Category: Anything and Everything

Last night I targetted for taking my second shot at replacing the inner tube on my Gotway Monster.  I tried last weekend but wound up puncturing a brand new tube as I tried remounting the tire.  I bought two more tubes just in case I failed again.  Luckily I managed to get the second tube installed intact as well as reassemble the wheel, albeit with some pretty dumb screw ups along the way.  Check it out if you need something to watch with breakfast.

So I heard Carson Wentz may miss this week and possibly the rest of the season.  Evidently he has had back pain off and on all year.  Only recently did they determine the pain is coming from a small fracture that requires no surgery but requires rest to heal.  It’s a bit concerning that such a young QB has had pretty significant injuries his first two years in the league.  I hope we don’t have a Tony Romo pattern setting up.

To me the good news is Nick Foles, the architect of the most magical Eagles playoff run in history gets another shot to pull off a miracle.  The team has a brutal two games coming up that they will be expected to lose.  If Nick somehow manages to come out with W’s and get the Birds into the playoffs his place in Eagles lore will grow to monumental proportions.  With the way this defense has been playing, the only shot the team has is to put up points, and lots of them.  Wentz overall this year, despite decent numbers, has not been all that effective in consistently getting the Birds in the end zone.  If Foles can do it with the same personnel it may be time to start looking closer at why Wentz couldn’t.

This weekend is my birthday, hooray.  I am sure Cindy will do whatever she can to make it great.  Me, I will just continue to treat it like any day.

The last couple years we have been taking our PEVs to Victoria Park look at the Christmas lights which is always fun, although always so crowded that it gets frustrating.  Last night we decided to do something much simpler, ride around our immediate neighborhood to check out the holiday displays.  We bundled up as the temps were dropping rapidly through the 60’s.  When combined with the wind you feel when riding it gets pretty cold rather quickly.

I decided to ride my 18L since the built in bluetooth speaker would allow me to play Christmas music as we rode, as displayed above.  Cindy rode the Dualtron, her newest and quickly becoming favorite thing we ride.  Originally I had ideas that we were going to see EVERYTHING, meaning going up our 2 mile street and then go down all of the intersecting side streets as well.  The cooler temperatures quickly modified that plan.  We wound up going down four streets, seeing some pretty decorations as well a lot of undecorated properties.   It sort of seemed like decorations were contagious, you would see decorations in clusters. By the time we got back we were both pretty chilled to the bone.  The warm shower last night felt extra welcome.

After work last night I stopped to pick up a Xmas present which almost wraps up my shopping for the season.  With not buying for all the adults in my family the annual task has become significantly simplified.  To be pretty much done with 12 days to go until Christmas is a rarity.  Although knowing me, I may grab a gift or two here and there.

Tonight I have tasked myself with once again trying to replace the inner tube on my Gotway Monster, something I failed at accomplishing over the weekend.  I am hoping with a difference in technique and some patience I can complete the work without once again puncturing another brand new tube.  The hobby room is an absolute disaster area right now with a table and half disassembled wheel in the middle of it.  I need to expend some serious energy in there to get things in order so I don’t feel aggravated each time I walk in there.

 

 

So I buried Shadow in the dark last night.  I put her within a couple feet of Pumpkin who died exactly one week ago.  Unlike Sunday where Shadow was still drinking and eating somewhat, she pretty much shut down yesterday showing no interest in anything while standing/sitting with her eyes closed and beak tucked under her wing for most of the day.  When Cindy got home Shadow was barely breathing.  It was getting colder outside so Cindy put some shavings in the bottom of a rubber tub and brought Shadow inside so she wouldn’t be cold which was sweet.

When I got home and saw Shadow I thought she had already passed.  Only after careful observation could I see she was still taking long, slow breaths but she was unresponsive otherwise.  I talked to and petted her a little before I let her rest.  After eating dinner we checked on her again she was gone, although we double and triple checked.  When Cindy picked her up the heat had left her body and the stiffness had already started to set in.  As usual the death of another pet invoked an emotional response in me.  I feel responsible and that I should have been able to do more.

As I placed her in the deep hole I said my final goodbye, covered her up, and placed spike covered palm fronds on top to hopefully prevent an animal from digging her up and desecrating the corpse.  The walk back to the house with the shovel in hand felt extra dark and cold.

Last night I started the modifications I spoke about, blocking off access to the coop “basement”.  I also took one old spare plastic roof panel I had in the shed and put it across the frame of the playground to give the birds some other covered area to hang under.  I plan on getting more of the panels and attaching them to a proper frame that I can secure but also remove to easily clean/refresh the ground underneath.  It may take some time for the hens to get the idea but I think they will like the arrangement eventually.

Last night might have been a first, I had a new EV device delivered and didn’t even crack open the box.  My Ranger X1 AT (all terrain) electric skateboard showed up last night.  The FedEx guy didn’t ring the doorbell until after 8PM.  By that time I was in the middle of a few other things and I was bummed about Shadow, so I just leaned the box against a cabinet where it remains today.  Hopefully tonight I will get a chance to pull out the new board and take a look.

I got out and ran again on Friday night.  The temps were close to 80 but the humidity was low.  Normally when I run my mind drifts around and bumps off various subjects.  This time the thought was “Running laps on the track remind me of the years of your life. The early laps seem incredibly lengthy but as they pile up they seem to get exponentially shorter”  The run also pushed me over the edge with the old man beard I was sporting.  I hate the sensation of having a sweaty lip that you can never get dry thanks to bushy facial hair.  I buzzed it off that night.

Saturday morning I had targeted as my last grass mowing session before the holidays.  The lack of consistent rain and lower temps have dropped the growth rate of the yard quite a bit.  It took  longer than expected even with Cindy helping out by pulling down all of the yard ornaments and putting them back.  I didn’t come back inside until close to noon.

Poor Shadow, our most recent sick chicken is not doing well.  Her strength is almost non-existent and we both know her time left is not going to be long.  We have been isolating her to the chicken tractor during the day so she can just rest while giving her some of her favorite treats as we hope for a miraculous recovery that will never come.  It seems obvious that whatever Pumpkin had, Shadow has it too.  Disease in chickens can spread easily.  Luckily the other five hens seem totally normal still.

Cindy and I were talking about some changes we need to do in their area.  The chickens spend the majority of their time during the day camped out under the raised deck we built the coop upon.  They like feeling safe and secure.  When we had them free ranging the entire yard they would find this safety hiding under the big shed or among the thick areca palms by the pond.  Well the problem with them hanging out so much under the coop is it is sealed up on three sides with hardware cloth, making it impossible to clean/maintain.  I am sure that 8 x 10 square is disgusting and filled with all sorts of unhealthy substances.

I am thinking what we need to do is block access to under the coop so the birds remain in areas that we can keep clean.  However they need an area to feel safe, secure, and shaded from the intense Florida sun.  So my plan is to renovate the “playground” area we haphazardly made behind the coop for the birds.  I need to raise the ground it sits on, reinforce it, and secure it to the ground in a much beefier manner.  I will then come up with some sort of roof covering for it that I am able to remove as needed to clean up underneath on a regular basis so we don’t have a germ factory going on.  I will need to first move it out of the way and raise the entire area 8-10 inches to make sure it does not get flooded out during wet season.

Saturday afternoon we ran some errands with the dogs.  It’s a funny contrast when it comes to how Sadie and Elsa act in public.  Sadie is super friendly and willing to let anyone interact with her where as Elsa is the exact opposite.  The second someone looks like they take a  step towards her she will scramble behind Cindy or I to seek shelter.  For as long as we have had Elsa we have taken her out in public to try to lessen her fear but it has only gotten slightly better.

Later Saturday afternoon and into the evening I had some EUC projects to do.  One went ok, one did not.  The successful project was upgrading the pedals on my KS-18L to the super sized variety that are on the KS-18XL that I tested.  I ran into some snafus along the way but the end result was positive.

The other project was trying to replace the inner tube on my Gotway Monster which requires disassembling the wheel to a large extent.  I got everything apart ok and the old tube out, which had a tear at the valve stem. However as I was trying to get the tire back on after putting the new tube in I manged to puncture the tube with the tire lever as I pried with great force.  It was frustrating.  I have now ordered TWO additional tubes, just in my case my technique fails again.

Sunday morning was overcast and windy but Cindy and I still managed to get out for a ride.  It is awesome having the Dualtron in our fleet as it now allows Cindy to go pretty much anywhere I go on my EUC’s since the scooter has the range and even more speed than any of my EUC’s.  Cindy really loves it too.  Several times during the ride she had the Dualtron up to 40MPH, a full 10 MPH faster than I can go on my 18L.  We managed to get to and back from DD without getting wet thank goodness.

The Eagles had a huge game against the Cowboys at 4:30.  The end result of ending in a OT loss would make you think the Eagles played very competitively throughout.  Actually nothing could be further from the truth.  The Cowboys DOMINATED the game amassing something obscene like 600 yards of offense and more than doubling the Eagles time of possession.  The only thing that kept the Birds in the game were some turnovers and the Cowboys shooting themselves in the foot in the red zone several times.   The Cowboys could have easily amassed 50 points.  Let me break down some of my thoughts about the state of the team.

Carson Wentz – To me some of the shine has definitely come off Carson’s star.  He seems to lack the sixth sense to know when it’s time to get rid of the ball.  He doesn’t “feel” pressure and the end result is him fumbling or taking sacks for a loss far too often in my opinion.  He also has demonstrated a disturbing McNabb-esque inaccuracy at times, missing easy throws on a pretty routine basis.  The guy is a gamer and like his attitude but he just is not getting it done when the opportunities are there.  He has a very solid receiving corp, clearly better than last year, yet he is struggling to make plays.

The defense – I absolutely HATE the way this team plays defense.  Yes, the secondary, which in my opinion was already subpar with it’s starting players, has been absolutely dreadful with the back ups which are playing due to injury.  What I hate specifically is the soft scheme they play seemingly all the time.  Last year the team had a reputation of getting consistent pressure only rushing four lineman and playing a zone behind it.  Well that pressure isn’t consistent this year but they are still playing that shitty, frustrating as hell soft zone.

I clearly remember a play that was the definition of why it is sch a ridiculous defensive strategy. where the Cowboys had the ball and it was 3rd down with three yards to go.  The Eagle defenders were lined up 5 yards OFF the ball and their initial move was back pedaling from there.  WTF, how does that make sense?  When you allow such a huge cushion receivers have plenty of time to get a full head of steam and then cut hard as a DB is back pedaling, immediately putting the defender at a huge disadvantage.  I hate that we never play tight man coverage where you bump the receiver within 5 yards so he can’t immediate blow your doors in or simply stop and turn around while you are in a full back pedal five yards away.  I think the scheme sucks and it’s obvious the players out there are not good enough at playing zone defense to be effective.

Pederson – I think Pederson has somewhat fallen flat in his play calling.  For most of the year the run/pass balance has been very lopsided but once again injuries at the RB position have contributed to that.

So anyway I don’t know if my rant makes any sense but I found myself feeling frustrated the entire game, even when the Eagles tied it up.  The defense is just woeful and the offense can not get out of it’s own way most of the time.  Two of their remaining three games are very tough so losing to the Cowboys was likely the last nail in the coffin of the 2018 Eagles.  Hey, we won our Super Bowl….

With the game going into overtime I only got on my computer 10 minutes before the live stream was supposed to start.  We had very good interaction with the viewers which made the stream extend to almost two hours.  It went well and I hope I can continue to grow the audience over time.

 

 

 

It sucks going back to a standard two day weekend after getting to enjoy the longer variety a few times.  I have a number of things I’d like to accomplish this weekend like mowing the grass, fixing my Gotway Monster, installing the new big pedals on my 18L, as well as the normal errands and chores we need to do.

Mowing the grass once the decorations are up is a bit troublesome.  I have to temporarily disconnect and move anything in the grass. If you have seen the front yard this year you would know that means a lot of relocation needs to occur.  The good news is once I mow I should be good to go until after the holidays.

Shadow is still hanging in there.  I picked her up and let her sleep in one of the nesting boxes up high last night.  Cindy said she got down from the box herself and was out eating and drinking with the other birds which is a good thing.  Once they stop showing interest in that and isolate themselves it’s all but over.

In addition to the want to do’s I also would like to get out with Cindy more on the new scooter, attend to Xmas season needs and I have another live stream scheduled for Sunday night, right after the Eagles/Cowboys game.  Should be fun.

I need to weed whack this freaking beard as well.  It’s just gets in the way and easily adds 10 years to my appearance.

So we have another chicken that has not be doing well, Shadow.  She has been low energy for a couple months and it has been progressing downward.  She now is too weak to easily get up on the perch at night, she spent last night on the floor.  I suspect she will succumb as well before too long.

So the death of Pumpkin and the illness of Shadow has made me look more in depth at what we are and are not doing right in the care of the birds.  A good portion of the chickens have had diarrhea like droppings for quite awhile.  It’s been so long that Cindy and I sort of just have accepted it as the norm but, we shouldn’t.  Seeing that in a bird long term is a sign of a problem.  The problem with that problem is the possible causes of it are immense.

The hens, especially during wet season are exposed to very dangerous conditions where standing water is common as is the hens deciding to drink the dirty ground water which is terrible for them.  We also don’t supplement the birds water with vitamins and electrolytes as we should and there are few other cleaning/maintenance things we do but not often enough.

I know at least for me, it seems that my daily routine is already pretty full which may lead to a “good enough” attitude when it comes to chicken maintenance.  However I am going to try to do my best to do more for the birds, to help them have a healthier day to day existence.  Over the winter I really need to do whatever I can to raise the ground level inside the entire chicken area to prevent it from getting flooded out during wet season.  Doing so will require probably a dump truck or two of fill, opening up and then redoing a section of fence, a Bobcat and an infinite amount of shoveling and raking.

 

I had a very busy Tuesday night.  Cindy had a meeting to attend and I wanted to get one last night of filming with the KingSong 18XL demo unit.  I headed over to the school to get some night riding in as well as do things like backwards riding, light testing, and agility work.  As has been the case from day one, the wheel met or exceeded my expectations in all regards.

After I finished the ride I edited and processed the video.  I then needed to clean and repack the wheel to be shipped to the next tester out in Denver.  After that there were Christmas presents to wrap, 3D prints to work on and a few other items.  I had light sleep the night before due to the Eagles game, by the time I hit bed last night I was truly exhausted.

So I found it interesting that they are shutting down a lot of things as a day of mourning for the passing of Bush Senior.  I do not recall this being done for the last two presidents that died, Reagan and Ford, but perhaps I just am not remembering it correctly.  I am particularly surprised they are shutting down the stock market today as that is a huge undertaking which affects an infinite amount of other things around the world.

I never was a Bush senior fan however time has softened that stance.  And of course if you compare him to the current resident of the White House, I would take HW in a heart beat, even in his current state.  I mean look at this discussion from 1980 between Bush and Reagan and compare that to the lunacy that is spewed and tweeted from our big league leader on a daily basis.

Well when I posted this picture yesterday showing sweet little Stephie in the bottom right I had no inclination that I would be writing about the hen opposite her, Pumpkin the very next day.  Yes we had another death in the flock yesterday, only two days after Stephie disappeared with no explanation on Saturday morning.

On that Saturday morning I had to pick up Pumpkin and carry her outside, she was on the floor of the coop just sitting there.  She was one of the few chickens that didn’t pick on Stephie on a regular basis.  At that time I wondered if she saw the attack, was scared and decided to stay in the coop.

Well over the weekend both Cindy and I noticed Pumpkin just wasn’t herself, acting very lethargic and out of it.  We noticed she had some pasty butt action going on which can cause problems.  We cleaned her and a couple other hens Sunday morning.  I figured she would come around from there as she has had similar episodes in the past.

When Cindy cleaned the coop yesterday she noticed that Pumpkin was already under the platform, isolating herself, not a good sign.  I got home late due to traffic.  Cindy had gone out to put the chicks to bed and came back to tell me she didn’t see Pumpkin in the coop….

So by the time I changed and came out she said she found her, dead, under the coop.  I could not believe that we just lost another hen.  Based on the experience we had with Lucy where she was prematurely assumed to be dead I looked under the platform with faint hope Pumpkin wasn’t dead.  However both feet straight up in the air with no motion dismissed that idea immediately.  Now I had to get her out.

Her body was a good 8 feet under the platform.  I grabbed a large plastic tray we keep out there for me to lay on when needed.  I then got the long rake I normally use to comb the run.  Getting her out was a delicate procedure that took time as I did not want to pull her out in a way that would mangle or harm her any further.  After about 10 minutes of work I finally had her still body in hand.  Of course I had tears in my eyes as I placed her in the wagon to take her out back to be buried.

As I was pulling the wagon out there I was getting absolutely mauled by mosquitoes as the sun had just set, the prime time for them.  I swore out loud several times at the lunacy of living in a place that has active mosquitoes alive in December.  They continued to attack me mercilessly as I dug Pumpkins grave, I gave up trying to swat them and just ignored the constant pin pricks.  I tried to dig her grave deep, much deeper than  the other birds as we have had issues with other animals digging up the remains.  We both said our good byes as I laid her into her final resting spot, feeling guilty that somehow I should have been able to prevent this outcome.

Pumpkin was another sweet bird that like Stephie was pretty far down in the pecking order.  In recent weeks I had been giving both her and Stephie treats away from the other birds so they wouldn’t get hassled.  To lose both of them in the span of three days is surreal.

I actually feel a bit numb to what happened.  All of a sudden our adult flock is down to six birds, of those six only two of them seem 100% ok.  Kathy has chronic pasty butt, Kristen has been laying lash eggs which identify a possible internal infection, Katie has a bad leg which has had her limping for weeks, and Shadow is also low energy and has been dropping liquid egg looking stuff.  Only the Jersey Giants, Cupcake and Cutie Pie seem 100% healthy at this point.   Today Cindy is doing a full cleaning of the chickens feeders which we have been really bad at doing on a regular basis (at all).  I need to make sure I add that to my mental check list of things that HAVE to be done.

I stayed up to watch the Eagles last night.  During the first half it seemed like the Eagles were setting themselves up to fall flat on their face.  Lucky for them they were playing the one team that has been more decimated by injuries than the Eagles have.  That streak continued last night when the Redskins back up QB broke his leg, just like the starter did two weeks ago, an incredible string of bad luck.

The end result was Mark Suck Sanchez, who had a brief stint with the Eagles but hadn’t thrown a pass since 2016, was inserted into the game.  After some early limited success, Sanchez returned to his old form throwing a bad interception and having an embarrassing butt fumble in the second half (that he recovered).  It was a nice win for the Birds which allows them to still control their own destiny, setting up a monster rematch with the Cowboys next week for the division lead.  If they manage to win that game the team may still have a pulse.

 

 

 

Friday after work I got out to run once again, my third week in a row.  I had just done lower body work on Wednesday so my legs were feeling rather cement-like and sore but I trudged through my conventional 13 laps without a major incident.  After the brief reintroduction to group exercise on Thanksgiving, where there were 7 or 8 other people on the track, I once again was the only person out there which in most ways I prefer.

So on the weekends I am usually the one that does chicken morning clean up duty as Cindy does it every other day of the week.  I headed out there pretty early, a little after 7AM.  I started doing my preliminary tasks like scooping poop in the run and spreading scratch grains around.  As I did I looked around and didn’t see Stephie in close proximity which was a bit unusual since she normally likes to hang close to me.  I figured she was maybe out in the yard behind the coop or maybe even under the deck of the coop, although it would be pretty early for her to be under there.

So I continued on my clean up for a few minutes but still didn’t see Stephie (bottom right in the picture) show up.  Ok well she must be around here somewhere so I stop what I’m doing and start walking around the chicken area looking for her.  I look in the back yard, the front yard, in the corners of the coop and then down on my knees to look under the coop deck.  When I scanned under the deck and still did not see her the red light went off.  Where the hell is Stephie….

So I didn’t want to panic too quickly so I repeated my search pattern one more time, hoping that I somehow just missed her hiding somewhere, anywhere.  I again came up empty. The harsh reality that something happened to my favorite hen was sinking in…

So now I went inside and told Cindy I can’t find Stephie.  I confirmed with her that she was in the coop last night at bedtime, which Cindy said she was.  Cindy said she swore when she came out of the bedroom she saw Stephie walking in the yard.  If you recall earlier this year I added a second automatic door to the chicken run so when the birds get up they not only can exit the coop but also the run so they can go outside without us letting them out.  Stephie was normally one of the early hens to come out as she was generally the outcast of the flock and picked on by many of the others.

Cindy immediately headed out there to do her own search.  I instead headed to the computer to try to pull the security DVR footage of the coop to see what the hell was going on.  My emotions of sadness and despair were joined by frustration when I realized that the DVR had not been recording footage for several weeks due to some sort of problem, unreal.  The only recorded footage I had was the camera on the house that shoots towards the coop.  All recordings are motion based and the times that camera recorded did not show anything of significance.

So now we had to assume that some sort of predator came in between when the outside door opened at 6:30 and when I went out there a few minutes after 7.  When we had a coyote take Cocoa over a year ago it happened early in the morning as well.  We went into investigative mode, trying to get a clue to what happened.  There were absolutely no signs of an attack or struggle in the chicken area itself.  Normally you will see at the very least a collection of feathers and/or some blood.  Stephie was nervous, agile and fast, I had a hard time imaging something grabbing her so easily without a struggle. We expanded the search to the rest of the back yard, walking the entire fence line, again looking again for any signs of an attack.  Cindy and I both walked the fence independently and neither of us saw even a single feather.

I later emailed my neighbor across the street that had chickens and predators attack them.  She said her guess was it was a cat of some type, maybe a bobcat or panther.  She said they are can clear a fence easily and are lightning fast.  I guess that is possible but I still have a hard time believing there would be no traces visible of the event.  I was so angry that the DVR did not record the incident as this is exactly the reason I installed it in the first place.

I loved Stephie, as I said she was my favorite hen.  She knew her name and would come when I called her to give her treats away from the other hens so she wouldn’t get picked on.  At night when I put them to bed she would often jump across the perch, getting bit by the other birds as she did just so she could get close to me so I would pet her before turning off the light.  To have her just vanish and not know what happened broke my heart.

So of course not knowing what happened means it could happen to the other hens so I had to make some changes.  Having the outside door open automatically was something to give the birds more freedom but I didn’t ever think it would also present danger.  I wound up getting a second smart switch.  Before the coop and the run door were on the same switch so they both opened at the same time.  I now have it set so the coop door still opens at 6:30 but the door to the run does not open until 7:30 (but still closes automatically at night) so that we will be the ones to let the hens outside so we can prevent this scenario from happening again.

I thought about Stephie a lot all weekend.  Each time I did a rush of sadness accompanied it with the realization I won’t have her fuzzy face and sweet demeanor to experience any longer.

So my KingSong 18XL demo wheel showed up Friday.  I charged it up overnight .  I needed to get a good test ride in so I suggested to Cindy to ride out to Ave Maria, a 30 mile plus round trip.  So normally riding to Ave Maria would be something I would only do myself, it’s just too far for Cindy to ride on any of our wheels, however things are now different.  With the arrival of our Dualtron scooter last week Cindy now has something fast, comfortable, and capable of traveling distance matching or surpassing my biggest EUC’s.  She said she was down for the ride.

The 18XL that I was testing has a bigger battery and bigger foot pedal than the 18L that I bought earlier this year.  Both improvements were substantial as my feet hurt less than any other wheel I have ridden.  Cindy LOVES the Dualtron.  That thing is pretty amazing.  For the first time ever I couldn’t keep up with Cindy at times.  At a few points in the ride she approached 35 mph.  The video does a good job of detailing the experience.

Saturday night we watched Red Sparrow, a movie with some very explicit and graphic scenes, dealing with the Russian/American spy programs.  Despite several “oh shit” scenes I found the movie interesting and unpredictable enough to earn a solid B+.  If you ever wondered what Jennifer Lawrence looks like naked, this movie will satisfy your curiosity.

Sunday morning I did another test ride on the 18XL to Dunkin Donuts, a staple ride for all of my PEV’s.  There was a extremely strong headwind during the ride which made it downright unenjoyable at times.  The 18XL however once again performed well.  I told the story of the demise of Stephie during the middle of the ride.

Since the Eagles don’t play until tonight my Sunday afternoon was pretty open.  We did a run to Home Depot and later when we got home I walked around the property and sprayed all the castle stones I de-crudded last week with Wet and Forget, this stuff that I tried before to remove the crud by itself. It wasn’t effective in that role but my hope is spraying the stones after cleaning will delay the onset of more black crud returning.

Early in the evening I almost started the task of trying to replace the inner tube in my Gotway Monster.  However I came to my senses and realized that starting what is likely to be a frustrating task to close out the weekend would be a mistake.  Hopefully I can take a shot at it one night this week.

 

 

So part of my mystery illness of the last several months has been pain in the right side of my torso brought about by certain high exertion activities.  I just had a flare up last week while trying to do some weighted pull ups.   Well earlier this week I developed a pain in a very similar spot on my left side, except I don’t recall it being initiated by exercise. It seems pretty steady with intensity varied by my body position.

I’m not sure what the reason is for this latest joy of old age.  The only thing I thought about was when the CT scan was done one of the findings was a small kidney stone in the left kidney that was not blocking anything.  Perhaps that stone has matured into something more problematic.  I did have what they thought was a stone in my early 30’s back in PA.  My immediate treatment plan will be as it is with most things, ignore it until it goes away.

Today I am getting ANOTHER EUC delivered to the house but no, I did not buy it.  Ewheels, the dealer that I have bought most of my stuff from, sent me a demo model of the KingSong 18XL.  Earlier in the year they sent me a Z10 to test as well.  Basically I try out the wheel for a few days and do videos regarding my experience.  The dealer hopes that experience is a positive one that translates into sales for him.  That formula worked out very well for him with the Z10 so I understand why he was doing it again.

This time it’s sort of weird because I already own a KingSong 18L, the 18XL is very similar except it has a bigger battery and larger foot pedals.  So I will already know what to expect, which is to expect a high quality, fun machine, just more of it.  I am sure a lot of riding will be done this weekend to collect footage for the demo wheel plus we now have the scooter under roof which we need to put some serious miles on.

So far the holiday season has seemed weird for a few reasons.  The extremely early Thanksgiving has basically added an extra week of padding to the season which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  My shopping responsibilities this year have been greatly lessened as well.  I got a call from my dad last weekend to let me know that they have finally decided to not buy presents for all of the adults in the family, just the children. Dad said he talked to Pat and Meg and they agreed to this plan.

This is something Todd, Torrin and I had talked about and agreed upon years ago but somehow we still wound up buying for each other.  So dad’s call prompted me to reach out to Todd and Torrin and suggest that we once again just focus on gifts for the kids.  They both agreed but Todd said he always felt guilty about the idea of me buying for his kids with no reciprocation since I have no kids of my own.  I assured him it was totally fine and no feelings would be hurt in the process.

So I got the call from dad after I had already gotten him and my step mom a couple things which of course I will still send them.  And if I am being honest I am a bit conflicted in my feelings about the simplified present reality I am now in.  Yes it is nice to knock my people to buy for list  to at least half of what it has traditionally been.  However I also do genuinely like giving gifts to others, more so than receiving, something that I never would have said 25 years ago.  Not being able to do that as much this year will leave a bit of a hole in my holiday experience.  The big winners in this decision will be the kids as some of those funds that were distributed to others gifts can be consolidated into cooler things for them.