The trap in the shed was empty this morning but Cindy told me there has been some activity in the coop where little teeth have chewed holes in the bag that holds meal worms.  I have had a trap set up outside the chicken run but I guess I need it move it indoors.

I’m not feeling in the greatest of moods today and when that is the case I have learned from prior experience it is best to not write about it.

As I said the other day, after catching a mouse/rat the first night of trapping in the shed, I have not had any luck catching any more. This made me wonder if one rodent could actually cause all the mess I have seen.  When I threw open the roll up door on the big shed early this morning I saw the trap was once again occupied.  This guy seemed slightly smaller than the first and he didn’t have the bloody nose of his predecessor.

I wrapped the towel around the cage and then placed it in the driveway behind the Tesla.  As I placed him in the car I wondered if anyone else has used their Tesla Model 3 for rodent transport yet.  It’s good to be a trend setter.  On my way to work I dropped him off in the same remote area where he can hopefully establish a home outdoors that doesn’t involve interaction with human beings.

As I was at the tail end of my workout yesterday I was doing my brief heart rate regulated cardio on a cross trainer.  They had the impeachment handlers discussion on.  There was no sound but the closed caption was streaming.  One of the republican Trumpers was rambling on the same tired rhetoric where they ignore the actual facts of the situation and instead dwell on it being a solely partisan witch hunt.  It is incredulous to me how many individuals will happily dismiss the facts and instead hungrily gobble down the regurgitated slop Trump acolytes spew out like baby birds getting fed by their mother.

Anyway I found this same line of bullshit so annoying that I just flipped the screen off, preferring to look at blackness instead of more examples of why our country is so lost.

I forgot to mention that after 30+ years of being a registered Republican I officially switched party affiliation last week.  It wasn’t really a big deal, it was a side effect of my last name somehow getting spelled wrong after I signed up to do mail voting a few months ago.  While I was doing the correction online the option to chose party was right there so I figured I may as well make the switch.  There are some benefits to switching in Florida, one of them meaning I can actually participate in the democratic primaries.

I never bothered to change my affiliation all these years because for some reason I sort of enjoyed being a registered republican that often crossed party lines although that was not always the case.  I don’t have blinders on, I will always vote for whom I feel is most aligned with the issues that are important to me, regardless of party.  I am always open to new information and amenable to adjusting my thoughts on issues accordingly, a trait that is sorely lacking from many Trump supporters.  They act like admitting they made a mistake putting his name on the ballot is a cardinal sin.  To me it actually says more about a person when they can admit mistakes and learn from them, something Donald will never do. Seeing the world as simply blue and red is toxic, unproductive, and serves no greater good except to those already in power.  They LOVE when the masses are at each other’s throat, it distracts them from the disgusting truth about who really runs things.

In the 2018 election I did not vote for our current republican governor Ron Desantis.  During the campaign he aligned himself with Trump which was an instant turnoff.  However once he won the election by a slim margin his actions since becoming governor have been mostly positive.  He actually cares about the environment, teachers, medical marijuana, and a number of other issues that stereotypical conservatives shy away from.  It almost seems like he catered to the Trump loonies to get elected but in reality he is a more reasonable and centrist leader.  I am all about actions more than words.  If you promise everything I want and deliver none of it I just have nothing for you.

I have not been watching the democratic debates.  I think I am so frustrated with the possibility that our country is actually so fcked up that we could reelect the very stable, perfect phone call making, big league genius to a second term, I just don’t want anything to do with it.  It is incredible to me that the bar of acceptable presidential behavior could be set so low that it is brushing against the backs of ants.  Human beings can be so disappointing.

So after capturing the mouse on Sunday morning I re-baited and added a second live trap in the shed, assuming I would have a number of offenders to incarcerate.   Instead both traps have remained empty for the past two days.  There has been so much stuff chewed up it seems hard to believe it was all done by one mouse however maybe I am underestimating the destructive power of one.  I am also wondering if the same rodent was responsible for the coop vent hole which I patched over the weekend, maybe he/she was moving between the two spots.  Regardless I will be continuing to keep the live traps ready to snare for the foreseeable future.

Last night after work I stopped at Tractor Supply to pick up some more chicken feed.  Cindy has expressed concern about the ingredients of the feed we normally feed the hens.  Tractor Supply has a lot more variety in their feed options than Rural King.  I got organic pellet food and non-GMO scratch grains for the birds and paid a premium to do so.  When I got home I gave the chickens a taste of the new scratch grains and they were big fans.  The normal stuff we get seems to be 90% cracked corn and little else.  The new blend has six grains and corn is in the minority of them.

 

 

Friday night I got back out on the track for the first time since before Xmas.  It was warm and humid, considering it is mid-January with temps in the upper 70’s.  The lack of sun and a light rain helped moderate things.  I managed to keep my pace under 10 minute mile rate which nowadays is saying something, believe it or not.

Saturday morning I went into the shed to pull out my tools for weeding.  Since I installed the sonic pest devices I have been checking the new storage bins since last week  just to make sure I saw no activity.  I walked back to do another spot check and saw plastic fragments strewn about, son of a bitch.

The freaking mouse had chewed holes in two more containers, one of them being the brand new one I bought last week.  When I pulled the ornament box out for further examination I saw a number of ornaments had been chewed apart as well, that was it, the rodent had crossed the line.  At that moment the switch in my head flipped where I authorized myself to use lethal force.  I mean WTF, the one bin was less than a foot away from one of the sonic repellers.  Either they don’t work or this mouse has adapted to the noise and doesn’t care.

Of course when I told/showed Cindy the mouse’s handy work she was not pleased but she applauded my acceptance of having to get rid of the pest via any means necessary.  Later that morning on our trip to Home Depot we picked up a handful of lethal traps, rodent repelling spray and bait material.  I had a full arsenal in hand.

So when we got home Cindy was working on disposing of the damaged ornaments and cleaning out the bins.  During this process I was contemplating alternative locations for this stuff where it would have no possibility of rodent interaction and I found one. In the front of the garage under the charging table I had room for a couple bins and a third on the side.  After taping up the fresh holes in the lids I put the ornament boxes in there, away from harm.

So now that the ornaments had been moved out of harms way and my initial flash of “kill them all” rage had subsided I reconsidered my options in the shed.  Since our important stuff was out I felt like I could just as easily live trap anything out there.  This change of plan was not welcomed by Cindy but I told her that as long as the mice were removed from the shed, it didn’t matter if they were alive or dead.  I had a new live trap that I was going to use in the chicken area but I instead baited it in the shed.  Sunday morning I threw the door open and there it was, the destroyer of stuff.

Despite all the destruction the rodent had caused my immediate feeling when seeing him was compassion, his nose was raw from endlessly trying to find an escape path from his metal wire prison.  I covered the cage in a towel and drove to an isolated area a few miles away.  As I drove I had a one way conversation with the animal letting him know how lucky he was, in most scenarios he would have been a goner.  He just happened to be living in the shed of someone with a sometimes inexplicable aversion to killing animals.  The mouse scurried into the brush where I am sure he was confused, possibly scared but undeniably alive.  That’s the best I could do for him.

Saturday afternoon we met up with our friend Deb.  She had just gotten a Ninebot Max scooter and wanted to go test it out.  I brought my big Gotway Monster while Cindy rode her Dualtron scooter.  The Ninebot scooter isn’t a performance powerhouse but it has good power and great range to go along with a superior build quality. We rode around for at least an hour and a half, working a stop in to Royal Scoop Ice Cream along the way.  Deb loved riding.  After the ride I helped her out by hanging a few pictures in her place which she appreciated greatly.

Sunday morning I spent well over an hour doing my bills.  It took so long because I had to reconcile my Christmas credit card statement which I always dread.  It’s a massive pain in the ass.  We made arrangements to go ride for the second time in two days which hasn’t happened in ages.  This time it was at North Collier park.  We again met Deb but this time Katie and Daniel came as well.  Cindy watched the baby while the rest of us rode around for a bit.  It was fun to do a group ride, something that doesn’t happen much if ever in my world.

Later in the afternoon I got on top of the chicken run to attach some hardware cloth over the one air vent.  A mouse, perhaps the same one or maybe another had chewed a hole through the plastic and was using it as an exit/entrance.  The metal mesh will prevent any further use but I need to put live traps out there again to see if I can snag any more of the furry destruction machines.

Later in the afternoon I set up the table in the hobby room to perform a motor swap on my KingSong 18XL.  The 18XL works perfectly fine as is but when I heard of a low cost upgrade to a more powerful and more quiet version I took the bait.  Doing this required a pretty extensive tear down and rebuild of the wheel but all in all things went very smoothly, something that is not normally the case for me.  I only had a chance to do a quick test ride afterward but it felt great and was incredibly quiet as promised.

I have a busy week ahead of me, adventure awaits.

 

Since my solar system was flipped on I have been monitoring it’s daily output with the app included with the system.  So far my best output for a day has been 89+ kwh which is really good, especially considering we are in the part of year with the shortest days and least intense sun.  However recently I started looking at the data provided to me by the electric company as well.

This data is the stuff that really matters, my net usage, meaning how much the house consumed versus how much the solar array provided.  You can see that at the end of December when we had a string of mostly cloudy days we were still pulling a good amount of power from the grid.  However since the new year flipped we have had a lot of sun.  The end result has been most days we have been finishing at a power deficit where the sun has given us more power than we used, which is awesome. Our household uses a lot of power and since solar was installed we have not done anything to modify our usage pattern.  To still be running a surplus of solar power is a nice feeling.  Of course that feeling may get a little less nice once I start making my solar payments next month.

I also discovered that I can allow the public to see the output of my system.   If you are interested in seeing how much sun I am harvesting you can do it with the link here.

Today is my dad’s 73rd birthday.  I am not sure if there is anyone on the planet less excited about birthdays and holidays than dad is but I’ll be sure to wish him a happy one all the same.  Just like the difficulty I have coming to grips with the fact that I am 52, I have a hard time believing my dad is this age.  Hell when my dad was my age he was only a couple years away from retiring which he did somewhere around 55 if I recall correctly.

Children always gain personality traits of both parents.  In my case I think I am more like my mom but I definitely have aspects of my dad, good and bad.  On the bad side would be things like my dark moods at times and overall pessimistic view of the world.  On the good side would be things like a drive to exercise, dad used to run, lift weights and swim most of his adult life. A strong will to provide for others and a determination to accomplish tasks, sometimes even in detrimental, dangerous, or silly situations, ie. mowing grass in lightning storms, are some other positive things I attribute to him.

Dad has had a rough time physically over the last decade or so where a lot of joint related deterioration coupled with less focus on his health has made day to day living painful.  I do also appreciate the fact that despite being in a situation where the Trump environment benefits him personally from a financial standpoint, he still despises the man and the system he represents.  I suppose I may have gotten some of my greater good thinking from dad as well.

This weekend has a number of small to medium tasks ahead.  A lot will be focused on the chicken area and I have a new motor to install in one my EUCs, not because I have to but because I want to.

You may recall I talked about the new equipment that was brought into the gym and the unexplainable shuffling of things which seemed poorly thought out, if thought about at all.  One of the very annoying changes was the moving and shrinking of the area for free weights, it was nearly chopped in half.  Yesterday someone was in there undoing that mistake.  They had a pallet jack out on the gym floor moving the machines that were haphazardly placed in the middle of the free weight area.  They aligned and condensed them allowing the free weight area to open up close to the size it was previously.  The staff at this Planet Fitness rarely do something I approve of but here is at least one example of somebody there having a modicum of common sense.

So my ongoing conflict with rodents in our yard continues.  This past weekend I buried electric to power three sonic pest repellers in the big shed.  I have had those sonic deterrents in the coop area for over a year and they seemed to be doing their job however recently there have been signs of more activity.  On my way into work Cindy called me from the coop saying she just saw a large rodent in there so my efforts need to intensify.  I will be setting my live traps once again to capture and relocate the animals.  Yes it would be easier to throw down lethal traps but my inner objection to killing animals is so strong that I would only consider it as a last resort.

The cold that came on so slowly and hit me long but not hard seems to be almost out of my system finally.  It appears to be going around in a big way.  I am hoping my experience inoculates me from further winter illness.  I just don’t have time for that shit.

I read about the Iran missile attacks last night.  The stuff I saw seemed to indicate it was more of a “shot over the bow” exercise as at least for now, no deaths were reported.  It certainly makes me feel better knowing that we have such a thoughtful, insightful, and most excellent communicator making the final approval on our military actions.  It was nice that Donald at least recanted his intent to commit war crimes, after somebody apparently slapped him on the back of the head.

The weekend weather contrast was pretty dramatic, when I was working Saturday it was warm and humid.  When I was outside on Sunday it was cool and crisp with temps starting in the 50’s.  I preferred the latter conditions for sure.

I had two things I wanted to get done Saturday, bury the extension cord I ran to the big shed and rotate the tires on my Tesla.  Although definitely not up to code, I have used buried extension cords repeatedly to get power to various structures in the yard including the small shed, chicken coop, and pond.  I always use the same technique to do so, taking a edger tool to make a slit in the ground which I shove the cable into which quickly “heals”.  Getting power into the big shed is something I always wanted to do anyway for those times I want to run power tools for projects.  I also hooked up a third sonar rodent repellent device in there to make any remaining mice pack up and leave.  I added one to the small shed as well.

The Tesla is just about ready to hit 10,000 miles which is the recommended interval for tire rotation.  I bought a low profile floor jack from Harbor Freight last week to make the job easier.  I already had the recommended jack pads which insert into a small hole in the four different jack points around the vehicle.  Doing the rotation wasn’t significantly different than doing it on any other vehicle.  I was happy to see my tires, which some owners have complained of having premature wear, looked to still be in great shape.  I did take the extra step of using my torque wrench to verify the lugs were tight enough.  On all of my other vehicles I would rely on a pure feel torque rating.

I followed up with some of the other minimal maintenance required on the car, topping off the washer fluid.  I have one more task to complete, replacing the cabin air filter with an upgraded model and cleaning the evap coils.  I was going to make it a tag team event with Matt who also has a Model 3.

Saturday evening we took Katie, Daniel and Baby DJ out to dinner at Cirello’s, at an alternate location which we never had been to.  Cindy and I went to the Cirellos next to the movie theater once and enjoyed ourselves.  The site we visited Saturday was newer and bigger.  We opted to eat outside.

One of the things we liked about Cirellos was the service we got was great.  Well it took me all of 5 seconds to determine that we were not going to have a similar experience this time.  Our waiter was a guy who was probably in his 50’s.  I described his attitude to those at the table as “fck my life I’m in my 50’s and waiting tables”, he just didn’t seem very happy to help us although he did the minimum to get through the service.  It was almost like I could see a little thought balloon above his head any time we would ask for him anything that said “eat shit, I hate you”.  My meal wasn’t great but everyone else seemed to enjoy their sushi dinners so that is all that really mattered.

After dinner we had some of the incredibly detailed cake that Cindy made.  She really enjoys cake crafting and put a lot of time into Katie’s for sure.  Even though Katie’s birthday wasn’t officially until Sunday we gave her her gifts then.  My gift included another handful of scratch off’s, I figure sooner or later she has to get lucky since I never do. Katie joked that since she is now 26 she can officially rent a car.

Sunday morning we went to go pick up Katie and the baby in the Tesla.  This weekend is the first time the Tesla has been used for baby transport and it passed with flying colors.  Katie wanted to go ride around Baker Park for her birthday, which she had not seen since it opened fully a couple months ago.

The place was absolutely packed with people, despite the chilly temps in the low 60’s,  the most I have ever seen by far.    The plan was for Katie and I to ride while Cindy pushed the baby around in the stroller.  Katie was amazed st how beautiful the park was, it definitely will be part of the regular rotation as DJ becomes more mobile.

Katie rode her Mten 3 while I had my One Wheel Pint which is a near perfect vehicle for the Greenway with slower speeds and high agility.  We did a ride in reverse as we normally would do, riding from Baker Park to the Greenway parking lot and back.  On the way back we stopped and once again looked for a geo cache that we could not find months before.  Geo caching is something Katie liked doing as she grew up.

We looked around for a good 10 minutes trying to apply the clues to the objects location to the physical spot we were in, without luck.  All of a sudden I was looking down and I saw what looked like a sprinkler head in the center of four trees.  I reached down and realized it was a little screw type canister, we had finally found it.  Katie was quite excited on the discovery and marked it as found in the geo caching app.  Often when you do this activity you are supposed to add your own little object to the cache.  I had an unused eucarmy.com sticker in my wallet so we stuck that in there.

So we headed out back towards Baker Park.  We were riding a twisting portion of the path with Katie ahead and me maybe 10-15 feet behind.  For some reason I looked to the side or behind me for a couple seconds.  When I faced forwards I suddenly had a cabbage palm tree ahead of me.  I had a split second to react but I didn’t do much other than point the Pint away from the tree.  Unfortunately this also resulted in my right thigh squarely hitting the tree, sending me rebounding harshly into the ground.

After doing a brief physical inventory I determined I wasn’t severely injured although my neck and thigh were both a bit sore as expected.  The exciting thing to me was I actually was rolling the camera at the time of impact.  People crashing/falling always make for entertaining content.  Multiple people saw the crash and asked if I was ok which I assured them I was.  I hopped back on the board happy it wasn’t worse and wondering how I could have been so dumb as to not look where I was going with a curving path ahead of me.  Cindy was not thrilled when we relayed the story to her back at the park.

I settled in for the Eagles/Seahawks game late Sunday afternoon.  I went into the game not expecting a win.  Despite winning the last four games of the season to get into the playoffs the team was still decimated by injuries.  The one exception to that this season has been Carson Wentz who has manged to remain on the field all season, for the first time in his career.  It was almost fitting for the way this season has gone that he too left the game in the first quarter with a concussion, leaving Josh McCown to steer the ship.

For a good portion of the game the Eagles defense played well but there were numerous critical times where they simply shit the bed, allowing Seattle to convert on multiple third down and longs which were back breaking.  McCown did a decent job and the team moved pretty effectively between the 20’s but  were unable to score a TD all game long, settling for three field goals.  I thought the victory ensuring long third down conversion by the Seahawks was almost fitting, with Jalen Mills once again giving up a big play, just as he has done time and time again.

As I said, I didn’t really think the Eagles would win, especially once Carson went down.  With all of the injuries the team suffered this year I think their end result should be respected.  I wonder what next year’s plan is, keep things more or less the same and cross your fingers for less injuries?  The defense, specifically the secondary is as inconsistent as you can get.  I am hoping they can make some moves to get some real play makers back there.  On offense they obviously need to make sure their wide receivers are deep and talented.   Relying on players like Desean Jackson just isn’t feasible, at this age players like him just get hurt too often and are off the field as much as they are on it.  Same goes for Jeffries.  The Eagles finish is certainly lackluster when compared to my preseason expectations but as circumstances change your expectations have to realign accordingly.

Hey we may have a war with Iran, how exciting.  This seems like a direct rip off of a House of Cards story line, cover up scandal at home with manufactured conflict abroad.

 

With the way the holidays fell this year it has resulted in these odd weeks like this one where I worked two days, off one, and then another two days before the weekend.  It actually was sort of nice to break up the week in this manner.

I really have very little else to say today.  I’m glad we got the Xmas stuff put away on Wednesday, allowing me to focus my attention on a couple other things this weekend like cleaning up my anti-mouse measures and rotating the tires on my Tesla.  It’s hard to believe I am at almost 10,000 miles already on the car.  This will be the first maintenance I have performed on it. That is one of the other cool things about a Tesla, minimal maintenance.  Outside of replacing the tires and washer fluid, there is very little else you need to be concerned about.

I’m picking up Sadie on the way home.  This was the first year that we did not have her over the holidays.  Sadie always gets excited to open presents so I feel badly that she missed it this year.  Hell her stocking is put away so we will just have to give her her toy without the normal Xmas tree backdrop.  Luckily she is a very understanding dog.