Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Season's Greetings

Time for the puck to be dropped to the ice. Hockey season has begun and it's always an interesting time when we return to the rink because while it's nice to see old friends again it's also bit overwhelming having to greet that massive wave of people. How many times can I ask, "how was your summer?" Either way, this year seemed to come up faster than usual, or we weren't on the lookout and it crept up out of nowhere. N alluded to being a bit nervous to be on the ice, and I can totally relate. As usual I'm slated to be a coach and I'm asking the same old question: what the heck was I thinking? Throw in the usual neurosis about the sport (even more so this year) and it makes for interesting theater. So many unknowns to start the season that I won't get into, at least not yet.

For now it's time to get our gear up to date and get our hockey legs warmed up. Regardless of what happens it should be an interesting season.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Eric Kilby for the pic.

95% Done

Definitely light at the end of the tunnel...

I don't know if this is my OCD or simply a way to avoid doing other things that require my attention, but I have been focusing on finishing that year 2 woodpile, and it's looking pretty darn good. You can tell you're in good shape when it looks like just a small gap that needs filling in. As it stands there is plenty of wood to fill the need if we finish year 1 and need to dip in, but hopefully year 1 will hold and we won't have to do that. Usually I have several things going at once and I tend to neglect or forget about several of them and they sit around unattended, haunting me and reminding me of my impotence.

I decided to just plow ahead and get at least one thing done. Sure, it's at the expense of things that might require more immediate attention, but at least one project will move forward to completion. Then, if I'm looking at other projects that are incomplete, at least I can say I got one thing done. I would like to point out that I was able to make this amazing progress because of the help of the kids, who did a lions share of the stacking. While I personally love to stack wood (and cut and split it), it does take a lot of time, and the kids do a great job. All I need to do is split it and they take over, it's great.

Plus, there's something special about looking at a nicely stacked pile of wood; it makes you feel warm inside, especially when it's burning.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to shockk for the pic.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Biting Off Too Much

I'm not sure why I got myself into this but I agreed to work two separate catering jobs in one day. Actually, I do know why, to make the big bucks to support our fabulous lifestyles. I usually work the evening shift on the weekends and for whatever reason I was scheduled to work the mornings. I knew the other catering company had a gig that evening so I mentioned I was free and they said come on down. With the second job I ended up working from 6:00AM to about 10:00PM, and believe me, I was exhausted. And to add to the fun, I had to work at 6:00AM the next morning, so the fun just kept going. Don't you love when that happens?

For what it's worth I enjoy working with the other caterers because the jobs are usually more fun, the crew is cool and the atmosphere much more relaxed. The Inn has more steady work and longer hours. In the end, which is better? I think I have some idea.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Gary Seloff for the pic.

Power Ride

I don't get nearly enough aerobic exercise as I could, and with hockey season looming this could cause me great pain and suffering. As a way to temper this, I have been doing a bit of bike riding that entails some pretty serious hills. Mom and the kids do what they call a "power walk" that goes on for about 3.5 miles and includes some major hills, and when I say major, I mean majorly-major. Enough to bring a grown man to his knees, that's for sure. The challenge, however, means that you get a good workout, and I've been doing it fairly regularly, which in my case means 2-3 times. Even still, that 2-3 times more than I'd done all summer, and I feel motivated.

We'll see how long this motivation lasts, but it feels good to get out and break out into a sweat. Who knows, I may even start to fit into my jeans. Stranger things have happened.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to c.enoksson for the pic.

Return to Sender

In less than a week we managed to get all the splitting we needed to accomplish done. This is a record for us because in the past it took us, or rather me, at least a month, if not more. Granted, this was largely due to me resting on my laurels while I sat and watched the wood pile gather dust and mold. Somehow this time around I just motivated and powered through it. I think several things helped. First, I had N there to help me, so it made it much faster and easier. Second, JM wanted to use it next, so he was waiting for it. Thirdly, the weather has been cool and pleasant, making the job more tolerable. And finally, we are on a mission to get that year 2 pile done before it snows, so the clock is ticking. I'd say it's about 90% done, which is better than most years.

The arranging of transportation has been incredibly smooth, as well, so when I called JM to say I was done, he literally came by an hour later to get it. We passed him in our driveway on the way out and when we returned home, the splitter was gone. Don't you love when that happens?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to dennis dahn for the pic.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Let's Split

After some back and forth communication, I finally obtained JP's splitter, and it's probably a good time because it's getting cold and you just never know when that snow storm is going to hit you. Once there's snow on the ground it's much harder to motivate and split wood, though a real-man in training shouldn't let a little white stuff discourage him.

Our wood pile is looking good and for all intents and purposes we could stop stacking right now and we'd probably be okay, but I think the end is in sight (with a little help from the kids) get it done. Might as well finish what we started. As always there are blocks of wood that are either too big or too knotty to split by hand, and I usually set them aside in a pile until I can obtain the splitter, and the pile was getting pretty big. These are the pieces where the maul simply bounces off as if it were made of rubber, or the maul sinks in a few inches and then no more, over and over again. It's like the wood is glued together, and believe me, at some point you just don't want to deal with it anymore. The knowledge that I would eventually get the splitter inspired me to toss the piece aside at the first sign of resistance, which only compounded the situation, i.e., made the pile grow.

With fall well over half over and winter on the way, I figured it was time to obtain the splitter and finish those pieces off. I spoke with JP and he said to talk to AM to get it, but I had to coordinate times with her because she's busy with assorted life responsibilities. I had to coordinate with JM during the allotted time slot (his truck has a trailer hitch to tow the thing) and now we have the splitter in our possession. I'm going to have the kids help me out and it should go a lot faster than splitting solo.

Then, when we're finished, I have to once again coordinate with JM to come pick it up. Boy, life sure would be easier if we had a truck, not just for logistical reasons, but to satisfy my real-man in training status. Then again, one thing at a time, right?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Mdrn-Mrvls for the pic.

Fall Attire

The weather is getting cooler and soon it will be time to shelve the shorts and start wearing long pants. This presents us with a bit of a conundrum because some of us not only don't like wearing long pants, but we especially don't like wearing jeans, which are a staple of the youthful wardrobe. Now granted, jeans are not as comfortable sweat pants or shorts, but you can't go through life wearing sweat pants and shorts, at some point you need to wear something else. Forget about fashion, the practical logistics of staying warm demand it.

Either way, I've been encouraging said person to wear jeans with mixed results. Sometimes there is cooperation, other times resistance. This individual is growing, as well, which adds another layer to the mix. I finally decided the time had come and went out and got them a pair of jeans. They had a big sale (they're always having a sale) over at Kohl's and they were pretty darn cheap, so I figured it was worth the risk. Plus, they're not the cheesy bargain brand Tough Skins that I wore as a kid, they're Levi's. The denim is surprisingly soft, and when said individual tried them on, they not only looked really good, but they were not averse to wearing them... I think.

We'll see where this one goes, but at least for now there are pants to be worn in cold weather that don't make you look like a hip-hop star.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to damage_justice for the pic.