Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Today was a Safe Driving Course day. I got everything ready last night and put the carton of books and my plastic tub in the trunk, then got up this morning, got started, and drove over to Coral Oaks. I left my stuff by the front door before parking my car because both things are heavy, and then ported them up to the third floor.
It was a good class - there were 24 students, and the room was completely full with 8 tables for them and one for me. I think that's a reasonable limit for class size there - if one couple hadn't cancelled, I don't know for sure how we would have worked it. The best part was that they had actually set the room up before I got there - someone came in early at 7:00 and set everything up, so all I had to do was get the video equipment up and set my stuff up. The students started coming in before I was completely ready, and they were all there by the start time.
The only problem was that I didn't have time to walk this morning, and didn't get done with the administrative work until 5:30. By then I was totally wiped out, and full of decaf coffee. After a few more chores and supper it's almost 9:00, and I think I'll just quit for the day. I have to get up tomorrow and do it all again.
I'm glad I only have to do this once a month. One of the students has a group with 1200 members and a good training area and asked about being a sponsor, so I called the boss, who was busy. I just hope I don't wind up with two of these to do every month - it would be too much like real work.
Monday, July 12, 2010
I got started this morning in good time, abut 5:40, and it was the same temperature outside as inside, 78 degrees. When I stepped outside it was like walking into a hot shower. It's amazing how much the humidity affects your sense of temperature. Anyhow, I started out, and when I got to Nebraska and 16th, the raindrops started landing on my head. I popped out my old hearing aids and put them in an unused doggie bag, and turned around. I made a total of 1.1 miles in 20 minutes, and by the time I got home I could wring my shirt out before hanging it in the garage to dry. In about 30 minutes we got another 0.6 inches of rain, so I turned the irrigation system off again. The rain sensor is still working but I feel really confident if I know absolutely we aren't wasting water.
After I got cleaned up and fed, I took the Stratus down to McBee's and walked home, which added another mile plus to my day. It turns out that the freon was low by half a pound, and the compressor may be getting old. A new one would be $500 if it quits working, but that's still cheaper than buying a new car. I got an offer from GM today - they will add $1500 to the balance on my GM card, so I could get almost $4,000 cash back on a new car. I guess I should have kept using the card and built the balance up to $3500, which would make the total offer $5,000 off, but then I might actually have snapped and bought a new Malibu.
I made more copies of some of the pass-outs for my Safe Driving class tomorrow, made up the name cards, and called all 24 potential students. One time I had five walk-ins out in Oldsmar, but I've never had that happen here - in fact there would have been 26 but one couple cancelled. At least no one told me they weren't coming, so maybe everyone will show up tomorrow. As near as I can tell, I'm ready to go for the next two days.
While I was doing push-ups today, I looked down (back) at my feet, and there was pillow of fat hanging down from my belly. People ask me where the loose skin is, and I sort of blow them off, but I think I finally figured out where to look for it. If I'm standing up it's not really noticeable, but when I'm stretched out it must hang down two or three inches. I think that qualifies as being in really bad shape. The only consolation is that I am still going.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Today I cut the grass in 80 minutes. I keep getting better because I don't stop to dig up sand burrs, and today the temperature at 7:00 was only 76 degrees and the cloud cover prevented any sun. I still had to tie a bandanna around my forehead to keep the sweat out of my eyes, but I didn't have to stop for water. Then I spent 55 minutes "gardening" with the weed eater and digging up nasty weeds. There's a lot of bending over and scrambling involved with the weeds.
I was surprised at the number of calories Spark gives you for pushing a lawn mower. According to my pedometer I only walked a little more than three miles, but it counted a lot more than walking three miles. Of course, I use an electric mower, and pushing it through the grass (I mow it three inches high) and dragging 150 feet of extension cord behind you takes more effort than just walking on a smooth surface.
After I was done with the weedeater in the back yard I started on the front, and then an electric edger I had seen at a thrift store came to mind, so I just stopped. The St. Augustine is crawling over the sidewalks, driveway, and street and I find that it's a lot of trouble winding line back on the weedeater spool. The edger has a steel blade that should last forever. When I took the BW to look for silk blouses I wasn't interested because I didn't really want any more stuff around - the 8 by 10 shed is already full, as well as the garage, and starting to be the attic. At any rate, I stopped and had a shower and shaved, made breakfast, and read the sunday paper.
Then I thought about it for a while, and finally talked the BW into showing me where the thrift store is. She waited in the Stratus with the dogs, and I went looking. Instead of a lot of edgers (they had six or seven when I was there before) there were only two. One had a cracked body and no price, and the other was marked $30 instead of $15, which the good looking Craftsman had been. They had a "half price sale" sign up in front, so I decided it wouldn't hurt to ask, and I did buy the edger for $15. After I got home I looked it up on the internet, and the recommended retail price is supposed to be $169, but you can buy a reconditioned one from Black and Decker for $65. You can also buy a new one from Amazon.com for $70, plus shipping. So $15 isn't bad for a trial, and I can always give it to the Sherrif's Ranch if I hate it.
When I tried to use it, I had a real problem because the grass is so thick that the guide (which is supposed to ride along the cement and keep the cutting blade in place) hangs up. I was forced to raise the guide and use it in the chopping mode, as if you were preparing a seedbed. I did get a lot of extra grass off the cement, but worked up a sweat again and later found that I could open the side and sharpen the blades. There was an almost 90 degree angle to the "cutting" edge. You just slammed a 3/32 inch flat edge through the dirt. I think that might be the reason someone got rid of it. I used a file and sharpened both cutters, but haven't tried the sharpened blade. If I use it fairly often it might be easier to get through the grass in the future.
Black and Decker sells replacement blades, so maybe I'll buy a new one if I keep the thing.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
I got up about 5:50 this morning, and did my first walk with a little head start. I took a little longer today because my right foot hurt and I thought I might have pounded the cement too hard yesterday. The sun was just coming up when I got home, and the dogs were perfectly happy to see it when it did show over the trees. It was still 76 degrees when we got home.
After breakfast and reading the paper and collecting three pairs of binoculars (but forgetting the camera) the BW was ready to go by 10:00, and we took the fast way to the Tampa Convention Center - across the Courtney-Campbell Causeway and up I275 to the Ashley exit, then down Tampa to the waterfront and straight into the parking garage. We jaywalked across Channelside Drive and so didn't have to walk around three sides of the Center to get there, and were able to see the Gloria, the first ship, just coming in sight at 11:00AM which was the start of the arrival celebration. There were sailors standing on all the cross pieces (yard-arms?) on the front two masts, and one at the top of each of the manned masts. They played stirring music, and it came all the way in and tied up along baywalk, right in front of the convention center. The first hawser was ashore at 11:50, so it took nearly an hour just to get there and touch the dock.
The second ship showed up (could be seen in the distance) at 12:00. It was the US ship, the Eagle, owned by the coast guard, and it just came in to the basin, let the tugs do a three point turn with it, and then left again. I think it was the one that will tie up beyond the Florida Aquarium and the American Victory. By 1:15 we both had had enough sitting on stone steps, and the BW was willing to head for home. Neither of us was willing to wait for the third ship to show. They weren't sailing, but using their auxiliary engines for propulsion, and tugs for maneuvering. They (all three) have steel hulls, radars, and a lot of modern conveniences in addition to sails.
We took a shortcut home, but I don't think it saved us much time. It was only 28 miles back, but I just went a couple of blocks north from the water, picked up route 60, and came across the bottom of Tampa to the causeway. There were lights all the way to the causeway, but we hit most of them green and we didn't have to drive through downtown Tampa that way. We were home a little after three because on the way out we walked the legal (long) way and passed a Starbucks where the BW wanted a caramel frappachino. She also wanted to rest in the air conditioning for a while, and it felt good to me too.
All in all, it was a good Saturday with no rain. But tomorrow I need to cut the grass again.
Friday, July 09, 2010
I managed to get my walks in this morning, go to Home Depot and stock up, and go on down to the Pier for lunch with Chuck McIntyre. We both had Cubans and two beers. When I came home, I managed to succeed in putting together all the plumbing mess to reconnect the toilet and bidet without a leak, and to fix everything in place. I did have to grind a flat on a 1/2 inch fender washer, which I used on top of the new plastic fixture to both replace the nylon washer I removed and hold everything together. The BW is very happy with the result, but I didn't try to install the second one in the other bathroom.
I did take most of the stuff I bought at Home Depot back, and got most of my money returned. They're super good about returns, but I rarely take anything back and always feel guilty when I do.
Then I bought some chicken breasts at Sweetbay and made Italian Country Chicken Soup for supper. I thought it was OK, but the BW didn't like the peas in her chicken soup. That's bad, because I have nearly a gallon of soup left. I guess I'll be eating it for a while.
Tomorrow is our big day for seeing the tall ships sail into the area behind the Convention Center in Tampa. I hope we manage to get there successfully. Since I don't care whether I see them or not, I'm not too stressed out. I'll just go with the flow.
PS. I was only up 2 1/2 pounds last night, still in leeway, and back to normal this morning. Then today I was within my calorie allowance for the day, but I'm not sure how healthy the Cuban was.
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