Since very early on in my electric unicycle riding days I have worn a typical skateboard helmet. As I was learning I took a number of falls that made it obvious that I needed to protect my cranium. Well yesterday I took it to the next level, ordering a full face helmet for me to ride when open roading it.
I had been thinking about getting one for quite awhile. The reason for doing so is to protect in one of the more likely EUC falls, a face plant. A face plant occurs when either your wheel stops balancing for some reason or if you unexpectedly hit an obstacle that causes your wheel to stop while you keep going.
In this scenario you are go fall face first to whatever surface is below you, likely impacting your hand/wrists first and face second. In that scenario a skater helmet will protect your brain but not your face.
My decision to finally pull the trigger was influenced by another story of someone taking a beating after their wheel cut out on them at 14-15mph. I figured it was time to try a full face helmet at least when I am doing prolonged riding on roadways. I have concerns about such a helmet being just too hot to wear during sweltering south Florida summers so I opted for white to hopefully reflect as much heat as possible. It will be interesting to see how it feels.
I’m looking forward to a three day holiday weekend although I once again have a nice chunk of things I want to get done along the way. As always my hope is to front load all of that work if possible so I can chillax with some Zima as the weekend continues.
The delivery of the new washer and dryer happened first thing yesterday morning. The lower height of the new units combined with the other organizing and rearranging Cindy did has made the bowling alley width laundry room feel almost spacious. Cindy did our first load of clothing yesterday. What used to pretty much fill our front loader only went barely halfway up the tub of the Samsung.
We had them take the washer with the failing bearing but leave it’s pedestal behind. The pedestals that are often sold with front loaders are VERY expensive. When we bought the LG set in 2010 they were something like $250 EACH. I am hoping to be able to sell the pedestals online to recoup some of the expense of the new appliances. We are still planning on taking the dryer to Cindy’s mom this weekend as an upgrade for her.
I talked to my dad yesterday and he ironically had recently had to replace his front loading set which happened to be almost the same age as mine. We talked about the design of modern front loading washers and how it almost seemed that they were meant to fail in less than 10 years to help keep the demand for new units flowing. Dad talked about the good old days when he had a washer that lasted for 25 years.
I hadn’t talked to dad in awhile so we caught up on the latest and greatest news. Most of dad’s news had to do with his physical challenges that seem to be accumulating. Right now he could use work on his knees, eyes, and ears. In the past he had been reluctant to take action to address the problems but I guess it is getting to the point where it really is affecting his quality of life. I’m glad he is more willing to do something about it now. I don’t have a problem understanding his procrastination however. It evidently is a gene I share as I put off getting my eyes checked for around six years from the point where I first started having issues and in general I am very reluctant to seek medical treatment for anything.
I stayed up late watching Netflix content. My sleep deficit then was multiplied when Elsa had some stomach issue about 2AM. Luckily Cindy shot out of bed and got Elsa out onto the tile floor before she puked. After all of that excitement I had a very hard time falling back asleep. As I was trying to drift off I do recall doing a virtual tour of our old Gouglersville house, likely spurred on by conversation my dad and I had about that house, which has been completely transmogrified by the current owners, after my dad and step mom did their own transformation when they lived there. Dad told me the house has been for sale for a pretty long time. I knew it was listed awhile ago but didn’t know it had not sold yet.
When it first listed I always wondered if dad would consider buying back the place that had so much history for both chapters of his life as a father. The idea was not one dad shared as the house price was around double what it was sold for. Plus my dad harbors some resentment towards the current owners as he feels they deliberately misrepresented their financial status and feigned fiscal hardship to negotiate a lower price on the property. So to turn around and reward them for their efforts is something dad just would never be able to stomach. It would have been cool though, the ultimate completion of a large arcing circle that started back in late 60’s.
Oh so the point of this was I’m tired, really tired.
This morning I finished up the last of the seven installs I have been doing at our various branches where I am swapping out a network device. The project is to proactively give us better performance when we switch to a cloud based back end in the next couple months. Just like most everything else in life each install has gotten easier with repetition. The first location took me almost 90 minutes to work through some bugs. The last install today took less than 10 minutes.
Today the new washer and dryer are scheduled to arrive. We are having them haul out the washer with the failing main bearing. The dryer is going to go to Cindy’s mom. I am hoping maybe we can run it over there tonight to get it out of the way instead of sitting in the garage. Both Cindy and I are looking forward to getting the new set. They will fit better in the limited space in our laundry room and hopefully will serve us well for the next decade or so.
So the other day on YouTube I saw a video posted by a young fellow EUC enthusiast that included in the title something about “dominating city streets”. What the video depicted was the kid riding at very high rates of speed while manning a selfie stick. However I soon found myself getting very annoyed and frustrated by how this high speed riding not only was on streets but on pedestrian walkways and sidewalks as well, in some cases while pedestrians were actively using them. This kid would come flying up behind people and blow by them with no thought of what would happen if the pedestrian suddenly changed direction. The video was filled with reckless riding.
I have seen videos by this kid before doing similar things in the past and never said anything but for whatever reason I felt obliged to this time. I commented that riding that fast around pedestrians is reckless, dangerous, and is the sort of behavior that is going to initiate a crackdown on EUC use in the states. In several countries in Europe this has already happened. With my background with drones I already had seen first hand how the ignorant few can ruin something for the many.
So anyway this kid did not react well to my criticism which was certainly not surprising. He sent me a message in Messenger that included “ You are a 50 year old man dogging on a 20 year olds videos… grow up.” as if somehow our respective ages impacted the facts of how he was riding. Of course I found humor in the kid advising me to be the one to grow up.
So anyway, I was far from alone in my criticism of his antics in this video so my ultimate hope is that although I would never expect him to admit it, hopefully he will use more care and thought while riding in the future. Hey when I was 20 years old I wasn’t much for taking the advice of my elders either.
Last night I watched the end of the AMC show, The Terror. That was one crazy show, damn….
So I decided to take a one week hiatus from running this weekend. Both knees had soreness at the top of them which felt like it would benefit from a short break. The knees already had taken some additional beating from playing racquetball on my lunch hour on Friday.
So without running on the calendar I jumped right into doing the chicken work first thing Saturday. Once that was handled Cindy offered to do the weeding so I could get started on the first of two main projects of the weekend, cleaning the roof eave. Last weekend I completed cleaning one side of the house, handling the other three was no less fun. I used the same technique as before, a spray bottle and rags. In total I spent three to four hours cleaning the eaves one wipe at a time. No, I won’t be looking to do the project anytime again soon.
We also headed to Home Depot during the morning where I plunked down big bucks for a new Samsung washer and dryer. In the last week the LG front loading washer we have started getting VERY loud during spin cycle which sounded like a bearing going bad. A quick search online indicated this is a common failure with these washers. I then started investigating what is involved in replacing the bearing and seal. Although the parts can be obtained for less than $50 the labor required to replace the bearing is massive, requiring a complete tear down of the machine.
Depending on what you find during the tear down there is the possibility that other components will need to be replaced as well. I had been looking to replace the washer/dryer for a couple years so the idea of spending that much time/effort to repair something I want to get rid of just didn’t make sense to me. We actually paid less for the new Samsung set than I did in 2010 when I bought the LG’s. Having a front loading washer just is not as great as I once thought it would be. The new set features a high efficiency top loading washer which will work out better for several reasons.
Saturday evening we made arrangements to go see Deadpool 2 with Katie and Daniel. We got a last minute surprise when Cindy’s niece and her boyfriend showed up as well. We arrived early to grab dinner at the theater. Cindy and I were the only veterans of The Prado theater. Katie was very impressed by the VIP theater accommodations, specifically the reclining leather chairs.
Cindy had worked during the day on making us Deadpool t-shirts for the movies. The one she made for me was absolutely epic and good not have been more appropriate. Of course we wore them.
I absolutely loved the first Deadpool movie and expected the second movie to be great but not as good as the original because hey, that hardly ever happens. Well I feel pretty confident in stating that Deadpool 2 is even better than the original. It had me laughing out loud more than any movie I can recall in the last decade. (Thor Ragnarok was close) It was so damn funny, I loved it. The movie gets a rare A+ in my book. Spoiler, although there are shorts during the credits, if you sit till the VERY end of the credits there is nothing waiting for you.
Sunday morning Cindy and I went out to do a ride around the Dunkin Donuts area. It turned out only I rode because the one tire on her Minipro was very low on air. Cindy wound up doing some grocery shopping while I did a 6 or 7 mile ride on my Monster. My lower body already hurt from being on a ladder so much on Saturday. Riding an EUC only amplified the discomfort.
Sunday afternoon Cindy and I tackled the remaining big weekend project, installing a second automatic chicken coop door. Our original door is one of the highlights of the coop as it automatically opens and closes each day to keep the chickens secure.
We decided we wanted to take it one step further. Often times when we get up all of the chickens are already awake and pacing inside of the run, anxious to be let out so they can roam about doing their chicken things. We thought adding a second door to the run would allow the birds early access to the yard as well as allowing us to make sure they are completed closed up in the evening if we are away for some reason.
I ordered the door a couple weeks ago and it has been sitting by the front door waiting to be installed for over a week. As is the case with the vast majority of my construction projects. I had a loose mental outline of how I wanted to install the door that was fluid and changed as the install was done with suggestions from Cindy.
The end result turned out well with the door feeling very secure but still somewhat protected by the clear roof panels over that section. Some of the chickens went through the door right away, others were cautious. We closed the main door so they HAD to go through the opening to go to bed which they all did. This morning most of the hens did not quite grasp the concept that they didn’t have to wait for us to open the big door to get outside. I am sure they will catch on soon.
Another busy week is awaiting me but the good news is I have a three day weekend waiting at the end of it.
So today for the first time in probably at least 20 years I grabbed a racquetball racquet to play over my lunch hour with my gym buddy. We played at East Naples Community Park which I never visited before. It was a beautiful park that evidently hosts the US Open of pickleball, neato.
I played some racquetball in my early 20’s but once I took up volleyball most other sports I played fell to the wayside as I was all about vball and nothing but vball.
I have talked in the past about the weird dichotomy of hand usage that goes on in my activities. Nothing puts that more on display than racquet sports, which I predominantly play right handed even though almost all other sporting activities I will play left handed.
I think this came about when my mom took me for tennis lessons as a little kid. I recall the instructor forcing me to play right handed, saying playing left handed was some sort of disadvantage. That coaching decision still affects me today. Even though I am much weaker snapping my right arm to hit a ball quickly, it is the way I am most comfortable playing.
The really odd part is I still will play some shots left handed, mostly serves. I can hit a serve or forehand MUCH harder with my left arm but I have poor control of direction. So in sports like tennis and racquetball where you get two opportunities to serve my first attempt will almost always be with my left arm where I will just crush the ball and hope it stays in. If not my second serve is with my right hand at a much lower velocity but more precise.
So anyway when I demonstrated to Derrick my odd skill set he was surprised. This was my first ever time playing racquetball on a three wall outdoor court. ALL of my previous play was indoors with four walls and a ceiling to play off of. I very quickly learned that outdoor three wall is pretty much an entirely different sport. With indoor the extra wall space and especially back wall worked to my favor since my long legs are not great at shuffling around quickly from spot to spot. In outdoor ball you have to move your ass off and really pay attention to the angle your opponent is hitting. If you don’t you have absolutely no shot to get to a lot of balls. Once a ball gets past you there is no back wall to give you a second shot at it.
My offense against Derrick was pretty much one thing, hard serves with my left hand. If I got them in bounds I scored a lot of points with it. Unfortunately that probably only happened 30 or 40% of the time. Derrick obviously was a much more skilled player than I am as he used to play a LOT. He could hit the ball low, hard, and with good control. The only shot he struggled with was a higher bounding ball which he often drove into the ground before it reached the wall.
We only had time to play one game as there was a lot of siding out. I did my best to hang but was ultimately defeated by 5 points. With temperatures approaching the upper 80’s we both were sweating like we spent a half hour on a treadmill. It was a very different way to spend a lunch hour and a fun one at that. We both agreed we need to do this more often to get away from the Planet Fitness madness.
So I have been plugging away at my networking project all week. Each install has had it’s challenges. Today’s install challenge was mostly self created. The switch I was installing had something strange in the config so I figured I would just quickly blow it away. Although I got my Cisco CNA certification more than a decade ago I just don’t have to do much switch/router work so my functional knowledge is pretty basic. Well to make a long story short I inadvertently blew away the file used by the switch to boot, bricking the device.
Lucky for me I took the extra step of bringing another switch in case the first one had a problem. I didn’t expect to ever need the spare but in this case it saved my ass, allowing me to load the config onto the back up and put it into service. I was later able to get a boot file back on the first switch using the console cable and XMODEM. Loading a 96 meg image file at 57600 baud is not something impatient people should attempt. I have another install tomorrow and then three more next week, after which this latest project should be complete.
The weather all week has been raining. I have not found the time or inspiration to work on the dirty roof eaves after work at night. My procrastination means my weekend workload is going to be heavy with cleaning 150 feet of eaves with a side order of automatic chicken coop door installation in the chicken run as well.
Tomorrow, if the weather at lunch time is not wet I may be playing my first racquetball in nearly 20 years with my gym buddy. We randomly discovered we both played the game in our past. I have only ever played in an indoor four walled court where you have much more wall surface to work with. The outdoor courts down here have no ceiling or back wall so it is going to be a much different experience. Regardless it should be fun.
The rest of the week, including today I am going directly to a remote office for some upgrade work first thing each morning. If you don’t hear much out of me, don’t be alarmed. I have some mid-size projects at home right now like installing my second automatic chicken coop door and finishing the eave clean up which would benefit from another staycation right about now.
Cindy and I started watching Cobra Kai, the Karate Kid reboot on YouTube Red and Lost in Space on Netflix. I really like both of them for very different reasons.
On Saturday Cindy and I drug ourselves out of bed with a 6AM alarm to go run at the track. I ran the track last week solo and wound up averaging a very pedestrian 10 min mile pace according to my Garmin 301 watch. In the span of a week that pace dropped to 9:10 according to the same watch, the only difference being that I had a running partner this time.
From all my years in the running club I guess I always knew that running with others makes a difference but this made that point crystal clear. When you do endurance training with someone else you both push each other, without even trying. I’ve talked several times about what being in a race does to me. You almost feed off the energy of others around you and the end result is you perform better than you would by yourself. It’s a simple truth.
When we got home I immediately rolled into chores, completing the weeding and weed whacking before eating the omelet Cindy had prepared for me. We had to stick around the house during the morning so I could meet up with the project manager from the roofing company. The finish mismatch on the one side of the roof I complained about had already pretty much disappeared .
There was another thing I complained about that I didn’t think they would resolve, the hump. Ever since the house was built in 2001 there has been a hump on the front facing section of the roof. It’s something I didn’t notice during construction but became apparent soon afterward. It was just another example of the half assed way the builder constructed the house.
Well anyway, I assumed when the roof was redone the hump would be addressed although I did not explicitly point it out. I thought it was rather obvious. Well it wasn’t addressed as you can see in the picture. However I did mention it to my PM, saying I assumed they would fix this during the reroof. I said this figuring it was sort of pointless since the metal was already down in this section.
Well I only realized on Friday that the hump was gone. The PM actually had them fix it which I assume meant removing the roof panel and underlayment in that section and fixing whatever was causing the hump. All I know is the front of the roof of the house for the first time in 17 years no longer has an unsightly bulge in it. I was very pleasantly surprised.
The only other item we were concerned with was a dirt/grease mark on the back of the roof. Mark climbed up there with a rag and was easily able to wipe it off, he said it looked like a footprint. Why the roofers wouldn’t have wiped that up themselves is a question mark but it looks good now which is all that matters.
Mark gave me some tips for the new roof that has a 5 year workmanship warranty and a 25 year warranty on the metal. I was afraid I couldn’t walk on it without leaving dents in the metal. He said walking on it is fine but you have to be extremely careful because if the roof is wet at all it will be like ice. He said the way to walk on it is to step on the screws to keep your feet secure, which surprised me. He also warned me about not letting the branches from the nearby oak tree touch the roof. He said if that happens for any length of time the roof will turn black in that spot and it’s nearly impossible to reverse once it happens. There were a few branches within a couple feet of the roof which lead to the afternoon’s most exciting project.
Before that project began we took Sadie and Elsa along with us to Tractor Supply. We love Rural King but I actually prefer the chicken feed that TS sells. It’s higher quality and organic. We wound up buying a bunch of other stuff while we were there. We had fun perusing. We dropped Sadie back off at Ali’s place on the way home after a week long visit. We hung and talked to Shug’s for a little while before departing.
One of the things I bought at Tractor Supply was another electrical switch. My hope was the old switch for the pool light was defective since it no longer worked after I tried to install the WeMo replacement. When I took the box back apart some of the guts of the old switch spilled out, confirming my hunch. The new switch brought the pool light back to life, not that I ever get to use it.
So, Mark’s advice regarding branches not hitting the roof inspired me to take action. I identified several oak tree branches that were either a short term or mid-term problem. Of course the solution is to cut down the branches with the caveat being doing so in a manner that would not send them crashing on to our new $20,000 roof.
My plan required Cindy’s assistance. I needed her on the ground manning a strap that was looped around each branch to pull them away as I cut from up in the tree. This project required me to fall back on my expert tree climbing skills I honed as a child at our Gouglersville farm house. I can not tell you how many hundreds of times I climbed trees on our property as a kid. It was one of the main sources of outdoor entertainment we had.
So I did not dress appropriately for this work. I had safety glasses and leather gloves on but I also was wearing shorts and Crocs which was rather moronic. An oak tree branch system is a gnarled mess which left me with a couple dozen scratches and scrapes all over my exposed lower body. My weapon of choice to drop the limbs was my cordless Sawzall. I figured it was a much more manageable and safer tool to use 15 feet in the air than my gas powered chain saw.
Our tether to the branch was actually my gymnastic ring set up which has long woven straps. The ring itself made for a good weighted object to throw over the branches. Getting the three roof threatening branches down went pretty smoothly. I would cut just until I saw some movement and then Cindy would pull away from the house so I could finish the cut. The roof escaped impact although the fence below did not. It got bent from the falling debris but I was able to straighten it out most of the way afterward. I put myself in a few precarious positions doing the work but my 40 year old tree climbing reflexes kicked in.
After dropping the branches I climbed down to chop up the branches for disposal in the fill pit. I fired up my chainsaw while Cindy hacked away on the smaller sections with the Sawzall as you can see below. It was tough work but we were both glad to get it down so the roof is not impacted down the road.
Sunday morning the skies were overcast, an indicator of the substantial rain that followed later in the day. It was Mother’s Day so I wanted to make sure Cindy got to do whatever she wanted to do. I tended to the chickens and offered to make her breakfast which she declined. She just loves to cook. Because of the rainy looking skies and other needs we didn’t do any EUC riding this weekend. Instead late in the morning we headed over to Cindy’s mom’s place to install the Ring doorbell she bought for Mother’s Day. Her mom was at church so we had a window to install it secretly. There was no existing hard wired doorbell so I dropped four holes into the stucco to mount it by the door. The install went fine but there is a possibility the Ring is actually defective. You can hear the audio of someone by the doorbell but the audio from your phone is not being heard back.
During the afternoon the rain started but I still had a project I wanted to start on. With a brand new roof and brand new gutters arriving in about a month I felt like I needed to clean the gray/green eaves. We have cleaned this using various techniques over the years, most of which involved pressure washing but I decided to take a very manual approach this time. I used a cleaner/degreaser that I sprayed on generously one three foot section at a time and then wiped it down using a couple big microfiber cloths.
It is a slow and somewhat arduous process as I moved the ladder down the wall, working around various obstacles along the way. The last third of the one side that I finished was done in a steady rain, adding to the misery. I’m happy with the end result as it has been far too long since this had been done. I hope to possibly knock out the other three sides of the house by the end of next weekend.
Around six we met back up with Cindy’s mom, Katie, and Daniel for dinner at a mexican restaurant. The food was good but ridiculous in portion size. I always feel like an absolute pig after eating mexican. In addition to the huge portions you normally warm up by eating a ton of nachos as well. Anyway, it was a fun time. Cindy told me repeatedly she had a great day, which was the goal all along.
As the roof project has been progressing I have been trying to get my drone in the air after each day to see the progress from above. Last night after work I did my final fly over of the completed project. I am happy about the overall outcome and I am looking forward to reflecting tons of heat in the future compared to the heat absorbing dark shingles the house used to have. It should make a BIG difference based on my experimentation in the chicken coop with a light roof versus dark.
Besides the new roof, the video also depicts just how dry and arid our property is right now. Despite using the sprinklers regularly the grass is just dying everywhere. It’s amazing that within three months the same property will look like a pond in spots from all the rain.
Last night Cindy surprised me with a project she has been working on in secrecy, a custom made Zima t-shirt. At first glance you would think she found the Zima logo online, blew it up and ironed it on the shirt. Well you would be mistaken. She actually used a logo as a visual aid but she created this piece by piece, using various geometric shapes to create the visually impactful shirt. I was quite surprised by the gift and appreciated the latest example of her creativity and thoughtfulness. I wasted little time before posting the picture of the shirt on the #zimapermanent group on FB.
This weekend I have a pretty healthy list of things I’d like to get done. One of the things I want to do is clean the flashing on the roof overhang before gutters get installed in a month. They are gray and dingy. My plan, at least initially, is to hit it with some good old elbow grease using a brush, soap and rags. We’ll see how long that plan lasts. I also need to figure out if I broke my pool light or not with my failed WeMo switch implementation.
So they finished up installing the metal roof yesterday, applying the panels to the front of the house and capping off all of the seams. I feel less stress about the panel inconsistency I saw on the west side as after a day the contrast already seems to be lessening, making me think it was just some panels being directly exposed to the elements while others weren’t for three weeks.
I did not see the same variation in the panels across the front of the house which was good. I think everything will be fine. I am looking forward to the first decent rain to get a sense of how it will sound in the house. I expect it to be a sound I will enjoy.
I had a long day of work yesterday, having to do some work down at our Marco Island office after business hours. If things went well I would have been done in 15 minutes. It took me 90 minutes so you can draw your own conclusions.
So as high tech as our chicken coop is a couple days ago I ordered something to make it even more cutting edge. The chickens are early risers. Usually when we get up in the morning we see the hens bunched up in the corner looking at the house for any movement. They want to be let out of the run and into their fenced area.
The other day I got an idea in my head that I floated past Cindy. When we built the coop we incorporated an automatic door to the coop itself, allowing the chickens to escape in the morning while closing automatically at night to keep them safe. My idea was to buy a SECOND unit and build it into the fenced in run, allowing the chickens to go out into the yard as early as they want without any interaction from us. Ditto for securing them at night. It could allow us to not require as much help if we are away as the chickens could have secured access in and out of the coop without us lifting a finger.
The unit should arrive early next week, I look forward to the next step in building the most futuristic chicken coop in southwest Florida.