Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Getting Going Again...

"It'll be just like starting over...starting over..."
---John Lennon

I am FINALLY getting moving again. I was released from physical therapy after two-and-a-half months to the tears of the staff there...tears of joy, I am certain. Nonetheless, I am on my way. There is still pain in the heel, but the therapists felt the healing (heeling?) was going to be more a function of time than PT at this point. As long as I keep the ankle and the heel stretched out and mobile it should continue to improve, if only very slowly.

Yesterday I took a longer bike ride, one that I glossed the Tour de Libraries. Mrs. Fish had overdue videos at one library and I had books to pick up at another, so I hopped on The Cannondale and set out. Several thoughts occurred to me about how different things were as a result of the long layoff. First, and most obviously, I am out of shape (unless round is a shape). It's not surprising. I have a lot of strength built up as a result of the PT, but for longer, sustained, aerobic activity, it's going to be a while to build the stamina.

Second, things feel different from a sensory perspective. This time of year brings a lot of critters out and a great many of these end up as road Frisbees. The unique stench of animal decay was heavy through a couple of the more open spaces, notably around the woods and fields. I was also surprised at how quickly the temperature dropped. As the sun was going down, the Mercury dropped dramatically and I found I was nearing cold. Not that disconcerting cold, but just uncomfortable enough to make me pedal that much harder. I realized that being in the car removes me from these effects, and it's been a long time since I have had to concern myself with them. Next time, an extra layer is in order.

Third, I was surprised at how uncomfortable I felt on the bike. Not so much speaking to physical discomfort, but mentally. I was acutely aware of every vehicle around me, the smells, the speed, how close they were to me (which, ultimately, was not that close at all -- people are pretty respectful of cyclists in this area). I was also a little twitchy in the corners, which was weird, and I found myself not looking ahead far enough on more than one occasion, which added to my unease when I realized it. I am certain the comfort will return with time, but it was just an odd experience.

The highlight had to be on the way home, when this chap on a motorcycle passed me. He stopped at a red light ahead of me. It's one I sit at more than my share, so I am used to the timing pattern. I timed it so the light turned green and the rider got out ahead of me, then I mashed the pedals and passed him on the downhill, hitting about 40 miles per hour. It's not every day you get to pass a motorcycle. Dude was not amused, methinks.

Anyway, it's going to be a long slow recovery process, to be sure. I am comfortable on the bike and not too sore afterwards. Little Fish has offered to run with me as i return to this, so I have that to look forward to as well. One step at a time, one slow, laborious, plodding step...

Sunday, April 18, 2010


For those of you following the story of my buddy Collin, he and his family have GREAT news. He had a fever high enough to prompt his parents to take him to the hospital. Because he was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), this is a serious development.

Well, the doctors got his temperature stabilized and he just came home from the hospital yesterday! Furthermore, this Friday marks Collin's second birthday. Happy birthday, little guy. And many, many more to come.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

On the Road Again...

I have been on the road a lot the last couple of days. I've put 300+ miles on the car in the last two days. Yeesh.

That being said, one of the cooler things happened on my ride home today. I was driving home in the Infiniti (still loving it, by the way) and kind of not paying attention and feeling a bit tired. You know the way the road kind of lulls you a bit when you've been driving a lot? So anyway, I look up and there's a big section of aluminum drain pipe right in the middle of the highway.

My New CAR! OH. MY. OH NOES!! I realize I am going to hit it and it is far too late to react, but react is what I do. I swing the car to the right, toward the safety lane, and BAM! I am in the safety lane. I have swung around the section of pipe like I was on a rail. One second I was in the lane, the next I was in the safe zone, as if there was no transition whatsoever. I was sure I was going to hit it, but that was because I was going on the reaction time of the old Honda.

The car continues to impress me. Apparently, stoners are also impressed, as evidenced by the Jeff-Spicoli-Type-Guy that leaned out of the detention bus when I was picking up my daughter from school. "Duuuuude. That car is sooooooo cool, dude."

So I have that going for me, which is nice....

Monday, April 05, 2010

Manly-Man Weekend....

It was a quality manly-man weekend, the kind that puts hair on your chest, thkind that would make The Art of Manliness guys proud. I started landscaping the backyard, which is a sprawling giant of a hill. I am in the process of putting in railroad tie steps so we can journey down to stream that runs through our property. It's my hope we can have streamside meals with riparian entertainments this summer. It surprises me how incredibly heavy the railroad ties are. Still, I chainsawed them into usable chunks and set about carving the first setting into the hillside with a pick and shovel. Needless to say, the assorted plants, trees and other detritus that have built up over the course of years has made that task quite challenging. In between the roots and leaves, I uncovered old Ball Mason jar pieces, unspent shotgun shells (plural), a snake and even a gigantic frog (thing scared the carp out of me because I thought it was a hopping alligator at first).

Still, the foundation of gravel was laid, the rock dust smoothed over top of that then tamped down to set it, and the first step was laid out. I was ready to finalize setting it with rebar today when I found the blade I bought to cut the rebar does not fit my mitre saw. I realized this by the St. Vitus Dance it went into when I activated the saw. I'm not the world's greatest tool guy, but that did NOT look right to me, so I stopped, examined it, and found out what it was wrong. And, it was a good thing I did that before losing a limb or an eye. Who knew this project would be so fraught with peril.

In between all of this, as a rest and reward to myself, I put Li'l Fish's bike together and we went cruising around the neighborhood and beyond. On Sunday, we took a spin over to the local Giant, but it was closed for Easter so we ended up going to the only convenience store in America with no Slushy/Slurpee/Squishy machine. Iced tea was the order of the day, and it was awfully good, even though it was only half as cold as a Slushy/Slurpee/Squishy.

Somewhere along the line, I also managed to vacuum out the basement, tune up the lawnmower (new plug, new blade, spring cleaning), sweep out the garage and, today, mow the lawn and hit the weed whacking. Now I have to go grunt some more and manscape my chest....or maybe not.