Missed my 8.5 year smoke-iversary last month. Same day as my parents 55th (!!) wedding anniversary. Since Mom never re-married after Dad passed 19 some years ago, it still counts. (For the record, I was born 9 months and 26 days after my parents were married. Coincidence? I think not!)
Anyhow. After finishing the master bath a year and a half ago, I still had to re-paint the upstairs hallway. Removing a door and patching the hole will make that a necessity it seems. After a bout of unemployment, job search, new job, newer (present) job, grand baby (still the cutest thing in the entire world) and arm surgery recovery, we were ready to go.
Then the cascade started. If I painted the hallway, I needed to do the stair case. But the stairs, newel post, balusters and banister were too dark. So we thought about re-doing the steps, except the oak of the steps wouldn’t match the Pergo floors. And we were planning on re-doing the basement this spring (it ain’t spring here yet – no matter what the clock & calendar say) and we needed flooring for down there. Somehow this morphed into pulling up the Pergo in the kitchen & living room and replacing it all with hardwood flooring. Of course the stairs and floor had to match so the search was on.
Here we are, barely a month from “it’s finally time to paint the hallway” and the Pergo is in the basement all neatly stacked, new handrails, newel post & balusters are on hand, new stair treads are on a truck being shipped in from Tennessee, and two guys are in my living room laying new flooring while I sit here at work wondering how they are doing.
But here’s the progress they made yesterday:
Today the living room gets done, then work progresses into the laundry room. Tonight’s task for me is getting the washer & dryer out of the way so the contractors can get the flooring in tomorrow. Time to call in the heavy artillery (Zach) to help with the washer & the behemoth laundry cabinet. Gonna be a joy.
Of course, the stair treads aren’t due to arrive till Thursday sometime (a week late!!!) and the contractors will be getting antsy to move on. We’ll see how that goes. I think we’ll be fine – contractor seems like a solid guy. It’ll work out.
In other news, I snuck out and got in some bowling in the afternoon. Good lord, I never realized the effort required from your forearm, back and legs. Bowling alone may have something to do with that too – the frequency of throwing is much higher and those 15 pound balls aren’t going to move themselves! It’s good to be able to be active again. Last check in with the surgeon tomorrow too. Just about 6 months from the surgery date and I will be officially done. Still have strengthening to do, but at least I can now go at more aggressive pace.
Oh cool! Now I’m glad I looked. Yesterday, 4/22/2012 marked 7 years 8 months since I quit smoking – and it happened to be day 2800. Apropos of nothing really, but it is a nice round number.
Nice and round, like the big, fat, heavy snowflakes that are falling right now. I’d seen the “Winter Weather Advisory” in the forecast for a few days now, but we’ve been threatened with snow all winter and only got a paltry 60 inches for the season. So it stands to reason that after several (3) days in the 80’s in March and a sultry 88 degree day ONLY LAST MONDAY that we’d be getting our heaviest snowfall of the “winter” a full month into spring.
Wanna see? (Of course you do)
Yes, those are the new house colors. Gutters were put up last Thursday and the garage doors are going on today. Picture it with flat black shutters – the same shutters I have in the garage so I could paint them. The same paint job that made it necessary for me to park outside. (but really, black shutters, black truck – whoda seen any overspray, hmmm?) And that poor flowering plum tree! I hope it warms up enough for the snow to fall off before too much more accumulates.
It was kind of a weird snowfall too. I got up around 4:30am for a bathroom break. I looked outside and saw that it was drizzling a bit, but no snow. Two hours later my truck was covered in nearly 3 inches of wet, soggy snow. Who knows how much melted before it finally started sticking? A work colleague has to drive down to Pittsburgh today too – the route is right on the snow/rain changeover line (I-90 west to Erie, hang a left and follow I-79). He could catch a break and get just wet roads – lets hope. On weather radar it looked like hugging the lakeshore would help to avoid the snow.
Got to spend some quality time with the little grandkidlet over the weekend. She is such a good natured little peanut. She and I are starting to develop some of those silly little games we play with each other. The same silly games I played with our boys when they were that age. All those years, nothing and everything have changed. (If you figure that one out, lemme know, mmkay?)
I gotta go run back to work. We are fabulously busy, the work is interesting, and I’m starting to develop a feel for the rhythm of the process. The databases are still the bottle necks (Lotus Domino interfacing with SAP on at least 6 different servers in 4 time zones – yeesh!) And I have 2 reports to upload and one huge pain in the neck one to write. Starts at 168 pages and grows form there. And the table formatting is a nightmare. I STILL have to fix the dang template. In my abundant spare time.
The contractors are taking advantage of our unusually warm & early spring. Having started March 28, the house roofing is done except for what they’ll be walking on to put on the new siding. About 1/3 of the siding has been torn off and all the old exterior light fixtures are down. They’re adding a layer of R-4 insulation to the exterior sides and today (I think) they are making the mods I requested to combat the wicked ice dams (I did a little Freudian slip and added the ‘n’ to that dam(n)s) we get in a typical winter.
Those changes? Pull the insulation out of the eaves and off the exterior sloped portion of the ceilings. Put in new rigid foam insulation over the interior portions of the house, add a shitload of vents to the underside of the eaves (soffits) and make sure that cold air can flow against the underside of the roof deck. The insulation is to keep the house warm, not the roof deck. When it’s 0o out, that’s a losing battle.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, what’s a picture of handwriting worth? Here’s my sketch of the damn dam problem:
And now, progress pics:
All the roof visible here is new. The back porch isn’t changing much except to paint the skirting a new color. The garage hasn’t been stripped quite yet so you can see the original color.
Yeah. The 1950′s Pepto pink is an additional layer of R-4 insulation. Don’t look into the garage. Most of the mess is from the contractors. Really.
Another view of the front, catching glowing forsythia. That sucker is 6 feet tall, only because I hack a foot of growth off it every summer. Also makes for a boat load of blooms the following spring. For the record, it’s blooming at least 2 weeks early.
Yes, my obligatory annual close up of the forsythia. The blooms are only this nice for maybe a week, then it rains yellow petals.
On other fronts, I am gaining some independence here at the new job. I’m catching things, noticing subtleties’ and asking fewer questions just to do the daily grind. That’s good. Also actually put in my time for last month, had billable hours, put in a travel expense report that will reimburse me over $600 for mileage on my truck, Thruway tolls (I-90 in NY & Massachusetts is all toll – $13 from just east of Rochester to just west of Boston) and per diems for meals. About $400 of that is pure profit.
On the other other front, something Cindy done did Sunday just pissed me off royally. It’s a microcosm of what I see as shit that needs to get fixed in our relationship. And this one doesn’t even involve booze. Haven’t sat her down and had a talk about it yet because I was still pissed and I needed time to process it. Needed to make sure my perceptions were correct. Has more to do with her not letting go AND the existence of double standards. Bottom line – she thinks she is the boss of me and she bitches at me about the same damn things of which she is guilty. If I point this out to her I get 3 days of golden silence while she pouts. Kind of a double edged sword I’ve learned to enjoy.
Anyhow. If she’s sober-ish tonight, I’ll sit her down and we’ll discuss it. That’ll probably lead to 3 more days of golden silence, so maybe I’ll sneak in some golf.
Having a rough day? Check out this over acheiving pooch – it’ll instantly make you feel better, guaranteed.
I’ve been doing some internal grousing lately about, well – about balance. I haven’t had a whole lot of balance in the last 6 or 7 years. More really, but I don;t think I recognized it until 7 or so years ago.
Sure, I got fed up with my health & weight, quit smoking, went on a diet and lost a bazillion pounds. End result of that effort was increased isolation/distancing from the wife which had it’s own wicked side effects (hello, Ms. CL and those wonderful months of indulgence).
Got that straightened out (Good bye Ms. CL, hello marriage counseling). Now that our counselor has up & moved to Virginia (not the greatest thing for bi-weekly sessions), we’re left to our own devices. Hasn’t been all bad, we DID manage to learn how to deal with ourselves a little better. But through it all, my weight is up, my endurance is down and that bugs the shit outta me. I am working on both, but trying a new method. What worked so well before was a Nazi-like adherence to recording every (pre-weighed) morsel that entered my mouth and also recording every minute of serious heart pounding cardio and every ounce of weight or resistance training. It worked fantastically. If you know what goes in and work diligently at exercising, you can predict your weight loss track with alarming accuracy.
But the effort involved saps ones time. There is little time left for anything else. While I was doing all that weight loss I also remodeled the kitchen (again), replaced almost all of the windows in the house, was constantly tweaking things in the yard (hello 5000 gallon fish pond), AND we still had two kids in college. There was no time for being a couple in there apparently.
Now – to get where I want to be fitness wise will require the same effort, hopefully with less Nazis involved. But to retain balance in the family (or couple) life, I am foregoing re-roofing the house this year. Not going to re-paint the house either. Nope. Instead? Gonna hire someone to do it all. Roof, siding, vent work to correct ice damming issues, new gutters & new garage doors. The only finger I’m going to lift is to write the check.
Then I’m going to bike my butt off this summer. Biking, golfing and date nights. NO PROJECTS (except finishing the $%^@#!* pond).
That’s the plan. You with me?
Out this morning picking up a few groceries and hitting up Home Depot for a new grout float.
Saw this VERY manly front loader in the HD lot. I noticed something on it about breast cancer support. That thing could support quite a breast.
Going through all the requisite paperwork for starting a new job. Much different than it was 30 years ago. I-9? Not a road but a form complements of Homeland Security. Then there’s a background & credit check.
This afternoon I have a drug test. Anyone want to come over and help me cram for the test? Seriously, I can’t remember the last time I took anything for fun. Even the Vicodan when I had my shark bite was absolutely necessary – not recreational.
Anyhow. Paperwork complete, time to tile.
Three boxes of tiles & about 1.5 hours of work later . . .
Looky what I get to do for the next 2 days!
Starting to get the hang of being this “childless stay at home dad extraordinaire”. Today I get to go grocery shopping, then I have to hang some durock in the new bathroom shower. Busy, busy, busy!
Last night was our final evening for the golf league. We had a multi-tiered tournament (single, double & foursome) then headed to a nearby restaurant, The Dakota Grill and had our banquet. My partner John won the singles portion and the two of us won the doubles. Then John won season low net, I won for most bogeys in a round (8) and John won for something else. Each win netted us a sleeve of balls (3) that will surely get lost during play next season. It was a good banquet. Very irreverent bunch of guys, we all take turns taking pot shots at each other and have a ball the entire time.
Which will make the transition to tonight’s bowling league nearly seamless. Is that some good timing or what? I gotta go dig my bowling ball out from under the collection of bathroom supplies I have stored in the garage. I’m kinda worried that the reactive resin will have sweated out a bunch of lane oil and I’ll have to clean it up some. I’m thinking I might have to add some Soft Scrub to me shopping list. Love that stuff for degreasing & scuffing up my (bowling) balls.
The most important update of the day comes from an email I received last night right about the time I bogeyed the first hole (on in 2 and a 3 putt!) Horrible putting last night – there was a layer of sand sifted onto the greens and it affected the speed. Well, that and the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee that was blowing through. It was like playing in Scotland in the summer time – cold, blustery & a constant mist in the air.
ANYHOW! The email It was from the recruiter from TUV. The regional manager is headed out sometime in the next two weeks and wants to do another face to face interview. When I responded to the recruiter, I asked her how many candidates the manager was interviewing this trip. Looks like it’s only me.
So. It’s either A.) this whole process is going to take longer than I thought in that they’ll need more time to line up additional candidates or B.) if I don’t screw up the interview with the manager, I’m in. Guess which option I favor?
I gotta go it the grocery store. What do you need added to my list?
Filed for unemployment benefits this morning. Have ‘waiting week’, then I can start drawing benefits. A whopping $405 a week. That’s going to make some lifestyle changes an absolute necessity – unless I can get my butt back in the working world. I owe the TUV place a call this week and I have tons more leads thanks to my former co-workers. Finding a job will be my new primary part time job.
Finishing that damn bathroom is my secondary part time job. Making progress on it, and I will be up there toiling away once I finish this little update. I need to test the shower & make sure I have the connections correct. Waiting for the hot water to make the trip up from the basement will be fun. I’ll be running the water into a 5 gallon bucket for now. The drain in the shower pan works, but letting the water fall from the shower head and splash in the pan is a mess I don’t want to think about. Once the shower checks out I can start installing the backer board and hide all the plumbing.
After that is ceiling paint, wall paint, cabinets, then floor & shower tile. Once the floor tile is in I can set the toilet and make the final connections on the tub & sinks. Oh! Once the walls & ceiling are painted I can install light fixtures too. No more bare light bulbs in temporary fixtures. Finally!
Been thinking over the weekend. Think I figured out where things at work started to slide. Several years ago I was put in an impossible situation. I was given a task that was quite a stretch for my abilities. I ended up asking for help. That help was in the form of a PhD from MIT. The particular problem I ran into was a challenge even for him. Then when we thought we had it figured out, we ran into another layer of complexity that took another month to work through. Bottom line, we finally got things figured out and had our assembly ready for product, albeit a few months late. But we nailed it.
That project gave me my first professional black eye – and it was all a freakin PhD from MIT could do to help figure a way around our problem,.
Then there was my first foray into the wonderful world of VHDL (a digital logic programming language) That provided a second black eye in that I struggled with incorporating a spatial clock signal into my image reading program. We were reading images at a 50 micron pitch. That’s 0.05mm. Most LCD screens for computers are around 0.2mm (200 micron) pitch. Again, we overcame technological hurdles but wrapped up the project a month or so later than the original schedule. Then it was determined that the technology wasn’t commercially feasible and it was scrapped. No biggie there, it happens in research. But the black eye struck again.
After that, I was left with VHDL work and cranked out all sorts of good stuff, helped fix other problems and did it all on time. I was almost comfortable. Then thins got complicated on the home front and my ability to focus on work suffered. There was Cindy’s uncontrolled drinking, her mom passing away, her drinking getting worse. Then there was my own affair, the subsequent crash and the start of a couple years of counseling. The whole time I could feel my interest in work fading, couldn’t concentrate, was constantly distracted. The end is inevitable when you just don’t give a hoot.
So here I am.. From 8 – noon I will be a job searching maniac. The rest of the time I will be a House husband, re-modeler, cook, laundry maven and blogger. With a side of bowling. We start Thursday. I just have to cancel the subscription channels on our TV package to balance out the budget.
Better yet, I’ll have time to organize the pics of the bathroom from hell project and get them posted somewhere. I gotta get to work.
Day 2563 T – 4
Not to diminish what happened from the Outer Banks on up through Vermont, but the effects of Irene on Western NY were pretty mild. Worst we got out of the whole mess was some 30 mph breezes and a few downed branches. Downstate fared much worse, as I’m sure most of you have seen.
To put the distance from here to NYC in perspective – I live closer to Toronto, Ontario than I do NYC. If the border crossing were to go really, really smooth, I could drive to the Pantages theater in downtown Toronto in about 3 – 3.5 hours. A similar trip to the Barrymore theater in NYC would be around 7 hours.
3 days of actually having to show up at the old job. Fuckers are trying to keep me busy too. I have two boards in layout, two other assemblies to get straightened out and another schematic to wrap up and get sent to the layout house before I go. When the hell am I supposed to be doing my job search!?!?!
No word yet on the job at TUV. Also getting some interest in a job in a town about a 45 minute drive from home. We’ll see how that goes. Pay wise I’m sure it’s less than I’m making now. The job is in laying out circuit boards. I have no formal training there, but I have done quite a bit of board layout.
For the uninitiated, board layout involves placing components, routing traces, setting up power and ground sources, and doing other neat shit like calculating trace impedance for high speed communications (like that ethernet link that lets you read this drivel).
Fun job (shut up, it is too), but the 45 minute drive is a downer. Plus I’ve heard odd things about the guy that owns the company. Not good odd things either. Slave driver-ish, ridiculous demands kind of stuff. We’ll see. I’m thinking it’s better than unemployment at least.
Making progress on the bathroom too. Tonite we attempt to put in the shower pan. If it goes well, sweet. If it goes poorly, I’ll be cutting a hole in the powder room downstairs to gain a little access. I’m sure you’ll hear Cindy scream if that happens . . .
Remind me to tell you about the weird ant swarm I saw last week. There’s pictures even . . .
This place looks familiar – kinda like I’ve been here before. Have I posted stuff here in the not too distant past? Seems like it. May as well try again, eh?
So yeah, we’re all suffering a bit from the post wedding let down. All that built up excitement & anticipation and now it’s all over. I’ll tell you what’s weird though – seeing Kelly’s new name. We are, of course, Facebook friends and I see her updates pretty regularly. I am STILL not used to seeing Kelly “mylastname” in print. I’m sure it will become as normal as seeing Jill “mylastname” is now.
Taking bets on a few things now too.
1 – How long before Kelly is preggers (preggers IS TO a word. Now. I added it to my spell check. You can too!)
2 – How many of their kids will be red heads.
3 – How long till She hooks up with a nursing job.
My guesses? Job – less than a month. Preggers – couple years. Red heads – 1 of 2, or 2 of 3 – depends on how many little bundles of joy they decide on. My mom’s side is peppered with red heads, but my generation has none. Come to think of it, none of my generations kids are red heads either. Kelly comes from a long line of red heads so oif Eric has the least little bit of recessive red head in him, it ought to come through.
Enough about the kids!
Golf last Wednesday. My partner couldn’t make it, so I had to tackle the other team all on my own. I ended up walking 9 holes in 90 degree heat. It happened to be my partners turn to get the cart and I didn’t know he was going to be a no show until 10 minutes before tee time. My fault – he left a message on my work voice mail, I just wasn’t in the office all day.
Anyhow. No partner, no cart. I kicked me some booty. Beat my opponent on 7 holes, tied one and lost the very last hole. So I earned 7.5 out of 9 points. My partner, using his worst outing of the year as a default score even managed to take 2 points and as a team we took another 5 points. So a one manned team took 14.5 out of 27 points from a two man team. I managed to shoot my best round of the year by a wide margin. Had the low net sore for the week and now hold the league record for bogeys in a round with 7. Three or four of those were nearly pars – I had several putts and one chip miss by two inches or less. Matter of fact – the mot bizarre (and best) hole of the day involved a drive than went MAYBE 40 yards (it hit a tree 100 yards out and bounced back), a recovery/positioning shot that covered 180 yards, a shot to lay up short of a creek that travelled 145 yards, than a lovely 75 yard wedge shot that hit short of the pin, bounced past it, did a U-turn and dropped in the cu for a birdie. (For you non-golfers – that’s fuckin’ amazing!)
Saw my partners truck in the parking lot at work today. That in itself is a good thing, but I didn’t get a chance to see him and see how he’s doing. The condition that kept him from golfing last week might not be healed enough to allow him to golf this week. How long does it take to resolve bleeding ‘roids? (Man, this getting old shit ain’t for the faint hearted, is it?)
Bathroom? Coming along. Spent the weekend mudding the walls. First coat took 4 gallons. Now I have a new gardening bucket. Started the second coat on all the flat joints and they look pretty good. Tuesday night I’ll do the corners and Thursday I’ll either set the shower pan or do a light sanding on the drywall joints. Depends on how lucky I feel.
Slow goings on the job front since I interviewed last Tuesday. Have one more decent local lead to follow up on, and then I’m thinking it’s head hunter time. Might give up a percentage of my pay for a while to cover their fee, but it would beat the hell out of unemployment. I’ll have some time to work on it Tuesday too. Company is having their annual summer picnic from 11:30 till whenever. All things considered, I’m calling it an afternoon off. What are they gonna do, fire me? Oh wait – they did. Screw ‘em then.
Have a meme thingie to share for tomorrow. Might be interesting.
That’s right, 2501 days without a smoke. 6 years, 10 months and 6 days.
None of that cancelled out some bad karma I generated this morning. We were low on coffee at home, so I left that for Cindy (home burning up vacation days before she loses them) and stopped in at the neighborhood quickie mart (a Hess Express for any northeasterners peeking in) and picked up a 16 oz, hazelnut coffee and added my 2 thingies of vanilla creamer and a couple of Splenda packets.
When I paid, the cashier ( a 45-ish yr old Jenny) asked me if I’d like to donate my change to their MD fund or something. I just kinda mumbled ‘not today’, turned and left. As I was headed out the door, my left hand slipped off the door letting it swing back into my right hand. All I could do was watch as my lovely 16 ounce hazelnut/vanilla pick-me-up landed on, splashing my much needed caffeine all over the sidewalk.
I didn’t even have the change (43 cents) in my pocket yet. Is karma that quick, or is it still catching up from a prior violation? To tell you the truth, I thought I built up a little karma slush fund just minutes earlier. As I was walking IN the store to get my coffee I held the door open for a couple of delivery guys lugging hand carts full of beer into the store. I guess the lesson here is that being nice to a couple of big beefy delivery guys (who said ‘thanks’ even) does not balance stiffing a charity out of 43 cents and leaving coffee for your wife.
Whats going to happen to me for leaving the coffee puddle on the sidewalk? Should I not even bother getting out of bed tomorrow?
Bathroom is coming along. Drywall is nearly all up, then the mudding starts. In between coats of mud, I’ll start the shower installation process. Have mucho insulation to install tonight too. Thats always fun. And itchy.
Yeah, I know. Long time no see. Work and home projects are kicking my ass. Making progress on most fronts. Here’s a meme I saw & stole:
1. The smallest bone in the human body is about the size of a grain of rice. What is it?
For reals, it’s a bone in the ear, but I can not recall it’s actual name. I’d google it, but that ain’t the point here now, is it?
There’s a joke to be made here about boners of wives/girlfriends ex-lovers but far be it from me to stoop to such a crass level.
2. How fast is a sneeze?
Never as fast as you want. Don’t some of them take forever to actually happen? Others just do the stealth blitz attack and you’re wiping ‘fluids’ off your desk before you even knew what hit you.
3. What percentage of the human body is water?
Before Happy hour, isn’t it about 75% ? Thursday night, Cindy was 74% water, 1% alcohol, 25% drunker than I wanted to deal with. Friday night, well – not one of my better nights.
4. True or False: A human’s thumb is as long as his or her nose.
Might be close. Don’t have a mirror handy and I don’t dare try an internal measurement.
5. What should you do if you are bitten by a snake?
If it’s a garter snake, catch it, skin it, cook it & eat it like a sausage. If it’s a rattler or copperhead there’s only one thing to do. Bend over as far as you can and keep bending over far enough until you can kiss your ass good-bye.
6. It is a fact that humans get an entirely new skeleton every 12 years. What do we get every six years?
Eight years older? Free colonoscopy from the IRS? New skin?
7. Happiness is directly related to the size of your _________________.
Heart. Enough said.
8. If there are 9,000 taste buds on your tongue, how many hairs are on your head right now?
Not enough. There are fewer hairs than there were yesterday. That is a sad thing.
I’m also wondering how hairy Cindy’s tongue was feeling after Thursday night.
9. I believe that the size of the needle is directly related to the mood of the nurse. However, sometimes it’s necessary to get shots. If you could be vaccinated against anything in the world, what would it be?
Hard not to be bitter here, but I think I’d like to be vaccinated against doing anything I might regret later. Coming in a close second would be protection against resentment.
Over-indulged Friday evening, paid for it Saturday. All the women folk of the clan (& extended clan) were over in Syracuse for Eric & Kelly’s wedding shower. Theoretically that left me home alone for the day to work on the bathroom project. I was making fine progress right up until Zach showed up with his dog, Ollie, and his FIL, Greg.
Ollie did the absolute cutest little peeking into the bathroom deal. He’s pretty comfortable in our house, so when Zach arrived he opened the door and turned Ollie loose. I’m thinking Zach sent him upstairs where he must have come into the bedroom. Hearing me putzing around in the bathroom, he had to come over and check things out. All I saw was Ollie poking his nose around the bathroom door with his big puppydog eyes asking the question “You’re happy to see me, right?”
Once I called him he came bounding over practically knocking me over in his exuberance. He is NOT the cute little puppy he was 9 months ago. He’s up to around 60 or 70 pounds of playful, happy, people loving chocolate lab.
Anyhow. Greg brought over some cable I needed, we ran a little bit of wiring and discussed options for further wiring. Greg does house electric jobs on the side so he’s a great resource for where to get materials and strategies for getting the most wiring out of the least materials.
After that initial burst, we all ran out of gas, so we sat out on the back porch and shot the breeze for the rest of the day. I got in a few more shorts bursts of activity, but for the most part, Saturday was a rest day.
Sunday being Fathers Day kinda forced me to make some deals. Zach called earlier in the week asking where we were going to get tee times. Knowing I needed to spend some quality time in the bathroom (not doing THAT!) I took a rain check, planning an outing for the next time Eric was in town too. That should be 3 weeks or so.
With the rain check in place, I spent the day wrapping up the wiring and actually started drywall in the bathroom. Ought to be mudding this weekend, then it’ll be time to start wrapping up the shower. I DO have pictures of the (snails pace) progress and will put together a little album before too long.
I haven’t touched my bike since the Tour de Cure. One of the reasons is that my left quad had been really sore – the result of cramps that crept in the last 10 miles or so. By Friday though the old quad was feeling pretty good – so I gave it a couple of extra days. Plus, my more tender areas have been suffering through some odd tingling sensations not unlike what one feels when an arm or leg falls asleep. I’m sure it was the result of a pinched nerve because now it’s back to normal. It felt pretty odd, but no where near as odd as that time I had an epidural. (Whole ‘nother story, maybe for another day.)
Anyhow. I’m thinking of sneaking out of work in like 5.3 minutes, driving home and riding the old ass buster to the Y and taking in a spin class. It’s Monday, Lori is the instructor and I really can’t stand her music or exercise technique, but I need to ride and the seats on the Y’s spin bikes are the most comfortable things around. I’m willing to suffer through some Lady Gagger some of the other shit Lori plays just to get in a bona fide sweat – unless I can find someone willing to try out some highly aerobic horizontal gymnastics for an hour or so. That ain’t bloody likely.
So. Nine days to go till the Tour de Cure and my longest ride to date (this year) was a whopping 36 miles. In order to rectify that little problem, I hatched a plan. This plan really emphasized the “fool” portion of my url here. Here it is:
I rode my bike in to work Friday, 8.24 miles. No biggie there. From work, I planned to head north (and downhill) towards Lake Ontario, then tool along west-ish along the Lake Ontario Parkway (legit for bikes no less). Once I cross over Braddock’s Bay I will head south (and uphill) away from the lake and back towards civilization. At the 19 mile mark I will again turn west and go for another 11 miles, putting me out beyond where Cindy & I went (stress the went) for our counseling. From there I’ll take a rather meandering route home, dodging the villages & busier roads. Mile markers 19, 28 & 47 will provide opportunity to stock up on Gatorade and PayDay candy bars. Just for a scale reference, here’s a look at the route: (click to embiggen)
Yes, that’s my houses real location, but at this zoom level, I don’t think any of you will be able to add me to your Christmas card list. You can see how close I am to the airport. so if you ever fly to or through Rottenchester, I’d be happy to come get you and play tour guide and take you to the best places to eat. Unless you’re on a diet, then you’re screwed. I can also tell you where NOT to stay to keep you from getting screwed that way.
So. The ride itself. Ominous start. Got hoodwinked into a meeting @ 3:30 that ran until 4:30. I WAS planning on starting at 4. Starting at 5 was a bit of a setback and pushed my anticipated finish time to a little before sunset. But it gets worse. A whopping 1.5 miles in, I got a flat tire. Ran over a flattened hunk of metal that must have had something sharp sticking up. I pulled off the very busy main drag and set up shop in the front yard of the Abbey of the Franciscan Friars. Even though I was kinda pissed about the flat, no swearing allowed in front of the brothers, eh? Found the puncture, dismounted the wheel, pulled the tube out, patched it and re-assembled the wheel. Whipped out my handy-dandy CO2 cartridge, re-inflated the tire and off I went. Time lost? About 15 minutes. Now I’d finish right at sunset.
Happy to say the rest of the ride went without incident, even though I was a little paranoid about that rear tire. The only other negative note would be the wind. When I was heading downhill towards the lake there was a bit of a head wind, but the gentle down slope nicely canceled it out. Heading along the shore on the parkway there was a stiff head wind, but the road was flat. What really sucked was that as I was climbing back up away from the lake I was expecting a bit of a tail wind. As it turned out, it was getting late enough in the day that the wind was dying down. No tail wind for the uphill leg. So much for planning . . .
Total for the day? 53.7 miles after work plus 8.25 getting to work for a total of 61.95 miles on the day. Noticed something weird too. Seems that 75% of the seat discomfort actually comes from the undergarments chafing some of the more tender spots in the area. So, for longer bike rides I have a choice to make. Try out some chamois cream, switch to boxer briefs or go commando. I’m thinking of a combo of the first two options. I’m just wondering how one keeps the chamois cream from bleeding through clothes? Time for research.
Went to a sort of a pop-up family reunion today. It was thrown together kind of quickly by my mom’s cousin (only 6 years older than me!) and included a branch of the clan I’d heard of but never met. Turns out that my great-grandfather was born in Birmingham, England in 1890. When he was still a young boy, his father (my great-great-grandfather) passed away. Great-great-grandma had it tough, couldn’t manage to raise 6 kids on her own and basically sold her kids into indentured servitude. My great grandpa was then shipped off to Canada with his siblings and basically served as slaves to pay off the cost of their passage to Canada. After being beaten and fed only bread & water, my great grandfather managed to run away from the farm where he was indentured and crossed the border. Next time he showed up in the census he was in a tiny town in central New York. Over the years he frequently visited Canada to see his siblings and he frequented a fising camp on Rice Lake – ironically enough same place where he died of a heart attack at age 77 out in a boat fishing. What a way to go.
Cripes, I’m practically descended from Oliver Twist. (Actually, his name was John Ward). One of my other uncles (married into this clan of slave descendants) had ancestors with a history of sheep thievery in England in the 1800’s. I remarked to him that he was dangerously close to having been an Austrailian!
Bathroom work slated for Sunday. Got to get the floor closed up, put in a wall for the end of the shower area and start running the wiring for the lights. Actually have a fair chance of completing all of that. Then I can think about insulation & drywall. Oh joy!
And we’re getting the hot flashes & night sweats!
One of the down sides to living in the Northeast, besides the endless snowfall all winter long, is the fact that so few of us have air conditioning. Normally we’d only need it for a day or two in May, June – August, and the odd day or two in September. Barely a quarter of the year! Man of us eschew the central (or even window) AC.
But much like a southerner complaining about an inch or two of snow shutting everything down until it melts, I’m gonna bitch about the temps here edging close to 90 in May. WTF!?!?! Just 6 days ago I was glad I didn’t wear shorts golfing because it was barely into the 60’s. Sunday morning I was golfing with the boys and we were melting fro the heat & humidity by 11am! Granted, the course was a swamp thanks to all the rain we’ve had in April & May (lost a ball in the fairway because it plugged itself into the ground and I couldn’t locate the tunnel!) but geeze – upper 50’s on Wednesday then lwer 90’s on Sunday? Not fair.
But. Yesterday I paid my dues. I spent an hour in my attic crawlspace running a cable from a wall switch to an electric box I was installing right over our bed. Had to cut the hole in the ceiling, measure & cut the support beam and install said beam all in the comfort of the crawl space. Mind you, it’s a belly crawl, not a ‘on your hands & knees crawl’. And there’s no floor – only the ceiling joists and insulation. I took some small hunks of plywood up with me that I could kind of ‘ski’ on just so I didn’t end up crashing through the ceiling. The worst part was the temperature. Had to be 120 up there. Sweat was dripping off me so fast it looked like I had a hose installed on my head supplying the fountain of sweat that was sprouting from my eyebrows, nose, hair and anything else that would support a drip.
Then I got to come down into the 80-something degree not-yet finished bathroom and think it was cool. Of course, as I started mounting the ceiling fan to the newly installed electric box, I discovered that in my haste to get out of the oven I installed the box support a wee bit tilted. More tilted than I could correct for with the fan mounts. So? Up I went for round 2. At least I had the fan mounting bracket screwed onto the electric box to act as a guide. The re-install went fine. Still hot as a mofo, but at least this was a quick trip.
The upside to this whole mess? I gave up a day of working on the bathroom to get a ceiling fan installed in our bedroom. So even with no AC and the house heated up into the 80’s yesterday, sleeping last night was nearly blissful. If it weren’t for the little fiberglass shards from the insulation making my forearms itch like nobody’s business it would have been pure heaven.
So. Bathroom progress. All the supply plumbing is done & pressure tested. All the drain plumbing is done. Now I get to build the third wall of the shower stall and get ranking on the wiring for the new ceiling lights. Since it’s wiring & wall building – nah – who am I kidding? I’m not going to do a thing on it during the week. It’ll have to wait for the weekend like everything else.
Oh – that story about Cindy’s day off. Here goes.
Many years ago, one fine weekend afternoon Cindy was headed from the garage into the house. There are three steps to negotiate. Well, in her typically drunken state at the time, she had a little trouble navigating step #1, tripped and but managed to get her left leg under her and catch herself. In the process she managed to do some damage to her knee. ACL, MCL, one of them. A month or so after the incident she had her knee looked at, doc said it was a minor tear, not really bad enough to force an operation to repair, it would be Cindy’s choice. She chose to let it heal on its own.
Fast forward a couple years. Summer time. Cindy’s left leg (calk mostly) swells up for no apparent reason. We get her in to the doc, she says “get thee to the ultrasound clinic now and have the call me with the results”. So we went to the clinic. On the way I stopped by the surgical supply store and got her a pair of crutches. At the ultrasound clinic we earned that Cindy had blood clots behind her left knee and they were gumming up the circulation causing the knee swelling. That got her an invite to the hospital for some intensive heparin therapy to try and dissolve the clot. She was in the hospital for 3 or 4 days and missed a family reunion (on her side, that we were a part of planning). She got out of the hospital and was put on a prescription of injection type blood thinners for a week (another place to use my Army training!!), then went on tablet form of Coumadin.
Know what you’re not supposed to do while taking Coumadin? Drink alcohol. It messes with how the Coumadin works. The poor doctor was going nuts trying to find a dosage level that would keep Cindy’s blood thin enough to avoid clotting but no so thin as to be a danger for minor nicks & scrapes. We had the same GP at the time and that’s when I confessed to the Do that I was in Al Anon because of Cindy’s drinking and that that same drinking is what was causing her to have so much trouble dialing in the Coumadin levels.
That was about 5 years ago. Fast forward to last week. Cindy has this little teeny mole in her armpit. Had it for years, never caused any trouble. Thursday morning, while shaving her armpit, she took a hunk out of the mole. A nice, blood vessel rich mole. It bled like a stuck pig. She didn’t even know it until she noticed the shower water was kind of pink. She managed to get the bleeding to stop after 10 – 15 minutes with direct pressure and went on with her day.
Until she got to work. Some how, Some way and for some reason, she looked at her underarm. Apparently there was a HUGE bruise that spread from halfway down to her elbow up through her armpit and down her rib cage a ways. It freaked her right out, so she went home and sprawled out on the couch. It was about 4:45 when she called me and bailed out of spin class. That’s when I called the audible and went for that bike ride instead, because by the time I got home that bruise was gone. Not even a hint of it remained. I saw nothing to fret about. So I went for a ride.
I got my wheel back from the bike shop too. They replaced the busted spoke, re-trued my rim & cleaned the gear cassette. Now I can’t ride again till Thursday. Thinking of riding in to work but taking the really, really long way home, try to make a 50 miler of it. Probably head out west along the lakeshore for 20 miles or so then cut back south and head for home. Need to figure out the logistics of clothes as I don’t want to tackle that long of a ride wearing a backpack with the days laundry in it. Maybe bring in 2 sets of clothes Thursday and bike everything home Friday. Hmmmm – that’s got potential.
Geeze, don’t know whether to be disappointed or not. I’m still here, apparently so are you and about 7 billion other folks and their pets. Either God, Yahweh, Bhudda, Allah, your higher power or whoever the heck it is decided we are all unworthy (possible I suppose) or that Fruitcake Camping misinterpreted a bunch of quotes he was taking completely out of context.
I’m a little relieved too. Jill’s due date for grandkid #1 has been calculated (with a little more accuracy than Rev. Camping’s prognostications) as 11/11/11. Had Camping been correct, (suuuuuurrrrre) we’d never get to see the little bugger. As it is, we can all go on with our lives, just as we’d planned all along.
The other reason I know I’m not in heaven? That damn master bath isn’t done. I do have all the drains but one installed, have the vent put in finally (only needed one day free of rain!!), got the supply lines run to the shower & toilet and am working on the tub & dual vanity supplies. Ought to be a blast – have to solder joints that’ll be above the ceiling of the first floor and below the subflooring of the second floor. It’s a nice dark, dusty place. If you slip, you earn a free trip to the kitchen – through the ceiling. Doubt that would hurt much at all . . .
I actually got out and rode Saturday morning too. Wedged in 28 miles in 97 minutes. Not incredibly fast, but at least it was a ride. Maybe I can get in 40 this weekend, and 60 or 70 the first weekend of June. While doing the Tour, there are 2 points where I can choose to shorten the route without going ff course. The first spot would cut the 100 miler down to about 65. The second cut would only knock off 20 (of the more scenic) miles. Depends on legs & weather.
Got in a ride to work this morning too. Gotta love those tail winds – this was my fastest trip of the year. On 4 separate occasions this morning I’d pull up to a stop light just as the dang thing turned green. Of course I’d braked to a near stop losing tons of momentum, only to have to crank it back up again. Had I made all those the lights (like I did Saturday morning) I might have shaved another minute off my time.
The downside of having a tail wind in the morning is that it’s a head wind in the evening. The other downside? There’s a greater than 60% chance of thundershowers this afternoon. At least my bike will get washed. Tonight’s big decision? Do I bike from work to spin or from work to home? I may head to spin, but if it rains and I get soaked I’ll just detour home. And? My right knee is getting cranky. Ever since Friday it’s felt tight – like it’s too full inside. Doesn’t hurt to bend it, hurts to kneel on it and hurts more to put a load on it. Oddly enough, biking doesn’t seem to hurt it. Walking is odd in that it takes me a couple strides to warm up. Heaven forbid if I have to put any lateral load on it, like make a quick turn. Then it gets all tweaky.
As it turns out, the ride to the Y was dry but windy. Was a little tight on time, but got to sit & pedal idly on the spin bike before class started. Never did stop sweating. Rain held off through class and let me get home dry too. Except for the sweat.
Bushed, rambling pointlessly. Ought to get to bed. Helluva good idea.
Seen on the web recently. Up until recently, it really seemed appropriate.
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I just checked a weather map of the country. Maybe it’s me, but with a few isolated exceptions, it seems Mother Nature is really pissed off at the northeast this spring. Yet another weekend went by with no significant outdoor riding accomplished.
Saturday we headed to Syracuse for Kelly’s graduation ceremony. Eric’s fiancé is now a graduate of her nursing program – all that’s left is for her to take & pass her boards and she’ll be ready to tackle the working world. I didn’t get a chance to quiz her on when she’s planning on taking the tests, but I do know she has only two section left to study for – pediatrics and one other whose title I can’t quite remember. The real question is if she’ll be taking them before the wedding or not. Time will tell.
Sunday it rained all day. Actually, it started Saturday night, continued Sunday, has carried on into Monday and is predicted to last until Thursday or something, which will probably force golf to cancel, again. (After last week, that may be a blessing.)
So. Sunday. Rain. Terrible day to be on the roof trying to install the last of the plumbing vents. So I puttered around inside, got the shower drain in place and started running the supply lines. I was considering using PEX with the Sharkbite fittings for the supply until I read the latest Home Depot ad and saw the price of the fittings!
I can get 100 feet of the PEX tubing for $25. Too bad I only need about 30 feet. 30 feet of Type M copper (the thicker walled stuff) runs about $45. Sharkbite “T” fittings run $9.50 each – I’d need 4. Elbows run about $5 each, again, I’d need 4. Then there’s the adapters to the faucet fittings (4), adapters to the bath tub & shower (4) and one last adapter for the toilet. I gave up looking at prices at this point because while the PEX might be quick & easy, it ain’t cheap. I’m comfortable sweating (soldering) copper joints and I have gobs of fittings so I’m sticking with copper for this one last plumbing job. So I got to snort some solder smoke this weekend too. I head a little lead can be good for you, especially in your pencil!
Oh – about the title of this post. Considering our recent spate of ducky weather, I was going to write to the head of the local Tour de Cure and suggest we switch it over to a bike & swim event – hence the “Duathlon”. Maybe bike 50 miles and swim for two. If it weren’t for the fact that I swim rather like a stone, I might be tempted. (Yes, duathlons are usually bike/run, but the swimming seemed more appropriate given the weather).
In other news, got two more bites on the resume postings, neither with phone interviews yet, but I hope they are looming on the horizon. Have a few follow-ups to do this week too. Need to get back to my matrix and get it updated and get some more applications going.
In other other news, stuff I am loathe to share but need to keep track of somewhere (so I get to torture you with it too!) Cindy’s drinking is slipping – nudging it’s way back to where it was in little fits & starts. Yesterday was one of the more remarkable days for depth, but Wednesday, Thursday & Friday were lighter drinking days too. For the record, I did have a couple beers after golf Wednesday, I also had a beer Friday evening and two more at Kelly’s parents house Saturday. That’s a lot for me – 5 beers in 5 days. Cindy tends to start with her favorite whiskey & ginger ale, then will switch to beer if I have one. By then though, the damage is done and she’s so far ahead of me on the BAC curve that there’s never a point in the evening where I can say “Gee, I could almost tolerate this”. Not I get really far up the curve on 2 or 3 beers either.
So why do I?
Good question and I’m glad you asked. I really don’t know. In my gut, I think it’s tied to a reluctance to make a change. Fear of change? Meh – probably. Fear of what the kids would think? Not so much. The subject has come up with them. They’d be ok with it. They know what’s up. Fear of losing the house? I’ll admit to that one. Fear of “what the heck will I do now?” Certainly. This subject is worthy of an inventory. Think I’ll go do one now. Maybe I’ll even share the results, then let you guys call BS on anything I’m trying slip through.
Later . . .
Edited to add:
We are to take delivery of our new bath tub Friday between 10 and 2. I will be home all day long. If the weather doesn’t suck, I’ll get out for a bike ride and plan to be home by 9:30. (3 hours of riding, I might get in 50 miles). If it’s raining, I might just have to work on the bathroom instead. Regardless, I also plan to try and get in 60+ miles on Sunday – very, very early. Anyone want to join me? (yes, I’ll let you drive the pace car instead)
I had the best intentions. The part up to “phone interview at 3pm” is from Friday. Everything after that is current-ish. It starts here:
Driving to work this morning I saw the oddest thing hanging in the sky. This thing made it difficult to see traffic lights when heading east, but the warmth radiating from it made me not mind the temporary blindness. I know I’ve seen this thing some time in the far distant past, seems like it was in a different country even. I’m sure that in moderate doses it will do no harm, but I fear I will have to buy something to protect my eyes. The mole people I am living with will just have to adapt to this new way of life.
Even if it’s only for a few days. Looks like we get a reprieve for 3 days, then it’s back to more rain for Monday & Tuesday. Golf got canceled again last night. The ground is just too soggy to even consider playing. That’s two weeks straight. Next Wednesday’s forecast is calling for sun, but that’s 7 days off. The forecast could change 14 times (at least) by then.
I goofed last night and took my PC home. I did make use of it in going through my job search emails and getting caught up there, but I now have to pay the price. I just am not comfortable with the thought of carrying my laptop on my bike. It’s pretty big as laptops go (17’ monitor), the laptop alone barely fits in my back pack leaving scant room for a change of clothes. I don’t have a cargo rack and wouldn’t trust a PC on one anyhow.
So taking my laptop home negates any possibility of riding my bike to work. With todays gorgeous weather, that’s just plain unfortunate. Forget the fact that it’s only 47 degrees at 9:30am – it isn’t raining!! I am down to 5 weeks to train for the Tour de Cure and my longest ride this year is a whopping 11 miles and less than 40 minutes long.
Combining my miserable, piss poor work attitude with a need to get some work done in that bathroom, another phone interview scheduled for Friday afternoon (!!!) and an urge to get some biking miles in, I am taking Friday off.
My workout plan is to ride to the gym tonight for a spin class. Friday morning, while it’s still chilly, I’ll go through my search engine results and get a minimum of 5 applications put in. Late Friday morning I would dearly love to head out for a 30 – 40 mile ride. That’s something I can do in under 3 hours and it will go a long ways towards establishing some sort of mileage base. After the ride I can putz around in the bathroom, maybe put in a wall or something, than I have this phone interview at 3pm
Up to current times now!
What went as I planned? Very little. Managed to ride to the gym for spin class. Friday was a bust. No bike ride. Cindy ended up taking the day off too because she has personal time to use up by July or she loses it. Personally, I think she just wants to keep an eye on me. I did get a wall put up in the bathroom Friday, and did that phone interview thing. That turned out to be a recruiter working for a local-ish company. It was more like a coaching session by the recruiter and less of an interview. The end result is that I owe the recruiter an edited resume and 3 references on Monday. And the feces hit the rotating blades on two projects here at work. I guess current job has to trump future job for now. After lunch.
Some other things that got accomplished this weekend include getting an old pluming vent moved. It did NOT go as I planned, and I ended up burning half a day and 45,812 brain cells until I came up with plan “D” that I am now semi-confident will work. I even have a picture of the plumbing to share:
You see, I had to move that one vent (hi-lited in green) because it was in the way of the future toilet drain. There’s only 7.5 inches of space to play in vertically and sadly, drains are constrained by the law of gravity. There is no way to just willy-nilly run them where you have space.
That other big white drain pipe that appears to be suspended in space is now gone too. Still have to get up on the roof and patch the hole, but the forecast is pretty good for the next few days. I’ll slap a shingle up there for now and do a formal patch this next weekend. Maybe.
Heard of a very distressing event over the weekend too. A bike rider was held up at gunpoint on a section of bike trail (Erie Canal Bike Trail) just south of where I enter the trail (northbound) when I ride to work. Two guys, one of whom was brandishing a 20 gauge shotgun (think bullet the diameter of a nickel, or worse – birdshot) held up a biker. The biker gave up what he had and high tailed it back to a main road & contacted a sheriff. The sheriff’s were able to track down the jerks who pulled off the hold up and arrested their stupid asses (and the rest of them too I assume).
I rode that northern section of canal path this morning and gave every pedestrian (only one this morning) a wide berth. A lot of people use that path – cyclists, walkers, roller bladers, people walking their dogs, guys out for a little man-on-man action too (kinda creepy, but at least they’re lovers not fighters). Now we have to worry about idiots trying to rob people at gunpoint? That’s the downside of having the path so close to the city I guess – it attracts the wrong elements for the same reason it attracts the legitimate users – privacy.
Oh well, I’m not going home that way tonight. I have to head for the Y and take in spin class. Or maybe I’ll skip Lori’s class (sucky music) and go for a 90 or 120 minute ride instead. Hmmmm – get a Payday bar & a bottle of Gatorade and hit the road. Tempting except for that damn backpack. Ah, well. Sucky music it is.
It’s not like this doorway was a portal to Dante’s 3rd level or anything, but it was easily the most difficult and trying door installation I have ever done. It was also the smallest and lightest door unit I’ve installed in quite some time.
In the new master bath I’m doing, I had the bright idea of knocking the corner off the room and putting the doorway into the bath the 45O wall. Genius move. Eased the corner, made the bedroom appear larger and didn’t cost much in the bath area space wise.
I figured out how to frame the funky 135O corners and had the layout down to the point where I even knew <i>where</i> the walls & corners had to go. I got the old closet wall tore out & new wall put in Friday, built the beveled wall with the door frame and put that in Saturday. Had to do some long mitered rips on 2×4’s in order to create studs to have something to attach drywall to. Those cuts were tough. My table saw doesn’t have that large a table and holding 8’ long pieces of wood straight, level & square AND guiding it into the saw? Quite a challenge.
Anyhow. Got the wall in, hauled the door & frame upstairs and did a rough check for fit. Things seemed big enough, there would be shimming required but that’s pretty normal for doors.
Sunday morning I started to putz with the door some more. I think the wood in the door frame warped & twisted overnight. There was no way I could get the door to fit plumb & square. I ended up ripping the hinge side of the frame apart and re-built it with old wood. I used old wood with the expectation that it was done drying out and what ever warp/twist/wane was in it would stay. Even after re-squaring the frame, it took about 1.5 hours to finally get the door set in place. It could be that trying to watch the Sabre’s game and installing a door simultaneously was a bad choice in multitasking chores. I’m happy to say that my door turned out better than the Sabre’s efforts though.
Now with that door in, I can drywall the complete exterior of the bath and hopefully contain the worst of the mess. Next up is building the interior walls and getting the electric run.
No real news on the job front. Head from a head hunter down in Harrisburg, sent him some vitals. Also sent a thank you note to the interviewer from that Pittsburgh job. I am trying to compile of reasonable questions I might ask him, just to be sure my name stays on his radar screen. I think that’s a job I’d really, really enjoy. Hate to lose out on it.
Next weekend we get to head to Syracuse & help Eric move. With the wedding not too far off and his lease up for renewal, he & Kelly decided to get a bigger apartment. They’ll be moving into a 2 bedroom unit – IN THE SAME BUILDING AS HIS CURRENT APARTMENT. This <i>could</i> be the best move ever! We have to move him from the third floor down to the first. The bad part? No work gets done on the bathroom next Sunday and meetings prevent me from taking the day off Friday. Maybe take ½ a day? Decisions, decisions.
Oh! Here’s a shot of what the bathroom plans look like:
(Click to embiggen!)
This doesn’t show the existing windows. One is entered on the south (bottom) wall, one is in the lower end of the west (left) wall and a third is on the top end of the west wall. Combined with the dual windows on the south wall in the bathroom, we have really nice air flow & light.
One way or another, this may be my last big project. If we end up staying here, the inside of the house is done. All that needs doing is the roof. If we move, we’re buying new and getting it done how we want. I’ve look at existing stuff on the market in a few areas. For the most part, it’s kind of depressing to think about all the work that would have to be done to get any of them re-configured to how we like. At the tender age of 52, I’m kind of done with that shit. I just want to go ride my bike. Yes, I am channeling that Queen album right now.
Gotta go mourn my USB hub design. Too *#^$ slow. Back to the drawing board.
Day 2424 Another Productive Weekend
Yep. Had myself another one of those “getting shit done” weekends. Now I need a week to recover from it.
Started out early (but not early enough) and had a lovely freezing ride to the Y Saturday morning. I knew it was going to be cold when I looked out the bedroom window & saw frost on the roof of the back porch. Still – I rode. Wearing shorts too. I did think to wear gloves and to tell the truth, that made a huge difference. Once at the Y I sprinted upstairs to get to spin. Made it just at the end of warm ups, which was fine because I was totally warmed up from the ride there.
After the gym routine, I had to de-clutter the bathroom project. It’s amazing the amount of debris that built up. Of course, once the room was decluttered I immediately dove into removing a window and tearing out another wall. After that, I figured out a relatively easy way to peel up ceramic floor tile en-mass. I went after the luaun underlayment and took the backer board & tile with it. The underlayment had just enough flexibility to not break except at it’s seams and did a nice job of supporting the backerboard. The backerboard was stiff enough that the tiles didn’t come flying off in the process. The worst part was prying it up, then lugging it out to the curb.
I should have taken a picture of the pile I had at the curb for the Waste Manglement guy. After today he is sure to hate my guts. I left him glass from two sets of storm windows, the panes & frames from two sets of double hung windows, two 35 gallon cans of drywall debris, another 25 gallon can only ¾ full of ceramic tile & backerboard (that still weighed over 80 lbs), about a rolls worth of ancient (45 year old) R-8 insulation (yes, that’s all they used back in the 60’s, R-8 in the walls. Terrible!!), a whole shit load of various sized pieces of wood – busted studs, trim, cracked T & G sheathing, and I thin somewhere in there I snuck in a can with a weeks worth of household waste. Those floor sections are gonna suck to get into the truck. I had the joy of carrying them down stairs without never really having to lift them. Poor guy.
Sunday I put a new window in – after making the requisite two trips to the home store for supplies. We’ve some reclaimed bedroom space that’s going to house all of Cindy’s make-up gear. She’ll have an entire drawer unit for all her lotions, potions & powders, a desk drawer kind of thingy and one of those lighted magnifying mirrors. No more taking up sink space to do the morning make up routine. Which I don’t understand anyhow. How is it men are allowed to wander the face of the earth without having to apply hundreds of dollars worth of ‘product’ to their face & hair, but most women wouldn’t think of leaving their bedroom without some sort of camouflage on their skin in an effort to misinform each other and the opposite sex about their true age and/or real appearance. Sorry – long question. Probably rhetorical too, unless one of you wants to try and tackle it.
Anyhow. After the window in the make-up area, I got the rest of the floor stripped down to the subfloor and started laying out where the new walls will be. I need to figure out how to splice in a 45 degree section of wall. I’ve seen them all over, just never bothered to figure out what the framing was like behind it all. Now I need to know. Maybe Google knows the answer. It’s as good a place as any to start the search.
Turns out Google DID know the answer. Here’s a view of the 135 degree junction looking down from the top side:
That junction IS a 135 degree angle. When I looked up a 135 degree corner, nothing useful showed up in the search results. But when I looked up a 45 degree corner, I found all sorts of pictures & advice. It’s funny how the mind works, or not, as the case may be. The other odd note: to make this 135 degree corner, I will never have to set a saw to cut 45 or 135 degrees. The working angle will be 22.5 degrees. That comes up this weekend. I may just haul the table saw upstairs to make this a little easier. It’ll probably save a whole bunch of trips up & down the stairs. I could use the work out, true, but I’d rather not have to haul 8 foot long hunks of wood around with me. Having to pay attention to two things 8 feet apart while turning corners and navigating stairs is more than I want to tackle when I’m trying to remember lengths and angles too.
Today (Tuesday) things on the job front are bubbling a little bit. I got an email from a local agency that want to interview me for a position as a manufacturing engineer. The down sides to this one are that the town is 70 miles away and the job is more mechanical than electrical. I still responded that I’d love to do an interview for the position, figuring that I could use it for practice as much as anything.
Of course, two hours later I get an email asking to set up a phone interview for a job in Pittburgh, Pa with UPMC as their 2nd shift Radiology Engineer. Shit! I’d rather have a practice interview with the local-ish folks before I interview (even on the phone) with UPMC. They were one of my favored positions. Housing markets are comparable, pay is similar, I’ve been a Pirates baseball fan since the days of Willie Stargell & Roberto Clemente, and Zach is a dyed in the wool Penguins fan. We’d see him twice a year for hockey games, no doubt.
I’m going to hold off on the phone interview until Thursday evening. That gives me a couple of days to scrutinize the posting, research answers to questions I can anticipate, research material for questions I may not anticipate, and come up with some questions myself.
In the name of research, what questions would YOU ask a potential employer? Forget about the normal benefits related things – vacation, health insurance, 401k, pension, & possible relocation. (My needs there? 4 weeks minimum, yes – 50% is normal, slide over my existing 401k and do you guys match the first 1, 3, 5%?, and which movers do you have working arrangements with? Will you front me money till my house sells?)
Do I NOT go some of these places yet? Should I play coy and not commit to anything on those topics, deferring to negotiating them all later? I like that approach. I will also be asking The Google these questions, as well as the umpteen job sites I have accounts with. This is going to be worse than studying for a final.
Completely random thoughts & comments:
My laptop has been acting wonky, especially file explorer. I’ve been running Stinger (from McAfee) since 10:30 this morning. 5:10 later, it’s STILL chugging along, although it has made it to the WINNT directory. Almost done.
Odd note for the IT folks out there – Stinger requests that I disable restore points during the scan. If viruses or Trojans are found, it will need to get into the restoration data and remove any potential dangers from there too. Our corporate IT settings are such that I can not disable the auto restoration settings, so Stinger can’t manipulate those files. And yes, I have as full admin privileges as I can get on this beast.
Here’s a progression showing original windows & the process of moving them about 4 feet to the left, while replacing them with newer, energy efficient units.
You didn’t get to see it, but the combination of Stinger running, having 34 other apps running in the background and running 3 things off of USB ports plus supporting a separate USB hub aused my crap top to display the Black Screen of Death. Yup. That sick puppy just shut down. I think that’s a sign.
Jay, one of the front desk people at the Westside YMCA, has been bugging me lately. For about the last month every time he scans me in he looks me up & down and comments “No helmet yet?” which is a not very subtle way of asking “Hey you nut case, aren’t you riding outdoors yet?”
Jay is really impressed by my penchant for riding my bike to the Y just to take a spin class. I’m sure he thinks it involves a certain kind of ‘commitment’ (as in committed to the nut house) to want to do something so silly. Jay clearly does not ride.
I look at it as a nice way to extend and enhance my exercise time. Riding outdoors somehow uses different muscles than spin class does. Try both, then pay attention to how much more your glutes hurt after a nice hour long outdoor ride. Often, the soreness one feels in the glutes has nothing to do with the saddle and everything to do with those muscles complaining about being used so harshly. You just have to get out and ride to toughen up your ass, that’s all.
So. In an effort to become a hard ass, I think I might actually get to put in a few miles outdoors this weekend. I have grand plans to ride my trusty steed to the 7:15am spin class Saturday. That’s a 4.2 mile ride, slightly up hill, usually into what little breeze there is in the morning) followed by around 75 minutes pedaling hard to get no where. After class, I think I might take the long way home and see if I can sneak in an extra 6 miles to make it a 10 mile trip home.
Monday and Tuesday look rainy, so no riding to work. Wednesday & Thursday look pretty nice. Cool-ish in the morning, but if one pedals hard enough, heat generation isn’t an issue. Even at 39 degrees, shorts will be fine, but gloves will be necessary for the hands.
Here’s the forecast thus far:
Some of that looks pretty survivable. Regardless, I need to start packing on some serious miles if I’m going to be ready for doing 100 miles for the Tour de Cure June 12. That’s 10 Sundays to build up to 100 miles. If I count spin class as 18 miles (my average outdoor speed on moderate outdoor terrain is 18mph), I think I’m good for 30 right now just falling out of bed.
Then there’s this:
|Week Ending||Long Ride||Commuter Miles|
Roughly translated, starting this week with one long ride of 30 miles, if I increase by 15% a week I’ll be ready for 100 by 6/12. Additionally, I ought to be able to add in 32 miles of commuting a week (2 days round trip to work) so by the time the TdC is done I should have a minimum of 901 miles racked up towards my (newly stated) goal of 1500 miles this riding season. Now I have to learn how to do a table thingy in the side bar to track progress.
Of course, job status, job hunting and job location will play a part in all of this. I got a nibble on a Biomed job in the Tampa/St. Pete area. That nibble has led to a new slew of applications being sent in for similar jobs in the area. The thought of going to Florida is kind of exciting. Year round biking & golf, gobs of sun, new plants to learn about & grow, beach time every weekend if we like.
None of it is real yet. Neither is heading to Pittsburgh, Cincinnati or Philadelphia. Sadly, Portland & Seattle are out of the running – too far from the family. But Tampa? I think we’d manage to see the kids two or three times a year. Sad, but possibly necessary. We’ll see.
Cindy is all about changing schedules & priorities NOW just in case we have to move next week. In our last counseling session when she suggested I do something ‘just in case we have to move’. I explained to her that I will do everything I can towards the job search, I’ll get the bathroom remodel done as quickly as reasonably possible, but I’m still taking the time to get in my TdC training and golfing once a week. I’m not going to turn my world on its ear for something that might happen. If you do that and nothing DOES happen, you wasted a lot of time & effort. I don’t think she buys it. She’s going to nip & nag & apply pressure to get what she wants. She’ll get pissed because I’m resisting, I’ll get pissed because she won’t let up. This will be a perfect opportunity for us each to learn a lot. I hope we’re both receptive to the lessons we’re about to receive.
Hey – I might get to sneak in a rode tonight too!! High of 52, 10% chance of rain – I see a 20 miler coming. There’s a bridge over Black Creek that’s exactly 10 miles from . . . . awwww shit. I need to stop by the bike shop and get chain lube, a new tire and a tube patching kit, then I have to swing by Beers of the World and get a bottling bucket. My batch of Edmund Fitzgerald clone brew is ready to bottle and I need a second bucket. Dang. Oh well.
During the course of the 17.5 years we have owned this house I have replaced or re-located 15 windows and a set of sliding glass doors and the main (big ass) front door. Some were parts of larger projects, some were done to finally replace the leaky, drafty, chintzy contractor grade windows & doors the house came with back in the 60’s.
In an amazing run of common sense, any work done strictly off a ladder has been the simpler ‘replacement only’ variety. Any of the larger, project oriented massive re-arranging has been done on the first floor with one exception – in our original master closet I removed a window and re-located it abut 8 feet to the right in what was (until yesterday) the master bath. Even then, I was able to do most of the grunt work from the inside and really had to hang off a ladder for the final install.
In all of these cases – the sliders, the front door, the sets of 3 side by side by side windows in the living & family rooms – I was able to get the bulk of the work done in well under 8 hours. It should also be noted that in nearly instance I had help. Sometimes it was Cindy holding window units in place while I shimmed & nailed, other times it was the boys helping me to muscle a 7 foot wide door unit into place. But none of that work was done completely alone.
We are in the process of merging the current master closet & teeny bath with the 4th bedroom to come up with a make-up table nook, a full sized bath with a shower, separate claw foot tub and a 6.5’ wide dual sink vanity and a uniquely “L” shaped closet that is a little bigger than the walk-in we have now. To pull off the merge, we are moving 3 walls and we have to shift a set of dual windows about 4 feet to the left, to center them on the tub.
Saturday I removed the wall between our former master bath and the 4th bedroom. I also peeled a shit load of drywall off the north (exterior) wall. All of that was hauled to the curb for the Waste Management boys to cart off. (That was Monday morning. I’m sure the WM guys hate us). Saturday wasn’t too bad, and I got to quit around 5 so we could all head over to Zach & Jill’s for dinner.
Sunday was brutal. The best part of the day was tweaking my plans to correct some dimensions. With a wall or two out of the way I was able to get more accurate measurements. Turns out the closet will be 9” wider than I originally thought. Who doesn’t like a little extra closet space?
Then it was off to the home store to load up on supplies I was sure I’d need for the window relocation program. Got back home, unloaded, tossed a bunch of lumber up onto the back porch roof and grabbed a bit of lunch. Then the real work started.
Getting the original window out wasn’t a big hassle. Peel off the storm windows, pry off the moldings (I just picked splinter #58 out of my right middle finger), then pull the double wide double hung frame out. Easy peasy. Then I had to start peeling the shingles & shadow board off the exterior to clear out the wall for the new window. I thought I could work strictly off the porch roof for the whole process. Wrong. Went out to get a ladder from behind the shed. Got sidetracked at the pond for 30 minutes or so, emptied the filter basket, washed a winters worth of algae build op off it, went fishing for a few skimmer nets worth of leaves (stinky!!), then got the ladder in place and peeled shingles.
Back inside. Now that I knew just how far the window was going to extend, I realized I was getting the opportunity to move an outlet. I <i>thought</i> it was at the end of a line, but no, it had two cables at the box, one in, one out. The bad part was that the outie went up through the ceiling – right through where I had to install the new 4×6 header over the window. Lost an hour to get the outlet power off, move the outlet and re-apply power. Had to get power back on because that was the circuit I was running all my toys on.
It took about a half hour longer than I had hoped to get the old 4×6 out of the way. Took longer to get the new opening cut. Took longer to get the sill plate set. Took longer to (sensing a theme here?) get the jambs plumb. Everything took longer. Even worse – I had the boys over for help from the point of setting the sill plate right on till the bitter end. We took a break for dinner then went back at it.
Had to break out the flood lights towards the end. Hell – had to break out the floods for the last 2 hours. At the end, the windows fit perfectly. Good thing we wrapped it up too, because Eric & I were literally standing on the porch roof in the rain putting the last nails in the window flashing.
Sunday night, I was woken up twice by wicked hamstring cramps. Never got cramps there before. Kinda wrecks a nights sleep. Killed the alarm in the morning and slept in an extra 45 minutes. I still hurt all day long Monday.
Pictures forthcoming. I gotta go pass out.