Back at it

March 31, 2010

Alarm:  6:30am.  Snooze:  four times.  It was not rewarding.  I did not feel more rested.  I woke up (finally) grumpy and late.  It appears that I may need the accountability this blog gives me, whether it is real or imagined (I suspect the latter).

The good news of the day is that THIS is a beautiful Western blot.

It doesn’t get much better than that.  Remember the first one?

Yeah, that was bad.  The new one is almost perfect.  I am working on making it perfect today.  I heart donkey antibodies.  Rabbit antibodies are worthless.  (At least in my hands, for my purposes.)

The other good news of the day is that our basement drain is fixed.  Well, technically it was the good news of Monday, but I didn’t find out until Tuesday.  And I’m writing about it today.  So that makes it the good news of today.  I am told this is only a temporary fix, and the plumbers will be back in another week or so to make it more permanent.  I am not sure what it all entails, except there will be concrete removal, pump placement, drain replacement, and perhaps driveway digging-up.  Depending on how involved we want to get.  I suspect we will skip the driveway digging-up part.  As much as I love indoor plumbing (and trust me, I love indoor plumbing more than the next girl), if we can fix the problem without digging up the driveway, I pick that option.  Every time.


Bad days are for sharing

March 30, 2010

As bad as the last two weeks have been around our house and at my work, you’d think we had our share.  It looks like not quite.  The good news is that apparently the basement drain is working again.  I have no further details.

The bad new is that John is having a run of badness to start off this week.  It’s no fun when a tire blows on your diesel vet truck as you’re cruising down the road.  There’s more, but it’s his story to share, not mine.

And I’m stuck in Lafayette waiting for my antibodies to come in.  Here, antibodies…

The aftermath… almost

March 29, 2010

As you probably have figured out, the last few days have not been so good for us.  Research going poorly, extended times away from home, and of course the flood on top of the hill.  We are slowly but surely digging out (so to speak) from the wetness.  The bright spot is that my parents sent me flowers because I was having such a rough run.  They are gorgeous and smell great.  I brought them to Lafayette with me so they would keep brightening my days.

These are the scary stairs that John and I were up and down a million times in the last few days.

Who paints stairs?  Any why haven’t we put no-slip treads on them yet?  That will be coming soon…  I managed to only fall down them once.  And I only fell down two or three, I am not quite sure.  It hurt.  The plumbers showed up this morning to try to help.  When I left, they were still not sure what was wrong.  In the meantime, this handy little pump is what is keeping our basement (somewhat) dry.  The water just keeps on coming!

There are dry spots on the concrete.  There are also still wet spots.  Along with three fans and a dehumidifer.  We got it home and wished we had gotten the next size up.  Oh well.  This one is working.

There is also still a pile of mystery boxes.  These did not get wet.  Much.  We think.  John will be working on this while I am in Lafayette this week (right, honey?) and we’ll finish up (I hope) over next weekend.

That poor fish tank has been through a lot…

The garage, meanwhile, is a different story.  This is a load of dry stuff that is ready to come back into the basement.  Whenever we are ready to bring it back in.  (In other words, when the plumbers get it fixed and we get it dry.)

The tractor under the tarp is staying in the garage.  Or maybe going into the barn.  It is not coming in the house.  There is plenty of wet stuff that is still in the garage trying to dry.  It rained all day Sunday.  This did not help our quest for dry.  At all.

Unless anyone is really dying to hear about the daily alarm battle, I think it is tabled for a while.  I made 28 days with minimal alarm hits, and I am proud of myself.  I will keep it up, and post when something interesting happens (such as when I go back to my old ways, or I manage a nice long string of no-alarm days).  Trust me, anything interesting, like the Lauren Graham dream from the other night, you’ll hear about.

The next day

March 28, 2010

It is the day after the flood. The water is gone and we are working on cleaning out the basement. We’ve moved lots of stuff into the garage as a “staging area” while things dry out. The good news is that we didn’t lose any of our major appliances. Sure, the water heater needed a little coaxing, but it’s up and running again. Look for pictures of the drama on Monday.

Water, water, everywhere

March 27, 2010

This is what I came home to last night.

On top of the rest of the drama of the week, there was a foot of water in our basement.  We borrowed a submersible pump, and pumped the water all night long through the red hose and out the only window.  Did I mention that part of the reason there was water was because that window was leaking during the major rainstorm that almost blew the doors off our barn?

The good news is that after the all night pump, we ended up with this:

So, the water is gone.  For the most part.  The bad news is, we were left with this:

I have no idea what is in this box.

This box is full of blankets.  They are soaked and laying out in the sun.

The gray box is full of yarn.  Did you know these are not waterproof?  The water got so high it floated a bunch of these tupperware boxes.  Then they tipped.  Then they flooded.  There’s lots of things that I thought would be “safe” that really aren’t.  At all. The cardboard box behind the yarn is John’s old baseball caps.  I have no idea if these are salvageable yet.   There’s lots of that.

The other bad news is that the water is coming back into the basement.  Even thought it’s bright and sunny and not even thinking of raining.  And not all the spiders drowned.  I thought they would have.  The bigger ones are apparently smarter than the smaller ones.  I have found too many spiders that managed to get to higher ground and scared half the life out of me when I picked up or opened something.

It has not been a good morning.  I am frustrated and exhausted.  And my back hurts.

War, Day 28

March 26, 2010


Bedtime:  11:00 pm

Alarm:  6:30 am

Snooze:  once.  And I loved every minute of it.

I will freely admit it.  I hit snooze this morning.  There is something so comforting about climbing back into the warm bed, if even for just a few (five) minutes.  I was more ready to get up at 6:35 than I was at 6:30.  I can’t quite figure out what makes a snooze-free morning.  The hours of sleep have something to do with it, sure, but that’s not the whole story.  Last night I slept the sleep of the dead.  I woke up in exactly the same position I fell asleep in.  And still, all I could think when the alarm went off the first time was, “More sleep, please.”  The second time, I got up with little complaint.  (Note, not with no complaint.)

And back to work.  You may have noticed that I have been having some trouble with my experiments lately.  It turns out that the secondary antibody I have been using cross-reacts with pretty much everything it can get its sticky little ends on.  Which is everything.  This is why I thought I needed to dilute my primary antibody down to nothing – the primary is actually doing its job.  The stupid secondary antibody is doing jobs that no one should be doing!!  If I wanted those other proteins highlighted, I would have bought antibodies that are supposed to stick to them!!

I called the company to find out what I was doing wrong.  They said, “Oh, you’re using rabbit antibody?  Well, rabbit cross-reacts with immunoglobulins from most species.  It has especially strong cross-reaction with horse and human immunoglobulins.  Everybody knows that.  You should be using donkey antibody.”  (I may be paraphrasing.)  Ahem.  Everybody does not know that.

Now, the package insert for the rabbit antibody says “The antibody may cross-react with immunoglobulins from other species.”  (That is a direct quote.)  How does “may cross-react” translate to “cross-reacts with every stupid protein in your sample, especially if it’s from a horse”?  I missed something here.

So, I ordered the donkey antibody.

I will be back at Purdue next week.

I need a vacation.

War, Day 27

March 25, 2010


Bedtime:  11:30 pm

Alarm:  6:30 am

Snooze:  zero

I don’t want to talk about the alarm clock today.  I have re-learned four things in the last 36 hours, and I would like to share them with you.  Please let this be the last time I have to re-learn these particular lessons.

Thing 1: My walk-through-the-kitchen commute is so much better than the 20-25 minute drive, complete with traffic lights and people who drive under the speed limit.

Thing 2: After 8:00 am, there is no parking near my building.

Thing 3: My head hurts less when I wear my bite guard at night.

Thing 4: (This one is the most important.)  Always.  AlwaysALWAYS do a negative control as part of the first set of experiments.  Always.

Can I go home now?  Oh, no.  No, I guess I can’t.