Category: Relationships

You didn’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that my last post was an indication that Cindy and I have split up, she moved out of the house last week. Of course there is no upside to go into the how’s and why’s here.  All that matters is exiting an eight and a half year relationship is difficult emotionally for both of us albeit something we mutually agreed was necessary.  Both of our lives are going to be changing in a major way and maybe that is a good thing, only time will tell.

It’s been close to a decade since I have run solo.  The house was a bear to maintain on my own back then, it will now be even more oppressive with all those additional years on my odometer.  I can tell you how much I love cleaning the chicken coop by a LED light at 5:45 in the morning.  The chickens aren’t big fans of the arrangement I can tell you that also.  Elsa, who is the closest thing I have ever had to my own child is living with me until Cindy gets dog friendly accommodations.  After she does the plan is to do a split custody deal similar to what I do with Sadie still. That change will be extremely difficult for me, the bond I have with her is so strong.

So there isn’t much more detail to give right now other than we hope to continue to be friends, hope to be able to support each other as we move forward, without the normal pitfalls and pettiness that accompanies most splits.  Hopefully it is a plan we can execute.  There are so many things to do.

On Saturday I helped Cindy finish up the ass busting part of a landscape project she has been working on, picking up and laying 50 pieces of sod.  The degree of dirtiness you impart on a t-shirt hauling sod around is like no other.  When I got home, despite already putting in a solid amount of labor I hopped on the tractor and mowed the back of the property which had dried considerably after several days of minimal rain.  I also have to get back into the swing of doing my own meal prep, something Cindy handled more or less 100% of the time.  I am relying on Trader Joe’s for a lot of meals right now.

Sunday was a busy day.  After doing the chicken chores I put on my gear to do a high speed ride to Dunkin Donuts on my new V12.  During that ride I formally announced the split from Cindy which was sort of a big deal as Cindy was a regular in many of my videos and people always loved when she was part of them.  I got a lot of well wishes and kind words for both myself and Cindy, which was appreciated.  The V12 performed superbly during the ride.  It is definitely the best 16 inch wheel I ever owned.

So after I got back I got the urge to buzz my head.  I couldn’t find the normal plug in clippers I have used in the past, so I grabbed my cordless trimmer that I normally use to trim my facial hair.  I figured it would be able to get the job done.  My hair was still oily and sweaty from the ride.  The clippers could not get through it, the blade was constantly clogging, leaving my hair looking like I took a weed whacker to it.  When I was trying to clean the blades, the shaving head popped out and came apart when it hit the floor.  I could not get it back together for some reason, maybe a part broke.

So my Tesla delivery was scheduled at 1:30 so I was already coming up with a game plan to wear a hat pulled down to my forehead to hide the botched head shaving.  Luckily Cindy told me about another trimmers that was in the master bathroom.  I was able to use it quickly to make my head look more or less uniform again.

So Cindy was my ride to the Tesla dealership, this time a much shorter drive to Fort Myers instead of Fort Lauderdale.  We drove through some torrential rain which she didn’t enjoy.  It was still raining when we got to the dealership but stopped shortly afterward.  This delivery was even less hassle than the last one where I only had to sign one document.  This time no signatures were needed.  It could have been a completely touchless delivery if we wanted it to be.

The Model Y, looked sharp, I really liked the white interior, the first Tesla I have owned that had it.  It also felt weird seeing the battery indicator show 295 miles of range, almost 40% more than I ever saw available on my SR vehicles.  On the drive back I also quickly discovered the difference in speed the AWD car has.  If you are brave enough to stab the accelerator pedal you better hold on for dear life.  It’s crazy fast, feeling more like an amusement park ride.

Of course I did a video about my initial impressions and set up.  I am really looking forward to commuting in a Tesla once again.

My Labor Day was unconventional and weird feeling as you may imagine.  I got the labor part out of the way by mowing the front yard this time.  With my normal schedule I would be weed whacking this week but I said f it, I had enough other stuff to do.  After a quick dip in the pool I made myself lunch.  Shortly afterwards Cindy, Katie, and DJ stopped by visiting most of the afternoon.  It was the first time I had seen my little buddy in quite awhile.  Much like Elsa, DJ feels like family to me, my grandson,  regardless of what blood tests say.  I want to keep my relationship with him going of course, I love the little guy.  We had fun playing with cars, watching Pepa the Pig and just hanging out.  To keep him from crying bloody murder when he left I rode shotgun in Cindy’s car to drop he and Katie off, that always seems to make him feel better.

After making myself dinner, I played some WoW and will be showering and watching some tv before bed.  It feels weird walking around making decisions without input from a second party, real weird.  As has been the case with every traumatic event in my life, the only surefire way to move on is via the passage of time.  When I split with Ali one of my mistakes was trying to go full force into whatever was next.  I won’t be making that mistake again. I need to explore being on my own more before even entertaining any other alternatives.

 

 

 

 

I got an email from my Dad today that brought instant waves of emotion over me.  Maggie had died.  Maggie was going on 16 years old and for the vast majority of her life she was an incredibly active dog which is a blessing.  Dad and my stepmom didn’t adopt Maggie until after I moved to Florida so I didn’t get to spend as much time with her as I would have liked but even with those limits, I loved her a ton.

The times when Maggie, Clara, Nicki and Sadie got together either via western road trips in the van or when my dad and stepmom would visit Florida were just so special.  Watching the four dogs interact and play was one of the purest and simplest enjoyments I could ask for.

Maggie was amazingly athletic, smart and seemed to have endless energy.  She would play fetch with you until your arm was ready to fall off.  She liked water, entertaining us by diving into the pool here repeatedly to retrieve a toy.  She accompanied us on countless walks whether it was 90 degrees in Florida or 10 degrees in western PA.  She didn’t care, she just wanted to be part of it.

She and my dad were inseparable.  Despite her size she wanted to be a lap dog while dad was driving.  It was always quite the funny visual seeing a full grown border collie jammed onto his lap on the road.  I know this moment was something my dad dreaded for a long time and it sounds to me like he wasn’t dealing well with it as Maggie went downhill.

When I saw her in January I was shocked by just how much she was struggling.  It had been a year or two since I saw her.  It was difficult to see the dog I knew running around for hours now having to struggle mightily to simply stand and walk.  During that visit I was pretty sure it was going to be the last time I saw sweet Maggie alive. I spent a lot of time on the floor just rubbing her during that visit.  I told her I loved her as I gave her one last head rub before I left.

The sadness and remorse I feel I am sure is only a fraction of what my stepmom and dad are feeling.  Despite my sorrow I do try to recognize that at least her suffering is at an end.  In times like this it’s hard to focus on all of the great memories and loving relationship you had with your pet as they truly love you like no human being can.

The picture in the snow was taken during that last visit.  I remember when I took it, the symbolism even then brought me to tears for a moment.  We all will miss precious Maggie.  She was a special one.

My shoulder pain meant no running this weekend, bouncing up and down would have been highly problematic.  Starting Friday I began taking some of Cindy’s CBD which has a number of benefits, including pain management.  Over the weekend I made consistent improvement.  By Sunday afternoon I was able to slowly lift my right arm above my head under it’s own power, an impossibility 48 hours prior.  I was excited to be on the road to recovery.  However last night during sleep I noticed more pain returning and by the time I rolled out of bed this morning it felt like I was almost back to my starting point on Friday.  Yes, I’m frustrated.

The weather this weekend was mostly overcast and dark.  The good news out of this was we did at least score some much needed rain.  I kept busy a good portion of Saturday, even with a bum shoulder.  I bought all new brushed nickel handles for all of the interior doors. (well all but one that I forgot about)  The old fashioned brass door knobs looked dated.  I have had a handle style lever on the door from the garage for a couple years.  I always intended to do the rest, now it’s finally done.  Maybe it was wishful thinking but the new anti-microbial handles felt like they freshened up the look of things.

Deb came over again on Saturday afternoon.  I donated my remaining AnyCubic I3 Mega printer to her, after donating my other one to Katie a couple weeks prior.  We again had a fun time hanging out.  One of the highlights for the girls was making fun of my famous “party shirt” which was bought somewhere in the late 80’s/early 90’s time period.

This shirt is obviously bizarre with it’s mismatched breast pockets, capri length sleeves, and short cut that exposes your waist with the slightest lean.  However I used to think the shirt was cool, way cool.  It was the shirt I wore on my first date with Ali way back when.  Yes I realize now the shirt is silly yet I will keep it forever due to the imagined magical powers I once thought it had. The girls laughed their ass off at my party shirt modeling session and I didn’t mind.

I have begun printing the parts for my new adjustable EUC stand.  I put the prototype together and have one of my wheels on it currently.  It seems solid, despite having the ability to adjust to different widths.  It will be interesting to see how it plays out once I list it on the store.  A customer will have the ability to buy one stand that should fit almost any EUC out there.  Of course I plan to charge more for these stands as they require more prep and hardware than any previous models.

Sunday was extremely drab and dreary.  I didn’t even get out on a PEV to ride.  Sure I kept busy somewhat but I played a bunch of WoW and even laid down to watch Captain America Civil War again during the day, which is a rarity.  I just was not feeling very high on life.

I have talked once or twice on here about regret that I had regarding how I used to use the blog during my second marriage as a podium to express my displeasure with certain things that came up in our relationship.  Regardless of if my feelings were justified or not, putting them out there in the blog for the world to digest was unfair as it only allows for a single side of a dual sided conflict.

Ironically the time I decided to stop doing that was pretty close to the time that we separated.  To be clear, I don’t think posting or not posting to blog would have made a difference in the end result, I just don’t think it was the right thing to do. Over the years there are times where I resist the urge to put down in words various personal thoughts that run through my head as I remain steadfast to the desire to not be a one way street with two way traffic.   Yea it may be fun for readers to get a peek behind the curtain but in the big picture there is no fun to be had with the end result.

 

 

My first day back at work consisted of me spending most of the day troubleshooting and monitoring a server that developed mystery performance issues suddenly.  It was the same server I was on the phone with the office for on Monday and Tuesday.  I have dug through endless pages on the internet trying to get a handle on what is going on but have not yet received a concrete answer.  Instead I have been doing the network equivalent of shotgunning parts as I disable or change things to see what sort of affect it has.  In a nutshell the problem causes slow performance for a number of systems at our main office so it’s a real issue.

The issue persisted all morning yesterday, despite changes I made.  Then all of a sudden right around lunch time things went back to normal and stayed that way the rest of the day.  This made me think that possibly the cause is something external of the server I had been working on.  I spent the rest of the day looking for unusual activity inside or outside of the network but again found no conclusive answers.  One side effect of this is I am working on building a second server to perform the same functions as the first so we have a way to recover quicker if need be in the future.

Today is Cindy’s 50th birthday, a big one by anybody’s standards.  The cruise was the big celebration of the event, I had hoped it actually would have occurred on her actual birthday.  Now, going out to dinner tonight seems a little anti-climactic.  We are going to Outback per Cindy’s request with her family and a good friend.    I always want Cindy’s birthdays to be special and of course a 50th requires more attention than most.

Despite how much I lamented turning 50, I’ll never forget the effort Cindy and the rest of my family and friends put into making it a special time.  I hope the last week or so does the same for Cindy as she deserves it.  I have never known someone so willing to invest herself into the happiness of those around her as Cindy does and I love her for it.

 

I arrived home last night to a water nightmare.  It looked like I remember the day after a hurricane, there was that much standing water.  What is insane is this is from just random ferocious daily thunderstorms, not a tropical system.  When I walked out back to the chickens there was hardly any ground to be found that was not submerged.   The water behind the coop was so deep that the submersible pump was completely submerged.  I would estimate that at certain spots there was a foot of standing water.

Even Chicken Island was submerged, the first time that has happened since I elevated a 20 x 30 square back there.  It was bad, really bad.  My first concern was the birds as they literally had nowhere to stand where their feet were not in water which is no good for them.  I opened up the the gate to their yard giving them access to the rest of the property and higher ground.  Cupcake, one of the older hens immediately took advantage of the open door while the “babies” took a little bit longer to understand they were allowed outside their fenced confines.

When I pulled in the driveway I was greeted by a walking catfish who was literally walking up towards the house.  We have had them on the property several times.  I scooped this guy into a bucket and dumped him in the canal before a bird could swoop down and grab it.  I remember when I first saw fish in the middle of the yard years ago I was dumbfounded.  Now it gets a shoulder shrug, just another weird Florida thing.

This morning we again opened the gate to the chicken area.  The birds didn’t take long to start moving to higher, drier ground.  The pump seems to be dropping the water level in the their area but there is a long way to go.  The problem is the drainage ditch I am pumping to is already filled to the brim so I am just moving the flood from one section of the property to another.

Today marks the five year anniversary of my mom passing away.  I had to double check the year because it seemed impossible that five years had already passed since that tragic and emotionally crushing day of my life.

The speed that time passes as you grow older feels exponential in it’s acceleration.  I feel like if there was anything good that came of her sudden and premature death it was that it realigned my focus on doing things in life that I want to do, to enjoy the time that I have because nobody knows when that time will come to an end, abrupt or otherwise.  Love you Mom.

 

 

So Monday was the last day of my extended weekend and I needed every hour of it.  There was still some residual party clean up items scattered around believe it or not.  Hosting a party for close to 50 people is not something I will be looking to do again anytime soon.  I spent a good portion of the day attending to smaller tasks, some of which will lead to larger tasks.

One of those tasks was measuring the border around the orchard.  When I initially planned to rebuild the dog deck I purchased four 8 foot 2 x 6’s for the work.  Since the deck is no longer in existence I had them available for other projects.  The border of the orchard is constructed of 2 x 6’s as well, which are probably more rotted than the dog deck was.  The 8 footers I have will replace half of the border, I will need four 12 footers to complete the job which I will tackle sometime soon.

I also took my Kill-A-Watt and hooked it up to the coop to see exactly how much power is drawn to run the electronics and fan out there.  The answer is not much.  I saw about a one amp draw and around 120 watts.  You may ask why I would be doing this?  Because I want to try to run the coop entirely off of solar power.

I want to use a solar generator to make this happen.  I currently have my sights set on a Yeti 1400 which is probably overkill for the job.  It incorporates a battery bank, solar charge controller, and an inverter all in one package.  It can be charged with conventional power but my intent is to hook up 200-300 watts of solar panels to the box.  If it works as I expect, this package would allow me to pull the plug to the coop and run things completely via the sun.

During the day the panels would pull enough power to both charge the batteries and run the equipment.  At night the beefy 1400WH battery is more than sufficient to keep the juice flowing.  I think it would be an awesome project that I am excited about digging into.  Of course as is the case with most things, it isn’t cheap so I am going to save my Amazon spiff bucks for a little while to help defer some of the expense.

Yesterday I installed a new CPU cooler into my HP Omen.  You may ask why would I need a new CPU cooler in my brand new computer?  I don’t.  However this cooler incorporates cool RGB lighting that compliments the RGB lighting that is already prevalent throughout my PC set up.  The case, my mouse, mousepad, and keyboard all have RGB lighting already. Installing the cooler was very straightforward.  I really liked the visual afterward, it was $25 well spent.

I also got to work on my KingSong 18L.  I bought an upgraded battery for it which should increase my range significantly.  Installation of the big pack was pretty easy.  I look forward to taking an Ave Maria ride soon to test it out.  I tried the ride on the 18L with my original battery and ran out of juice with about a mile to go.

Cindy’s Aunt Cecilia flies back home to Illinois this evening.  I gave her a hug before leaving for work this morning.  It has been a lot of fun having her visit.  Cindy and her have a very special relationship. It was cool seeing the interaction between them.  I’m sure we will see her again.

With all of the recap I was posting in yesterday’s blog entry I totally forgot to mention that Sunday was Cindy and my sixth anniversary.  Who knew an innocent invite to an arena football game would result in six years filled with adventures, smiles, laughter, and fun?  I am lucky to have her in my life and hopefully she feels the same.

 

 

 

Wow, this has been quite the three day time warp.  I took off Friday so I would be able to get stuff done in advance of Katie’s baby shower which was being held at the house Saturday.  The first order of business was I wanted to get the grass cleaned up so I did a quick mowing session and weed whacked just around the immediate house area.

As I was mowing I kept looking at the front of the roof which has been dirty for a long time from shit dropping off the oak tree which is right by the house.  I decided I would address that quickly with the pressure washer.  Well it wasn’t quick.  Once I got the ladder on the roof I got a good look at the gutters.  I was not pleased when I saw the front gutter was totally packed with debris.  I first tried just grabbing handfuls of the mess and pulling it out but I soon decided that was far too slow.  I climbed up on the roof with the pressure washer in hand and started blasting the shit out of the gutters, sending brown debris everywhere.

I quickly discovered just how dangerous pressure washing a metal roof can be.  You have to be extremely precise with your footing.  The only place you should step are on one of the screw heads on the ridges.  If you step on the flat section while it is wet you may as well be stepping on an ice rink, an ice rink with a 30 degree pitch.  There were several times I caught myself while I was just on the edge of losing my balance.

The pressure washer did a good job of blasting the dirt off the roof itself as well as out of the gutters.  However once the gutters were clear I was observing the way water flowed in them.  In several sections the water did not flow or flowed extremely slowly towards the downspout.  In some sections there was so much adhesive around the seams at the downspout that it created a small ridge around the hole which again restricts water flow.  Since I paid $1500 for these seamless gutters to be installed I was not very pleased.  I called up the company and asked if they could come out to adjust the gutters so water flows consistently out them.  I also asked about possibly having gutter guards installed in the area of the roof impacted by the oak tree as it drops ridiculous amounts of organic debris.

So I was tired from my roof adventure but I came up with another on the spot task that I worked on while Cindy went to the airport to pick up her Aunt Cecelia.  The dog deck, which was one of the very early outdoor construction projects I ever tackled after building the house, was rotting away after being in the yard for close probably at least 15 years.  The one side frame support was collapsing.

So my initial plan was to pull the decking off and just replace the outer frame 2×6’s.  The decking was expensive composite lumber that still was in decent shape.  Removing it was a hassle as there were 17 boards that each had 12 screws in them, you can do the math.

So as I started pulling deck boards off the picture was getting less rosy.  Not only were the outer pieces rotting but a lot of the support 2×4’s underneath were going bad as well.  So then the plan in my head morphed again to me rebuilding the entire frame and just connect it to the 4×4’s that were cemented into the ground.  Somehow in my head I thought I could possibly get this all done before the party at 2PM on Saturday.

So now I also had to rip off the old frame which was not fun.  I decided to take the sawzall and cut it into smaller sections to make the job easier and make the pieces fit in the bed of the Tacoma easier.  Well as I was pulling apart one section I hear a snap, one of the 4×4 posts snapped off which revealed it was chewed up from termite damage. Great, now I have to make a new anchor for that corner as well.  However a few moments after that happened a revelation hit me.

I sat there and asked myself why I was even rebuilding this deck at all.  It literally NEVER gets used.  It was built originally for us to have a place to sit in the small elevated dog run we made prior to fencing in the yard.  Since the yard has been fenced the dog deck has just been a place to sit a picnic table that never gets used either.  It was like the clouds had cleared and the skies were blue, I didn’t need to rebuild the deck.

My remediation now became much simpler.  I simply cut the remaining 4×4’s down to ground level and covered the deck area with sod which will eventually blend into the landscape.  In comparison to the prospect of rebuilding a deck we will never use, it was a much more sane plan of action.  Cindy agreed.

So Cindy returned with her aunt, whom she only discovered existed in the past year thanks to Ancestery.com.  Aunt Cecelia is full of energy and gave me a big hug when she saw me.  She already has familiarity with my world thanks to Facebook, YouTube, and my blog.  It was very cool seeing her and Cindy getting to interact in person.  Elsa was scared of Cecelia but that is pretty normal for anyone new stepping in the door.

Saturday was the culmination of literally two months of work for Cindy.  She has been planning the baby shower and working her ass off making decorations, food, and games for weeks and weeks.  It has basically consumed the majority of her free time. This party was going to be big, the biggest event ever held at the house by far.  It was so big that she rented three additional folding tables and 20 chairs to go along with the large collection of stuff we already had.  There was somewhere between 40 and 50 people in attendance.

We had stuff set up indoors, on the lanai and out in the yard, it was a very impressive spread.  My role was primarily grunt work, moving and setting up larger items as needed.  Cindy was running around non-stop all morning trying to get everything in place.  Before she knew it 2PM had arrived and the food prep wasn’t completely done.  There were plenty of other snacks and drinks to keep the guests busy while the food prep was being finished.

Once people started showing up I started drinking the Miller Lites to help keep my social interactions flowing despite my general dislike for party environments.  I had the Backfire Ranger and Cindy’s Minipro in the backyard for people to ride on.  Cindy’s ex-husband and his family were at the party.

I found myself hanging with his kids quite a bit, showing them the PEVs and my 3d printer set up.  The one boy Evan is a big time gamer, one of those games being WoW.  We talked shop quite a bit and I showed him my virtual set up.

I felt somewhat badly for Cindy.  It seemed once Katie and Daniel opened up their presents the vast majority of people took off without sticking around to participate in the games that Cindy worked so hard in planning and creating.  Luckily the people that hung around, including her ex-husband’s family did eventually get to play some of the games and it was actually fun doing it with a smaller group of people anyway.

Originally the thought was the majority of the crowd would be out in the yard which is what we planned for.  However it turned out that almost everyone stayed around the house or pool.  I said to Cindy how it was funny how most of the 40 and over crowd were sitting somewhere where as all of the “kids” were mostly standing in groups that migrated around the property, it was an odd visual dichotomy.

Two of Cindy’s ex’s kids were having a lot of fun on the Minipro.  I came up with the idea of giving them the other one we have which is never used anymore.  After getting the ok from Mike and his wife we told the kids they could have the Minipro.  It felt good to give it away to a situation where it will get more use.  We got a text the following day saying they rode the Minipro all day at home which is awesome.

Clean up from the party was a massive task that covered Saturday night and Sunday morning.  Cindy worked tirelessly.  As is always the case, we had way too much food and drink left over.  We gave away what we could but most of it got tossed which makes me feel guilty.  Our trash and two recycle bins were insufficient to hold all of the party byproduct we generated.

Finally Sunday mid-afternoon we were able to take a breather from party clean up.  Cindy, Cecelia, and I drove into town.  I dropped myself off at the Greenway to ride my 18L with the plan to meet up with them later after they did some sight seeing.  They finally reopened the greenway path to connect to Naples so I was able to ride all the way down to the beach once again.  It was very nice to just ride and be clear of the party madness that consumed the prior two days.

I wound up the crazy weekend with a two hour live stream that talked a lot about the rash of high speed EUC crashes lately and why they could jeopardize the hobby we all love.

So I have today off as well.  I have a long list of things I could be doing but I would really not consume all four days of my weekend with tasks.  We will see if I can find a happy medium somehow.

 

 

 

 

Christmas Eve this year didn’t require really any last minute shopping from me which was nice.  Cindy was the one that had so much to do because of her family coming over for Xmas eve dinner.  She also had to teach two classes in the morning.  I grabbed my One Wheel late morning and headed to the park to go take a very enjoyable casual ride in near perfect weather.  I was worried I might struggle to ride with the mysterious, out of nowhere, pretty severe left hip pain I developed on Sunday but it wasn’t too bad.  Riding an EUC is actually much tougher for me right now because I normally use my left leg as the “anchor” when mounting and dismounting.

I did make a stop at CVS and Publix on the way home.  I returned to my truck to see some lazy asshole left me an early present, their shopping cart against the side of my truck.  Luckily the angle of impact did not dent the truck but I was instantly aggravated with the lack of responsibility and pure laziness of individuals that cant take the time to put their used carts in an area designed for them.  The me first, fck everyone else attitude is something that makes my blood boil.

During the afternoon I helped Cindy with whatever she needed help with, which wasn’t much.  She made a ridiculous amount of food and baked goods, enough to probably feed 20 even though we were only forecast to have seven or eight people show up. We wound up having a couple less than that.   Cindy’s mom and niece showed up about six with Katie showing up after work.  Katie had to work Christmas Eve and Christmas, one of the reasons I never considered food service as a career option.

Despite the light turnout we had a good time.  Katie and Daniel’s “big” gift from me showed up about 7:30 that night, wow talk about going down to the wire.  I told Katie to stay in the great room while I quickly wrapped the electric skateboard in the dining room.  The get together broke up somewhere around 9:30.  The massive amount of food meant there was a massive amount of clean up to be done which I did my best to help with.  There were so many leftovers that we had to utilize the fridge in the RV to store some of them.  When we finally got to bed we were both thoroughly exhausted.

I must have been tired because my normal early internal alarm clock which used to be extra early on Christmas was turned off.  We didn’t get out of bed until after 7:15 which is a couple hours later than it used to be.  There were a lot of years where the presents were already opened by that time.  After getting up my first task was to go out and clean up the chicken coop where I wished the hens Merry Christmas although they clucked at me just like it was any other day.  I did give them some extra treats which they appreciated.

So maybe an hour after we woke up we finally got to sit down and start unwrapping.  Cindy always complains that I get her more than she gets me.  Well this year she seemed determined to settle the score.  She bought me way too many things.  Like I have said, during the last decade or so I really get more enjoyment from giving rather than receiving.  At this point in my life Christmas can be any day of the year for me as I buy what I want most of the time.  Repeatedly I told Cindy she bought too much.

Although it was too much, the things she got me I liked for sure.  It was the most “toy” heavy Christmas I have had for quite awhile with a number of tech and gadgets for me to play with.  Some of the highlights were a led lighted gaming pad, a new G-Shock watch, Fire TV Cube, a GoPro 7, and more.  It was a crazy amount of stuff.  Cindy seemed to like the stuff I got her as well which was all I hoped for.

After the opening ceremonies were done we ate breakfast and then started digging into opening, configuring and putting away the dozens of gifts.  It was a very long process that consumed a good portion of the day.  Late in the afternoon I wanted to take a quick ride to test out the new GoPro 7 and see how it worked in it’s stock form for my EUC videos.  The answer was good and bad.

The 60 FPS video quality was quite good and the new “hypersmooth” tech does indeed deliver near gimbal level of stability to footage which is very cool.  The bad part was the audio.  The default automatic noise reduction on the camera steps all over my voice while it is active.  I immediately ordered a foam wind breaker case similar to what I have for my GoPro 3 to address the problem.  It was also strange that the default video setting was 4:3 format instead of 16:9, something I didn’t realize until I was processing the footage.  Overall I am happy with the camera and I think it will be a nice upgrade to the video quality of my stuff.

Katie and Daniel showed up a few minutes after we returned from the ride.  Cindy gave them their presents and then the grand finale was the Meepo skateboard that arrived the night before.  They were both excited but Daniel was especially since he has more of a skateboarding background.  I went outside with him to test it out.  Even though the battery was only about half charged he was able to rip up and down our street at 20+ mph pretty easily.  They both thanked me repeatedly which was sweet.  They couldn’t stick around very long as they had presents still to open at Daniels dad’s place.

During the day I got my calls in with my family, talking to my dad, brother and sister.  It sounded like a pretty gray Christmas in western PA.  Evidently this is the first year that at least one of the kids was not at my dad/stepmom’s place for Christmas which had my stepmom understandably sad.  Combined with my dad’s very Grinch-like attitude towards the holiday, I don’t think my stepmom had a good Christmas whatsoever.  My brother and sister are supposed to be there this weekend however so hopefully some belated holiday cheer can come Teresa’s way.

I was telling Cindy that it is odd to me that somehow I wound up embracing Christmas the way that I do.  I have absolutely no religious connection to the holiday, my Dad has always disliked it, and my mom seemed lukewarm about it most years.  I’m not quite sure why at 51 years of age and no children why I put so much energy and anticipation into the day.  It will likely just be one of the many unanswered mysteries of life.

Our Christmas evening wound down rather peacefully.  I felt both good and sad at the same time.  I was happy that my efforts were well received and all the actions, money and planning we both put into this year’s celebration went as we hoped.  Even with that good outcome I had the same feeling of post-Christmas letdown which I have had more or less my entire life.  I don’t feel there is anything in particular I can do about it except just move forward and focus on what’s ahead.

It doesn’t help that I have to work the next day.  I’m not sure how many years it has been since I worked the day after Christmas.  We have either had it off or I took it off for at least the last five years if not more.  The upside is at least I can resume my normal routine which includes the gym to combat the grossness I feel from eating way too much delicious but calorically dense food for multiple days.

 

Last night the first REAL cold front of the year arrived, the couple we have had previously pushed night time temps into the mid 60’s but this morning the thermometer in the Prius read 55 degrees.  It was glorious feeling the crisp air against my skin instead of sweat.  I wished I could have started my weekend at that very moment.

Speaking of the weekend, I hope to start mine off with a return to running this evening after work.  Tomorrow I hope to complete the weed whacking in the cool weather and finish any other significant chores during the morning while it is still beautifully pleasant outside.    I look forward to trying to spend more time enjoying this weekend that I normally do.  I think Cindy and I earned the right after the punishing workload last week.

Today would have been my mom’s 71st birthday.  She was always the middle cog of the uncanny birthday string shared with my sister and myself.  Torrin’s birthday is October 16th, Mom November 16th, and mine is December 16th.  My entire life I have been trying to figure out the cosmic meaning of the three of us having our birthdays on the same day of three consecutive months.  My grandmother almost continued that streak as her birthday was September 17th, only one day off.

I still think about my mom a lot.  It comes and goes at completely random moments where some sound, song, sight, or scenery makes a connection with some memory of mom.  Those times almost always bring waves of emotion with them but I have become adept at mentally shifting focus immediately to not let the  hurt sink in too deeply.  It’s the way I manage to get through life and keep focusing on what’s ahead instead of behind.