This Week’s Miscellany

Plantar Fasciitis

In November of last year I took the Miyata 610 for a 17-or-so-mile ride through Stepford’s light industrial area and after that my foot hurt when I walked without shoes in the house.  I thought I’d developed a stress fracture having pedaled wearing soft-soled running shoes instead of a pair of cycling shoes with stiff soles.  I tried staying off the bike for several weeks, tried icing the foot, tried acetaminophen and ibuprofen, but nothing worked.  Finally, I got back on the bike and tried to make sure I used my cycling shoes with the Miyata (less necessary with the Razesa because it’s got the MKS Lambda pedals that distribute force/weight more evenly).

Got an official diagnosis of plantar fasciitis last week from the podiatrist at Pixilie.  The doctor was training a new assistant so did a lot of talking while taking X-rays (cool digital USB stand-on device) and while taping my foot.  He described having been taught to perform a low Dye strapping of the arch by an old doctor who, when young, had been taught by Dr. Dye who was then an old man.  I found the measure really effective for the short term, but taping comes loose after bathing.  Additionally, I was given a night splint and gel heel cups for my shoes, and the doctor suggested stretching exercises.  X-ray images clearly show that I’ve developed a small bone spur at the heel.  The following morning, after having slept in the awkward splint, I found foot pain greatly reduced.  Continued use of it and heel cups after a few days seems to have effected some positive change; I should more regularly perform the exercises suggested, however.


Kirby Sentria Vacuum-Cleaner

The Panasonic upright Caution-Lady bought a few years ago finally broke for the last time – the all-plastic housing into which the roller brackets attached at either end cracked and a piece broke off causing the roller to turn lopsidedly and burn through belts within five or ten minutes.  Last time it broke, it took the local vacuum store (from which we originally purchased the unit) weeks to fix it, they said, because a part was on backorder.  Cost about half as much as the vacuum cost new, if memory serves.  For awhile, we’ve been using the 1984 model Electrolux Silverado DeLuxe canister vac we inherited from Caution-Lady’s grandparents.  The Electrolux has all the original attachments and came with a box full of new bags; it works perfectly, but the long hose, extension tubes with attachments can be difficult to manage.  Also, the plug pulls out of the wall too often when pulling the canister behind while vacuuming.  Nevertheless, it cleans pretty well.

Kirby Model Time-Wave

Because Cautious One again wanted to get an upright vacuum-cleaner and I remember the 1950’s model I bought from the guys at San Pedro Vacuum on Seventh Street below Mesa in about 1992, I started looking for one on Amazon and Craigslist.  The machine worked fabulously and I took it with me to Portland and to Louisville, but left it in Louisville when I moved to Stepford.  It had all the attachments, including grinding wheel and sander; I was a stupid-head to have left it in Louisville (see the model above dated 1956 with the distinctive red trim).  An Amazon seller in Wisconsin was offering the Kirby Ultimate Diamond edition refurbished for $298 and I came pretty close to buying it, but couldn’t find a telephone number for the company on the web to talk to the seller and ascertain what they mean by “refurbished.”  I Craigslist-searched various combinations of terms – Kirby vacuum, Kirby Sentria, Sentria, Kirby sentra (because a lot those people who use Craigslist are lazy spellers), and found several later model units with attachments.  A family over in Pixilie had a Sentria (see the model listed at 2006 on the Kirby model time-wave, above) for $400.    Below is a picture sent by the seller:


I bought the unit for $280, took it home, cleaned the roller, changed the belt (the seller included four new), changed the bag (seller included one extra), cleaned up the fan, and put it to work.  We haven’t shampooed the carpet, yet, but if that attachment/function works as well as the basic vacuum and hose attachments, the marker stains (Seventy-Six) and coffee stains (me) in the den will be history.

Edz Wingz


Friday, I worked in Fayetteville, Tennessee, and had lunch at Edz Wings where, perennially trying to lose five fricking pounds, I opted for a brisket cobb salad instead of the burger, fried green beans, and dessert I wanted.  If you’re ever in Fayetteville, Tuesday through Saturday, during working hours and fail to eat at Edz, you’re making a terrible mistake.  Ed’s the rocket-scientist of smoked meat and sauces; his knowledge regarding same is encyclopedic and his conversation about his work is educational.  Ed also has strong political opinions and his musical tastes seem to run to Blues.

Impromptu Saturday Bike Ride

I don’t like team sports, don’t think they have much value, but most kids seem to like playing them.  My son’s organized sports activities – practices and games – have taken a bite out of my free time for cycling, kayaking, yardwork, etc.  Here lately, I haven’t had time to ride like I want to, but yesterday I took off for about an hour before supper and rode to another place where the paved road ends stopping only at a relatively deep puddle.  If it’d been earlier in the day, I might have gone on even though I don’t think Continental Gatorskin tires are best for cyclocross riding.  The Razesa did fine on dirt and some mud, though, and I didn’t feel like I would have been better off on a mountain bike.



Thursday I sick from pollen – felt like I had strep-throat and flu with chills, aching joints, and so forth.  My sleep that night was interrupted by aching knees, ankles, back and throat pain.   The experience was pretty miserable, but I would guess on a realistic pain-scale of 1 – 10 with 10 being worst, it was no more than about 4 or 5.  This has been my typical April experience since moving to the House of the Many Oak Trees.  Keeping the air return filter changed and using wonder drugs, both over-the-counter and prescription, helps reduce the effects of my body’s reaction to the presence of pollen.  Going outside is hazardous; so is mowing.  In a couple of weeks the oak-trees will have developed to the extent that I will risk anaphylaxis should I mow without an effective filter-mask.  Yay.  Springtime is pretty and horrible.  Here is today’s pollen map and four-day pollen graph cadged from :

Pollen Graph

Pollen Map 4/13/13

Four-day pollen forecast and Continental United States Pollen Map for Saturday 13 April 2013.

I do still intend to go outside for my son’s T-Ball game, go for a bike ride, and maybe get the mowing done today, though.


“Early” Morning Saturday Ride

Yesterday morning, I rode a few miles around Uppity and Broke-Down Stepford before the day’s busyness set in.  A warming trend here in this part of Tennessee meant I didn’t wear as much in the way of thermal, fleece, or all-weather neoprene-like garments as lately has been my wont.

Joe Blow IItwinhead

One year and 12 days ago, today, I bought a Topeak Joe Blow II floor pump, and last week, when I tried to air-up the Razesa’s tires, the “twin-head” failed.  According to reviews of the product on Amazon, this is a common problem with these pumps.  Out of warranty, I ordered a replacement part from Todson, Topeak’s replacement parts seller, on Tuesday and got it in Friday’s mail.  It installed easily and worked properly.  Cheaper than buying a new pump, although it would have been better to have a better product to begin with.  With properly inflated tires, the Razesa rode like a different bike.

My goal was to ride more than eight and a half miles and to look at some real estate.  Caution-Lady, my wife, wanted me to look at a house about a mile from our own, and I wanted to take a look at a much older house in a less desirable part of town.  Also, there’s a house in our neighborhood with a very low asking price that may turn out to be the best bargain.  Leaving my house before eight o’clock, I rode past all three houses, stopped and looked at two of them.


The old house in the run-down neighborhood looks like it was built some time between 1920 and 1930 with something simple and pretty in mind that can still be seen after years of neglect.  The years of neglect are worrisome.  If the property can be had for the price of a vacant lot, which may be all the market can bear at present, it might be worth putting right.  The mile-away house has a swimming pool in back, central heating and air, a covered breezeway, and an attached garage.  It seems reasonably priced, but the pool would have to go.  How much does it cost to have an in-ground pool taken out?


Besides looking at houses, I rode along the tracks to a point past where the pavement ends, and rode back through some poorer neighborhoods, finding a trail that cut through to a large middle school near where I live.  I took a couple of pictures on a bluff overlooking the tracks – looking back at the road I took and my shadow. The sun was in the way of taking a photo of the overlook, though.  Had to carry the bike over part of the trail, because I and the bike weren’t prepped for cyclocross.  That said, the Razesa handles fine on chip-and-seal, as well as packed gravel roads and dry dirt roads.  It wouldn’t have done well with the trail mud yesterday, though.