Monday, August 19, 2019

August MPD update

I had this sorta but not so crazy idea that for the month of August I would try to run 2 miles a day every day.  This would theoretically bring me to 62 miles for the month which would not only get the 31 miles needed for August, but would also knock out the 18-mile deficit and give me a 13-mile surplus going into September.

Life doesn't quite work that way but as of right now, I have 23 miles for 19 days of August.  With 12 days left in the month, I need 26 more miles to break even.  Given that I'm not getting runs in on the weekend, it is more realistic that I get the remaining 8 miles for August and chip away at the 18 mile deficit, perhaps halving it.

July was hot, hot, hot.  My beautiful green lawn is now a burned yellow hay patch.  I also had some knee issues so I took a strategic week off to see if that would make a difference.  I ended up with an extra 7 mile deficit that I probably could have made smaller just by doing 1 mile per day on the treadmill.


Month      Goal Actual
Jan-Feb 59 59
March 31 25
April 30 18
May 31 38
June 30 30
July 31 24
212 194


Why I think I'll succeed:  If I can go into September only being 9 miles behind, I should be able to catch up.  I run more during the fall when it's cooler and I don't have yard work or outside chores to compete with my free time. 

Why I think I won't:  I hate having to follow a schedule and there are days when I just want to kick back and not go out for a run or do anything. 

I'm averaging 28 miles a month so I should at least pass my usual 300 miles per year.


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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Stage 5: install quarter rounds on the six steps

I finally got around to buying, painting and installing the quarter rounds for the front porch.  I wasn't in a rush to finish this project, but I didn't think it would still be technically going on this year.

To be fair, last summer every day was either brutally hot or very wet.

Anyway, I bought the quarter rounds but didn't get around to painting them until this year.  I was pleased to find that the local Crafty Beaver not only had them but would cut them to size.

For a while, I thought my nail gun was broken.  Turns out it was just a faulty battery and I had a spare.  But the nails kept jamming.  Turns out that while nailguns prevent you from putting the nails in upside down, they cannot prevent you from putting them in backward.










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Saturday, June 29, 2019

Under the deck project

For a long time, I have wanted to address the situation under our back deck.  For whatever reason, whoever installed the non-standard sized deck, they didn't put down a decent foundation.  I suspect it was both costs and the desire to have the pool water go somewhere.

Anyway, I gave myself a challenge: do what I can with minimal monetary investment.  Kinda like when Nicole Curtis of WHATEVER does the I'm not gonna put a lot of money in the backyard because I spent too much on the 6th fireplace in the 2nd guest bedroom.

Anyway, the first thing I did was put down some weed guard.  This required me to temporarily remove and then put back the assortment of different sized pavers we had back there.



I was going to leave this go until mid-summer when I know the big box stores have clearance sales and I could get extra-large pavers dirt cheap.  However, my neighbor is having his basement re-done and they had bought a large number of pea stones.  Actually, the next size up of rocks.



Anyway, after they used all they needed, the doofus who is doing the work asked me if I wanted them and I said sure.  It was about 10 wheel barrels and naturally, the cost was I had to take all of them.





I was also able to repurpose the stones from the fireplace we removed from the basement.


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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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