Friday, June 21, 2019

MPD goal update

On January 1st I weighed myself and, if memory serves, I was about a sandwich shy of 220 lbs.  Most of that was holiday bloat and water weight but I have been upwards of 210 lbs longer than I can remember.  I'm not a spring chicken and I don't run piles of miles like I did in my 30s.

BTW what is it with spring chickens?  do they just have some amazing superpowers?

anyway, I did my usual running which abated the weight but then I was also able to work in some weight training which turned the corner and brought me down under 210.  Of course, I lost momentum and consistency and oscillated between 209 and 213 for a few months.

Recently, I found that I was consistently at 210 or just below and this corresponds to logging 38 miles of running in May.  I was able to not only cover the mileage for May (31) but also the March deficit (5) and even tack on 1 extra mile to chip away at the April deficit (18).

Today I weight 206 lbs which would be a fluke except last week I weighed 208 and 206 on consecutive days, so I think it's safe to say I'm getting down to my driver's license weight of 205 lbs.

Today is the 20th day of June and I have logged 17 miles.  I'm 14 miles behind on the MPD goal.  That means in the next 10 days I have to run 24 miles just to be on pace at the halfway point of the year. 

Today is the 21st of June (and the first day of Summer) and I have logged 21 miles, including today's 4-mile run.  I'm 11 miles behind on the MPD goal.  That means in the next 9 days I have to run 20 miles just to be on pace at the halfway point of the year.

There was a time when  I could have easily knocked these miles out.  now each run is a struggle.  


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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

My Through the wall air conditioner problem

One of the warts of our house is that it does not have central air conditioning.  I've looked into installing some form of cooling system but it has always been cost prohibitive.

In the Master Bedroom of our 106-year-old house, we have what is known as a Through-the-Wall air conditioner.  What some crazy or visionary previous owner did was take a window and seal it off to hold this unit. It is a very old, Sears Coldspot.  How old?  When you google the model number you get refrigerators because Sears stopped making these around the time Nixon resigned.



 While it still works in the "it turns on" sense, it doesn't produce cold enough air if the temperature reaches a certain point.  That point being the temperature one would turn an AC unit on.

It's hard to find anyone who works on these units these days because most homes have central air or at least SpacePak.  Or if it doesn't, people are buying cheaper window units.  But lo and behold, I found a recommendation on my local Facebook neighborhood group for a place that does this type of service.



I called Bob and from our initial phone call, I had a gut feeling I would not be happy.  I'm willing to adhere to the "respect your elders" up to a point.   I don't believe this Missionaria Protectiva gives someone a free pass to be abusive, or even just a plain old dick.

Bob cut me off while we were talking.  I was trying to ascertain whether it was worth his time to look at my ancient AC unit.  He said that he can usually do something to get these older units going and I believed him.  What I should have done, and he confirmed onsight, is send him a picture of the air conditioner.  I mean I did tell him it was a SEARS Coldspot and anyone in the business should have bee able to say "hey they haven't made those in at least 20 years!"



True to his word, he called me the morning of and said he was 45 minutes away.  About the time I was expecting him, I looked outside and saw a service vehicle driving so slowly down the block, obviously looking for my address.  He actually called me and I said "I see you, park in my driveway".  Older than the proverbial Methuselah this is a guy who probably shouldn't be driving at all, let alone a service vehicle.

I'm not making fun of him for his age.  I'm making fun of the fact that he obviously doesn't like doing what he is doing these days.  It would be one thing if he loved his job and didn't want to retire.  But it is clear that he is only doing this because he either made some bad life choices or experienced a series of unfortunate events.

He did not want to answer my questions.  To be clear, I didn't ask about his grandma's favorite sex position.  I asked about the AC unit.  He cut me off.

At first, it seemed my only options were to replace the unit which will run just short of $1000.  Or I can try to convert the opening back to a window, which will probably cost nearly as much.   I'm inclined to replace the AC so that we get some relief this summer before we put the house on the market.  NG feels that a window looks better.  The problem is, it isn't possible to put a double pane window that will open enough for a window AC unit, which is why someone used this solution in the first place.

So after feeling sorry for myself and my $109, I did some research.  After watching a dozen Youtube videos, along with the one thing that Bob showed me -- how to remove the existing unit -- I feel confident that I can buy another Through-the-Wall and install it myself.

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Monday, May 13, 2019

The goal is easier if you do the homework


A month ago I wrote about the unofficial goal of running 365 miles this year, or a MPD (mile a day).  After that post, I didn't run consistently for the rest of April.  The start of May wasn't runtastic either, but I have started to right the ship.


  • Jan Feb  59
  • March    25
  • April    18



as of May 13, 2019, I'm at 116 miles including today's 2-mile treadmill run.  For the MPD goal, I would be at 133 so I have a 17-mile deficit.  With 18 days left in May, that means I need 18 + 17 = 25 miles to get back on target.  That is in addition to the 14 I have already run this month.

There was a time when that would have been five 5-milers or three 5-milers and a 10 mile LR that I could have completed in a week.  Those days are gone and I really should have made more of an effort to get a few more runs in since that last post.

My body isn't gonna handle running every day, even if it's just 2 on the treadmill and I prefer outdoor running especially now that the nice weather seems to have arrived.

If I take tomorrow off, then run 3 outdoors, that covers me until May 17.  I could even take Thursday off and then run Friday, assume 3 miles and that covers me to Monday.  If I get another LR in on Saturday, that would cover me for that upcoming week. 

Update:  after drafting this, I did a 4-miler on the 15th but then was not able to get out for a run since.  I did a 3 mile run today (5/20).  That gives me 21 miles for May and I'm still in decent shape goalwise but it would be better if I built up some miles before taking another long break.  My plan is to get the 31 miles for May and 6 more to cover the March Deficit.  June will be about chipping away at the April deficit.

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Thursday, May 9, 2019

Green, green grass

On the Saturday before Palm Sunday, I put down some sod on the mud hole in our backyard.  As this was my first effort doing something like this, I wasn't trying to do a spectacular professional job.  I just wanted to cover the mud so my kids would stop playing in it.  Of course, it snowed the next day.  The rest of the week was warm and I watered the sod as needed.


I had bought just enough sod to cover the whole with nothing to spare and it wasn't a perfect fit.  I also didn't remove enough dirt and only used one bag of fertilized dirt when I really should have used two.




The following week we were in Mississipi but it rained a lot here.  In fact, it rained so much in April that I hardly ever had to water the sod myself.

So after the better part of 4 weeks, I'd say the grass looks good.  Yes you can still tell where the sod ends and the old grass begins but I fathom that will dimish in another month or so. 






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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Running Goals and a little math

For this year's unofficial running goal, I decided I wanted to log 365 miles, or essentially a mile a day.  While I cannot run every day because of my knees and my schedule, I can manage every other day.  I can also get in one mile on the dreadmill if I really want to make a game of it.

With DailyMile gone, it's a bit more effort to track.  I'm using STRAVA right now which torments its free users by making things harder than they have to be.  Example: you can manually enter an activity, but if you make a mistake on the date, time or distance, you have to delete and start over.

Update:  Apparently, this isn't just with the free version either.  There are various threads in the support community about this exact issue and how Strava refuses to address it.



At the end of February, I had run 59 miles so I was right on target.  I missed some time in March because of sickness but still managed 25 miles and with three 3-mile runs under my belt so far in April, I'm on track.

So by my math, as of April 10, 2019, I'm at 93 miles for the year, including today's 3-mile run.  If I actually ran a mile a day, I'd be at 100 miles so I'm only off by 7 miles.  I'm hoping I'll get some running in when we go down to Olive Branch MS for Easter.  But even if I don't, it shouldn't be too hard to make up the missing miles.  And again, this is just an unofficial goal.  Some days I just don't feel like running and after a decade of being a slave to a training schedule, I kinda feel like I deserve to not run if I don't feel like it.


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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

2019 Shamrock Shuffle recap

2016: didn't take a picture this year
I've run the Shamrock Shuffle every year since 1997 except for 2007. I've run this race in lousy weather, hung over and even once after an 18-mile training run the previous day. I've always enjoyed it because I use to run it fast, set new personal bests and knew lots of people at the event. There was often a lot of post-race partying as well. I'm starting to think it is time to let go of the tradition. Surprisingly, it's not the race fee that is driving this. And it isn't quite my ego...I know I will never duplicate my PR of 31:03 (April 2, 2006). But I am feeling my age, as the elders like me say. Physically, when I run more than 3 miles, my bones start to rattle. No, what is really driving this is the event is no longer my playground. Yesterday morning after I checked in my gear, I didn't see anyone I knew until about just before they closed the corral. In years past, I would have seen so many familiar faces.
To be clear, I'm not rushing into anything. I do have a couple of friends that still run it and we meet up afterward to have our token beer and then some coffee, and if time permits, brunch. But if we move, I don't see myself driving in from Barrington or flying in from Memphis to run this thing.

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Monday, March 11, 2019

Spring is arriving

A week or two ago, I said to Nightingale that Spring is coming.  I elaborated that yeah we would probably get one or two light snow powderings (we did) and it wasn't shorts and sunscreen weather but we could safely downgrade our winter coats from parka to jacket.

So I haven't done my usual beginning of the year project post yet.  I've actually completed a few so far.  I installed a new toilet in the first-floor powder room. This project was more complicated than it had a right to be.



First off, I was willing to pay a plumber to simply fix the running water by simply replacing some old parts within the toilet.  I know that isn't worth their time so I tried to sweeten the deal but agreeing to replace the basement toilet.  I got some takers but they were so expensive it just wasn't worth it. 

One company wanted to charge me approximately $1K a toilet with a service plan.  Colossal waste of my time.  I have to remember from now on when I use Yelp to find vendors, ignore the phone calls.  The point is so that I can look at offers, not get phone calls from people trying to talk to me over the phone like I'm a teenager from the 80s.

I ended up buying a toilet from Costco and doing it myself.  I had actually asked my cleaning lady if she had a recommendation and she sent me a picture of one while she happened to be at Costco.  It was on sale for $180 and included everything you need, although I sprang for a non-wax ring and I have to admit, my in-laws were right about that.

And luckily I bought two because the tank connector leaked water after being connected to the water supply.  Had I only bought one toilet, I would have had to take it back, but instead, I swapped out the good tank and brought back the second toilet.  The basement toilet, which works fine but has some cosmetic cracks, will have to wait.

I also hired a plumber to fix the leak in the upstairs bathtub faucet.  This was worth the $230 ($40 per cartridge and $150 service call) because I would not have been able to do it as quickly and efficiently, or really at all, as a professional.  This is the exact reason I try to do the things I can so that I can shift my limited money to pay for situations when I have to outsource the work.


In the basement, we got rid of the wood burning fireplace.  While I had that crew in, I also splurged and had them work on the leaky shower.  It isn't perfect but it is better than it was.  Total cost for that project was approximately $1600. 




I really hope that is it for now.  However, I know there are some more coming.  I need to finish those quarter rounds on the porch and maybe touch up some of the paint.  Next, I need to power wash the stone pavers and the house.  I will do this in two jobs.  I also need the gutters cleaned and re-balanced. 

I want to get the area under the deck landscaped so it looks pretty when we try to sell and also so that it is less maintenance. 

Finally, we had to address the crown railing on the top of the front porch. 


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