So real “winter” weather has flowed into south Florida the last couple days with overnight lows touching the 40’s (gasp). I am really enjoying the change and only wish it wasn’t something that happens so infrequently that I can normally count the days each year on my fingers. The only cold that really bothers me is when it starts creeping into the 30’s since that is when real damage to the landscape can occur.
So the six baby chicks are doing well and growing fast. In the two weeks we have had them it seems like they have doubled in size. With growth comes challenges. The latest one being they are getting big enough to hop up onto the edge of the container we have them in. Twice we have discovered chicks hanging out up top. We have some plastic netting in place now to discourage the behavior.
Having the babies in the house brings back memories of our last chick raising period three years ago. It seems crazy that these cute little fuzz balls quickly transform into full sized, cantankerous birds in the span of a few months. It will be quite interesting to see how the integration with the adult hens goes down the road. I am sure the pecking order is going to have some major shuffling around.
Before I forget, Cindy and I went to see Creed 2 on Saturday night. The second movie in the Creed series had a big draw, as Ivan Drago, Rocky’s nemesis from Rocky IV returned, bringing his huge son that says about 8 words the entire film, into the scene. Of course I expected the movie to loosely follow the story of the original from over 30 years ago. I didn’t expect it to be almost a carbon copy which in many ways it was.
It was cool to see Dolph and Brigette Neilsen come back to give the film an authentic 1985 feel. Despite the campiness at times, I still enjoyed the movie overall. It was odd having an entire Rocky movie where you didn’t see Stallone’s physique, which is still pretty incredible for a 70 year old. I found parts of the movie really touching and emotional. The most ironic thing is the what got me most wasn’t a Rocky/Creed moment, it was something between Drago and his son. So despite the flaws I still found myself liking the movie. Any movie that invokes real emotion in me has to get an A- at least.
Monday was my first day where I was officially off the to do list, which I completed on Sunday after four days of hard labor. I had little chores to tend to but for the most part I just enjoyed the day off, even getting to play WoW for a few hours. It was the first play time I had during the six day staycation. I even spent some time during the day reading a comic book. No, I’m not kidding. Of course despite all of the work over the prior four days, just one day of no major labor made me feel pangs of guilt.
I was excited when I got an email saying that my mystery vehicle delivery date had been moved up by a day, meaning it would arrive today. I wanted to ride my EUC in the morning but I needed to make sure I was home to sign for the box. I left pretty early for what was supposed to be a quick Dunkin Donuts ride on my Gotway Monster. I wound up getting my first ever flat during the ride.
At first I was worried how I was going to handle the problem since Cindy was leaving for work soon. It turned out to not be as big of a deal once I thought about it. I just had her throw my 18L in the trunk of her car and drop it off to me. I tossed my Monster in the trunk to fix later and I was back rolling again. The video is pretty entertaining.
I made it back to the house by 10:30, Fed Ex showed up at 11:45 with my new toy, the huge Dualtron EX scooter, which was almost entirely paid for with funds from the sale of the Segway I2. I wasted little time before I did the minor assembly and then took my first cautious rides on it. I never rode a kick scooter before and this thing is like a kick scooter on steroids. The throttle response when you have both the front and rear motor engaged is pretty amazing. It’a a good thing the Dualtron has handlebars to hang on to.
I actually purchased this primarily for Cindy to use both to commute if she wants and to ride on my longer EUC rides. The scooter is a comfortable cruiser since you can alternate between standing and seated riding. When Cindy got home I got her out on the Dualtron for a little test run. After some initial trepidation she got the hang of it very quickly. I left it on the conservative, less scary setting for her.
Later, Katie and Daniel showed up to try it out. Of course Daniel was ready for full power/speed mode very quickly. He zipped up and down our street at the same speed most cars travel, he topped out at 40 mph. ( I hit 37) I think the Dualtron will be a great addition to our PEV line up, I just now need to figure out how I can reasonably store it in the hobby room.
So my six day break from work is quickly coming to an end. I feel good about the days off, accomplishing a lot of time consuming tasks that would have been rough to jam into normal two day weekends. Now that I am out of the what was a two year crunch period at my job I am hoping to be able to once again enjoy more vacation time without having to worry about work related hassles and commitments.
So as we approach my fourth day of vaca is coming to a close, I have finally completed my four item list. One of those items took me almost all day Saturday to complete, pressure washing. Keep in mind that I started this task on Friday afternoon, getting the pool cage blasted off. Even with that head start, I still spent the vast majority of Saturday directing my 3000 PSI stream wherever I saw crud.
Normally when I pressure wash the pool area and the sheds are two segregated tasks. This may be the first time I have included so many things in one pressure washing session. Not only did the pool get blasted I also turned my attention to the triple digit castle stones I have surrounding the pool landscaped area and the pond. The normally tan stones were completely black, covered in mildew or some other slimy organic matter. Cleaning the stones meant I got extremely dirty as the shit coated me. Multiple times I had to stop and hose off my lower body and Crocs, which had a 1/4 inch of mud inside them. I was on a mission washing stones, decks, the chicken coop, anything I could find. The grand finale was the large shed. When I finished I felt a wave of relief as I knew the most labor intensive and time consuming item on the list was finally done. All of the work did have a nice appearance pay off. Some of this stuff has been untouched for a couple years, to see it look fresh and clean once again was a pretty jarring and appreciated contrast.
To get through Saturday I took two doses of Advil. I proactively took another dose this morning, expecting repercussions for the labor. After doing the chickens and paying my bills we decided to go out for a ride to a new spot, Cullum’s Trail Park in Bonita, a spot that was suggested to me by another local One Wheel rider. Cindy decided she wanted to ride her mountain bike so we threw that, the Kingsong 18L and the One Wheel into the back of the Tacoma and headed out.
We unloaded into the empty parking lot and started to explore. It was an awesome spot to roll around in. If you watch the video you will get a good sense of how good a spot it was. I am positive we will be back again, a lot.
We got home just in time for the Eagles game. The first half of the game was awful, with the Giants rolling over the Eagles defense just like the Saints did the week before. I was so disinterested that I knocked out another list item during the game, shampooing the rugs. I sat back in front of the TV midway into the second half and saw the Eagles stopped the bleeding and actually got a lead. The Giants kicked a field goal to tie it but then the Birds drove the field, burning the clock down to 25 seconds before kicking a FG to take a lead which they held as time expired. It was great to snap the losing streak but I didn’t see anything to make me think the season is going to turn around from here.
After the game I went out to tackle the last item on my list, waxing the front end of Cindy’s RV. Last week I worked on the RV to try to remove the haze that had developed from sitting in the sun for a year. It looked good when I was done but a day later you saw the white haze from the polish. I bought a high grade synthetic wax to try to save the day. I got out there and rubbed until my arm was ready to fall off. Once again it looked good when I was finished, I am only hoping it stays this way this time.
Tonight I have my first solo EUC live stream since Marty told me he wasn’t interested in doing the show anymore. It wil be interesting to see how it goes and what sort of reaction I get.
So I have two days left of my staycation. I feel quite confident that I have sufficiently busted my ass over the first four days. I look forward to doing a bunch of what I want to do over the next 48 hours. I’ve earned it.
If I would wait until the end of my mini-vaca to blog about it much detail would be lost to the abyss of age related memory retention, so I figure I’ll drop a couple entries along the way.
We had my first ever Thanksgiving Eve dinner when Katie and Daniel came over to eat the food Cindy had been preparing most of the day. I ate way more than was sensible and felt like a blob afterward, building my resolve to get out and run the next morning.
This Thanksgiving was the first time in probably 15 years that I didn’t get up well before the crack of dawn to volunteer, run, or time a Thanksgiving Day race. It felt odd but it felt downright bad to allow myself to do nothing bright and early. I got up without an alarm before 7 and after powering up with Pop Tarts, threw on my running shoes and headed to the track. I was quite surprised to see 7 or 8 people walking around the track already when I got there. I guess they all were trying to negate the expected caloric intake of the day, just a little bit.
I was not in great condition to run. On Wednesday I had really aggravated my right side doing weighted pull ups. My lower back also has been sore for the last several days. However the basic necessities of running, my knees and hips felt passable. So originally I planned to put in my standard 13 laps which clocks in around 3.4 miles on the GPS. About 5 laps in I decided that since it was Thanksgiving I should put in extra distance so the new goal was shifted to 14 laps.
That goal remained until I got to lap 13. I realized that for the first time in quite awhile my body had kicked into running cruise control mode. Runners will tell you this is when you just feel like you can continue without feeling like you are struggling each stride. I’m not quite sure why it kicked in yesterday but when I started lap 14 I realized I could easily get a 15th lap as well which would put me at just about the four mile distance of the Gobble Gobble race that I skipped, so I continued to run.
As I was about halfway through my 15th lap more internal dialogue continued. I thought that doing 15 laps in the second lane should be real close to four miles ( I wasn’t wearing a GPS), BUT if I do a 16th lap, something I haven’t done in around a year, I would ensure that I covered four miles plus, eclipsing what I would have put in at the race. I was still running without feeling significant discomfort so I pressed on, finishing the 16th and final lap with my customary 100 yard “sprint” at the end.
I’m not sure why I felt the best I have in months on the track, nothing leading up to it would have indicated that would be the case. Regardless of the reason, it felt good to at least put in the energy, effort, and distance despite not being an official race participant this year.
I returned to the house and after eating breakfast didn’t waste much time before working on one of my list items, Christmas decorations. I targeted outdoor decorations, I had time to work since we were not hosting this year, instead traveling to Cindy’s mom’s place for the holiday meal.
I used every splitter, timer and extension cord I had in my inventory (I have a lot), to fill the front yard with a half dozen holiday objects as well as lights on the front trees. It felt good to at least get a chunk of the to do list started.
I thought it would be good to have some of my toys with for the dinner to provide some sort of entertainment. I threw both Minipros, the Meepo, and the One Wheel in the back of the Tacoma. We met Katie there. The whole gang on Cindy’s side of the family showed up. Cindy brought the tofurkey she made for me Wednesday along so I could maintain my pescatarian commitment. There was a huge spread of food but I managed to not pig out to the same degree as I did Wednesday evening. However I did down four Miller Lites to help elevate my social interactions so that may have made up the calories.
As I hoped, the PEV’s got a good workout after we ate. Cindy’s brother really liked the Meepo and may get one for himself.
We stayed a little longer than we thought we would. Cindy was having a good time interacting with her family members, many of which she doesn’t get to see all that often. We did have a built in reason to leave however, the six baby chicks that are residing in the guest bathroom. They are now approaching two weeks old and seem to be growing rapidly and doing well. I was absolutely exhausted by 9PM. Playing WoW wasn’t even a remote desire, I just wanted to crash in bed.
So this morning for Black Friday I didn’t do anything dumb like shoot out of bed with an alarm to join the zealots that have been shopping all night long. I got up without an alarm and went out to tend to the daily chicken clean up duties. Cindy had a class to teach late morning so I headed out to get a few things a dip my toe into the Black Friday shopping experience, barely. I only went to three places, AutoZone, Home Depot, and Sam’s Club. Of the three only Home Depot was a crowded mess and by BF standards it still wasn’t horrid. Sam’s Club was downright enjoyable, it was that sparsely populated.
So I returned home and started grind mode. I just was buzzing around tending to things both on and off the to do list. I added a cool snowman I bought at Sam’s to the front yard collection. It’s the only non-inflatable character we have in the yard but it looks very sharp, night and day. I prepped the inside of the house for interior decorations requiring moving a bunch of furniture around and lugging the two artificial trees from the small shed. I went as far as setting them up, just letting the actual decorating of the branches as a joint project for Cindy and I. My mom’s old tree, despite being artificial is acting like a real tree, dropping “needles” like mad. I’m not sure how long it will be in a presentable state but we dressed it up enough with ornaments so that it still looked sharp.
When Cindy got home we dug into the tree decorating along with the the other things we sit around the house for the holiday season. It took a solid 90 minutes at least until we had the storage boxes emptied out. I let Cindy handle the last few inside tweaks as I headed outside once again. I wanted to at least get started on the MASSIVE pressure washing project I have planned. Just doing the pool area OR the sheds is a big pain in the ass. I plan to do BOTH and several other areas as well.
I only got started around 3:30 so I knew I had limited light to get stuff done. I set the goal of getting the pool frame blasted off at least, the most miserable thing to clean of all. The reason it sucks so much is the difficulty in reaching parts of the frame that are over the pool itself. To get certain beams I have to attach four extensions to the pressure wand which stretches somewhere around ten feet, absolutely melting my shoulders and forearms as I try to support it. I slowly worked my way around the cage, soaking myself as I did, which is normal. I got the frame blasted off just as the light was fading. I left everything hooked up and sitting on the lanai, ready for me to begin round two tomorrow. I would not be surprised if I put in another three hours or more tomorrow de-crudding whatever gets in my way.
As is always my plan, my intent is to grind myself into the dirt during the front end of my mini-vaca so that I can enjoy the last couple days without self inflicted to do’s looming overhead.
Sadie had her follow up appointments yesterday. Part of it included a full body CT scan which we won’t know the end results of until today but based on the info we have there was a plan of care devised. The oncologist recommended doing localized radiation treatment in the area of the mouth where the growth was removed from. Doing so is supposed to kill any remaining cancerous cells in the area and lower the odds of a reoccurrence. The treatment is twice a week for three weeks. She also will be given a dog melanoma vaccine which has been successful in a lot of cases in preventing a relapse.
Early in the new year she will then have a procedure to remove the growth that is inside her rib cage that is applying pressure to her internal organs. The doctor said getting it now before it gets very large makes the most sense. It’s a lot of procedures and treatments and I have concerns of how it will all affect Sadie. Ali was told that the localized radiation should not have major side effects like chemotherapy would.
Of course if the full body CT scan results show something more widespread we could have much more serious issues to deal with. When I talked to Ali on the phone yesterday I reiterated how lucky we were that years ago we decided to pick up pet insurance on both dogs. It’s an expensive premium but well worth it in situations like this where insane costs can pile up rapidly, making medical care for your beloved pet not be strictly a financial decision.
Today is my last day of work prior to a last minute extended holiday weekend which will afford me six days off in a row. I am very much looking forward to having the time open for me to fill as I deem fit. Of course I already have several large chores on that mental to do list but with 144 hours available to complete them, I should still have plenty of time to do things I enjoy as well.
One of those things on the schedule will be my next EUC Livestream on Sunday night. I got a surprising email yesterday that my co-host on the stream, Marty, suddenly decided he was stepping back from the show and social media in general. He said he needed to focus his efforts in some other areas. I didn’t press him for details as it’s none of my business but at least for now I plan to continue on with the bi-weekly broadcast as I have put a decent amount of time and effort getting it out there as well as distributed on three major podcasting platforms.
Doing the show by myself will be different for sure as Marty provided a lot of the subject matter we discussed. I will need to do more of that legwork myself. On the plus side I will be able to more easily talk about my other electric vehicles like the One Wheel and electric skateboards. Since Marty did not have or ride either of those I always felt it was a bit awkward for me to talk about either in depth. Cindy may or may not add some spice to the broadcast as well, the people that watch live always seem to love when she is involved.
Financial investments and me just have never gotten along very well. My first dip into the realm was right around the Dot com bust of Y2K. I jumped into a few tech stocks expecting to hop on the meteoric rise of basically ANY internet based company. I got in just as the hill was crested and the market fell off a cliff shortly thereafter. I closed out my Ameritrade account in disgust after losing a good portion of the small lump of money I invested.
In 2003 I thought I would be really smart and invest in some land parcels in Lehigh Acres, about 30 miles north of us. The vacant land prices had EXPLODED as everyone was ranting about how all the baby boomers were retiring and needed a place to build a house. Lots similar to what we built the house on, which cost us 16k were now going for 100k or more and going up every week, it was insanity.
I didn’t have the money in hand to buy something outright so I came up with a brilliant plan to use my home equity line of credit which was opened to add a pool to the house, to also buy two small quarter acre lots in Lehigh. For a short period of time I felt like I was an absolute genius as asking prices for lots continued to ascend. At one point I could have sold the lots and basically doubled my investment. However I had visions of the prices continuing upward to the point where the profits on the sale of the land could pay off the remaining mortgage on the house. So, I held and paid dearly for it.
Once the real estate bubble burst everything went into the shitter incredibly fast. I actually did try to sell the lots on the way down but had zero interest as there were literally thousands of other people trying to dump their lots as well. The end result was me riding the land all the way into the toilet where it has basically remained. Even with the rebound in most real estate prices down here in recent years the two lots have only appreciated slightly. As I sit now I am down somewhere in the neighborhood of 80-85% on each. I try to not think about my disastrous investment outside of the one time a year I get to pay property taxes on it.
So anyway my most recent attempt at investing was utilizing the Robinhood app to buy some individual stocks once again. I started at the end of August when the market was still cranking out numbers. Luckily I have been involving smaller amounts of money but once again my trend of missing the boat continued. As I sit today I am down almost 20% of what I have put in so far.
Luckily the lion share of my retirement is automated mutual fund investing where luck is more or less taken out of the equation. Instead, consistent, long term investing is rewarded where you reinvest your profits and continue to buy on the dips. My overall numbers on that account are solid because other than selecting some funds years ago, I don’t make any decisions on it.
I just put in for Monday and Tuesday off next week, giving me a nice fat six days off in a row.
Friday after work I decided to take a shot at running. It had been two to three weeks since my last run. The cold front temps made the idea much more enticing. I got to the track about 5:30 and got started. The first 2-3 laps felt pretty miserable. My lower back hurt and I’m sure I was running with somewhat of a limp. As I warmed up it got more tolerable. My endurance actually didn’t feel too bad. I’m not sure if I can credit that to the lower air temperature or the fact that I have been doing a lot more cardio at the gym over the last month or two. I didn’t wear a watch but I assume my pace was slow. Regardless, it felt good to get back out there.
Saturday morning it was once again nice and cool. I knew I needed to weed whack but mowing was not on the menu. Somehow I managed to spend three hours out there whacking away. The combination of not having done it for over a month and my decision to knock down the shit in trench in the back yard along with a few other tasks added up to way more time than I planned. My right hand was numb from being subjected to that intense vibration for so long.
After eating lunch we loaded Sadie and Elsa up for a trip to Rural King, we needed to get just a couple things but thought it would be fun to take the dogs for a ride. Well somehow we wound up leaving the store with six baby chicks. Our hens have reached the age where egg production shuts down. Cindy and I had talked loosely about eventually getting more chicks but it certainly was not in the immediate future.
Cindy said she was up to the challenge of constant care and clean up that the chicks require. I was ok with it as long as we limited it to no more than six, which would give us a total of 14 when they are introduced to the flock we already have, which would be max perch capacity in my mind.
So I let Cindy do all of the picking of chicks, my only input was I thought we should be getting them in pairs so each one has another bird “sibling”. We got a set of Delawares, Cochins, and Blue and Reds. The Rural King employee put all six in their little cardboard “barn” and handed then to Cindy, who was all smiles. I was less enthusiastic for sure but was happy that Cindy was happy about it. When we got home we spun into action, collecting a bunch of our chick supplies we still had in storage. We set the chicks up in a large bin in the guest room bathroom. We had them situated after a short period of time, they wasted no time digging into the food. Baby chicks eat, sleep, and poop round the clock.
Late afternoon Cindy said she had some stuff she wanted to get at Walmart. We turned it into an opportunity for me to ride as well as I threw my One Wheel in the trunk. Cindy dropped me off at nearby Collier North Regional Park. By the time we got there it was almost dark so I got to experience prolonged night time riding on the board for the first time. It was an interesting ride as I also got to try out the much talked about new Gemini firmware for the One Wheel which allows users to dial in their board settings to a degree not possible before.
Saturday night we watched Rampage, with The Rock. It was sort of like a modern day Godzilla versus other monsters kind of vibe. I found the movie entertaining and action filled enough for a B+ rental rating.
Sunday morning after tending to the chickens Cindy and I went for an enjoyable ride out to Ave Maria. Although it was overcast, the temps were still pleasantly cool for me, meaning it was downright cold for Cindy. She rode her MiniPro around while I opted for the Mten3, the tiniest wheel I own but probably the most fun one to ride in small spaces due to it’s maneuverability. The wheel is just so easy to throw around and it’s the easiest wheel for me to ride backwards by a ton.
So originally the Eagles game was on the schedule for 1PM. I didn’t realize they shifted it to 4:30 to be a national game, so the entire world could watch them be destroyed. (more on that later) So all of a sudden I had an extra three hours to do stuff. I played some WoW but felt guilty after a little bit. I felt I needed to do something more productive. I decided to go out and work on the front end of Cindy’s RV.
From sitting in the back yard for a year the nose of the trailer had already started to look faded and nasty. I bought some Meguiars product to cut through that haze. Before applying it I had to wash the nose which meant pulling a couple hundred feet of hose and a ladder out. After washing the area I applied some of the product to about a one foot square section to see if it had the end result I was hoping for, it did. I proceeded from there, slowly working on the front end one small section at a time. To be effective you have to use a LOT of elbow grease, rubbing the surface in circular motions time and time again while applying a lot of pressure. It took awhile but I when I finished up the nose looked not perfect but significantly better. I now need to follow up with wax or paint sealant to keep the sun from repeating it’s damage in short order.
So it took very little time for me to get the feeling that the Eagles game against the Saints was going to end badly. To be exact it took the amount of time that elapsed for the Eagles to go three and out on their first possession, followed by the Saints driving straight down the field to kick a field goal. I just got the vibe that the Birds were extremely overmatched. This pattern continued and amplified as the game progressed. By halftime I was so disgusted I turned the game off and just monitored the progress, or lack there of on NFL.com. The final result was an absolute embarrassment, the Saints destroyed the Super Bowl champs 48-7. Wow.
So where to begin? Well this was really just more of the same, the only difference is they were playing arguably the best team in the NFC this time. I heard that Jim Schwartz was planning to make some defensive adjustments. I threw up in my mouth a little bit when I heard the great idea was to only rush three and drop eight into coverage more often. WTF? The defense already has demonstrated they are AWFUL at pass coverage, how is getting even less pressure on a QB going to help that? The soft zone the Eagles play is maddening as it seems to repeatedly result in defenders simply running to the open spots while Eagles players stand there flat footed.
The Eagles defense is horrid this year. Part of that problem is the secondary, which I think was subpar before the season started, is decimated by injury, meaning guys that couldn’t beat out the subpar guys are in there. The front four has not been good enough to get pressure on opposing QB’s meaning the shitty secondary has ample time to fall apart in coverage which they have done all season long.
Ironically another problem for the defense is the Eagles offense. Despite good numbers for Wentz overall, in the big picture the offense is not getting it done. They aren’t scoring points, they aren’t able to put together long drives, and until they get down by double digit points, they don’t play aggressively. I think the biggest issue is they are now one dimensional and either don’t want to or can’t run the ball with any sort of consistency. The play call balance is all out of whack. The end result is the the offense has terrible time of possession meaning the shitty defense gets tired and gets more time to display just how bad they are.
At this point in the season I don’t know that there is any magic pill the team can take to fix these gaping problems. They let go of some key blue collar players this year and it is looking like what was left just isn’t up to the task at hand. I am resigned to a sub 500 season in 2018. I’m just not how much more of it I will be subjecting myself to watch. It’s so ugly.
So last week Sadie had her teeth professionally cleaned, something that should have been done awhile ago more than likely. During the procedure they discovered an approximately 1cm x 2cm mass on her palette. They removed the mass and sent it out for testing as a precaution. Well Ali told me over the weekend she got results back and it showed the mass as being melanoma, not a good thing.
As I researched the condition online I saw that oral cancer in dogs is not uncommon. The bad news is depending on a number of factors a mouth melanoma can be very bad news and potentially terminal. From what I read the size and location in the mouth are the two biggest factors. Sadie’s was on the smaller side and towards the front, both of which are positives. The negative is this sort of cancer has high tendencies to metastasize to other areas of the body. So Ali is meeting with a pet oncologist tomorrow to talk about options. It’s times like this that us paying the sizeable monthly premium for pet insurance feels well worth it.
Off and on all weekend I had waves of sadness come and go as I thought about the potential of losing Sadie. She certainly is showing no signs of slowing down at this point. She is full of energy and happiness. Her and Elsa were playing all weekend long. I am crossing my fingers that we get lucky.
Last night the first REAL cold front of the year arrived, the couple we have had previously pushed night time temps into the mid 60’s but this morning the thermometer in the Prius read 55 degrees. It was glorious feeling the crisp air against my skin instead of sweat. I wished I could have started my weekend at that very moment.
Speaking of the weekend, I hope to start mine off with a return to running this evening after work. Tomorrow I hope to complete the weed whacking in the cool weather and finish any other significant chores during the morning while it is still beautifully pleasant outside. I look forward to trying to spend more time enjoying this weekend that I normally do. I think Cindy and I earned the right after the punishing workload last week.
Today would have been my mom’s 71st birthday. She was always the middle cog of the uncanny birthday string shared with my sister and myself. Torrin’s birthday is October 16th, Mom November 16th, and mine is December 16th. My entire life I have been trying to figure out the cosmic meaning of the three of us having our birthdays on the same day of three consecutive months. My grandmother almost continued that streak as her birthday was September 17th, only one day off.
I still think about my mom a lot. It comes and goes at completely random moments where some sound, song, sight, or scenery makes a connection with some memory of mom. Those times almost always bring waves of emotion with them but I have become adept at mentally shifting focus immediately to not let the hurt sink in too deeply. It’s the way I manage to get through life and keep focusing on what’s ahead instead of behind.
Last night I spent about 90 minutes futzing around with my streaming set up, trying to determine what exactly was causing my audio issues from our last stream. It a pain to test as I have to setup a laptop to simulate the second person on the call. I tried tweaking things multiple ways but had the same end result, the audio of the second person sounds fine to me but does not go out on the stream. I was really getting frustrated.
I decided to try a totally different solution, Google Hangouts which is integrated into YouTube’s Live Streaming platform. It lacks a lot of the bells and whistles of full blown streaming solutions but in this situation I don’t think it really matters. No streaming client is needed, just a Chrome browser. In my tests the connection was easy to set up and the audio/video quality was acceptable which is all we really need. The only negative I saw was there is no way to have a split screen view. With Hangouts, it automatically shows the camera of whomever is talking which is not optimal but again, in our situation I don’t know that it matters much. Hopefully this weekend at some point I can do a test run with Marty. I’m sick of all of this hassle to produce content that doesn’t get many views.
The long awaited cold front is supposed to roll in today. It can stay for three months as far as I’m concerned. I’m so sick of 90 degrees and humid conditions, especially the week before Thanksgiving.
Here is a random fun fact. I have sold almost $2500 of 3D printed EUC stands this year spread across roughly 80 orders. It’s funny how this random idea has grown into something with real numbers. Of course the actual profit on that $2500 is maybe a third of that after the multitude of expenses I incur to make it happen.
So the last day of my three day weekend started out with another ride, this time on my Meepo skateboard. The video was more of a vlog than just a riding video. I had a fun time as usual on the Meepo. I talked about on the ride the biggest disadvantage to the electric skateboard, the need for smooth, flat terrain. With that in mind I talked about a possible future idea of swapping out the Meepo for an AT (all terrain) board in the future. The AT style boards have larger, rubber tires, a wider stance and more ground clearance, allowing for more flexibility in riding options. Even normal debris found on a road or even sidewalk expansion joints can be problematic for a standard E-board like the Meepo.
While I was out I grabbed stuff to change the oil in Cindy’s Ioniq. As I was getting the car up on the ramps I saw my neighbor was out in his front yard, trying to cut palm fronds with his pole saw. I told him he was going to really struggle doing it that way based on my experience. He joked and said that since Cindy and I trimmed all of our trees his wife was giving him a hard time about how overgrown their trees were. His two cabbage palms in the front have not been trimmed in years. I assured him that a ladder and a sawzall is the way to go. He said with his knees climbing a ladder is pretty tough but he would give it a shot. I told him if he can’t manage it I would do it quickly for him.
So he got his ladder out but when I glanced over just before removing the drain plug I saw he was back to the pole saw. I went to the garage and grabbed my leather gloves and DeWalt sawzall. He said he just couldn’t do the ladder, he also had concerns with him exceeding the safety limits of the ladder since he weighs well over it’s rated capacity. I told him I would knock it out for him, thinking hey, it’s only two trees, should be a piece of cake.
Wow was I wrong. Because the trees have not been maintained it was a cross thatch rat nest that was extremely difficult to work through. The first tree was bad, the second tree was even worse because it was about five feet taller. The ladder my neighbor had was too short so I wound up having to go pull my 20 footer out of the shed. In total I bet I spent damn close to an hour working on just two trees. I emerged from the canopy with a fresh set of cuts and scrapes that were all coated in tree organic matter and insects. Of course my neighbor was very grateful for my help. There was absolutely no way he was going to get anywhere with his pole saw.
So I returned to work on Cindy’s car much dirtier and sweatier than before. I completed the task just as Cindy got home from teaching class. I felt like I had put in my work quota for the day. The rest of Monday was more chill. As the sun set Cindy, Elsa and I hung around the new RV spot. I had my Mten3 out there which I rode backwards and forwards on the grass surprisingly easily. Once the sun went down I got to finally play my first extended WoW session of the three day weekend. It was a very labor filled three days but it feels good to have the most hated household chore I have to do behind me for the next year.