Thursday, June 05, 2014

Surprises us

Shipping department either delivered the Arc of the Covenant or potentially the biggest server in the data canter. Box had to be nearly four feet high and just a long. Steel straps holding it together. So big it was mounted on its own skid pad. 

After cutting, popping, unwrapping, lifting, and unboxing, we discovered it was actually a modern blade chassis, with two blades. The box was a major illusion and they could have used something a quarter of the size.

Rare that technology surprises us. But when it does, we get caught up in the excitement and whimsy. The lust of revealing the unknown. And HELL YEAH, brand new technology. That sort of adventure never gets old.

Still Progress

Whomever crafted the Jon-shaped voodoo doll pulled out a few of the pins. Stomach improved marginally. Knee feels better than it has in months. Energy levels high. Mood good. Much happiness  Much.

Yoga feels better this week, too. Stronger. More confident. Breath coming more naturally. Remembering the old tips and tricks to help deepen the poses. Forgot how important yoga used to be to me. How it puts you more directly in touch with your own body. Have to make it a routine again. Integral part of overall training. Another piece of the puzzle.

Here's the thing about yoga: There's a constant battle between your body and your brain. Your body is perfectly capable of doing even the most advance moves. But since such things are not exactly EASY, your body sends false signals to trick your brain. And your brain WANTS to agree. If you can focus on your breathing, relax into the pose, and resist the false signals, you'll make progress. In my case the progress with my hamstrings is slow. But it is still progress.

Also added ANOTHER tool to my arsenal: sauna. High doses and repeated exposure is supposed to help muscular development and overall performance during high temperatures. The thinking is: get ready for the furnace of South MS summer by pushing my body through multiple 30min sessions in the sauna each week, post-workout. Going to try in over the next four weeks and see if it helps at Sunfish.

If nothing else, my hamstrings will be more flexible and eight pounds of sweat will be left behind.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Straight In The Gut

Strange things afoot at Chateau McDougal. Woke this morning and a small but angry fut began to punch me straight in the gut. Felt it mainly below the naval and off to the left.

Either strained something while working out last night (not likely) or it is a diverticulitis attack (ugh!) For the uninitiated, that is an infection due to a piece of SOMETHING getting lodged and infected somewhere in the colon. Had a major attack in 2003. Not looking for a repeat.

Couldn't stand the feeling while walking around the house and decided it was wisest to work from home rather than deal with it at the office. And nobody wants to hear me complaining about sharp abdominal pains.

By lunch time, a megadose of Ibuprofen had taken away most of the pain. With some luck it will be gone in the morning. Already caused me to miss a workout (biking) today. Supposed to run, tomorrow evening. Can't fall further behind schedule!

Inversely, it could get worse. If it does, there's a possibility of an MRI and/or a colonoscopy in my near future. Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease let me be healthy again....

Monday, June 02, 2014

Making Progress

Hopefully my hamstrings are making progress. Even if only a little. Stretches every couple of hours. Staying hydrated, Super aggressive in yoga tonight. And my fourth successful week of working on the ab/hip challenge. Has to make a difference. Has to!

The Butt Rub has no bearing whatsoever on my knee or hamstrings. It is just there because it is cute. And after yoga, the house was BBQ scented. MMMmmmm. Tasty pork butt!

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Decluttering, Still

The good news: No knee issues today! The bad news: constant rain completely shutown my swim/bike training today.

Took the opportunity to continue getting rid of everything that is no longer (or has never been) used around here. Two huge boxes of "stuff" listed on Amazon. And three bags of trash thrown out. Discovered that my old technology magazines are very sell-able. Betting that my years of Heavy Metal are, too. Get that box of Magic the Gathering listed next. And eventually, 10 years of comic books.

Anything that isn't currently being used, currently being sold, or about to be donated, is going to be thrown away or given away. It is just stuff. With little exception, it is all replaceable. And it has to go. No more clutter taking up excess space in my home and in my head. Down size my wardrobe. Clean out the garage. Clean out the shed. Clean out the attic. Minimize my life. Get smaller. More mobile.

Fill my life with people.With experiences. Not stuff.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Out & About

After a successful trip to the grocery, with the kids, and an exciting adventure making baked Chicken Parmesan, Liam went to the movies with me.

Saw X-Men: Days of Future Past. Fairly good flick, for being based on a series of comic books. Some of the coolest effects, yet. A couple of minor quips could be made by a die-hard like myself. But mostly awesome. Liam loved it. And that goes a long way, in my book.

Afterwards, Kidd Maestro took up his favorite position, in front of Guitar Hero. Funny to watch other people try to play it, then watch Liam. Folks, like me, can barely do it on EASY mode. Liam picks HARD mode and  rocks them all. Talented little bugger. My brain barely registers the notes as they fall. He processes them instinctively without effort.

 When we get to the high scores, four out of ten say: LIAM. Nobody else has even two entries. Liam has four. FOUR! My rockstar. Super proud of him. He crushes whatever he does.

Finished the movie and the games and waited for a gap in the rain. But not the heat. Hit the road for a brief run First one in three weeks. Maybe four. Two miles, to test my knee. First mile was about 8:45. Much faster than my normal pace, and could hear Luke yelling at me, so throttled back. Second mile was about 9:15. Two miles in 17:58. Felt good. Had more in me. But didn't want to push my luck.

Great night. Hopefully the first of many to come.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Celebrated

Three days after The Injection. Odd issues at times. Hot flashes. Excessive trips to the restroom. And a lack of solid sleep. But a silver lining to this cloud of mine: no more pain! No more tender spot. No more stabbing when pulling the left foot up. Everything feels normal. For the first time since February.

Been stretching aggressively and staying hydrated. Planning on checking with a local PT that specializes in optimizing runners. And getting Brother Jason to do some massage work to lengthen my hamstrings. If all that can contribute to a better running experience, my triathlon season won't be a total bust after all!

Celebrated with a waaaay sloppy cheat meal during lunch. Big O's Sports Pub. Huge burger with sliced blue cheese, bacon, and caramelized onions. Plus fried onion strings. And (of all things!) lemonade. All courtesy of a vendor.

Great way to end a long week. Hopefully leading to a great weekend.

We shall see.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

We Can Breathe

A week to the day and he returns.
Xray clear.
CT clear.
Bone scan clear.
Not just good news, but GREAT! news.

Finally, we can breathe, again.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Graduation - 2014

That time of year again. Another milestone for this wee family of mine. Double graduation at Bayou View Middle School. Reminding us that we blink and the babies we clutched to our chests and rocked to sleep just yesterday are growing up and getting ready to carve their own niches in the world. Maybe we are ready. Probably not. When you have spent a third of your life sacrificing everything for another's well being, it is hard to imagine anything else.

Anyway. First up: Wonder Girl. Meg graduated from sixth grade with Honors. Striding across the stage, tall and glorious. Her transformation this year has been beautiful. And magical. Always reading. Or drawing. And often cranks out tunes on her fiddle that surprise all of us. Interested in theater. Offering to do volunteer work towards NJHS.  My girl, Meg. She is the beating of my heart.
Next up: Kid Maestro. Liam graduated from eighth grade. Officially done with Middle School. And on his way to 9th. High School. A Freshman. He continues to accelerate into his own orbit. Incredible testing scores, almost perfect. An amazing ability to reason his way through problems. And a knack for music that borders on supernatural. Strong willed but huge hearted. We struggle with him at times. He likes to have things his way. Likes to have the last word. (Won't say who he inherited THAT from.) But he listens well and take care of business when he puts his mind to it. All honors classes next year. Two strings classes. And this summer, he'll be driving. Then the fun really begins.

Congrats, kids. We're all proud of you. You've excepted expectations. As always.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

One Verdict

Weeks of internal debate. Finally getting a second opinion on The Knee. Switched doctors. If he has to cut me, New Doc can do it where Cindy works. Much cheaper. Previous doctor doesn't use the same facility for surgery. So erring on the side of financial caution.

 The tale unfolds as per the new American norm. Long delay, despite arriving early, in an oddly mellow waiting room. CNN on the LCD trying to convince impatient patients that entertainment is actually news.

Staff member calls my name. Odd semi-private waiting room. Curtains instead of walls. Little boy in the next booth fractured his wrist. But Mom keeps him numb with Minecraft on her iPhone. New staff member appears. Go over what's written on my paperwork. Let's do an x-ray. Doesn't matter that soft tissue damage won't appear. Office policy, ya know? Stand still. Turn to this side. That side. All done. Back to your semi-private waiting space. More waiting.

Next staff member. New room. Actually has a door. And lots of charts of colorful diagrams of body parts. Doctor shows up. Listens to Your Humble Narrator's Tale Of Woe. Had to help him locate the sore spot on The Knee. Then tested my range of motion. Nothing painful, thankfully. But HEY ! HEY! Jon's hamstrings are crazy tight. Nearly to the point of being a palsy victim.

And so a theory develops. One verdict: inflammation of the fat pad under my knee cap. Why? Because my tight hamstrings pull up on my knee caps constantly during runs. Causing wear and tear. Which isn't normal. Then frequent repetition of abnormal stress on my knees leads to inflammation. Swelling. That leads us to the ortho.

And now what? Short term, a shot of monkey juice directly into The Knee! NP shows up with the standard kit. Hits me with liquid nitrogen, or something, and freezes the area. WHAMMO! Giant needle into soft tissue. Holding my breath. Over quickly. And that is that. Should be better within a couple of days.

Long term, lots and lots of stretching. Three to six times per day! Have to get the hamstrings much looser. Have to put less strain on the knees. Or no more running. And you're not much of a triathlete if you cannot run.

If the swelling goes down (and it should,) but running fires it back up, we'll have to move on to the next step: an MRI and maybe some scoping.

But for now, let's hope the monkey juice does the trick.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day 2014

Kids had to go to school, on Memorial Day.
Us adults were off.
And had an adult conversation.
Plans. Truths. Pasts. Futures. Her ideas. Mine.
Headache.
Cindy & Meg end up @ Gigi's.
Liam & Jon end up getting pub grub @ Irish Coast.

We'll see what happens.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Robinwood Training - 05/25/14

Great crowd  at the lake today. Familiar faces. New ones. Everyone smiling and talking about their training and their races.

Good to be back in the water, again. Some cold spots. Some hot spots. Won't be long before the whole thing turns into a cauldron. Did about two thousand meters. Felt great and fairly easy. So much different from previous years. From the back of the pack to close to the front. My one strength.

Hit the bikes after. The main group was training for Grandman, next week. They kicked it into high gear and averaged nearly 20MPH. Wasn't on my plan. Just happy to be on the road and work off some calories. Not really much serious effort, but still averaged 18.10MPH. Which would have been a struggle just a couple of years ago.

Closed out the day with a trip to a snowcone shack. Strawberry. Topped with cream. Time consuming. But dirt cheap.

Cooling off with sugar and friends and comrades.

Life is good.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Memories

Kids were with me for the day. Cindy was off doing what Cindy goes off and does. Fortunately, we all had a good time. Kidd Maestro helped me with the yard. Wonder Girl helped with laundry and clothes. No fussing or drama and there's a rumor that we worked together pretty well as a team.

Afterwards, the kids got to pick where they wanted to eat. Thankfully, there was much agreement and we ended up around the corner, at Brooklyn Pizzeria.

Couple of slices of pepperoni for the son. Couple of slices of cheese for the daughter. Chicken Parmesan  for Your Humble Narrator. Kids enjoy it. Everything was peaceful and easy and relatively inexpensive. The three of us happy to be out of the house and doing something agreeable together.

Interesting historic reference. My first OFFICIAL date with Cindy was at Brooklyn Pizzeria. Not exactly where I would take a date NOW. But it was after a movie, we were young, and we were hungry. So we ate there and talked about whatever we talked about. Almost 20yrs ago, so those little details are lost to history.

Flash forward to the 21st and these days she's of the mindset that she made a mistake by going. She was in shape back then. She ate right. She never touched greasy pizza. Why, oh why, did she do it that night, she laments.

That's okay. The memories are still good, in my twisted mind.


Friday, May 23, 2014

Musicians Past

A typical scene at Chateau McDougal. Liam's plucking on the guitar and Molly's trying to figure out how to get some more attention. Interesting note here is that Liam's taking his sheet music for Game Of Thrones, which is for the double bass, and he's transmogrifying it in his head so he can play it on my old acoustic guitar.

Crazy talented kid. Doesn't even cross his mind that such things are almost impossible for NORMAL people, like Your Humble Narrator. Just comes natural to him. With almost every instrument he touches.

His Mom's side of the family, for certain. Etched into his chromosomes. The ghost of musicians past. Their music echoing across a generation. 

Enjoying it while it lasts.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Robotic Bastard

Back to the battle with technology. Second day of waging near-constant war against backups. Like playing digital Jenga with the smoldering soul of an unblinking, multi-million dollar corporation. Pull out the wrong puzzle piece and the whole delicately crafted construct falls down around your trembling ears. Summoned all the king's horses. Summoned all the king's men. And we finally put Digital Dumpty back together again.

First piece was a new backup-to-disk solution that didn't behave. Finally spanked it until it complied. Of course that means half a dozen of us on the phone with three different accents and an over-eagerness to control the mouse.

Second piece was the backup server. It didn't like the new storage. And of course IBM can't modernize to an actual Graphical User Interace (GUI) so my morning is spent on the phone with one of their lead nerds as he talks me through the specific, arcane syntax required to reconfigure their command line interface (CLI.) Tedious, painful stuff. One wrong keystroke could have wiped everything. But we managed to get it stripped down to the bare bones and rebuilt properly.

Final piece was the tape silo. Robotic bastard. Refusing to play nice. Lost count of the number of inits and reboots and replaced tapes it took to make the sun/moons/stars line up correctly. Week of no training. Headache for lunch. Not even a pat on the back, or a pack of cigarettes, for ol' Johnny. Par for the course, though. All a part of the gig. Still glad to be employed. While wrestling robots still pays well.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Modern Bad News

Packets. They can carry anything. Even modern bad news. Sometimes so serious it takes me several awkward minutes to figure out just how much fit has hit the shan.
"You will feel some pressure." Captioned with the picture. 
Results day. Supposed to hear from his doctor. Forgot check on him, trapped in my narrow world. But he can't forget. Reaches out to let me know. And amid what must be the definition of horror, he is still joking with me. Strongest man in my life.

Ones and zeros.  A digital tipping point. End up trying not to cry at work. Thanks to packets. Bastards.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Playlisted

In my old age, things are simpler. Bacchanal happiness comes easy. One part near-freezing cider. One part tunage. And one part comradeship. Of course the cider must be plentiful. (Too many pints tonight, though.) The music has to be loud. (But we playlisted too long.) And the comrade must be trusted and honest and forthright. (Hard to find.)

Post-work adventures at my favoritest super dive, Rooney's. 90s jams on TouchTunes. Plates of smoked brisket from Murky Waters. And not a sign of seriousness or responsibility or obligations to be found. Just a couple of hours of catching up and decompressing.

Cheap. Easy. Simple.

Keeps a man 95% happy. And helps steel him for the remaining 5%.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Lakeside

First swim in two weeks. Over at Robinwood. Old faithful. Did four easy laps (just about a mile) in 40 minutes. Familiar faces: Luke, Jack & Onnie, Bob, Kristen, Rachel K, and Brian S. Different distances. Paces. Skills. And comforts. But everyone enjoying the water while it is still cool and bearable. Won't be long because the lake turns into a bathtub and we go back to the indoor pool.

Cindy was taking care of her mother. So the kids & Molly tagged along with me. Dog's first time in open water. She lived. Meg & Liam had fun. Cindy & her Mom survived their sodium & potassium adventures. Everyone continued training. And summer bites a little deeper on us all. 

Afterward, shirtless and recovering, Molly sat in the backyard with me. Listening to Pandora (from the little speaker on the left side.) Enjoying the breeze. And the sun. And the solitude of a fresh cut yard.

Amazing how much better a quiet day makes you feel. If only they could all be like this...

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Old & New

Caught up with an old classmate today. Malise M. swung through town with her husband, Chris. They've been in New Orleans this week. Indulging on good food, Southern music, and mild summer nights off Bourbon. We caught lunch at Harbor View. Met with Officer Mikey. Talked about fitness, old classmates' updates, Austin, Seattle, and their travels across the globe. Strange clicking so quickly after a twenty five year gap. They had great stories. We dug up old memories. And hopefully my tales didn't bore them.

Afterwards, caught a new movie with Liam & Bryce. (The truck next to us in the parking lot accidentally left a clean spot.) New Godzilla movie. Interesting spin on a classic. Enjoyed the clever opening credits. Thought the plot had some merit. But wanted some more giant monster combat and less unnecessary character development. The movie required a little too much suspension of disbelief towards the end. Couple of the critical pieces just too implausible for my tastes. But it was a monster movie afterall. And the kiddos loved it. If there's a sequel, we'll go see it!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Need Answers

After significant dragging of feet and far too much thought about options, here is the (new) plan for my leg.
  • Step One - Get another professional opinion. 
  • Step Two - Get the problem fixed. 
  • Step Three - Resume the awesomeness/
Best case scenario, the doctor sticks a large, painful needle deep into the tender meats of my knee, injects the magic sauce, and bingo bango... everything is fixed! Get back up to speed for the triathlon season. And aim for competing at Sunfish as my next event. Wouldn't that be swell?

Next best case scenario, the doctor suggests physical therapy and it takes weeks of training just to get rid of the pain and return to normal levels of function. Not sure of the timeline. Likely measured in months. Skip Sunfish. Potentially shoot for Ironman Austin in late October.

Worse case scenario, the doctor says soft tissue is damaged and needs to be mended with surgery. Week of recovery. Months of physical therapy. Maybe get back online with time to train for Ironman Austin in late October, but potentially miss the rest of the triathlon season. 

Appointment is Tuesday, May 27th. Need answers. Can't keep hoping for relief. Have to create a solution. It isn't going to create itself. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

SERIES - True Detective

True Detective is a slow mellow groove. Best sampled in sips. Each of which can be considered and digested in small amounts. One at a time. 

The writing is smooth and extremely well polished. Acting that is nearly off the charts by most measure. Doubly so for a drama television series. Constantly challenging musical interludes. Gorgeous scenes with a touch of subtle effects. Excellent dialog. And a wonderfully slippery plot. But potentially the strongest characteristic is the minimalist, very purposeful and direct interaction between all of the characters. Nearly everyone is an anti-hero. And nobody escapes True Detective's gravity without a few scars. Inside or out. 

There are crimes to solve. Relationships to untangle. Villains to chase, or run from. Love. Violence. Sex. Pseudo supernatural elements. And more riddles asked than are ever answered. 

If you have the opportunity. Watch it. If you don't have the opportunity, make one. True Detective is that damn good. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Test Ride

Back to the gym. After ten days of downtime. Some time on the indoor cycle. Test ride of sorts. See how the leg/knee holds up. Then a dip in the waaaay cold pool. Twelve minutes and everything was numb. From the waist down. 

Spin went well. Lots of sweating and panting. Old bastard getting older. No problems otherwise. Problem only materializes when pulling my foot up, from striking. Only a twinge normally. But with any additional resistance against my leg, there's a sharp pain. Also an issue when my knee takes all my weight, during a run. Then there is a pinch. Both issues are only slight. Maybe a 1 or 2 on a scale of 1 to 10. But those issues could certainly get acerbated. Then require significant surgical repair. Rest alone isn't going to do it. Have to get it checked out. By a professional. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Gulfport Music Festival 2014 - Day Two

With the rains gone, we returned to the Gulfport Music Festival in time to catch the end tail of Ying Yang Twins. Must more pleasant weather but a far thicker crowd. Everyone in a good mood, though. No trouble at any point, as far I could tell. Love & peace in South Mississippi.

We brought collapsible chairs and bottled water. Significantly more comfortable. Sitting on wet, muddy grass for half a dozen hours held little appeal. Lots of cloud cover. Mildly warm. Nice breeze off the gulf.

Then Cypress Hill took the stage. Followed by a cloud of less-than-legal smoke. Wild to hear songs from the late 80s and early 90s that haven't been in my head in years but the words come back without any coaxing. Favorite part of their show was the DJ. Liam's generation is all about sound boards and samples. Rare treat for him to hear real scratching. And DJ Muggs was is excellent form today.

Ludacris followed. Very interactive with the crowd. Did a run down of all his previous hits. Made light of the fact that the majority of his fans today were Southern white folk. How's that feel for him? Uncomfortable? Redeeming? Or perfectly normal? And this will seem weird but imagine my surprise to find myself singing bunches of his songs without ever realizing before now that they were Ludacris songs. Never thought to attribute so many of my favorites to him.

Closed out the night with Kid Rock. All-live music. Four guitars. Saxaphone. Violin. DJ. Crazy afro-ed drummer girl. And three backup singers. Started off with a prayer. Played his newest stuff. Then broke into the old classics.

Great way to end a very long day. Enjoyed the time out. Especially with Liam.


Friday, May 09, 2014

Gulfport Music Festival 2014 - Day One

On the heels of (another) ten hour day. Dancing around the scars inflicted by my private demons: doubt and regret. Supposed to be in Panama City Beach, Resting. Trying to sleep. Before my second 70.3. But that ain't happening. Instead, my time gets voluntold for Gulfport Music Festival 2014. Not a place or band or time that appears on my wish list. Won't mention the associated price tag. Bitter taste for all of it. Somebody else's plans. And responsibilities. Thrust upon me. Without regard for what's going on behind my eyes. Yet another useless, one-sided argument piled atop the casket.

Still. Bonding time. With Kid Maestro. He's excited. So my thoughts stay semi-private. Helping me navigate the maze of cars and people. Walking to the venue. Could hear the show half a mile away from the entrance. Huge, two-story video walls glow in the fading sun. And the two of us snaking our way through the swarmed horde of Southern humanity. All makes and models. All ages. And manner of dress. And accents. Assembled to hear the same artists and music. Oh, the humanity.

Caught the tail end of Sir Mix A Lot. Then the beginning of The Pretty Reckless. Okay, sure, lead singer is a lovely lass. But apparently she'd rather be surrounded by mirrors than rednecks. Less narcissism, more talent  next time.
And then the rain. Between bands, we're huddled under blue ponchos when the DJ announces:  a 20 minute break until the weather clears. As if on command, things go from bad to shit storm. The crowd doesn't take kindly to it. And like some herd of ornery dingos, there is a mass exodus to safety. Loudly. And rapidly. Concert or no.

We're barely able to see through the curtains of near-horizontal rain as we make it to a semi-dry spot under a pavilion by the entrance. Temperature dropped. Wind picked up. The first tongue of lightning touches down less than one hundred feet from where we are sitting. Thunder erupts like a heavy metal kick drum sending screams from every mostly-sober woman around us. And half the men. Jumps into the nearby electrical grid and in mid-scream the lights fade to black.

There we stay. Nearly two hours. Surrounded by a soggy, motley crew. Drunks. Smokers. Stoner Fish. Rowdy Redneck splashing unhappy neighbors. Cute little tattooed girl, missing her left hand. And several hundred other unhappy concert-goers. All of us from across the Gulf South. Starting our weekend but ended Friday on a soggy note.

When Liam goes to find a better location, my weather app suggest we're barely mid-way through the thick of it. Which makes the decision for us: we are leaving.

Then the long walk to the car. Through puddles up to our ankles. Dodging traffic. Stumbling over half-seen curbs. We're totally soaked. Without towels. Past midnight. And, surprisingly happy to be done.

So ends Day One.


Thursday, May 08, 2014

Meg Inducted Into NJHS

Meg was inducted into NJHS, tonight. So terribly proud of our little girl! Between her grades, her music, her art, and theater/dance, she's a superstar. So far beyond anything her parents did that we sometimes think she's adopted.

Barely made it out in time. Long day at the office. Long day for everyone. Snuck in during "the pledge." Seat in the back. Caught video of Meg receiving her award and crossing the stage. Oh, the places she'll go. Half way to college and Meg is already rocketing into orbit. Enough inertia behind her. She may never have to land. Maybe she never will.

video

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Mower Part Two

Husqvarna made Mower Part One. Swedish company. Products probably assembled in America. Tennessee. Georgia. South Carolina. See the trend? As you can imagine, the brand new mower turned out to be Craptasticly American. And after less than four uses (not even a month of ownership) Mower Part One decides to gasp out its dying breath. And it would mow no more.

Familiar silly dance with the support line. Check the gas? Yes. Check the oil? Yes. Air filter? Yes. Spark plug? Yes. Sorry, they said, bad unit. Gonna have to do a big long dance, they said, with our third party provider. Haul the unit over there, they said, leave it for a week, Third Party will fix it for you. 

Hell with that, says Jon. Taking that sumbitch right back to Lowe's. Leaving it on their doorstep and disputing the charges, if need be. You don't take Ol Jon's hard earned money for a third rate piece of hardware that doesn't last even a month. Nope. Not gonna happen. Not without somebody catching bruises. 

Now there's a brand new Troy Bilt in the garage. Mower Part Two. And it's gonna got some damn grass!

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

This Plan

Gonna keep this plan simple. (Is there much choice?)

Step 1 - Take an entire week off from all forms of training. No swim. No bike. No run. No gym. Nothing.

Step 2 - See what a week of recovery does for the leg.

Step 3A -  If the pinch/pain/woe is gone, come up with a new plan that includes a very slow return to previous levels of performance.

Step 3B - If the pinch/pain/woe is not gone, follow up with the ortho and go from there. Likely start with an MRI. End with getting scoped plus a dash of physical therapy, and a very slow return to previous levels.

Step 4 - Race again

"Come, Watson, come!" he cried. "The game is afoot. Not a word! Into your clothes and come!"

Monday, May 05, 2014

Cinco De Numb

Celebrated Cinco De Mayo with a loud, prolonged visit to Rooney's. Super dive and supremely perfect place to numb one's wounds. Met by my life long chum, Roger. The two of us toasting to another fruitful trip around the sun. He with rum & coke. Me with icy pints of their finest Woodchuck. Tunes from the jukebox. A drunken lass showing us the stigmatic scars on her leg and tells of being impaled while climbing a fence in NOLA. Excellent BBQ from next door. Roger going for the pulled pork sammich. My plate heaped with terribly delicious brisket. And occasionally, we'd play Mexican music. In part to honor of the holiday. But mostly to have a chuckle and forget about everything else haunting our days. Our own holiday: Cinco De Numb.

Afterwards, back at Ye Ol House, the cider singing behind my eyes and my effing leg finally not hurting, Liam pulls out my old guitar and experiments. Taking classical tunes from his chamber group, his part on the double bass, and playing it on the acoustic. Tries to explain how he's able to translate the notes in real time. But none of the terms stick to my age-slicked gray matter. Harmonic this. Three octaves that. The technicalities aren't what matter. His awesomeness that does. And how effortlessly he does it. A gift we can only pray he grows to appreciate. Where ever it came from...

He's beautiful and talented. My pains are numbed. Roger's still among the living. And we all live happily after.


Sunday, May 04, 2014

Meg's Sermon

Religion runs thick in Cindy's blood. Pastors. Gospel sings. And several family members who feel the call. Maybe Meg does. She certainly did a fantastic job today. Read from Luke 24: On The Road To Emmaus. And sang a couple of songs for us, too. 

Made us proud. How well she sang. The clarity of her voice. The smooth, pleasant reading of the gospel she gave. Beautiful and gracious and powerful. That's my Meg!

(Click the pictures for larger images!)
 


Saturday, May 03, 2014

Done

My season may be done. Already. Can't keep denying the obvious. My left leg isn't right. Hasn't been since that one great run. Months ago.

Did a mock triathlon this afternoon. With Luke & Jack & Onnie. Swim was good. Felt strong. Finished in front. Bike was good. Felt strong. Finished in front. Run sucked. Only two miles. They were both disappointing and terrible.

Skipping Gulf Coast. Hoping to get my pass pushed to next year. Skipping Grandman. Likely skipping Sunfish. If a week, or two, of rest doesn't get me normal, there's an MRI in my future. And maybe get the knee scoped.

The worst part? My highest point, when the knee went sideways, was still slow. Only 9:15 per mile for a long run. Friends do 8 minute miles on their slow runs. Top guys do sub-six minute miles. And at 9:15 per mile, my machinery breaks down. That, my friends, is just sad.

So, maybe the season is done. Who knows? We'll have to see.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Spiritless

After the steel cage match at home, Your Humble Narrator is completely spiritless. Without joy. Or passion. Forlorn. No desire to train. Work feels cold and empty. Food has no taste. And there is no such thing as enough sleep. Like looking through a cracked mirror: everything is shattered.

Have to find my positivity. Recharge the mental batteries. Especially with a 70.3 looming in eight days. (Or less.)

Used to be lost. Now? Just stuck.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Diatribe

"You've been drinking," says she.

"Had to do something," says me.

Cheaper than lawyers. Or bail.

Off to bed, for she. Such is the ritual.

Decided not to scream.

But silence is the real crime against humanity.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Helping

Gave a speech earlier about charitable service. Helping the less fortunate folks in our community. Modern spin on being our brother's keeper. Doing what we can. Anything better than nothing. Our Food Fight raised over ten grand in cash. And received tens of thousands of pounds of non-perishable food. Combined efforts amount to roughly fifty thousand meals for local charities. Couple of rounds of praise. Interview with WLOX. Good to have my efforts recognized. But apparently Ol Jon can help everyone else except his own family. 

Worked a little later than planned. Didn't train. (Wasn't going to, after yesterday's brick.) Get home too close to seven. Walk into a brewing storm. And bad turns into worse. Blossoms into the same old argument about contributions versus expectations. Lots of one-sided yelling. Previous efforts going completely unrecognized. Topped off with acidic comments intended to hurt as much as possible.

The rest is silence. Until the cycle repeats.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Indoor Brick

Terrible storms raging, horizon to horizon. Something like twenty (or more) inches along the Gulf Coast. Front yards turned into lakes. And me trying to train for an Ironman.

End up doing some indoor brick work. Sixteen miles on the bike in fifty two minutes. Then a half hour of running seemingly endless circles on the track. Chasing Jack and Chris. Who do it as effortlessly as it ought to be for me.

Slick with foul sweat. Breathing like an old nerd. Slowing. Step by step. Until the anger is almost gone. Almost. But it is never completely gone these days. Just hunkers down for a bit. Biding its time.

Bring on the next race!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Gonna Try This

Given the fact that my run has returned to previous levels of craptasticness, changes are in store. First order of business: strengthen the core. Going to try the 30 Day Core Challenge from Active.com. Four weeks of crunches, back extensions, leg raises, planks, and adding some clamshells and side leg raises for hip strengthening.

In the meanwhile, Ye Ol Neck & Ye Ol Back are recovering nicely. Less stiffness. More flexibility. And (maybe?) better performance in the water and on the bike. Done with multiple visits per week. Down to just once. Stretching and exercising at home ought to help.

But how often do my plans go as well as envisioned?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Visiting Kimmer

Spent my Sunday visiting Kimmer & Family. They drove down yesterday. Staying in their favorite condo. Ethan breaking into his second year. Cute as a little bug. Wanting to pinch those pudgy cheeks of his. Full of energy and excitement. On the go, non-stop. Sounds like any little redhead in my life?

Here's the crazy orbit we spin through. My history with Kimmer goes back to the late 90s, when we worked at MindSpring. He had a grown son and my kids were still in the planning stages. We would hang out after work, eating incredibly stupid food, drinking insane amounts of alcohol, and occasionally going to the gym and pretend to train. Fifteen years later, Kim has a toddler, my kids have become teens, and neither of us drink or eat like we used. Neither of us ever would have predicted these crazy adventures. And we still talk almost daily.

Post food, Ethan (and Kimmer?) needed a nap. So we hit the beach for some open sea swimming, while Mommy babysat.Beautiful day for it. Touch breezy. Smidge over-cast. Interesting waves. But not brutal. wetsuit for me. Beach chair for Kimmer. He'd watch me do my version of laps. Out, through the breakers, maybe 200 meters, and back again. Much easier than Dauphin Island. (Thankfully!) Clearer water. Could see the bottom much of the time. But a stronger rip current dragging to the west. 6 laps. Maybe 1600 - 2400 meters. A good prep for Gulf Coast in two weeks.
Kim took a couple of pictures. If you squint and use your vivid imagination, you just might be able to spot the rare and elusive Aqua Nerd!

Afterwards, even more food! Some Mexican. (To offset the Cajun lunch we had at Stinky's Fish Camp!) And then Ol Jon had to hit the road for the long, lonely ride home to a quiet, sleeping house. Three hours each way. On the heels of my first triathlon of the season. Quite a task.

A great time, with great friends. Reminds me of what life is about.

If only it could have been stretched out for a week...

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Scattered

A shotgun blast of a day. High velocity pellets hitting from too many directions. Nearly non-stop at the office. (Though my new plan is to only open email two or three times a day and avoid it as a constant distraction.) Mom calls while driving, tells me she is trailing an ambulance and G'Ma is en route to the ER, for chest pains. Many worrisome hours later it isn't a heart attack, but possibly intra-cranial fluid. That particular issue may linger for days. Cindy keeps taking tests. A friend's sole server at work gets completely ransacked by a Russian crypto trojan that encrypts the entire system and holds it hostage until they pay an anonymous account with fresh bitcoins. And another friend has voodoo invade his home network after a rainstorm so now all the packets are soaked and nothing works consistently. Feels like Monday all over again. 

On a good note, Dr J popped my back so well yesterday that it completely stopped hurting, at least for now. My knee isn't hurting when walking. And a test run is on the agenda for tomorrow. Still time to train for the 70.3 in May. But it is going to be close.

Things are always close in my life.