Finally Feeling Human Again

After nearly four weeks both Miss Debbie and I are feeling almost back to normal following our respective bouts with the Flu B virus.  It’s hard to express just how out of sorts we’ve both been and it reminds us why we never take our health for granted.  We have truly been fortunate during our lives to have generally enjoyed good healthy and steered clear of major injuries or long-term ailments.  Here’s hoping we can keep it that way for another few decades!

Still Counting Down for Debbie’s Big Events

The countdown clock continues to click off the days until:

  • Debbie’s retirement on 3 April
  • Our trip to New Orleans with our friends David & Deb on 6 April
  • Debbie’s 60th birthday on 25 April and any related celebrations.

Still working to firm up the plans for Debbie’s 60th, but Saturday 22 April is definitely “feeling” like the right day to hold some type of gathering: just need to decide if we do it at the house or pick a neutral watering hole in a more centralized location.  Probably need to get an E-vite out there pretty soon so I can gauge interest and availability on the 20th. After all, we could end up with a nice and intimate dinner instead of a party if we’ve picked the wrong date.

Friday & Saturday at Loco’s

We had a more normal feeling Finally a Friday celebration at Loco Willy’s on Friday. Well, I say that. Friday was also Saint Patrick’s Day and it was a very different looking crowd at Loco’s. Our partner’s in crime — David & Deb — were there so we were able to take over a corner of the bar and get caught up on upcoming plans for New Orleans and other trips.

I was somewhat in the mood to kick up my heels after dinner but, sadly, even the non-smoking places we’ve been to in the past have lost their appeal: SuBourbon’s is really not non-smoking anymore as the non-smoking bar is surrounded by a large porch with bar that allows smoking. However, there are three large entrances between the two areas that are never closed when a band is playing. Therefore, all of the smoke migrates into the non-smoking bar, pretty much making the entire place any but smoke-free.  Paddy’s pub has a good layout for live bands and dancing, but it’s just not a friendly, warm-feeling place… at least to us.  Dixie Tavern is just too far away and tends to draw a crowd that likes to stand on the dance floor instead of dancing.  And so on…  Anyway, we were at home by 8:00pm on Friday night and had a relatively quiet and uneventful Saint Patrick’s day.

Saturday was also a bit thin on the regulars at Loco’s, but one of the bartenders and his wife — Billy & Missy — were on hand and Billy was in rare form which made for a fast-start to our evening.  However, aside from Billy and Missy, the place was actually fairly empty, as you can see in the dining area behind us.  Our friend Kevin was leaving as we came in and eventually David & Deb joined us.   I’m not sure why, but we were both pretty hungry and instead of starting off with just some chips & salsa we dove into a small order of house nacho’s.  David & Deb ended up sharing their entrees with us, so we had more than our fill of nachos, burritos and brisket-filled Texas toothpicks by the time we headed home around 8:00pm.

Still Kilting

And, in case anyone was curious, now that I’m feeling well again I’m back to wearing my kilts on the weekend.  For Saint Patrick’s day I was sporting a more traditional wool Black Watch tartan kilt with green cashmere-like v-neck sweater, a brown sporran and brown boots: sorry, no photo.  It’s not exactly a traditional way to wear a kilt, but far more comfortable and less pretentious than having knee socks with flashes, waist belt and a Jacobite shirt.

On Saturday night I wore one of my modern cotton “utility kilts” with a 3″ brown belt, a long-sleeve Daytona Bike Week t-shirt and the same brown boots from Friday. No need for a sporran as the utility kilts have cargo pockets on the sides!

I have no idea if this will be a long-term thing or if it’s a passing fancy.  However, I’ll note I’ve been wearing western boots for 15 years, had either a goatee or close-cropped beard for 22 years and wore my hair long for nearly 7 years.  I can’t image having the facial hair or long hair at this point, but then again if I put back on 25-30 lbs who knows.  Regardless, I’ll look to Debbie for a cue as to if and when I need to move on from my kilts. In the mean time, you’ll probably have a 50/50 chance of catching me out in a kilt on a weekend or weeknight.

So, Just How Well Are We Feeling?

Well enough that when the temps moved into the mid-60s on Saturday afternoon and the clouds and stiff breeze dried-off the rain-soaked roads by 2:30pm we jumped on the tandem for a short “test our legs and lungs” ride! Mind you, the last time the weather was nice enough and we were feeling well-enough to ride the tandem was back on 14 January; yikes!  That’s a long time to be off the pedal bike.  Here’s hoping that with Debbie moving into retirement she’ll become a cycling monster and will drag me out on the weekends more often so that we can rebuild our base mileage and cycling fitness. BTW, for full disclosure… I didn’t take a tandem ride selfie this week. The motorists were just a little bit too squirrelly so this is a ‘file photo’ from a previous, cool-weather ride.  We both look the same, but in case one of our regular readers was having a deja vu moment…

Other Stuff This Past Weekend

Saturday morning started off with a lot of rain and temps in the upper 30’s, so it was a good morning to sleep-in… even though I didn’t.  Instead, and inspired by a photo that a friend posted to an off-road tandem enthusiasts group at Facebook from October 2004, I decided to do a little retrospective on another off-road tandem enthusiasts discussion list that I created back in 2001 called Double Forte.  I also included a little anecdotal trip down memory lane on the history of off-road tandem rallies.  You can find the blog entry from my other blog HERE if you’re so inclined.  Fair warning, it’s pretty esoteric stuff for tandem cycling buffs.  I was also able to get most of the laundry done while working on my blog entry and also took care of a few other weekend chores to break up my morning writing session.

As the weather began to improve I headed over to the local home improvement store to pick up a pair of cedar split rain fence posts so I could replace two posts that had been done in by termites.  I’m pretty sure my neighbor’s short-sighted decision to have heart wood tree chipping debris scattered along the edge of his property as “mulch” instead of paying to have it hauled away exacerbated the termite issues we have here in north Georgia, as it was pretty amazing to see that the 2.5′ of cedar post buried in the ground were fully consumed by the termites.  I mean, there wasn’t much of anything left aside from a few pieces of very perforated cedar when I started to excavate the old post holes to set the new posts.

There’s nothing quite as much fun as digging 3′ post holes by hand with a post-hole digger in Georgia red clay! But, after making a few adjustments to the rail ends with a reciprocating saw to get everything aligned I was able to set my new posts and all is good again.  Although, it would appear it’s about time to power wash the rest of the split rail fence again.  I used to power wash and then hit the fence with Thompson’s Weather Seal, but after doing that one year and then skipping the Weather Seal the next I realized it really didn’t do all that much given the time, effort and expense that went into applying the weather seal.

As mentioned earlier, the middle of the afternoon was consumed by a short tandem bicycle ride which was great!  Well, OK. It kind of wasn’t great: neither one of us had strong legs, we were fighting a 20 mph head wind 1/2 of the time and the motoring skills and judgement of the average person behind the wheel of a car continues to decline, making on-road cycling truly a high-risk activity.  Yes, this weighs heavy on my mind as my dear Debbie begins to talk about spending a lot of time our cycling in the middle of the day when I’ve seen some of the worst driving habits on display vs. what we see on your average Saturday or Sunday.

Sunday morning ended up being a good sleep-in day, if you consider 8:00am to be sleeping-in. Well, truth be told I was awake at 6:00am and just attempted to sleep-in, but pretty much watched the clock for two hours.  It was another cold morning, so we busied ourselves with indoor chores, i.e., finishing up the laundry and a little light housekeeping.  I also got around to getting a saddle boxed up to ship off to a friend in Arizona so he can give it a try.  It’s an all-composite saddle from Selle Anatomica that I was able to buy for about 1/3 of the retail cost by participating in the crowd-funding development program.  It was a beautiful-looking saddle, but it ended up being just a bit too wide for me through the mid-section and nose.  My friend Dr. Mark is going to give it a try as he likes the leather saddles from Selle Anatomica, but the weight penalty is 3x what you find with most high-performance saddles.

Given all of the precipitation we’ve been having this year, Miss Debbie’s new Honda Accord hadn’t been washed in a few weeks and was definitely in need. So, as the temps finally made their way into the upper 40s and the sun came out I pull out the car washing equipment and got to work on her car.  I decided to follow it up with another application of Zaino Z-CS, a self curing transparent synthetic polymer that protects the paint and other surfaces against potentially damaging exposure to sun or ultra-violet light with UV inhibitors. It’s really an amazing car finish product that I’ve used along with various other Zaino products since 2005.  I’ll give Debbie’s car a couple of coats of another Zaino polish in a few weeks and then top it another coat of Z-CS. That should give us about 9 months of paint protection as well as a great-looking, deep glossy finish.

Since I had all of the car washing equipment out I decided it was probably time to give the motorcycles a good deep cleaning, as none of them had really been properly washed since the fall.

The BMW R1100S sport bike that I ride to work most of the time — that is most of the time when I’m not sick with the flu, which has ruled out most of February and March thus far — probably was last washed in October.  It’s the bike that gets ridden to work rain or shine and sits outside all day, so there’s not much point in cleaning it since it’s always dirty.  Now, that’s not to say that I don’t take care of the finish.  The BMW and all of our other motorcycles and vehicles get the same Zaino Z-CS treatment that I described for the Honda Accord. So, while the bikes may not always look nice and clean, the paint, plastic and other exposed components are all treated about 2 – 3 times a year with the UV protecting properties in the Z-CS.

After taking care of the BMW both of the Harley’s got the same deep cleaning. I even broke out the power washer so that I could hit the undersides of all three bikes and blow out the grit and grime that had worked its way into places where you just can’t get with a brush or washing mit.

The last time ‘Betty’ — the black solo-seat cruiser — was washed was probably back in November before I loaned her to our friend Monica who was thinking about moving to a Harley from her Honda cruiser. Monica took very good care of Betty and did a great job of dry-cleaning the bike before bringing her back on 13 January.  So, Betty was overdue and got a good washing from top to bottom, made all that much easier by my J&S motorcycle lift: a must have for anyone with a motorcycle. Betty also got the Zaino Z-CS treatment after her bath.

Sadly, it seems like Betty’s battery isn’t long for this world. The original one had to be replaced back in August 2013 when, based on the date code, it was about 3 years old. So, this one also lasted about 3-4 years which seems to be the norm for a Harley-Davidson OEM battery, although some report longer lives.  What baffles me is that I keep Betty’s battery on the Battery Tender all of the time, so it should help the battery last a bit longer.  Heck, I think the Odyssey battery in the BMW is going on 7 years at this point!  Maybe I should look at upgrading from the stock Harley battery since Betty is well past the warranty period. But I digress.

Last but not least was Blue, who hadn’t seen a wash mit since November and was sporting a pretty good smattering of dead bugs and other road grime that I’d neglected to remove.  Like Betty, Blue went up on the J&S stand for a top to bottom cleaning that was way overdue.  The small Greenworks 1,600 psi pressure washer has proven to be a great garage / house cleaning accessory.  I have a larger, gas-powered 2,500 psi pressure washer, but give the size, etc., it’s not the most convenient thing to haul out for small jobs.  However, the Greenworks electric pressure washer sits out-of-the-way in a corner of the garage and takes all of about 3 minutes to prep for use.  It’s making it a lot easier to clean engine compartments and the undersides of vehicles and easier means more likely to do it!  It also was perfect for the motorcycles: just the right pressure when mated to the right nozzle.  Anyway, after giving Blue a good wash she also got the Zaino Z-CS treatment with a follow-up coat of Zaino Z-5 polish. I’ll put another coat of Z-5 on and then top coat with the Z-CS next weekend, or perhaps one night this week if the temps get in the upper 60’s to 70’s.   In the mean time, it’s nice to have all three bikes cleaned up and protected with Zaino.  Now, if we can just carve out some time to go and ride Blue!

That’s about it.  We had a lovely dinner in on Sunday: Bourbon glazed salmon with baked sweet potatoes and a yummy salad with lots of little flavorful stuff on it.  Other than that, I’ve been updating the TandemGeek’s Blog and am now taking care of the weekly wrap up so I can mail it off to my parents: it supplements our weekly phone call and lets them know what we’ve been up to.

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Garage Lift – Depends if we stay or go, hold or fold on the Honda S2000

Wow, a mid-week, mindless and rambling blog entry!

So, what did he say?  Go???

Yes, go; move; relocate.  We decided to have an impromptu dinner date on Monday and as we enjoyed our dinner at Henry’s Taste of New Orleans we wondered out loud if now would be a good time to get serious about finding a new-to-us home. In fact, in my morning note to Debbie on Tuesday I told her one of her 1st special projects after retiring would be a search for a possible new home for us.  Debbie was a practicing, licensed real estate agent for about 10 years so this would be old hat.  And, as it turns out, our son Wesley is a mortgage broker, so if there’s a home out there that has our name on it, Wes can work the loan for a win-win.  I figure with a credit score of 840 we’ll be well positioned for the better rates!

So, what’s the deal with moving?  We’ve been in our current home for 25 years and while we’ve tried to be diligent about keeping it in good shape, inside and out, the same can’t be said for the community.  The HOA levied a $200 special assessment for the amenities package this year, which I was OK with; but what about enforcement of the covenants and ACC guidelines? It’s not the amenities package that keeps our home values low, it’s the low value of homes in the community, especially the ones that aren’t being maintained.

Of course, the problem we’ve always encountered when we’ve considered a move in the past is that there’s nothing we can find in the same price range that’s nearly as roomy or nice. Now, if our our home was in a different community just a few miles away it would easily be worth quite a bit more than it is here in our current community and we’d be in good shape as far as what we’d have to select from. Uggg. Maybe it’s time to rob the piggy bank, i.e., the ‘mad money’ that we’ve been letting our Financial Advisors muck around with.

So, it’s a Catch-22. We want to move to get into a neighborhood where home values will grow as they should, but to do so means trading up and taking on debt, something we’ve previously eliminated. We really don’t want to move all that far from where we are as we still like living in this area where we have great cycling right out our front door, we’re only 8 miles from Loco Willy’s and have pretty much made our home about as comfortable for us as we can.  Not having a basement dug out when the house was being built is the only regret I have, notwithstanding some issues with the builder going bankrupt and selling out to another builder who exacerbated our home value conundrum by building lower-quality, smaller and cheaper homes in the final two phases of the community.  If we had a basement I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be Jones’ing to call up our friend and electrician Mike Maguire to get an estimate for installation of a 220v power supply for the garage lift and a 110v outlet for the jackshaft garage door opener we’d need to make it work.

Dodged a Bullet on Daytona – So, if this was a normal year we would have been hoping on our Harley-Davidson Road Glide “Blue” and heading to Daytona Beach on Thursday morning. But, this isn’t a normal year and we decided to skip the spring rally at Daytona. This has turned out to be a good thing because (a) Debbie and I are still trying to recover from the flue and (b) the weather is far less than conducive to four days of being out-of-doors and enjoying sunny, warm weather in Florida. More specifically, at last check, the temperature will be 24*F at 6:00am, the time we would have normally saddled-up for the 450-mile ride to Daytona. The weekend outlook while partly cloudy to sunny, is still showing temps dropping to the upper 40’s and 50’s after the sun goes down with highs in the upper 50’s and 60’s on Thursday and Friday, and finally into the 70’s on Saturday.   Good, but not the 60’s -80’s range that you hope to enjoy during Bike Week. And, well, as I said, neither Debbie nor I are 100% yet so with our resistance still being low it’s a good thing we’ll be staying closer to home.

Count Down Clocks:

  • Debbie’s Retirement: 13 more wake-ups until 3 April. Not sure how we’ll celebrate that just yet, other than letting her enjoy sleeping in on Tuesday the 4th and 5th before…
  • New Orleans: 16 more wake-ups until we climb in the car or truck at 6:00am on 6 April and head down the French Quarter in New Orleans where we’ll spend Thursday, Friday and Saturday with our friends David and Deb before returning home on Sunday the 10th. I suspect that will “count” as part of Debbie Fest and her retirement celebration.
  • Debbie’s 60th Birthday: Amazingly, on 25 April my dear Debbie will celebrate her 60th I’m thinking about having friends over to the house on the Saturday before so that we can rest up on the following weekend – 29 & 30 April — before heading down to Panama City Beach on 3 – 7 May for Spring Bike Week.
  • Panama City Beach: We’ve got 48 wake-ups to go until that trip to Spring Bike Week in Panama City Beach: very excited about that as we’re WAY overdue for a long motorcycle ride and hanging with our friends at a motorcycle rally! And, since Debbie will now be retired we’ll be able to head down a day earlier on Wednesday and experience having a full three days and four nights in PCB for a motorcycle rally!
  • Georgia Tandem Rally: We’re 63 days out from our first tandem rally of 2017. We decided to skip the Alabama Tandem Weekend since I’d like to use that to celebrate Debbie’s 60th, so GTR in Valdosta is where we’ve set our sights at this point. It will be good to see a lot of friends from tandem cycling whom we only ever see at the rallies.

Honda S2000 – Hold or fold, it’s still not a clear-cut decision. As mentioned, we thought one of Debbie’s co-workers who has said for several years that he’d buy her little red car if she ever decided to sell it has gotten cold feet now that he has the opportunity. Given my dislike of selling things – since that’s when gains or losses are finally realized – I’m still not sure if I’d go ahead and try to put it out on Auto Trader or just hold on to it. Our mechanic, Jeremy, says the S2000’s like ours that are basically unmodified and well-maintained are increasing in value. Now, with over 120,000 miles it’s hardly a pristine collector car; however, it’s still a very desirable car because of how long we’ve owned it (12 years) and how we’ve maintained it for the last 100,000 miles. But, storage is an issue and our options – paying to store it, having the kids put it in their 3rd parking bay, or installing a parking lift in our garage – all have down sides, e.g., cost and/or taking up valuable garage floor space that could be better-utilized. So, we’ll see what happens there. This could also play into the question about finding a new place to call home.

Time to Clean Out

While I was working on some of my projects last weekend I was reminded that I have:

  • A garden shed that needs to be cleaned-out, as there are buckets upon buckets of ½ empty paint cans, scrap/left-over wood and building materials and a myriad of other “things” that have slowly filled all of the available space. So, there’s a ½ day project.
  • A garage storage rack and workbench storage cabinets that are overdue for being cleaned-out; yet another ½ day project.
  • Not one but two attic spaces that need to be cleaned-out, as just about every box that any appliance, TV or other large electronic/electrical device has come in is stored over the main house, and every other thing that didn’t have a place in the house has now migrated to the attic over the garage. This one is a full day project that could take a garage sale to resolve.
  • Garage Sale Stuff A Plenty is the other issue: the house is filled with little odds and ends that someone must certainly see value in, either for personal use or as something to sell for a mark-up at the flea market.

Painting Projects

With the living room ceiling fixed and the laundry room wall marks now repainted I’m reminded of the other interior painting projects that I need to knock out before too long:

  • Upstairs Hallway Ceiling – A few years back the whole-house humidifier crapped-out and leaked water onto the upstairs hallway ceiling for the 3rd The damage was minimal, but it’s now time to patch and paint.
  • Guest Bedroom Walls & Ceiling – After 25 years the front guest bedroom has been beaten up by the UV light from nearly ½ day direct sun to the point where it now needs a complete repaint. The ceiling has been fixed and repainted twice, but the walls are definitely faded and in need of some attention.
  • Exercise Room Walls & Ceiling – I’m not sure why I was inspired to use a yellow/gold wall color in that room, but I’ve since grown tired of it and definitely need to give it a more friendly, relaxing color… something that ties in with the adjacent walk-in closet. This time the baseboard moldings will get installed as well.
  • Fixing the crack above the Kitchen bump-out is going to be a “cheater project” were I’ll just install a piece of wood trim to cover the dry-wall corner bead that has continued to show stress cracks time and again after several repairs: this will hopefully be a one-hour job: yeah, right.
  • The Master Bedroom, saving the biggest and best for last. I think the room is close to 700 square feet with 12’ ceilings and a variety of architectural features that will make the repaint project an event that lasts a few days. The trick will be limiting my efforts to just the paint, and not getting into a flooring replacement project, as the carpet is getting a bit long in the tooth

That’s About It…

To end on a really positive note, one of the reasons that I’m writing this mid-week is because I feel like it!  Although still tiring rather early each afternoon and still not being at 100%, I’m thinking that other than the fatigue I’m at 95% and still improving.  Best of all, Debbie is also on the upswing, with less coughing and more energy.  Now, don’t get me wrong, she’s still got to get past all of the post illness fatigue so I’m not sure if this weekend will be “normal”.  In fact, I’m pretty sure it will be yet another weekend where we lay-low and build up our energy stores.  Better to recover and then enjoy than to try and come back to quickly and prolong the recovery.

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Rants…. Drivers & Riders: 

I love driving cars and riding motorcycles.

If I could spend every waking hour driving cars or riding motorcycles around race tracks and/or working on them in a shop I’d be happy.  I regard driving and riding motorcycles — and even riding bicycles — as an art form, where a healthy understanding of physics, physiology and psychology are required to survive driving and riding at the limit, never mind in traffic with “InDUHviduals” (Scott Adams / Dilbert / Dogbert’s Ruling Class reference) who can’t wait for self-driving cars so they can completely melt their brain with 100% smart phone saturation.

Seriously, having to deal with people who don’t have a hot clue how to operate cars or operate motorcycles drives me nuts.  Dealers will sell cars with 400hp + cars to anyone who will write the check or who can qualify for a loan regardless of whether or not they have a hot clue how to drive.  Most drivers don’t seem to realize that their only responsibility when operating a vehicle is to not drive into “stuff” (e.g., people, other vehicles or structures) and have marginal skills to begin with. Add to that the distraction of smart phones, passengers, hubris and horsepower without any real driver training and you get what you get: wrecked cars… and a lot of collateral damage.

Harley-Davidson is now out there trying to figure out how to sell motorcycles to Millennials since they’ve finally come to grips with the fact that the Baby Boomer motorcycle market is nearly played-out and they’ve not really been successful in defining a follow-on market. Sure, they’ve tried to attract other demographics with marginal success, but usually at the expense of disenfranchising the core market.  Really, glitter and flames and blacked-out everything?  That’s what you do AFTER you buy the bike.

Efforts to attract the Millennials took an ugly turn with the latest Harley-Davidson video ad that features a pseudo Doc Martins wearing Squid (Squirrelly Kid on a Bike) riding like an idiot through traffic and back alley’s on the way to work.

Yeah, try that in the real world and you’d better have your organ donor card filled-out.

Seriously Harley, did your lawyers really buy-off on this stupid ad? There’s not even a disclaimer to say that they had motorists driving 20 MPH on a closed-road that the squid rider zig-zagged his way through and that no, you’re really not supposed to ride down the sidewalk per most state laws.

If you want to ride a motorcycle like an idiot (noting you’re not even allowed to ride bicycles on sidewalks, never mind motorcycles), then you really have no business driving a car or riding a motorcycle as you obviously failed to read the friggin manual… that would be your state’s Driver’s manual / Rules of the Road.

Harley, you should be ashamed since everything your rider’s education courses you provide based on MSF curriculum is blatantly violated in your new ads.

If this is the future of Harley, good luck with that.

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Good Grief, When Does It End!

Day 22…  

Debbie is still not able to shake her persistent cough and I’ve got the chills.  Well, that and neither one of us is getting much sleep.  Other than that…  sheesh.  At best Debbie is about 80% and I’m about 85% but trying to behave like I’m 100% without much success.  As I sit here updating this blog I can hear Debbie working through another coughing spell which has really taken its toll on her energy levels and patience.  It pains me to hear her coughing so much since almost nothing seems to help: cough syrups, Dayquil, and even cough drops have little if any lasting effect.  We’ll, I guess we’ll set our sight on next weekend and hope that we’ll be back to 100%.

Other than that….

March is reminding us that it’s still winter here in the deep south.  After teasing us with a couple of weeks in the 60’s and 70’s, this past weekend saw the temps beginning to head south as the rain came in.  Looking at the weather predictions for the week ahead, lows drop into the 20’s by Wednesday and struggle to get into the 40’s through next weekend.  Between my struggles with the flu and the weather, and with the exception of a short ride on our Road King “Blue”  this past Friday when I met Debbie for lunch at The Red Eyed Mule, I’ve not made a commute to work on a motorcycle since January.  Looking back through the blogs, Debbie hasn’t been out for a ride on Blue with me since mid-November when we took a short trip over to Loco Willy’s for lunch after a tandem ride on an unseasonably warm Sunday: unbelievable!

This Past Week…

Healthcare’s Oppressive Costs on the Economy:  Well, there’s work… which is a four-letter word. If it wasn’t for the unknown, escalating cost of healthcare I’d already be retired.  But, when just going to the doctor’s office to get treated for the flu has an out-of-pocket cost under our healthcare plan of $200 (x2 since we both had the flu) for the $266 treatment which was about 5 minutes with a Physician’s Assistant confirming that we had the flu with a sinus swab — something that I had done at my company’s medical office for free — on top of what would be a $19,000 year premium, I’m stuck staying in the workforce. Mind you, we have a very healthy retirement nest egg and a pension.  But even still, if we were to both retire today we’d be looking at $250,000 in out-of-pocket health care premiums before medicare kicked-in…  assuming there is still something called medicare in the year 2027: that’s a pretty huge chunk of cash to consume in just the first 10 years of retirement as it’s more than double what we’d estimated just 6 years ago.  My financial advisors keep saying “we’ll be fine” based on 8% annual returns on our investments, unfortunately I’m the only one making over 8% a year on my investments as the six-figure “rainy day fund” we gave them to play with a couple years ago only earned 3% last year; about the same the year before.  Not exactly a stunning audition: probably time to find another financial advisor, as this is now three (3) we’ve tried-out and all of them have failed to produce.  Makes me wonder why I don’t go into the financial advisor career field in retirement since the bar is set so low!!  In the mean time, this means I’ll continue to occupy a position that won’t be available for “the next person in in

But, We Did Get Out!

On the bright side, and despite still feeling a bit puny, we were able to get out on Friday and Saturday night and pay a couple of visits to Loco Willy’s.

 On top of our every-other-Friday lunch date at The Red Eye’d Mule, it did us a world of good to get out among the living vs. staying in on Friday and Saturday night so that we could at least test our stamina and see our friends.  Friday went pretty well, although I still had a bout of the chills on the way home. Saturday was about the same, although Debbie struggled later that night. As I’ve said, better to push and try to remain in the game thatn to stay on the sidelines.

Got That Ceiling Fixed:  

As regular readers may recall, about the time that Debbie and I both came down with the flu we also had a minor home maintenance issue when a guest bathroom commode decided to spring a leak: 3rd time in 25 years.  Fortunately, I caught this one early before it could ruin the wood flooring I’d just finished installing downstairs because I had a Stainmaster carpet pad under the wool rug in our family room.

After letting the wool rug dry-out over a week I was able to repair the drywall ceiling over the 2 weeks that we’ve been dealing with the flu: it took four (4) drywall mud treatments with sanding to get the ceiling fixed, noting that even before we moved in to our house back in 1992 the builder’s plumbers flooded the ceiling and created issues that exist to this day. But, at least the issues I’ve had under my watch have all been repaired to where they’re impossible to detect.

So, today was all about doing a final touch up on the drywall repairs and then repainting the family room ceiling: it’s only a 14×16 room, so it didn’t even take a full gallon of paint. But, the trick was working it in sections where I could cover the walls floor with drop-cloths without moving all of the furniture out of the room to repaint the ceiling.

I will volunteer that I think I did a pretty good job with the entire project, especially since I had the flu throughout the time that I did the work!  Today was a perfect day for repainting since the weather outside was awful and health wise I was at about 85% (no change from Friday or Saturday).  But, it felt good to have the living room ceiling looking 100% even if I wasn’t!

Black Betty, I Think I Love You:

Back on 10 February I put a new rear tire on our 2011 Dyna Wide Glide “Betty” as the original Metzler 880 was almost slick down the center.
wideglide_twoupIt wasn’t a shock as we did a lot of two-up touring on Betty with a lot of luggage and it chewed-up the soft compound tire in about 6,000 miles. Metzler has a new, longer-wearing compound that we put on Betty so she should be good-to-go for another 12,000 miles of “inspired” solo riding.  It was a joy to ride Betty to and from Harley-Davidson of Atlanta for the tire change and I decided that it was probably time to adjust the clutch so that anyone could hop on the bike and ride it without going “holy-sh*t” with the race-clutch engagement that I’d set up a few years back. So, on Saturday after power washing the garage floor I found myself with enough time on my hands to re-adjust the clutch so that it feels “more normal” to the average rider. I’ve still left a little extra slack in the clutch lever so that it’s a good fit for my small hands, but I think anyone who jumps on the bike will not be shocked.  But, to be frank, I think she’ll remain in the family fleet for the foreseeable future.  Just too much sunk cost to throw away and, well, she’s perhaps the most honest bike in our modest fleet.

Speaking of Bikes & the Garage:

We’ve got a co-worker of Debbie who’s interested in the Honda S2000, but if they don’t close the deal we might just go ahead and hold onto the car and add a parking lift to the garage so that all  our vehicles and the  motorcycles can fit inside the three car garage.

The solution is probably a garage parking lift from Bendpak or one of the other companies that make hobby /car-collector grade garage parking lifts.  While we really need a 12′ tall garage to make it work well, at 10′ our garage is tall enough to allow for the S2000 to be stored above the motorcycles in the 1st bay of the garage.  The photo at right gives you an idea of how it would work with the Honda S2000 on the lift and the bikes parked underneath. We’ll see if it comes to pass. I’d also have to have the garage door tracks modified along with the installation of a jack-shaft garage door opener to free-up the overhead space of the parking bay to make it all work.  However, from a cost standpoint, it’s less than putting in another outbuilding for parking either the car or motorcycles (noting that we really don’t have a lot that’s large enough for a 10′ x 12′ building) and certainly a lot less expensive than renting a storage garage. Well, and never mind the cool-factor from having an auto lift in the garage! Talk about making auto detailing easier along with the eventual restoration of the Honda S2000.

Other Stuff:

Debbie’s set her Retirement Date! Sure enough, she actually submitted her paperwork last week that set’s 3 April as her last day at YKK.  It’s a Monday, which is a bit weird, but it’s tied to YKK’s fiscal year and her vacation payout dates.  Regardless, as of 3 April she’ll be a free-agent again.

As we’ve often said, what are our retirement plans? Well, we plan to ride our bicycles, and that’s her current plan: to get out and ride her bicycle as often as possible!  Sure, it will kind of suck since I’ll still be working so that we’ll have somewhat affordable healthcare insurance, but without the constraints of her limited vacation time we”ll be in fat-city when it comes to our ability to take a little more time off to enjoy my four-weeks of vacation time each year!  I’m looking forward to that!

The “Other Stuff” That Occupied My Time: As usual, I sometimes don’t realize what I accomplished on a weekend when I feel like I didn’t accomplish much until I write it all down.  Here’s this past weekend’s run down:

  • Working on the weekly reports from home on Friday morning
  • A couple loads of laundry
  • Worked on the living room ceiling: more sanding and another coat of mud.
  • Lunch with Debbie at The Mule
  • A few errands on Friday early afternoon, including stopping by Lowes to return a hose, get a new hose and picking up a hose reel cart for a spare garden hose:
    • Back at home, when I went to put the new hose reel cart in the shed I realized it’s time to clean out the shed: it’s become a cluttered mess!
  • As a warm-up for painting the living room ceiling I finally got around to repainting the two walls in the laundry room that were messed-up when we had our furnaces and chillers replaced in August 2015.
  • Dinner at Loco’s Friday night: it was good to be out but still didn’t feel quite right.
  • Worked on the living room ceiling a little more Saturday AM: sponge smoothing & another coat of mud.
  • Finally got around to “firming-up” the seat cushions on the dual recliner couch in the living room, similar to what I did to the love seat over a year ago.
  • Took care of a pesky bird
  • Cleaned the piano: boy did it need that and then some!
    • Probably time to have Rodney out to tune it as Miss Debbie may be playing more often 
  • Experimented with different garage organization methods for the cars and motorcycles on Saturday morning
    • Still looking for the magic arrangement that allows all six vehicles to fit in the existing footprint!
    • Based on not finding a fit for all six did research on garage parking lifts (See above)
  • Power-washed the garage floor of the 1st bay
  • Power-washed the doors and 1st floor windows & sills around the porch to get rid of the winter dirt and grime:
    • Thinking I might need to do that to the entire house!
  • Put the garage back together and moved some “stuff” into the attic:
    • Boy, that attic that need to be cleaned-out!
  • Adjusted the clutch on Betty (see above)
  • Put a hook up for the battery-powered leaf blower behind the garage side door:
    • Really happy with the new leaf blower!
  • Headed off to Jared and then Loco’s for dinner.
  • Sunday started with more garage lift research
  • A little more work on the living room couch
  • Major project for the weekend: getting the living room ceiling painted! (See above)
    • It’s not perfect, but no one will notice: most of the bad stuff is from the original construction!
  • Cleaned-up the painting stuff and put the garage back in order for the week ahead
    • The garage’s hidden storage also needs a good cleaning-out
    • I’m feeling a garage sale coming on this spring!
  • Worked on this weekend’s blog entry and another blog entry ranting about Harley’s latest ad: totally irresponsible!
  • Made wings and fries for my sweetie and then cleaned-up
  • Chilled on the couch – literally – and did more research on garage parking lifts


Good Thing We Decided to Pass on Daytona This Year: Between work, both of us having the flu and the weather this coming week, it’s probably a good thing that we decided to pass on Bike Week in Daytona this spring.  The flu alone would have been enough to cause us to cancel any reservations, but with everything else going on at work and the prospects of cold/wet rides to and from Daytona in the coming week (see above), I’m really glad we’re staying close to home.  If nothing else it makes our anticipation of the May trip down to Panama City Beach all that much more greater! But, that said, as you can tell from the photo next to this entry from last year’s trip to Daytona, I’m sure we would have had a great time with our friends had we decided to make the trip.

275px-New-orleans10.jpgHeaded to New Orleans: Speaking of enjoying time-off, we’ll be heading down to New Orleans on 6 April to meet up with our friends David & Deb for a long-weekend in the French Quarter.  It will be something of a retirement celebration and just a weekend away with Deb & David as it’s been a while since we’ve been able to do that.  No telling what kind of adventures we’ll have in NoLo, but Debbie’s going to be checking the tourist guides to see what we’ll need to see while we’re in town.

That’s about it for now.  As I’ve more than hinted, the trick now is getting ourselves healthy as none of what we have planned will be enjoyable unless we’re feeling good!

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We Ain’t Riding Anything: Day 16 of the Flu

Flu Summary

Yes, it’s been 15 days since my dear Debbie developed a persistent cough that she continues to try and suppress. The Advil and Tamiflu took care of her fever during the first week but those things and Delsym did nothing to stop her cough and even Sucrets had little effect. On day 8 she went back to the doctor and received an antivirus medication and prescription strength Mucinex which also had little effect on her cough. Even as late as this past Sunday evening her cough persisted… until around 11:00pm. Although I’m not sure what may have caused it to stop, as suddenly as it started on 19 February it suddenly stopped on 5 March. Well, at least for the evening, as she was coughing – but not as much – most of the day today. Of course, even if the cough is behind her she’ll have about a week of chronic fatigue to deal with as she gains back her strength and begins to resume a normal routine without 12-14 hours of sleep a day. How do I know this???

Yeah, well… I’m right there with her, perhaps a little ahead at this point even though my fever lasted several days longer than hers did. While I still have coughing spells, I’ve not had the never-ending, persistent cough that Debbie has enjoyed. But, I’ve definitely been sleeping a lot more than I normally do, albeit downstairs on the couch where Debbie’s cough wouldn’t keep me awake. My daily routine for the past week has been to get home and fall asleep around 8:00pm or 9:00pm, then wake up around 2:00am, at which point I’d move upstairs to finish my night’s sleep if Debbie’s cough had subsided. On several occasions that just never happened so it was back downstairs to rest a bit more. This pattern of broken sleep with fatigue saw me heading home from work early on four out of five days last week. That actually worked out pretty well in that it allowed me to keep an eye on the work crew’s progress at the house. They didn’t need much in the way of oversight, but it allowed me to see what all they were doing with the yard and that was invaluable: they definitely did the job the right way and didn’t cut any corners. So, perhaps that was the silver lining on the three-day job, and what a job it was (ref. my previous blog entry).

Cabin Fever Sets In

As the weekend approached neither one of us was feeling like getting out and doing anything, which was weird. In fact, I was so worn-down by two weeks of fitful sleep and fatigue that I came home early from work on Friday in an absolutely foul mood since I knew we’d be off our routine for yet another weekend. Adding to that bad mood, I’ve lost all patience for what passes as news and entertainment on TV and radio, and when I find the TV on in the house switched to anything other than sports I go into flight mode: I just want to get away from it.   Hell, there are even times I need to switch off the volume on sports since political activism by players and commentator discussions related thereto have started to become more commonplace; really? Give it a rest.

Anyway, when I arrived home and found Debbie resting and watching TV, I just headed upstairs to get away from the noise and focused instead on paying bills, reconciling bank accounts, etc. and otherwise decompressing. Sadly, Debbie followed me upstairs and caught me before I could “chill-out’ and I was less than pleasant. We stayed in neutral corners the rest of the night since she had the TV on most of the time.  But, that said, it’s definitely not fair for me to be critical of her TV-watching habits since I’m pretty much an on-line/internet content junkie when I’m not otherwise doing something productive.  It’s my version of TV, but with more varied content, i.e., I get to pick and choose my subjects and can use technology to block the ‘stuff’ and ‘people’ that are the sources of angst-producing content. Guess that’s why we “need” to get ourselves healthy so we can once again be out working in the yard, cycling, motorcycling or otherwise doing things that keep us “off the grid” and away from computers and TVs; evil stuff I tell you!!

Saturday & Sunday Bring A Little Normalcy

Saturday and Sunday were something of ‘coming out days’ for both of us in that Debbie had told the kids she’d watch the three granddaughters from noon on Saturday through noon on Sunday while they attended some type of overnight function for Wesley’s mortgage company. Even though Debbie was still struggling with her cough, she planned to go on over around 12:30.

Me, I used the morning to get a little work done on the living room ceiling repair following our latest bathroom fixture leak. It’s always a challenge to try and sand drywall mud without clearing or covering everything in sight with plastic, but I did OK and was able to get on a coat of mud. About two coats / sanding should do it then the entire ceiling gets repainted: no way I’ll be able to get a color match with the existing paint.

With a fresh coat of mud on the ceiling, I headed out to do some work on the yard. The first order of business was replacing my silk Christmas flowers without something more spring-like and putting some spring annuals in the two large planters in front of the garage. About the time I had that done our friend Ryan put out a call for assistance in moving a 385lb cast iron, claw foot bathtub from their garage, up 20 steps to a guest bathroom that was being remodeled.   I’d have to leave around 12:30 to get to their house by 1:00, which was about the same time that Debbie was headed off to the kids, so we said our goodbyes and headed off on our separate ways.

The tub project wasn’t as big of a production as I expected, as the tub didn’t feel like it weighed anything close to 385lbs; more like 285lbs. Well, that and Ryan had a lot of help, folks with a lot more meat on their bones than me! I did my part once the tub was upstairs, so I was a little bit of help and it was nice to see a few friends whom we haven’t seen in nearly a month due to the flu, etc.

Back at home I decided to dive into the backyard by raking leaves out of the flower beds and then stripping out the ground cover that I wanted gone from the back yard. Next was committing Crape Murder on the Crape Myrtles, i.e., topping them off as Southerners are always want to do! With all of that stuff piled up in the middle of the back yard, a flick of a match reduced the pile to ash in about 30 minutes and a day later it was just about done cooking: fire is an amazing thing.

Debbie checked in around dinner time; she was ordering pizza for the kids. I looked around the house to see what there was for dinner and decided that I was chickened-out and didn’t want to have hot dogs again (I’d had them for brunch).  So, as much as I don’t like going there without Debbie, I headed over to Loco Willy’s just to grab some dinner. David & Deb were there and it was also their first night out in two weeks as they both have been battling the flu as well.  We had a good time catching up on what’s been going on and I ended up having some ribs.  As usual, I couldn’t only eat about 1/2 of the full serving and took the rest home for lunch on Sunday.  It wasn’t a bad night out, but it wasn’t a great night either since I didn’t have my sweetie with me: everything’s better when Debbie’s along!

Sunday began with sanding and putting another coat of mud on the living room ceiling, then laundry, a little light house keeping and what not before I headed out to run a few errands.  The one thing I wanted to pick up was a battery-powered leaf blower, as the convenience of the battery-powered hedge trimmer I bought in the fall has been amazing.  No more chords for the trimmer and no more gas/oil and 2 cycle engine exhaust with oil drips, etc. for the leaf blower: just instant power with a finger on the trigger!   With my new toy in hand I blew the leaves out from behind the hedges in the back yard and then spent the better part of  three hours scalping the side and back yard to remove the thatch that was left over from last fall.  It’s a pain filling up six 50-gallon bags with yard clippings, but the lawn will green-up much better and be healthier because of it.

Debbie returned home around 2:00pm and spent the better part of the afternoon just relaxing a bit after her 24-hour stay with the granddaughters.  She said they were very much self-entertaining and even little Vivian was hardly any work to keep up with.  However, her nagging cough and the associated fatigue earned her an afternoon of quiet time with… you guessed it: the TV.  Oh well, as I’ve said, I’m just as bad and spend almost as much time on line so I really can’t complain.

That was about it for the weekend.  We’re hopeful that we’ll feel closer to 100% by this coming weekend, as we definitely need to get back into the swing of things!  There’s a lot of living to do out there and we’re tired of being tired and worn down by the flu!

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Replacing Our Worn-Out Bermuda Lawn

Having had the house painted this past fall, there was one more big outside project on my list that I’d been putting off for a couple years: repairing or replacing the 25-year old Bermuda grass front yard.

The side and backyard were redone several years back with great success.  About the same time I attempted to “fix” the thin spots in the front yard by patching-in with new sod.  It took for about a year, which is to say that it really never took.  My soil prep was probably lacking since the front yard has become like concrete over the years.

Anyway, here’s what the yard was looking like just before it went dormant this past summer. The brown patches at the left and upper right edges of the lawn were about 10x worse than they appear to be in this photo.  The shade from surrounding trees eventually killed-off the Bermuda and with the grass gone rain run-off simply eroded-away the soil.  All of those lighter brown spots across the yard were thin spots, where no amount of plugging or aerating has brought-about new growth.


It was about three weeks ago that I called Rich at DreamScapes in nearby Acworth to come out and give me a quote on a lawn refresh. I’d had Rich quote the backyard work and regretted not hiring him for that job ever since.  So, I didn’t even compete the bid: it was a sole-source project.  The scope of work was pretty straight forward: remove all of the old sod, prep the soil and install a new lawn using a shade resistant sod.  At first it was assumed that Zoysia and Bermuda would be about the same cost; however, once the bids came in the price increase in Zoysia over the past year was a heart-stopper. So, we opted to go with the Bermuda and the date for the project start was all set: they’d be out on Monday the 27th.


By mid-afternoon on the 27th Rich’s crew had all of the old sod scrapped off the hill and the 8 pallets of new sod (there were two extra pallets delivered to our job site for a different job, hence why you might be counting 10 pallets) were delivered to the sidewalk, as there was nowhere else to put them where they wouldn’t be in the way. Unfortunately, what was supposed to be a light shower turned into a steady hour of rain and that pretty much made any additional soil prep work impossible for the guys, so they called it a day early.


By early afternoon on Tuesday they had made great progress.  Almost all of the soil prep was done and they had just started putting down sod when I arrived home around 1:30pm.  Interestingly enough, a county inspector rolled-up to the site and seemed to be asking them to do a little clean-up on the soil that had migrated to the street during the sod removal and soil rework.  It turns out, six different complaints had been called into the county from people in our neighborhood over “dirt in the street”.  Really?  Anyway, even the county inspector was having a hard time understanding why any one individual would have called in a complaint, never mind six. The job site, in his opinion, was in good shape and the soil spill-over to the street was minimal. Thankfully, he didn’t fine our contractor and simply asked they give the street and sidewalk a good sweeping off throughout the day and move the pallets of sod off the sidewalk which they did.


It was around mid-day on Wednesday that they had all of the sod down, rolled-in and turned their attention to restacking the stone around the islands, the final part of this job.  Their timing was impeccable as heavy rain was expected later in the afternoon / early evening.  And, in terms of the work they performed, it was outstanding.  Great attention to detail and no shortcuts that I could see: everything was done ‘by the book’ which should yield a great-looking and healthy lawn in the coming spring & summer.  Oh, and yes, the rain pretty much washed what little dirt was left in the street and on the sidewalk away without a torrent of mud collecting elsewhere in the neighborhood.

In Process / Before & After Photos

Here’s what the job site looked like when they had to call it quits on Monday afternoon when the rain began to fall. If this is what prompted the calls to the county on Tuesday, then I could understand a lot better than what I saw on Tuesday afternoon because it was a bit of a mess and could have stood a good scraping before they left the job site. But, they’d made a lot of progress and removed an entire truck load of old sod from the site while leaving as much soil as possible, all of which would get reworked and tilled-on Tuesday.

20170227_145531 20170227_145616

Here’s a before and after shot of the far edge of the front yard next to the driveway. This small patch had been an eyesore for most all of the yard’s life.  I started off with holly shrubs at the corner but they were always getting run over and looked like heck so I eventually filled in with sod.  Once again, shade and erosion pretty much reduced that part of the yard to a few wisps of grass with mostly dirt showing through.  Rich’s crew did a great job of leveling the soil, restacking the stone retaining wall and cutting in the sod to finish the corner-off quite nicely.  Now, we just need to keep visitors from cutting the corner.

20170226_144536 20170301_180333

The biggest eye-sore on the front yard — that big bare spot where the soil had all washed down the hill and collected at the bottom — looks fantastic once again.  And, the stacked stone wall is also looking better than it ever did.  Definitely prefer having sod in that part of the yard vs. expanding the island and putting more Azaleas out there.

20170226_144507 20170301_180729

At the far end of the front yard under the Oak tree, the once very thin and sickly lawn is once again a full carpet of Bermuda.  If it’s as shade tolerant and Rich suggests, this should make for a huge difference in the look and feel of the house, as this part of the yard was really looking low-rent and was something of an embarrassment to me.

20170226_144643 20170301_180610

Just another look up at the stone border wall along the hedges before and after the crew installed the new sod and fixed the stacked stone.  What a difference! It never looked that good, even right after I did the initial installation. There’s definitely a knack to stacking stone and I don’t have it.

20170226_144640 20170301_180412

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Ok, We Both Had The Flu… Double Uggg.

Yes, the Flu…

At the end of my last blog entry I noted my Dear Miss Debbie was coming down with the flu, having spent the better part of Sunday night dealing with coughing spells and then getting the full fever and chills treatment on Monday.  On Tuesday she paid a visit to our primary care physician and was diagnosed with Influenza B.  By the time I arrived home from work on Tuesday evening I was experiencing the very same symptoms and a trip to the doctor on Wednesday pretty much confirmed I also had Flu B.   And, yes, I’d just recently gotten over a short bout of Influenza A back on 6-10 February.

Therefore, this week’s blog entry is pretty easy to summarize:  we both spent the past 7 days running fevers, dealing with chills, coughs, sore throats and all of the other lovely symptoms that accompany the flu.  In fact, I didn’t break my fever until early on Monday morning.  The cough still persisted and the same was true for Debbie.

Being house bound for the entire week was not a great time by any stretch.  But, at the same time, neither one of us had the energy or inclination to do anything else.  It was just that much of a drag on our systems.  Thankfully, we had more than enough food on hand for our slight appetites, to include the things I needed to make a pizza on Saturday night and hot wings & fries on Sunday night.  That was about as close to “normal” as our eating had gotten for the entire week.

Home Maintenance; a Never Ending To-Do List

Everything else pretty much remained on hold, unless it could be worked via phone call or remotely by computer, including a few hours of work from home on Thursday and Friday.  Well, there was this one emergency plumbing repair that I had to make after a small leak in the upstairs guest bathroom made its way through the tile floor and into the living room ceiling. Oh yeah, that’s a special king of joy. I’m probably due to begin a lot of ceiling repair / repainting as time has taken its toll on certain places in the ceilings.  Repainting the walls in our master suite, the guest bedroom, exercise room and a few others will be right on the heels of the ceilings.  Should have it all done just in time to put on the market and sell!  Yeah, right.  What could we possibly replace it with that would be a nice for the same kind of money??

And Then There’s Yard Care

We also firmed up the plan for the front yard refresh this week, having to backtrack a bit once we received an updated quote for Zoysia vs. Bermuda; yikes!  It was nearly a 30% increase in just the material cost.  So, as much as I would have liked to have Zoysia in both the front and back yard, it just wasn’t worth the extra $2,500.  Therefore, since there’s no need to kill off the old Bermuda, our time-table for having the old lawn removed and replaced was moved up a couple of weeks.

As a point of reference, heres’ what the front yard was looking like towards the end of last summer. As you can see, there were several bare spots under the trees and about 1/2 of the turf was pretty thin and tired.

20161015_163348Here’s what it looked like last week, in the fall & winter dormancy mode:

20170226_144740And here are some of the really bad spots.  While we considered doing a patch job, it was just pretty clear to me that the best approach would be to completely replace the front yard with new sod all cut from the same turf and this time in a shade tolerate variety.

20170226_144507 20170226_144640 20170226_144536

Rally Plans Continue to Evolve

From a motorcycle rally standpoint, we’re skipping the Bike Week in Daytona this Spring as the cost of lodging has just gotten out of control and, well, it’s gotten a bit stale doing the same thing during each visit.  Interestingly enough, we’ll probably miss the long ride down more than any other part of the trip; that’s always a great ride.   However, we are planning on making the trip down to Thunder Beach in Panama City Beach during the first weekend in May. We’ll be sharing a three bedroom condo with our friends Bobby, Carrie Ann, Ryan & Jeanette making it a fairly cost-effective trip as well.  We’re thinking any other motorcycle adventures will be, “make it up as we go”.

We’ve got what we think will be a non-motorcycle trip down to New Orleans planned in early April where we’ll most likely fly down and join our friends David & Deb for a few days. Well, I say fly, it’s a 7-hour drive which isn’t awful; about what we’d log riding down to Orlando and then to Key West.  We’ll see.  Vacation time for Debbie shouldn’t be a problem by then!!  Good grief, I probably need to put in for some time off too.

In terms of tandem cycling rallies…

We’re on the fence for a late April tandem rally in Alabama as it’s the same week as Debbie’s 60th birthday.  I guess we’ll need to figure out just what kind of celebration we’ll have and when before cutting out one of the weekends that bookends her mid-week birthday on the 25th.

We’re booked for the Georgia Tandem Rally in mid-May down in Valdosta, Georgia.  While I key toying with the idea of canceling out on that, there are just so many friends who we only get to see at GTR that it makes it hard to pass-up.  So, we’ll see how that plays out. We have until April 25th to cancel and get a partial refund on our registration fees.

Our friend Lisa who usually rides the triplet with us at GTR has also invited us up to join her with the triplet for a one-day ride in South Carolina on the weekend after GTR; we’re thinking about that one.  It would be nice to do that kind of ride again and it’s not all that far, i.e., 2.5 hours or there abouts.

Now, we did go ahead and sign-up for the Tandems East Tandem Weekend in Manheim, Pennsylvania, on 14-16 July, so we’re looking forward to that as it will tie in nicely with a visit to my parents a mere 45 minutes away.  It’s been a while since we’ve attended a tandem rally up North and we should find ourselves with some friends we’ve made at past rallies in the Mid-Atlantic area.  Now, if we can just get ourselves out on the tandem and put in some miles in the not too distant future!

The only other tandem rally that’s on our radar would be the Southern Tandem Rally about 4.5 hours away in Salisbury, North Carolina, during late September.  We’ll have to figure out our fall motorcycle rally plans before we firm us that event.

That’s All For Now…

Anyway, that pretty much brings you up to speed.  As I said, having had both of us laid up for the past week here at the house and feeling like death warmed-over, there just wasn’t all that much else going on, aside from the always enjoyable bill-paying and what not.

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