When I look back at the first decade of blog authoring (started in 03) there is a definitive difference to present day, I was more mean. I used to openly complain about people and situations much more frequently and in many examples, in a less than tactful way. Hell I used to basically weaponize the blog in my second marriage, using it as a way to complain about facets of the relationship instead of dealing with them more directly, and privately. Although at the time I never even thought about it, now as a half centurian plus, I try to think more before I pop my emotions like a full zit all over the blog pages.
Some people may regret the change as more opinionated, angry, and frustrated words generally are more entertaining to digest. I was having a convo with a friend of mine last week that was somehow trying to tie the fact that I used to watch the Apprentice on tv somehow made me a hypocrite for not supporting Trump as president. My response was very simple but true, “assholes are entertaining” There are lots of entertaining assholes in the world, however that isn’t the dominant personality trait I am looking for in the President of our country.
The reason this popped into my head was today at the gym I was exposed to more idiotic behavior that I would have called out in the past. But since I am now older and wiser I’m not going to talk about the idiot that sings to himself as he ties up a Smith machine for 45 minutes, the gaggle of old men that use weight equipment as park benches to discuss breaded salmon recipes, or the lazy pieces of shit that can’t put stuff back where they got it from. Spewing negative energy like this out into the world is something I try to do less of nowadays, sometimes unsuccessfully.
Yesterday I left the office early to go get my stitches removed. As I headed up Airport Road I ran into a literal parking lot. There were police at nearly every intersection, at the overpass, and I heard a helicopter flying above. What in the hell is going on? As I was sitting still getting increasingly annoyed Cindy texted me and said she had hit similar traffic. She said it was because VP Pence was in the area. I vaguely recall that being mentioned on the news a few days before but I totally forgot about it.
I’m not sure why he flew into tiny Naples airport instead of the Fort Myers location which is international and much bigger. The Naples Airport is two miles from our office so the local law enforcement basically paralyzed all traffic in the area until Mr Gay People Can Be Cured was driven out to his speaking arrangement at Ave Maria, a perfect place for his ideology to be barfed out onto other Trump acolytes.
I called my dermatologist to let them know I was caught up in the Pence Quagmire. I wound up getting there about 15 minutes late. Removal of the stitches was uneventful and it seems the incision is really healing well. I was worried about having a nasty scar on my forehead but it is looking like it will pretty easily blend into the other age appropriate creases on my face.
So I set up my follow up appointment with the med center. Oh the pulmonologist office STILL never called me back but at this point I don’t give a shit since the CT was posted to my account which showed that from a lung perspective I am ok.
I plan to be pretty aggressive in seeking answers at the appointment. Basically, I still have both symptoms I originally complained about last summer. Lower right side pain when doing even mild weight work, as well as come and go lack of endurance and weird sensations when doing cardio exercise which includes at times tingling and almost a clammy feeling. I am expecting to be referred to a cardiologist for the latter. With the mystery side pain I have no clue what to push for.
Yesterday I talked about in life, if you are passive about getting people to do things you will spend a lot of time getting nothing done. When our metal roof was installed late last spring I immediately noticed that the west side seemed to have mismatched metal panels on it. I pointed it out to the project manager. At that time he said that it was likely just because the metal was just installed and it should wear evenly once exposed to the elements. Well the picture you see was taken last night, some nine months later.
After taking this picture I contacted my project manager, who happens to be the husband of one of our employees at the tax collector. I sent him fresh pictures and told him that the mismatch is just as prominent today as it was on day one. I said I’m not happy with it, especially considering we dropped a lot of money on the project. I didn’t hear back an immediate response from him but I did talk to his wife today and he is aware of it.
My non-roofer opinion is either the installers did not have the same side facing up on all of the panels or the metal that was used simply was not all from the same batch. Regardless of the reason, the simple truth is the mismatch was evident immediately and there is no way the installers could have not noticed. They apparently just didn’t give a fck. So I am pretty sure the only resolution is going to be to tear that section of roof off and redo it, should be fun. Sure I could live with it but for what it cost, I’m not willing to let that go.
I’m hoping to have a productive weekend. I have a lot of stuff floating in the head to address. Man I keep thinking about the coop solar power project and how cool it will be if it works as I imagine…. I have already started thinking about phase 2 where I potentially power all of the charging of my PEVS via solar and maybe even run a 3D printer or two that way as well.
The baby hens managed to find their way up to the coop for the second night in a row meaning they should be good to go from here on out. Hopefully in a month or so they will be large enough to start introducing them to the adult hens. They have to be big enough where they can hold their own from the bullying that is sure to come.
Last night I spent a lot of time getting some EUC stands I had made for a few days posted up on the store. My inventory is once again on the low side so I need to start another dedicated production run. I am sending out another couple stands today. I also shot a video last night that was requested, illustrating how to install the optional light on my Ranger skateboard. Nothing earth shattering here.
Yesterday I saw a good portion of the impromptu press conference Trump had in the lawn before flying to Texas to build more wall hype. First, for the sake of our country, this man should never speak without a script during the remainder of his presidency. His inarticulate, bizarre, ignorant, childish, and evasive answers are a national embarrassment. As I watched him talk about concrete versus steel walls, national emergencies, and insulting various news media along the way I was ashamed that this man somehow was elected to the highest office in the country.
What is most disappointing is it is my generation that contains a big chunk of his zealous followers. Somehow they ignore the outrageous things that are being said and done on a daily basis, instead following his directives in an almost cult-like fashion. My Facebook feed is filled with “hell yeas!” of former classmates that toe the Trump line in an amazingly rigid fashion. I wonder how this has come to be and what was different on their paths versus mine? What would shape their thought patterns in such a way that they would actually support the actions of Donald.
Well I can tell you one difference for sure in almost every case. I was never indoctrinated into religion as a child, something that I was somewhat confused by back then. However looking back I am actually grateful that my parents did not introduce me to the concept of religion where you believe something because it is what you are told to believe as opposed to making that determination yourself based on what you experience, think about, and your own personal values. People with a religious background are accustomed to being told what to think and do, hence following the word of Trump as if he is one of the disciples may not be much of a stretch for some.
Whatever the reason is ultimately, I truly get depressed and saddened when I see the hateful, me first f everyone else vitriol that is consistently spewed from those I spent my school years evolving with. It’s far too easy to just write off Trump supporters as ignorant, self serving, racists at their core, because I know these people are not ignorant and I assume most are not racists either. My only hope is during the next presidential election cycle enough people are motivated to get off their ass and make sure the country is never again put in the hands of a reality tv star that ironically has such a loose grip on reality itself.
To be clear, I am no fan of Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer. I think both of them are not viable representations of what the anti-Trump mindset should be. Both of them are too divisive, much like Hilary Clinton. We need the alternative party to have some fresh faces and new blood that has not been in mired in Washington for decades at a time, thanks to the ridiculous lack of term limits in Congress.
In Florida politics, I have to admit I have been somewhat pleased with Ron DeSantis first few days in office, despite him not being my pick for governor. I thought it was refreshing he has been pushing back at Rick Scottism, reversing a number of lame duck appointments Scott made as he was walking out the door in return for political support. He also told the SW Florida Water Mgmt District board to basically GTFO after they ignored his request to wait to negotiate a deal with Florida Sugar before he took control. The board instead gave the deal approval without waiting. Ron is giving them their walking papers as a result. He also announced a nearly one billion dollar initiative to help clean up the mess on our waterways that results in toxic and deadly algae blooms polluting our area for most of the year. Good job Ron.
This weekend I hope to make inroads on a big list of items I have planned for an extended weekend I have set up for the following week. I took off three additional days around MLK weekend to give me a big chunk of time to get shit done.
So I ordered a replacement battery for a UPS that failed at the house. It arrived early in the week. Replacing a battery is pretty easy however when I put the new battery into the unit it acted like it was dead, I got no battery indicator on screen. I f’d around with it for awhile with no luck, finally arriving at the conclusion there was something else wrong with the UPS. I removed the brand new battery and plopped the old UPS by the door to be recycled.
Well for some reason, a few hours later I got motivated to take one more look. It didn’t make sense to me why the battery wasn’t showing up. I retrieved the UPS and started doing a more thorough inspection of both it and the new battery. The APC replacement batteries are in a cartridge of sorts, you just slide them in and two contacts engage inside the body of the UPS. As I examined the contacts on the battery I noticed one of them was pushed back abnormally. Well that would certainly cause a problem. I tried grabbing that terminal and pulling it forward but as soon as I would insert it into the UPS it would just get pushed back.
I was surprised the replacement battery would have such an issue. I was disheartened when I logged into Amazon and saw that the battery was not a returnable item. However I still requested a replacement which to my surprise was granted within a half hour via email. The second new battery arrived yesterday. I installed it without issue and the UPS is back in commission, saving us from the all too common power glitches we routinely experience.
So after Tuki died Cindy was thoughtful enough to hand craft and paint a memorial stone for him that has been sitting on the cut off remains of the coconut palm that went down during Irma. Unfortunately the brutal Florida sun and rain had done a number on the memorial, it was now cracked into pieces and badly worn.
I decided I wanted to get a durable piece made to honor Tuki, the funny but cantankerous bird that entertained us for so many years. I found a place online that allowed you to upload a picture and design a simple layout. I selected a 6 x 9 piece of granite and uploaded one of my favorite pics of him eating a peanut, one of his favorite past times. I included his name, dates, and “Night Tuk…” which is what he would say most nights after I would turn out the lights and head to bed.
The stone arrived yesterday. I was really pleased with how it turned out. They took the picture and zoomed/cropped it perfectly. As I pulled it out of the box and inspected it with Cindy standing there it made her tear up which made me emotional as well. I still think about Tuki’s demise and if it wasn’t for my carelessness he would likely still be with us swinging away while holding a peanut like a hoagie. I quickly designed a 3D circular holder for the plaque that I hope to still sit on the coconut tree. The stone should last longer than I will, that’s for sure.
Speaking of me lasting, yesterday I submitted the form to officially switch my retirement benefit from an investment plan back to a pension. I was waiting for the stock market to rebound a little bit before doing so. Making the switch means I should hope to live well past my official retirement age of 62. If that actually comes to be, no one knows, but if I do make it to my 60’s and beyond it’s nice to know I have a substantial lifelong income stream secured as well as a lump sum 457B account that I will continue to fund. If it’s still around, I also have my social security benefit to pay for some groceries.
I have been struggling at work the last couple days trying to act like a web developer. I am trying to get our website to pull data from a vendor site using the REST API pulling JSON data. It is a world I have next to no experience with but thanks to Google and a lot of trial and error I am slowly making some progress. I have faced this scenario many times over the years where I become involved with things I am not all that well equipped to do. More often than not I manage to navigate myself to an eventual solution, even if it takes much longer than it should have.
Tomorrow I plan to be outside as early as possible to begin the misery of the annual tree trimming task. Unfortunately the weather is forecast to be about 10 degrees warmer than I would prefer but I will barrel forward anyway. My prep will include downing CBD oil and Advil to help hold off the aches and pains that will come at least until the last branch is thrown in the fill pit out back.
Another mass shooting went down this week, a headline that just never seems to go away. Another angry white man was behind the trigger once again. It’s a good thing we are focusing on all those angry white men that voted for Trump, um I mean that commit mass murder. Oh wait, I mean the muslims, minorities and immigrants that are the REAL problem, according to Donald. The world is wobbling off it’s axis, soon to fall flat on it’s face.
So after at least 5 years, I finally ordered a replacement PC for my office. We had been tied to Windows 7 with our old cashiering platform. Now that we have migrated away from it there was no reason to not update to a current Windows 10 set up. The last time I upgraded my PC years ago I simply moved the data and programs across intact. With going to Windows 10 that is no longer an option so I am doing some major virtual housecleaning. There are at least 10 years of stuff on my old system that I need reevaluate to see if it is still needed or not. Thus far I have found a ton of it is obsolete. Once I migrate to Windows 10 I will keep a safety net by keeping my Windows 7 workstation up and on the wire in case there is something I missed. Starting fresh with a new PC is something I used to experience every couple years. Now like most things since getting older, that cycle has slowed down.
Last night I wanted to complete the construction of my Raspberry Pi gas station skimmer detector. When I was trying to finish it on Sunday I noticed one of the solder points had broken loose. Last night as I was futzing around I broke another one loose so I had to fix it as well. Finally I got everything buttoned up. I did the final changes in the OS so that it loads the skimmer detector code automatically when the device boots up. The Pi can operate headless with just a power connection for skimmer scanning but I can still attach a keyboard, mouse, and monitor to it if I want to have a micro pc on demand.
So two years ago I recall the incredible shock and disappointment as the majority of the nation did when the most under qualified, divisive, smallest vocabulary possessing candidate in American history was elected president. Since that day the number of outrageous, illogical, and downright stupid things coming out of the White House has become one big blur. As a populace we have become numb to Trumpism because it bombards us each and every day.
Well today (if you were smart you early voted) is the day we all need to wake up from the haze and send a clear message that we are not a nation of isolantionist, racist imbeciles, that there are consequences for bad behavior, and that two years of utter madness and chaos is where the line is drawn. There are far more non-fanatical Trump voters, if enough get off their ass and vote victory would be assured. Hopefully tomorrow is a day with a bright light in the distance and a new direction. I need a reason to feel some sort of restored faith in humanity and common decency. Please vote.
So after eating dinner last night we pushed off towards Victoria Park. In the back of the Prius we had my 18L and Cindy’s MiniPro. We have ridden Victoria Park before during this time of year but I am not quite sure that we did it on Halloween itself. Eh, how bad could it be? Bad.
We parked about a half mile away as we normally do and headed in via sidewalk. We had various obstacles along the way, namely people that weren’t willing to step to a side and vehicles that parked in the grass and pulled in far enough to obstruct the sidewalk. But hey, it’s Halloween, we knew this was part of it.
Once we turned into Victoria Park it was just a mass of humanity, the type that typically makes me want to just head the opposite direction. The Halloween music I was playing through the speakers in the wheel was immediately drowned out by thousands of people jammed into a small area.
Cindy threw together last minute a cute unicorn costume for herself. My costune consisted of black make up around my eyes and my Soldier 76 jacket. I thought with the temps in the mid 70’s I wouldn’t be too hot. I found myself sweating through my shirt within the first 15 minutes.
I brought the 18L with me because I thought it would be fun to play music as we rode. I didn’t really give much consideration to how it would be navigating the large and heavy wheel through a sea of people. It got very tiring very quickly trying to ride slow along with having to stop and start countless times due to a lack of space. Cindy had a much easier time of it on the MiniPro than I did. The crowd was so thick in spots that I really got to see nothing except the bodies all around me that I was trying to avoid.
At one point I dropped the wheel when a little girl was walking at me while looking the opposite direction. I immediately stopped but as I was dismounting she bumped into me, causing the wheel to fall on it’s side. Luckily unlike Gotway wheels, which will immediately spin up and bounce around like a bucking bronco in that situation, the KingSong immediately shuts off once it crosses 45 degrees. Nobody was hurt and of course my immediate reaction was frustration at the kid but I quickly corrected myself, knowing that I was the one riding a wheel in conditions that were not good. People in large quantities are always going to result in these types of situations.
Eventually we got into some streets that weren’t quite so congested which was nicer, allowing us to roll more freely. As always we got countless comments about our vehicles. Most people have just never seen an electric unicycle before and are simply amazed by them. Unlike years past, I made no fuss when Cindy asked if I was ready to leave around 45 minutes after we got there. It just was not that much fun. We both agreed that in the future, riding there sometime the week prior to Halloween is the way to go so we can actually enjoy the experience without having to focus all of our attention on avoiding human pylons.
Donald swooped into SW Florida last night, ruining Halloween for all of the unlucky kids whose parents felt being in an arena with the Supreme Big League Leader was more of a priority. As always he basked in the chants of his fanatical followers and got them riled up with his anti-immigrant barbs. His most impressive statement was calling the part of the constitution that deals with our laws regarding immigrants as “crazy”. It’s awesome when individuals cherry pick what parts of doctrines they embrace. While these people hold the Constitution up as the holy grail when it comes to the second amendment, when the same document offers protections for immigrants, you know the people that founded our country, the Constitution no longer is sacred. I swear even though I have no memories of the decade I was born, in many ways it feels like a large portion of society has regressed back 50 years, courtesy of the most awesome, incredible, awesome, I mean really, really awesome President this country has ever had.
I had a discussion with my buddy regarding the Florida governor’s race. He and I share an intense disbelief that Trump was actually elected president and we both generally have a similar political mindset. For this reason I was somewhat surprised when he said he thought Andrew Gillum was too extreme of a candidate for Florida governor and that he might actually vote for DeSantis, a Trump acolyte in most ways imaginable.
I asked him to explain what was too extreme as to me, his platform points are very similar to Bernie Sanders, a candidate I wish would have been able to vote for instead of Hilary. My buddy didn’t like promises of free college, free healthcare, and ads that say he wants to raise taxes 1 BILLION dollars in Florida. His premise was he didn’t necessarily think having those things free was a terrible idea but he doesn’t want to be the one footing the bill for all or most of it.
I told him I didn’t agree and it sounded like he was watching too many DeSantis ads with ONE BILLION IN TAXES and nothing else on the screen. However when you actually dig into the proposal, you see it is far less scary and serves the greater good. Gillum claims that companies in Florida as a result of the ridiculous Trump tax cuts (that have us posting one of our worst deficits ever btw), received approximately 3.3 billion dollars of additional revenue as a result. I can assure you the vast amount of that money went straight to the bottom line with a ridiculously tiny amount actually benefiting the lowly average employee.
Gillum is proposing reclaiming about a third of the federal handout to serve the greater good, not the corporate executives, not for stock buybacks, for the average Joe. Trying to provide more affordable healthcare and making higher education more attainable for the younger generation are noble causes and worthy of investment by others. Too many times people that do not need any assistance or help stereotype those that do as lazy or leeching off society. Without a doubt, there are plenty of individuals that are doing just that and I condemn that behavior as strongly as anyone. The difference is I am not willing to throw the countless legitimate people that benefit from these programs to the side to spite the abusers of the systems.
For me, I am willing to contribute more of my income to help serve the greater good. For a large portion of our me first population, that is not the case. For my own personal benefit, DeSantis would likely serve my needs better, however I have no hesitation in voting for Gillum.
I have very minimal hope of Gillum actually winning. The fact that he is black means all of the closet racists in Florida, and there are a lot of them, have a reason to get all riled up. It’s like poking a hornet’s nest. The only chance he has is for the democratic voters to turn out in massive numbers. If 100% of the eligible voters voted in every election, democrats would never lose in Florida or at the federal level. Without a doubt, apathy on the democratic side is the biggest reason we are where we are today. Old angry white people, which now includes people of my generation get out and vote.
So what was the point of this rant? Oh I don’t know. Vote for who you want, whether it is for the greater good or just good for you personally is a decision everyone has to make for themselves. The political climate in our country since the turn of the century has been nothing but disgusting and I see no light at the end of the tunnel.
So you know you are officially old when you are making calls to financial advisors to discuss retirement which is what I did yesterday. With my job, one of the benefits is a retirement plan. That benefit used to be strictly a pension plan for all employees. Well sometime in the early 2000’s they made an investment plan as an option where instead of a defined monthly benefit from the point you retire until you fade away, you have money thrown into a retirement account that you have full control over. When you retire you them have this big chunk of change to do with what you want.
So when this option became available all employees had to decide if they wanted to stay in the pension plan or move over to the investment plan. At that point I wasn’t all that sure if I would be at my job until retirement, plus I liked the idea of having full control over that money if I did have a change of careers. When you are in a pension plan you get that benefit at retirement age and that’s that. So at that time I decided to move into the investment plan with the understanding that I had one opportunity to “buy” back into the pension plan during my career.
So turning 50 was a good reason to start reevaluating my retirement options which at this point are unbelievably only about a decade away. I called into the Florida Retirement System and talked to an advisor that was very helpful in explaining my options and how it all works. We ran a calculator that estimated my retirement income if I went with a pension versus the investment plan. The numbers it returned were shocking to me. The monthly benefit with the pension was roughly 35% higher than I would expect with the investment plan if I figured on getting a moderate return on my money.
The other positive news was I had more than enough money in my investment plan to cover the buy in cost to transfer back to a pension plan. I actually would have a nice chunk of change left over in that account to go along with the larger chunk sitting in the 457B account I also contribute to. So the conversation made it pretty clear to me that at this point in my career, with more than 18 years under my belt, switching over to the pension plan makes a lot of sense, assuming I manage to stick around for awhile after retirement age.
I am hoping the market rebounds a bit so I can initiate the switch with my investment plan as fat as it can be. It seems surreal that I am at the point in life where I have to even give these things serious consideration. It seems like only yesterday that my biggest concern was what flavor Pop Tarts I was going to eat while I watched Saturday morning cartoons.
As I mentioned several times this past week, I have been in the midst of a shitty week at work. To compound matters, Cindy has been having her own stress from trying to do the majority of the double bathroom vanity project herself. It has just been a lot of shit going on. On Friday I left the office a little early so I could attend to some chores at home, since I had to work a good portion of the day Saturday. I also needed to bring home materials needed to do the last prep work before Ray came in to install the new vanity on Saturday morning.
Cindy had made a ton of progress during the day, redoing the drywall box behind the tub, so that it now can accommodate the full 60 inches required for the new vanity. She had been busting her ass all week since the vanity showed up. I felt badly she worked so much on the project with only minimal assistance from me but had my own battles at work I was dealing with at the same time.
So Saturday I was out the door around 8 and did not get home until close to 1:30. By the time I walked in the door Ray and Doug had just about finished up with the install. Taking a look at the plumbing work they had to do made me glad I did not elect to tackle this project myself. The vanity looked good in it’s new home and of course the bathroom felt entirely different.
So despite working at the office for half the day, I had to turn on the reserve gas tank to help Cindy get things back in order. As you can imagine a project like this requires a lot of tools and creates a lot of mess. Hell I spent 30 minutes just cutting up all of the cardboard from the work outside. We diligently worked our way through it and eventually got things mostly back in shape. There were two things that needed to get done, glue on the backsplash and hang the new frameless mirror. We got the back splash glued up Saturday night. The install could really use two side splashes as well but we haven’t really figured out how to make that work yet thanks to the horrible workmanship on the walls in that bathroom. Not only are the corners not square, the back wall has a nasty bow in it.
Saturday night we watched the last 50 Shades of Grey movie. It may have been one of the worst written movies I ever saw. Of course they tried to prop it up by inserting sex scenes every five or six minutes. The origin story for the villain in the movie is laughable. I’m glad the series is over. C+
So this morning we wanted to get the mirror on the wall. Like I said the bowed surface meant we already knew the mirror would only be glued in place on the high spots. We helped offset the poor adhesion surface by making sure the bottom edge of the mirror was on the backsplash, to help shed weight. I applied large amounts of adhesive to the wall and then Cindy and I pressed the five foot mirror into place. After holding it there for a little while Cindy applied some painter’s tape to keep it against the surface to cure. Later in the morning I miter cut a piece of floor molding to replace one that was removed during demo.
We are both happy with the end result. There may be a few minor tweaks remaining but it is 99% there. Despite dealing with a lot of hand pain from all of the gripping, Cindy plowed through the project and got it done. As always I am appreciative of having someone in the household that works as hard as I do.
We did get out for a brief ride in the morning to Max Hasse park. We never rode the area before. It was small but scenic. I had a good time rolling around on my One Wheel while Cindy was on her MiniPro.
The Eagles game was a throwback, a throwback to how the team has played more often than not the last 10 years. After amassing a 17 point lead going into the fourth quarter I thought the team would be able to close out the Panthers. That was a key difference with last year’s team, they knew how to close out games. That skill set seems to be missing from this year’s squad.
The defensive mindset is maddening where they rush four and drop seven in coverage. However most of these seven players are not in actual coverage, they are just standing around trying to read the play, which they seem to be pretty awful at doing. During the Panther’s three straight touchdown drives, time and again I saw guys standing there flat footed as receivers easily ran free around them. I think this scheme blows or it at least blows with the personnel the team is putting out there. The fourth quarter was basically prevent defense the entire time.
I just don’t get it. Last year the Eagles flipped the script in these situations and continued to be aggressive, even when carrying a lead. Why Pederson seems to be willing to abandon what got them to the pinnacle of the league last year is very confusing and annoying to me. The team desperately needs at least one quality cornerback out there and needs to realize this front four is not getting enough pressure by themselves to be relied on so heavily.
It takes a special kind of suck to blow a 17 point lead in 15 minutes. Grats to the Eagles for finding a way to do it.
The blog is hitting the streets tonight because I once again have a jam packed day ahead of me tomorrow. The good news is that if I get through the next 24 hours things should be more or less back to normal through Christmas.
On my way home from work Friday my dad called me to check in on my health status, which there was no real news to speak of. While I had dad on the phone I asked him about the state of them trying to sell their house in Marienville. I did not get a real rosy report card. It seems like the shine from the prospect of getting out from under the load of isolation and seclusion of north western PA is proving to be pretty daunting although that is not a surprise to him. They just got done putting a new roof on the house which was advised by their realtor to make it more appealing. There is actually a lawyer that may be interested enough to make an offer but dad did not sound upbeat about it.
At the same time as they have been trying to prepare their current house to be sold they have been prospecting new places in SE PA, near my sister Meghan. It sounds like so far it has been a Catch 22 because of the current requirement dad has to move with all of barnyard animals. Any property that is more or less ready to move in, with all the animals, is well above what they are looking to spend. The properties that are in their range generally would require a lot of work (and money) to fit that need, which is something that just does not work for dad at this point in his life.
My entire life I have witnessed dad go into homes where he spent countless amounts of money, time, and effort to make the property fit him and his needs to a tee. He did it with the house in Gouglersville, the house in New Mexico, and now the Marienville home. The unfortunate thing is the Marienville house probably has the most invested with the smallest chance of getting the money out of it, because of the area, which is just not going to be attractive to a lot of potential buyers. But my point is it just is not realistic for him to get into another fixer upper scenario at this point. Both he and my stepmom deserve to enjoy life more and not be pulling a heavy weighted sled of work and responsibilities 24/7.
So to the casual observer the answer is pretty simple, they need to find a good home for the barnyard animals and move towards a more conservative property that does not require all of that work and upkeep. Moving while keeping all the animals just relocates all of that work, albeit it would be closer to my sister. If anyone understands a deep attachment to animals it’s me. Hell one of the big reasons we have done less road tripping in recent years is I worry about the care of the chickens in our absence. But, if the ultimate goal is enjoying your golden years I think some hard choices are going to have to be made.
Regardless of the outcome I am not envious of the situation. Staying put is just going to become more and more stressful, as a person’s physical capabilities generally do not increase as they age. Moving will be a task of monumental proportions although I thought the same thing when they moved from New Mexico back east. They had a TON of shit then as well although sheep and llamas were not part of that equation. I hung up with dad feeling somewhat sad for their dilemma. It’s a situation that has big barriers and challenges no matter which direction they turn.
Based on the convo I thought it was funny/ironic that the parting advice dad gave me was to relax this weekend FIRST and then do whatever work I can. If it doesn’t get done, oh well. Well obviously that isn’t the way I am wired. I ALWAYS want to get tasks out of the way first and then relax, if there is any time left over for that. Doing it any other way just leaves me unsettled and anxious.
So as you could predict, I totally ignored my dad’s advice. I spent over 6 hours on the tractor Saturday mowing grass. The reason it took so long was I decided to knock down areas of the property outside the fence line, some of which that have not been mowed in years. Mowing three to four foot tall grass is a very slow process requiring you to go back and forth over each area multiple times. It’s also a very dirty process. I had the chute held open to allow debris to get out easier. The side effect was that debris blowing all over me. Any exposed skin areas had a coating of organic matter on them when I was done.
On Saturday night Cindy and I got out to see Venom, a movie I had been looking forward to for awhile. Although it was a Marvel affiliated movie it was not a Marvel production, and I could tell. It was entertaining and I liked the movie but it definitely was not up to par with what I expect from a Marvel film. There was lots of funny moments in the movie and many a few too many of them to be honest. For an origin story, I felt like there should have been more serious plot and substance. But like I said, I liked it overall but just don’t expect it to live up to any of the Marvel stand alone character movies of the last 10 years. I’d give it a B to weak B+.
So before we left for the movies I had to close the garage door on the big shed. This task has been becoming more hazardous over the last month or two because of my refusal to eliminate a wasp nest that has been constructed in the door frame. My compassion for living creatures has governed that decision. It felt like the wasps and I had a mutual understanding. They knew I had to open and close the door, which would bump their nest each time and I did not want to destroy their home they have been working on for weeks on end. Each time I accessed the door the nest would get jostled which would send some of the wasps off the nest but they never were aggressive towards me, they simply landed right back on the nest.
Like I said this nest has been growing and as of this weekend it had close to 20 wasps actively working on it. It had gotten to the point where Cindy was afraid to go in the shed. Despite the growing size I continued to let the nest be as I would do my best to keep the door disturbance minimal and the wasps continued to ignore me, until Saturday evening.
So when I went to close the door this time a bunch of wasps came off the nest and I could instantly tell they were aggressive. It looked like the smaller, younger wasps were actually the aggressive ones, perhaps they didn’t get the memo that I was a good guy. So as I see the small wasps looking for a target I hunched down as I was closing the door. As I did I felt the distinctive burn on the top of my head as one of the little bastards stung me. Instead of anger, my initial overwhelming feeling was one of sadness, as this meant the wasps had officially broken their peace treaty with me. I could not have them stinging me or Cindy.
I did not address the situation immediately. Instead during the night I felt sad that I was going to have to take the nest down. Sunday morning I did the deed however I tried to do so in a non-lethal way. I stretched a hose over there and blasted the nest with water to knock it down and off to the side. I figured water wouldn’t kill the wasps and possibly allow them to rebuild their nest elsewhere. When I saw one wasp later trying to initiate a build at the same spot I hit him with some insecticidal soap that should annoy him but again not be lethal. I’m not sure exactly when in life I developed this seemingly at times strange compassion for even the littlest of creatures but it is ingrained in my personality for sure at this point. Pretty much the only things that die without remorse at my hand are fire ants or mosquitoes, once they bite me.
Sunday morning I did not go out riding. Instead I hopped back on the tractor to mow the back yard that is inside the fence, consuming another couple hours. I figured I had the time to ride in the afternoon since the Eagles game was late. After we ran errands late morning I didn’t get out to ride until around 3. I drove out to Ave Maria with the Meepo and One Wheel. In the video I talk about a lot of things I mentioned here, just because I felt like it.
I got home to watch the Eagles game, which in retrospect was not a great thing. The team again played very sloppy ball and for the second consecutive week lost to a team they shouldn’t have. I see several differences from last year that seem to be impacting the outcome of the games. First off the secondary, outside of Malcom Jenkins is pretty awful. Last year the front four of the D-line was able to get pretty consistent pressure on opposing QB’s, allowing the secondary, which still was not great last year, to make some plays. This year the pressure does not seem to be there, exposing the poor secondary play even more.
I also hate the soft zone the DB’s seem to play the majority of the time, lining 8-10 yard off the ball most plays. Doing this allows receivers to get a full head of steam to either blow by you as you are back pedaling or cut in front of your back pedal for easy yardage. I much prefer a bump and run coverage where DB’s challenge the receivers during the first 5 yards to slow down their routes while playing man coverage. I guess Schwartz just doesn’t like that play style or thinks he doesn’t have the talent in the secondary to do that.
The offense has been very inconsistent as well and a lot of that has to do with a lack of solid pass protection. The O-line has been pretty awful with keeping Wentz upright since he returned. The end result has been a lot of sacks and knockdowns as well as Carson making some poor decisions and not protecting the ball, resulting in big turnovers.
I don’t know that there is any magic formula to get the team back on track. They just are not making big plays this year when they need to. Last year they had an uncanny ability to do exactly that as well as getting just plain lucky at times when they needed to. So far this year, the luck has run out.
On Friday evening I started the biggest print I ever attempted. It was estimated to take two days and a few hours. As of this morning it was only 66% complete. If the print is successful it will be pretty epic. If it fails this late into the print it will be pretty damn depressing.
Hey Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed! What an incredible, unifying and progressive move. It’s a hugely, very, very, fantastic win for Trump and the republicans. It was just the latest of a string of never ending examples of just how f’d up the political system is in this country and why we continue to accelerate towards the bottom of the bowl where winning an argument has now become paramount to acting for the greater good. It’s not a #metoo world, it’s a #mefirst kind of thing. Please register to vote for the mid-term elections and do your part to try to end the insanity.