Monday, August 16, 2010
Today was a nice day Ė no rain, nice walks, no hurricane coming, and no unexpected bills. I called my internist for a new prescription, ordered a kit for the October class, ten extra books, and 50 medical record forms from AARP, and cashed a $55 rebate check. Later on I got an e-mail notice that I was a member of AAA for $64, so I called and checked. I had two memberships; the first try and the second both worked. After a little discussion I got the first membership cancelled.
I struggled with what I will do for a program for TOPS Thursday, and finally picked two of the Sparks articles Ė ď10 Tactics for Overcoming Sugar AddictionĒ and ďStudy Spills the Secret to Weight Loss-Surprised?Ē One or the other should easily take up 30 minutes if we read it and let people discuss it as we go along. I was going to take some home made jam and crackers along for a sample tasting and tell them how to make it, but it was the BWís idea and she has too little to share any more. I would have to make a batch myself and lock it up somewhere to do that.
None of the articles will be a surprise to anyone, probably, so maybe Iíll look up games and see if thereís a game everyone can play. I donít know why I volunteered now.
The BW was remarking on the unsatisfactory motel we had in Lexington the last time we went north, so I told her that she could pick out the places to stay this time. That turned her on a little, and she kept trying to read the whole book to me and asking questions. I hope it turns out well.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
I read someoneís blog this morning where the low was either 49 or 59, and the high 99. Here the low was 79, and I thought it was really great. The high is only about 93, but the humidity tends to run around 90 per cent or higher, which makes you want to stay in the shade with a breeze and not too many clothes if youíre outside. The skin on my arms has the consistency of wet tissue paper from a combination of sun damage and old age, so if I just rub against something a flap of skin flips back, the blood flows, and I get another scar and a dark marking from the blood under the skin, which never is completely removed. From web research I get the message ďwear long sleeve shirtsĒ as the only treatment, which isnít really a treatment.
With that advice as the preferred treatment, I bought a bunch of long sleeve shirts, which I canít stand to wear, but when I cut the grass, which I did this morning, I now wear a long sleeve shirt. The lime tree is especially nasty with its needle sharp thorns, but I was able to finish up today without losing any blood, even though it has scratched me several times before. I started just after seven, when it was light enough to see, and finished while it was still cool, but the long sleeved shirt was still soaked. I wore it outside my pants, and the only dry part was the tail at the back. I donít know the reason for that pattern, but maybe it was because I have to bend forward to push the mower.
I edged and blew the driveway, street, and sidewalks, and, just as ALEXTHEHUNN predicted, it gets easier each week. If we were living in the desert I could get up early and finish without showing the effort, but then we couldnít go to the beach on foot. After 11 years covering three countries several times, this is the only place the BW would come back to, so this is where we settled. I guess thereís no point to this blog.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
When I was walking the dogs this morning, I heard some noise from the football field. We live close to the Palm Harbor University High School, which is one of the ďbetterĒ high schools in Pinellas County. It is supposed to prepare students for college, which I thought all high schools did, but then Iím so old that a lot of my expectations seem to be out of date. The school and its football stadium and track are on the west side of 16th street, past the ďYĒ and part of the baseball diamond. The baseball field is on the east side, across from the football field and the cemetery, and this time of year it has been a beautiful sight to see. The football field is mostly hidden by trees, but you can see between them at places.
The noise was coming from a lot of kids in helmets, doing drills of some sort. Someone had an Acme Thunderer, which sounded periodically, and once I heard a klaxon. The kids were putting out a lot of chatter, which the coaches insist on to impress the competition Ė it proves youíre a tough team and someone to be reckoned with. Itís a sure sign that summer is ending.
It also reminded me of my first experience with football. When I was in high school, there were no peewee teams or junior teams. You just got to be old enough for high school and then they invited you to sign up for things. It got you out of phys ed, and all the big boys told me that I was going to sign up. It was like a lot of things; I didnít know any better, so I did what the big kids said.
It started off with two weeks of ďconditioningĒ, with morning and afternoon practices. I donít know how long they lasted, but there was a lot of running and exercises, done in the full sun, and for hours at a time. We went home for lunch, but came back for the afternoon torture.
The real torture was the next morning. When I woke up I felt good. Then I tried to move and nearly screamed. Every muscle in my body was incredibly, unbelievably, sore. Stiff and sore does not begin to tell my condition, but I did eventually manage to get out of bed and dress, with every motion causing exquisite pain. I went downstairs holding the banister with both hands, one very slow step at a time, and with a rest between each step to build up my nerve for the next. As I moved I did loosen up, and eventually I made it to practice.
The second day wasnít quite so bad, partly because I knew it would hurt so it wasnít such a big surprise. The third day it was only bad, and after that I was fine.
In following years I was a little sore the first days, but never anything like that first day of the first year. I think that was the most painful experience I have ever had. A broken leg or the broken bones of later years were nothing by comparison.
Friday, August 13, 2010
This was an easy day Ė I walked by myself, then with the dogs. Had a fancy three egg (beaters), fake bacon, and fat free cheese omelet with whole wheat toast, peanut butter, and sugar free strawberry jam. Didnít do anything too useful, but I did try another batch of the slow-set epoxy glue. After four hours it seemed fairly hard, but I wonít know until tomorrow if it will be useful for the mirror frame. I found the perfect material for reinforcement of the corners. The five topic notebooks I have use a nice thick plastic for the front and rear covers, and Iíll just cut four two inch squares out of one of the backs and glue them under the corners. If I get the corner cuts perfectly clear and clean the wood will be glued together, and the reinforcements will make sure it stays together even if the bond isnít strong enough. Iíll use my dado saw blade for the corner cuts but it will be a little tricky because itís an eighth of an inch thick.
Now the goal is to get all the measurements exactly right, because I will have to carve out clearance for the mirror supports, cover the edges of the mirror, and end up with something that stays up with Velcro strips and looks as if itís permanent. This is a case of measure twice, layout, measure again just to be sure before you cut, and hope you donít slip.
I sent in an old offer to AAA last week to see if I could get a membership, and Monday got another offer that was slightly different but still just as good. I have been driving for 48 years without being a member and never felt the need, but I wanted a book that lists all the dog friendly motels, and itís probably a good idea to belong. Since I hadnít heard anything I called today, and Shirley scooped me up, told me that I wasnít a member, and took my money. When I told her that the big reason I was joining was to get the dog book, she told me that it cost extra. Then she said I could have it free anyhow. It turns out she gets a commission, and often throws in free gifts. I told her a couple of times that it wasnít necessary, but she sort if pushed it, so I went over to the local Palm Harbor AAA building and got the book. I guess it was a good idea, but the place we stayed the last time we visited Mishawaka wasnít listed. I guess Iíll look it up on line. The good news is, Iíll add this to The Next Exit and take both with us when we go anywhere because for every state it lists many pages of acceptable motels that take dogs.
Other than reading a book and buying some groceries, I didnít do anything except pay some bills today. The electric bill was $203, and I calculated that, even at todayís rates it would have been $151 if we had used the same amount as we did last year. I suspect the four air purifiers and the hepa furnace filter that we added, but maybe itís just the weather. For some reason we used a lot more power this year.
And thatís what you get for three points today.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Last Sunday I cut off the large limb of a chinaberry tree that was hanging over our fence about 20 feet, and down to about four feet from the ground at the tip. It made it really hard to cut the grass. In the process of cutting it up, I got the saw chain caught in a kerf, and, in pulling it out, pulled the chain out of the guide. Trying to get it back, I had to take the saw apart, and even though I laid the chain out carefully so I would put it on running the right direction, when I looked at the raker teeth I thought it was backwards and reversed it. When I tried to cut with the chain saw again, it wouldnít cut, and I knew I had screwed up. By then it was late and I was tired, so I just pruned enough stuff off to fill the 95 gallon trash can and quit until later.
Monday through Wednesday were busy days, and I didnít do anything about the branch. Today I went for Mohs surgery, which I donít like that much. First there is all the tugging and pushing while he cuts away some more to stain and examine, and then afterward there is a big hole, that he tugs and pushes on while he sews it up again. He sewed this one, which was close to the first, vertically instead of horizontally, I think because there wasnít enough skin left to do two that close together. My wife said I should be grateful, because other people pay good money for face lifts, and I got one free. I just know I wasnít completely numb, and it took a long time. I had a quick one, only one set of removals, and it still took nearly four hours.
Anyway, after a quick lunch of two cups of lentil stew, I took on the branch again, knowing that I had waited too long. I reversed the chain in the saw, took the hand pruners and the big lopper, and had at the mess. That took about 95 minutes, and when I was done I took the trash can out to the street for tomorrowís pickup. It has been raining here every day, o.4 inches yesterday afternoon, and another 0.8 inches this morning, and when I hit sand the wheels sank about three inches into the sand. It was so heavy that I had a hard time pushing it across the grass, and even harder getting it through the one patch of sand.
After that I sprayed out the leftover neem oil spray on the fruit trees and flowers so I could mix up a batch of commercial real killer spray that is guaranteed to control both fungus and bacteria. I used that to treat the patch of dying grass in front and a similar patch in back, under the trees. Some rain is good, but too much is conductive to fungus growth that kills everything growing, from grass to hedge bushes. We had a great patch of Johnson grass that I managed to reduce last year because I planted St. Augustine plugs in bare sand and watered every day to keep them alive. They spread and look fine now, but the Johnson grass got sick and a big patch died after thriving for five years. It started as a small black spot, and I didnít do anything about it. This year I have had the sprinklers off for weeks now, and the grass suddenly was unhappy in spots anyhow, so Iím trying to stop the disease this time.
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