Apr 21

To put the sun at your back and the wind in your face

It was a lovely afternoon for a bike ride. I did not dawdle, and so we set out for an hour, with the slightest chill in the shade and the perfect amount of warmth in the sun.

It could be that the wind whisked it all away. Wind is the thing that demands the most of us. It’s a cycling thing — some 30 percent of your energy, says the almost-science/sorta-old-wives-tale, is devoted to overcoming wind resistance. It’s also a regional thing. Nothing moves the seasons here like the wind. And today things were moving.

So was she. I looked down and looked up, that’s all it took, and she’d put that gap in between us. My lovely wife is up there, powering her way through some ridiculous gear. If you peer into the picture you can just make her out, small dots in the middle-distance. Sometimes you can’t blink and she’ll be gone. When she does that I have to use all the tricks I know to pull my way back up.

I can never tell her all the tricks or she’ll be up the road and it’ll just be me back here with my shadow.

Or, if you prefer the video version …

That might have actually been on the same road. This one was a different road.

Shows I should show you, include this show, which I told you about last night. There’s a comedienne interview in here, among some other fun stuff.

And you can get all of the news and then some right here.

And this, which I neglected from Monday … I don’t know what you do at a distillery, it’s not my scene, but doing it in the morning seems like a tough assignment.

I have a full day tomorrow, and an even more full day on Friday, if that’s possible, so we’ll leave it here for now. If you have some more time to kill right now, however, there’s always more on Twitter and check me out on Instagram, too.

Apr 21

And some two hours later … the job was done

Drip, drip, drip into the sink. And so I replaced the little bit of rubber inside the kitchen faucet. And then, later, drip, drip, drip again. I replaced that little washer. And again. Now, the first time it seemed like user error. And then, after that, maybe just bad water. Or bad water and user error. I suppose it could be a faulty bit of rubber. But when the dripping started for a fourth time I knew it was definitely anything but user error.

Which was when I stripped the little screw that holds the whole faucet together. And, after a day of trying to overcome that difficulty, decided to hang the whole thing and start anew.

So my lovely bride bought a new faucet this week, which she’s been hoping to do for some time.

Home ownership, by the way, is just an exercise in doing something you are asked, and learning some skill that gives you a bit of confidence, but really genuinely sincerely hope you never have to use again.

This is where I was this evening, going through the stages of self-confidence and doubt. And, honestly, I figured it out because of sheer spite for people handier than I am.

She picked up the faucet on Monday. We did outdoors work that day. Last night I didn’t get in until late. All of this, and the paragraphs above, have left me plenty of time to psyche myself up for the chore. And so, this evening, when I got to the house at a regular hour, I was ready to take on the task.

Super excited! Pep rally ready! Let’s rip out the old! Drop in the new! Make it appear as if nothing ever happened here!

That’s the self-confidence part.

Getting the old faucet out was the hard part. Well, maybe just reaching it. This is the kind of space I’m working in.

Oh that’s pretty standard, you say. Two sinks, sure, one larger than the other and both a fair size. Sure. Nothing but the best, right? And also the garbage disposal, who’s inner workings are in no way inconvenient to the cause. To say nothing of that random PVC vent in the center, which is precisely where I need to go.

And if you think I pondering trying to remove one of the sink tubs or uncoupling the disposal, you’re right.

The thing about the countertop is that the hole cut out of it is precisely as large as it needs to be and not a micron wider. The thing about the old faucet is that there are some copper components to it. And the thing about that vent in the back is that it took some considerable and destructive ingenuity to get out the old stuff. And the old equipment
is starting to get a bit of rust to it.

And somewhere in there, in that already tiny and almost unworkable space, is where the doubt part starts crowding in.

Well, it was all going away anyway, so things got destroyed. That was the point of no return, really, but it was the old stuff. The new stuff was just fine. So long as it worked when it got installed.

And if you’ve ever worked on more than any one thing on a house before you’ve come to realize that there is nothing standard about standard sizes or techniques or anything. I mean, this plumber could have been having a bad day the day he was in this house. And seeing some of the other stuff in here, it wouldn’t surprise.

Well, the old stuff got out, and once you get into the cabinet, under the sink and immediately beneath the not-at-all obstructive disposal unit and reminded yourself that you don’t have claustrophobia issues, it looks like this.

Seriously, what’s up with that vent. Does anyone here know what that does?

That bit of orange is from the new faucet install. It dropped in without a problem because the new sink uses rubber components and not copper. Once it was in place there was just the matter of reaching two hands, a screwdriver and a custom spanner into a space big enough for precisely one hand to tighten it down to the counter. And then you connect the supply lines, and pet the cat.

Poseidon was an excellent helper. And we are a safety first house.

Here he is looking over the tools and instructions.

Connect the faucet head. Imagine in your head the part of the instructions that Moen just got too lazy to write and figure out the final parts with some trial and error.

And congratulate the cat on being very helpful.

Now, because of the difficulty of removing the old one, and the time that took, both cats were interested in the box and the plastic inside. But it took so long they both lost interest in the plastic and the box. They went somewhere else. And then Poseidon remembered it anew.

Really, looking back on it even now I’m not sure why it took so long. It’s a fairly simple procedure, a faucet installation. A faucet extraction, however, might be its own specialty.

Anyway, we have a new faucet:

And it works and everything! Water comes out of it! Hot and cold! And it stops coming out when you ask it to stop! We better love this faucet for a long time.

Most importantly, no injuries, save the wrench I dropped on my face. No wicked oaths utter under my breath. Times I had to move a cat out of the way, uncountable. A successful new skill learned. Basic plumber 101 skill achieved. Hopefully I won’t have to do this again for a good long while.

Mar 21

Back to the ol’ grindstone today

I woke up feeling much better today than I did yesterday, to be sure. Yesterday, waking up was exhausting and a little painful. The aches and pains got better as the day progressed, and I rested a lot. Today I put my feet on the floor feeling normal and almost refreshed.

And then I walked the block-and-a-half into my building on campus and was utterly wiped out. Winded. Hands-on-my-knees just finished a sprint sort of condition. But it passed. And by the end of a day at the office I felt much better. I guess that’s what work will do for you sometimes.

By the time I took this photo, standing in the backyard and looking to the south-southwest at 8:10 p.m., I felt as normal as any other day.

And just like that sunset, he said poetically, my side effects with my second dose of the Covid vaccine are already fading into memory.

Now bring on those super powers.

Here are two shows I didn’t see produced last night, so we can watch them for the first time together. And it looks like they’re trying something a little new here. I could spell it out for you, but I don’t want to spoil your fun.

And from one masked up, socially distant show to another, here’s what’s up this week, with What’s Up Weekly. (It stinks that they have to do this in masks, but I’m proud of how they’ve gone along with that since they came back to campus, and how they’ve adapted to all the other things put before them. “You need a suggestion for how to talk about yourself in a job interview, talk about rolling with the punches and continuing to put your best foot forward, no matter what the old guy insists to foist on you as safety precautions,” that’s what I tell them.)

That was a fast show this week. I guess there’s not a lot going on. Good! It’s not just me …

More here in this, a no April Fools’ joke zone, tomorrow.

Mar 21

We rode bikes today, it was great, but I repeat myself

We have television shows to show off. Here’s the news show. Headlines! Sports! Weather! A look abroad! Everything but traffic. (It’s a mess out there, anyway, may as well stay where you are and watch this. You’re already cozy anyhow. You don’t really need to go anywhere.)

And here’s the pop culture show. They had a band in to celebrate Women Are Awesome month. Women are awesome, and these two ladies are too. They’re studying various elements of the music industry and have plans for the future and rock ‘n; roll right now.

Musical performances in this studio never work quite the way they are intended. It’s just not a room designed for that kind of sound, and you have to try to work with a specific type of equipment which is, also, designed for a different kind of sound. The two-piece band was game to try, and that’s all anyone can ask of rock ‘n’ roll in the end.

Well, in the real end, I’m just pleased we can help create these experiences for students. I didn’t produce a lot of musical performances at 20-years-old, but this group of burgeoning young television pros are doing it. It’s nice to have nice things. And this is, if you don’t count a few things I’ve just happened to walk past outdoors last fall, the first live music I’ve heard in a year. We all deserve a little live music. You choose the genre. You deserve as much at this point.

Oh we had a lovely bike ride today. I messed up the route, as is my habit. But it all worked out perfectly, as is the nature of bike rides. We got in an easy 20 miles, and I think I could have gone a smidge harder if necessary. Most of it ranged over our familiar base route, but we did add in an extra few roads just for fun.

Because I knew that section would only have four cars (See? Total mess out there.) on it this evening, that’s where I took my pictures.

The Yankee liked this one, because my shadow made an appearance.

That wasn’t what I was really going for, but it took a while for me to understand the sun, I guess.

There are two big turns on that road, and the county has seen fit to put big signs on the road noting them. I knew they were up ahead, and knew that was the picture I wanted. I missed the first one. Nailed the second.

Next time we’re on that road, if she hasn’t dropped me by then, I’ll try to get a video in that same spot.

The next time we’re on that road she’ll be in peak form and will be well and truly dropping me. So I guess that means I’ll have to get stronger and faster, too, just so I can make personal memes. The lengths you go to …

Mar 21

Tonight we are Mellow

Tonight I had the good fortune to join a ride with the many Major Taylor bicycling clubs across the country. So I wore my Major Taylor kit.

He won the world championship in 1899, set almost three-dozen world records in his career and had to deal with all sorts of racism and violence. He didn’t hang on to it, though, and explained why and how in his autobiography, which is a fine sports read.

So I’m on this group ride on Zwift, and I should point out this was in no way a race. Because I don’t race. Because I am not fast. But, somehow, despite that, I found myself off the front for about 25 minutes.

To not see anyone in front of you for that long is pretty wild. And then the really fast guys went by. It was a sight to behold.

But, for a while, my nose was in the wind and I was riding almost all alone. I celebrated with pizza.

Nah. I was going to enjoy that pizza anyway. The Yankee picked up Mellow Mushroom on an errand-trip to Indianapolis and so we are eating right tonight, and tomorrow! Mellow Mushroom really needs a store here. It’s a college town with woefully inferior pizza selections. Mellow would be a huge hit.