So I because of my stinging brush burns from One Wheeling and left over soreness from dead lifting during the week I allowed myself a one week respite from running. It was nice to not wake up with the 6AM alarm but I couldn’t help but feel guilty for not being out there and putting in my slow and miserable laps.  It’s almost like a rite of passage.

I had hoped to get the mowing all knocked out in the morning but heavy rain the previous two days had left the property with massive standing water, delaying that task.  I did get the weeding done and Cindy and I worked on Lucy, the hen with the bad wing. Cindy and I were not looking forward to trying to drain the huge swollen area under her wing.  Out of all of our chickens Lucy is the most fearful of us, by far.  She is also the only hen that we didn’t raise from baby chick age.

We thought trying to hold her still to work on the problem would be near impossible.  Well after some tag team effort we were able to get a hold of Lucy.  As scared as she is of us, once you actually hold her she almost does a complete 180 and is very passive.  Well to work on the area we really needed to have the hen belly up.  I could hardly believe it when Cindy flipped Lucy on her back, handed her to me, and she stayed put.   She looked incredibly comfortable in the position which I couldn’t believe.

What was more incredible was when Cindy started poking the blood/puss filled area with a needle Lucy didn’t flinch at all.  At times she was half closing her eyes, she almost seemed to be enjoying the experience which was bizarre.  Unfortunately the small gauge needle wasn’t able to make much progress in draining the area but Cindy was able to get some gunk out. When we did the same procedure on Sunday with a bigger gauge needle she was nearly as calm until we finally hit a spot that must have hurt that sent her flying.  We hope to keep at it to at least get her some relief, there must be some sort of infection going on.

The intense sun during the day made a little progress on the standing water, enough that I decided to mow.  I couldn’t get everything but I was able to knock down 90% using max deck height when cutting through areas that still had some low water on the ground.  The tractor becomes an absolute mess when mowing in these conditions but it is the price you pay when living in a summertime bog.

On Saturday night Cindy and I got out to see Ant Man & The Wasp.  The Ant Man series doesn’t generate nearly the same level of excitement for me as the top tier Marvel films do but I liked the original.  I thought the sequel was equally good for a solid B+ rating.  Be sure to stay for the bonus clips, it will answer a question that likely was on your mind the entire movie.

Sunday morning I was anxious to get out on my One Wheel.  Cindy had her own stuff to do so I headed out solo, which I sometimes prefer since I can go wherever I want to go for as long as I care to.  I did indeed go long, at least 11 miles on the board, almost double my longest ride to date.  I did well on the ride with only one skin dissolving incident where I had a bad dismount.  The only negative I have with the board is it isn’t the best device for open road cruising because of the speed cap.  Despite having a posted 19mph top speed, it starts throttling you at 15 mph.  The end result was I was riding the majority of the ride with “pushback” where the board raises it’s front nose to let you know to slow down.

During the afternoon I finally got around to installing “float plates” and a fender on my board.  I realized that the fender would have prevented me a bunch of pain.  All of my brush burns are the end result of my leg hitting the top half of the exposed huge rubber tire during falls.  The fender totally eliminates that situation.  I think the wheel looks cooler without it but I’ll take a less hip appearance over not ripping my skin off any day.  It’s been a week now and the brush burns on my legs are still not close to healed.

During the video I admitted that I had not ridden any of my EUC’s since I got the One Wheel.  I thought it funny when a commentor said that he thinks I am not a “core EUC” guy as a result.    I asked him to review my channel.  In the last two years I may have posted more EUC content than almost anyone on the internet.  The One Wheel is a new challenge and that challenge just happens to be getting the most of my attention.

Later in the day I tried something really challenging, riding the One Wheel around our backyard, at least the areas that were dry enough to do so.  Wow it was tough, requiring infinitely more effort than smooth open road riding.  I had to run off the board a few times but I didn’t hit the ground.  I think doing this sort of riding will be the way to build my skill level the quickest.

I finally pulled the trigger on ordering a new phone yesterday.  The replacement battery I put in my iPhone 6 several months ago already is going south and my screen developed a bright white spot awhile ago that I have just been living with.  I didn’t take the route I always have in the past, upgrading to whatever the latest version Apple had available.  Instead I ordered a lowly iPhone 6S as my new phone, only an incremental upgrade over what I have.  My reasoning was simple, I like having a headphone jack that doesn’t require a dongle, a home button and I don’t really need a bigger screen that does face recognition.  I don’t care about turning myself into an animal emoji.  A 6S will do everything I need and will allow me to reuse the awesome case that Cindy bought me for my iPhone 6 at the holidays.  Having an iPhone X would do nothing to increase my quality of life except cost me double what the 6S will.  I must be getting old.

 

So last night I dug into the tractor.  I had ordered a replacement front wheel bearing as my axle cap work revealed the wheel was flopping around on the shaft.  When I took the wheel off and was looking at my replacement bearing I originally thought I ordered the wrong part.  The new bearing was too big for the hole it needed to go in.  I needed a visual reference for how it should be so I pulled the axle cap and wheel from the other wheel to take a look.    What I realized is the bearing is made of two sections, an inner bearing and an outer shell.  On the bad side I realized that just the inner bearing had disintegrated, the outer part of the bearing was still in place.

I had to come up with a way to get the remaining part of the old bearing out of the wheel.  I grabbed my big metal centerpunch and a hammer.  After flipping the wheel upside down and giving it a few solid shots the old bearing popped out onto the floor.  Installing the replacement simply required flipping the wheel back over and driving in the new part using a 2×4 to avoid damaging it.  After putting everything back together the front tires both actually pointed in the same direction for the first time in awhile.

I then turned my attention to the deck wheel that had evidently fallen off during last week’s mowing session.  I found the wheel in the yard but not the bolt used to attach it.  I hoped I would be able to find a suitable replacement in my large collection of mismatched fastener hardware but struck out.  That repair will have to wait until I can get another carriage bolt at Home Depot on my way home. If it wasn’t raining lightly I would have considered getting the mowing started but I also had some indoor stuff to get knocked out so I thought better of it.

I had a rough session at the gym yesterday, reaggravating that area on my right side that I first started having problems with a year or two ago doing dragon flags.  It’s a sharp pain that seems to come up during very high exertion movements.  As I said, it first happened doing dragon flags but I also had it happen doing deadlifts.  Yesterday it came on between doing full stack shoulder press reps on a Cybex machine and weighted pull ups.  The pain was enough that I cut the weight training short and just jumped on a cardio machine instead.  Old age is awesome.

Lucy, our oldest chicken has been having an issue with her one wing.  She has been carrying it low for several weeks.  If a chicken carries both wings low that can be a sign of disease but for Lucy it is just the one side and she has been acting normal otherwise, being as nervous and distrustful of us as she always has been.  Cindy felt under the affected wing and said she felt some swelling.  We are worried that she hurt the joint somehow, maybe falling off the perch or something.  We are going to try to get a better look at it to see if there is anything we can do, possibly aspirating the swollen area to give her some relief.  We also have to attend to Pumpkin who has a huge boulder of poop hanging off her back end.  Being a chicken caretaker is a very glamorous profession.

This weekend my major chores are knocking out the mowing and weeding.   We are going to get out to the movies tomorrow night and I hope to get plenty of time to work on my One Wheel skills.    Hopefully rain is only a minor occurrence over that time period.  So far, although we have had standing water, we have had enough breaks in the pounding to allow it to recede back into the ground after a day or so.

 

 

 

So a combination of things have me walking around like a geriatric person currently.  The nasty scrapes on my shin are healing and as they do the scabs become tight and tender.  This is combined with massive soreness from squatting and deadlifting for the first time in close to two months on Tuesday.  I had taken a break from it to let the knee pain I was feeling subside.  The time off from the movements helped with the knee pain.  Ironically the time off also means massive all over pain which is normal for me when I resume either of this exercises after anything more than a two week break.  I kept my reps and numbers low and still got whacked hard.

Last night I got out in the driveway a little with the One Wheel and Cindy joined me.  Up until then she only tried the board indoors shortly after I got it.  This was her first open riding experience.  Her first couple mounts she did by the Prius to be safe.  By the end of the brief session she was able to mount and dismount in open space and do some turning.  It will be cool to see how fast she progresses.

Image result for Husqvarna YT42DXL (42") 22HP Kohler Lawn TractorTonight I am hoping to do yet another small tractor repair, installing a bearing in one of the front wheels, an axle cap, and reattaching a deck wheel that appears to have fallen off at some point.  I have already identified what my next tractor will be, a 42 inch Husqrvarna with a welded deck as opposed to the thin and shitty stamped decks that pretty much every other 42 inch mower comes with.  I have had the stamped deck fall apart on every mower I have owned in Florida.  I would rather spend a couple hundred more up front and get something that will hold up long term.

 

 

So I continued my investigation last night into why I no longer had internet out at the chicken coop.  I did some more physical inspection of the cable in the coop area as well as the path it takes in the yard. I could not find any signs of physical damage which was good.  I then grabbed my laptop and headed into the attic, where the outside cable connects to indoor wiring.

This was the first time I had been in the attic since the roof was replaced.  I was AMAZED at the temperature.  Granted the sun was not out at the time but even so, with our old shingle roof the attic was ALWAYS a sauna.  It felt absolutely fine up there, no hotter than the garage below which was great.  It was also weird seeing ambient light in the attic from the three large roof vents on the north side of the roof.  I’m used to the space normally being pitch dark.

I got busy with my trouble shooting.  I got excited when I unhooked the outdoor cable and plugged it into my laptop and got a link light, meaning the outdoor cable was working, a big relief.  The problem was in the run that goes from the attic to the office.  I did some trouble shooting of that line but wasn’t able to quickly determine the issue.  If I were to guess, probably one of the ethernet ends that I installed when the house was built was flaky and not making good connection anymore.  Instead of diving into figuring that out I took a much faster approach, using a CAT 5 line that was connected to the TV in the bedroom, which isn’t really necessary.  Once I connected that line to the coop wire everything was back to normal.  It felt good as I exited the attic knowing the problem was fixed without having to deal with the buried line, which would have been a huge headache.

I did find a little time to get out on my One Wheel, despite some light rain coming down.  I just stayed in the driveway practicing slow maneuvers and most importantly, stopping/disengaging the board which I have struggled with.   I successfully stopped at least a dozen times with no failures.  I didn’t fall or have to jump off the board the entire time.  I’m excited about my progress and am looking forward to Cindy feeling good enough to start getting back on the board to show me how it’s really done.

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.

 

Despite having two One Wheel injuries on my right toe/ankle I drug myself out of bed to run on Saturday morning.  It’s no point reiterating how warm, muggy and uncomfortable it is running this time of year.  That situation likely won’t change until October at the earliest.  I plugged away, completing the 3.4 mile distance at a very mundane pace, similar to recent efforts.

When I got home Cindy, who had pulled her back badly, had done the chicken chores, despite me prodding her not to.  Since I got all the grass mowed on the 4th I didn’t have to dedicate three hours plus of my morning to it.  Instead I just knocked out the weeding.  Once I was done we jumped in the truck to go help our friend Deb move a couple pieces of furniture she was given into her condo.  In the process we also picked up a ton of Deb’s old fitness materials that she was giving to Cindy.  Deb is a lifelong fitness trainer but no longer does it as a primary career.

So once we got back it was nice, I didn’t have a big list of things I felt that needed to be done at the moment.  So I turned my attention to the OneWheel.  I already reached into my 3D hobby to support my new wheel, designing a stand for it.  I wasn’t quite sure if a 3d printed piece would be strong enough for the job but I designed the part with a lot of infill for strength.  So far it seems great.

So anyway I wanted to build on my mostly successful riding in the driveway by taking a drive over to the school, the place I did the majority of my early EUC training at.  Outside of about 30 seconds of the ride, I did great, able to ride around doing basic maneuvers pretty comfortably.  So back to those 30 seconds….

In total I had three different falls during the ride that sent me to the ground.  The first one stripped large chunks of skin off my shin when I tried to stop and disengage the board unsuccessfully..  However it was the second fall that was most concerning.

I had just driven by the camera that I had stationed on the ground.  I was trying to do a relatively tight 180 degree turn to come back.  As I did so I got too much lean forward on my toes.  In a split second my body reacted and I lurched back to catch myself.  My motions were amplified by the board and it rocked back and forth rapidly.  The motion was enough to send me falling but not forward as all of my EUC falls had been.  Instead I fell directly back like slipping on ice as the board shot out from under me.  The back of my head hit the parking lot hard, very hard.  If I was not wearing a helmet who knows what sort of damage would have been done.

I got up slowly, a bit in shock.  My initial physical assessment was my neck was instantly sore but otherwise I felt intact.  I took a few minutes to collect myself.  The fall was legitimately scary but I reminded myself that is why I am wearing the gear to help mitigate that damage.  After a few more deep breaths I was back on the board and rolling around.

My third fall which came at the very end of the ride was another unsuccessful dismount.  This again resulted in me falling backwards with head impact with the ground albeit significantly less than the last time.  The video I shot tells the story.  Still, even with those bad moments, overall I am really enjoying the challenge of riding the board and think I am making solid progress.

Of course when I told Cindy about my incidents she was concerned.  I totally expected to wake up with a locked up neck on Sunday but it was just sore.  The muscles in the front of my neck are the most painful as they must have contracted strongly as I went down to try to minimize the speed of impact with the ground.  We had plans to go see Ant Man Saturday night but because of Cindy’s back pain and my neck pain we decided to push it off until next weekend.

Sunday morning started out fine.  When I went out to the chicken area to clean I heard gurgling.  It was the sound of the pump I set back up in the chicken yard sucking air.  In less than 24 hours, combined with a day without rain, the water level behind the coop had dropped significantly.  After paying my bills Cindy and I headed out, again with Elsa in tow.

Cindy’s back was still too tweaked to ride a PEV but she brought along some work to do.  The plan was for me to park at North Collier and ride around there for awhile while she hung out with Elsa.  Elsa LOVES rides where she is not required to leave the vehicle.

Despite my falls on Saturday I was eager to get back at it and see how well I could handle the varied paths and terrain at the park.  I had a great time on the 6.5 mile ride with no falls.  I had several unsuccessful dismounts but none of them resulted in my hitting the ground.  I’m really enjoying the process of learning another physical skill and being rewarded with slow but definitive progress as I keep working.

Sunday afternoon I was involved with various things.  Once of those was getting Cindy set up out in her RV.  It was hot as hell so she needed the AC.  After popping the house circuit breaker twice trying to do it I instead just pulled out the big generator that could run the RV with ease.

Later in the afternoon I told Cindy I was going to do something I never do, hang in the pool.  I can’t tell you exactly the last time was that I floated around in the pool for a period of more than 5 minutes.  Cindy joined me along with a few “noodles” for flotation.  I’m not sure how long we were in but it was long enough that my fingertips started to shrivel.

Oh I neglected to mention the very first project of the weekend that happened on Friday evening.  I stopped at Home Depot and loaded up on another $100 worth of dirt and sod.  I wanted to extend “Chicken Island” behind the coop to give the birds more dry land to hang as wet season continually submerges their surroundings.  I almost doubled the size of the the grassy retreat.  It’s high enough to outlast pretty much any high water situation.

Sunday night I had my second EUC live stream with Marty.  We pushed the starting time back to 8 EST to work out better with Marty’s west coast geography.  The stream lasted almost two hours.  I think it went pretty well although there are times I struggle with what to say.  We also had some technical difficulties on both sides at times that we worked through.  We had 30+ people tuned in almost the entire broadcast and the feedback we have received thus far has been pretty positive.

I awoke this morning sleepy, sore, and ready to tackle a new work reality where the HUGE application conersion project is now something behind us instead of hanging over us.  So far, so good.

 

 

 

So the battery I had installed in the Prius roughly a month ago has been giving me problems.  At least a half dozen times the red triangle of death has returned.  At first it was a couple weeks between the light coming on and then a couple days, and then nearly every day.  I was carrying my code reader in the Prius.  Every time the light came on I would read the code and then clear it.  Unlike the original failure, the car continued to drive normally even with the warning light.

So obviously this was not acceptable long term and since I have a one year warranty on the replacement I contacted battery4prius.com and sent them a picture of the warning light with the error code on my reader.  They gave me no hassle and said they would send back out the same kid and his dad that installed the replacement.

They had to drive through torrential rain, as I did to get there.  I parked the Prius in the garage so they wouldn’t have to possibly work in the rain.  They pulled up in a 2nd gen Prius this time with battery4prius signage on the side, last time he was driving a Civic.  I didn’t see a battery in the back of their car.  When I asked him about it he said they were actually going to swap the battery from their car into my car.  He knows that pack is good.  Wow, I wasn’t expecting that but whatever, as long as it works.

Jonathan and his dad were like Prius battery tornadoes, in the about an hour they had swapped the batteries between the two vehicles and I was good to go.  I can only hope this is the end of my Prius battery woes for at least until I am ready to move onto something else.

As I mentioned we had another HORRIBLE few hours of rain.  When I came home the front yard looked like it did after the hurricane, almost totally submerged.  The property was a total mess.  The transformation in a span of less than 24 hours was pretty shocking.  The one bright spot was the elevated area I constructed for the chickens in their yard seems to be performing just as I hoped.  Even with nothing but water elsewhere, that 10′ x  20′ section is safely above the water line by 6 inches or more.

So because of the shitty rain I didn’t get to practice outside on the One Wheel as I hoped.  Well a little after 8:30 the rain had stopped so I decided I would go outside and just stay on the driveway, the spot I cut my teeth on EUC training.  Very early in the process I had a hilarious (in retrospect) series of events that was partially caught on the front security camera.  I was on the angled portion of the driveway, perpendicular to it.

I was feeling a bit shaky and had been having issues doing a proper stop where you raise the heel of your lead foot to disengage a pressure sensor, which turns off the motor.  I decided to use the other beginner technique of dismounting, simply hop off the board with both feet at once which should instantly kill the board.  So I hop off, look down and see the board is not only still balancing, it has started to roll away from me, quickly.

So if we didn’t just have a massive rain event, this wouldn’t have been a huge deal as the board was directed onto the grass and down the hill.  However last night, at the bottom of this hill was a huge area of standing water, oh shit.  In a millisecond my body reacted, forgetting that it is 50 years old and filled with various aches, pains, and ailments.  I took off like a rocket after the board and accelerated when I realized it was not going to stop.  As I saw the board heading off into a watery grave I did the only thing I could, a Pete Rose, head first dive onto the wet grass that allowed me to just barely snag the end of the board just as it reached the high water.  I wish the whole thing was in the field of view of the camera, it had to look absolutely ridiculous.

So after allowing myself a minute or two for the adrenaline to settle down I resumed my practice.  Having the entire driveway felt good compared to the narrow confines of the house.  I didn’t feel rock solid but I didn’t feel awful either.  I used a tip that helped me a lot with EUC riding, looking where I was going instead of down at the board, it helped.  I did a bunch of up and back loops in the driveway and even ventured onto the road and into the neighbors driveway, without a fall or crash.  The wet ground was a reminder why a fender for a One Wheel is a good idea.  I was getting sprayed with misty dirt/sand the entire time.  By the time I was done the wheel was too dirty to bring inside, I just left it in the garage. The ride confirmed that I am already past the most awful part of riding that was so painful with EUCs.  Once you can roll and turn slowly, things normally progress pretty well from there.

This weekend I don’t have to worry about grass maintenance since it was all done on Wednesday.  I hope to get some prolonged One Wheel practice in, hopefully with Cindy participating.  I am really curious to see how she does on it outdoors based on her prior considerable skateboarding experience.  I can only hope that we somehow manage to avoid the daily thunderstorms for a few days to allow the ground to swallow the standing water that lays on top of it.

Here is a video of my initial indoor One Wheel experience.

 

 

So I had a rough plan on how my 4th of July was going to go.  I wanted to bust ass in the morning getting ALL of the property weed whacked and mowed.  The rest of the day would then be available to do fun stuff like practice riding the One Wheel.  Unfortunately ever since we got Elsa, fireworks are no longer part of our celebration plans.  Leaving her alone while we went to go see fireworks somewhere would be absolutely terrifying for Elsa, as homegrown fireworks in our area would be going off constantly.  Just the sound of a single blast is enough to start her shaking in fear.

So anyway after taking care of the chicken maintenance and eating breakfast I headed outside to do battle with the yard.  As I was sweating profusely, getting caked with grass clippings, I thought to myself how it has been nice that we are into July and still have not had that awful prolonged standing water that Cindy and I loathe.  I worked close to four hours outside until handing off the tractor duties to Cindy who mowed the back half of the yard.  When she finished up we both commented on just how awesome everything looked.

When I came inside I had to deal with work stuff.  On Tuesday we had a minor disaster when our main data circuit to our remote offices failed, on the second day of our new cloud based back end system.  I spent the entire day Tuesday scrambling to come up with workarounds to address it, which I finally did.  The circuit was repaired on Wednesday so I had to undo the workarounds I had put in place.

So mid-afternoon I was ready to resume my One Wheel practice outdoors.  The only riding I had done was in the main living space which is dangerous for both me and the contents of the house, as I proved later.  So just as I was gearing up to go outside it started to rain.  Ok, I figured it would be a quick hitting downpour so I ungeared and fired up WoW for a bit.  Well instead of letting up a full fledged monsoon blew in.  We had horrible, pounding rain with high winds for a couple hours.

Remember what I said about how nice it was that we did not have Noah’s Ark type flooding on the property so far this summer?  Well you can scratch that.  The yard quickly transformed into a bog after the storm.  I was glad we got all the mowing done but immediately frustrated that the yard, that looked nearly perfect a few hours prior was now littered with ponds.

So anyway, my only option if I wanted to practice the One Wheel was to do it indoors once again.  I felt better and more confident than my initial experience Monday night.  In goofy foot stance I didn’t have nearly the same amount of shaking as before and I was able to mount and dismount without holding anything.  I had the GoPro running when I was demonstrating my adeptness at dismounting when this happened.

 

The impact of the wheel against the TV cabinet left a nice black plastic mark on the one door.  An earlier incident where the wheel again got away from me put a small crack on the laminate side surface of the island.  Obviously I should not be practicing indoors but I really wanted to at least do something to help my learning curve progress.  The fall above also took another hunk of skin off, this time on my right ankle.  Despite the mishaps I kept plugging away.  Before I called it quits I was rolling back and forth from the front door to the the rear slider pretty smoothly.  I even managed to do a loop around the kitchen island without grabbing anything for additional support.

So in a strange way I wish the rain would have continued as night arrived.  The reason is it would hopefully quell the home fireworks that so many people in our area find so enjoyable.  My attitude on fireworks is one of many things that have done a total 180 over the years.  I used to think they were incredibly cool and exciting.  Now, especially now with how terrified they make Elsa, I look on them with disdain. If I am being honest, I now feel somewhat negatively of people that feel the need to put on their own personal fireworks show because of their lack of thought/concern on how it affects others around them. Unfortunately the house next door was one of these people.

Because of the proximity the noise really scared Elsa, she was huddled under my desk most of the night.  I played WoW, the sounds of the game, which she is very used to helped drown out some of the explosions around us.  I realized that it was 4th of July, people are going to shoot off fireworks.  Complaining about it is like complaining the sky is blue, it’s just the way it is.

However as we laid in bed, sometime after 11 we heard some additional loud fireworks going off next door.  I believe there is some sort of noise ordinance that requires loud noises to cease at 11PM. Ordinance or not, common sense should dictate that firing off fireworks that late on a weeknight was out of line, inconsiderate, and irresponsible.   The noise not only scared Elsa but shook me from my drifting to sleep stage.  Cindy shot up and went outside to see if she she caught them doing it and would verbally warn them for doing so.  Fortunately there was no more explosions.  If there were, I had already laid out the mental plan for throwing on a pair of shorts, my boots and stomping across the soggy yard and requesting a cessation to the behavior in a undeniably unfriendly manner.

I finally managed to fall asleep and got up this morning feeling groggy, sore, and annoyed, what’s new….

 

 

 

 

So as I mentioned before I have been very interested in dipping my toe into the world of One Wheel for a couple weeks.  I have been reading, watching videos, and gathering information from all over the place.  My desire to get one was held in check by the fact that the model I want, the XR, is back ordered and takes at least a month, if not two to receive when ordered.

Well yesterday for some reason I found myself on the dealer locator page of the One Wheel web site.  After punching in my zip code I surprisingly discovered the Ron Jon Surf Shop in Fort Myers was actually a One Wheel retailer.  I knew it was pointless but just for the hell of it I called them up to see if they had any boards in stock.  I was in disbelief when they said, YES.  They had JUST received two of the XR units, wow.

After asking the price and confirming they sell them for the same amount as the web site I felt like this was almost divine intervention.  Nobody has these boards right now yet I just happened to stumble across a local source for one.  I told Cindy about my find and told her I’d like to go up there right after work to snag one of the two boards before they were gone.  Cindy was not enthusiastic about the plan but relented.  I assured her I would get home asap.

The ride up there  went through some absolutely torrential rain that slowed down my arrival by quite a bit.  The arrival was further delayed by the GPS taking me to the wrong section of Gulf Coast Town Center.  After a second phone call to Ron Jon I got my directions straight.  I fast walked into the store and told them I wanted an XR, they sales guy said, “cooooool” as he walked to the back to grab it.  I completed the transaction and put my new life experience challenge in the back of the Prius.

When I got home I just placed the box against the wall and didn’t even open it.  I knew Cindy was still skeptical of my decision so I didn’t want to make a big deal about it.  We ate dinner and watched some X1 content before I even turned my attention to the One Wheel.  When I got the board out I could immediately get a sense of the tank-like construction everyone talks about.  It feels like it is ready to do battle.  I was also surprised it came with a fully charged battery, every EUC I ever bought came with the battery at 20% or less out of the box.

So while Cindy was in the bedroom I decided I would just do something real simple, get on the board.  Although I have seen many instructions for how to do this the first time, tips like wear proper gear, do it outside, and hold onto something, I ignored pretty much all of it.  In my bare feet, in the middle of the great room, with nothing to hold onto, I tried bringing the board up into balancing position.  As soon as the electronics activated I developed a front back wobble that sent the front of the board down.  With a One Wheel, dropping the nose means accelerate.  So that is what the wheel did, sending me hopping off in the process.

The board immediately shut off as soon as I came off but made a hell of a racket which sent Cindy running into the room, worried that a major crash happened.  I told her I was fine and the board was fine.  I immediately got back up on the board, this time while holding onto Cindy’s shoulders.  After a few seconds I was able to release from her and get a sense of how the balance feels with this type of set up.  When I successfully dismounted I looked down and noticed drops of blood on the floor that lead to a pool of blood on the board that lead to the side of my right big toe.  Evidently when I came off the very abrasive grip tape took a sizeable chunk of toe skin with it.

The bleeding was pretty substantial so we had to stop and get it under control.  I held a paper towel on the wound until Cindy arrived with a band aid.  The band aid very quickly became saturated with blood so I applied a second one on top of it to tide me over until going to bed.

So while I was on the sidelines Cindy got up on the board.  Despite her initial reaction to my purchase, she was very curious and sort of excited by the One Wheel.  You see Cindy has a skateboarding background as a kid, something I only toyed with.  When I started getting into EUCs Cindy expressed interest in the One Wheel.  I wasn’t all that interested at the time because spec-wise it was far inferior to many EUCs in terms of speed and range.  Well with the new XR model those specs have improved drastically.

So anyway Cindy got up and balancing on the board pretty easily and before long was slowly making her way around the great room/kitchen with minimal balance assist.  She said she really liked it and that THIS was something she could really be excited about riding, something she never really felt with electric unicycles.  I got on afterward and did some more slow movements as well as getting off and on.  I’m not 100% positive but I think I am a “goofy” foot rider, meaning I ride with my left foot back instead of my right.  I need to do some more testing.  Because of the cross wired way my body is as far as side dominance goes, I’m just not sure which style will work best for me for control.  I am technically right footed but I think my left leg is actually stronger and I mount and dismount an EUC as a left footed person would.

I can tell immediately that riding a One Wheel will involve more total body engagement than an EUC does once I become at least basically capable of riding it. I think it will be very interesting contrasting and comparing my learning experience on the electric unicycle to what goes down on the One Wheel.  Right now I feel very stiff and unsure of myself, just like I did with EUCs, however my past experience makes me confident that with some determination and practice (and shoes), I can conquer this physical challenge, despite Father Time pulling at my feet.

I had one of those weekends where I spent a good portion of it feeling frustrated and annoyed.  There are times when I get into this mode and it is very hard for me to shake.  Luckily I had some Zima on hand to help reverse those negative feelings.

I got my run in again on Saturday morning.  It was again a run that was held in stifling humidity and temps hovering around 80, at 6:30 in the morning.  I survived and ran a little quicker than the week before so that is a win.

I had a number of small tasks I wanted to get done in addition to my normal Saturday morning duties.  One of them was taking apart the downspout connected to the super gutter that runs along the pool cage.  For awhile Cindy and I noticed during hard rain water would be backing way up the pipe, spilling out the seams.

Then I disconnected the downspout and felt the weight of it, the problem became obvious.  The irrigation tube I buried over 15 years ago had slowly filled with debris.  That debris had gotten to the point where it was backing up into the downspout itself.  I took each section apart and cleaned it out.  I have no way to clean out the buried irrigation tube so I came up with an alternative route for the water which spills out onto a section of the yard that is well secured with thick grass so erosion shouldn’t be a problem.

We went to Home Depot later to grab a few things including a new toilet seat for the guest bathroom.  The soft close mechanism in the existing seat had failed, resulting in a lot of unintended slamming when using the facilities.  When picking out the replacement seat I made sure to get an oblong model because I remembered when I replaced the original I picked out the wrong style of seat. (oblong/circle)  You can imagine my happiness when we got home and I realized that once again, I picked the wrong size seat.  We actually have a round bowl, not oblong.  I went to Home Depot a second time during the afternoon to correct my mistake.

During the afternoon Cindy and I went to the school with the two MiniPros in the trunk.  I wanted to document the difference between a regular unit and a unit that has had oversized tires installed.  As I was setting up the gear Cindy hopped on the Monster Minipro and said it felt weird.  I got on it and felt the same weirdness.  It turns out the weirdness was because the one tire no longer had air in it.  This was annoying, since we paid to have it installed.  I asked Cindy to run home to grab the pump so I could reinflate the tire.

When she returned after a lot of pumping and no inflating I realized that the problem was the tire was no longer seated on it’s bead.  Any air I was pumping in was coming out instantly.  I gave up on manually pumping, as my frustration level was off the charts.  It managed to inch up a couple more spots when I wasted money at the gas station trying to pump the tire up as well only to discover the pump didn’t appear to be working correctly.  Once we got home I attacked the issue again, using my air compressor.  By the time I was done failing I was a sweaty, smelly mess and just miserable.  I told Cindy she would need to take it back to the bike shop to get the tire mounted again, if it cost me more money I didn’t care.

Saturday night we stayed home and watched Ghost in the Shell, a movie Cindy decided she hated before it even started.  Evidently it got bad reviews but I normally don’t do that much research before adding titles to my Netflix DVD queue.  Well to be fair, it was a pretty bad movie but I have definitely seen worse.  You do get to see Scarlett Johannson in a body suit quite a bit and the special effects were pretty wild.  Overall though I really can’t recommend the movie, it’s pretty dumb with a C- grade from me.

After watching a number of videos regarding reseating the bead of a tire I decided to take one more crack at the Minipro on Sunday morning.  I saw various techniques including some that sounded a bit dangerous where you spray the inside of the tire with carb cleaner and then ignite it with a lighter to pop the tire onto the rim.   I used a non-combustive method where I used a ratchet strap that I affixed around the middle of the tire.  I cranked it down tight to force the edge of the tire onto the wheel.  I then hit it hard with air pressure.  I got very excited when I felt the tire expand under my hand.

I jumped a bit when after releasing the strap the tire made a loud pop as it snapped all the way onto the rim.   When I checked the tire pressure initially it was double what the maximum rated PSI is supposed to be, whoops.  I walked in and triumphantly told Cindy I got the tire back on.  She agreed to head back to the school with me to do the testing for real this time.

The testing went well.  We confirmed that the bigger tires help top speed and clearance.  We also realized that riding without fenders is a safety hazard because without them you can easily press your feet inadvertently against the large spinning tires.  You can see the full result of the test below.

I decompressed a good portion of the remainder of the weekend getting lost in WoW.  It helped bring my mood back to a more even keel.

I have a hell week at work as we launch the new cloud based solution that will replace the majority of our back end systems.  We have been working on this goal for over 18 months.  To have all that work come to fruition is a good thing.