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.
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.
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 this was a different sort of weekend. Cindy had two of her girlfriends she used to hang with in the early 2000’s staying at the house for a girl’s weekend. I decided to give myself a break and not mow grass. It looked only mildly shaggy at this point so I decided to leave well enough alone. After going to get coffee mid-morning I returned home to find her friends had arrived, Carrie and Pida. They both seemed very nice but I had stuff to attend to so I kept out of their hair.
One of those things was replacing the bushings on the front wheels of the tractor with bearings. I had replaced the bushings a few months ago and one of them had failed already. Supposedly these bearings were a better long term solution that didn’t require steady reapplication of grease to keep functioning. The first side I replaced went very smoothly. The second side did not. The inner bearing was getting hung up on the spindle and would not slide all the way on, despite my hammering the shit out of the wheel via a 2×4 and hammer.
When I pulled the wheel off the bearing remained on the spindle and it was jammed on there tight, I couldn’t get it off. After about 20 minutes of hammering and prying with various objects I finally got that bearing off but the process wrecked it so I put one of the old bushings back on the inside and a bearing on the outside. It will be interesting to see how that combo works out.
The girls left for most of the day to go cruise around Naples, Carrie and Pida moved out of the Naples area a long time ago so they wanted to see how things changed. While they were gone I worked on various things. One of those things was really frustrating me, the generator. All three of the girls planned to stay out in the RV over night. I hooked up the big generator to the RV late morning so it could power the AC to cool things down in there. It was working as it should.
Well when I went out there later in the day to check on things the generator was still running but when I went inside the RV it was hot, meaning it popped the 20A circuit breaker on the generator. I reset it a few times only to have it pop within 60 seconds. Damn it. So later in the day I came up with an alternative plan to try to power the RV AC via home power, using the 110V well equipment circuit which is beefier than the other home circuits. To do so I had to do all sorts of makeshift extension cord runs to other locations to power the well equipment and the chicken coop.
So after I was done I hooked up the RV and it seemed like it was working, however by the time I walked out to there to verify, the breaker had popped already. I was getting really frustrated as I felt like I HAD to get this working so the girls had a comfortable place to sleep that night. I then did some more thinking about why it was popping as I have successfully run the RV on generator and house power before. I then realized that when I hooked up water to the RV via 250 feet of garden hose I also turned on the electric water heater. That had to be the difference.
So after turning off the heater I once again reset the house circuit breaker. This time when I walked out to the RV the AC was still blowing strong, I had finally got it working. But, I was still not sure why the generator was not doing the same job. So during my trouble shooting of the generator I wound up bringing out my volt meter, I was curious what numbers it was putting out. When I hooked up to one of the 110 outlets I was reading between 150 and 160 volts! WTF??
Back during the hurricane last year when I tried hooking up the generator to the coop circuit it smoked the UPS out there. I never gave it much thought as to why but now it was coming together. I think the generator has been outputting this type of voltage for a long time and I have just been lucky that the devices connected to it could tolerate it. When I checked the 220V side of the generator it was reading 300 volt+, geez. Ok so this is a problem.
So my knee jerk reaction was to just say f it and I bought a higher capacity Westinghouse generator that can support 7500 continuous watts, a full 2000 more than my old Troybilt. My thought is with my new Generlink interface to the house bigger is better. Plus this model has a bunch of cool features not found on 13 year old units.
Despite buying the new unit I was still interested in finding out how to adjust the voltage of my Troybilt down in case I wanted to sell or give it away. I found it has no voltage regulator like some units do, instead the output is solely controlled by engine speed. Later in the weekend I ripped it apart and through some repositioning of a tension spring and adjustment on a set screw I was able to get the output right around 120 volts. Basically the generator was just running too fast but as I said, I think it has been that way for a long time. One of the nice things about the new unit is it has an output meter display built right into it.
I did get some time on Saturday to go out for a ride. It was a fun time on my little Mten3 that concluded with me following a car around the park that was exhibiting odd behavior. However the end result of what looked like shady behavior at first, circling the park repeatedly with intermittent stops, I think was actually two lazy people playing Pokemon Go.
On Saturday night Cindy made a nice dinner that we all enjoyed. I split my time between hanging with the women and my computer, consuming four Zima’s along the way to help my social interactions. Somewhere around 10:30 I headed back to bead while the girls headed to the RV. I felt a sense of calm that they were able to sleep in a climate controlled environment.
On Sunday morning I headed out for another ride, this time from home on the 18L. I wanted to take my new wheel into the swamp, which is always a tough test. I knew the swamp would still be pretty wet but we had not had consistent hard rain for awhile so i thought it wouldn’t be too bad. Wow was I wrong. The swamp was a wet, muddy, and overgrown mess. I only ventured maybe a mile in before four foot high grass and thick patches of mud made me turn around.
During the morning Cindy and her girlfriends had fun in the backyard doing an impromptu workout. I later put the video clips together for a video that is on Cindy’s channel.
The girls headed out early afternoon. Cindy and I did a quick run to Rural King to add some semblance of normalcy to the weekend. The rest of the day I kept myself busy until our 8PM EUC live stream that was without audio/video problems for the first time in a month.
So yesterday I got a call back on the results of the CT chest scan I had done on Monday. I found the results somewhat surprising. The entire reason for the CT was a small nodule that showed up on my chest x-ray a couple weeks ago. So the CT confirmed the nodule which is 4mm in size. It indicated that it is likely benign but as a precautionary step they want me to get another CT in six months to ensure there is no change in size. The other lung news I wasn’t expecting.
The scan showed what appears to be “mild fibrosis” in both lungs. Fibrosis is a thickening or scarring of the lungs. The nurse practitioner verified that I never smoked before although my mom smoked during my entire childhood. I don’t recall her smoking around me in closed spaces on a regular basis but in general society was a much more smokey environment in the 70’s and 80’s. She also asked if I ever had any exposure to asbestos which I am unaware of outside of the renovation project at work had an asbestos removal period. I’ve never had anything remotely approaching a breathing problem that I can recall so this struck me as very odd. As a kid I spent endless hours playing in moldy, dusty hay in the old barn, that was the only thing that popped into my head as my inhaling something bad for prolonged periods of time.
The other thing on the report that I found mildly disturbing was the presence of “atherosclerotic calcification in a coronary artery”. The NP downplayed that part of the report but it was sort of a red flag for me based on the heart attack that killed my mom. The description I got from the doc at that time of her passing was plaque broke loose from artery wall and stopped the heart. A quick Google search on the condition didn’t put a smile on my face either. “Simply put, the presence of calcification in the epicardial coronary arteries indicates that the patient has coronary atherosclerosis. This observation is of great significance, because atherosclerotic coronary artery disease is the number 1 cause of death in the Western world.”
So of course none of this information made me feel better, especially considering the emphasis I have put on consistent healthy living habits as an adult. So anyway, I have a follow up appointment tomorrow with a pulmonologist to discuss the results and a plan of action. The thing is, I have never had a chest CT before so I have no idea if these findings have been around for years or even decades. It’s good that I at least now have a heads up about it but man, my 50th year on the planet has surely been a downer from a health perspective.
So you may recall that early this year I came into possession of a non-operative Segway I2, the big daddy of personal electric vehicles. The Segway was given to us by a friend that had it given to them years ago. It sat unused in their garage for somewhere around 5 years. In order to get it working I had to spend roughly $1000 dollars on a used set of batteries and a new “key” for the i2.
Once we got it working we took it out a few times. Cindy especially enjoyed the stability and size of the unit and rode it more than I did. When we got the i2 it had somewhere around 25 miles on it, it now has 101, still an incredibly tiny amount of use for a 5-6 year old Segway. Well the bottom line is we just did not use the big Segway much. It’s size and weight made it a pain to transport and limited where it could be used. It has mostly passed it’s time just parked by the front door.
Well I have been considering yet another type of electric vehicle and it struck me that if I could manage to sell the big Segway, which still can command a surprising number, it would make that idea much more doable. These units were $5-6k brand new and it is not unusual to see used ones still going for 3-4k. However this vehicle appeals to a very niche market. I listed it on Craigslist as well as Ebay, not expecting a great result. Because of the size of this thing the Ebay listing included “local pick up only” as the shipping choice, there was no way I was going to try to ship it.
As expected I received no interest on the Craigslist ad. However the Ebay listing generated a lot of interest. In the first 12 hours I had a bid of over $1000 and had a half dozen inquires asking for more info. I priced the unit very aggressively when compared to other i2’s on Ebay, especially considering the incredibly low mileage. I had people trying to negotiate me down from that already low number which I declined. Based on the amount of activity so soon I did not feel any need to cave.
There was one perspective buyer who was really interested. He sent me 5 or 6 messages which of course included lower offers. I engaged him and politely declined his offers letting him know I had a lot of interest so I thought me selling it for my asking price was a strong possibility. I guess my information worked as early yesterday afternoon I saw the email that this person did indeed buy the i2 for my full price, wow. To make the sale more crazy, he is driving down from KANSAS this weekend to pick it up, yes Kansas.
Before listing the Segway on Ebay I would have placed my odds on selling it at 20% or less. To sell it in one day feels like an incredible stroke of good luck. I have not pulled the trigger on purchasing my new target yet. I have a few questions to get answered and wanted to wait until the i2 is loaded up and on it’s way back to Kansas before calling the deal done.
So I had my abdominal CT on Friday. I was dreading the two barium shakes I had to drink but they actually didn’t taste that bad. I was able to get both of them down without issue. I had no clue what to expect of the procedure, I had ideas of it taking an hour or more and of course I would have to be in a hospital gown. Neither of those things were true. I didn’t have to even take off my sneakers, the only requirement was not having any metal in the scan area. The entire process took about 15 minutes.
So the drinks were to create “contrast” in my GI system. In addition I was given an IV prior to the scan to give contrast to my blood. The fluid they inject you with feels odd as you can feel it circulating in your body, causing certain areas to heat up. They warned me about the sensation ahead of time. The machine reminded me of the open MRI that was used to scan my knee years ago. During certain periods you are told to hold your breath for a few seconds. The entire thing was really a non-event. Unfortunately I will not have any information on the results until today or tomorrow.
So I felt fine afterwards and came back to the office to eat my lunch. Somewhere after 1PM I started feeling not so fine in my gut. The result was two trips to the bathroom that reminded me of colonoscopy prep. I asked to go home as I felt ready to burst. It was a long drive home as I fought the pressure pretty much the entire way. Unless I missed it, there was no mention of the barium shakes causing explosive results afterward. It would have been nice to know. That was not fun. I wound up laying in bed for a couple hours at home.
Because of persistent rain the property had a lot of standing water still on it so mowing the grass was off my list for the weekend. We started Saturday off with standard fare, tending to the chickens and weeding the property. During the afternoon I turned my chore focus indoors as I vacuumed all the carpeted areas and then followed up with steam cleaning the hard surfaces. Just for good measure I let my two hard surface cleaning robots loose afterward.
Late Saturday afternoon we headed over to the high school. I had the Meepo along and Cindy wanted to get a brisk walk in while I rode. The ride was cut short by yet another round of hard rain. I still had fun cruising in Expert mode. I even maxed the throttle for a short burst which supposedly should be at 20+ mph.
On Saturday night Cindy and I watched our latest Netflix rental, I, Tonya, the movie about the mess which is Tonya Harding. I thought the movie was very well done and provided me with a lot of background that I did not have about her life. I had no idea just how dysfunctional and abusive her relationships were growing up. The circumstances around the Nancy Kerrigan attack just seem incredibly moronic. How that group of mental midgets thought this was a good idea is amazing and a testament to the power of stupid people collaborating. Anyway, I came away from the movie feeling somewhat sorry for Tonya. I’d give the movie a B+.
Sunday was really nice for me, it felt like a perfect mix of work and play. In the morning Cindy and I parked at DD and rode from there. She started out the session on her roller skates but then later switched to her MiniPro.
I got some tidying up done in the hobby room and did something I do far less than I used to, wash the vehicles. I washed the Tacoma and Cindy’s Ioniq. Both were overdue for sure. I used to wash cars a lot more often in the past, I’m not quite sure why I have slacked off on that nowadays. I guess like most negative things, I can attribute it to old age.
So I decided to go out on a second ride mid-afternoon on the Gotway Monster. I wanted to go all the way to Collier North Regional Park and back, a trip of almost 35 miles. Very early on in the ride I saw something bizarre. As I headed west on Immokalee Road I saw four cops fly by me but none of them had their lights on which seemed very odd. As I rounded a corner I saw a car stopped at the intersection with Wilson Blvd with all of those vehicles surrounding it, with their lights on.
As I got closer I saw the car that was pulled over was a Maserati that I remembered passing me a few minutes prior. I assume the cops did not want to tip off the driver they were in pursuit. As I swung out around the police vehicles I was shocked when I saw two of the cops had their guns drawn and pointed at the open door of the car. I glanced quickly to my right and did not see a driver in the seat so I have no idea what was going on. I later tried to look up the incident on the news and the sheriff’s website but found nothing. It was a little crazy.
The ride to and from the park was fun. I was glad that I had the Monster for the ride, I utilized the seat on the wheel for prolonged periods of time to give my feet a break. By the time I returned the wheel was constantly beeping from low battery levels as the Monster did not have a 100% full charge before I left. When I checked Strava for my ride statistics my mouth dropped open when I saw the top speed it recorded during the ride, 33.1 mph. Wow, I had no idea I was going that fast at any time and I certainly was not trying to hit a new speed record. If that speed is accurate it is the fastest I ever have traveled on a single wheel by several mph.
I finished up my Sunday with a short WoW session, wrapping up a near perfect day. I can hardly wait till the next 5 days pass so we can do it again.
One year ago today Hurricane Irma smacked the hell out of us. Hopefully we can avoid that scenario for another decade but seeing three named hurricanes in the Atlantic right now doesn’t give me the warm and fuzzies.
We have had many periods of standing water this wet season although compared to last year it has been less. Up until this point we seemed to have for the most part avoided the real misery when extreme rain events pile up on each other with no breaks to dry out in between. Well yesterday we got another deluge on the heels of the major storm on Sunday. The end result was the highest and largest persistent standing water of the year.
I HATE when the property is water logged like this. The only solution would be to bring truck loads of fill in. Unfortunately I can’t really have dump trucks driving all over the yard or they would break the buried sprinkler system. I also feel badly for the chickens during these times. Many of their main hang out spots are currently flooded. I am at least happy to report that chicken island, the area that I raised recently has remained high and dry. I need to expand it’s size as things dry out.
After work I got a quick ride in around Sugden Park which has a nice twisting path around it’s perimeter. Of course it was on video…
Friday night for the third week in a row included getting my track run out of the way. Out of the three sessions this time was the most difficult. I just felt exhausted and tired, dangerously tired, a feeling I only have experienced in recent years. I was so tired that I actually considered stopping somewhere around lap 10 which I normally would NEVER entertain. I instead listened to my inner taskmaster who reminded me you NEVER quit once you start and trudged through the final few laps finishing the run about 45 seconds slower than I did the week prior. Like last week I rode one of my PEV’s to/from the track, choosing my One Wheel for the job.
My Saturday was busy, very busy. A good portion of it was spent outside in the ass melting heat and humidity, weeding, trimming, and finally weed whacking. The three tasks in total probably consumed a solid three hours of work. I did not one but two jump in the pool to get my body temp down sessions during the day. We did take some time late morning to do a coffee and Home Depot run with Elsa where we picked up some odds and ends, including a big jug of Round Up which I used Sunday.
Later Saturday afternoon I turned my attention to Ali’s Neato, which she had given me a week or so ago to look at. When you would try to start it on a cleaning cycle it would undock, start spinning up the motors but then stop, giving an error 3000. When researching the error online it indicated some sort of problem with the optical lidar unit in the bot, which is used for it to “see” and navigate a room. The problem is normally the motor that drives the lidar has failed. I watched a video outlining the repair which involved a near total bot teardown. I hadn’t ripped into a robot vacuum cleaner to that degree since my original Roomba days a decade or so ago. I told Ali if she buys the motor I’ll attempt the repair.
So I set up the folding table in the hobby room. Upon it I placed the Neato, my Chromebook with the YouTube howto video queued up and a fresh cold Zima, everything I should need for a successful repair. I followed the video methodically which was was very well done. I find with these sort of repairs organization is very important. I tried to keep the parts and the screws that attached them grouped together and laid out in a way that made sense.
To change this motor required a near total teardown of the Neato. Although the process was involved it wasn’t really hard. The most challenging aspect was the desoldering/soldering that was required on the replacement motor. Reassembly went pretty well although when I got around to turning the Neato on I realized something was not right as I got a bumper stuck error. I noticed the bumper was definitely not moving normally. Fixing it required disassembly a second time to adjust some of the bumper switches that were not in there correctly. The end result was satisfying, the Neato which in most households would have wound up in the trash instead is now sucking and brushing once again.
Saturday night we watched the latest Netflix rental, The Greatest Showman, a request of Cindy. Before we started watching Cindy said she understood if I bailed since this was a musical and I generally hate musicals. I told her I didn’t mind watching it, after all she sits through most of my picks, even if they aren’t really her thing.
Early on I was ready to pull the plug. It was outright bizarre to see Wolverine dancing, prancing and singing on the screen. However they included enough conventional dialogue that it kept the movie enjoyable, even for someone like me, I’d actually give it a B. However the most noteworthy thing about the movie is the incredibly random and remote situation that happened at the end of it.
So the finishing song of the movie is called “From Now On“, a very high energy piece which played into the credits. So as I flipped off the Blu-Ray player and switched TV inputs back to live TV, I hear the exact same song?? I do a double take, thinking somehow I didn’t turn off the disc and the audio was still coming from the surround sound system. Nope, the song was playing on America’s Got Talent by some huge chorus of 150 people. The odds of this floored both Cindy and I, that we would finish watching that movie, playing that exact song, the exact moment it was playing on AGT, a show we never watch, was mind blowing. Cindy said she should run out and get a lottery ticket as the odds of what just happened seemed in line with lottery winners. It was a bizarre moment.
Sunday morning Cindy and I headed to the Greenway to ride. We brought four vehicles with, the One Wheel, the Meepo, the MiniPro and Cindy’s skateboard. We had a somewhat abbreviated but fine ride as we rolled around the beautiful pathways. It once again was hot as hell.
After eating lunch I had more to do outside, it felt like so much of my weekend was dedicated to just maintaining the landscape. I first walked the property with the bottle of Round Up and sprayed down various borders. Doing so on a regular basis makes weed whacking less of a pain, especially along the fence lines. I then hopped on the tractor to mow. The skies were already looking threatening so I buzzed around as fast as I could. Now I have a documented history here of mowing through rain and storms. However yesterday there was something about the skies, the lightning was close and felt dangerous. So once the rain started to fall heavily I parked the tractor even though I was only two thirds done. It was a good move in retrospect as a full blown monsoon blew through dumping several inches of rain in a very short time period. Of course the property was a lake afterward, scuttling any opportunity to finish the task.
Sunday night we had a very long EUC live stream. It included our first guest, Jason, the owner of EWheels, the company I have bought a half dozen EUCs from. It was a very informative show with Jason giving us a somewhat behind the scenes view of the business. The show which we advertise as being roughly an hour long went on for double that.
The next 7 days are going to be quite busy. I look forward to emerging from the other side.
Last night was quite busy as Thursday evenings go. I headed straight from work to Boston Beer Garden to meet up with fellow fantasy football team owners for the draft lottery pick. I have had unbelievable bad luck when it comes to draft position. I have picked the last draft spot at least four or five times. This year my luck was a little better as I grabbed the number 7 spot. Normally I would hang around and drink a few beers but Katie and Daniel expressed interest in coming over to try the One Wheel and Meepo so I left the bar shortly after drawing my number.
I had only been home maybe 10 minutes when the kids arrived. I quickly changed and threw the gear in the back of the Prius. We met over at the school. Katie tried the Meepo first. I gave her quick pointers on how the remote control worked and she was off, slowly at first but soon she was doing slow and steady laps. I had the board set to beginner mode where she was speed capped at 10 mph.
I gave Daniel basic One Wheel instructions but because of his pretty extensive skateboarding background riding the board wasn’t tough for him, the hardest part is learning how to stop and dismount safely. Cindy showed up early in the session, coming there straight from teaching class. She always loves when all of us are together.
After awhile on each device Katie and Daniel switched it up. Katie felt very unsure of herself on the One Wheel for awhile but never fell and did a good job circling the lot. When Daniel got on the Meepo it was like love at first sight. After 10 minutes of riding I unlocked him to advanced mode with a 25 mph speed limit. He was ripping back and forth across the parking lot with ease having next to no learning curve at all.
I only rode the One Wheel very briefly. I instead just let the kids have fun trying out the two new forms of electric transportation. By the end of it Daniel was sold on the Meepo. I am pretty sure he will be ordering himself one very soon. Katie loves the Meepo as well as the One Wheel. She commented how she actually felt like she was working her lower body, something she doesn’t really get on EUCs at this point. They both thanked me for letting them try out the new toys. Hopefully they want to start riding with Cindy and I again on the weekends as a result.
I had not had anytime to eat dinner so that only happened around 8:30 when I got home. After dinner I still wasn’t done, working on a custom 3d stand model for a customer and then remoting into the office to get some after hours tasks done. It was a long night that left me feeling groggy this morning.
This weekend is the precursor to what will be a hectic weekend in 7 days when Cindy has her bikini competition next Saturday and then I have to move one of our offices to a temporary location next Sunday, followed by hosting our fantasy football draft party on Monday. That doesn’t mean this weekend will be a laid back, veg out couple days. The tasks just don’t stop coming.
I took off Wednesday to drive Cindy up to Cape Coral to get a MRI at the VA clinic. The last time I drove her up there I spent the waiting time playing Hearthstone in the lobby. This time I decided I wanted to do something more engaging so I threw the One Wheel and Meepo in the trunk. Once Cindy was taken back I headed out to the parking lot and geared up.
I am not familiar with Cape Coral at all so I just headed in a direction that looked like it had less traffic. I wound up cruising through a near by neighborhood with basically no traffic. It worked out great. During the ride I passed the 100 total mile mark on the One Wheel odometer, it was some of the most fun 100 miles I have traveled.
After getting home and tending to a few things I headed back out in the early afternoon, this time to ride the Meepo at North Collier Park. I was surprised by a number of things when I got there. The water park was closed, which seemed odd for mid-August. Yesterday was the first day of school, evidently the second that happens they change the water park to weekend only hours.
I also was surprised that over half of the park was inaccessible to me. The soccer field area was all closed off as they are replacing all of them with artificial turf which sounds incredibly expensive. The back half of the park was roped off in addition because they were doing some sort of massive pesticide spraying that evidently is very toxic. I’m not sure what they are trying to get rid of but I never saw such large sections of the grounds roped off.
I still made the best of it, zipping around the Meepo with increasing confidence. I have quickly discovered that traditional sidewalk riding sucks on an electric skateboard. Each seam in the sidewalk sends a jolt through your body due to the solid wheel construction. I did my best to stay on paths, bike lane, and parking lots wherever possible. I am feeling confident enough on the board to go up to the next skill setting which unlocks top speeds of up to 25 mph. You definitely need to be in the right conditions to even think about approaching those speeds.
I putzed around some more at home afterwards. I did spend a good amount of time in WoW which just launched another expansion to the game, meaning there is another 10 levels of content to be consumed and experienced. I haven’t dove into it as hard as I have in the past but I am still looking forward to exploring yet another virtual world.
I have a weird two day work week that includes heading to a bar after work to pick numbers for draft order in our fantasy football league.