We continue to be on the mend and are both approaching 100%. We’re both seem to need more sleep than we had pre-flu and are also trying to get our appetites and eating habits back in check as we seem to be hungry all the time. Looking back at a week that had us both working full-length days with some “other activities” added back in, we kept busy but were not overly busy.
I’ve gotten into the habit of leaving work around 5:00pm instead of 6:00pm or 6:30pm, as I figure 11 hours a day is enough at the moment. Things will begin to get very busy with longer hours towards June as the 2nd half of the year is always the most busy. Debbie, on the other hand, has 4 full days of work remaining before she pays a final, short visit to her office next Monday on the 3rd of April. As for what’s next, hard to know for her. It would be great if she could, in fact, carve out a lot of her time for herself and I’ll just leave that there for now: hint, hint.
Yes, my sweetie usually gets to read these as I’ve always included them in my “good morning” notes to her at work every day. Of course, now that she’s not working I guess she’ll have to start logging into her Email account at home! So many adjustments that we’ll have to make!
Thursday’s Special Evening
Last weekend began a little early on Thursday afternoon as I hosted an “end of tour” reception for a co-worker who had recently ended a 2-year special assignment that had become a 3-year special assignment for a variety of reasons. We try to limit that particular role to 2-years to prevent burn-out. In fact, my role was one of those but being something of a masochist I’ve been doing it for 17 years. We had about 18 folks join us at Loco Willy’s for some appetizers and drinks from 5:00pm to 7:00pm, noting that Debbie also stopped in. It was a Thursday before an off-Friday, but as regular readers may recall… most of the folks who work in the front office end up working on our off-Fridays to some extent or another. But, at least we don’t have to be in the office at the crack of dawn, so it makes for a good evening to hold these types of events since they don’t encroach on Friday evenings or weekend plans. As the crowd thinned out we invited Jimmy and his significant other, Kristy, to join us for dinner and three others joined us. It was really an enjoyable night; of course, it helps when you have great folks like Kelly and Christian looking after you and your friends.
Heading into my off-Friday, I had a pretty good idea that it would be day where I’d be somewhat limited in getting into any projects or activities as I had conference calls at 9:00am and 2:00pm and reports that I wouldn’t be able to finalize until 5:00pm. However, that still gave me a few windows of time where I could fit in a few small projects and errands.
- The first on the list was finishing up a battery replacement project on our 2011 Wide Glide, Betty. Her battery is about 3 years old and has been laboring on start-ups, which is exactly how old the prior OEM Harley-Davidson battery was behaving just before it needed to be replaced. I tried to throw some business to my local H-D dealer but, amazingly, they allowed themselves to become out-of-stock on one of the most widely used batteries they sell, i.e., it’s used on nearly 400 models of Harley-Davidson motorcycles produced from 1997 through 2017. Having struck out trying to buy local, I bought sort-of local and ordered an aftermarket YUSA battery from Summit Racing in McDonough, Georgia on line: it arrived on the porch the following afternoon with just standard shipping and handling. I installed it on Wednesday night and put it on the charger, assuming it would get a good deep charge by Friday and be ready to go if I wanted to take Betty out for a spin. Well, on Thursday night I noticed that the Battery Tender for Betty didn’t seem to be charging the battery. On Friday morning I pulled the battery back out of Betty and checked all of the electrical connections and found that the fused charging pig-tail connector had a blown 7.5A fuse. With the fuse replace and everything wired back-up I was in business: Betty’s new battery was fully charged by Friday evening.
- After taking my 9:00am conference call, I used part of the next window of time to go off and pick up some wood trim that I was going to use to permanently fix some cracks on the kitchen ceiling that were impossible to stop given how the supporting wood structure was made and what sat on top of it, i.e., the washing machine. I had just enough time to measure, cut and install the wood trim piece before I had to head over to meet Miss Debbie for lunch at the Red Eyed Mule around 11:30. On the bright side, with the compressor and nail gun in the house for this project, I had a jump-start on finishing the base corner-round molding installation in living room… a way overdue project that I needed to finish.
- I was out of the house by 11:10 which, if traffic wasn’t too awful, would land me at The Red Eye’d Mule by 11:25pm, just enough time to order our Jake’s Big Daddy burger and have it sitting on the table about the time Debbie arrives. Well, son-of-a-gun if there was zero traffic for the first time EVER! I was there way early and had to ask our friend working the grill to hold off on putting the burger on for about 10 minutes so that it would be hot and fresh when Debbie arrived; the timing was impeccable and the burger sublime. Well, and the company wasn’t bad either!
- I had to pickup a few things at Costco on the way home and, once again, was surprised that it wasn’t nearly as busy as it usually is on a Friday just past noon. Still not digging the loss of Costco’s ability to take American Express after they switched over to Visa/MasterCard and actually thinking about scaling back our membership to the basic as we just don’t shop at Costco nearly as much as we once did; interesting.
- With a few more stops to make before heading home, I arrived just in time to take my 2:00pm conference call that lasted a full hour. Seeing that it was 3:00pm and knowing that the living room project would take a lot longer than the two hours I still had remaining, I opted to knock out some home-office work ahead of late afternoon work-work, and also got in a little time in the home gym.
- Around 5:00pm I headed into the master bath to get cleaned up before Debbie arrived home. Without getting into too much detail, lets just say that her arrival made my day! I have the best – best friend and partner in life that anyone could have and sometimes even she surprises me.
- We did the usual and headed over to Loco Willy’s for dinner. Our friend Bobby — who along with his lovely wife Carrie Ann — will occasionally drop-in and join us and the usual suspects (David & Deb) on a Friday or Saturday night at Loco’s. However, tonight it was just Bobby, as CA was sitting the grands at home. We had a good time as always visiting with our friends, but decided to call it a night around 8:00pm and that was that. Part of me wanted to get out and kick up my heels, but getting some rest was probably not a bad idea: don’t want to over due.
- Here’s a strange one:
- On weekends I’ll often times wear contacts instead of glasses as I do at work when we’re headed out. They help to make nighttime driving a lot safer without running a risk of me losing my glasses as I really don’t need them when I’m just sitting around talking, etc. Heck, if it’s sunny out I don’t need them at all.
- Anyway, so Friday night I decided it was probably time to switch out my old contacts for two new sets and did just that. When I put the left contact in (it’s just a +0.50) it felt a bit thicker than usual, but went in just fine and my vision seemed OK as well. Right one also went in without any issues.
- Later that night I came home and removed both the right and the left; again, no issues. However, I found that I had some minor discomfort in my left eye the following day and wondered if I hadn’t scratched the cornea or gotten an eyelash under the eyelid. I hit my eyes with some solution and that seemed to help.
- On Sunday it was even worse and by Monday morning at work it was intolerable. After flushing my left eye with eye drops and rubbing on the eye I suddenly found a second contact lens in my hands!
- Could it be that there were really two lens in my left eye on Friday night and that only one came out? Well, after arriving back at home I checked my contact lens storage container and son-of-a-gun, both the left and right lenses were in there. So, yes… two contacts had apparently been stuck together in the original packaging and both went into my left eye: only one came back out!
- Saturday morning began with more than my fair share of home banking; good grief, I must have written-out ten checks for everything from additive medical co-payments to auto insurance, lawn maintenance and utilities. What was it that Jimmy Buffett wrote in one of his songs, “My Cash is to Flow”?
- On the bright side, the weather was looking to be just about right for a tandem ride once the temps moved into the 60’s by 10:00am or 10:30am, so that was the basic plan. We rolled-out of the driveway right at 10:30am and while still cool enough to warrant arm coverage, the sun felt warm and the roads were dry. About the only negative from the ride – aside from our less than stellar performance – was the continued increase in traffic that we’ve been seeing over the years. It’s just rare to find yourself alone on any of what used to be quiet, back-country roads when we first moved out to West Cobb in 1992. Most motorists seem to be cruising along at 10mph to 15mph over the posted speed limits and have little if any tolerance for cyclists, judging by the angry acceleration you get to hear once they finally pass your bike on the road. Again, good to get out for a ride, but I truly do miss the old days when a ride from the house was a stress-release not the source of anxiety and fear of being run-down by a distracted motorist on a smart phone.
- We arrived back at the house just after noon and Debbie had made plans to go and see a friend’s daughter dance in a community youth ballet at 2:00pm. This was the same group that our granddaughter Charlotte danced with, but at least not for this particular performance series. Debbie had invited me to come along and while I initially said yes a few months back and again on Thursday, as I considered what I needed to get accomplished around the house I begged-off. I feel bad when I bail on these types of events, but there’s just so much to do around the house and not much time to get it all done.
- However, by staying home I was able to get all of the quarter round base molding installed, caulked, puttied and painted around the new wood flooring in the living room. It was the second to last thing I needed to do to finish off the downstairs flooring project. In that I had the trim mitered-in, primed and fitted around the room masked the fact that it wasn’t actually nailed-in or final-finished with one exception: one of the two glass window pane doors that can be used to separate the living room from the family room was off its hinges and leaning against the wall in roughly the same place it would have been if it was on the hinges. Anyway, it took the better part of the afternoon to nail-in the trim, then putty the nail holes, caulk the bead and then paint everything before calling it done. But, it was good to finally have it all done.
- In that I had about two hours left before Debbie would return home from the ballet, I work on a couple of other small projects in the kitchen. The first was fiddled with the kitchen cabinets to see if I could solve the mis-aligned door issue. However, after moving the hinges I found the cabinets were never hung quite right and had also “sagged” a bit over 25 years so no quick fix there. The second was removing and replacing the shelf liner I keep installed on the tops of the kitchen cabinets as all kinds of airborne cooking particles tend to collect on the tops of the cabinets making clean-up a mess.
- With an hour or so left, I turned my attention to the backyard which was in dire need of attention after a strong storm left it littered with all kinds of debris. Next up will be the spring clean-up / fresh pine straw and then most likely the installation of sod in place of the wood bark walking path that at one time encircled a 200 year-old oak tree that died and had to be removed a few years back. Sod seems like the best solution for several reasons, now I just need to decide if I want to do the prep and installation or to have our front yard landscaper come back and do it. I’m leaning towards the latter but may ultimately end up doing it myself.
- Debbie returned home earlier than expected around 4:15pm and shared that she really had a great time and enjoyed seeing the ballet. A short time later we were both dressed and ready to head off to Loco’s for dinner.
- We had a great time at Loco’s with the usual suspects: David & Deb, Stuart & Teresa, Billy & Dava and some of the other regulars. Nothing in particular was all that off-the-wall, just a good evening visiting with friends. Debbie and Dava kept disappearing out to the bar on the porch and I’ll be darned if I know what they were up to, other than keeping bartender Billy entertained.
- Even though our last visit to SuBourbon’s was a bit smoky, we decided to give it another try as the band ‘3 Left Standing’ was playing and that meant we’d be able to do a lot of dancing; something we both needed! Sadly, we weren’t able to get a table reservation but our friends Kreg and Linda had a table and we were able to put our jackets, etc. there while we kicked up our heels.
- After our late night out on Saturday we both slept-in a bit on Sunday, if 8:00am is sleeping in. It is for me and, in fact, Debbie may have slept in even a bit longer.
- Our only “must do” of the morning was a tandem ride, assuming the streets would dry-off before 10:30am, about the same time the temps hit the mid-60’s. It did and we hit the road at roughly the same time as on Saturday. We had a good ride, but again… we’ve got a lot of rebuilding to do in terms of base miles, fitness and endurance. Of the three, it’s the endurance that’s always a challenge. We just don’t to rides that are long-enough given our various other time demands on the weekends. So, while we usually feel OK after a 25-mile ride that just doesn’t easily translate into a 40 or 60 mile ride. Oh well, something to work on!
- For the first time in about as long as I can recall I actually had to put my feet up right after the ride and then later on in the day I ended up taking a nap. Me falling asleep with the sun up is about as rare as a blood moon eclipse, so I’m left to suspect our very high pollen count may have played into that, along with the late night on Saturday.
- After my nap I started up another home project, repairing a few damaged spots on the upstairs hallway ceiling before repainting the entire ceiling. The biggest challenge for this project is painting the 18’ high ceiling over the stairwell which always seems to require some non-OSHA approved ladder utilization techniques.
- Being a Sunday we stayed-in for dinner and I fixed chicken wings and fries in my trusty deep-fryer. I keep thinking that I should probably try to find a second deep fryer so that my wings and fries come out of the hot olive oil at the same time instead of having to put the wings in the over to keep the warm for the 12 minutes it takes to deep-fry my fries. Something to add to the list.
- That was really about it for our Sunday. The evening ended up being just as lazy and the early part of the afternoon with Debbie watching TV upstairs and me streaming movies and videos about Preston Tucker and the Tucker automobile on my laptop. Why Tucker, I have no idea: it was just something that popped up on a Jay Leno’s Garage website and it caught my interest. Far more informative than the Francis Ford Coppola movie, not that there was anything wrong with the movie. I’m just not a huge Jeff Bridges fan.
- Around 7:30pm, again at 8:00pm, then at 8:30pm, 9:00pm and 9:30pm we tried to reach my mother and stepdad Bill on the phone so we could wish Bill a happy 89th birthday. However, for reasons that still remain a mystery, we weren’t able to reach them on either their house phone or the cell. We suspect the house phone may just not have been riding loudly enough and the cell…, well, we’ve never had much luck reaching our folks on their cell so no surprise there. On the bright side, I was able to make contact on Monday morning and we spoke with them again Monday evening.
Looking ahead, it’s a busy Spring.
- Today, Tuesday the 28th, our LG microwave finally arrived at Lowes. I picked it up after work and in about and hour and a half had the old Whirlpool over-the-range-top microwave removed and the new one sitting in its place. It’s going to take some getting used to as it’s a bit more contemporary-looking than I imagined.
- Debbie’s mother goes in for some surgery on Wednesday, 29 March to address lingering neck and spine issues from her fall back in December. So, Debbie has that on her mind and her schedule.
- We’re still counting down until Debbie’s last day at work on Monday, 3 April. Not sure if we’ll celebrate that in a big way given we’ll be getting friends together in just a few weeks for her 60th. However, at a minimum, I suspect we’ll get together with the kids and have dinner-out to celebrate on Monday night at one of our favorite places, Henry’s.
- A few days after her last day at work we’ll head off to New Orleans for about 3 days and 3 nights with our partners in crime, David & Deb.
- Not sure what we have cooking for the weekend of the 15th and 16th, but suspect it will include some time on the tandem and perhaps even the motorcycle.
- The following Saturday, 22 April, we’ll have a gathering of friends at Loco Willy’s or the house to celebrate Debbie’s 60th
- Debbie’s actual birthday is Tuesday, 25 April so we’ll have to do something special for that.
- We’ll have one more weekend at home in April before we kick off May which also looks pretty full, and June just got a bit more interesting as well.
Mark’s Auto & Cycle Sales
Yes, well there is still an excess to need 2004 Honda S2000 and a 2011 Harley-Davidson Wide Glide sitting in our garage that need to be addressed.
On the Harley, I think we may have a path forward. A gal who borrowed ‘Betty’ back in December through January is thinking the bike might be a good fit. We’ve agreed on a price for the bike which comes with all of the various accessories and original take-off parts. I suspect I could have sold them off via eBay, Cycle Trader or Craigslist, but is the hassle really worth the effort for a few bucks? I think not, so better to just let it all go with the bike. However, it’s something of a contingency sale in that she currently has a Honda motorcycle that she’d like to sell before buying her next bike: smart girl! So, let’s just call this sale pending.
As for the Honda, perhaps this coming weekend I’ll get it out of the garage on a sunny day so I can take the necessary photos for posting an Auto Trader ad. I’ll need to get the hard top off so that I can verify the soft top is still in good shape and for photos of the car with the hard top, soft top and no top. Part of me says hold onto the car and that remains a possibility if we don’t get a quick response to any initial ads. Of course, hanging on to it means we’re back to looking at garage parking lifts as even with just two motorcycles it’s a tight fit in our three bay garage with the truck, Debbie’s Honda Accord and the Honda S2000. In a perfect world I’d have an outbuilding that was large enough for indoor storage of my truck, but there’s just not a practical way to pull that off on our current lot.
More to follow…