27 July 2020

Sigh, a big day, just not the kind you ever want to have.

Mom’s physical and mental health has slowly been degrading over the last few years.  We did the best we could, first taking care of her ourselves via welfare checks a few times a week (she’s still living in the same house that we grew up in.) After that became insufficient, we shared time with a caregiver, but it came to a point that “it was time.” She sees things that aren’t there, accuses people of things that didn’t happen, says that people are stealing from her (she moves things and forgets), and that strange people are visiting, and it just all painted a picture of where things were heading. We installed security cameras, which of course showed nothing, and suspect that at that stage of life, dreams and reality get mixed together. She also started having angry outbursts, which are easier to understand when viewed from her point of view: people saying things that don’t make sense, things that you absolutely “know for fact” that are wrong. Even so, things couldn’t be allowed keep degrading. When she told the caregiver “you must go home because it’s dark”, in the middle of a sunny day, we know that it was time.

And so, we lied, getting her in the car to go for a “drive to see a garden”, walking her to the front door of the rest home—like walking a friend to the gallows, it just feels very deceitful, and yet, it had to be done. Probably the saddest aspect of this is knowing that with her mix of being hard of hearing, having trouble processing sounds into words even when she does hear them, and being delusional, she’s going to have a difficult or even impossible time carrying on even simple conversations. We worry that she may retreat inward and just shut down.

Or maybe we’ll be completely wrong and she’ll quickly fit in. Uh huh.

That said, we’re extremely fortunate to be able to afford moving her to a rest home. I’m very aware that many people cannot and try to take care of their relative while still holding down a job. As tough as this is emotionally, it could be far worse.

Like I said when dad died, “I accept what’s happening but don’t have to like it.” And yes, the little voice in my head did ask, “so with both of your parents becoming delusional, what do you think that means for you?”

26 July 2020

With Midlana builders starting to complete their car’s bodywork, it reminds me that I need to update my blog. Background: This whole odyssey regarding the rear panel started after I damaged it and never got around to really fixing it. Instead, the area was used to add a diffuser and and to both extend the exhaust and add a muffler. So the area was being used, but nothing was done to improve the car’s look from the rear.

After a lot of thinking, the diffuser is being removed. Why? While they can work well—on a proper car—it looks odd and out of place on Midlana. Its value at anything less than track speeds is questionable (other than getting street ‘cred, hah). Its effectiveness isn’t helped by the fairly high 4″ ground clearance. (That said, the pictures of the removed diffuser do show the expected and desired flow, so it was doing something. One disappointment was that driving down a street with leaves on it, they never did jump off the street into the air.

Removing the diffuser shortens the car by about two feet, valuable garage space that I wanted back. I still like the original solid panel the best aesthetically, but I’m going with wire mesh to aid engine compartment ventilation. If you’ve ever dealt with woven wire, it’s much like cloth, where the edges can fray and fall out during cutting and installation. Having the wires welded makes the panel much easier to deal with. The one down side is that welded-wire mesh isn’t available in many sizes, with the largest wire being 0.03″, (0.7mm). I’d rather it be thicker for stiffness and looks, but oh well.

Also in the same area is the exhaust and muffler. The child in me misses the turbo whistle sound, so the muffler is coming off, reverting back to using only the turbo as the muffler (as the Dodge SRT-4 does, so I read). This cleans up the engine compartment, moves the pieces out of the way, gets rid of about 4 feet of heat-radiating tubing, and about 15 pounds from the worst location possible, aft of rear axle center line.

Lastly, I’ve been meaning to back off on spring rate. As it is now, it’s right on the edge of being too harsh for the street, So the rear springs were reduced from 600 lb/in to 400 lb/in, and the fronts reduced from 300 lb/in to 250. You may notice they aren’t being reduced by the same percentage. The front is being reduced less to ensure that any oversteer tendency is held in check, and because I didn’t have any 200 lb/in springs! The original reason for going stiffer was to make ensure that the rear suspension never bottomed out, but I don’t think that it did. Yeah, maybe I’m getting soft in my old age, or just being more realistic about what the car is and isn’t.

Back to the screen material for a second, which is stainless and currently unpainted. I haven’t decided whether to leave it as-is or paint it black. I think a solid panel looks better, and painting it black may make it sort of disappear, causing the car to again look like its back end is open. We’ll see.