Category: EUC

So I took off Friday to give me an extra day to get stuff done as my mental list was feeling too large for a conventional two day weekend.  I got a headstart on the list Thursday when I got home from work.  I dug into replacing all three internal fans on my CR-10 as they were extremely noisy and known to be of subpar quality.  As usual I ran into snags along the way and as usual I eventually found a way to circumvent them, although not necessarily in the best way.

A good portion of my Friday was consumed doing full grass maintenance.  I weeded, weed whacked, and mowed the yard for hopefully the last time before Christmas.  It felt odd that I was hot and sweaty in the 85 degree weather, knowing the drastic reversal in temperature that was forecast to blow in.  I brought Elsa along with me to go pick up the replacement lanai screen door at Home Depot.  You know, the door that a sixth of a price of what the screen contractor wanted to charge me?  On the way home I picked up Sadie for another weekend visit, something Elsa was beyond excited about.

So early Saturday morning Cindy and I were awakened by lightning, rain, and thunder from the cold front that was sweeping through the area.  The storms were approaching summer-like severity.  I had originally planned to get up and run Saturday morning but the cold rain killed that plan rather quickly.  I decided to substitute a 30 minute session on the rower which brings a different sort of pain than running.

Cindy was teaching classes Saturday morning so I kept myself busy around the house tending to more of my to do list.  Part of that list was having my 3D printers working overtime.  There are TONS of awesome 3D modeled Christmas items out there and I was printing a bunch of them, reindeer, Xmas trees, ornaments, you name it, I was trying to print it.  Later in the weekend Cindy hand painted a bunch of what I printed making it’s coolness level go up another few notches.

Once the rain slowed down mid-morning I took the dogs outside.  I saw Elsa shoot off behind the garden.  She was drawn to something moving on the ground.  I immediately called her off and went closer to investigate.  I stood there in amazement for a sec when I saw it was a catfish.  However a second later I remembered that this has happened several times since I have lived in Florida.

I remember the first time I saw this phenomenon I thought that somehow the fish got sucked up into the clouds and came down with the rain.  I later found out that these are “walking catfish”, a non-native species that has the ability to actually “walk” and breathe air for a short period of time as long as their gills stay wet.  They will leave water to relocate if they deem it necessary.

My quick thought was because of all the rain this catfish decided it was a good chance to pick up and move although I wondered where he was moving from since he was about 20 feet behind the garden when I spotted him.  Well of course I couldn’t let him flopping around out there so I went and grabbed a small plastic container and scooped him up, figuring I would put him in the fill pit in the rear of the property which has a ton of water still in it.

So as I walked towards the back fence line I spotted another catfish, and another, and another.  Evidently they all had the same idea.  By the time I was done, I had collected and transported about 20 of the fish back to water.  Most of them went in the fill pit but I also put a handful into the small pond near the house.  If you never have seen walking fish before, it should be on your bucket list.

On Saturday afternoon Cindy and I were back at Home Depot.  Last week on the way out we had spotted this nice pre-assembled wood workbench that we commented about how it might be a nice addition to the hobby room.  I measured a space on the wall I saw I had exactly six feet, the length of the bench.  After we got back I immediately dug into getting the room rearranged.  In the process I knocked the EUC shelf down which in turn broke one of my 3D printed stands.  Of course I simply reprinted the broken piece.

It took awhile to get things shuffled around but the end result was worth the effort.  The room feels much less crowded.  Everything has a space and the one hobby desk that used to be consumed by two printers now is clean and open to be used as needed.  Cindy was very happy with the end result as well.

On Sunday morning it was cold, very cold with temps in the mid 40’s.  Despite substituting a hard rower session for running on Saturday, my inner taskmaster said I still needed to get out and run.  I did not dress for the temps, adorning a short and t-shirt, just like any other day, figuring my internal engine would keep me warm.

Well the first mile or so was miserable.  Not only was it cold, it was windy making a half of each lap extra frigid as the cold air pushed against my exposed skin.  Even as I finished the 13th lap I was still yet to break a sweat.  It felt good to push through the weather and complete my second endurance training in as many days.  With my trip to PA this upcoming weekend I won’t get a run in so that was part of my motivation to get out there, no matter what.

So even though it was cold, I wanted to get a ride in.  I came up with the idea of doing a one way ride to Dunkin Donuts on my Msuper where I could meet Cindy so she could go run some errands.  When I left the thermometer at the house read 49 degrees which I believe is the coldest air I have ever one wheeled in.  I was bundled up with three layers up top although I still had on my trusted camo shorts.  At first it didn’t feel too bad but by the time I pulled into DD it felt like rigamortis was settling in, I was frozen.  I’m not sure if Dunkin Donuts coffee every tasted better as it helped thaw me from the inside.

Cold was the word of the day.  The temp never got out of the 50’s which is highly unusual.  I kept those same three layers on all day long, indoors and out, and still felt chilled.  Despite the temps I had one last major to do on my mental list, installing the new screen door.

Installation took longer than expected.  I had to make a run to the hardware store midway to buy a new set of hinges as well since the old pair was bent from the force of Irma, which was causing the door to not close properly.  The frame of the cage surrounding the door has a lean to it as well which I really can’t do much about but the door at least closes and latches securely, something that has not been the case for the last three months.

I finished up just as the Eagles came started up.  It was a great and exciting game with a favorable Eagles outcome on the scoreboard but not in the big picture.  Carson Wentz went out in the second half with a potentially serious knee injury.  Nick Foles came in and was competent in running the team which doesn’t surprise me.  I always liked Nick and he has that one MONSTER year in Philly so I know he has the ability to play well.  However losing Wentz for the rest of the season would still be a huge blow to the Eagles long term chances during a year where it seemed like they just may have what it takes to finally bring home the ultimate prize.

I can only hope it isn’t the ACL tear that many news outlets are speculating this morning.  When I saw the hit that caused the injury real time I immediately winced as it looked like Carson went from full speed to zero when he hit the defender.  It almost looked like his body hit a brick wall.

So the rest of my 2017 is going to be abbreviated as I won’t have a full work week until 2018 rolls around.  There will be much to attend to, to celebrate, and reflect upon for sure.

 

 

 

I decided to do the four day blog recap before the four days are over for better retention and future time constraints.  Our Thanksgiving started bright and early since I was running the four mile Gobbler Gobbler.  We packed both Cindy’s Minipro and my new Mten3 in the car.  Cindy was going to help marshal the race while riding her Segway and I hoped to ride the EUC around pre/post race.  That’s exactly what happened.

The race itself went smoothly.  The run for me was tough but I put minimal pressure on myself since I opted for the fun run event this year instead of the chip timed race.  Early on I felt like I was on the verge of a hamstring pull.  My lower body still had some soreness/stiffness from the lower body work I did at the gym on Tuesday.  Eventually the sensation lessened and I was able to run more or less normally, for me.  I followed my normal pattern of getting passed early during the race but then almost be exclusively the one doing the passing during the latter stages of the race.  I have no idea exactly how long it took me since I didn’t wear a GPS.  All I know it was somewhere less than 40 minutes.

After the race Cindy and I hung around for awhile.  I spent most of my time hanging with my timer buddy John who was once again timing the race this year.  Even though I haven’t timed a race in over two years, the bond between race timers never fades.  Cindy must have showed at least 10 people how easy the Minipro is to ride.  She just loves to do that.

Once we got home I went out and tended to chicken clean up so Cindy could turn her attention to Thanksgiving meal prep.  She had already done a lot of work on Wednesday.  Her mom, mom’s friend, Katie and Cindy’s niece came to join us for the meal.  Katie came a little early and I let her try out the new tiny Mten3.  She instantly loved the way the wheel felt and reacted.  Before she was done she was able to do back and forth pendulums without much issue.

The meal itself was great.  Cindy catered to everyone’s dietary preferences, preparing a Tofurkey for me while preparing conventional turkey for everyone else.  The feedback on the meal was universally positive.  Cindy’s mom’s friend was funny as she told funny stories about her previous husbands and asked matter of the fact and awkward questions of others that seemed to come out of left field.  Between four and five o’clock everyone had headed out with very full bellies.

In some ways my Thanksgiving was very unconventional.  I basically watched none of the Macy’s parade and did not see a single snap of the three football games that took place.  I just had other things that had my attention including YouTube, 3D printing and riding around my Mten.

On Black Friday the unconventional feel continued as I did absolutely no shopping in a brick and mortar or cyber fashion.  Instead I dug into a work heavy day where I tried to do most of my conventional chores, hopefully clearing the deck for the weekend.  I also picked up Sadie for a long weekend visit, something Elsa was very excited about.  During the afternoon Cindy helped me get the exterior Christmas decorations up.

I actually scaled back the extent of the lights outside.  We only wrapped the front two palm trees in lights instead of including the other set of four in the front.  We took those extra lights and extended them both down each fence lines which looked nice and was a lot less difficult.  I wrapped up the work adorning the roof line of the coop/run with the big LED bulbs as I have the last couple years.  On Sunday we added a large 16 foot inflatable Saanta sled to the mix.  Hopefully this inflatable lasts longer than most.  We have yet to have an Xmas inflatable that actually lasted more than one year.

On Saturday, despite my efforts up to that point there was still plenty to keep me busy.  Cindy taught a class in the morning.  While she was gone I again cleaned up the chicken mess and then did some more work in rusty pool cage screw replacement.  This is a long term job that is proving to be more of a pain in the ass than I anticipated.  So many of the existing screws are in such poor condition that as soon as I try to back one out the head snaps off.  It’s really annoying.

We also took on part two of the long Xmas decorating process, doing all of the inside work Saturday afternoon.  Once again we set up my mom’s tree in the great room. Once again the top set of lights did not want to illuminate after showing a few flashes.  Instead of fighting with it like I did last year I decided to just bring in a couple sets of spare white LED lights from the shed and using those instead.  The LEDs looked better and use less power than the pre-strung incandescent lights the tree came with me.  I was happy with the decision as it extends my ability to keep mom’s tree in service indefinitely, not that I would ever dispose of it.

Last night we watched my Netflix blu-ray Kong Skull Island.  The movie had more graphic representations of people getting eaten/killed by horrific monsters than anything I can recall seeing.  It made Jurassic Park look like Sesame Street.  Despite this unsettling/graphic violence we both found the movie entertaining and good overall. I’d give it a B+, Cindy actually said it was an A in her opinion.

Today I woke up to the hope of having a clean slate, devoid of must do’s.  I pretty much have it outside of my doing the chicken and pool maintenance early on.  Cindy and I went to North Collier Park to ride a little bit and I am in the process of watching the Eagles put a hurting on the Bears.

It seems odd that as much effort as I put into getting stuff done, it just never really feels done, ever.  Of course this is no surprise as it is the way it always has been.  This feeling is both my curse and my advantage, it just depends on the situation.  Even as I punch in these last few words I have thought of double digit things that need my attention, effort, or energy, at some point.

So as I have mentioned here several times, my experience with my insurance company regarding my Hurricane Irma claim has been very frustrating.  The experience has been filled with unreturned phone calls, lack of follow through, and finger pointing.  Yesterday I made about my 6th or 7th call to the “escalation department” , asking why the woman I last spoke to over two weeks ago and whom I had left four messages for has never responded to me.  I told them I had enough and if I did not hear anything back I was going to be raising a major mess with Tower Hill, since the adjusters in charge of settling the claim are actually subbed out.

The hurricane clarified how Tower Hill sort of sucks.  Throughout this remediation process I have not been dealing with any real Tower Hill employees, they all have been sub-contracted.  My house was inspected by some company named Integrity Adjusters and the claim remediation is by another company named EA Renfro.  Tower Hill seems to just like to cash my checks but doesn’t really have an active role in problem resolution.

So anyway  last night I get an email that there is a new electronic document in my account.  I quickly pulled it up and saw that apparently my persistence finally has paid off.  The document stated my claim has been revised upward roughly $5000 based on the estimates that I provided.  Two months plus is a long time to wait but at least the steps we took with both the roof and the pool screen allowed us the time to be patient with navigating these very muddy waters.

Last night I apparently resolved my latest 3D printing issue, this time with my newest printer, the Neva.  The clogging problem got resolved by once again using some cleaning filament, the same stuff I used on the CR-10 a few days prior.  I also got out on my Mten3 for a little more practice.  I am hooking and reversing pretty consistently, able to stay on the wheel more than I need to step off.

This four day weekend hopefully will be fun.  Cindy and I are once again going to the Gobble Gobble race tomorrow morning.  I am going to run in the untimed four mile fun run.  Cindy is going to use her Segway to be a race marshal which should be fun for her.  Cindy again is going to have some of her family over in the afternoon for what surely will be another impressive holiday meal.

Over the rest of the four day weekend I have some loose plans which include Christmas decorations, more pool cage screw replacement, and assorted house chores.  Of course I want to mix in plenty of Mten3 time, WoW, and whatever else sounds fun at the time.

So last night I was messing with both of my two major hobbies, 3D printing and EUC’s.  On the 3D front at one point I had all three printers going at once.  The CR-10 was finishing up printing another EUC stand, the FlashForge Finder was printing lithophane holders and my new Neva was trying to print a Christmas ornament.  I say “try” because the week old printer developed it’s first problem, a filament clog.

One of the Neva’s appeals is it’s simplicity.  Unfortunately it is also one of it’s weaknesses. The documentation on the printer is extremely sparse.  There is no real user manual to speak of.  The only option is a very limited support section of their website.  I followed the instructions I found to unclog the printhead but only had limited success.  When I tried to print the model it was underextruding and looked terrible.  So now I have another printer to “fix”, yay.

I also affixed some automotive door protection strips to my new Gotway Mten3 along the edges of the wheel.  My hope is if the bot takes a tumble the strips will absorb the impact instead of the potentially brittle plastic.  After I finished up I took the wheel out in the driveway for some night time testing.  Not only did I do my first backwards riding on the tiny wheel I also did my first four point turns on an EUC, ever.  I was able to curve into a spot, stop, reverse direction while curling the other direction and then reverse once again to head back the way I came from.   It felt awesome.  I can’t wait to build on my new found skills with my tiny one wheel fun machine.

My weekend was busy, very busy, but it had a fulfilling mix of work and play with a cherry on top ending with the Eagles dominating win over the Cowboys.  It didn’t start out that well as I had a horrible night of sleep Friday night.  I awoke somewhere before 3AM and did not fall back asleep until at least 5.  I then awoke again, on my own at 6:05 and decided, F it, I’ll go get my run out of the way.  Despite the lack of sleep the run went ok, certainly fueled by the cool air in the lower 60’s.

When I got home I spent very little time inside before heading out to get started on a long list of things I wanted to accomplish.  First  up was weeding which always begins in the garden area.  The greens that we planted a few weeks ago are all looking fantastic so far.  We have kale, three types of lettuce, eggplant, and spinach in there.

After I got done weeding I got ready to weed whack.  Not just a normal 60-90 minute session of the unfun activity, I wanted to do EVERYTHING, meaning the entire fence line, both sides.   Doing the fence line is an awful job.  This time was probably the worst ever as I have been negligent in doing the task on a more regular basis, resulting in thick, high, tough grass integrating with the galvanized fencing.  In certain spots I had to go ridiculously slow, chopping at the thick growth one level at a time.

Weed whacking against a wire fence consumes trimmer line by the mile.  I was on my third spool refill when the trimmer head broke.  The bottom of it was wearing thin and the fence line was enough to wear it out for good.  I was only about 2/3 of the way around the inside fence line when it broke.  I decided to use the DeWalt electric whacker to get the rest of the conventional trimming around the house done with the intent of getting a new trimmer head for the gas whacker to finish later.

During the afternoon I dug into additional projects like redoing the runs on the ladder for the chickens perch, installing my two new mods on my Tacoma and installing a swing arm mount in Cindy’s RV for a small tv.  All three projects went well but only one of them was documented on video.

Late afternoon I finally received a package I have been waiting for for almost a month and a half, my new Gotway Mten3 EUC.  I ordered/paid for the wheel in early October but have been patiently waiting for it to make it’s way across the Pacific Ocean on a boat.  This wheel is the exact opposite of the last wheel I bought, the Gotway Monster which is a 22 inch, 60 pound behemoth. The Mten3 is a tiny 10 inch wheel that weights roughly 20 pounds.  What makes it unique is despite it’s small form factor it is equipped with a very strong power train, allowing the wheel a top speed of around 25 mph which is nuts.

I didn’t have much time on Saturday to do much more than unbox the wheel and take it out on the driveway for a couple minutes.  Those couple minutes were rough.  The wheel felt incredibly unstable and foreign to me, I could hardly do even basic turning.  This was not unexpected, I knew it would feel weird, just not that weird.

Saturday night Cindy and I went to see Justice League.  I again opted for the VIP theater at Prado, guaranteeing us good seats despite it being opening weekend.  I found the movie to be entertaining, even with trying to cram in origin stories for the previously never shown heroes of Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg.  Of the three I thought Aquaman was the most out of place.  He did very little Aquaman-esque stuff with the vast majority of his action being on dry land. It was a Zak Snyder movie so of course there was going to become ridiculous stuff but I found Justice League to have less of that than Batman vs Superman did.  I was entertained from start to end, enough to give the movie an A- rating.

On Sunday morning I wanted to get in some extensive acclimation time with the Mten3.  Cindy needed to do some grocery shopping so we combined the two activities for efficiency.  She dropped me off at North Naples Park so I could ride while she got the groceries. So my initial 15 minutes of riding my new wheel had me wondering if I made a mistake.  I felt so unstable.  My feet were as big if not bigger than the case of the EUC.  I wobbled around the paths hoping my body would soon adapt to the different physics of the tiny wheel.

It took awhile but it slowly started happening.  The wobbles started to fade and I started to get a feel for just how responsive the little wheel could be.  Thanks to it’s small diameter, ample power and low pedals I was able to do incredibly tight and slow turns, unlike anything I have been able to do on any EUC.  By the end of the ride I was excited about the wheel and the potential fun it has in store for me.

After eating lunch we headed back out, this time with Elsa in tow to hit Rural King and Home Depot.  I was frustrated that Home Depot sold no conventional universal bump feed trimmer heads.  All they had were the type where you insert individual blades or line into the head which always turned me off as it seemed to be a set up with very high cost consumables.  With a conventional bump feed with trimmer line I can buy a spool of line and be good to go for a year.  Well my desire to get the fence trimming done pushed me into buying a head that used plastic “blades” which seemed like a good choice with the thick vegetation I was dealing with.

Just getting the new head  installed was a struggle, just because I didn’t see something obvious in removing the old beat up head.  Once I got the new bladed replacement in place I headed back out to the fence line to do battle.  I had no idea how these blades would hold up to the beating of a wire fence.  I bought an extra pack of blades just in case.

I have to say I was very surprised by the results.  Despite being subjected to extremely brutal conditions, the three original blades held up to around two hours of abuse.  I wish I could say the same about my hands and forearms.  My hands were tingling and numb from running the whacker that much over two days.  I am pretty sure in total I put in at least four hours of weed whacking over the weekend.  Now that I have the fence line knocked down I want to follow up by spraying RoundUp as well to retard the growth of new vegetation along the fence.  This is something I used to do but stopped when we had the chickens free ranging the entire yard.  Now that they are more restricted it’s time to do it again.

Late in the afternoon I got to turn my attention to my problematic CR-10.  I tried another solution for my filament feed problem, once again choosing a simpler solution involving installing a higher quality collet fitting to hold the feed tube in place.  I was very happy that this seemed to fix my issue for real this time.  I am in the middle of a 20 hour print that ran all night without a problem.

My weekend wrapped up with a fantastic Eagles win against the hated Cowboys, in Dallas no less.  The first half of the game was very tightly contested with the Birds looking a bit rusty coming off their bye week.  However once the second half started things totally went the Eagles way.  They simply steamrolled the Cowboys and it felt great.

I am looking forward to a quick three day week followed by a four day weekend.

 

 

Last night after work I again spent most of my time messing around with two of my three 3D printers.  My CR-10 once again is problematic.  I tried a pretty simple solution that appeared to have actually worked.  I even shot a video documenting my success.  Of course a few minutes after I finished the video the problem returned.  I suppose I will need to dedicate more time over the weekend trying to fix the problem, again.

I also did some more testing of my new Dagoma Neva.  The printer definitely has some shortcomings.  I tried to print some flexible filament last night and couldn’t even get the print to start.  However later I was able to print a very nice version of the ornate cross model.  It actually might have been the cleanest version yet.  For the money, I think the Neva is a nice printer as long as you are able to work within it’s confines.

This weekend I have a lot of things I want to accomplish.  I have a couple Tacoma projects, mowing, weeding, whacking, 3D printer work, and other normal chores.  On the fun side of the to do list we hopefully will get out to see Justice League and the Gotway Mten3 EUC I ordered like a month and a half ago is supposed to finally show up.  It should be an action packed two days.

 

 

Yesterday was quite a busy day as we were scheduled to go pick up the Coleman trailer Cindy bought on Saturday.  When we got there we got a full orientation from a nice guy named Tony.  During that walk through Cindy spotted a few more minor issues that they addressed immediately which was great.

So during the paperwork signing portion  of the deal where Cindy was pitched the merits of a $5000 plus extended warranty (which she declined), I decided I wanted to look in their store for information about what type of hitch I would need for the Tacoma.  My truck has the factory tow package so I figured I would just need to slap a ball into the hitch receiver, buy a wiring harness and I would be good to go. Boy, was I wrong.

I had their parts guy go out to my truck to see what I had to determine what I need to tow the 26 foot, 5600 pound Coleman trailer.  It was determined I needed a lot more than I expected.  I needed an electric brake controller to interface with the trailer brakes, something I stupidly assumed would come with the factory towing package.  However the big expense was the hitch itself.  I was told I would need a weight distribution style hitch based on the size of the truck.  Evidently these things are expensive, over $600 just for the part, not to mention the labor to install them.  The grand total for the quote was just over $1000 which was way more than I first imagined.

The thing was, even though I was not going to be the one towing the trailer to the house I felt like I HAD to get the hitch installed immediately.  The reason for that is when installing this type of hitch it has to matched/adjusted to work with the trailer it is being used to tow so the truck/trailer need to be at the same location.  If the trailer was towed to the house prior to me getting the hitch installed it would be a logistical nightmare to get it installed at a later date requiring someone else to tow the trailer back to the RV place to do the work.  So the short story was I decided to just bite the bullet and get it done.

Getting the hitch done wound up consuming close to two hours of additional time but at least the work got done.  I felt bad as the guy that was towing the trailer for us had to sit tight until we were ready.  We beat him to the house by a few minutes and then helped guide him into the backyard.  Getting through the front gate was pretty tight but he managed to get it done without incident.  Cindy helped guide the trailer to it’s preferred spot that has the highest elevation in the back yard.

So I had to leave almost immediately afterward to go to my credit union to reopen my home equity line for withdrawals.  I had a 2:30 appointment, or so I thought.  About 2PM my cell phone rang. It was from the closer assigned to do my paperwork.  She said I had a 1:30 appointment and was wondering where I was.  I told her I was told it was 2:30.  Well evidently somebody got their signals crossed.  I apologized and told her I would get there asap.  Signing the papers literally took all of five minutes.  I hopped back in the car and hurried home to help Cindy with her initial trailer prep.

Cindy was cleaning/decorating.  My main concern was the technical/logistical aspects like power and internet.  At first I thought we might have to use one of the generators to supply power to the trailer.  The trailer comes with a 50amp service plug/cable.  At the RV store I was given one 30amp to 50amp adapter and bought a 15amp to 50amp adapter as well.  I decided I should try the most convenient option first which was extending house power from the small shed out to the RV.

I used two of my heavy duty extension cords and the 15a to 50a adapter to connect to the cable included with the RV.  Instantly Cindy said the AC in the RV kicked on but I told her to turn it off for now, unsure if the overall draw would be too high for the circuit.

We used the house power to do the less power intensive things like open the slide out and extend the awning.  After awhile I was ready to see if we could run the rooftop AC unit as well, the biggest power hungry device in the RV.  We were both happy when the cool air started blowing out at a high velocity and the power stayed on.  I went out and felt both extension cords to verify that they were not even slightly warm to the touch.  The RV ran all evening with the AC on without issue which was great.

I also brought out one of my monitor/tv’s from the house to test out the built in omnidirectional antenna in the Coleman.  It worked immediately with no adjustment, pulling in over 15 channels over the air which was cool.  Wi-fi reception in the trailer was surprisingly strong.  I could connect to both the coop and house wifi routers without problem.  I even set up one of the Amazon Echo Dots in the RV and it worked just fine.

With the slide out extended the interior of the RV is really impressive.  It just feels comfortable, modern, and clean.  Elsa really seemed content out there for some reason.  She loved sleeping on one of the couches.  The unobstructed view from the backyard of the east and west is actually quite pretty at both sunrise and sunset.  I spent a lot of time out there with Cindy just chilling but she also spent some time out there by herself, enjoying her new personal space. It was a very long day but a memorable one all the same.

Today would have been my mom’s 70th birthday.  I am sure she would have felt the same way about it as I do my upcoming 50th, only 20 years more perturbed about it.

I apologize for going dark for the latter half of last week. We finally completed the second half of our renovation at the office and I worked my ass off getting our department moved from our temporary building back to our renovated space.  There were movers scheduled to come on Friday to move our furniture but I didn’t want to wait.  So starting on Wednesday I used my Tacoma and hand trucks to move tons of heavy metal desks and tables.

I worked straight through each day with no gym/lunch break.  I had no need for supplemental exercise as I got plenty of it hauling everything around.  My body was beat to a pulp by the end of it.  Both of my arms are heavily bruised from having the furniture wedged against them.  My lower back was one big knot of pain as well.   To me the pain and soreness was worth it as by the close of business on Friday I was more or less situated back into my original office.

I used the final move as an opportunity to rearrange my office.  I turned my desks into an L configuration and lost a couple pieces of furniture to give me more space.  The end result was the window in my office is now in my field of view all day long instead of to my back.  I like the configuration much more.

On Saturday I was busy buzzing around the house.  After weeding the yard I had to get out the ladder to address a couple things.  The rig job I did on the OTA antenna finally failed.  The partially snapped center extension broke all the way and was laying on the roof of the shed.  I went up there and undid the dog leash and wash line that held it together after the hurricane.  I hoped what remained would still get us some TV.  We do still get channels albeit fewer than we did when the antenna was in one piece.  It will do in an emergency which is all it is for at this point.

I also had to put the spline back in for my haphazard temporary roof screening repair.  The wind had managed to partially pull it out.  I am looking forward to having the cage rescreen professionally, whenever that may be.  I am hoping to complete one piece of the puzzle to make that happen this week.  I am supposed to close on reopening my home equity line this week which allows me to more conveniently fund whatever part of the repairs that won’t be covered by insurance.  Of course coming to an amicable agreement with my insurance is an entirely different issue which I am still in the middle of fighting.

During the afternoon I spent a bunch of time replacing pool cage screws with the new ones that I bought that are designed to look much better and last much longer.  Specifically I was replacing the big concrete screws that are used to attach the cage to the deck.  Each support had a minimum of four screws attaching it to the cement.  In every support but a couple, half of those screws were corroded to the point where the head snapped off.  The screws that went through an L bracket directly into the cement remained intact but pretty much every screw that went through an L bracket and then through the 1″ x 2″ piece of cage frame into the cement were destroyed.  In those situations roughly an inch of the bolt was left exposed to the air/elements.  Evidently the bolts were not designed to hold up in that situation.

So now I have to either drill out the roughly four inches of snapped off screws in each hole (probably at least 20 of them) or install another L bracket which allows me to relocate that hole elsewhere.  Either way it’s going to be a pain in the ass.  The screws that I did manage to replace look great.  They install on top of a nylon washer and have a weatherproof cap that snaps into place on top.  The combination looks clean and seals off the fastener from the elements.

Saturday night Cindy and I went to see the new Thor movie.  We again saw it at the Prado theater which I think has now become our theater of choice since Coconut Point  inexplicably remains closed.  This time we paid extra to see the movie in their VIP theaters which have reserved seating in beautiful and comfortable power reclining chairs.

When I bought the tickets I thought I bought seats in the top row in the middle.  It turns out the theater diagram was the reverse of what I expected and we wound up being in the first row.  It was disconcerting at first but with the way the seats reclined it made viewing the film less than ideal but bearable.

The movie was not what I expected.  If I were to describe it, I would say it was a comedy first and a conventional Marvel superhero action movie second.  Don’t get me wrong, it succeeded in this role, I laughed out loud a lot.  The film still gets a shiny A rating from me, it just got there in a manner I didn’t expect.

So despite going to the movies AND this being a daylight savings weekend where you lose an hour of time, I set my alarm for 5:30 to go compete in my first race of 2017.  The race was an unheard of  FREE four miler held by a group that is trying to get a foothold into putting on events in our area.  The race was held at North Collier Park, a spot we ride the wheels at quite a bit and the place where Cindy and I did a lot of our tri-style training the first year or two we were together.

I arrived about 40 minutes before the 7Am start time.  I could not believe that our free entry to the race also included a free, high quality dri-fit t-shirt as well.  Hell they even had finisher medals at the end.  As far as how the actual running part of the event went, I struggled.  It was the only the second time this year I ran four miles so I was not in a position to try to push pace, I just wanted to complete the distance.

Early on I had some of the old familiar struggles where I saw people that shouldn’t be ahead of me, ahead of me.  However as is often the case, a lot of those people slowed down or stopped to walk, allowing me to take the spot in front of them.  For the last half of the race I was the one doing the passing, except for once case where a teenager girl whom I passed was able to return the favor as she had more gas in the tank than I did as she pushed towards the finish.  My finish time of 38:30 was about 45-60 seconds per mile slower than what I could do comfortably 4-5 years ago but to be honest I really didn’t care.  It just felt good to get out there and still prove to myself I could endure.

Mid-morning Cindy and I pushed off to ride EUCs with a twist.  Cindy saw they had a food truck/autoshow event going on on Vanderbilt Beach Road.  We parked the Prius and rode the roughly mile to the event.  We did a good job of maneuvering our wheels through the crowd which was pretty dense at spots.  We got TONS of comments and double takes as we rolled around the event.  We saw a lot of sweet cars and enjoyed a nice lunch from a food truck that wheeled over all the way from Miami.  It was a good idea by Cindy.

We got home shortly after the Eagles game started.  The game quickly turned into a blowout, so much so that much of the second half was not televised locally.  The big win left the Eagles sitting at an unbelievable 8-1, going into a bye week.  Maybe, just maybe, I am starting to think the team has the chance to go deep into the playoffs.  Their recent acquisition of Ajayi from the Dolphins paid immediate dividends after he had a long TD run and ran hard.

I have a short four day week thanks to Veterans Day falling on Friday.  I have a lot to do in those four days but look forward to the three day respite.

 

The weather yesterday was simply awesome with high temps that didn’t exceed 75 degrees.  I took advantage of it when I got home, jumping on my Msuper to ride it over to the school, just like the good old days.  When I got over there I buzzed around the middle school grounds.  A lot of that time was spent riding backwards.  I bet a rode close to a mile in reverse in total.  I still don’t get to practice as much as I would like but even so my reverse riding went pretty well.

It just felt great to be peacefully rolling around the school grounds and adjacent development, not having to worry about external forces affecting my moment.  Riding my EUC is very akin to the feeling you hear bikers talk about, both human and gas powered, about the freedom you feel in those moments.  It insulates you from whatever is negative in your sphere of existence, at least for a short period of time.

When I got home I also tried again to print a larger version of the ornate cross I had my friend 3D model for Cindy.  I am still having some issues but at least they are not the jamming variety which started my long battle with the printer weeks ago.  I think I can figure this latest problem out without additional expense and just a small expenditure of patience.

 

I figured a quick blog entry recapping the weekend was a good way to celebrate a dominant Eagles win over the Cardinals.

I again had a lot of things I wanted to get done this weekend but I did not compose a to do list mapping it out this time.  I was out in the yard pretty early Saturday, tending to the chickens needs and weeding.  I was very surprised when Cindy told me she got a call from the FEMA guy, saying he was going to be stopping by soon.  Cindy HAD just applied for the FEMA blue tarp program the prior afternoon.  Evidently they are getting caught up.

In a nutshell, FEMA will tarp your damaged roof for free.  Since I likely will not have my roof repaired for six months I may as well take advantage of the extra insurance policy to prevent water from permeating the damaged sections of shingles.  I’m not sure how long it will take until the roof is wearing a blue tarp but I bet it will be less than two weeks.

Cindy, Elsa and I headed out to our almost automatic stops at Home Depot and Rural King.  I needed a few things.  When we got home I headed outside to install some of them.  I installed a new handle/latch on one of the screen doors that was damaged during Irma, the guts of it had been damaged from all of the wind and associated slamming.  I also finally got to replace the roof panel on the chicken run that was ripped off during the storm.  The chickens now have full rain protection once again.

Saturday night Cindy and I went to the movies for the first time in a long time.  Our favorite movie theater, Coconut Point has been closed since the storm as they evidently are having a hard time finding a contractor to repair whatever damage they have.  We instead went to Silverspot which also still had some storm related issues, their high tech kiosk ticketing system was dark and they didn’t have the ability to check people in with hand scanners like they normally do.

The movie we went to see was Blade Runner 2049.  I saw the original decades ago but remembered very little about it besides it starring Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer.  This version of the movie was very long, nearly three hours in length. The movie was also INCREDIBLY loud, it may have been the loudest film I ever saw in a theater.  Repeatedly you could feel the floor shaking and the drop ceiling vibrating from the volume of the sound.  Cindy had to cover her ears more than once.

Those things aside I found the film entertaining  and good albeit confusing at times.  After the movie I was trying to clear up fuzzy plot points with Cindy as there was a lot going on.  The film also had the largest naked women I have ever seen on screen, I bet some of them were a 100 feet tall.  I saw the film’s week one numbers missed expectations which is too bad.  However I think that is part of the risk of doing a sequel of a film 35 years after the original.  A good chunk of the original audience is now either dead or being pushed around a nursing home.  Millenials could give two F’s about replicants or Harrison Ford.   I did find it interesting to find out the original futuristic Blade Runner film was cast to take place in 2019. Anyway, I liked it, if you are my age you will probably like it too. B+

This morning despite getting home late I drug myself out of bed at 6AM to go run at the track.  As I downed my power breakfast of two Pop Tarts I saw my weather station indicated the humidity outside was 95%.  That is lovely.  As I trudged around the track I yearned for the winter mornings where temps in the 50’s are much more common.  I am so ready for heat and humidity to take a three-four month hiatus.

I went right from running to cleaning the chicken coop when I got home.  I followed up with paying the bills and then getting ready to go ride.  I originally had a plan to go do a solo ride to DD and then get picked up by Cindy so we could go pick up and install a microwave for her mom.  My ride to DD went by quickly on my Monster and when Cindy showed up she said the install was postponed until her mom could locate a microwave she liked.  We decided to go another 10 minutes down the road to North Collier Regional Park where Cindy could go walk Elsa while I rode around some more. It was hot and sweaty but fun.

Most of my afternoon was consumed by watching the Eagles lay a beating on the Cardinals, a pleasant surprise.  After the game was in hand I tended to a few remaining household chores before punching out this entry.  I am already anticipating a busy start to next week so I am taking my writing time where I can find it.