Category: Relationships

So it seems that since our huge deluge over two days late last week I lost internet connection to the chicken coop.   It isn’t a crucial thing but I would like to get it working to be able to do things like monitor the 8 camera DVR out there.   After work last night I went out there with my laptop to try to determine what sort of problem I was looking at.

I plugged directly into the wifi router out there and verified it was up and running.  I then turned my attention to the ethernet cable that feeds the coop.  This is a very long, bury rated, roughly 150 foot wire that is directly connected to the side of the house.  Getting it installed was not fun.  Well I was not showing a link light on that wire.  That wire connects in the attic of the house which I did not feel like crawling around in last night.  The next step will be trying to determine where the problem lies, in the cable or on the other side of the connection in the attic. I can hardly wait.

I took on yet another project last night, replacing the heated print bed on one of my 3D printers.  This printer is my workhorse and used the most of the six.  The other day I noticed it stopped heating the bed.  I later discovered this was a common problem after extended use.  The wires used to connect it have a history of fatiguing and eventually snapping.  I bought an entire new print bed, complete with new wires.  The install took awhile but had no major snafus.  The printer is back up and printing away this morning.

So yesterday I got an email from the wife of the husband/wife team that are my accountants and have done my taxes for somewhere around 20 years.  I met them when I lived in PA and was summoned to do some computer work for the company I worked for at the time.  Several years ago they actually relocated to SW Florida as well, in the Fort Myers area.

Yesterday she just asked if I could give her a call which is not unusual as I try to help them out with computer issues as they arise.  When I called I got some very shocking and unexpected news that her husband had suddenly passed away late last week.  He was not a real old guy, younger then my mom when she passed away at 67.

Hearing the overwhelming sadness and despair in her voice instantly brought all the feelings of unexpected loss I experienced with my mom rushing to the surface.  I felt horrible for her.  I’m not sure how many times I expressed my sorrow for her loss during the call.  I assured her that I would help her out with her current need and anything else she may need.  He was and she is just good, kind people. They have been married forever.  I can only imagine just how lost she must feel right now.

The call was a somber reminder of how fragile, fleeting, and delicate life can really be, despite all of our efforts to insulate ourselves from that reality.  When my mom died it made me more eager to cut out things in my life that I didn’t really want to be doing.  Do things that make you happy, distance yourself from things that don’t.  You never know how many more ticks are left on your personal clock.

 

So I wasn’t thrilled when I got a second email late Wednesday from the gutter installers saying that they still planned to show up Thursday but now it wasn’t until between 12-1 instead of 8-9.  The reason was I could see the now typical afternoon thunderstorms causing a problem with the install.  I crossed my fingers that things worked out as I was not going to take Friday off as well for this.

So I treated my day off as I do most weekends, meaning I put myself to work.  I headed outside somewhere around 8AM and did not return indoors until roughly three hours later as I weed whacked the property and tended to a bunch of other outdoor tasks.  I was beat and refreshed myself by doing something I hadn’t done in quite awhile, jump in the pool.  Sadie was very happy about my decision as it meant she got “splashy splash” which involves her running around the pool deck as I splash her excessively.  She just loves it.

I took the dogs for a quick coffee run as I had just enough time to get there and back before the 12PM install window hit.  The two man crew showed up closer to 1PM but they were ready to roll.  They said the entire job should take roughly two hours.

While they got busy I kicked off phase two of my physical labor.  I wanted to use the pressure cleaner in the chicken area.  The exposed decking edge needs to be re-caulked and painted but doing so required that the green scuzz that has accumulated on it needed to be blasted away.   While I was out there I also cleaned other items including the old chicken tractor which had a coating of black filth from being left under the oak tree for too long.

While I was out there Cindy was taking pictures and measurements of her RV awning for her insurance company.  On Wednesday she had the awning out during the day.  Some bad weather came in very quickly that was preceded by very strong winds, strong enough that they bent/snapped part of the frame.  Cindy was very upset about it as you can imagine but it seems that the insurance company she is using is very responsive.  She is hoping it will all be covered with her just paying a manageable deductible.

So the gutter guys were very accurate with their estimate.  They finished up in a little more than two hours and the end results were great.  The single piece gutters should not suffer the endless leaks my installation  from years ago did when I installed conventional gutters.  These are also big 6 inch gutters compared with the 4 inch type I bought at Home Depot.  They should serve me well for many years to come.  This was the very last step in my hurricane repairs, well it was, until Sadie ripped the hole in the pool screen the other day.

Despite a lot of labor already being invested into my day off, I continued my tasks inside.  I received a replacement for the print bed in one of my 3D printers which had a bend in it, causing issues with prints.  I swapped it with the new bed and all was well again, after the normal amounts of trials and tribulations.

I have an odd schedule the next week.  After coming back for a single day today, I work Monday and then have next Tuesday and Wednesday off.  I took those two days off to allow me ample time to evaluate the Ninebot Z10 EUC that is on it’s way to me from the NYC E-Crew.  I am really looking forward to it.

Sunday is Father’s Day so I thought I would take a second to reflect on some memories of my dad that have stuck with me over the years, some funny, some sad.

I have no question where my “once started, the job must be done” disposition comes from.  I recall clearly a time when my dad was out on the tractor mowing grass, in the dark, in the middle of a fierce thunderstorm. The headlights of the tractor and his silhouette lit up by the flashes of lightning are an image that stuck with me.  I have actually repeated this scene on my much smaller lawn tractor several times as an adult.

One of the more memorable activities of my childhood was when my dad would play King of the Hill with my brother and my friend Pete.  We had a rather steep hill along the driveway that lead into a drainage ditch below.  The game was simple, you tried to pull the King off the hill.  Well back then dad seemed like a massive giant to the rest of us.  We would try to drag him off the hill as a tag team effort but were never successful that I can remember.  The end result of this game was all three of us literally getting tossed down the hill repeatedly, sometimes with a lot of air underneath us.  I’m pretty sure it would be classified as child abuse nowadays but we loved it.

When my parents got divorced it was a pretty dark time in our relationship.  There were weekends we would be at the dumpy apartment he was renting in Reading where he would just be crying and miserable.  Neither myself or my siblings really wanted to go there on the weekends, it almost felt like punishment.

One of my most poignant memories of that time was around the holidays.  We had just been with my dad and he was transferring us to mom.  As we were about ready to drive away he stopped us and handed us some additional presents that evidently were from his girlfriend. (I remember zero about this woman)  Well without hesitation my mom grabbed the presents and hurled them back into the street and sped away.  It was a very powerful moment in my childhood, the look on my dad’s face as we drove away stuck with me for a long time.

My dad and I had roughly a six month period where we stopped communicating at all.  It was when I decided that I was willing to walk away from my college education and partial baseball scholarship because I thought I needed to be with my girlfriend at the time instead.  He was infuriated by my decision and looking back, rightfully so, but at the time I thought I knew best.

Dad has helped me out repeatedly and was responsible for eventually getting the base education I needed to get into the IT field after I spent 5 years or so stumbling around figuring out what I wanted to do with my life.  He footed the bill for my Lincoln Tech computer repair program that got my foot in the door as an entry level grunt at a local PC reseller back in 1992.

Dad is famous or infamous for his rants where he takes a hard ass stance against a person, product, business, or situation.  One of the earliest I recall is his vow to never buy another Sears product when the Craftsman weed trimmer (the old hand held style that was like motorized scissors) broke despite not being very old.  I remember the vow being christened by dad taking the unit and smashing it to the sidewalk, violently.

Another crusade of his was refusing to patronize any bank that had a “teller rope system” .  Dad hated the idea of being directed around like cattle by a series of stanchions and velvet ropes.  If he was in a situation where he HAD to go into such a place he would refuse to use the rope system and would walk around it.  There are countless examples of seemingly minor inconveniences that dad has adamantly opposed in not just words but actions over the last five decades.  I certainly have moments where I react in a similar way to situations but I am a minor leaguer compared to dad.

I think I owe a great portion of my drive to be physically fit to what I saw my dad do growing up.  He used to run, do push ups, sit ups, lift weights, and swim pretty regularly during different portions of his life.  It helped me install similar habits into my adulthood which are still carrying on today.  It’s hard for me to see dad struggling as much as he does nowadays with various physical ailments when I once viewed him as almost invincible.  But even with all of his aches and pains he still will grind himself to a nub doing physical work if he is in the “once started, the job must be done” state of mind.  He will just pay for it dearly afterward.

So my roughly 30 or so years as an “adult” made me reevaluate some of my experiences and thoughts about my dad as a child.  I realize that just like everyone else on the planet, dad is a flawed individual that did the best he could do to take care of us with the various circumstances he was in during his lifetime.  Having no children of my own means I never got to see how I would do if thrust into the role of fatherhood but I certainly know it is not an easy line to walk.

I love and appreciate my dad. He has managed to set all five of his kids off into the world where we are all enjoying different successes as competent, contributing adults in society.  Dad has and always will walk to the beat of his own drum, even if it is a little out of tune now and then.

 

The delivery of the new washer and dryer happened first thing yesterday morning.  The lower height of the new units combined with the other organizing and rearranging Cindy did has made the bowling alley width laundry room feel almost spacious.  Cindy did our first load of clothing yesterday.  What used to pretty much fill our front loader only went barely halfway up the tub of the Samsung.

We had them take the washer with the failing bearing but leave it’s pedestal behind.  The pedestals that are often sold with front loaders are VERY expensive.  When we bought the LG set in 2010 they were something like $250 EACH.  I am hoping to be able to sell the pedestals online to recoup some of the expense of the new appliances.  We are still planning on taking the dryer to Cindy’s mom this weekend as an upgrade for her.

I talked to my dad yesterday and he ironically had recently had to replace his front loading set which happened to be almost the same age as mine.  We talked about the design of modern front loading washers and how it almost seemed that they were meant to fail in less than 10 years to help keep the demand for new units flowing.  Dad talked about the good old days when he had a washer that lasted for 25 years.

I hadn’t talked to dad in awhile so we caught up on the latest and greatest news.  Most of dad’s news had to do with his physical challenges that seem to be accumulating.  Right now he could use work on his knees, eyes, and ears.  In the past he had been reluctant to take action to address the problems but I guess it is getting to the point where it really is affecting his quality of life.  I’m glad he is more willing to do something about it now.  I don’t have a problem understanding his procrastination however.  It evidently is a gene I share as I put off getting my eyes checked for around six years from the point where I first started having issues and in general I am very reluctant to seek medical treatment for anything.

I stayed up late watching Netflix content.  My sleep deficit then was multiplied when Elsa had some stomach issue about 2AM.  Luckily Cindy shot out of bed and got Elsa out onto the tile floor before she puked.  After all of that excitement I had a very hard time falling back asleep.  As I was trying to drift off I do recall doing a virtual tour of our old Gouglersville house, likely spurred on by conversation my dad and I had about that house, which has been completely transmogrified by the current owners, after my dad and step mom did their own transformation when they lived there.  Dad told me the house has been for sale for a pretty long time.  I knew it was listed awhile ago but didn’t know it had not sold yet.

When it first listed I always wondered if dad would consider buying back the place that had so much history for both chapters of his life as a father.  The idea was not one dad shared as the house price was around double what it was sold for.  Plus my dad harbors some resentment towards the current owners as he feels they deliberately misrepresented their financial status and feigned fiscal hardship to negotiate a lower price on the property.  So to turn around and reward them for their efforts is something dad just would never be able to stomach.  It would have been cool though, the ultimate completion of a large arcing circle that started back in late 60’s.

Oh so the point of this was I’m tired, really tired.

 

Saturday morning I got up to do my run.  I knew it was supposed to be cool but I didn’t expect it to be cold.  Well the thermometer in the car read 45 degrees on the way to the track.  I was glad I chose a long sleeve t-shirt to run in.  It took me at least three laps until my internal body temperature started to regulate against the cold air.  The run went as most do, thoughts of quitting early to thoughts of relief as I finish up.

After finishing up chicken chores and weeding we headed out with Elsa to run some errands.  One of the things we picked up was a new strainer basket for the pool pump as well as a new hose for the inline chlorinator.  It is a hose that connects the chlorinator to the return water feed.  I have futzed with this hose several times over the years.  It is installed at an odd angle and has a tendency to want to collapse on itself, making it useless.  I have replaced it already a few times only to have it collapse shortly thereafter.  After some careful manipulation of the support spring and hose I think I finally have it as it should be.  Even though it was a very minor repair, I was able to skim some satisfaction from finally getting it installed right.

Cindy and I made plans to go to Seasons 52 to celebrate our five year anniversary. I had tried early in the week to get reservations but the time block between 3:45 and 8:15 was booked solid.  We decided we would just go there and hang at the bar to wait for a table.

When we got there at 5:30 the lot was already quite full.  We went inside fully prepared to wait, awhile.  We did not realize that Seasons 52 had a similar layout to Carrabas.  The right side of the house is the formal dining room where the reservations are held.  However around the bar on the left there are a booths that are first come first serve.  They were all full but there was only one couple waiting for one ahead of us. We wound up sitting down after 10 minutes or less, an unexpected outcome.

Our dinner was very good.  Cindy and I both cleaned our plates and the little miniature desert shot glasses we ordered.  It was probably one of the more expensive dinners for two but it was a special occasion worthy of the effort.  We both left amazed that we somehow managed to complete the dinner in roughly two hours, travel included.    Saturday night we watched the Tom Cruise version of The Mummy.  It was entertaining enough and had an ending that I definitely did not expect.  It was a notch below what I normally get out of Tom’s movies but I’d still go B+ overall.

Sunday was a beautiful morning.  Cindy and I went to North Collier Park to ride around, her on the big Segway I2, me on the tiny Mten3.  Not far into the ride I heard a loud beep come from my wheel.  I looked down and saw the battery indicator was not full, which it normally would be.  I quickly realized that I must have forgotten to recharge the wheel after I rode it to Dunkin Donuts a couple weeks ago.  The battery level indicator showed about half full so I thought I would be fine for our ride.  I babied the wheel for another two or three miles but the beeping soon became incessant so we had to cut the ride short.  Even with the abbreviated ride we had fun.

The rest of our Sunday was laid back.  I had a number of 3D prints cooking and Cindy was hard core into her crafting.  I also got several hours of time in WoW which was fun since the week prior had little time for such activity.  We emerged from the weekend happy with how it flowed and looking forward to the next.

 

 

 

So I used a vacation day yesterday primarily so I could make the famous chocolate birthday cake for Cindy.  Although I had already bought a birthday present for Cindy I thought I would give her another gift of effort.  Since Irma the pool cage area has been wide open to organic debris, bugs, and frogs thanks to the numerous missing screen panels.  Cindy had commented repeatedly how she didn’t like the situation.  I thought I would surprise her and make the situation better.

I left in the morning to Home Depot.  I told Cindy where I was going but not why, just that it was a birthday present.  For some reason I just assumed that by now pool cage screening would once again be readily available.  That assumption was defective.  Home Depot had very little screening and none of the wide rolls that are normally needed for pool cages.  I didn’t want to give up on my plan so I headed to Lowe’s which was about 7 or 8 miles away.

Lowe’s didn’t have the real wide rolls either, the widest they had was five feet which I did not think was enough to cover the sections completely but I figured it would be better than nothing.  I grabbed three 25 foot rolls of the stuff and headed back home.  As soon as I got home I got busy.  First I had to clean out any channels that had any old spline or screen in them which can be a pain in the ass to varying degrees.

I then used the small bit of wide enough screen I had left over to cover the two sections missing by the main door we use.  I figured those two would be the best to be covered completely.  I did not worry about making sure the screens were tight as a drum as it was all temporary.  As long as they keep out debris, frogs, and bugs for the most part my goal would be attained.  So as I expected the rolls I bought were about 6 inches too narrow.  What I wound up doing was securing the top edge and then just get as much tension as I could on the sides which left a two three inch gap at the bottom.  I then went back and cut smaller strips of screening that I affixed to the bottom to create an overlap.  My plan is to loosely secure the two pieces together on the seam using a hook needle and fishing line, far from an elegant solution but hopefully effective.

Hanging screen by yourself is never much fun.  I was pretty beat by the end of it but managed to get all of the side sections covered. The only remaining opening is a strip across the roof of the cage which I hope to cover by the end of the weekend.  Mid-afternoon I mixed in cake prep with screen repair, alternating between the two as time allowed.

My day off was pretty much totally filled with work which I didn’t mind as the goal was to make it a good day for Cindy.  She was surprised by the GoPro Session camera I got her as a main gift which should be fun to experiment with.  I even made dinner to go along with the cake which Katie stopped by to enjoy.

 

So Patrick and his girlfriend Nicole pulled out this morning for the last leg of what will be a nearly two week trip after arriving at our place Monday evening.  We worked around Cindy’s class teaching schedule to do things together.  Pat and Nico tried desperately to earn Elsa’s trust while we were home and were only mildly successful.  At one point Elsa licked Pat’s hand and let him pat her head but for the most part she would keep wide circles around both of them.

On Tuesday morning I introduced Pat and Nico to the Minipros.  Within the hour both of them were out in the driveway and street zipping around on the Segways having a bunch of fun.  That mutated later into Pat trying his hand on the cheap EUC to see how it would feel.  He struggled for a little bit but by the end of the day he was rolling around the back yard on my Msuper somewhat competently.  It seems pretty much every person I have assisted in learning to ride an EUC has picked it up quicker than I have.  Maybe that means I am a great teacher, however I think the more likely scenario is I am just a slow learner.

We wound up going over to the Greenway to ride around which Pat and Nico both seemed to really enjoy.  The sensation of riding a Minipro or an EUC is a little bit like flying which Nico really thought was cool.  Cindy had a class Tuesday evening so the remaining three of us just hung out more at home with more EUC practice, hanging at the pool, and flying my Mavic.  I gave both Nico and Pat time behind the sticks.

On Wednesday morning Cindy had another class to teach.  I called the nearby Tuffy to see if they would be able to align my Tacoma, which is a requirement after installing the lift/leveling kit.  I was happy to hear they could squeeze me in.  I decided this was a good opportunity to get a more extensive test ride in on the Monster.  I threw the humongous wheel in the truck and used it to ride the roughly 10 miles back to the house.  Right now the wheel feels awkward to control doing tight turning but for open road commuting it is fantastic.  The 22 inch diameter wheel just eats up bumps like nothing and it is extremely comfortable cruising at 20+ mph for as long as you need it to. Be sure to watch the video to hear my experience with the inept woman at the drive thru ATM.

When Cindy got back we piled in the Prius to head to Bowman Beach in Sanibel.  Nico is an avid sheller and Sanibel is one of the best beaches in Florida to collect shells.  The drive up there is long, easily taking 90 minutes, but it is worth it.  The natural beauty of Sanibel is hard to beat.

We walked a stretch of beach for over an hour and half enjoying the refreshing water and amazing assortment of shells in the sand, free for the picking.  Nico grabbed an amazing assortment of beautiful shells.  Cindy snagged a bunch of cool ones as well.  Even though the sun was melt your skin hot, the simple beauty of the beach made hanging out there a very enjoyable experience. The custard ice cream we grabbed on the way home added to the enjoyment.

On the way home we swung by Tuffy so I could pick up my truck.  I was somewhat worried that I would get the truck back in worse shape than I dropped it off.  When I had Tuffy install tires and align my 99 Tacoma a couple years back the steering wheel was slightly off center which annoyed me but not enough for me to take it back.  I was glad when I saw the wheel on the Tacoma was still dead center as I left it. The truck felt no different after the alignment and I didn’t expect it to.    The ride of the truck has felt pretty much identical to pre-lift which is exactly what I hoped for.  The only difference is now I see eye to eye with most full size trucks on the road instead of slightly below them.

Cindy made a nice spaghetti dinner for all of us that we enjoyed while watching The Accountant.  The movie was interesting as it didn’t have the plot I expected.  I enjoyed it enough to push it into A- category.

This morning Pat and Nico were up early with us to prepare for shoving out for a long drive up to the Florida panhandle.  They are going to be camping the next two nights up there before rolling into New Orleans for the weekend for a crazy conclusion to their trip.  Cindy and I really enjoyed their visit and hope it won’t be long before they come down again.  Both Patrick and Nico are such good people, it just makes you feel better about the world spending time with them.

I now get to dig back into what is going to be a very hectic couple weeks where we are tasked with transplanting the majority of our staff from one building to another without losing functionality.  As in most things I just will keep my head down and keep plowing ahead.

So last night was unconventional as far as Monday’s go.  I went to a Tarpons game.  Instead of going with Cindy, who was teaching a class last night I wound up going with Ali and her boyfriend Shugs.  Shugs had never been to a Tarpons game so I thought it would be cool for us to go.  Ali went to the Tarpons games with me while we were still married but she was down with going as well.

We had a stroke of good luck, as we were waiting in line to buy tickets a guy said he had three tickets we could have.  I recognized him as the team doctor, I think.  We thanked him and walked in happy with our free ride.  We grabbed some food and beers and headed to our seats that were on the opposite side of the arena that I am used to sitting on.  Our seats were actually quite good, row 11 almost at mid-field.

Ali was confused, the tickets said the visiting team was called the Sharks but the scoreboard said Dragons.  The ornate dragon on the players right leg seemed to confirm we were playing the Dragons as well.  After four or five years as a Tarpons fan things like this don’t phase me, opponents change all the time for whatever reason.

The Dragon offensive backfield was visually quite odd.  Number zero lined up in a fullback position.  This guy was probably 5′ 6″ and weighed 300 pounds with about 100 pounds if that in his massive gut.  Their quarterback was very thin and had absolutely no rear end.  It seriously looked like he had it surgically removed.  The Dragons offense was pretty anemic but their defense was good.  It became clear pretty early the Tarpons were going to have a tough time of it.  The Dragons defensive coach was angry and fired up all the time and it seemed like the team fed off his energy.  There was more hard hitting in this game than probably any other I have seen.

The end result of this was the lowest scoring, tightest final score of any arena game I have attended.  The game came down to the final possession.  The Dragons had the ball with a minute to go and one point behind.  The Tarpons managed to intercept a pass from the no ass QB to seal the 13-12 win.  Despite the lack of scoring I thought the game was entertaining.  Ali and Shugs seemed to have a good time as well which was cool.  It makes me happy that the three of us can hang out and enjoy each other’s company.  It is sort of how I always hoped things would turn out.

So even though we went out to our V-day dinner Saturday night I came up with the idea of picking up Carrabbas to Go for dinner last night so Cindy didn’t have to cook.   Evidently my idea was not unique, I sat in a line 10 cars deep at the restaurant waiting to pick up the food.  They seemed unprepared for the business as a single girl was running back and forth trying to sort out who got what.  I eventually just got out of my truck and walked inside to grab the food myself.  My bag was sitting on the counter along with a dozen other bags.  The drive home was miserable. Evidently an accident on 75 had diverted a ton of cars back into the non-interstate roadways causing a quagmire.  I didn’t get home till close to 6:30.

We had a nice night at home.  Cindy got me a couple practical gifts and I gave her a cool pair of white gold earrings I got from Costco.  The have a tiny leaf pattern in them which I thought was pretty and unique.

Today I am meeting a guy to get an estimate on whole house reverse osmosis.  I had the company that installed our current system give us a number and it was significantly higher than what this company advertises.  I heard about these guys from a friend that had their system replaced with RO and have been very pleased.  Not only is the up front costs less, they include one free year of monthly maintenance which I wasn’t getting from the first company either.  The expense for either system is considerable but what you are getting for the money is top quality water without any maintenance by the homeowner whatsoever.  They handle it all.  That scenario sounds pretty attractive at this stage in my life.

I have not really been commenting on the three ring circus which has been the Trump administration thus far.  I expected it to be a mess and it has been, perhaps even more so than I could have imagined.  Via a FB friend I stumbled across a site that allows you to track the buffoonery on a daily basis, whatthefuckjusthappenedtoday.com

As you flip through the day by day recollection of Trump administration events it seems rather surreal.  Check it out.

So after work last night we met Katie at her ex-boyfriend’s dad’s house to do a final sweep to clean out her stuff.  I was under the impression there wasn’t much left but somehow we wound up filling up both Katie’s truck and mine substantially.  It was sad for Katie since she likes Daniel’s family and they feel the same about her.  Extended families are usually an unfortunate casualty when relationships end.

So as we were getting towards the end of the loading process I noticed the door on Katie’s Dodge was wide open.  Not wanting mosquitoes or other undesirables to get into the cab, I closed the door for her.  As we were ready to leave I heard Katie say her keys were locked in the truck.  WTF?  So she asked who closed the door, I told her I did.  Well evidently Katie left her keys in the truck which would be fine except evidently Daniel’s step mom for some odd reason had hit the door lock button while the door was left open.  Of course I didn’t check the lock status before I pushed the door closed.

I was frustrated at the situation.  Daniel had another set of keys but was not home.  Cindy got on the phone with USAA to get someone out to unlock the car.  My frustration demanded I do something to try to rectify the problem.  I did a quick internet search on technique to pop the lock.  After finding a wire hangar I bent a crude hook into one end and made my first attempt at being a car thief.

I spent a good 20 minutes futzing around, trying to blindly snag the door lock mechanism between the window and weatherstripping.  By the time the lock guy showed up I was still in there digging around.  I don’t give up easily.  The professional used a technique I saw before online.  He used a plastic wedge to make a little space on the top of the door, enough to squeeze a thin rubber bladder in between the door and the frame.  He then pumped the bladder with a handheld inflator, similar to a blood pressure cuff rig.  This created just enough of a gap that he could insert a long fiberglass pole inside that he used to activate the door lock button. I told him I wanted to get a set of those tools for an emergency.  He said they restrict who they will sell them to for obvious reasons.

So finally we were on the road headed home.  When we got there I lugged the large items to the small shed while the boxes and smaller items got piled in the garage to be sorted and put away.  Katie is hoping to have a garage sale soon to get rid of the stuff that was hers but she no longer really needs.  I was happy to have her stuff totally under one roof so Katie can now work on getting some stability to plan whatever her next step will be.

I don’t harbor any ill will towards Daniel either.  He is a young kid just trying to find his way.  When I was 20 I had no idea what the hell I really wanted and had even less idea about how to be successful in relationships.  I am hoping having Katie in our household will allow some of the stability and calm to help her refocus and move forward.

Last night Elsa had an unexpected bathroom incident where she squatted right in front of the couch where Cindy and Katie were sitting and peed.  Cindy instantly yelled at her and Elsa reacted by jumping on top of me as I was laying on the other sofa.  I am not sure if this was her reaction to having two other dogs thrust into her living space but it is a behavior we need to correct immediately.  Elsa is a very sweet, cute, and loving dog.  Unfortunately she is also very neurotic at times which is going to require a lot of long term patience.

15134600_1350134178333166_1180302084294928777_nSo Cindy and I officially transitioned from fostering to adopting Elsa, even though that was pretty much determined from day one.  The girl that runs the rescue was at our house when I got home verifying Elsa was in a good situation which did not take long to do.  We had a good day from a housebreaking perspective with no accidents in the house all day yesterday.  Elsa made up for it this morning.

So as soon as we wake up Cindy takes her outside.  Elsa immediately pee’d and came immediately back inside. The routine we have gotten into is after Elsa eats breakfast Cindy takes her back out for a number two.  Well as I was on my computer catching up on email while eating my breakfast I heard a scratching noise in the dining room.  I look over and see that Elsa had just finished up taking a dump in front of the two unicycles that charge there.  I immediately yelled and Cindy came scrambling up in disbelief since she hadn’t even fed Elsa breakfast yet.

So it was disappointing that we still do not seem to be able to make her understand this is not acceptable behavior.  Well as I was putting on my shoes to leave for work I saw Elsa put an exclamation point on the problem.  There was a big puddle of urine right near the area rug in the great room.  Wow.  I was under the impression that she was more or less house broken already.  It looks like we have to start the process all over again.

I mentioned the other day how much different my Thanksgiving holiday is this year, not having to worry about timing a 3,000 plus participant holiday race.  That feeling has continued to grow as we get closer to the big day.  In the past the day before Thanksgiving meant me leaving work early in the afternoon to go to packet pickup where I started to work on the reams of paper entries I had to get into the system.  The work would extend well into the night where I also had to get the truck fully loaded with equipment so we could pull out of the driveway at something crazy like 4AM.  When I would try to fall asleep the night before I would struggle as multiple mental checklists were floating around in my head that I couldn’t turn off.

The morning of the race was always one big blur where the scene goes from quiet to a mob scene in the span of 20 minutes.  The ever present sense of chaos was always just under the surface, only loosely controlled at best.  Of course a good chunk of this sense of chaos and disorganization came from areas that I did not have responsibility for or control of which added frustration into the whirling tub of emotions.  When the race was finally over the sigh of relief was prolonged but was quickly followed by the dread of knowing I would be repeating the process, on a smaller scale, over the next few months.

To say I am relieved this scenario is no longer the case would be a severe understatement.  I look back at that hamster wheel I was on and wonder how I did it for so long.  I guess the answer lies in my people pleasing personality and my sense of responsibility to the runners that participated in the races.  I took executing my part of their race experience seriously, always trying to act as I would want someone else to if I was the one running the race.  It feels great to now be able to look out over the horizon and not see the dark clouds of future races always hanging low in the skies.

My Thanksgiving is actually still going to involve a race but as a participant, not a timer.  Ironically Cindy and I will be running in the holiday race that the running club broke away from four years ago, The Gobble Gobble.  That split, which involved some Iraq WMD level deception was the turning point in my time with the club.  It was definitely where things started to go downhill, accelerating on the way down.  It will be nice to get face to face again with some of the local running crowd, most of which I have not seen at all since my exit from the club race scene at the end of January.

I am looking forward to a fun four day weekend.