I forgot I had this site. Life continues, not much interesting to report. Been working from home since March 10, 2020, about 4 months ago. Glad to have the office, but need air conditioning down here.
It’s been nearly ten years since I bought my 2010 Hyundai Sonata. It was a big milestone for me because it was the first new car I ever bought, and I got a pretty great deal on it. It’s been a pretty good car, but it’s starting to show its age and enough minor things are starting to break that I think it’s time to replace it.
First, let me say that the car has been for the most part fantastic. We drove it to Florida and back in 2011 (which was pretty cramped, but it did great), and even today it gets 32-33 miles per gallon on the highway, even with a 3.3L V6. It’s pretty peppy and I still think it looks great.
Stuff started breaking about two years ago. The first thing that happened was the driver’s window-down button stopped bouncing back up when you’d press it down. I had to manually pull it back up. This was so minor I didn’t do anything about it for a year, and then when I brought it into the shop they had to replace the whole mirror switch panel (all 4 switches) which was ~$200.
Then in the winter I tried to open the passenger front door, which was frozen shut, and the door handle broke off in my hand. I got this replaced (with a spare from a junkyard) and it happened to the rear passenger door handle a couple months later.
Also around two years ago, when I got into my car after work one day it wouldn’t start. I called AAA and ended up having to have it towed to a service station, where it turned out the fuel filter was clogged. That was a relatively cheap fix.
The radio also started doing some weird stuff around 2 years ago. It would randomly turn off, MP3s wouldn’t play, etc. This is what originally got me started looking for a new car about 18 months ago, but I ended up replacing the radio with a Pioneer head unit last year (the same day I ruptured my Achilles tendon) so I was pretty happy with it for a while.
More recently, in April 2019 I started having some very strange issues, starting with speakers cutting out. I had installed the radio myself so I figured I had just not done it right, or something had come loose in the wiring. Additionally the door locks stopped working on the driver’s side doors. I brought the car in to the local mechanic and he worked on this off and on for almost 4 months. Finally one day he called me at work and informed me that there was a mouse living in the car, it had made a nest in the center console and also inside the door and it had chewed through a bunch of wiring. He cleaned it all out and fixed the wiring and we had a good laugh and the car was fine again for a while.
By this point I had already decided to see what the options were for a new car, since it seemed like the car was in the beginning stages of some kind of death spiral. And then about a month ago the sunroof broke. Some piece of the slider that opens and closes the sunroof cracked and I couldn’t get it closed. I managed to pry it back into place and get it closed, but it can’t be opened, and it was a dealer-installed sunroof so it’s not like I could find parts for it as it’s not even a Hyundai product. Fortunately it hasn’t leaked so far, but if you press on it it’s not really securely in place and the wind definitely sounds different over it when driving at highway speeds.
This was really the last straw for me. I could probably spend a few thousand dollars more to get it back into shape, but I just don’t have the patience for that now. I don’t demand much of my car, as I normally only put about 10-15 miles a week on it, but it’s already had two door handles break off, the door locks stop working, etc. My nightmare is I get off the train and head to my car in a blizzard, go to open the door and the handle breaks off, or the doors won’t unlock and I’m just stuck out in the snow.
Anyway, at this point (October 2019) it’s been 9 years and 6 months since I got the car. It’s been great and I would definitely recommend Hyundai to anyone, but I’ll probably replace this one in the next couple of months. Rather than replace it with another sedan I’ll probably get an SUV and use our other car (a 2012 Ford Flex) as my station car.
Today marks one year since I had the Achilles’ tendon repair surgery. Life has mostly returned to normal and I can do everything I was doing before the injury. I do get stiffness in the tendon area, but I actually get that on both legs even though it was only my left tendon that ruptured. And, thinking about it now, I realize that I had had stiffness in both tendons for a while. After sitting for a while, usually an hour or more, when I first stand up I can barely walk for about 10 seconds until it loosens up, and then it’s basically fine. But I can ride my bike, walk, sprint to catch a train, take stairs two at a time, and have even gone back to the ocean a couple times – which was the real leap of faith, since that’s how I injured it in the first place.
So for anyone who’s found themselves with a ruptured Achilles’ Tendon, I just want to let you know there’s life after. It definitely helped that I had a great doctor, great physical therapist, great wife and a great employer (who let me work from home for 2+ months after it happened) and great health insurance for support. But stick with it and hopefully you can expect a relatively normal life afterwards.
Video update I recorded last week in Central Park.
It’s been over two years since I built my home NAS box. A couple days ago I logged in and noticed some file operation was taking a while, so I did a “zpool status” and was shocked to see one of the disks had failed at some point. I really have no idea when it happened, but the “last scan” date said something about December, so it could have been months. I was a bad Sysadmin and didn’t have alerting for this case – silent HA failover is a risk most people don’t think of, though coincidentally it’s one of the projects I’m currently working on at work.
Anyway, here’s what the failed zpool looked like:
root@lunix:~# zpool status pool: lunix1 state: DEGRADED status: One or more devices could not be used because the label is missing or invalid. Sufficient replicas exist for the pool to continue functioning in a degraded state. action: Replace the device using 'zpool replace'. see: http://zfsonlinux.org/msg/ZFS-8000-4J scan: scrub repaired 0 in 12h54m with 0 errors on Sun Dec 2 14:18:15 2018 config: NAME STATE READ WRITE CKSUM lunix1 DEGRADED 0 0 0 mirror-0 ONLINE 0 0 0 sdb ONLINE 0 0 0 sdc ONLINE 0 0 0 mirror-1 DEGRADED 0 0 0 sdd ONLINE 0 0 0 11769402787959493007 UNAVAIL 0 0 0 was /dev/sde1 errors: No known data errors
Fortunately, back when I built this thing, I bought a spare disk which has been sitting on the shelf in the box from Newegg for 2 years. I replaced it a little while ago and ran “zpool import” to bring the zpool back in, and then did the “zpool replace”:
root@lunix:~# zpool replace -f lunix1 11769402787959493007 sdd root@lunix:~# zpool status pool: lunix1 state: DEGRADED status: One or more devices is currently being resilvered. The pool will continue to function, possibly in a degraded state. action: Wait for the resilver to complete. scan: resilver in progress since Fri Apr 26 15:47:41 2019 21.9M scanned out of 3.71T at 3.12M/s, 345h50m to go 10.5M resilvered, 0.00% done config: NAME STATE READ WRITE CKSUM lunix1 DEGRADED 0 0 0 mirror-0 ONLINE 0 0 0 sdb ONLINE 0 0 0 sdc ONLINE 0 0 0 mirror-1 DEGRADED 0 0 0 sde ONLINE 0 0 0 replacing-1 UNAVAIL 0 0 0 11769402787959493007 FAULTED 0 0 0 was /dev/sde1 sdd ONLINE 0 0 0 (resilvering) errors: No known data errors
345 hours to go?! I ran zpool status about 20 minutes later and got a much better number:
root@lunix:~# zpool status pool: lunix1 state: DEGRADED status: One or more devices is currently being resilvered. The pool will continue to function, possibly in a degraded state. action: Wait for the resilver to complete. scan: resilver in progress since Fri Apr 26 15:47:41 2019 125G scanned out of 3.71T at 101M/s, 10h18m to go 62.3G resilvered, 3.28% done config: NAME STATE READ WRITE CKSUM lunix1 DEGRADED 0 0 0 mirror-0 ONLINE 0 0 0 sdb ONLINE 0 0 0 sdc ONLINE 0 0 0 mirror-1 DEGRADED 0 0 0 sde ONLINE 0 0 0 replacing-1 UNAVAIL 0 0 0 11769402787959493007 FAULTED 0 0 0 was /dev/sde1 sdd ONLINE 0 0 0 (resilvering) errors: No known data errors
Anyway, this was my first experience replacing a failed disk under a ZFS raid, so it was pretty exciting. The hardest part of the process was figuring out which disk was the failed one. The bad one didn’t even show up as a device in /dev, so what I ended up doing was “hdparm -i /dev/sd?” for each disk that was there, noting the serial number, and then looking on the outside of each disk to see which one had a serial that wasn’t available to the OS. Overall it was a pretty good process.
It’s now 180 days since my Achilles’ tendon repair surgery. Life is sort of back to normal, though my leg is still not back to 100%. I can’t do a single-leg raise on my bad leg, and running isn’t something I want to try, but most of the pain is gone. Physical therapy has helped a lot but I am winding that down now as well. Anyway, just wanted to give an update for anyone facing this surgery.
As 2018 draws to a close and I look back on it I can’t help but think it has been the worst year of my life. Obviously I’m in a very privileged position but the problems started early on and kept on coming.
First of all, I had resolved at the end of 2017 that this would be the year I “took care of” the ruptured disc in my neck that was impinging on the nerve root. So I spent the first couple months obsessing about whether to have ACDF surgery ( vertebrae fusion) or CDR (replace bad disc with artificial one). So I was already pretty anxious as the year started. Regarding the disc, I ended up with another MRI and a doctor informing me that surgery was only 50% effective in fixing numbness in the fingers, and was really only recommended for cases of extreme pain. So I guess it was good news – doing nothing is the right course of action.
Then in March we had to put our dog Chloe to sleep. I wrote a couple posts about this already, but when it happened it sent me into a depression unlike any I had experienced before.
On Easter, I was playing football at my brother in law’s house and the next day I started feeling a strange pain in my chest. It bounced all around and was very faint. I kept it to myself for a couple weeks because we had a vacation coming up and I didn’t want to ruin that with a bunch of health stuff looming, but it was on my mind the entire trip. When we got home I told my wife about it and went to my doctor. He couldn’t find anything wrong but sent me for a cardio stress test and an EKG. those didn’t find anything wrong either. I went to a cardiologist and had two more stress tests (treadmill) and none found anything wrong.
At some point around April/May I also developed a weird twitch. I’d be sitting at my desk with my hands on my keyboard or mouse and my finger would press a button even though I hadn’t meant to. It wasn’t just my fingers, sometimes it was my arm, or leg (I was awakened a couple times when my leg twitched overnight). I sent back to the doctor who said I should cut out caffeine, but that had no effect. He said it was most likely Benign Fasciculation Syndrome and I should just try to ignore it.
Things started turning around when we got our new dog Maisy, though the day we got her I happened to develop an abscess on my back and ended up having to have a surgeon drain it, and that took a couple weeks to heal., during which time it was very painful to sit down.
Then of course, over July 4th weekend I ruptured my Achilles’ tendon. It’s now over 5 months later and while I can mostly walk normally, it’s far from back to normal and I have rather significant pain when walking. I’ve been going to physical therapy twice a week since September and it’s helped a lot but it’s not magic. On my PT days I work from home, which also lets my leg rest, but the decrease in my exercise has led to gaining a bunch of weight.
Of course, there have been a lot of positive things this year. Mostly seeing my son grow from a little boy to a young man and seeing him succeed on school. But overall this has been a terrible year and I will be glad to put it behind me.
Today is 16 weeks since my Achilles’ tendon repair surgery. I spent the weekend mostly resting and am back at work today. Every step I take now is pretty painful in the ankle area. I’m not sure if it’s inside or just the scar being stretched when I walk but I’m starting to develop a limp because it hurts pretty badly when I walk. Still been doing PT 2 days a week, and it’s helped with flexibility and strength but the pain the past 10 days or so has actually been getting worse. Also my calf and ankle seem a lot more swollen now. Definitely a bummer since I thought my recovery was going pretty well.
106 days since surgery. Pain is starting to come back now, maybe as nerves are coming back. Had to get some new shoes with lower backs that don’t run against the scar.
This Monday, October 1st, marked eleven weeks since I had surgery to repair my ruptured Achilles tendon. At my follow up visit with the surgeon, he looked at the incision scar and seemed impressed at how well it’s healed. He said this is how it usually looks for patients after a year of healing. I guess there’s no way to know how much of that is just how my body heals and how much is due to my physical therapist working the scar tissue with his IASTM torture device (joking).
This past Monday, Sept 17th, I finally returned to the office, after almost 11 weeks being out. I was on long weekend (July 4th) when the injury occurred, and worked from home the following week. I then had the repair surgery on July 16th, and spent about two weeks just sitting on the couch recovering – WFH wasn’t really an option for that, since I had to keep my leg elevated above my heart. Since then I’ve been working from my home office.
First of all, let me say how amazingly lucky I am to have a job and a manager that allow me to work from home. I am extremely grateful for that. However, while there are definitely advantages to working from home, it’s not ideal, so I got clearance from my doctor and went back in this past Monday.
I live on Long Island and my office is in Manhattan, which means commuting involves driving to the local train station, parking there, taking a train into Manhattan, and then taking the subway to get to my office. Competition at the LIRR parking lot is fierce, and if you’re not there by 7 AM you likely won’t get a parking spot. I left the house at my previously usual time of 6:25 and managed to get one of the last spots in the “good” parking lot. There are no handicapped spots in this lot so I ended up just taking a regular spot, which was about 1000 feet from the stairs. The stairs weren’t too much of a problem, though I am definitely slower climbing them, and double-timing was not an option. I got a seat and the train ride was unremarkable.
I got off at Penn Station and took the escalator up to the concourse. I took another escalator up, and then decided to take the stairs up to street level. Again, no problem, just slow. I walked over to 6th Avenue and entered the NRQ station at 6th & 32nd. This was the first time all day I had to go down stairs, and it was definitely more challenging than going up. The main problem was that the boot was too big for the steps. I took the subway to 5th Ave & 59th Street, just to take a peek at Central Park before work. One thing I noticed walking on the sidewalk was that the slight grade of the sidewalk is very noticeable when wearing the boot. The sidewalks are all slightly slanted downwards, from the building to the street, so rain will run into the street. Normally I don’t notice this, but having the massive flat-bottomed boot bolted on, unable to use my ankle, it was awkward and uncomfortable. I found walking on the right side of the street was easier than the left, so that the boot was lower than my good foot. Not sure if I’m explaining it well, but it was a noticeable issue.
When I got to the office I took the elevator to the 17th floor, where the coffee is, and then walked down stairs to 16, where my desk is. I managed to get special handicapped elevator privileges with a doctor’s note, so I can at least take the elevator to my floor in the future without having to walk down.
For lunch I walked to a burrito place about 5 blocks away and brought it back to the office to eat. That was also a relatively unremarkable experience.
At the end of the day, I left a bit early, since there’s no way I can run if I need to catch my train. Descending the stairs into the subway station near the office I started to feel sharp pains in my right ankle – my non-injured one. By the time I got off the LIRR and got back to my car the pain was becoming more frequent. My immediate guess was that all the walking down stairs had caused Achilles tendinitis in my right leg. I had a physical therapy session right after work and I told my therapist what happened and he massaged the right leg as well as the left, using his roller thing. He said the right calf was extremely tight, and I need to make sure to stretch the calf out before doing anything, to avoid future injury.
The pain in the ankle continued intermittently throughout the evening, and when I woke up Tuesday, laying in bed, I felt it continue. It felt like someone had slashed the very bottom of the back of my ankle with a razor. I decided to work from home rather than exacerbate whatever the issue was. By Tuesday afternoon it was fine, but I chose to work from home for the remainder of the week. There are just too many steps involved in getting to & from the office. I plan to go back in either tomorrow (Friday) or Monday, and see if I can take a different subway route that has escalators or elevators the entire way.