Throwback, Details, Night Rider, Conversations with myself

My three day weekend was pretty busy but not overwhelmingly so.  My Veterans Day was pretty nuts with my throwing caution to the wind.  In the morning Kerri and I played pickleball for a couple hours.  We played an older but clearly more experienced pair a number of games.  The first game they beat us like 11-2 or 11-3. The last game we played, we won.  You have to love a good comeback story.

Kerri also plays a ton of beach volleyball.  She had been encouraging me to come bump the ball around since she knows I used to play a ton of volleyball.  The issue is I have not touched a ball in over a decade, no that is not an exaggeration.  I was already a bit beat up from pickleball but I was committed to get back out there, even it killed me.  The good news is it didn’t.  Just doing simple bumping during warm ups was erratic/difficult at times for me.  Although I have basic volleyball skills muscle memory there is so much rust that can only be knocked off by repetition.

The best path would have probably been to just practice basic skills at first, not try to play a game but I am not known for choosing the best path consistently.  So I played a total of three games.  Most aspects of my game improved from game 1 to game 3.  The one exception was hitting, which was the thing I loved most about playing back in the day.  My timing and ability to jump out of the sand is just horrific at this point.  The only thing that trains you to jump out of the sand is jumping out of the sand.  I still had fun getting out on the court as the gang Kerri plays with are all very cool.

I came out of it with a couple injuries, albeit not serious ones.  My left elbow felt really sore, almost like tennis elbow.  I think I have tried to dig a ball with one arm and it bent it back somewhat awkwardly.  My left knee also had an awkward moment when I fell down and wound up compressing it further than it normally wants to go when stretching.  Again neither injury was bad enough to make me stop playing.  The other thing I noticed was I gassed really fast.  Granted playing a couple hours of pickleball prior is not ideal but I was sucking wind big time.  The good news is all of these things get better with time and reps. We will see if invest in them going down the road.

Friday night I made a spur of the moment decision to live stream.  A lot of the stream had to do with my trip to California to ride with the EUC crew out there.  Two of the key guys I will be hanging with on the trip, Marty and Larry, were on the stream talking logistics with me. The stream went for a couple hours and was fun, despite the limited notice.

My Saturday was not bad, I worked on various small tasks around the house. Saturday evening I made arrangements to go ride bikes with Monique at the Greenway.  Normally when I come to see them I bring coffee which has become a fun tradition.  I also got to see Leilani which is always a highlight for me.  What makes it awesome is she actually gets excited to see me too now. Monique and I had a diverse ride in the dark where we covered around 7 miles in over an hour.  I forgot to strap a light on my mountain bike that I just replaced two tubes on the day prior.  One thing I did not like was the hard narrow seat on my bike.  My ass was killing me, I need to get some supplemental padding involved.

Today again I tended to smaller chores.  For example I noticed how cruddy the rear sliders were so I cleaned them.  I noticed how the spider webs in the garage were piling up, so I vacuumed them.  I also cleaned the filters on my Shark stick vac, the exhaust had smelled badly of dog. Of course I recorded the process.

After my coffee run in the morning I stopped at the park with Elsa to get a mile walk in around the perimeter.  As always she was terrified to get out of the truck but then is fine 30 seconds later.

I went back to the park mid-afternoon this time with OneWheel GT.  I did a number of “extreme” stunts with my tongue in my cheek.  It was a funny video, at least I think so.

Over the weekend I had a serious conversation with myself.  I was chastising some of the things my brain was doing, going down mental paths that made no sense and did not serve me in any positive manner.  The internal taskmaster, the same guy that drives me to do, do, do, barked how I need to snap out of it and abandon thought patterns that make me feel poorly.  The self talk felt like it worked, I felt like cold water was thrown in my face, opening my eyes to what reality is and how I control it. I have a long and muddy history of caring too much about things or people when it/they might not merit it for a number of reasons.  Acknowledgement of the issue is the first step to recovery.

 

A second doubleheader

Yesterday I finally pulled the trigger on my trip to LA, something I originally was going to do in mid-October.  I’m not quite sure why yesterday was the day I decided to take action but I am now locked in to fly out to southern CA on December 17th, returning on the 22nd.  I managed to secure a direct flight but even so it will be a long one so I shelled out extra bucks for the seats with additional leg room.  In addition I reserved a guest house on AirBnB in Downey which is the area my EUC buddy Marty lives.

My other SoCal friend Larry mentioned he had a holiday party the 18th that I was invited to, hence why I wanted to get out there the day prior. It sounds like it is quite the get together and something I would rarely get to experience.  Larry also offered to be my transport from and to the airport which is awesome.  I can either hitch rides locally to get around as needed, Uber or maybe ride a wheel to get where I need to be. No I’m not flying with a wheel, I again hope to benefit from the charity of others out there (Marty or Larry) to borrow one of their fleet.  Trying to pack my safety and camera gear for the trip which I plan to document heavily could push me into needing to check a second bag. I think it will be an awesome experience and a great Xmas present to myself.

So this will be the second time in the same calendar year where I have out of state travel twice in a short period of time.  The first time was in July when I was in upstate NY with my family and Roatan with Gladys in the span of less than two weeks.  This go round the travel will be a little less compressed with me returning from PA on November 27th so I have more like three weeks between the trips.  Mixing in that it is the holiday season should make it more fun for me.  I never saw LA at Christmas.

It will take me almost smack up to the conclusion of 2022 which thus far has proven to be one of the most challenging of my nearly 55 years on the planet.  That which does not kill you makes you stronger, right?

Oh I was up stupid late trying to finish the edit of part one of my S22 modification project.  You can experience the agony of defeat with me.

I am off tomorrow for Veterans Day.  I have small, yet flexible mental checklists in my brain of what I would like to do during this three day weekend.  We will see how they fall in place in reality.

 

Not one second, The Fog

I did not watch a single second of election coverage last night.  From perusing some headlines this morning the results were not as catastrophic for democrats as some predicted.  In Florida Ron Desantis crushed Charlie Crist as myself and everyone else knew hew would, cruising to a 20 point victory.  I heard he even won the Miami-Dade vote which is ALWAYS blue, pretty impressive.  Florida is definitely no longer a purple state, it’s red and will likely remain that way.  What I do like is the possibility of Desantis taking a big dump on Trump’s delusions about 2024.  It seems more and more republicans would prefer Ron to Don, by an increasingly large margin.

Ever since I became single in many ways I have felt like I was navigating through a dense fog.  I have continued to move forward with no clear visibility of anything on the other side or even an idea of what I hope to eventually find.  It’s a weird headspace to be in, especially for someone like me that has spent the overwhelming majority of his life having his ducks more or less in a row and realities pretty clearly defined.  I have been trying to embrace the “it is what it is” mentality, trying to navigate life without expectation the best that I can.  I do yearn for the day, if it comes, where the fog clears and my path is once again visible in front of me, a path which leads to contentment, fulfillment and joy.

 

 

Pause, Jerked

So I got a ship notice on the new tubes I need to complete the upgrade to my Kingsong S22.  The bad news is since they are coming from Canada they won’t arrive until next week.  My hobby room looks like a bomb went off in there.  Having it stay that way until I can finish up the project is not a situation I am fond of.

I had my second chiropractor appointment this morning.  I have seen definite improvement since my initial visit.  I still will get some pain in my sciatic area, especially first thing in the morning.  I have also been trying to work in the stretches and exercises that he recommended to me. He again did the jerk the shit out of my leg routine.  He added a sudden down pressure move when I was lying on my side.  I walked out feeling better than when I walked in.  He said he thinks after another couple sessions I should be good to go as long as I keep up stretching on my own.

I woke up today in a good mood, despite sleep that was broken at 4AM for an unknown reason.  Life is weird.

Having a staff, Blown up, Not as planned

Friday night instead of riding I got the weeding done because I had a busy day planned for myself Saturday.  This was the last time I would be able to weed or ride with any sort of daylight on a Friday evening since daylight savings kicked in this weekend. Saturday morning the kid I contacted to do the pressure washing showed up right on time at 9AM.  From my electronic communications with him prior he seemed very polite and courteous.  The in person interaction with him was the same, Alejandro was only 23 but trying to start his own business.  He showed up in his dad’s work truck who has his own AC business.

So I was having Alejandro (goes by Alex) clean my gutters and the pool area.  When I first mentioned to him about cleaning my gutters I though he was just going to pressure wash them to remove the dingy color that happens from the wet Florida climate.  Well he exceeded my expectations going around the perimeter of the house foot by foot with his ladder scooping the shit out of the gutters by hand and putting it into garbage bags.  THEN he hit the gutters with pressure after applying a bleach/Dawn/water solution.  The gutters looked basically brand new when he was done. He used similar care when cleaning the pool cage/deck.  He relied a lot of the cleaning solution to get the high areas of the cage where as I rely on pressure washer wand extensions to blast the crud off which is physically grueling.

As he was working I didn’t sit on my ass with my feet propped up.  No instead I was out in the yard for at least four hours myself taking down Halloween decorations, cleaning the shed, and then weed whacking/mowing the property.  I was out there long enough to run my air pods dead.  It was a funny feeling being out there doing yard work while my pool cage was getting cleaned, it almost felt like I had a staff. I think obtaining help for some of the more grueling tasks is money well spent at this point.

So Alex was very thorough as mentioned.  A side effect was the job took longer than I was anticipating.  He was there ALL DAY, not finishing up until a little after 6PM.  I really appreciated him taking his time to do things well and told him as much.  I also paid him $100 more than his quote as a token of my appreciation.  I won’t hesitate to use him in the future.

I had originally planned to ride bike with Monique Saturday evening.  I pulled my lightly used mountain bike out of the shed and inflated the tires to 35 PSI in preparation.  I was back inside on the computer when I heard a loud pop that got me out of my chair in a hurry.  I went out to the garage and saw the mess you see in the picture.  I guess due to age the tube had developed a weak spot and somehow resulted in this. What was really crazy was about 30 seconds after this picture the tube exploded, scaring the shit out of me.  I ordered replacement tubes for the front and back, I’m not looking for blowouts while riding.

So instead I met Monique to walk which we did on the Greenway.  Since I got there late because of the day long pressure washing it was already dark when we started.  The lights were not working on certain sections of the path so we relied on the nearly full moon.  In total we walked about three and a half miles.  Afterward we wanted to grab some dinner.  At this point it was getting close to 9PM.  The first idea we had was Panera but when we pulled up I saw they closed at 9.  Monique then suggested a Japanese place that was nearby which was indeed open.

I rarely eat Japanese so it was a nice change.  I had a shrimp bowl along with miso soup.  We both liked the meal.  When I took Monique back home, despite it getting late I stopped inside to say hi to Leilani.  She was the normal happy bundle of energy which I find endearing.  I didn’t head out for home until after 10:30.  I got home just in time to see the Phillies get eliminated from the World Series.  Despite the losing effort, overall the Phillies had an amazing season considering they fired their manager after the first month.

Sunday morning I needed to get the grocery shopping done since it was pushed out of it’s normal Saturday time slot. When I got home I mentally committed to working on the KingSong S22. I had two significant projects on it I wanted to accomplish at the same time.  I was replacing the knobby tire with a road tire which is supposedly a better fit for those that do primarily hard surface riding as I do.  The other project was replacing the slider mechanism that allows the suspension to function.  The stock design basically is shitty, requiring tons of upkeep.  I had a roller bearing set sent to me from a dealer in Bulgaria to install which supposedly provides much better performance.

I have done a number of tire replacements on PEVs over the roughly six years of owning them.  For whatever reason the tire swap on this wheel was far more difficult than most.  I struggled mightily to get the old tire off and even more to get the new Michelin street tire on. It was ridiculous. I was bleeding from no less than three spots on my hands from all of the prying, pushing and bending on the tire/rim.  So finally after close to an hour I had the new tire on.  I hooked up my electric pump to pressurize the tube and felt my frustration level spike through the ceiling when it would not inflate beyond 5PSI. I immediately knew I had torn the tube while installing the tire, fantastic…

I took a 20 minute break. I was really pissed I damaged the tube.  Unfortunately there was no quick providers of replacement tubes.  Amazon did not have the size/style needed so I wound up ordering it from an EUC dealer in Canada, meaning I won’t get it for at least a week, great.  I decided I wanted to at least get the slider modification part of the project completed.

Luckily this project hit less roadblocks than the tire change.  Unfortunately however I now have a hobby room that is in chaos and will remain that way until the replacement tubes arrive. I ordered two, just in case. It was a very frustrating afternoon but should make for an interesting video when it’s all said and done.

For the second day in a row I met up with Monique, this time to go to Home Depot.  I needed something from there and she had mentioned she wanted some mulch and a couple other things.  Her family doesn’t have a truck so I was happy to use the Taco as the delivery vehicle.  I brought Elsa with as well.

After grabbing the items we again stopped at Panera, this time well before their closing time. We sat outside so Elsa could be out there with us.  Monique really likes Elsa and Elsa has become more comfortable around Monique which is nice to see.  After dinner we went back to Monique’s house and unloaded the truck.  I went inside a bit to talk to her mom who then came out to say hi to Elsa.  I brought Elsa out of the truck and we just sat in their front yard talking a bit, it was nice.  When I got home last night I felt like the weekend had flown by in the blink of an eye but when I tallied my register of completed tasks it made it feel worthwhile.

 

 

 

Split screen, Finally paying

Last night was a unique one with the Phillies playing in the World Series and the Eagles playing on Thursday night football.  To make the rarity even more crazy, both teams were playing the team from Houston. Yea that will never happen again.  I went into the night thinking that I would be predominantly watching the Eagles as football is really the only sport I follow consistently anymore.  That was not the case.  Instead I watched maybe 15 minutes of the Eagles game and then just kept up with the score on my phone.  The Birds won, going 8-0 for the first time, EVER. I don’t know how to react to this degree of success.

For whatever reason, I felt more compelled to watch the baseball game.  Maybe it is the ties to my childhood where dreams of being a major league player persisted right up until my senior year. (I was scouted by the Pirates and Blue Jays)  Maybe I suddenly felt a connection to these players that up until a week ago, I didn’t even know most of their names. So I watched baseball.  Unfortunately the game didn’t go the Phils way losing 3-2, their first back to back losses in a very long time.  They now have to go back to Houston and sweep the Astros, a very difficult task.  If they manage to pull it off it will cap a season that might eclipse 2008 in it’s level of glory. The Astro pitching staff is really, really good.

So tomorrow my pool area and gutters are getting pressure washed.  For the first time since building the house in 2001 I’m not going to be the one doing it.  I found a guy on NextDoor to do the work for a number that was reasonable enough to offset what would be 6 hours or more of hard labor for me otherwise.  Depending on how it goes it may be a strategy I stick with.  I still see myself doing pressure washing but I wouldn’t mind offloading the monster pressure jobs as long as it doesn’t cause me significant financial discomfort.

Speaking of financial discomfort, yesterday I sold my Veteran Sherman, the first of three wheels I could be possibly selling over the next couple months.  I LOVE the Sherman but it’s lack of suspension is what made me willing to part with it. I now have three suspension wheels with one more in the pipeline.

While the pressure washing is getting done I plan on getting busy with other outdoor tasks like pulling down the Halloween decorations, weed whacking and mowing.  I am hoping this guy does a good job so I can utilize him in the future.

There is a Dunkin Donuts near Monique that I stop by sometimes to grab us both coffee.  Several weeks ago I was introduced to this guy working the drive thru that sounds exactly like Napoleon Dynamite, it’s incredible.  After work last night I stopped by there to grab some coffee and had my phone ready in case Napoleon was working, he was.

I stopped to drop off my old Iphone to Monique, she was excited and grateful as it will be a substantial upgrade over her old Iphone 6.  I also got to see sweet Leilani for a little bit which is always a treat.

The Phillies game was the polar opposite of the night before where they smacked the Astro pitchers around.  Instead the Phillies got no hit by a combination of three Astro pitchers. an extreme rarity, especially in a World Series.  I think I read it only happened once before?  So the dream of winning the series in Philly is officially gone but hopefully they can shake off the demoralizing loss and get a win tonight.

Stable, Smoked

Yesterday I worked on making sure any and all things phone related were up and running on my new iPhone 14 Pro Max.  It’s an important process because once I blow away my old 11 my safety net is no longer available.  At this point I feel pretty confident I have dotted all of my i’s and crossed the t’s.  My plan is to drop off my old phone with Monique on my way home tonight.

I got to watch the Phillies game last.  They crushed the Astros 7-0 hitting 5 homeruns in the game, a rarity.  This team seems to have a dynamic that is going to be hard to overcome.  They have caught fire at exactly the right time.  It’s been 14 years since I watched a complete Phillies game.

Even though my Halloween decorations are scheduled to come down this weekend it looks like my 10 foot tall grim reaper is going to an early grave.  Over the last two weeks he has had an increasingly more difficult time staying upright.  When I got home I would have to push up on his head to allow the inflatable to stand up.  Well the last few days it no longer helps, after a few seconds he folds over at the waist.  This is the result of the material and the seams holding it together deteriorating, allowing too much air to leak.  It will make me sad to have to get rid of the reaper as this is only his third or fourth Halloween.  Life moves on.

Maxxed, Into the night

Yesterday my new phone arrived after a nearly two week wait, an iPhone 14 Pro Max.  I have had iPhones for many years but I never have opted for the top of the line version.  I thought their size was too big and I didn’t think the additional features were worth the money.  This time around I threw those concerns out the window with the Pro Max and got 512GB of memory to make sure I would never have any headroom issues either.

Migrating between phones used to be a big headache but they now have made it stupid easy. You stick the new phone next to the old phone, answer a few questions and it automatically moves all of your apps and data across.  I had everything migrated across in less than an hour and I have a substantial amount of junk on my phone.  Almost everything comes across intact but there is some clean up you have to do like setting your authenticator apps back up, reentering credentials in certain apps and a few more tweaks but overall it is far, far less hassle than it used to be.

Although the new phone is bigger than my iPhone 11 it is not oppressively so, I can still slide it in the front pocket of my pants as needed,  I like the always on screen feature of the 14.  Even when the phone is locked you can still see a dimmed version of what is going on.  I am going to see if I can get through a typical day with that feature turned on without needing to charge. One of the reasons I went with the Max version of the phone is it has a bigger/better version of the battery than the regular Pro.

I messed around with the phone for an hour or so trying to get everything reconnected.  There are a few things I need to get straightened out so my old phone is still intact at this point, just in case.  Once I am 100% sure I am good to go I will blow the iPhone 11 away and give it to Monique.  I messed around a bit with some of the new features on the 14.  I like it so far and look forward to it fulfilling my needs for the next 2-3 years

It worked out well having the phone to work on last night because I needed to stay up late, very late to fire off a process for work.  I had to wait until the clock ticked past midnight to start the job.  Gladys called me to help me stay awake which was appreciated.  I wound up not getting to bed until close to 1AM but woke up this morning not feeling as awful as I may have otherwise expected.

How many more do I have left, Bandwagon, Black Adam

Friday after work I got my 10 mile ride in.  It went well but this may be one of the last rides I can do after work without using lights.  Once the time change hits it is totally dark by the time I get home.

On Saturday morning after getting home from grocery shopping I had two things I decided I wanted to accomplish, rotate the tires on the Tesla and do the tree trimming that I am not paying the tree service company to do for me.  The tire rotation was no big deal, consuming a half hour maybe.  The trimming session was another story.  In total I spent six hours in the yard.  I had hoped to be done in half that time.  It was one of those situations where I would be trimming one thing and see something else to trim that I had not planned on doing and then another and another.  For example I trimmed back the areca palms around the pond.  Those things are like weeds, I bet I took 100 branches off that area alone.  I trimmed the invasive brazillian peppers along the fence line, the pygmy palms as well as the cabbage palms I don’t currently have the tree service do.  I think in the future I will be having them trim anything that takes a ladder.

I used the sawz-all and the my new Ryobi power pruner for the work.  Both of them held up well, despite my putting them through some harsh conditions.  After knocking everything down I had to pick it all up, throw in the Tacoma and dump it in the fill pit out back.  My body was totally spent by the end of it.  It left me wondering how many grind myself into the dirt yard sessions I have left in me.

The idea of preparing food sounded like far too much work so instead I drove down to Brooks Burgers and sat at the bar while I watched the Phillies game.  There was a cute female bartender that I had friendly conversation with which was unexpected.  Speaking of the Phillies, despite their amazing playoff success so far this year I have not watched a single game until the World Series.  Talk about a bandwagon fan, pretty pathetic.

I was moving pretty slow Sunday after the intense labor the day before.  Surprisingly my right hand was in the worst shape of all. Because of all of the vibration of the sawz-all I could hardly close it.  I had zero grip strength.  As the day went on it got a little better thankfully as it is my pickle ball hand! After lunch I did a quick ride on my EX20S.  During the ride I revealed I had put a deposit down on yet another wheel, the Sherman S.  This is a suspension version of what may be one of my favorite wheels of all time, the Sherman.  The deposit escalates my motivation to sell at least three of my current inventory of wheels to bring more fiscal sanity into my life.

Last night I picked up Monique.  We went to Coconut Point to walk around, eat dinner, and see Black Adam.  I have not been there for YEARS.  Coconut Point used to be the place Cindy and I would go to see movies early in our relationship, we went every week or two.  We had dinner at Olive Garden, another place I had not patronized for years.  We both liked our food and enjoyed the meal.

The movie theater was nearly empty, I guess Sunday nights are not busy.  We were literally the only customers in the lobby when we walked in 10 minutes before the movie we were seeing, Black Adam, was scheduled to start.  The movie wasn’t bad but I found myself cringing when I realized the ultimate bad guy in it was a demon-like figure.  I knew Monique was not a big fan of that sort of stuff so I felt badly for sitting her in front of it.  After the movie I apologized and told her I had no idea that the story would involve that stuff.  She was fine and said it was no big deal but I still felt like I wish I knew the plot going in.  If I did I never would have suggested she go with me.  I’d give the flick a B+.

I got home very late after driving in to Naples to drop her off and then all they way back home.  I had my dentist appointment this morning where the hygienist and I exchanged stories about the joys of being over 50, comparing ailment and injury stories.  I got out of there with no cavities which is always the report card I am hoping to hear.