The Digex account, Silverdragon, late night talks... you really have made a difference. I hope you win big in Vegas.

My washer isn't leaking, my ant problem seems to be under control, I have lights and power in my laundry room and guest room once again, and my sinus infection seems to have cleared.

I hope the rest of the year's bad luck pales in comparison to these last few weeks. I could use a boring year right about now.

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