Category: Home Improvements

Easter my entire life has been the odd man out with holidays.  The fact that it’s date randomly floats around every year was something I never understood and my lack of religious belief didn’t help matters.  Hell you don’t even get a day off from work for it.

So I don’t recall if I talked on the blog about Chuck, a fellow YouTuber that made me a GoPro mount designed to be mounted on the bed of my Tacoma.  I found Chuck from a video about the cool lift, wheels and tires he installed on his new Tacoma.  Chuck lives in Maryland but out of the blue he emailed me saying he is going to be down in my neck of the woods in early May and wanted to know if I wanted to meet up.  He said maybe we could do some truck related project together.

At first I thought I wouldn’t be able to do it because the days Chuck is down are also the same days Patrick and his girlfriend are coming to visit.  However after more thinking I remembered Pat saying he would not be arriving until later in the day that Monday so I told Chuck we could do something earlier in the day.  I said it would be awesome if we installed the 3-1 leveling kit in my truck that I had been thinking about. Chuck agreed so if all goes well I will be doing my first YouTube collaboration video in a couple weeks.

On Saturday I kept quite busy doing stuff around the house as is usually the case.  All I need to do is scan the property and to do’s pop into my head left and right.  During the afternoon Cindy, Elsa and I did a DD, Pinch-a-Penny, Home Depot, and Rural King errand run.  Elsa is slowly getting better at being out in public spaces.

Saturday night Cindy and I went to see Fate of the Furious.  Of course I already knew the movie would be entertaining, action filled, and stupidly unrealistic.  I wasn’t quite sure how they could up the ante over the last sequel which featured jumping cars in between sky scrapers in Dubai.  Well they managed to pull it off.  It was like the script writers sat down and said, “Ok let’s come up with a scenario that even Superman himself would find impossible to pull off.”  Evidently Vin Diesel, Jason Statham and The Rock have their own kind of superpowers.  Hey the movie was entertaining for sure with plenty of T&A, awesome cars, explosions, and nuclear submarines for anyone.  I’d give it a B+ all day long.

Cindy and I did have to deal with yet another case of inconsiderate idiots.  We were nestled in to the top corner of the theater with noone that close.  Just as the previews were finishing we see a Hispanic family of five or six making their way towards us.  One of those family members was being carried in a baby carrier.  Cindy and I were in disbelief that someone would bring an infant to the movie, not to mention two of the other children that appeared to be less than 5 years old.  The fact that they chose to sit two seats away from us was just our luck.

So of course it took precious little time until the children started crying and it took Cindy and I even less time to get up and move to the other side of the theater as we muttered how amazingly inconsiderate some people can be.  The new seating was not without it’s annoyances. There were some more younger kids behind us that were talking a lot, luckily the action of the movie drowned out most of it.  I did have to turn around at one point and tell the kid to knock it off when my seat began vibrating from him bouncing his feet off the seat next to me.  I am constantly amazed at how rare of a thing simple common courtesy appears to be in today’s world.  No wonder I prefer to be at home.

Easter morning I drug myself out of bed early for another 5K run.  Although I felt half decent during the run and my pace was better than recent weeks, my right knee started to hurt almost immediately afterwards.  Today I am walking with a slight limp but that happens so often nowadays I hardly notice or care about it.

After doing a long weekly bill paying/credit card reconciliation session Cindy and I went out for an Easter EUC ride.  We parked and rode around Pelican Bay park initially, a place I never knew about.  Cindy was doing a great job progressing on her wheel, so much so that we ventured out of the park and onto the sidewalks and bike lanes.  We rode all over the place, even down along the beach like I did several weeks back.

Cindy also rode across grass, stones and compacted sand during the ride.  In total I would estimate we covered 8-10 miles easily during the ride which obliterates Cindy’s previous best by a ton.  I was very proud of her efforts and I can tell she really is starting to enjoy riding her EUC.  I have ideas for a lot more single wheel adventures in the future.

I talked to all my family members on the phone during the afternoon, an Easter tradition.  I also managed to change the oil and blades on the tractor, which hopefully will not become a tradition.  We watched Passenger last night on dvd.  It was interesting but not quite as good as I hoped.  I’d still go B+ with it.

So the motor in the automatic chicken coop door has been intermittently failing during cool mornings, not firing off to open the door.  When the temperatures rise the motor will kick back in so there is something thermally wrong with the motor.  The annoying thing is this exact thing happened before and I got a motor under warranty, now this motor is doing the same thing.  The replacement motor they sent me definitely seemed used so I just bought a brand new motor this time off Amazon, hoping they have since engineered out whatever issue was causing the cold temp failures.

Installation of the motor went smoothly although I had a chicken audience for most of it which looked and sounded funny on the video I shot.  I am hoping unattended chicken door operations can now continue normally for the foreseeable future.

Sean Spicer may be the biggest moron ever appointed the role of press secretary, just saying.

On my way home I picked up big reflective numbers for my new pristine mailbox.  Cindy helped me install them before she left for class.  Ironically we received no mail yesterday.  I asked Cindy if mail carriers wont deliver to a blank mailbox with no markings.  She said it shouldn’t matter so maybe it’s just a coincidence.

Last night I had a not so bright idea, to practice backwards EUC riding on my cheap, no frills wheel.  I was sick and tired of destroying my $1200 Msuper and I was interested in seeing if I could ride the smaller wheel backwards.  I never rode any wheel backwards successfully except my Msuper.  The good news was I was indeed able to ride the shitty wheel backwards without tremendous difficulty.  The bad news is I discovered that reversing directions on the wheel sometimes can overpower the capabilities of the low power EUC, causing it to cut out suddenly.  The first time it happened I was not expecting it and abruptly fell backwards onto my ass and elbows.  The second time I was reversing backwards to forward and was able to step off the wheel before I face planted.  It was funny as falls always are. As long as I am able to keep getting up from them the humor will continue.

So I had an extremely labor filled weekend.  I tackled one of my least favorite tasks, cleaning the pool cage and deck area.  In the past I would solely rely on brute force water pressure to clean the mildew from the cage frame.  In order to get the top supports that span the pool I had to use multiple wand extensions that were extremely physically difficult to manage.  It was exhausting and pushed my shoulders and forearms to their limits.  I decided to try a different approach this time.

I used a pressure sprayer with a 50/50 bleach solution to soak those top frame pieces thoroughly.  After letting the solution work for a couple minutes I would just rinse them off with the much easier to manage electric pressure sprayer and they looked good as new.  It was a much better way to handle the job.  The only negative was I constantly had bleach solution dripping onto my head and body.  I am surprised my hair is not blonde today.

Later in the morning on Saturday I worked on installing some solar post lights I bought at Costco last week.  My thought was I wanted to install two of them on either side of the garage doors.  For years and years I had thought I would like to have some additional lighting at that spot and never got around to it because I did not want to have to run electricity for conventional wired lights.

The lights I bought were described as post lights but I thought they would do just fine flanking my garage door.  The stainless steel modern design looked sharp and the combination of solar and LED lights has really improved over recent years.  In order to make the lights more visible I trimmed back the hibiscus bush on the left side really hard.  I was even considering ripping it out completely but decided not to because of sentimental value.  It was given to me by my old boss when I moved into the house 16 years or so ago.

The main focus of the install was to make sure the lights were spaced evenly and installed at the same height.  It took a little bit of futzing to complete the job but I was very happy with the end result.  They looked very nice at night and threw a surprising amount of light.  I installed the other two on fence posts in the new chicken area, on either side of the access gate.

For lunch on Saturday Cindy and I did something unique, went to a food truck cook off at the same church I attended Christmas Eve services at.  The event was well attended with some of the food lines easily surpassing 50 people at some trucks.  Cindy and I ordered am eggplant parm sub with sweet potato fries.  It may have been the most tasty eggplant parm sub either of us has ever enjoyed.

Later in the afternoon Saturday I decided I would ride my Msuper over to the school to ride around and do some more backwards riding practice.  I have been progressively trying more difficult maneuvers going backwards.  On Saturday I was trying to do more turning while going backwards and the end result was rather violent, both to myself but much more to my Gotway Msuper which took several bad falls.  The wheel which was pretty pristine before I decided to try to learn riding backwards now is scarred with scratches and gouges all over the shell.  I also broke a fitting for the top button panel as well as my trolley handle during another fall.  I was not happy at all.

Sunday morning I started off with another 5K at the track.  Even though I still didn’t feel great running, the 55 degree air made it a lot more tolerable.  Later in the morning Cindy and I went to Home Depot where I finally bought a replacement mailbox.  My old box was held together with tape and wood screws, it looked definitively white trashy.  My thought was I would dig up the old post that was housed inside of a 5 gallon bucket filled with cement, move it back a little bit for additional safety and then mount the new box to the existing post.

So as I was digging around the existing post I made a large diameter hole to accommodate the size of the buried bucket but there was one problem, there was no bucket.  I had forgotten that the bucket mount was actually destroyed when the very first mailbox we had got run over a decade or more ago.  There was just a bare post in the ground that I could have simply pulled out.  Instead I now had huge four foot diameter hole that I didn’t need to dig.  I also was not happy to see the subterranean portion of the post looked like it had been partially eaten by termites, meaning I needed get a new 4×4 post, awesome.

I definitely did not want to drive all the way back to Home Depot for the post.  I recalled seeing the nearby hardware store mentioning they now sold some lumber.  I crossed my fingers that 4×4’s would be among thier selection.

So I walk in the store and tell the guy what I need.  He has a weird look on his face when he said he does have a couple pressure treated 4×4’s but they are very expensive.  How much, I asked.  $25 each he replies. Wow, I believe a pressure treated 4×4 from Home Depot is around $10.  Well I told the guy I didn’t feel like driving another 30 miles to go to Home Depot so I took it.  It felt/looked like the post was actually made of a hardwood like cedar so maybe that explains the ridiculous cost.

Once I had the new post the install was straight forward.  I used a post hole digger to create a new hole further from the driveway and the street to minimize odds of it getting whacked.  Back filling the unnecessary monster hole was a pain in the ass.  I had to haul extra dirt out front to fill it all the way.  The new mailbox looks great.  The only thing missing is a fresh set of numbers to stick to the sides of it which I will pick up after work tomorrow.

Later in the afternoon Cindy and I stopped at the school for some EUC riding.  Cindy, despite not riding the wheel for two weeks continued her strong progress, dealing with some gusty winds while doing her best riding yet.  She completed multiple laps around the track and did not drop her wheel a single time.  It was impressive considering the inconsistent time she gets on the EUC.

I was sad to hear Don Rickles died.  He was truly a unique character and the best insult comic I have ever seen.

 

When I got home from work yesterday I immediately noticed something wasn’t as it normally is, the air felt stagnant.  It also felt warmer than I am accustomed to.  I immediately turned my attention to the digital thermostat to see what the indoor temp was.  There was one problem, the screen was blank. WTF?

Of course I was immediately concerned so the first thing I did was verify the breakers for the air handler and AC compressor had not been tripped for some reason.  Both were firmly in the on position but I cycled them anyway.  A quick check of the thermostat revealed it was still off.  I disconnected and reseated the thermostat to the wall, just to try it and again had no positive results.

I was out of ideas so I contacted the place that normally services the AC to see if they could help me.  I got the owner, Julie, who I have dealt with many times.  I described the symptoms and she immediately told me to go check the float switch at the air handler.  Son of a bitch, there is water in there, meaning the drain line is backing up.  When water contacts the float switch it kills the thermostat, something I never knew.

I thanked Julie for the info and immediately got busy since I knew what to do.  I attached my shopvac to both sides of the drain line for an extended period of time to suck out whatever was causing the blockage.  I then dropped a cup of white vinegar into the line to hopefully keep the organic matter that clogs lines from growing.  The AC flipped on as soon as I was done and all was well. Ironically, I had my recurring “Vinegar in AC drain” Outlook reminder pop up yesterday.

I am in a zombie like state after a miserable night that included basically no sleep.  As I was growing up I knew that adult life seemed complicated and I had apprehension about how that would all work out.  Well the ultimate answer is still a work in progress but as of late I sure feel like I am hitting a lot of double and triple bogeys.  All I really want is to be slightly under par.

So I woke up Saturday knowing there were a lot of small to medium things I needed to address.  What I didn’t realize was I would be addressing them pretty much all day long.  It was one of those days where I am doing one thing in the yard and I notice another thing that needs to get done which gets tacked onto the list.  I did a full mow and weedwhack of the property myself, the first time that has been done in close to a couple months due to sparse rainfall.  Having the new fenced in chicken area definitely is going to add more time to yard maintenance.

I finally got around to putting the cactus that was in a large pot next to the chicken coop into the ground.  I got tired of it getting blown over repeatedly during high winds.  I was surprised with how shallow the roots for the cactus were, they were pretty much non-existent.  I made a trip to Home Depot to grab some castle stones to finish off a couple spots around the yard as well as a stop at Auto Zone.

At AZ one of the things I grabbed was a headlight restoration kit for Cindy’s Prius.  When I replaced the headlight bulbs in her car I got a front row seat to how cloudy the headlights were.  After a lot of scrubbing, polishing, and sealing the lenses looked much better.  Unfortunately it is the kind of thing that needs to be done periodically as the only long term fix for cloudy headlights is getting new headlights.

Despite busting my ass all day I still had a chance to take the Tacoma out for a quick test run of my new bed GoPro mount that was custom fabricated by a guy I met on YouTube, Chuck.  He made a video about making the mount and I told him I would be happy to pay him to do the same for me, so he did.

The mount gives a unique perspective while driving and is something I hope to mix in to my Tacoma videos here and there.  Chuck is also the guy that has gotten me a lot more interested in swapping out the wheels/tires on my Tacoma as well as doing a small lift on the truck.  He did something similar to his SR5 Tacoma and the visual transformation as a result was dramatic.

Sunday morning I awoke without an alarm a few minutes before 6 and got up to go run.  Despite my body being pretty beat up from Saturday’s labor I wanted to start off my Sunday with the weekly 5K I have been putting in for a month or so now.  The morning temps and humidity were higher than I have been enjoying in recent weeks but I still put in a decent effort.

I assumed Cindy and I would do a joint EUC ride later in the morning but Cindy was feeling beat up from teaching a bunch of group classes this week.  She suggested instead we bring Elsa with to the Greenway so Cindy could walk her while I rode.  That worked for me so we piled in the Prius and headed out.  Elsa seemed to have a lot of fun and wasn’t as freaked out by other people as she can be at times.  I worked a little backwards practice into my ride, some of it more successful than others.

 

A little later in the afternoon I got the itch to take a shot at a challenge I had in my head ever since I started learning to ride backwards.  I wanted to see if I could ride an entire 1/4 mile lap around the track at the school.  The skies looked menacing as I started riding around.  After a little warm up I got onto the track for the attempt.  My biggest worry was negotiating the curves, something I definitely am not great at in reverse.  The first couple hundred yards went pretty smoothly but as I was coming out of the first curve I got smacked by a big headwind in advance of the coming storm.  Multiple times I flailed my arms wildly to regain balance.  Somehow I completed the entire lap but it definitely was far from pretty.  Just as I finished up it started to rain pretty hard so I called it a session.

I went into veg mode for most of the rest of the night, working on yet another large WoW virtual task.  I figured I earned the time off.

So when I had Best Services repair my leaking hose bib last year I signed up for one of their home service contracts because it actually saved me money on the repair.  Part of that service is free PM’s on stuff like your AC and electrical systems.   They had contacted me asking to schedule the AC maintenance a couple weeks ago.  They scheduled for last Thursday morning but then cancelled the day prior due to some high priority repair that came up, ok fine, we rescheduled for this Thursday.  They called the night before to confirm someone would be there between 8AM and 9AM.

Cindy taught a class early yesterday but got home before 8 o’clock.  She had some stuff she wanted to get done but the PM shouldn’t take very long.  So a little before 9 Cindy tells me nooone was there yet.  That’s weird, the last time the Best tech was very punctual.  I told her I was sure they would be there soon.  Well I was wrong.  9:30 arrived with no tech and no call to let us know what was going on.  I was officially annoyed.

I call the Best office and tell them nobody has shown up and noone called us.  They apologize and put me on hold to see what is up.  They come back and say the tech had truck problems but he should be leaving shortly.  I asked why he would not let us know he was going to be delayed?  The phone rep said he should have let us know and apologized again.  They said the tech will be talked to about the lack of communication but assured me they would “make it right”.  They said the tech should be arriving around 10AM. Ok, wonderful.  I let Cindy know of the new ETA, she wasn’t thrilled as it puts a crimp in her plans.

So I started checking the DVR driveway feed to see if the tech showed up. When 10:20 arrived and the driveway was still empty I had enough.  I called Best back and said the tech has now missed the second eta of the morning I no longer was going to wait.  They apologized again and asked if I wanted to reschedule.  I told them no, I don’t like dealing with companies that do not value their customers time. After more apologies from them I hung up, content to use my normal AC company for PM from now on.  I just have very little tolerance for people or businesses that don’t do what they say.  Sure, shit happens but if it does, let me know about it proactively.

When I was investigating options for Tacomas before getting my truck I liked the Inferno Orange dash accents that came on Inferno trucks with a black interior.  Well my truck has the gray interior so my dash surround is a much less splashy gray.  However, just because it came that way doesn’t mean it needs to stay that way.  I found out I was able to order the Inferno dash accent pieces and did so from the same dealer I bought my TRD Pro grill from.  I am hoping they show up today so I can swap them in over the weekend.  Cindy crinkled her nose when I told her about my purchase.  I told her that surprised me because when I first showed her the trucks she reacted favorably to the orange accents.  Oh well.

I also have been getting the itch to do some more mods to the truck.  I am thinking about new tires/wheels as well as a small 3-1″ leveling kit/lift.  Although the wheels and tires on the Tacoma aren’t bad, they aren’t all that exciting either.  A set of aggressive wheels and tires would make the truck uniquely mine which is appealing.  I watched a full video of what is involved with installing the lift kit and it is something I definitely could do. It would be much easier if I had access to a car lift.  Unfortunately there is no place in my local area that rents lift time that I have been able to find.  So anyway, those mods are not a next week thing but the seed is definitely planted in my head and is being watered regularly.

So the rabbit hole where the two baby bunnies were is now empty.  Cindy is worried something bad happened to the babies. I am more optimistic and hope the momma bunny simply relocated the babies to a different location once she saw the modifications we made to her nest.

This weekend I have some small things I want to knock out like some yard maintenance and cleaning out the chicken coop.  Hopefully a fun EUC ride and maybe a trip to the movies can be incorporated too.

 

So we decided Friday afternoon we would go to the second Tarpons game of the season.  We dropped Sadie off at Ali’s on the way there so I was worried we might get to the arena late.  When I pulled into the parking lot, despite it being 10 minutes before kickoff the parking lot was dramatically less full than it was for the first game.  I’m not sure why there was such a big drop off.  Maybe those week one fans realized that arena football at this level is sort of sad.  It was ironic, despite the terrible attendance they had double the amount of food stands open as they normally do.  There was absolutely no waiting for your food or beverage items.

For the second time this season the visiting team had on generic uniforms with plain black helmets.  Most of their players were dramatically undersized compared to their Tarpon counterparts.  The tiniest of them all was number 26 that you would have sworn was 12 years old.  The guy was barely over five feet tall and couldn’t have weighed more than 120 pounds.  He also was their kicker and was absolutely awful at it, kicking spinning tops that would travel no more than 15 feet in the air.  It was a joke.

As you would expect, the Tarpons absolutely steam rolled their opposition, winning something like 70-24.  It very well may be the last game we attend this season as of the two remaining games one is a Sunday afternoon and another is a Monday night, neither time slot excites me.  I will likely have better things to do than watch the Tarpons beat up on whatever bush league team comes in next.

I got some very annoying news on Friday.  Cindy, who teaches a few classes at my gym, got a call from the fitness director that the gym was closing it’s doors, again.  Regular blog readers may remember that my gym closed once before for about six months when the prior owners, who did a terrible job of running the place stopped paying rent.

Well guess what, this new owner evidently stopped paying rent as well.  He also stopped paying employees recently as several paychecks have bounced.  The employees had no idea this was coming.  As recently as a week or two ago the manager was claiming there was soon going to be a lot of money coming into the business, not sure what he meant by that, maybe he meant the money they weren’t going to pay the employees.

I stopped by on Saturday and verified the closure which is supposed to officially happen today.  This scenario creates a large hole in my lunchtime workout plans. I basically have two options, do bodyweight workouts outdoors or go back to the hated and crowded Planet Fitness, where they have pulled out much of the free weight equipment I like to use. Neither option is great.  We will see what happens.

On Saturday morning I was in the yard a good portion of the morning attending to a number of things as Cindy was not home.  Late morning I loaded Elsa up in the truck with me to get coffee and run the truck through a touch free car wash.  As I was waiting in line to enter the wash I thought how she may react since Elsa can be VERY skittish and is easily scared.  I tried to remain optimistic.

So as the wash started with the low pressure pre-wash process Elsa seemed curious about what was going on but not scared.  However that changed once the high pressure water started hitting the truck.  She immediately jumped over into my lap.  I held onto her tight and reassured her everything was ok.  She wasn’t a fan of the the high power drying blowers either.

Mid-afternoon I ran out to do some errands as well as do some more backwards EUC practice.  I decided I would use the Sugden Park parking lot to do so.  I had a lot of struggles early on but then suddenly something clicked.  I was doing consistently long backwards rides and at the end I even did more advanced moves like mounting the wheel in the backwards direction as well as doing “pendulums” where you reverse direction on the wheel without stepping off.  I was very encouraged by the rapid progress.

Our Saturday night was quiet as we caught up on some of our backlogged DVR content while enjoying a tasty vegetable lasagna Cindy made.

Sunday the 6AM alarm gave me an unwelcome jolt out of bed, I felt like I could have slept longer.  I quietly got my running garb on and gear together for my run at the track.  It used to be I would always be joined later in my run by some walkers around the track.  Since I rebooted my running a month or so ago that has no longer been the case.  I end my run as I begin it, alone.

I was surprised when I saw the numbers my old GPS gave me, my average pace seemed slower than it felt. When I reviewed the lap times I saw it had one of my laps showing an 11:45 pace which is impossible and the likely reason my numbers were inflated.  The GPS hardware in my old Garmin is first gen, newer units definitely are more accurate.  I was almost annoyed enough to consider the prospect of plunking down a couple hundred bucks for a new watch,  That was until I realized that my current level of running has no real need for accurate speed measurement, it’s all slow.

I went right from running into chicken coop cleaning at home.  Cindy always acts like she feels guilty when I do the coop work but I really don’t mind it.  I love the chickens and they seem equally fond of me.  I have mastered the art of mouth breathing so cleaning the excrement coated rubber mats isn’t as bad for me as it could be for others.

So mid-morning Cindy and I headed out with our wheels to North Collier Park.  As we entered the park we saw something very unusual.  A bald man was walking slowly through the park with his guitar around his neck.  As he strolled along he was playing the instrument while singing quite enthusiastically.   I’m not sure what the deal was but it certainly was a first for me.

So my hope was Cindy would get some more one wheel practice while riding with me and I also could get some more backwards practice in.  As we were riding around the back loop in the park I decided I wanted to start the backwards practice early.  I did a reversal from going forward to backward which went well.  However as I tried to stop and step off I lost my balance and went rolling backwards off the side of the path.  I didn’t hit the ground that hard but I did land one a bunch of rocks that left various bruises/scrapes on my back.  I also somehow wound up with a small branch wedged inside my helmet.  It’s too bad the GoPro wasn’t rolling, it had to look ridiculous.

Cindy continued to do well with her riding.  Even though she was very resistant to the entire idea of trying to learn an EUC again I can tell that she is now proud of her accomplishment which makes me happy.

My backwards training went pretty well, I rode backwards a couple tenths of a mile in one shot and did a number of free standing reverse mounts and pendulums.  My control in all aspects of backwards riding is still very shaky and needs a lot of cleaning up and practice but the fact that I have at least a base level of backwards proficiency after only a week of focused practice makes me feel good, nearly as good as when I learned to go forwards.

On our way home from riding we decided to stop at our brand new Publix which opened up last week.  This store has actually been built since November but problems with the water hook up has delayed it’s opening until now which is sort of crazy.  The store is located less than three miles from our door which is awesome.

It’s funny, back in 2001 when we bought our land one of the things our realtor told us was how a Publix was going to be built there “very soon”.  Sixteen years isn’t very soon in my book but regardless, I am very happy it’s finally here.

The store was packed, just like the parking lot.  Unfortunately the parking lot is undersized for the amount of use the store will get.  Some people were parking in the shoulder across the road and walking across traffic to get inside, it is kind of crazy.

The store itself was bright, clean and beautiful.  Cindy and I walked the aisles to get a general lay out idea but it seemed to follow the same blueprint as most Publix stores built in the last 10 years.   We waited at the deli probably 20 minutes to get a couple subs for lunch.  I am hoping as a little time passes shopping at the store won’t be such a consistently congested experience.

Last night as we were watching TV I decided to soak my feet for a pretty disgusting reason.  Back when I built the fence around the chicken coop I somehow damaged the toenail on my left big toe from being in my work boots with thick socks all weekend long.  The nail has gone through various color changes since then but lately has looked more cadaver like.

Well it also has recently started to feel loose.  When I would put on socks sometimes it would snag on the nail and I could feel it pulling upward which was not a pleasant sensation.  Clearly the nail was going to come off sooner or later.  I decided I would rather get it done sooner so after soaking the toe for awhile I started the nauseating task of rocking the nail up and down.  I did this while the toe was still submerged in the foot bath and obscured from view, to minimize the disgusting visual.  I finally was able to break the old nail free.  It wasn’t really painful, it just felt really strange in a gross way.  Under the dead nail I could see the tiny beginning of a new nail forming which I am sure will take months and months.  It was a stomach turning way to end my weekend.

 

 

 

 

I was outside Saturday morning bright and early.  I had a ton of things I wanted to get done, small things that added up to a larger block of time.  I placed a new set of solar pathway lights to replace the 4-5 year old lamps that were mostly dead.  Cindy asked that I place a couple by the entrance to the driveway for better visibility.  Or course no more than 30 minutes after I placed them Katie hit one backing out her truck, breaking the mounting stake.  I actually had lights by the end of the driveway before and they got pulled after repeated vehicle strikes.

I also used the steam mop and went over the tiled living area.  There has been a constant feeling of grime on the floor since the house has become a psuedo dog kennel.  I hoped the steam mop would help alleviate that.  I inherited this mop when my mom passed away.  I actually bought it for her as a Christmas present a few years before that.  Well it seems like for some reason it does not pump steam like it once did.  I was not happy with the end result.

Later in the day I bought a new and improved floor steam mop and got dramatically better results.  For the first time in weeks the floor actually felt clean to bare feet.  Of course with the dogs constantly bringing in dirt and sand, unless I allocate a couple days a week to steam cleaning, the floors will be back to their gritty state in no time.

I volunteered to help Cindy do some work at her mom’s condo.  Cindy was doing a lot of painting which I wanted no part of but there were also some shelving that needed to be installed which I have experience with.  I first dropped Cindy off at her mom’s place so I could get a look at what would be needed supply wise.  We took a few measurements and I headed to the the closest Home Depot.

I bought that white wire shelving that is used everywhere.  I bought six foot sections that I had a HD employee cut to length using his hydraulic snips, saving me a lot of sawing.  I also bought a DeWalt hack saw.  I have an old shitty one at home that I didn’t bring.  I figured I needed to have a saw in case the cuts the clerk made were not good enough.  It turned out that was a good decision as I had to saw a fraction of an inch off of three sections.

Hanging shelving is never fun and of course the most important aspect is that they are spaced correctly and level.  After hanging the first shelf which I used Cindy extensively to hold things I developed a better system that allowed me to hang everything else solo with good results.  Cindy and her mom thanked me for the work.

I actually had thrown my electric unicycle in the truck.  Even though Cindy planned to leave in a  few minutes, I told her she should just take the truck, I would ride my EUC the 13-14 miles home.  The weather was beautiful and I wanted to get a ride in.  She passed me while I was approaching Collier Blvd, waving as she saw me.

On Saturday night we, well mostly I, watched the latest Bourne Identity movie.  I was glad to see Matt Damon reclaim the role.  I thought the movie was very entertaining, a high energy action flick with a strong revenge plot.  I really liked it, enough to give it an A- rating.

I started my Sunday off with a 5K run at the track.  I did not have the strong IT band pain this week as I did last Sunday.  I completed all laps sans-limp although according to the GPS my pace was slower than it felt.  It was pitch dark for most of the run.  The only source of light was the moon which was filtered by thin clouds.

I again had a “go” attitude when I got home.  I headed directly outside to attend to the chicken duties.  I was finishing up by the time Cindy brought Elsa outside.  Cindy had several things she needed to do on Sunday but she agreed to go ride with me for a bit which was cool.  We went to North Collier Park since it is closer.  Cindy continued her excellent riding progress and is demonstrating  natural abilities that I don’t possess.  At the end of the ride I told her to try my Msuper a little bit, my theory being since it is bigger and more stable she would feel more steady on it.  She promptly rode the wheel the distance of the parking lot and did a six or seven foot backwards ride at the end of it.  It was easy for her.

During the afternoon Cindy was out.  I had some more videos I wanted to shoot.  The first one was something that I had in my head for awhile.  I wanted to see if I could still flip the 500 pound double stack of tires, a feat I did roughly four years ago, back when I was doing a lot of power training.  I wanted to see if I could still pull it off on the doorstep of 50 years of age.

It was windy outside so I thought I would be smart and use my external mic rig that has a wind screen.  Well I wasn’t smart enough to test the functionality of the rig ahead of time.  The end result was the audio was a mess which I replaced with a music bed and captions.  Elsa was out there cheering me on as I got the tire stack flipped not once but twice.  My experience at Stone Park with IronLoo was a huge help as I now knew that getting my feet away from the tires and pushing into them low with my shoulder was a key factor in the start of the lift. The side of my face, hands, and forearms were black from the old dirty rubber.

I then had MORE EUC videos I wanted to shoot. I went to the school to first shoot an intermediate rider tips tutorial where I talk about some of the skills to practice once you are able to more or less stay on the wheel.

I then wanted to shoot footage of me trying to learn to ride backwards.  Another guy I know, Marty that is a few years older than me recently started seriously to try to learn backwards riding.  I felt if he could try, so should I.  I have tried riding backwards a little bit in the past but had very poor results.  As comfortable as I feel going forwards at this point, it doesn’t seem possible that going backwards should feel so foreign, but it does.

So anyway the video shows my dozens of frustrating attempts.  I was actually getting a bit fatigued from all of the awkward stumbling dismounts.  Shortly after I commented how I mentally was done, I had a nasty face plant fall where the wheel shot out from under me.  My hands/wrists took the initial impact followed by my elbows.  Of course I neglected to wear my elbow pads yesterday which would have helped.

Despite having on the wrist guards, both wrists hurt considerably.  Both elbows were scraped/bruised and although I didn’t realize it at the time, I sprained my right big toe as well.  Despite the crash, I refused to let that be my last experience as I am a firm believer that ending on a positive note is a very important thing.  I did a few more attempts and stopped after I had maybe a 10 foot backwards ride.  Watching back the video is actually helpful to me as I can see some clear mistakes I am making.

My Msuper took some nasty falls along with me.  I added a bunch of new scratches to the case.  Later last evening I added some foam bumper material to key impact points to hopefully minimize additional damage as long as I am trying to learn the skill.  I awoke this morning feeling all sorts of aches and pains from the running, tire flipping, face planting activities of the weekend.

 

 

With the extended daylight evening hours I now once again have the opportunity to get some stuff done during the week that used to be reserved to weekend only.  The project I did last night however didn’t require daylight.  Cindy was having problems with the door knob that leads to the garage.  She asked if I could put a lever style handle on there instead which makes opening the door easier when your hands are full which is often the case coming from the garage.  I have replaced the front door handle and deadbolt before, I don’t think I ever replaced an interior door knob.  The replacement was not very technically challenging and I had it completed in roughly 15-20 minutes.  The lever mechanism worked well.  Cindy liked it.  There might be other key knobs that could use a swap out in the future.

Some days the best I can give you is stories about changing door knobs.