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Not a horrid or torrid start

Survived the start of golf season. Re-learned where a few choice muscles are, thinking a soak in the hot tub tonight wouldn’t hurt. Much as I expected, driving and mid to short irons weren’t bad, putting wasn’t terrible, but the delicate stuff – those little 5 – 25 yard chips and pitches were bothersome. I think the poor short game I displayed last night cost me 4 – 5 strokes and maybe a couple of holes.

For the most part, I play the course and just try to shoot the best I can. I don’t worry much about my opponent, if I win a hole, fine, if I lose it, whatever. This is a fun league and we all get pretty much nothing for prizes at the end of the year. There are a handful of categories, and the top performer in each category gets a sleeve of golf balls. Three whole balls. Last year, to save a few bucks, some of the prizes were actually re-cycled balls dug up in the woods by our league hound dog. They’re nice and only give out the best condition ones, not something that’s been out there for a long time or is really beat up. Again – what ever. I’m just trying to improve my game.

But I did crack a couple of drives out 280+ yards – in the fairway. My OWN fairway even. That and canning a 30 foot putt with about 2 feet of break for a par really made my night.

The other thing that made the night? It was sunny, 65-ish degrees with only a mild breeze. One of the nicer days we’ve had since, oh, I’d say September or October. Winter was brutal up here this year and just seems to be really reluctant to let go.

Next up? Making the solar charger for the camper pretty. We have a couple of boondocking trips scheduled for this summer – boondocking being going without water & electric hookups. But I figure we can fill the water tank when we get to the camp site and run much of our stuff off the battery – lots of 12V applications in the camper. But to avoid having to hook the truck up and run it to recharge the battery, I got hold of an 85 Watt solar panel. On a sunny day it ought to be able to kick out enough juice to fully charge the camper battery in about 10 hours. I’ve got some hardware to configure so I can monitor the panel output and battery status. It’s a fun project, might keep me out of trouble and better yet might allow us to spend a week in the woods, off the grid in a modicum of comfort. We’ll see.

The cost of where you live.

Day 3902 (days since I quit smoking) (10 years, 8 months & 1 week)

Golf league starts tonight.  Been jonesing for a sport to play since bowling stopped a month ago.  Our usual arrangement for dinner on golf nights involves me calling the local Applebee’s form the parking lot of the golf course and putting in a “car side pick up” order.  Applebee’s has some nice salads that work well, because if a salad gets cold – does it matter?

Anyhow.  Cindy looked through their menu last night, made her choices and wrote them down on a little note that I was supposed to put in my wallet this morning so I knew what the hell she wanted for dinner.

Problem #1?  I left the little note right in front of the little doodad we have for charging our phones.  I think it’s called CRS – a hazard of ones mid=50’s and beyond I’m afraid.

Problem #2?  Just for shits & giggles (and maybe a memory jog) I looked up an Applebee’s menu on-line.  Scanned through the choices.  Saw my favorite salad (Oriental Chicken Salad, with grilled chicken please) and saw that it was $9.99.  Wow!  Less than last year – how often does that happen?  Then I looked up at the location it had me pegged at – Newton, Kansas.  FYI – that’s 1,225 miles from my house.  Not exactly a trip you’d want to make with take out dinners.  So I got on their little locator dealie and picked the restaurant closest to my house (0.5 miles – WAY better than 1,225!)  Downside?  My salad now cost $10.79!!  Almost a dollar more just because it’s here in beautiful upstate NY?

So on top of higher income taxes and outrageous property & school taxes AND 8.25% sales tax, even on meals in restaurants, I also get to pay 8% more for the same meal that someone in Newton, Kansas is going to enjoy tonight?   Phooey.

Ah well, what are you gonna do?  Not like I’m going to move – my whole family is here and that’s reason enough to stay.

But golf tonight!  Managed two trips to the driving range, think I remember how to swing a club (230+ yards carry with a 3 wood on a few shots, that’ll work)  Didn’t hit my driver a lot, but I do know that when I don’t swing out of my shoes, I can hit it nice.  If I start to swing a little too hard, I start to lose it on a straight push right and when I try to absolutely crush the ball I hit this weak little pull/duck hook that will endanger every tree on the left edge of the fairway.  Lesson here?  Don’t swing out your ass.  250 + roll out is fine, fine, fine.

Back to our irregularly scheduled program!

Liquid Courage

Saw this on the way home last night.

Balls Vodka

Never heard of this particular brand, but talk about liquid courage! Drink this stuff and grow some real balls! Yeaaahhhh – no thanks. I will happily stick with my occasional craft (or home brew) beer and call it an evening.

Gorgeous weather here in the tundra today – I’m really near the Lake Ontario coast here at work and it’s all of 64. Further south in the big city it’s more like 69. Officially the warmest day of the year. But guess what? Friday is supposed to peak in the upper 50’s then turn colder with showers changing to snow and accumulating 1 – 3 inches by Saturday morning. Guess what I have scheduled for Saturday at noon? Supposed to go trade in our camper for one we picked up at the RV show a few weeks ago.

Still worried about whether or not the pile of snow in the church parking lot that abuts my back yard (and is the only access I have to my back yard with a camper) will melt enough to allow me to get the trailer out. Last I looked it was still a 1 foot deep, 4 foot wide band of ice. Thought I could get the snow blower out there and clear enough of a path to make it. But now, if we DO get 3″ Friday night, there will be fresh snow back there. Think I’ll just go yank it out Friday night and park in the driveway. The spousal unit will think I’m nuts, but I have a nasty case of spring fever and I need to be doing this.

In other fun stuff – we are taking two camping trips this year where we’ll be “boondocking” – camping with no water or electric hook ups. Now tent camping, this is no biggie. We did it for years while the kids were growing up. But now, with a camper? We are officially spoiled. The new camper can store 60 gallons of fresh water, 67 gallons of gray water waste and another 28 gallons of black water (toilet offerings). I can run off the camper battery for a while. Lights are no problem, even running the water pump for short bursts isn’t bad. But then you add in maybe using the stereo system, outside lights at night, it could drain the battery faster than one would think. The solution? I used up my American Express reward dollars and got an 85W solar panel and a charge controller. They’re sitting in my garage right now, waiting for something to do. Honestly, they are fueling some of my spring fever.

In perfect conditions, that panel would allow me to fully charge the battery I have on our current camper in about 8 – 10 hours, if we were to really drain it. If we’re even a teeny bit conservative, we’ll have no problem at all. I don’t know what kind of battery is in the new to us camper. I’d hope it’s larger, but won’t know till Saturday.

Being the geek engineer I am, you can bet I’ll spend a few weekends running various lights & systems so I can get a gauge on just how much power will be needed when going off grid. Our first boondock trip is a 3 day jaunt over Memorial Day, the traditional camping season kick off weekend. We’ll be not too far away, will definitely be getting in some winery tours, biking and relaxation. It’ll also give me a good opportunity to check out the new charging system. So yeah, I have spring fever in spades.

Last night of bowling for this season is tonight. Didn’t make it to that mythical 196 average I was trying for, but the team has really climbed in the standings the last 4 – 6 weeks. We are mathematically eliminated from first place, but we ought to improve on last seasons 11th out of 26 finish. Then – the quest for the single digit handicap in golf begins!

How I Spent my Sunday

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Avery (3 1/3 going on 13) insisted I let her sit and hold her brother Logan who at 6.5 months is already up to 20 lbs.  I am sure that by the time he is 2 he’ll be bigger than his ‘big’ sister.  I fear for the kids food budget.

Kids went shopping & ran errands, we got to tend the munchkins for the afternoon.  

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Just for equal billing, here’s Miss Cecily from her baptism weekend.  3 spritzes of water on her head, then the anointing oil and not a peep out of her.  And yes, she was awake the entire time.

Oh – hit an RV show 2 weeks ago.  Upgraded our camper.  Got one with more accessible bunks and larger tanks.  Also has a Bluetooth equipped stereo and external speakers.  Maiden voyage is Memorial Day weekend. 

More later, gotta beat up a new text sample.

Need an interpretation

Sunday afternoon, I saw some odd markings on my thermometer. Sometime around 3PM I went and took a peek at it. What I saw looked like this: 35

Not sure what to make of that. First, there were actually 2 squiggly symbols. This thing: – was also missing. So am I to take it that temperatures here actually crawled ABOVE thawing for a handful of hours Sunday? First time in 32 days.

Then there’s this:

Not a record we're proud about

Not a record we’re proud about

Yeah – we set a record. Several actually. Won’t claim to be proud about it at all. But March is here, and things gotta get better. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Bowling last week was, well, interesting. First two games I had two open frames in each. Had a 200 and a 205. Sucks out loud when your only opens are poor spare shots in the 9th and 10th frames. That 200 could easily have been a 230. Third game I had no opens at all. Also only had 2 strikes, not consecutively, so oddly enough, that was my worst game at a whopping 190. For the night I bested my average by 25 pins, but that isn’t the kind of pace I need to get my average up to my target. Ah well. Best to concentrate on having a good time. And? We took 6 of 8 points from the other team so no room for complaining.

Sales guy at work just ran a quote that may end up sending me to Pittsburgh. That’ll be a fun trip. Sorta too close to fly, but still a long drive at 4.5 hours. The fact that I may have to take test equipment with me also makes flying more difficult. So? Potential road trip to Pittsburgh coming up. My outfit also has an office in Aliquippa, so I may swing by there and say hi.

That’s it from Ice Station Rochester. See you soon.

It’s True!

Sad – but true.

I did some digging last night, then paid attention to the 11:00 news. Get this: On Feb 11 our local temp got up to 32 degrees twice that afternoon. Not over, but up to. Going back, the last time we were ABOVE 32 was Jan. 27 when we hit a whopping 37.

Looking ahead, we are now not predicted to exceed “thawing” until, well, we’re not. The forecast only goes out to March 7 and the weather prognosticators are hoping we’ll get to 31 on consecutive days in the middle of next week. If I have my arithmetic right, that will be 39 straight days (at a minimum) below freezing. That’s just what I dug up on a local weather almanac site.

Local news weather guy laid this on us last night. This February’s average temperature (I think averaged hourly readings) has been 12.3 degrees. That makes this the coldest February in the history of ever, or since 1884 when those types of records were kept, by almost 0.5 degrees.

For the last 3 days the average of the high and low temps will be 7, 6.5 and 13.5, meaning that the overall average temp for the month is likely to drop ever so slightly. Yay. We set a record. Now ask Mother Nature to cut it out. The folks up in Caribou, ME or International Falls, MN might be used to this kind of stuff but even we hardy north-easterners have our limits. Hope this isn’t hurting the golf courses.

If I’m doing the arithmetic right again, we have only 7 weeks of bowling left. My highest ever full season average is 196. After last week, I’m sitting at 190. My pre-season goal was to try and match that prior high average. But to pick up 6 pins of average this late in the season, I’d need to beat my average by 50 pins or so a week – meaning I’d have to shoot about 207 – 212 average for the last 7 weeks. Not impossible, but certainly a challenge. In 8 hours, we’ll see if I’m up to it.

Christening coming up for grand daughter #2 (Cecily) next week. I’m sure there will be pictures a plenty coming out of that. Should have the whole fandamily together, we’ll have to see what kind of group effort we can put together.

Better run, got 3 clients that would really like to see some finalized reports this week. I’d like to get them off my plate too, because there’s 3 more behind them. Good to be busy . . .

If March is going to come in like a lion

He’d better be packing a parka and muk-muks. I’d really love to go back and look at the records, but this MIGHT be the first February on record where we’ve never seen a temperature above the thawing mark. The odds of us seeing anything above 32 in the near future? Check these out:

What we're looking at through the weekend

What we’re looking at through the weekend

and into next week.

and into next week.

That one, oh so brief respite? March 1st. Two days ago the forecasters were hoping for as high as 37 (woo-hoo!) but they’ve apparently tempered their enthusiasm some what.

The sad part? Looks like we’re in for at least another 6 inches of snow next week. Not a surprise in these parts, we’ve had back to back 24 inch snow falls in March here. Even had 10 inches one Mothers Day (and BOY, was THAT a mother!)

Only 4 or 5 weeks of bowling left and my mind is already starting to turn to golf – but a couple feet of snow in the fairways goes a loooong ways towards squelching that. Some years you can sneak out in early April or even March and get in some warmer upper rounds. But this year the courses may need time to dry out. NOT a good thing with Spring Fever starting to kick in. I guess I can hang out on the roof and hack at the icicles and ice dams I’ve got. If I fall, there’s plenty of padding to fall into. Might even be fun.

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