I was thinking the other day about how reality has changed since Covid 19 became commonplace in our daily lives. All around the world you have seen varying reactions to the restrictions, closures and outright bans that have occurred as a result. Some people seem absolutely enraged by the idea of not being able to freely do whatever they feel like doing, regardless of circumstance or repercussions. Others are 180 degrees in the opposite direction, cowering in fear of the virus and continuing to live a life in isolation as much as possible.
Cindy and I were not living a life that included tons of social interactions prior to the pandemic so the impact has been moderate. For me the biggest things I miss are being able to freely head out for a dinner/movie date without hesitation. The disappearance of events that include large groups of people is a bit of a bummer as well. Things like Supercon, that Cindy and I have attended multiple times will be off the menu for who knows how long.
The other impact for me personally is the ability of Covid 19 to disrupt professional sports, especially the only one I actually care about, NFL football. The only other restriction I feel sad about is travel related, specifically cruises. I had a lot of fun with Cindy doing our quick cruise for her 50th birthday, so much so that we almost did another one for my birthday in December. I can’t even see a timeline where going on a cruise will be feasible in the near future.
Like everyone I look forward to the day that these things are once again on the menu but I think the new normal is going to fundamentally change the way we interact with the world for good.
For many years now I have had various complaints physically about injuries and illness as I have aged. Aches and pains would come and go but for the most part they were short lived and I still had the core functionality to do basic strength moves like squat, dead lift, and bench press while keeping up more or less with running as well. I would hear and see people in my age range that were in much worse condition than I was complaining about not being in shape and then rattling off a long list of excuses for that being so. For the most part I dismissed the excuses as a veil for a lack of motivation as despite my mostly minor issues there always has been a confidence in my body to hold up to what I have asked it to do. That confidence is fading, quickly.
Between the shoulder injury that was rolled up by the left knee injury with a side order of lower back crunching noises, I have lost confidence in my body to do the things I once could ask it to do. The ironic thing is these injuries all came around when gyms were closed for Covid. I went back to basics by doing hundreds of push ups and running the parking garage which ironically seem to be what brought these injuries about.
I ordered and started using some inversion boots, hoping that allowing gravity to decompress my joints might have some benefits. I have only done it a couple times thus far but I plan to keep it as part of my evening mini-workout I do most days. I have spent the majority of my adult life with a focus on health and fitness. Up until the last couple years the reward has been minimal health issues and an ability to still do a lot of the same things that I have always done. Coming to grips with the idea that that reality is starting to change isn’t something that sits well with me.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not raising the white flag. I’ll never give up. Each day at the gym I still work hard. The difference is now what doesn’t currently hurt is becoming a consideration for every workout.
Friday after work I stopped at Home Depot to get another 250 pounds of sand for the chicken run and 20 pieces of sod to bolster areas in the front of their yard that had become muddy. The sand helped raise some low areas of the run which got mucky during the rain storms last week. I laid the stuff down as soon as I got home, obscuring my original plan to get on Cindy’s Echelon bike for some cardio.
So when I was married to Ali I used to always write a list of what I wanted to get accomplished every weekend. She absolutely hated that I did that. Cindy actually likes lists but I stopped doing them a couple years ago at least. I think at the time the thought process was it would be a way for me to not work so hard on the weekends, we all saw how that has worked out. I just work hard without the list.
But this weekend the list was back and it was long with double digit items on it. On Saturday Cindy had Census work to do so that left me to tackle the list head on. I worked from 7:30AM til about 7PM with minimal breaks in between. I even wound up doing something not on the list, fixing the chicken playground area. Months ago there was a mini-tornado that spun up in just the right spot to flip the hinged roof up and over. In the process it damaged the roof panels, ripped up one of the 2×4’s and did some other damage. I had haphazardly thrown it back together afterwards but it looked like shit.
At Home Depot I got some replacement roof panels. When I got home I took off the bent up panels and removed the damaged part of the frame. Rebuilding the roof took maybe an hour, leaving the chickens with a pristine playground once again. This time I added a 2×4 “stop” to prevent the roof from flipping all the way over in high winds, in theory.
Doing the repair left me with all of the old and slightly damaged panels. I used two of them along the two long edges of the playground, this would block the view of a predator if the hens were in there. Two more of the panels went on the back of the run again to obstruct view but also provide rain protection. The final panel got hung on the back corner of the fence, a few inches off the ground, once again to obstruct view of the chicken yard from the rear property line.
I then hopped on the new tractor and mowed the rear half of the property, the first time I did that with the Husqvarna. So far I am really digging the tractor, I just need to get the sunshade on it so I am not melting quite so much. After I got done outside I had an even longer list of things to do inside. I cleaned bathrooms, counters, and steam cleaned the floors among other tasks. When I finally stopped working around 7PM I was tired but felt like I accomplished a lot.
So my left knee had been making very slow improvement over the last couple weeks. It didn’t feel awful doing all that work Saturday but when it came to go to bed I had a very odd problem. If I laid in my normal position on my back with legs elevated on a pillow my left knee was absolutely killing me. The only relief I got was rolling onto my side which is a position I do not sleep soundly in. The end result was a miserable night of sleep where I would keep waking up when I rolled onto my back. I keep referring to it as knee pain but if I am being accurate it is a radiating pain that moves up and down the left leg. It sucks.
Despite the horrible night of sleep I hit the ground running Sunday. After paying bills I got out on my MSX for a little bit to talk about the whirlwind of EUC based activity that recently happened with me, selling two wheels and sending my V11 back for repair.
I also did a video just showing the Skydio 2 footage from the ride.
During the afternoon I continued assaulting the list. One item on there was to finally do a video review of the new tractor. Tractor videos on my channel have been surprisingly popular.
During the evening I got one of my four printers that are out of order back up and printing, I obviously have more to do there. Last nights sleep was much like Saturday with radiating pain on my back and fragmented sleep that left me exhausted and bleary eyed today. At least I only have a four day work week to contend with.
With a tropical storm/ hurricane predicted to affect our weather this weekend I decided to take advantage of my first non-rain evening of the week last night to get out on the mower. The new bahia sod that we put down grows like weeds in the summer and was in dire need of trimming. I figured if we get buried in rain from the storm I wouldn’t have many opportunities to get the mowing done. I really like the new Husqrvana tractor, it does a great job of powering through even thick wet grass. I even got to try out the LED headlights as the sun disappeared as I finished up the last section of the yard. I emerged from the backyard tired but glad that something could be struck off the weekend to do list.
Last night I also packed up my Gotway Monster which I sold to a guy in NYC. I just bought a second suspension style EUC and I am selling my Monster and my KingSong 18XL to offset the expense. Now that I have experienced the tangible benefits of suspension EUCs it made sense to me to move out a couple of my non-suspension wheels that were seeing minimal use anyway.
The Monster does have some fond memories associated with it. It was one of the two wheels Cindy and I took on our northeastern road trip three years ago. I recall zipping around the boardwalk of Rehoboth Beach, the streets of Boston, and the carriage trails of Cadillac Mountain in Maine on the wheel. Hopefully it serves it’s new owner well on the rough streets of NYC.
This weekend I have things to tend to that will keep me busy as usual. At least my left knee is slowly improving. There is still a limp but it is more a 75 year old limp instead of an 85.
If racial rioting, acidic politics, and global pandemics weren’t enough to keep your attention, our area now has an incoming tropical storm to deal with, Isaias. No storm is good news but the best part of this system is it is not expected to develop into a major hurricane, due in part to high level Saharan dust that is in the vicinity. The other good news is it is moving at a pretty rapid pace so it shouldn’t stall and dump rain that can be measured in feet instead of inches. The current track has it touching the east coast of Florida Saturday morning before it moves north. We have been hit with over a half foot of rain in the last few days so a tropical storm is not something I welcome right now but it’s sure better than a CAT 3 hurricane.
For the third day in a row our property has gotten hammered with rain. Although the back of the chicken yard has remained standing water free that hasn’t prevented the coop platform and run area from being under water. I plan to pick up 10 bags of sand after work to at least get the chicken run above sea level. So far I have not seen any evidence of the coyote trying to circumvent our new 8 foot tall fencing but I will continue to be monitoring the situation daily.
Last night I was up until midnight shooting and editing videos for the V11. It turns out it was good I did because the wheel is getting shipped back out for repair or replacement today hopefully. My ass is dragging.
I had my first dentist visit since the pandemic started. It was pretty uneventful outside of some procedural changes like calling from the parking lot so they let you in, filling out a Covid questionnaire, and having my temperature checked. Hopefully by the time my next check up arrives in February things have gotten better instead of worse….
The past two days we have had prolonged rain deluges that have dropped probably 5-6 inches of rain on the property. This is exactly the scenario which would flood out the chicken yard and other spots around the property in the past. I was pleased to see as I surveyed the standing water that all the spots where we added fill and sod there were no puddles to be seen. It feels great to not have quite the same degree of swampland as I had become accustomed to over the last 15-20 years.
I have been frustrated with my 3D print farm. With 8 printers in the room it seems like there is never a period of time where there isn’t something wrong with at least one of them. Right now I have four with one issue or another. It truly has become a part time job as many nights after tending to the chickens my next stop is the hobby room to keep the production line flowing, fix printers, or grab parts for orders.
On top of all of this I have my brand new V11 that sounds like it has a contaminated bearing sitting in there like a doorstop after riding in the rain. Not knowing how long that will take to resolve is adding to my angina.
On Friday when I got home I headed outside to get the extension poles hung on the last side of the chicken fence. As I completed the process I shot Part 1 of a video talking about the install, both why we were doing it and how it was supposed to work.
I had the last post secured in less than an hour, setting Cindy and I up to hang the fencing on Saturday. We got started with Phase 2 mid-morning Saturday and worked efficiently. After hanging the first couple sections Cindy and I developed a system that allowed us to work pretty quickly. By the time we stopped a little after noon for lunch we had the fence initially hung around the chicken area. During the afternoon we went around and did some more zip tie-ing, attaching the extended fence to the existing fence below. When we were done it almost looked like the chickens were in prison but as long as it keeps jump happy predators out I didn’t care. That feeling was reinforced when I saw on the new fence Ring cam that a coyote had jumped the outer fence around midnight the night before.
Cindy and I were both beat up from the all day work outdoors. Deb came over during the evening and I offered to buy us takeout dinner, Cindy certainly earned it. We just chilled and hung out. Cindy and I both slept like rocks Saturday night, we were mutually exhausted.
Sunday morning I had planned to take my new V11 on an extended ride to Home Depot however as soon as I took it off the stand and started rolling it I noticed it sounded different. I hoped the noise would subside but I wound up turning around less than a mile into the ride to go grab another wheel. It was making a scraping sound, almost like the bearings were bad. I have a bad feeling it was related to riding in the rain the weekend before, something that normally is not an issue with an EUC. So now I will be in a holding pattern for who knows how long until the dealer and I come up with a plan for remediation.
I wound up first grabbing my MSX only to realize it was only half charged. I then grabbed my KingSong 16X which had enough juice for the trip. I immediately missed the V11 suspension as the road surface bumps and cracks sent jolts of pain up my sore lower body and back. Katie, Cindy and DJ met me at Home Depot for a family home improvement shopping trip. I threw my wheel and gear into Katie’s truck for the trip home.
We got absolutely pounded with rain later in the afternoon. I am sure we got at least two inches if not three. The good news is all of the areas the we elevated remained puddle free, just as I hoped. Sunday evening I kept busy with video editing, 3D printer work and even got a chance to play a little WoW, something I have not done in approaching two weeks.
My hope was to get outside after work last night and get the last side of the fence extension posts completed. Unfortunately Mother Nature had different ideas with steady rain most of the afternoon so I had to postpone the work. My hope is tonight is rain free so I can get the last 7 or 8 extensions installed which will pave the way for me hanging the fencing material this weekend. I am excited to be able to let the chickens roam freely once the work is complete, I hate having to slam the door on their face when they try to get out.
Last night I hoped to get some time to just veg out and play WoW but a 3D project I had been putting off got worked on instead. I am trying to add a filament detection sensor to one of my printers that doesn’t have one. Not having it results in bunch of failed prints where the filament ends but the printer doesn’t know it so it keeps “printing” in thin air instead of stopping and prompting you to change the filament roll. Of course the project ran into a snag which I hope to get an answer to soon.
Getting the fencing done is my big goal of the weekend but as always there are many supplementary tasks to fill in the free time cracks and crevices.
Last night Cindy and I made our first appearance as guests on another Live Stream. We were on with Black Cobra talking about EUCs and other things for about 90 minutes. Erwin is a real nice guy and it was a fun stream for sure. I wouldn’t be surprised if we do it again some time.
Our office went to a mask required mandate last Friday. The county itself did the same on Tuesday, requiring all residents to use face coverings when inside public buildings with a few exceptions. For me it means I throw on a mask when I leave my office which I occupy by myself. I don’t leave it often so it isn’t very impactful for me. For employees out in public spaces it is the opposite with mask wearing all day long. I tried to ease the pain a bit by 3D printing a bunch of straps that are designed to make ear worn masks more comfortable by allowing you to hook them behind your head instead of around the ears.
Of course there has been some bitching and complaining about the mandate but to me it’s a no brainer. With the numbers continuing to escalate we can’t just sit on our hands and hope it goes away. A mask doesn’t prevent you from getting covid although it does definitely reduce your chance. It’s most important role is to knock down your transmission circle if you are an asymptomatic carrier. So many people just don’t understand that. Please don’t give me the breathing your own CO2 is bad bullshit. It has been scientifically proven exhaustively that this is an absolute falsehood.