I have been trying to stay ahead of the curve for the last few days.  Weed whacking on Wednesday, grocery shopping on Thursday evening and then Friday before I downed pizza I did the weeding circuit around the house.  The reason was I knew I had a bunch of things I wanted to accomplish this weekend, nothing huge in scope but high in quantity.

Friday night I did my first live stream in nearly a month and a half.  I was joined for a good part of it by my buddy Marty on the west coast.  During the broadcast I downed a Guinness.  I hate dark bitter beer.  I drank it because it’s funny watching someone drink something they don’t like the taste of.

On Saturday since the weeding was already done I was able to do my coffee run early and get started mowing in the AM, a rarity in my normal routine.  Since we have had some consistent rain this was the first time in many months that the yard looked more even and visually appealing when I was done.

I also washed both of the vehicles.  I have not pulled a washing double header in quite awhile.  If I am being accurate I took the truck to the local car wash.  I did this because I wanted to clean out the back of the truck of the thick layer of Elsa hair.  I pulled the seat cover and two dog beds from the back of the truck and washed them as well.  The end result of the work was a much cleaner looking rear seating area along with a fresher smell instead of dog.

When I got home I started doing some cleaning inside.  It’s funny how much if have softened on what used to be a rigid cleaning schedule.  I used to do certain things every week or two weeks without fail.  My reality  now is I clean when I notice things are dirty.  Many of the rigid boundaries I used to have are now much fuzzier and fluid, which I guess is a good thing when it comes to longer term sanity.

Saturday night I decided to try a new bar which is actually a very familiar place to me, South Street.  During my years with the running club I used to frequent the bar all the time as a lot of running club friends hung there.  I figured it would be a good time as ever to see how things have changed.  When I stepped in the door, despite it being after 7:30 I was surprised at the number of people there.  It was the busiest bar experience I have had so far.  I could hardly believe it when I scanned the one side of the bar and saw Todd and Christy there.  Todd and I were on the running club board of directors together.  Christy and Ali had been good friends for a long time as well.  I had not seen either of them for I bet 5 years.  The luck of running into them did not go unappreciated.

I sat next to them and had a great time catching up while I downed a couple Miller Lites.  It made me appreciate and miss the times where I was more socially active.  They seemed equally surprised and happy to see me.  They now live very close by and frequent South Street often so there is a good chance I will run into them again.  It really put a gold star on my evening.  I enjoyed the fish sandwich I ordered as well.

The experience made me commit to adding South Street into my normal bar rotation which so far has included, Carrabbas, Brooks, Bonehook Brewery, and now South Street.  There are a couple others I want to try out as well.  It’s funny how something that seemed so foreign and weird to me as going to a bar yourself has now become something I sort of look forward to every week.

My Sunday has felt like I spent a lot of time spinning my wheels however I still did complete the additional cleaning tasks I mentally assigned myself and  now plan to head out for the long DD ride on my new V10F to see how it performs.  Tomorrow my remaining stitches come out and I can not wait.

 

 

I was very intent on getting the grass mowed after work last night.  Unfortunately mother nature had other plans as steady rain broke out about 10 minutes prior to me getting out there to start.  The derailing of my plans frustrated me but then my mind searched for something else I could get done on a Thursday evening to cut down on my already sizeable plans for the weekend.  The answer came to me, get my grocery shopping out of the way.

On Saturdays running for groceries normally takes at least a couple hours and possibly more depending on how many other stops I am making.  I figured this would be a time savings worth making.  I loaded up Elsa in the truck as she would rather be scared in the truck with me instead of scared at home alone.  I had two stops Costco and Walmart.  My buddy Don always told me of the joys of going to Costco later at night when the mobs of people have mostly left the building.  When I arrived it was close to 7:30, an hour from store closing.  Damn, he was right.

It was actually pleasant which is never a word I normally use to describe my Costco visits during the day.  There was no squeezing past humans every 10 feet or narrowly avoiding collisions as you come around a turn.  It was the first time I have ever visited Costco without feeling my blood pressure elevate.  Walmart was the same deal with 10% of the people I am used to dealing with when I go on the weekends.  I think I may have stumbled across a new shopping time slot that may appeal to me more often.

I think my idea of a fake chicken providing companionship for Kathy may actually have some merit.  Quite often I find Kathy sitting within a 3 foot circle of wherever I have Helen sitting.  My latest issue is many times I come home and I find Helen laying on her side as it isn’t very difficult for wind to knock her over.  I’m thinking about gluing the fake chickens feet to a small platform so she can stay upright more easily.  My weird chicken sense makes me feel like Kathy gets upset when Helen is laying on her side.

Yesterday I started not putting bandages on my two stitched wounds, instead just laying a thick layer of neosporin on the areas to promote healing.  A few times I accidentally scratched or bumped one of the incisions and got a quick painful jolt, reminding me to steer clear.  Monday all the stitches come out and I can resume my path to return to normalcy.

I have scheduled a live stream tonight.  I was surprised to see it’s been nearly a month and a half since my last stream.  As usual it will be a free flowing stream of consciousness driven mostly by my interaction with viewers.

Man I wish I discovered pickleball 10 years ago….

 

Yesterday was an important day in my 2 week long orgy of cutting, probing and testing.  I had my follow up appointment at the cardiologist office to find out the results of the three different tests I had done.  The good news is the two of the three tests that I actually care about, the stress test and ECG both showed no significant issues.  The vein test in my legs showed what was already obvious, the valves in those veins don’t work well which is why I have varicose veins.  Luckily it has no significance when it comes to overall cardiac health.

I asked the doctor what my takeaway should be since a borderline EKG was what sent me into this series of testing.  He said EKG’s are not rock solid indicators of cardiac problems, just of potential ones.  He felt confident that based on the results of my stress test, ECG and my overall lack of symptoms that I am good to go.  As far as the leg vein stuff goes he said I should wear compression stockings and try to move my legs more.  I told him about the vein in my leg that was removed in my 30’s but that was because it was painful, I have no pain with these.  Plus as far as I know you can’t reverse varicose veins, the only permanent fix is removal. Anyway I was happy to hear the positive news. I don’t need to return to the cardiologist for another year. The only unchecked health item is the final removal of the stitches from my head next Monday.

Last night I continued my new tactic of doing yard maintenance during weekday evenings to reduce the heat and sweat penalty.  I took the weed whacker and was out there for almost two hours.  I am planning another session this evening, this time on the lawn tractor.

 

 

Last night after work I started leading Elsa around the yard for our walk.  After our second lap she went to the door and didn’t want to do the third lap.  I called her over, nicely at first and when she refused not so nicely using my authoritative voice.  Still she would not follow me.  Without a doubt Elsa is spoiled and heeding commands is clearly optional in her mind.  I was not going to allow her to win this battle however.  I made her stay at the door while I grabbed the leash.  Once I loosely draped the leash around her neck she followed me around the yard without issue.  Her personality traits can be very complex to navigate at times but she is my shining light in my day to day existence regardless.

Today I have my follow up appointment with the cardiologist where we will go over the results of my three tests.  I am really hoping for some positive news.  I have no desire to continue down the medical procedure black hole I have been on since March.

Yesterday I had my final skin cancer procedure, this time on a small squamous cell area on my upper forehead.  Unlike my last surgery where I had to go back in for a second round of cutting, the doctor got everything the first time.  I also was able to get the stitches removed from the first surgery two Mondays ago which was nice.  It feels good to be past the cutting part of this very busy two week period of my life.

Yesterday as promised I looked into other options in regards to my Tesla repair.  Waiting 6 months just seems ridiculous to me.  I contacted another Naples body shop that the Travelers adjuster gave me.  They are not “tesla certified” meaning they couldn’t be used for warranty work but when I called and asked if they work on Teslas I got an immediate “sure!”  They actually had time slots available at the end of MAY.  Even though they have availability this repair turnaround is going to be based on how long it takes them to get the parts.  I still expect to get my car repaired before Thanksgiving 🙂

Because of my surgery last Thursday a road bike ride was off the menu for Friday.  I did however later in the night ride my barely used Inmotion V10F over to the park to talk about how I came to own it.  I meant to make this video a week prior but just hadn’t made the time to do so.

Saturday after doing the chicken chores and weeding Elsa and I went out to run errands.  One of those was to stop at Home Depot.  My numbers of Home Depot trips have dropped off the table the last 6 months.  I used to be there almost every weekend to grab one thing or another.  Now my visits are more like once a month.  I also had not been bringing Elsa into the store much since she developed the habit of dropping a deuce in the aisles.  I decided to bring her in this time but only after walking her around outside the store until she did her nervous pooping.  There were no further accidents once we went inside, thankfully.

I hoped we would see this nice older woman cashier that loves Elsa.  She always has dog treats ready to go.  Unfortunately she was not there on Saturday and the few times I have gone to Home Depot recently I have not seen her either, I hope she is doing ok.

Saturday afternoon I started digging into getting rid of additional stuff.  Some of went in the trash, some went to the neighbors, some hit the curb with the rest donated to Goodwill.  The process took a little while and got me a little sweatier than anticipated.  It’s funny how the passing of time can totally shift your willingness to part with items.  Things at one time you absolutely felt you needed/wanted can suddenly flip to becoming readily expendable.  It’s all a matter of your state of mind, something I will talk about more later.

I also shot a quick video during the afternoon regarding the updates on my Tesla accident/repair.  All of the information in it you already know about if you are a regular blog reader.

I had already planned to go to the bar at Brooks Burgers Saturday night however during the day I invited my buddy, ex-boss/coworker Don to come join me.  I had not hung with him since he retired at the end of February.  Don and I are friends but we never did a lot of hanging out socially during our 22 years of knowing each other.  I think for both of us alcohol consumption is a key ingredient to hanging out effectively, for whatever reason.  We were there for around two hours catching up on life.  So far he appears to be enjoying retirement and I continue to be envious of his situation.  I hope that we can hang more in the future, although I am getting more accustomed to drinking at a bar myself, I would much rather share the time with someone else.

Sunday is Mother’s Day, a day that obviously has mixed emotions for me since my mom has been gone since 2014.  It had mutated into a day for me to celebrate the other mother’s in my circle of life but now, it’s something else.  I miss my mom and I appreciate the role that all mothers take on to devote themselves to their children, hoping to guide them down the path of life without hitting too many walls along the way.  It’s a tough job.

I made arrangements to meet Ali and Shugs to go take a look at their house that is under active construction.  It had been several weeks since I saw it last.  There was some nice progress, the drywall is starting to go up, the roof is mostly shingled and the pool has been dug out with concrete poured.  Every time I do a walk through with them it transports me back to when this house was built and thoughts of how I wished I knew then what I know now.  There were a lot of corners cut that I should have flagged.  After seeing the house we ate lunch at a primarily pizza place called the Mellow Mushroom.  It was my first time there, my main meal was a portobello mushroom dish but I also tried a slice of Ali and Shugs pizza, it was top notch.

We took the Tesla for the journey which was pretty lengthy overall.  I ran my Model Y battery from 90% down to 35-36% by the time I got home.  All that time in the car gives you time to talk about all sorts of things.  Some of the talks are about life topics.  For example evidently Ali did not know that my dad converted a bunch of my early years of blog entries into hard cover books.  I told her that once in a while I will thumb through them and how my major takeaway is how differently I thought/acted back then compared to present day.  I also talked about my efforts to flip my mental script that gets me stuck into negative thought loops that do nothing positive for me in the big picture.  Ali joked about how someone (me) used to say something along the lines of people can’t change.  I asked her what asshole said that, which made her laugh.

I do believe people’s personality traits are embossed pretty deeply however that doesn’t mean that negative traits can not/should not be worked on.  Is there any more worthwhile goal than becoming a happier, healthier, and more fulfilled person?  I don’t think so.  There has been so many reflections going on in my world lately it feels like one of those carnival mirror houses.  Some of those reflections are positive, some negative, but hopefully the sum of all of them eventually lead me down a much brighter path in the future.

 

Yesterday afternoon the incisions on the back of my head started to sting and burn, as expected.  I took two sets of Extra Strength Tylenol to take the edge off the pain.  I was worried sleeping could be an issue since I normally do so on my back.  It actually wasn’t bad, the softness of the pillows absorbed most of the pressure.  I just look forward to getting the third procedure over and done with.  I will never get multiple skin cancer surgeries done at once again.  I actually have myself to blame for this.

Usually when I get my preventative skin exams the doctor never picks anything out himself as a trouble spot, he normally relies on me to do so.  Well this past time I pointed out these three spots, the one on the back of my head had been there for at least a couple years already.  I will not make that mistake again, no more than one spot mentioned per 6 month visit.  It’s a huge pain in the ass, and expensive to do multiple sites in a short period of time.

Last night when I was folding laundry Elsa decided to lay on the bed, which she often does when I am completing the chore.  I was running out of real estate so I started laying folded socks on her, which she didn’t seem to mind.  When I got home we also did 3 laps around the back yard.  If I can get her to do this with me it is much less stressful for her than the park although I still want to get her there routinely.

This morning I had another guy from the window company come in to measure for the replacement project.  I signed the county permitting papers as well.  It makes the job seem more tangible.  This is something I have talked about doing for at least 5 years if not longer.  It will be nice to get another core part of the home updated, just like the roof a few years ago.

This weekend I am going to limit my physical chores, especially the outside sweaty variety due to the incisions on my head.  Road biking tonight is obviously out as well.  Trying to hold my head up in normal riding position would put strain exactly where you don’t want it right now.  I should still be able to find plenty of things to keep my attention.  I am going to be doing a final purge of some things that I don’t need/want.  It always feels good after this occurs.

 

 

Last night after dinner I decided to take Elsa on another walk at the park.  Despite us doing this a dozen times or more, she still acts terrified at first.  Her pulling while on leash is out of hand as well.  I have tried correcting her repeatedly but she doesn’t seem to understand that pulling like a bull on the leash is not going to get her the end result she wants.  Nicki used to be terrible on a leash as well.  We tried a gentle lead arrangement where something goes over their snout so if they pull it turns their head.  However Elsa normally has her mouth wide open with tongue hanging out while walking so that wouldn’t be a good solution.  I may look into other aids.

Yesterday I gave an over under number guess for what the estimate for the repair would be on the Model Y.  That number was $3500.  I got the full estimate emailed to me yesterday which includes a new deck lid, refinishing the bumper skin, and replacing the lower black trim piece.  The grand total was $3555.61.  I was surprised to have come so close.

Also because of the video I sent to my adjuster he said they are going to try to get the woman’s insurance company to pay for the damages.  He said she was clearly moving towards me even after I started backing up which I guess moves the blame needle onto her side.  I would have been fine with 50/50 blame on the incident.  If it does wind up being paid by her insurance company I would hope that means less impact on my future premiums.

So the bad news is when I contacted the preferred Tesla repair shop in our area they told me that with Tesla’s it could take stupidly long to complete the repair.  She gave me November as an estimate.  No I am not kidding.  I will see how solid that timeline is.  I may see if I have any other options within a reasonable distance, waiting 6-7 months for a repair seems insane.

Today I had my second skin cancer surgery, this time on the back of the neck.  This procedure was a little longer and annoying as they had to go back in a second time to cut more out.  I am curious how sleep will go since I normally sleep on my back.  I just keep telling myself that by this time next week it should all be behind me.  Well of course that depends on what my cardiologist tells me next week.

I have talked repeatedly about some of my struggles with negative thinking which often becomes a long chain of thoughts that jump around with none of them doing anything to better my mood, disposition, or sense of well being.  I have always been self aware of this part of me and have handled it over the years mostly by just accepting it as a fact of life, joking about it or self deprecating.

I find myself in these cycles unexpectedly at times, the difference now is I am trying to find ways out of those cycles faster, acknowledging that they serve no useful purpose.  I imagined it as instead of taking a long bath in negative emotions I should aim for quick showers instead.  It washes over me but shortly there after I am once again dry and moving forward.

 

Yesterday I reached out to the insurance adjuster regarding my Tesla incident.  He asked me a lot of the same questions I already answered when I initiated the claim online.  He also asked for a detailed description of the series of events which I gave him.  I told him the female driver said she was stopped when I hit her.  I told him I had video from the car showing that is not true and that actually I started moving a good 10-20 feet before her vehicle even reached mine.  When he heard I had video he immediately asked if I could send it.  He said if both vehicles were moving that normally is the switch that makes it a 50/50 claim where each person settles with their own insurance.  If she was actually stopped then blame would shift more my way.  I have no expectations of a fast resolution but I am curious what the final cost is.  I will put the over under at $3500, place your bets.

Yesterday was a busy day with the vein test in the morning followed by my leaving work early to take Elsa for her annual exam.  I hauled ass home and then had to work to get her in the truck because it was storming like crazy which terrifies her.  The vet is in downtown Naples so I did close to 100 miles of commuting in total yesterday.  During the ride there Elsa crawled into the passenger side footwell, shaking in fear as the rain pounded the truck.  I felt bad for her.

When I took Elsa into the vet she was scared as expected, so much so that she dropped a log right in the middle of the lobby.  The girl was so nice about it and said they needed a fecal sample anyway (I had one from that morning), so she grabbed the farm fresh sample.  This was the first time I have ever been in this place as in the past Cindy would always take Elsa.  I was immediately struck by just how nice the staff was.

The first girl I dealt with was so patient and gentle with Elsa and the vet herself was equally so.  They allowed me to be in there during the exam to help calm Elsa which was nice.  Elsa shook most of the time but we got through it.  I really like the place.  Getting Elsa on the scale confirmed what I already suspected, she has gained several pounds since last year, mostly due to spending every weekday sleeping almost the entire day.  It hardened my resolve to keep getting her out on extended park walks as well as being mindful of any treats she gets.

 

 

 

As the afternoon wore on yesterday the wound in the center of my forehead was more and more painful as the numbing wore off.  By the time I left the office it felt like I was smacked with a ball peen hammer so I was not in a great mood.  I hopped in my Model Y and started backing up.  I was parked in the spot right along the sidewalk so as I started backing up I looked left but then looked right to make sure there were no pedestrians or cyclists on the sidewalk, a normal hazard.  Well in a split second I hear a crunch…..

As I was checking right a woman in a minivan had slid in behind me.  I was angry both at myself for not double checking left and this woman for not noticing my car was moving.  When I got out she said she was stopped and I hit her.  I told her the rubber skid mark on my rear bumper would indicate that wasn’t true.  The rear camera video I viewed later revealed the same thing.

In a nutshell when I started moving backwards she was 10-20 feet away from me.  She did not notice I was moving at all, rolling behind me until impact was made. When I saw my formerly pristine car with rubber streaks and buckles in the rear trunk lid it made me sick to my stomach.  We exchanged info although in a situation like this I believe it is no fault and each insurance company would pay for the damage to it’s insured vehicle.  Her van had other pre-existing scrapes on it so I would suspect she won’t even fix her damage.

I couldn’t believe this just happened.  I took pictures of her vehicle, my car, her insurance card and we exchanged names/phone numbers even though as I said, I don’t think it will be needed in this scenario.  On my drive home I had a mental dark cloud that I could not shake.  It seemed appropriate that we had a summer style rain event last night to boot.

So despite knowing that ultimately it’s always the drivers responsibility to make sure their car does not impact others I also found myself annoyed with Tesla itself and it’s lack of a basic safety feature that has been in many automobiles for many years, rear cross traffic alert.  My Tacoma has this and it would have totally avoided the scenario.  Basically as soon as the vehicle is put in reverse it checks for any movement to the right and left of it whether it is a pedestrian, cyclist or another vehicle.  If motion is detected it sounds an alarm to get your attention.  It has saved me numerous times over the years while backing up when something suddenly appears when your view is obstructed.

The fact that the Tesla, one of the most technologically advanced vehicles on the planet does not do this is stupid, really stupid.  I was annoyed enough about it that I did a short video when I got home talking about the incident and the lunacy that no Tesla’s include this feature that is almost as common as power windows in cars today.  Man, I was pissed, at myself, at the car, at the other driver, and pretty much the world in general.

Today I had my last cardiac test, a vein test.  I was a little surprised when I entered the testing room and the guy said to remove my pants.  The test wasn’t very enjoyable.  I stood on a platform for 20 minutes while the guy ran an ultrasound wand down each leg from my crotch to my ankle.  I quickly found myself flush in the face and sweating, a common involuntary reaction I have with many medical tests.  What really got to me was when I would hear the audio that was being recorded of the veins.

When the tech got to my left leg he was a bit confused.  I told him that over 20 years ago I had a varicose vein removed from the leg.  That cleared things up for him because he was not seeing a vein he was expecting to find.  I was relieved when the test was done.  All that remains on the cardiac side of my current health reality is to talk to the doctor about what all these tests reveal.  I am hoping it’s nothing.  I am tired of eating sardine sandwich situations.