Saturday, October 27, 2007

Catching Up

LAST WEEK

The run last Saturday was another good one.
There were no physical problems or environmental issues (other than it was cold).
While there was very little to add at the end (an artifact from my racing days) I tried to give all I had for the “big ending”.
I meant to log this event in this space earlier in the week but the time just got away.
So I do it now, tardily.

TODAY

The run today was yet another good session.
I started out a 5:59 and ended at 6:40:55.
It was cold – 45 degrees.
I hate winter. (Yes, I know it's not officially winter yet but it is as cold as)
I wore my “long-john” leggings and two tops – one of them long-sleeved, and my ear cover.
My gardening gloves completed my costume.
I found that I gauged my temperature/heat production quite well.
I did not have to take off my gloves until early in mile three.
Then just holding them in my fists was enough to keep my hands warm.

During the whole run, a tendon on the inside of my left knee kept squeaking about some minor distress.
It never became more than just a little reminder “I'm here”.
In the last half mile my left hip began to whine.
Something about excessive use or somesuch.
Running Central registered the complaint but did nothing.

The last quarter mile was taken over by the runner in me.
I do not know why he came back but the old race horse in me took over.
In spite of feeling tired and a bit “out of breath” (a poor description for accelerated breathing), there was a strong desire to pour out the last drips of Steevee juice on the race course.
I gave it everything I had those last few hundred feet right up to the finish line crack in the parking lot.

Then it was off to the store and the next project for the day – a new back door.
There are no windows in my kitchen.
I miss being able to look out and see the trees and sunshine.
Prolly some low-level claustrophobia.
Anyway, I decided early in my time in my little house to replace the nice steel backdoor (which had a 1/8th inch peep hole for a window) with a nice door with windows in it.



Two weeks ago I bought the new door.
Today I took out the old door and put in the new.



I still need to install the trim around the inside and outside, but it is firmly anchored and ready for use.




After waiting so long for a view, I now have to get used to seeing light in that space.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Week of the Flying Tub

It has been an interesting week.
In an effort to force myself to follow through on a big project that I really do not want to do (but will HAVE to do eventually), I purchased a one-piece fiberglass bathtub on Wednesday.
One of the guys at work offered to help me and use his pickup truck to take it to my house.
While we were loading the big tub on the truck, a bystander suggested that we turn the tub around on the truck so the wind would not blow it out.
I was willing to make the change but my helper/friend thought it would be all right as it sat.
He tied it in with some nylon twine.

So off we went with the big tub and a new back door in the back of the truck.
I was cringing with distress as I watched the speedometer needle sit on 40 mph.
“I think we're going too fast,” I mumbled.
My friend eased off the throttle to 39 mph.

We had gone about a quarter of a mile and everything seemed to be okay and I tried to force myself to relax.
Then WHUMP!

The tub went air born.
It landed in the road and bounced a couple of times.
“This is not good,” I said as I jumped out of the truck after we had pulled onto the median and stopped.
I was so distressed I could barely see.
As I feared, every corner of the tub was broken.
“It can be fixed,” my friend said, as a way of consolation.
I was thinking of how Christopher Reeves was “fixed” after his accident.

We gamely loaded it back onto the truck in a different orientation and drove the rest of the way to my house where we unloaded it.
We drove back to work and I thanked my co-worker for helping me with the logistical project.
The less I thought about it the better I was.

When I got home I looked at the tub again.
Slowly and deliberately.
There was a hole in every corner of the structure.
There was an 18 inch crack along the bottom side of the tub.

It was true, every hole could be patched and repaired so that it did not leak.
There was just one problem.
You cannot match the pure white color of the original tub with the patch material.
The tub would forever look like a patched mess.
While I could live with such a situation, any potential buyer of my house probably would not, and I (or my heirs) would have to replace the tub to sell the house.
That would involve removing and replacing an interior wall.

So, the next day, I told my story to my fellow workers in the absence of the man that originally helped me (he had the day off).
They agreed, the tub was ruined.
I would have to buy another one, if the store would not take it back.
One of them offered to take me back to the store to buy another tub.
So, Friday after work, me and the other co-worker – who also had a pick-up truck – drove me to the tub store, whereupon I bought ANOTHER fiberglass bathtub.
THIS TIME we loaded it low in the bed and tied it down with nylon strapping.
THIS TIME we drove about 30 mph all the way to my house (about three miles or so).
THIS TIME the tub arrived unscathed.
My co-worker offered to help me move the broken tub to the curb for removal by the city.
I accepted.

After the flying tub incident, I realized that I had lost my sunglasses.
Prescription sunglasses.
I went to the eyeglass store today (Monday) and picked out the cheapest frames I could find.
The total for the new sunglasses $240.00.
Almost the same cost as my new tub.
The tab for the week - $720.00.
It has been an expensive week.

The run last Saturday morning was pretty good.
It was cold.
My house thermometer showed 50 degrees.
That meant that the temperature was anywhere from 45 to 49 degrees away from the house.
I dressed appropriately with ear warmer, a long-sleeved top, leggings, and mittens.
I guessed just about right.
The mittens came off at the end of mile one.
Just carrying them in my hands provided enough warmth for the rest of the journey.
No other adjustments were required.

I started out at 6:03 and finished at 6:44.
That reads like 41 minutes to me.
Not bad for post two days of tub carrying.
As usual, I started out unsure of my endurance capacity.
I did surprisingly well until with last quarter mile, where I felt a bit tired/weak.
Even to the end, my breathing did not elevate to prolonged fast speed.
That surprised me, pleasantly.
It seems I am getting stronger, even with running only once a week.
This is good.

The other good thing is/was that my knees did not misbehave.
During Thursday and Friday at work, they produced sharp little shooting pains from time to time.
This was from the tub carrying and from the stooped position I must work in during the current installation.
Happily, my knees spoke not a word during my run.
Happy, happy, happy.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Many Busynesses

Last Saturday started off at rather warm – about 70 degrees.
I started my weekly run at exactly 6:00 AM and ended it at 6:41:35.
I was motivated, but unsure about my strength, as I often am, these days.
The session was largely uneventful.
No body complaints other than some faint whining from my left hamstring upper attachment area in med-mile three, and a similar signal from the lower attachment of the same muscle group.
These quiet points of distress were duly noted by Running Central and monitored for the duration of the party.
Nothing further developed.
I finished with good strength, but nothing extra, as is my normal circumstance these days.

Then it was off to the 41st Annual Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention in Athens, Alabama, as has been my habit for several years.

I saw many of the same folks there – both as competitors and spectators.
It seemed to me that there were slightly fewer groups of musicians than last year, but the number of spectators was close to 20 percent more, judging by the spread of chairs.
People had spread their seats fifty feet back into the vendor area by late afternoon.
The day was hot – 85 degrees or so – and it was a welcome change when the shade of the big trees behind my seating position finally blocked the sun.
Fortunately, I remembered to apply sunscreen to my arms and face so I did not get a burn (as I did last year).

I saw several of the saints from Morgan City during the day and evening.
We visited briefly then went on about our listening/watching.
It was good to see some of my old friends again.

I miss having someone to share this event with.
In days gone by, it was the Wingates.
I always enjoyed the varied interests that each of them brought to the group.
It was both exciting and frustrating when the kids were competing.
Each of them did well, but often placed lower than I thought they should have.
Certainly that was some of my friend-of-the-family prejudice showing.
Imagine that.

I took several pictures this year, though not as many as I did last year.
In addition, I took some video with my camera.
I had to play them on my Window$ machine because the camera takes video in .avi format, a proprietary Microsoft format.
But the picture and sound came out good.
One reason I took the videos was to show how close the groups were to each other, and yet how isolated the sound of each group was.

When I get inspired I will post some of the pictures.
I have no idea how to post the videos.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Incrimental Addition

Let the royal chronicles record that this week I saw all of my four offsprings.
I visited with Cathi on Wednesday for a few minutes (first time since July 4).
And, this afternoon, Jef (n Sam, Zack, and Bradley), and Tim, and Josh, ALL came to my humble abode for visits.
Tim came first.
And while he was yet speaking, Jef arrived, and while he was yet speaking, Josh arrived.

I was allowed to inspect/approve of Josh's new glasses and tooth patches.
Jef shared various tidbits of his life.
Tim also shared details of his recent past as well as the latest pictures of his offspring posted on his MySpace site.

A pleasant time was had by all.