So I was up and outside early Friday morning, hoping to take advantage of the temps in the lower 60’s for as long as I could. I had a long day of tree trimming ahead of me. In recent years Cindy has assisted me in this horribly laborious job. She hurt her back last week so picking up hundreds of branches all day would have only made it worse. I was 100% on my own.
I had the bright idea to rent a 32 foot ladder from Home Depot to allow me to more safely reach a couple of the trees on the property that are very tall. I originally figured I would just use the 32 footer to trim everything. That plan changed quickly after trying to move the ladder around early on. Not only is the ladder 32 feet long, it’s also a heavy duty ladder with a weight limit of 300 pounds. My 20 foot ladder has a much lower weight limit, closer to 200 pounds. The rented ladder was MUCH heavier than my 20 footer, I would estimate at least triple the weight. When combined with the additional length, moving and placing the ladder by myself was absolutely miserable, requiring the very limit of my strength to manage. I eventually decided I would use the monster ladder for JUST the couple spots I needed and pulled out my 20 footer to do the rest.
I also made an on the fly adjustment as far as trimming the branches. I started out using my heavy duty loppers, just as I always have in the past. Using loppers while up high on a ladder is a pain in the ass and dangerous, requiring you to put your body in awkward angles to be able to cut in between the palm fronds. When I did the first of the two extra high trees I pulled out my battery powered DeWalt Sawz All. Although holding the power tool was tough on the hands and forearms, it buzzed through branches in a couple seconds and overall was a big time saver. Since I now have four battery packs I was able to stay juiced all morning, something I wasn’t able to do in the past when I only had two smaller capacity batteries.
So I busted ass all morning and managed to get all of the trimming done by lunch time. However that is only half the battle, the afternoon was when I had to pick up the mountains of debris that was now laying on the ground. This is the part of the job that Cindy had been so helpful with in the past. This was the first time I did this job with the new Tacoma. I could not use the same disregard as I had in the past where I would overload the bed of the 99 Tacoma with brush, not caring if it scraped or scratched the weather beaten paint. The bed of the new Tacoma is all composite plastic with covers over the top edges to protect from damage. Still I was much more careful loading it up, trying to make sure everything touched plastic and not paint.
By the afternoon the temperatures had warmed up quite a bit. I was miserable. I was so sore and tired. I just kept plodding along, keeping my eyes on the finish line. I did not finish up until about 4PM. I still wasn’t done though, I had to load the monster ladder back into the Tacoma and take it back to Home Depot. I felt like I was run over by a truck. I wondered just how long I can ask my body to endure these sort of grueling all day grindfests.
On Saturday morning I didn’t have as many morning chores as normal as Cindy tried to get most of them handled for me. We headed out in the beautiful weather later in the morning to get some riding in, heading to a new location, the Vineyards. The running club used to have a race at the Vineyards but other than that I have not really spent much time in the area. I was surprised just how much was going on Saturday morning, the parking lot was filled. There was a large flea market going on along with all sorts of sporting events. Cindy and I really liked cruising the sidewalk which was lined with all sorts of mature trees and landscaping. Vineyards has been around for awhile by Naples standards.
We stopped at Rural King during the day. We were surprised to see a bunch of dogs hanging out there. Evidently a rescue organization was there with a bunch of their dogs that were up for adoption. Of course Cindy immediately gravitated towards the dogs, loving all of them. Cindy has been saying she would love a dog for awhile. I have not shared her enthusiasm, despite my love of dogs and animals in general.
So we did our shopping and as I was waiting in a slow checkout line Cindy headed over to the dogs again. When I finally got over there she had latched onto one in particular named Elsa, a cute female mix that only weighed something like 30 pounds. Cindy put on her best pouty lips, telling me the virtues of the dog. She is fixed, has her shots and has been on a 5 acre farm with a bunch of farm animals which would hopefully mean she would be ok with the chickens like Sadie is. I told her that was all great but I was not ready to adopt a dog. Despite having dogs in the house for over a dozen years, since the separation and divorce I have become accustomed to only having dogs for shorter periods of time, not 24/7. It is nice to not have to worry about the welfare of a dog if you want to go somewhere. The house obviously stays cleaner without an animal around as well. Plus, much of the last few years I have been making moves to try to simplify my life. Agreeing to adopt a dog would be a step in the opposite direction.
Of course I feel guilty saying no to Cindy. She always enjoys when Sadie is over. Cindy grabbed the card from the organization and said goodbye to Elsa with tears in her eyes, making feel even shittier.
Late in the afternoon I got the urge to take on an EUC challenge that was in my mind for awhile since I got the Msuper which sports significantly more range, speed and power. I wanted to ride to and from Dunkin Donuts. I told Cindy of my plans and despite her hesitations about the safety of such a journey I assured her it would be fine. It was. The ride there was smooth with me averaging between 14-17 mph most of the way. In a couple spots I was stuck in the shoulder/bike lane but I was safely on the sidewalk the majority of the time. The ride back was even faster since I had a tail wind. Despite 20 miles on the MSuper my feet did not feel awful, a testament to the larger pedals.
Saturday night I was feeling very beat up from the tree trimming trauma. We stayed home and watched Free State of Jones, a real life based story that took place during the civil war. I thought the movie was interesting and exposed an element of the civil war that I did not know existed. Early on there seemed to be an unnecessary level of gore that did nothing to advance the film. As I watched the events unfold I thought about just how divided the country had to be in order for it’s citizens to inflict such pain and suffering upon the other. I then thought about how present day is the closest I can recall to feeling we are moving back that direction in my lifetime. The movie was well done and well acted. A-
Sunday morning I headed out for my long run solo. It was the first time I ran without any walkers showing up late in the run. As I ran I did more thinking about Cindy’s desire to adopt a dog. I ran through pros and cons, remembering clearly how I felt when Ali and I adopted Nicki. I was firmly against it and after a sleepless first night with her in the house I was ranting that we made a mistake. Thankfully Ali was more patient than I was and Nicki became our pseudo-child for the next dozen years. However I also recalled some of the handicaps along the way, being limited by being responsible for and limited by owning dogs. I also recalled the crushing sadness when Nicki died last year. I had a lengthy, silent, internal debate about it as I completed lap after lap. In the end, the guilty, people pleasing part of my personality won the argument.
When I got home I told Cindy that if we could foster Elsa first so we can see how she gets along with Sadie and the chickens first I would be ok with it. Cindy’s eyes welled up with tears when I said it, making it even harder to think about not going through with it. So Cindy got the ball rolling, receiving an application that is needed to start the foster/adoption process. I am sure my unsettled feeling will continue for the forseeable future.
Later in the morning Katie and her boyfriend came over for more PTV riding. We went to the Vineyards for the second day in a row, figuring it was a good spot for Daniel to continue his amazing progress on electric unicycle riding. Daniel was worried about losing his progress in the week that has passed but instead he continued his amazing advancement in skills. Daniel was an avid skate boarder in his youth which I think has helped him greatly in his EUC learning process. By the end of the morning he was off the cheap $200 training wheel and on my Ninebot One, doing great. At one point he was actually on the basketball court shooting baskets while on the wheel, amazing. Katie and Cindy were on the training wheel as well, without training wheels. Cindy made some nice progress and Katie at one point rode at least 100 feet on a tennis court without falling. It was a lot of fun.
The Eagles game continued the teams very up and down season where they can’t beat any team in their division but seem to beat everyone else. They beat the Falcons and their top rated offense 24-15. The Eagles defense played well, despite having two cornerbacks that drive me crazy. To me the defense is successful in spite of their weak corner backs who have given up close to the top amount of TD passes in the league. I can not stand that both of them are prone to gloating and grandstanding when opposing receivers drop passes on their own. If the team had better cornerbacks and a true number one wide receiver I think we could really have something special.
Carson Wentz had a solid game although he still makes some dumb mistakes like taking totally unnecessary sacks and delay of game penalties. When he threw the ball away on 4th down at the end of the first half with a few seconds on the clock instead of running it out I was screaming at the tv. It was just a brain fart which is expected I guess, hopefully he learns and makes less as the season goes on. So anyway it was a strong win that builds on top of the other strong wins against the Steelers and Vikings. For the first time in a long time the Eagles actually seem to have a home field advantage, something that seemed to be missing most of the time since they moved into the Linc.
The rest of the weekend I wound down playing a lot of WoW to just disconnect and chill. It was a fast three days which opens the gate to the whirlwind holiday season to come.