Our property had been nice and dry for a few days.  When I got home last night that was no longer the case, a massive deluge had brought the annoying temporary ponds to various spots in the yard.  The timing of the rain was not ideal as a tropical system in the Gulf of Mexico is supposed to be spinning up , poised to dump massive amounts of rain in our area the next few days.  I can hardly wait for dry season to begin.

I spent a good portion of last night doing prep for hosting the fantasy football draft party tonight at the house.  I have a new TV and a new operating system on the laptop I normally use to connect remote owners to the draft.  Getting the two things working together took a little bit of patience.  As usual I will be leaving work early to rearrange the furniture in the great room to be able to support having 10 or more people in there.  I’m sure it will all work out fine.

Cindy loves doing party prep, unfortunately she won’t be getting home till later as she signed up to be an election worker, a noble cause.  She had to leave the house before 6AM this morning to get ready for the long 7AM-7PM work day.  She was anxious about doing it but I am sure she will do great.  Her personality will make the voting experience better for anyone that walks in the door.

Since Cindy had to leave so early and was going to be gone all day I was pressed into early chicken coop cleaning duty.  The chickens looked at me with confused expressions when I opened the doors before the sun had even peeked out from behind the horizon.  I was in my full work clothes with my rubber work boots to perform the cleaning, not ideal but we have things optimized enough that I can avoid fecal matter contact, even in nice clothes.

13335829_1207692319244020_680338668853171674_nAs I cleaned, Kristen, our current broody chicken, was in one of the nesting boxes making noises and fluffing her feathers to make her look double her size.  When I got done with the clean up I picked her up and carried her out in the yard even though I had no doubt she would find her way back into the coop shortly after I left.

I was slightly nervous cleaning the coop that early as I still have the sting of Cocoa getting killed by the coyote around 7:15 in the morning a couple months ago.  Before I left I did a thorough scan of the back yard to make sure there were no potential predators hanging around.  The chickens normally hang closer to the house which mostly hides them from the view of a backyard set of eyes.

This was a very heavy Ninebot One riding weekend.  It started off at lunch on Friday when I rode from Naples Medical Center after picking up the DVD of my brain MRI results.  I rode all over the coastal Naples area.  It was definitely more challenging having to keep a close eye on so many potential obstacles.  All in all I did a good job and logged 6-7 miles in the process.

I took some time and looked briefly at my MRI brain images but it didn’t take long until I lost interest.  To be honest it sort of grosses me out seeing slices of my skull/brain and everything contained within.  I didn’t see any huge obvious flaws so I guess that is a good thing.

On Saturday morning I was out in the yard early weeding and tending to the property.  It was incredibly warm and humid.  I can hardly wait for winter to arrive so I can work outside without such a misery tariff. We took Sadie out for a DD and Rural King ride which she of course found very exciting.  She slides so easily into Cindy and my daily existence.  Just having her around makes both of us feel better.

Later in the day we headed over to Cindy’s daughters place.  Cindy was tending to her two dogs for the weekend.  Of course we brought Sadie with.  Sadie was already very familiar with Tank, whom we dog sitted for around two weeks.  She had not met Bowser, who is a much bigger, high energy dog.  Sadie had to set Bowser straight with a ferocious sounding snarl when he tried to mount her from behind.  Once that was over all three dogs had fun.  It was the first time I saw Sadie running around and playing with other dogs since my dad and step mom were at the house with their dogs a couple years ago.

Later in the afternoon Saturday the skies were looking ominous but I was getting the urge to go out on the Ninebot One.  I told Cindy I was heading out although I wasn’t quite sure what my destination was going to be.  I headed out onto Immokalee Road and decided I would make a right and head toward Bird Rookery Swamp.  At first I thought I would just go part of the way down the road to the point where it turns to limestone.  Then I decided to just go to the entrance of the swamp.  When it was all said and done I went onto the boardwalk to the end.

The ride had a lot of challenges.  I never rode on limestone road, compressed stone parking lot, grass path or boardwalk before.  I had some shaky moments but stayed upright.  The Ninebot One is remarkably good at handling off road conditions.  I was surprised to see a notice at the end of the boardwalk that the actual trail was closed to the public.  The sign said something like it was due to wildlife concerns.  I was curious how long it had been closed.  I did notice the water levels at the swamp were VERY high.

So once I turned around it started to rain.  When I got off the boardwalk I texted Cindy that I was at the swamp and it might be a good idea she came and picked me up.  By the time I got onto the limestone road it was a downpour.  I knew the Ninebot was pretty water resistant so I kept trucking along, hoping to meet Cindy coming down the road to pick me up.   Once I hit the asphalt part of the road the rain had pretty much stopped.  I heard texts coming in on my phone but I didn’t feel like stopping to answer them, I just wanted to get back at that point.  It turns out that Cindy did not get the text saying I was at the swamp.  She only got the one asking for a pick up.  She assumed I was at the school so she drove there. When I got back to Immokalee Road I stopped and texted her again where I was but that I was just going to ride back as I was almost home.  I cut across Immokalee Road and was less than a mile from the house.

So the EUC was very wet from riding through a rain storm.  I never had ridden it while it was this wet before.  In the video you will notice I mention something about how the pedals felt extra slippery when wet.  So after I got on the right side of the road the Ninebot started beeping which is an indicator it wants you to slow down, either due to a low battery condition or excessive speed.  The wheel also has a “safety” feature which will start tilting the pedals backward to force you to slow down.  This tilt normally is subtle at first but I have had previous rides where it became quite severe very quickly, causing me to have to lean forward awkwardly to stay on it.

Well shortly after crossing I heard a few beeps followed almost immediately with sudden, severe tilt back.   Due to the slippery pedals I was not able to stay on.  My feet slipped off and I went barrel rolling onto the road shoulder at somewhere around 13 mph.  I just happened to be filming with my GoPro when it happened.  The last thing you hear is the sound of my boots sliding off the pedals before I accidentally turned the camera off when I fell.

Of course my first reaction was anger.  The Ninebot went rolling down the grassy ditch, ejecting one of it’s LED rings in the process.  I did a brief survey and saw my right knee was bloody.  For whatever reason I decided to not wear knee pads for the first time in a month.  Of course they would have prevented the road rash.  The EUC appeared to be fine which was a close second in concern to my own injuries.  A couple minutes after my fall Cindy pulled up.  She was freaking out that she didn’t know where I was.  I told her I just fell so I just wanted to get home.

14102575_10154770971712841_4903434476218847955_nWhen we got back we did a more extensive examination of my injuries.  In addition to my dirty and bloody knee I had banged up my right shoulder, hip and even my face which had a bloody scratch and a feeling like I was punched in the jaw.  Of course this all freaked out Cindy further.  I assured I was ok and the only reason I fell was because I never rode in wet conditions before.  It was definitely a good lesson.

I had already made up my mind before the crash Saturday that I was going to run on Sunday.  Having a battered and bruised right side created a hurdle to that goal but I still pulled myself out of bed and went to the track solo.  I knew it was not going to be fun.  It took nearly a mile until I was running without a mild limp.  I decided to cut myself a small break and only ran a little more than 5K in distance instead of the four miles I logged last weekend.

Somehow my overall pace was around 15 seconds per mile faster than the week before which seemed ridiculous.  When I tried to analyze why the only thing I could come up with was my stride was shorter because of the injury but my foot cadence was faster.  Maybe that is the way to go.  I always assumed using a longer, slower stride was more efficient overall but maybe that isn’t the case.  The sprinklers at the track were on again giving me moving wet obstacles to steer around.

When I got back I changed my shirt and hopped in the truck with Cindy to go back to her daughters place to check on the dogs.  Sadie was excited to have another play session with her buddies. Having three dogs is fun to experience in short bursts.  Dealing with it day in and day out would be a real chore.

When we got back I had another Ninebot One goal in mind, despite my bloody crash the day before.  I wanted to ride it all the way to Dunkin Donuts, some 10 miles away.  The plan was for me to leave on the wheel and then have Cindy leave about 45 minutes later which in theory should have us arriving at DD at around the same time.  At first we talked about then riding the Minipros around DD but Cindy said she didn’t feel up to riding.  I pushed off for what I knew was going to be a long, potentially boring and somewhat painful ride.  Being on an EUC for that amount of time and distance is rough on your lower body.  Doing it with a banged up right side makes it even more so.

I was about three miles into the ride, approaching Wilson Blvd when I heard the Prius beeping.  Cindy had left already and was trying to flag me down.  I wasn’t sure why she would be coming already and was worried something was wrong at first although I heard nothing from my phone prior that would indicate there was a problem.  I pulled over, confused, as she spun around to my side of the road. She said she changed her mind and had the Minipros in the back of the car.

I didn’t react well to the abrupt change of heart.  I had my mind in goal accomplishment mode, I wanted to conquer the ride on the EUC.  I felt like I was getting pulled from the game and put on the bench. In retrospect it was less of a big deal than I made it. I threw the wheel in the Prius and we drove to DD.  After we picked up coffee we came up with the idea of me riding back to the house which would actually be an even further ride since I already logged three miles.

As I soon as I headed east on Immokalee I realized I might not be able to complete the ride back due to serious head wind I was now traveling into.  It was pushing against my body continually, making the bot work hard to keep me moving at 10+ mph.  So despite the wind, things were going ok.  My biggest issue was foot discomfort which I would address by stopping periodically to shift my weight around a bit.

About 5 miles from the house I started getting my first warning beeps and mild tilt back of the pedals, something that happens increasingly more often as the battery gets depleted.  When I felt the tilt I would immediately lean back to drop some speed.  Well about a half mile from Wilson Blvd I heard a few beeps and then almost immediately got thrown into sudden, severe tilt back, much like what happened the day before.  Despite the pedals being dry, it once again was severe enough that I fell off the back of the bot, sending me and bot rolling down the grass embankment.  I just happened to have the camera on again when it happened and this time it kept rolling, capturing the crash in it’s entirety.

Beside getting dirty, I didn’t have any additional injury from this spill.  The Ninebot escaped unharmed as well, simply rolling down the hill.  I was pissed.  This “safety” feature is treacherous, it should not go zero to 60 in the span of a couple seconds.  I got back on the bot and continued forward at a greatly reduced speed.  Despite this, the low battery level caused a couple more bad tilt backs that had me hop off.  Once I had to wildly scramble to grab the wheel as it headed toward the road.

I realized there was no way I was going to make it all the way back to the house.  I texted Cindy and had her meet me at Orange Tree, some two and a half miles from the house.  By the time I got to her I was only able to putter along at maybe 6 mph.  I learned my second valuable EUC lesson of the weekend.  The Ninebot One is not designed to be taken for double digit mile rides when most of it is into a stiff headwind.  Riding it in low battery conditions was annoying and downright dangerous.  I now have just under 80 miles on the Ninebot One odometer which seems sort of crazy considering how things started out.

We decided to make unusual plans to do a Sunday dinner out at Carrabas.  We hadn’t been there for a while.  I was shocked just how empty it was, about 2/3 of the tables were unoccupied.  We were not impressed with the cleanliness of the place.  Despite being slow, we were at first directed to table that hadn’t been cleaned.  When we went to another high top table the area around it was sort of a mess as well.

The waiter reminded us it was happy hour meaning 2-1 drinks.  There was one problem, they had no draft beer which is what qualifies for the special.  WTF?  I wound up drinking two Miller Lite bottles at $5 a pop, lame.  The food itself was good and our waiter was green but nice so it wasn’t a total negative experience.  It certainly did not give either of us an urge to repeat our patronage soon.

So the internet is up in arms about Colin Kapernick making a conscious decision to not stand during the playing of the national anthem before the 49ers preseason game this weekend.  Colin said it was his way of protesting the way black people are treated in our country.  To me it was Colin’s way of showing he isn’t the brightest bulb in the pack.

Of course I feel it is disrespectful to not observe the anthem.  Despite your social views, somehow your team was stupid enough to throw a 100 million dollar plus contract in your lap.  It’s going to be hard to garner much sympathy for your oppression when you live in such “difficult” conditions which is something he should have given thought to prior to creating this circus.

Sure this is America and you have the freedom to not acknowledge the anthem, just like others have the freedom to think you are a huge a-hole for choosing to do so.  It was just a poor decision by him.  I think there are much more effective ways to make a point without alienating yourself from the populace.  I do have to admit that I sort of enjoy this being Chip Kelly’s mess to deal with.  It is certainly laying the groundwork for this to be a disastrous first year in 49er coaching career.

 

Yesterday was the MRI of my head which is an attempt to give a clearer picture of exactly what is going on with my right ear.  Once again they asked for payment up front which I find annoying.  I had a conventional MRI a long time ago so I sort of knew what I was in for.  Although I’m not claustrophobic, being in a space where you literally can not move is not pleasant.  The MRI at this facility was actually housed in a truck trailer in the parking lot, weird.

My scan was going to consist of two parts, one regular scan and then another scan after they inject me with some sort of dye to provide additional contrast to the image.  The tech stressed how I needed to keep my head as still as possible.  If you move in the middle of an imaging run they have to redo it, meaning you are stuck in the tube even longer.

I normally am pretty itchy, especially on my head.  Just watch any YouTube video I have and you will surely see me scratch my head or face more than once.  Knowing I was more or less locked in place for 45-50 minutes gave me some anxiety as I laid down on the table.  The tech put a pair of headphones on me that had a radio station playing and then put a plastic cage sort of thing over my head.  He once again told me to stay as still as possible as my body started to get inserted into the machine.

The chamber was tight.  My arms drug on the side of the tube as I moved, forcing me to pull them closer and hold them in a somewhat awkward position.  Having the roof of the chamber a few inches from your face is not a good feeling.  I almost immediately closed my eyes and left them that way for the entire session.  Thankfully there was a steady flow of air going through the tube to keep me cool.

The sound an MRI makes is very loud.  The imaging goes in solid spurts ranging from 2-4 minutes in length during which the rhythmic droning drowns out everything else.  At times I could feel the electro-magnetic forces pulsating through my head, it was an odd sensation.  Of course it didn’t take very long until I had an itch on my head which of course I could do nothing about except wait for it to subside, which it eventually did. I thought when I got pulled out of the tube to get the injection I might be able to scratch any itches but I had to keep my head glued in place the entire time, even during the injection.

The session after the injection felt slightly shorter than the first one although my sense of time became somewhat distorted inside the tube.  Despite the itch urges the tech said I did an excellent job at staying still.  When I finally got pulled from the tube it was a relief.  After scratching my head thoroughly I gathered my things and was on my way.  I am stopping back there at lunch to pick up my images on DVD.  Although I don’t know what I will actually be looking at, I guess it’s a good thing to have images of my brain, just in case.

12705726_490477737802519_2269893942628260045_nSo a little less than two years ago I bought my own used timing box.  It was the start of the idea I had to make my timing skills my own part time gig, outside of what I had been doing for the running club for many years.  The idea of me calling the shots and being able to charge more for my services seemed appealing.  Once I broke away as the club timer in January I assumed I would start actively timing more events on my own.  I invested a good chunk of money in getting more equipment to help me in that regard. I bought some laptops, an inflatable arch, generator, race clock. shelter and several other things.

I did do a couple events, all small in size.  They went ok but despite their size brought on similar amounts of stress as bigger races I used to time, partially because I was dealing with a different cast of people that I had no idea how competent or incompetent they were.

Then a weird thing happened.  After not timing a race for a few months I started to realize just how little I missed it.  I got a decent amount of inquiries about timing other events and most of them I turned away immediately.  I did schedule two events, one in October and another in November, both of them involving friends of mine.  I have since handed off the November event to another timer, leaving only the October race on my calendar.   I was talking loosely with Ali about timing her race in January but again had no real enthusiasm for it.

So anyway I think I have decided that after the October commitment I will be closing the doors on Green Machine Timing.  At this point in my life I just have very little tolerance for putting myself in situations I don’t enjoy.  Life is too short.  My cost of living salary bumps at my real job combined with YouTube money have already pretty much erased any income hit I took walking away from running club timing.  Unloading all of my stuff will help me recoup some of that money and reclaim a lot of space in our third bedroom.

In a way I feel much the same I did regarding the SSR.  Starting my own timing gig sounded like a great idea but the reality of it turned out to be different.  Race timing has been part of my life for the greater part of the last decade but things change.  Much like the SSR, I don’t think I am going to really miss it all that much when it’s gone.

I am picking up the DVD of my MRI results at lunch.  Instead of going to the gym, I brought my Ninebot One in the Prius.  After parking at the med center I plan to get a little bit of riding in around coastal Naples.  Should be fun.

There is a chance of some major rain rolling through our area the next several days so I wanted to make sure the grass got mowed now while the standing water has receded.  Cindy got on during the day and mowed the main yard.  When I got home I tackled the trenches by the road as well as mowing a good chunk of the back yard that normally gets flooded.   I again tempted fate, mowing defiantly as thunder and lightning crackled all around the area.  I pulled the tractor back into the shed shortly before the rain kicked in.

During the day Cindy picked up Sadie who is staying with us for an extended weekend.  She HATES storms and will stick to you like glue when thunder is rattling the house.  Most of the night she was always within arms reach.

I was surprised when I got an email the other day that I had a Google AdSense deposit in my account.  I have been making money with YouTube dollars for a couple years now so the deposit itself wasn’t the surprise, the timing was.  The reason is I just had a deposit the previous month.  I have been averaging getting a check from them every 2-3 months.  You are only issued a check once your account hits $100 in revenue.  Getting the check this week marked the first time I have earned enough YouTube money to get paid two months in a row, awesome!

Ever since I hit two milestones on my account, 1000 subscribers and a million total views it has seemed like things have been accelerating rapidly.  I now have tacked on almost another 200 subscribers and 60,000 views in the span of several weeks.  The content on my channel has sort of shifted over time.  It used to be almost exclusively videos of me doing workouts and physical challenges which only appealed to a small niche market.  Over time I discovered that people love how to videos.

My various automotive and home project videos are my most viewed on the channel.   My recent adoption of the Segway Minipro and Ninebot One has opened up the channel to a whole new genre of people.  The response I have gotten on the videos related to our PTV’s has been good as well.

I think the formula I use for pretty much all of my videos is pretty consistent, no matter what the subject is.  I just talk about it.  I am not scared to show when I fail as well as succeed.  Admitting mistakes is a good thing. It seems like my honest approach to how I tackle various obstacles clicks with a decent amount of people.  I also have made some minor tweaks to the way I make videos, using higher quality editing software and making a conscious effort to keep their duration shorter.  People today have short attention spans.

So anyway, I have been working on building my YouTube channel into something for a long time.  To at least be making some part time job money at it is satisfying.  I’ll keep uploading.

Today is my ear MRI.  They are going to be doing it with and without contrast I believe.  With contrast means they inject some dye into your bloodstream to provide better imagery of the small components that make up the ear.  I generally hate being poked and prodded so I am not looking forward to the procedure.  I have had MRI’s before, so the coffin like enclosure will not be new to me, I just hope I don’t get an itch.

The frustrating thing is I am pretty sure the MRI will do nothing to help remedy the problem.  I think I have a fistula that will either slowly heal itself or will leave me with reduced hearing on my right side for the foreseeable future.  My body already seems to be used to having the constant low ringing sensation on that side.  My eyes are already going bad, my ears may as well join the party.

Yesterday I had a follow up appointment at our on site employee clinic scheduled at 8:45.  Even though nothing has really changed with the status of my problem I guess they wanted an update on how the ear specialist appointment went.  I arrived about 8:40.  I expected the visit to be very quick.

Well I didn’t get called back into an exam room until 9:20ish where the nurse weighed me, took my temperature, and blood pressure even though I just had the same thing performed a couple days prior.  I was then told the NP would be in to see me shortly.  After another 20 minutes of staring at the walls in the exam room I had enough.  I walked out and told the receptionist I couldn’t wait any longer.  She apologized and asked if I wanted to reschedule an appointment and I told her no, I’d let them know if I needed anything else.

The onsite clinic has had a retooling of staff members in addition to be taken over by another organization.  I have not been impressed by the changes.  When I made the initial appointment I called three times during business hours and got no answer.  Both times when I walked into the clinic the receptionist ignored me for 30-45 seconds, not because of a phone call or dealing with another patient, she was just doing data entry.  How does somebody in that position not realize the most basic thing to do is at least glance at a person, smile and acknowledge their presence?  Nope she stares straight ahead like a horse with blinders on.

Then there is the actual medical exam experience which seems much more heavily weighted again on data entry instead of wellness.  Far more time is spent in silence as the staff is typing shit into the computer instead of doing any sort of diagnostic.  I do appreciate the end result of the data entry, having more information available online but they need to find a way to find a happy medium.  Right now you just feel like a part on an assembly line.  In a nutshell my medical care experience since having the ear problem has sucked.

So I finally was able to get our Office 365 subscription at work activated but it wasn’t long until I ran into another roadblock which apparently is related to the steps that were taken to activate the account.  I once again have been thrown into outsourced help desk hell where I am dealing with support personnel I literally can not understand.  Dealing with this issue is enough of a pain in the ass as is, trying to do it with a huge language barrier in place makes it maddening.   I am actively trying to find the secret number that connects me to a US based Microsoft help desk.

I was stressed out all day so getting out on the Ninebot One was a nice way to clear my head.  I put in my longest ride ever on the single wheel, just under 8 miles.  I continued to experiment with foot position.  I think I am figuring out exactly what position gives me the best mix of being able to stop, turn, and ride most effectively.  I also used my new windscreen for the GoPro in an attempt to cut down on the horrible wind noise I was getting in some of my previous rides.  For the most part it did a great job.  There is no point in the video where you can’t hear what I am saying.

So yesterday I had a follow up visit with the ear doctor.  I have to say I have not been impressed with their operation.  When I went to my first appointment last week early in the morning I had to wait 45 minutes to get in and then spent most of the morning doing the same thing, waiting.  Well yesterday my appointment wasn’t until 3:15.  I again had a long wait of over 60 minutes.

To me if an office consistently is late getting patients in that means they are overbooking the time slots.  It isn’t rocket science. The experience isn’t made any better by the receptionist that seems to be in a permanent bad mood.  I also found it annoying that they wanted to take my credit card for my $35 co-pay before I even saw anybody.

So I finally was called back and met with the actual ear doctor instead of his PA.  He was an old man that has certainly looked at thousands of ears during his career.  He asked me if I had been taking the steroid.  I told him I had for 5 days but have not noticed any change in the symptoms.  I did tell him I started noticing I had drainage down my throat the last few days but he said that was probably a side effect of the prednisone.  The amount of fluid in an ear is so small you would not feel it in your throat.

He too seemed a bit oblivious to the circumstances of the incident, seeming to think that the gym incident was perhaps a coincidence and the hearing loss was caused by something else.  I assured him it was not and described it as someone flipping a switch.  He wants me to finish the prednisone and get the ear MRI to make sure nothing major is going on in there.  He again mentioned the possibility of it being a “fistula” which is a small tear in the membrane between the middle and inner ear.  If it is that, they either heal by themselves or don’t.

When I read up on the condition it repeatedly mentions severely restricting physical activity during the first 7-14 days which I obviously have not been adhering to.  I probably should try to dial it back but my inner taskmaster doesn’t feel the same way.  The low ear ringing and diminished hearing out of that side is annoying but not a show stopper.  Regardless it would be nice to not go through the remainder of my life with the sound of a leaking capacitor permanently in my head.

Last night I wanted to get out on the wheel and ride.  The problem was it was pouring rain at the house.  I threw the Ninebot One in the Prius and hoped to find a nearby dry spot.  Luckily the precipitation stopped just before I arrived at the middle school.  I had a decent ride of almost five miles around the area.  There were some kids around the school for some event that were interested in my one wheeled wizardry.  One of them yelled out “Hey, can I try it?” , I instantly yelled back, “TOO DANGEROUS!”  I also had people just yelling at me randomly as I cruised down the sidewalk by Oil Well Road.  It was hard to tell but they sounded like sounds of approval.

I had no crashes but could feel some fatigue in my legs from Sunday’s run followed by 13 miles+ of riding on two bots.  When the legs feel tired the responsiveness definitely suffers.13770446_10154678705022841_5708589150240778921_n

Saturday morning Cindy went in to work at her new gig at a new gym that is only 8 miles away.  I used that time to get out in the yard with the weed whacker.  I had not buzzed the yard in a few weeks.  The ground was quite soggy with some standing water so it was a messier than normal experience.  I also got a reminder of why I was supposed to wear long pants when performing this chore.  I inadvertently whacked a fire ant mound that sent a ton of them into my rubber boot where they immediately started lighting up my calf.  As I ripped the boot off and started whacking at my leg I vowed to never do the chore in shorts again.  I kept myself busy all morning doing stuff around the house until Cindy got home a little after noon.

14059975_1261800640499854_1562467272_oEarly in the afternoon Bill, our friend from the running club showed up with two Concept 2 Rowers in the back of his truck.  We were buying one of them.  Bill has been a long time rower.  He has amassed literally millions of meters of rowing over the years.  I had enjoyed rowing both at NCH and Planet Fitness.  Retro does not have any rowers.  Cindy and I thought a rower would make a nice addition to our fitness arsenal and we had a spot in our bedroom in front of the window where it would fit. The rower we actually bought was one Bill’s daughter used for awhile.  Despite being used a lot it was still in excellent condition, much better than any rower I used at the gym.

Bill is the equipment manager for the running club so we spent nearly a decade meeting up on race sites way before the crack of dawn to set up for events.  Bill has also helped me out on my property in the past, doing some grading work and also helping me transport and set up my smaller storage shed.  He may be the hardest working person I know.  We caught up a bit on the latest and greatest as he gave us a pretty thorough run down of the rower.  There aren’t many things I miss about my time as the running club timer but being able to work with good people like Bill is one of them.

After Bill left we did a run to Home Depot to get a few things.  We actually did not stop at Rural King this weekend, a rarity.  Going to Dunkin Donuts, Home Depot and Rural King just fits us like an old comfortable t-shirt.

Saturday night we opted to stay home and watch my Netflix Blu-ray, Gods of Egypt.  Yes I had heard the movie got bad reviews but how bad could a movie be that has the Kingslayer from Game of Thrones and King Leonidas from 300?  Well the answer is, really, really bad.  It was so bad that Cindy bailed watching it maybe half way through.  I was committed to see it through to the end.  A movie can be awful but sometimes it’s so dumb it can flip around to be entertaining in some bizarre way.  That is kind of how I felt as I endured to the end.  I was laughing out loud at just how dumb it was.  It also had a very weird musical score at times that did not seem to match up with the mood of the scene.  You really don’t need to ever see this movie but if you chose to do so I would advise downing a six pack first.  C-

14102371_10154752092197841_2661959509606927582_nSunday morning I once again had the alarm set for 6AM to get an early run in.  Cindy had planned to go with me but her back was bothering her so I wound up going solo.  I was surprised when I pulled up to the track around 6:45 and there was nobody there.  Normally there are one or two people walking the track very early.  I was also glad to see the sprinklers were not running so I wouldn’t have to dodge them this time around.

I had decided going in that I wanted to increase my lap count by one.  I had been doing 13 lappers up until then which worked out to be around 3.4 miles. 14 laps was my goal.  It was sort of peaceful having the track to myself as I circled the track as sunrise emerged.  As I got to lap 11-12 I was feeling ok so I entertained the idea of pushing for four miles of total distance.  I had not run 4 miles at all in 2016 and I if I did it in 2015 it was very early in the year.  As I rounded the final turn of lap 14 I glanced at my watch and saw one more lap would get me four miles.  I mentally committed and put in the 15th lap.  To be that close and bail would have been lame.  I ended the run as I began, alone, but feeling a mild sense of accomplishment as well.

Later in the morning Cindy and I loaded up the Minipros in the Prius and headed to North Collier Regional Park to get some riding in.  The park is large, beautiful and has paths all over the place that are perfect for two wheeled fun.  As we were zipping around we saw signs for early voting.  I knew early voting had opened up on Saturday but I did not know you could vote on Sunday too.  Cindy and I decided we should take advantage of our discovery.  We rode back to the car so Cindy could grab her ID.  We then took turns babysitting the Segways so the other could vote.  There were no lines and we finished in less than 5 minutes each.  We were both happy we inadvertently got a chance to fulfill our civic duty while joyriding.

As we rode around the park we got asked about the Minipros a few times by other park visitors.  To those that have never seen them in action it looks pretty crazy.  While I was waiting for Cindy to vote I was freaking a couple out by driving my Minipro around by remote control.  It was very warm, by the time we were done my shirt was soaked.  Even with the heat it was a beautiful and fun ride.  Cindy and I both really enjoy cruising on the Segways.

Cindy made arrangements to go to the movies with her daughter, niece and mom Sunday afternoon which again gave me time to do my own thing.  One of those things was to go back out on the road to ride my other personal transport device, the Ninebot One E+.

I had not ridden the wheel since Wednesday after work.  During that ride I felt stiff and uncomfortable.  I gave myself a few days to recover physically and mentally.  I drove through a pounding rainstorm a couple miles from the house to Dunkin Donuts where it was blue skies and nice.  I decided to take the wheel on the same route Cindy and I followed a couple weeks prior on the Minipros into a nearby development and golf course.

When we did that ride I remember thinking how it would be awesome if I was comfortable enough on the Ninebot One someday to be able to go this route.  I did not expect to be able to do it so soon.  I felt much more comfortable on the wheel than I did on Wednesday.  I actually rode back to the car three times with the intention of leaving.  Each time I decided I was having too much fun and headed out again.  In total I logged over 7 miles during the session which felt awesome.  Being able to navigate the sidewalks and walking/riding paths without feeling in mortal danger was a good thing.

Towards the end of the ride I came across another revelation in regards to foot position that was unknowingly causing me issues.  I had been having issues turning well to the left which is the side my foot is planted on the wheel when I mount.  I would normally have that left foot and ankle pressed firmly right against the side of the wheel, my thought process being less space meant less room for wobble.

I did a little test where I tried mounting the wheel with the opposite foot.  During this test I realized my turning problem had now reversed sides as well.  Well the light bulb clicked in my old brain.  It seemed like having a foot so tight against the bot makes it difficult to turn that direction due to lack of clearance.  I mounted the wheel with my foot and inch or so off the wheel and felt GREAT.  Not only could I turn both ways better, it also allowed for a more comfortable riding position.  It felt like moving the foot off the wheel a bit allowed the slight variations in wheel angle to be absorbed by my feet and ankles instead of transmitting all the way up my left leg.  I ended the riding session feeling very optimistic and anxious to get back on it again soon.

I watched the closing ceremonies of the Olympics last night which for the most part was much less interesting than the games itself.  I found the Brazillian music annoying as hell.  The costumes made me feel like I was watching one huge Mummer’s Parade.  The most interesting part of it was when Japan did their high tech routine promoting their hosting of the games in 2020.

Despite my initial thoughts about the raw sewage rivers and Zika outbreaks in Rio clouding the Olympics, I still found myself just watching the various events, many of which I NEVER witness outside of this four year cycle.  There are so many touching and meaningful moments that every Olympics provide, despite the never ending commercialization of the event.  I can still drown all that extraneous bullshit out and just enjoy the simplicity and joy of witnessing the best athletes from around the world trying to make their dreams come true.

I am now on my fifth day of prednisone and have stepped down from the three pill to two pill a day level.  Unfortunately I have noticed absolutely no change in my ear problem.  It still feels closed and has a low level ring.  I have a follow up appointment with the ear doctor today.  I will be sure to voice my opinion if he starts to suggest an extensive treatment plan, I will likely tap the brakes.  The bottom line is I can still hear and the ringing is only loud enough to be annoying but not debilitating.  I’m not going to get on the hamster wheel of expensive testing/treatment to just help pad their bottom line.  My gut tells me this is something that will either heal itself or not.  I don’t think they can “fix” it with a pill or a shot.

 

the-green-machine[1]Last night I met up with a bunch of other owners from our fantasy football league.  Usually the draft selection is not that well attended, a few times there were only four of the twelve teams represented.  Last night we had owners from eight teams present which was cool. My team is Green Machine.

I was downing a steady diet of Miller Lite drafts to help me blend into the situation more effectively.  It took awhile for everyone to get there and even longer for the actual draft order selection to begin.  People were just drinking and shooting the shit.

Finally the picking began.  Twelve numbered poker chips are dumped into a purple bag and each owner takes a turn picking.  To be fair the picking should probably be worst team first (me last year) but we just randomly went around the bar.  I was second to the last one to pick.  The only two numbers that were not drawn yet were 7 and 12.  As I reached in the bag I boldly predicted to the other owners I would be pulling the 12 out of the bag as I have an uncanny skill in doing so. I have picked last in the draft three other years.  I looked like Nostradamus as I snagged the last pick once again.  Luckily I am very casual about my fantasy football career so picking last again rolls right off my back.  Hell the one year I picked last and finished in second place so I know miracles can happen.

This weekend has a fluid schedule.  We are supposed to be adding a rower to our exercise equipment arsenal.  A friend of ours is selling his Concept 2 rower, the same model I used at the gym.  Rowing is an outstanding full body movement which probably rivals swimming as one of the best non-impact exercises you can do.

I want to get a run in as well as more mileage on both of our personal transport vehicles.  Of course chores await as well, they always do.

 

 

0105-810x585[1]So I had my Ninebot One in the trunk of the Prius yesterday.  I wanted to take it out at a park that is near my office after work.  About an hour before I left there were torrential downpours in the area but they stopped shortly before I left.  The EUC is able to run on wet roads without issue, you just can’t drop it in a pond so I decided to give it a go anyway.

I only did one roughly 2 mile lap around the perimeter of the park and did not feel comfortable at all.  First off I was wearing my gym sneakers instead of the boots I normally use.  The running sneakers did not give my feet the support they need on the pedals that are much smaller than my size 13 feet.  My feet started to hurt almost immediately.

The other issue was my legs just felt terrible.  They were tight and tired.  It reminded me of the “dead arm” condition that SF QB Colin Kapernick is suffering from.  In the past several days I ran twice and have put in well over 20 miles on the Ninebot (and 5 miles on the Minipro).  Riding an EUC puts all sorts of tension on your lower body.  I really felt the cumulative effect of it all last night.  My ride was stiff and somewhat painful.  I actually felt less comfortable and less in control than I have felt on recent rides.  Giving myself a break until the weekend is probably a good idea.

After my ride I stopped to pick up my prednisone prescription.  Despite me explicitly stating which Walgreens I used they sent it to another one 4 miles in the opposite direction.  The combo of my subpar ride, shitty weather, and prescription fck up had my mood firmly in the bad zone.  When I woke up this morning my ear was still closed and ringing.  I started my steroid regimen with breakfast.  I am not sure if I have taken steroids before.  I’m hoping they work as intended without some of the nasty side effects some people experience.

The official advice was to lay off strenuous activity because of my ear problem.  Although I skipped the gym yesterday I will be back there today.  I have one good ear still.

Tonight after work I meet up with some fellow fantasy football team owners to draw numbers from a bag to establish the order for our draft at the end of the month.  I only see these guys once or twice per year so for many of them I have to do a name refresh exercise so I don’t get stuck calling one of them “hey you” or “dude” all night.  Last year was a disastrous one for me in FF, my worst ever.   At least half of my starting roster was lost to injury leaving me with nothing put poor waiver options to pick up the pieces.  I am hoping I rebound this year.

13920640_10154739398662841_7812405071871701098_nSo last night I decided to take my Ninebot One out for it’s longest ride yet to the school we run at and back.  Doing so meant I had to traverse Immokalee Road which has a sidewalk about 1/4 mile away from our street.  Before reaching the sidewalk I just rode on the shoulder like when we take the road bikes out.  I felt pretty stable despite trucking along at the wheels top speed of 14-15 mph.

As I turned into the Waterways development I got a lot of head turns from people that never saw someone riding an electric unicycle before.  I was able to successfully navigate the terrain which included sidewalk, street and even a few large speed bumps.

Once I got to the school I buzzed around different areas with out a big issue.  At times I would have some wobbles and arm waves to deal with momentary loss of balance but I recovered.  There was one time when I did not recover however.  I was on the road next to the track which has a sidewalk beside it.  My goal was to cut off the road, across the narrow strip of grass and onto the sidewalk.  I accomplished two of those three goals.

The concrete sidewalk had a pretty high edge on it.  I approached that edge going at a pretty high speed and at an angle instead of straight on.  The end result was me going into a crazy wobble and jumping off as the bot crashed behind me.  I grabbed the fence by the sidewalk to prevent myself from falling but the forces applied to my lower body were still pretty substantial. The impact completely ejected the LED light ring from one side of the bot.  Luckily with all of my crashing I have become pretty adept at putting parts on the Ninebot back together.  After completing the work I took a deep breath and continued on, the wheel felt no ill effect from it’s latest crash, something I have subjected it to dozens upon dozens of times in less than a month.

On the ride back I was dealing with EXTREME tilt back on the pedals.  Basically once you cross 14mph the wheel will start beeping at you to slow down.  Shortly after the beeps start the pedals will automatically start tilting backwards to reduce speed.  At first the tilt is gentle but it can get very pronounced.  At one point I felt like I looked like a ski jumper, the pedals were tilted back that far.  Despite my efforts to avoid tilt back I had it hit quite often.   I arrived back home intact which was a relief to Cindy. I was sporting my brand new wrist guards that will offer a higher level of hand/wrist protection than my lifting gloves.

shaunae_miller_gettyimages-589935462[1]Cindy’s daughter stopped by last night for dinner.  I had to show her my improved riding skills.  Both Katie and her mom think it’s funny watching me wobble along.  I had another pretty funny crash when I tried to go off the driveway and onto the house mound, again at an angle.  The end result was me diving off the bot into the grass in a manner that would have made the women’s Olympic 400 meter winner proud.

So I had an appointment with an ear doctor this morning.  Despite an 8:30 appointment I didn’t get called in until well after 9, annoying.  So I describe my symptoms and the circumstances that created them.  I wasn’t thrilled when the initial reaction was a confused look.  I guess not a lot of people pop their ear closed at the gym.

So the ear exam begins which involves shining a bright light in my ear while they take a look.  There was some dry skin and/or wax they had to dig out to get a clear look.  That process very quickly initiated my involuntary sweat reflex. My shirt felt wet very quickly.  The exam did not reveal any obvious ear drum damage.  I was sent to the next office down the hall for a hearing/pressure test.  The pressure part of the test did not sound fun. The pressure testing was actually less pain in the ass of the two.  They stick a plug in your ear and apply mild air pressure.  My right ear passed the test, indicating no ear drum perforation and no fluid behind it.

I had probably not had a hearing test since I was a kid.  This test seemed much more involved than anything I had done previously.  Not only would they play decreasingly loud tones in each ear that you hit a button to acknowledge, they played the tones in one ear while playing static noise in the other.  They also had a test where you were asked to repeat back words spoken to you.  The test was long, I bet I was in the sound proof cell for over 15 minutes.  As I expected I had more difficulty hearing things in my right ear.

So I went back to the original office to go over the results.  The tests showed the hearing issue in the right ear.  The doctor seemed to lose touch with the circumstances of the problem.  She started just focusing on the hearing test numbers in the right ear asking dumb things like if I had a lot of exposure to loud music.  Uh no, this happened Friday, my hearing was 100% fine prior to that.

The treatment plan is as follows, a prescription for predisone that is supposed to help if the problem is due to inflammation.  They also want to do an ear MRI which seems like overkill to me.  They said they also may have to do a direct steroid injection into the ear drum area which sounds like a very sweat inducing and unpleasant treatment option.  I have a follow up appointment for next week.  I am still holding out hope I just wake up in the morning with an open ear and no more ringing.