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 28, 2019

At Least We Tried

Cindy and I were what I thought were good friends in college. We kept in touch post-NMSU then suddenly she stopped writing letters or returning emails. Through the grapevine, I heard that she was mad at me for some reason. I asked mutual friends to see if they could find out what I had done to earn her wrath but no one knew. She wouldn't talk about it. I made one more attempt in the mid-90s to see if she was up for re-connecting and as I understand it the response was no thanks.

For some reason, I friended her on FB a few years ago. I was surprised when she accepted. We don't comment on one another's posts too often, though we sometimes wish each other happy birthday and occasional congrats on major life milestones, assuming the FB algorithms comply. I think this is probably as good as it gets this late in life.

The other day I reached out to Cindy because she was going to be in Batavia, IL for a few days. 

hey, I would love to see you since we will, in all likelihood, never be in a closer proximity....but I also get that the logistics are not in our favor. Perhaps Chance will favor us some other time and best of luck with... 🙂

At first, she said there was no chance of being able to get together.  Then she said there might be.  But after examining it more closely, the window was just too tight to try to get together.

Still, that she tried says a lot.

I love seeing the pictures of your wonderful kids. I’m so happy for you and your beautiful family.

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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 weigh 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.

Edit from the future:  With a little helpful advice/research from Gary Lucido, we were able to find a unit that fit and I installed it myself for under $500.