Always tweaking something!


OMG, you gotta see this one

This:  post from Margaret & Helen  is an absolute must read.  Go do it now.

And if you’re nice and tell me how much you loved what she wrote, I’ll share some pics of the grand kids in their Halloween costumes.

Oh – did I mention that grand #4 is officially percolating?  Had the gender reveal a couple of weeks ago.  I got a phone call from Cecily (3 year old grandkid #3) one evening.  After the “Hi Poppy’s” and “how’s my Matilda” (Cecily can’t hear if you ask her to do something.  But if you call her Matilda, she’ll turn around and announce “I’m not Matilda!”  Then she’ll actually do as asked. It’s a work in progress.) I asked her if she was getting e new little brother or sister.  She was so excited she squealed “I got a PINK present!!  I’m going to have a sister!”  Due right around Easter, plus or minus any inaccuracies in the storks flight plan I suppose.

Bowling has started for the season too.  I think the bowling alley is on a budget for lane oil, cuz geeze Louise, are they being stingy with it!  It’s that or the pattern is just different and I’m finding all the dry patches.  It’s forcing me to learn to trust a shot where one must throw the ball from the center out towards the gutter 20 – 25 feet down the lane and pray that it actually turns back towards the head pin.  In theory, it works fine.  In practice?  It’s HARD to intentionally throw your ball towards the gutter (cuz bad things happen over there).  But if you trust it and get all the little details right, it does work.  Just scary as hell for a while.  By the time I get comfortable with it, they’ll increase the oil budget and all that struggle will be for nothing.

I’m also finding that 3 advil about an hour before bowling starts helps immensely with what is either sciatica or arthritis in my left hip.  Well, it help until Friday morning, then the payback starts.  But!  in a move mandated by my need to burn up what remains of this years vacation days (use it or lose it), I am not working Fridays for the remainder of the year.  So Friday’s first order of business may be sipping a cup of coffee while getting a hip massage in the hot tub.  That won’t suck too bad at all.

What WILL suck?  Getting the yard cleaned up this weekend.  Saturday looks the best weather wise – 48 degrees and only 20% chance of precipitation.  Leaves, mowing (last time), getting the perennials put to bed.  The camper is winterized plumbing wise, but still needs a wee vacuuming & a quick mop.  Outside of the camper needs a bath too, but that can wait till spring.

Go read Margaret & Helen.  Now.


I keep thinking . . .

I keep thinking I should stop in and put in some sort of update. Unfortunately it’s been so long since I really DID post that a proper ‘update’ would take several thousand words. So we’re going to have to let fly with an improper update I guess.

Golf season ended. Happy to say my short game has been showing some pretty good improvement. Feel pretty confident with the wedges (all 4 of them) and the putting has been pretty solid. What I need to work on is consistency off the tee. I can, at times, whack a golf ball near 300 yards, but I have no idea where it’s going. Pull one left, push one right, about every 4th drive I hit an absolute bomb down the middle and end up with a ridiculously short approach shot from a good lie. That I flub. Consistently inconsistent. Got it down pat.

Still at 3 grand kids & holding. Had a first birthday party for little Logan last week, have one to go to for Cecily this weekend. Considering the newest batch of grandkiddies just turned 1, I think it’s fair to say that it might be a while before #4 gets in the oven. Especially after the difficult labor involved with getting little Miss Cecily delivered.

This past July we hitched up the camper and spent a week in the Adirondacks with Eric, Kelly & little Miss Cecily. Her first ever camping trip at all of 10 months old. She had a blast and took advantage of having 4 adults around to cater to her every need. We’re in the midst of planning another trip next summer. Have the campground and campsites picked out, just waiting for the reservation window to open. If you like more ‘rustic’ campsites, I can highly recommend Lake Durant Campground. No electric, no water hookups (but spigots distributed all over the campground), restrooms are decent and the sole shower facility is, well, rustic works. Clean, but clearly showing it’s age.

I broke down and got a solar panel for our camper. With 8 hours of good sunlight a day, we can run interior LED lights with little to no restrictions. Unfortunately, the kind of campgrounds we like are heavily wooded with really nice separation between sites. I was doing good to get 4 hours of direct light most days. On our 6 day trip, we were just slowly losing ground each day. By the time we had packed up and were ready to hit the road, I had to hook up the truck’s power just to roll in the awning – we were that low on juice. But it all worked out. The sites we have picked out for next year have better southern & western exposures (we’re on the shore of a small lake with water to the south & west!!)), so I think we’ll be fine.

Have one more trip planned for Columbus Day weekend. Much as I hate how much the spousal unit drinks 3 – 4 days a week, this trip is in NY’s Finger Lakes wine country. I am sure we’ll spend at least one day of the weekend on the wine trail, checking out wineries we have yet to visit. I’ve adopted the strategy of trying wines I wouldn’t normally drink during the tastings. Learned that I’ve been ignoring some good wines.

For those of you that haven’t read this thing from the beginning, I’ve had tons of experience with this drinking issue the spousal unit has. I’ve done Al Anon, she’s done AA. We’ve done couples counselling and I was seeing a therapist on my own before we started the couples stuff. Then our couples counselor up and moved to Virginia, we never transferred to another therapist and things have slowly spiraled back down to nearly where were 10 years ago.

But I do have my Al Anon learnings to rely on and I can always start attending meetings again. I know where there are a couple near me, problem is getting out on a weeknight to attend. Might just have to run that flag up the pole and see what the reaction is.

Oh – golf ended, so bowling started. Did you know that those sports use different muscles? Boy, I do. I can tell you which ones bowling uses the most too. Right now what aches the most is my left hip flexor (flexing to slide), right forearm (lifting through the ball) and right calf (pushing into the slide). And? 84 degrees in beautiful upstate NY yesterday. That is too damned hot to be bowling. I was wearing one of my tech fabric golf polo’s and it was still darn near dripping. Hate to say it, but I can’t wait for it to cool off. But not like last February. Last Feb we set a record for lowest average monthly temperature in the history of ever for our county. That month long average temp? 12.5. Farenheit. On top of the usual metric ass load of snow we get too. We did kind of wimp out in that category this winter though (too damn cold to snow). We only got 102 inches. Barely average for us. Boston was whining about the 100 inches they got – I wanted to tell them “Hey – Welcome to our average winter!” Buncha wimps.

Game of the century (to date) around here? The new Rex Ryan Era Bills against the hated Patriots. This weeks chant? “Splat the Pats!” Don’t expect me to be answering emails Sunday. I will be on the back porch cheering on my Bills.

Till then – behave or have fun. Pick one.

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!

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.

Enough of this freezing!

-8 this morning,. At 6:30 am. Had to go snow blow the driveway because it was actually warm enough to snow Thursday. We hit double digits – woo hoo. but at 8 below, with a nice breeze, wind chill probably was -30 or so. Sure made the shower feel good this morning.

ice station #1

I peeked at the 10 day forecast. High temperature guess is 28 Saturday (2/21), but sadly nothing above freezing (or should I saw thawing?) for the next 10 days. I realize we live in the snow belt (80+ inches so far this winter), but these repeating cold snaps are really unusual. We’ve set or tied at least two local records for cold in the last week.

ice station #2

Don’t get me started on the roads. It’s so cold even salt isn’t effective. Combine fine, dry snow with a bit of a breeze and temps around 0 and the nooks and crannies in the road that provide traction get filled with snow. That turns into ice. On my 24 mile drive to work one morning I passed at least 12 cars off the road – some in VERY interesting positions. Glad to have 4 wheel drive.

Long way of saying – good lord am I ready for spring! Bowling has been fun this year – I’m even doing ok, but boy, am I itching for golf. Can’t wait.

Plus – we have a camper! Already have reservations for 3 trips this summer. Makes the anticipation that much worse!