My normal routine after work is to get changed and then go out and have my evening chicken visit. This visit includes things like scooping poop in the run, giving them various treats, and cleaning/refilling their water if Cindy had not done it earlier. This was the first time doing that since the clocks fell back. The time change paired with overcast skies meant it was already well on it’s way to getting dark by the time I got out there. I rushed to do my tasks but I had one more to work on, the chicken door from the coop to the run. Cindy reported it stopped working during the day. So after giving the hens treats I pulled a bucket in front of the automatic coop door and started to take it apart.
When I started I already had a couple birds in there with me, up on the perch. As I continued my investigation I soon had all nine hens observing me. Ginger, the chicken that seems most attached to us positioned herself right next to me and was eye to eye. I petted her a few times during breaks in the work. The original problem was the plug to the motor had worked it’s way loose, something that happens over time from vibration. I plugged it back in and thought all was well until the door came slamming down meaning the string that supports it has now also broken, great.
I took the door back apart and temporarily threw a new piece of string in place to get me by until I can do the work without a coop full of chickens. Surprisingly the birds seemed to hold off pooping on the mats while I was in there. I appreciated the consideration.
My new multi-material upgrade for the Prusa showed up yesterday but I don’t plan to attempt building the add on until the weekend when I have a decent time buffer allowed. It should consume far less time than the original printer build but I am sure it will have it’s own set of challenges. Luckily I do have a three day weekend ahead of me courtesy of Veterans Day. I am targeting it as tree trimming weekend as well, hooray.
Friday evening started with another rowing session. Every time I choose to row instead of run I feel a slight pang of guilt. The biggest tether to me running lately has been lower back pain which will only get amplified by 5K of pounding.
Most of my Saturday morning was spent outside between chicken chores, weeding and then weed whacking the property which was well overdue. Running the weed whacker for over an hour and a half is not my idea of a good time. After lunch we headed to Home Depot for a few items, well we headed out, came back and headed out again. The reason for this was my KS 16X wheel showed up EARLY which was unbelievable.
After a weather delay out west FedEx had the wheel delivery scheduled for Monday which bummed me out. I hadn’t bothered to check the tracking again Saturday morning. We got the notice on our Ring literally two minutes after leaving the house. Cindy told the guy to have the neighbor sign. I swung a U-turn to go grab the 60 pound box and put it in the house. To have a FedEx wheel delivery show up early is unheard of in my world. Usually the box is later than promised, spending an extra day or two collecting dust in the central Florida distribution center. I’m not sure why my box got fast tracked this time but it was a very pleasant surprise. I unboxed the wheel and took it on a very quick test ride just to make sure everything was in good working order, it was.
Saturday night Cindy and I went out to dinner and to see the new Terminator movie. Instead of eating at the theater we chose to eat at a restaurant nearby. It was an interesting combo of Italian and sushi cuisine. The place had a cozy atmosphere, our waitress was very nice and we both enjoyed our meals a lot, probably too much, as we ate more than we probably should have. We will be sure to patronize the place again.
I was looking forward to Dark Fate, it looks like the rest of the country was not since the movie only pulled about $29 million on it’s opening weekend, a weak number. I thought it was cool that James Cameron was once again involved in the film and I didn’t care that the plot of this movie ignored the existence of all Terminator movies after T2. It was was interesting seeing Linda Hamilton, who I was very hot for back in the 90’s, reprise her role as Sarah Connor. She is still in great physical shape but a lifetime of smoking cigarettes did her no favors otherwise. Despite the box office numbers, I thoroughly enjoyed the film. As a lifelong Terminator fan I feel an A rating is merited.
Sunday morning I took my new 16X out for it’s first Dunkin Donuts ride. It was an enjoyable ride although it was a bit speed limited due to a configuration change I needed to yet make. During the ride I talked about a number of things including a weird situation I read about in one of the EUC groups. A week or two ago a group of guys were riding in the LA aquaducts which were mostly dry except for the side channels. One of the guys was trying to do a trick and came off his wheel. Instead of falling over however, the wheel continued to stay upright and roll away from him, right into the water which fried the wheel. It was very unlucky.
Well this post was to advertise a GoFundMe created by someone to buy this guy a new wheel to replace the one that went swimming. This immediately struck me as odd and I talked about it at length in the video. The GoFundMe was created by someone else but the guy whose wheel it was posted the link to the “charity”. In the comments for the GoFundMe the owner of the wheel claimed he could easily afford to buy a new wheel which seemed extremely odd to me as he was promoting others paying for the wheel instead. Anyway I didn’t agree with using crowd sourcing for this situation and I expressed it. I got a few negative comments about my opinion but that’s all that it was, my opinion. I have a lot of them that you either embrace or disregard, it doesn’t matter to me.
Another thing I talked about was the change of plans for my birthday. On Friday I almost pulled the trigger on a quick cruise for the occasion but potential hurdles Cindy presented derailed the idea. Instead now I think the plan is to do a quick three day mini road trip which will include visiting Galaxy’s Edge in Orlando and the Kennedy Space Center. It should be a different but equally cool kind of fun.
I watched the Eagles/Bears game. During the first half they DOMINATED the Bears and should have had a much bigger lead but they repeatedly traded touchdowns for FG’s when in the red zone. In the second half they allowed the Bears, who literally had ZERO yards of offense in the first half to get rolling. Luckily the Birds were able to close out the game with a prolonged drive late that sealed the deal. It was shaping up as a classic Eagles prevent defense collapse up until that point. It was nice to get a win to inch above the .500 mark but I don’t have a real strong feeling that this team is going anywhere lofty this season.
Yesterday as I was flipping through email I came across one from Royal Caribbean notifying me of a big discount on several upcoming cruises. Since we returned from the cruise I have had lingering fond feelings about the experience so I clicked on the link to see the deals. As I was digging around I saw they had a four night Key West/Nassau cruise departing from Fort Lauderdale. The rate was good and when I saw it covered my birthday a light bulb went off, another birthday cruise! Much like many purchases this year, this idea came out of nowhere.
Cindy was teaching a class so I couldn’t discuss the idea with her right away. I stepped through the reservation process all the way to the final payment screen. When I talked to Cindy she was surprised by my idea but said she had to check on the dates and if Katie could do chicken duty. If I would have gotten a “yes” from Cindy before leaving for the gym we would have a reservation booked right now. Instead my session timed out during lunch and Cindy raised issues related to Katie’s work schedule and her own.
So as of now nothing is planned although Cindy was looking at options last night online. She would prefer to do something that doesn’t impact Katie’s work schedule. I told her I really liked the idea of doing it over my birthday which is not flexible, like work schedules or babysitter options. The added passing of time since the idea came rushing to the surface may cool my desire to pursue it further, we’ll see.
Although the cruise impulse did not come to be yesterday I did make another snap purchase, the MMU2 upgrade for one of my Prusa printers. MMU stands for Multi-Material Upgrade, in other words it allows you to use multiple types/colors of filament in a single print. Most of my Prusa stands I make have a contrasting color for the letters. This is done manually where the print job stops, I change the filament and then it resumes again. With this add on I can have up to 5 colors of filament loaded and the printer will seamlessly switch between them, opening the door to some really amazing prints.
This add on comes only as a kit so it is going to require some more patience sapping construction work but I am hoping the end result is worth it. With all of the 3D store sales, all of this stuff is paid for out of my Paypal account which doesn’t touch my normal budget whatsoever so that made the decision even easier to justify. I can’t wait to see how this turns out.
I finished up the prototype model I designed for the skateboard company. The owner was thrilled with the end result and is coming to check it out today. I suggested that if the logo was painted in a contrasting color it would look sharp, he agreed. I think Cindy will take a shot at doing the paint work. If the Prusa MMU upgrade works as I hope, that contrasting logo can be printed inline without skipping a beat.
This weekend the grass needs a full mow and weed whack which I’m not looking forward to. We are now into November without having our first appreciable cold front. I don’t recall this EVER happening since I have lived here. Normally around mid-October we will have our first nighttime temps that touch the 60’s. It has not happened yet and the last time I checked the extended forecast it is not even on the horizon. It better happen some weekend this month as I need to target a cooler day to tackle the oppressive and body destroying tree trimming annual task.
The Halloween decorations will come down prior to the yard work. It was great that all the Trick or Treaters last night got to to enjoy them. Who am I kidding, nobody showed up, just like the last decade, oh well.
Last night was another busy one. I spent time doing 3D store order processing, stand building, and started building the prototype for the skateboard display stand. I think it looks pretty good, I am hoping the small changes I made to the support placement will make it stable enough.
For the first time in a few years we aren’t doing a PEV ride through Victoria Park during Halloween. Since baby DJ arrived it isn’t easy for Katie to go riding. Plus if you recall, it was a nightmare and dangerous trying to ride through the hundreds of trick or treaters jamming the streets last year. The end result is we will be spending this Halloween at home, with the porch light on for trick or treaters that will never come.
Cindy got most of the remaining items that were displaced for the carpet work back where they belong yesterday. It felt good to come back to a house that was more or less back in order, I never feel good when piles or clutter are around. One of the things I did last night was edit the video I shot documenting the fun process. (spoiler, it wasn’t fun)
I forgot to mention yesterday that someone finally took me up on an EUC trade offer that I have been putting out there on social media and YouTube videos for awhile. I offered to trade my like new Nikola Plus for a King Song 16X, the wheel I demo’d a couple months ago. When I demo’d the wheel I found myself liking it more than the Nikola, a wheel I liked very much already. I have been trying to be a bit more reasonable in my PEV buying habits recently so instead of spending another 2K for a new 16X, I threw the trade offer out there.
From a dollar perspective it was a good deal for someone as a Nikola Plus cost roughly $500 more than a 16X. Despite this, I couldn’t get anyone to make a deal. Finally this weekend someone agreed to the trade. His 16X has roughly 150 miles on it, my Nikola only had 120 miles so it was pretty close. We both shipped our boxes out on Monday and by the end of the week we both should have received our wheels. To me the Nikola was better than the 16X in only two ways, it’s top speed which pushes 40 mph, (which I would never ride at), and it’s LED lighting is more visually interesting. In every other way I prefer the 16X. It should make for interesting video content. A few people think I’m crazy but most seem to agree that overall the 16X is a better wheel.
Last night after work I had the cousin of the guy that detailed my truck stop by. He brought one of the skateboards he sells so I could use it to prototype a stand that he could use to display his boards in a store. Matt was extremely nice and seemed like a very genuine person. I put the board in the stand I made for my Meepo and it stood upright albeit in a little tipsy manner. I need to do a few modifications to make the stand a little more stable and also include their logo into the design. If this works out it could lead to yet another avenue for additional 3D printing work which is good and bad at the same time. The amount of my time consumed by this hobby turned into a side business is growing at an accelerating rate.
A good portion of the three day weekend was spent doing all of the work required to clear four rooms in the house for carpet restretching. The carpet guys had their work done in about an hour, between Cindy and I we spent 12-15 hours doing all of the required work to prepare and recover. Home Depot has very clear instructions on what you need to do properly prep the room, basically EVERYTHING comes out but the up to six furniture items per room that they will move. However those furniture items need to be cleared of any items as well.
The clearing work resulted in a bag of trash and several boxes of donated items. Overall it was a positive experience as not only do the rooms no longer have raised ridges in the carpet, we also got to use better judgement when filling them back up. I wound up having four or five left over power strips that I no longer needed after connecting things in a less haphazard fashion. There were a lot of things that are now cleaner, more organized, and more efficient at the end of the arduous process.
While I was waiting for the carpet installers to show up I had the detailer that I contacted out working on the Tacoma. He spent over three hours on the truck, going over it inch by inch. He cleaned the wheel wells, the engine bay, and seemed to vacuum up every single strand of dog hair that littered the interior. He really did a great job and I felt he certainly earned his money.
I talked to him about also doing the Tesla down the road. We also talked about the 3D printers I had running in the garage which he found fascinating. For the carpet work I also had my PEVs in the garage on their 3D printed stands. This caught John’s interest as he and his cousin also have a small skateboard business. He saw the stands I made for my one e-sk8 and Cindy’s conventional skateboard. He said they were opening a store at the mall and thought a stand like this would be great for them to display their boards. He asked if I had any interest in designing/making a few of them for him.
I told him I was very busy but I would be open to coming up with something on a limited basis. I told him the main thing I would require is one of the boards that can be used to prototype with, making sure it fits well and is secure. Supposedly after work tonight the cousin is going to drop off a board to do exactly that. I surely don’t need more work on the 3D front but this will be a fun little challenge that could lead to more opportunities down the road.
I was sort of dreading the carpet project so it feels good to have it in the rear view mirror. Having the work done now should buy us another couple years until we decide what to do with the flooring in those rooms next. I have had a pretty constant feeling of being behind the curve of what needs to get done for awhile. I can deal with that feeling in short bursts but it is not viable long term.
Last night we had DJ. When we babysit him in the evening it can be rough as many times he gets grexy that time of day it seems. He was a little better last night which was cool. As he gets older he becomes more and more interactive with the world around him which is neat. He seems to like me, usually I can get a smile out of him with a funny face.
I am on the doorstep of a three day weekend. Unfortunately it isn’t for fun, it’s to clear out all of our carpeted rooms so the ridges can be pulled out. I am hoping all of this effort is worth it. When it comes time to redo the carpet the next time I think there is a good chance the office and the hobby room will become hard surface flooring. I have so much 3D printing demand that I plan to continue production even after the hobby room is ripped apart. My hope is to set up the benches in the garage and let the printers continue in there during the work.
Last night after dinner and tending to 3D store orders I started working on clearing off the bookshelves in the office, prepping to empty the room for Monday’s carpet restretch. This wasn’t just relocating stuff to a temporary space, this was also a clean up operation. I wound up throwing out tons of old CD’s, parts, and other paraphernalia I haven’t touched in years.
Those shelves also contained both boxes and albums of photos. I took a time out to flip through an album that I believe Ali made for me a loooong time ago. It contained a number of throwback pics. I took a picture of the pictures with my phone and posted them online. Some are pretty funny but all brought back memories of those different time capsules of my life.
Last night gave me a good taste for what a good portion of the weekend will contain, moving, cleansing, purging, moving back, followed by organizing. It’s not particularly hard to do, just time consuming. Having the house in a state of utter chaos for a period of time never makes me feel great mentally but I’ll get over it, just like Mulvaney said I should.
Speaking of the Trump administration, wow, this has become just an incredible shit show. To me the irony is the charges they are investigating regarding impeachment are likely very small potatoes compared to the things they don’t know about, yet. The walls are closing in on poor Don, his head may explode.
I forgot to mention this in this morning’s post. I was at Planet Fitness yesterday doing my leg routine as usual. Typically when I do leg extensions and curls I do them in the “30 Minute Workout” section of the gym, the equipment in there is better than what is on the main floor. This section is supposedly designed so a person goes from one machine to another through the entire circuit to achieve a full body workout in 30 minutes. This feature was added probably 5 years ago and pretty much no one ever uses it as intended, people hop in there, do a couple machines they want to do and hop out. It’s just another example of one of the fail concepts that “no lunk” Planet Fitness leans heavily on.
Just like front desk staff, this Planet Fitness location rolls through trainers like toilet paper. In the last year I bet there have been at least five of them that have come and gone. However the last few make me lol as they were clear examples of individuals not buying what they are selling, they were/are terribly overweight, perhaps part of PF’s brilliant no intimidation policy. The only good thing is you pay for their help what they are worth, zero.
So the current young guy that is the “trainer”, who likely has a BMI approaching 40, spends almost every minute I see him at the gym circling the floor. It seems like he is desperately looking for someone to interact with or wanting to ask for his assistance but those requests never seem to come so he continues to circle. Well yesterday he actually had a woman that he was “training” back in the 30 minute workout area. They were doing the circuit per his direction, probably because it was written on the wall on how to do it. I doubt the guy has many formalized training plans in his head otherwise.
I was over on the leg curl machine when I heard the guy address another older woman who was in the area. Like me, she had come in to use one of the machines but not do the entire circuit. The guy scolds this woman and tells her how this area is ONLY for people doing 30 minute workouts. She told him she was just doing one set and leaving but he said that it wasn’t true as he had seen her doing sets on other machines in there too, GASP!!! This poor woman actually followed the fake trainers directive and left the 30 minute workout area. Keep in mind besides the woman that this genius was training, there were only two other people in there so a total of 3 people for roughly 15 different machines.
So when this went down I had only completed my first set. I was amazed at the stupidity of this guy and I wondered if he had the balls to come over and accost me for blatantly ignoring the circuit only sign on the wall as well. Perhaps he read my body language, perhaps he is only comfortable reprimanding older women, but for whatever reason he said nothing to me as I completed my two additional sets on the leg curl machine before leaving the area.
I had a full diatribe prepared in my head if he dared say a word to me. I was going to ask him if Planet Fitness was now going to actively enforce ALL of the rules they post on the walls. Was Mr Rule Police going to apprehend all of the patrons that ignore the “Limit Cell Phone Use to the Lobby” signs aka everybody? How about the gaggle of old men that use the exercise machines as park benches where they talk about breaded haddock and bowel movements? Were they planning on dropping the hammer on the guys that use the Smith machines for 60 minutes at a time, disregarding the 30 minute max rule? What about the people that leave equipment covered in bodily fluids, ignoring the wipe down signs? How about disregarding customer safety by allowing machines with frayed belts, stripped screws, and loose parts to remain in service because they are too cheap or lazy to do anything about it? I could go on and on.
After asking the guy what training certification he currently held, I was going to top it off by letting him know I would be happy to share my thoughts with the owner, Mark, who I have known for about 15 years. Luckily, for the fake trainer, he kept his mouth shut but if he ever tries to reprimand me in that shit hole gym I promise, I will make a scene that he is unlikely to forget anytime soon. The reality is in a few weeks he too likely will be gone just like the rest of them. The shelf life on most PF staff is 3-4 months.
My days and nights are typically filled with things to occupy my time, so much so that I rarely take the time to take a step back and just appreciate the good fortune in my life. Despite dropping out of college after three months and drifting through several random, future-less, mostly physical jobs in my early 20’s I have wound up on stable footing with financial security, a roof over my head, and not wanting for much of anything.
As much as I bitch and complain about the trials and tribulations of aging, compared to most of my peers, I am holding up well, refusing to relent to “me too” mentality where being lazy and not caring about your health at this age is the de facto attitude. Cindy and I have our own small but unique family element where animals literally accept and provide child-like love. With the addition of baby DJ to the mix that love has only increased. Cindy of course has had a lot to do with my good fortune. Her energy and caring for me helps cancel out some of the negativity that is wired into my personality. I appreciate everything she does to make our house a home and her efforts to be my partner in life.
I know most blog posts are filled with me recounting all of the stuff I am doing and not necessarily what sort of stuff I am feeling. I just wanted to take a moment to clarify that despite whatever griping you may hear, in the big picture I know I am lucky to have landed where I have after all is said and done.
So now that’s out of the way, last night I found myself again busy building stands for sale. I have a unique order that is getting shipped over to a military base in the Pacific. I did not realize that you can ship worldwide to military bases for even less than what normal domestic shipping costs, that’s pretty cool. I have had a lot of overseas interest lately, I have another order for the UK that I need to get working on next.
I booked someone to come out and detail the Tacoma on Monday, when I will already be off for the carpet restretch. I have NEVER paid for someone else to detail my vehicles in my life. However life changes as you get older. I am shifting into a time period where in some areas my time is worth more than my money. Sure, I could spend 3-4 hours doing the work myself but still winding up with a less pretty outcome than professional results. At this point I’d rather pay for a full detail once a year and I continue to handle normal hand washing duties.
This trend will surely expand as time marches on. For example the ground elevation / sod project will be done mostly by someone that does it for a living. The cost to do so is reasonable in my mental ledger. No worries, there are still plenty of projects that will be paid for by sweat equity alone. For example I want to redo the fencing around the chicken area. I somehow bought and installed welded wire instead of woven wire fencing. The welded wire stuff is garbage and is already falling apart at the areas where standing water lives in the summer.