Another Busy October

As usual, October was a busy month for us – leaves to manage, deadline work to complete, toddler to raise, extended family activities, Halloween, some paddling, in-state travel for a brief vacation.  I still have a couple of emails I’ve been wanting to respond to but haven’t had time for about a month.  It’s a little maddening to have stuff I want to get done and limited time in which to accomplish those goals.  Here are some October photos:


Giant Leaf-Blower rules the yard making relatively short work of leaf-management chores.  The jet-pack Stihl blower is effective for smaller cleanup jobs.  The lawn tractor’s mulching blades didn’t make much difference, but I didn’t get the complete “mulching kit.”  I got a reprieve from the rain predicted for this afternoon, however I was only able to get two-thirds of the backyard leaf-pile to the curb this evening before dark.


Earlier this month we got to spend time with cousins we don’t often see, and it was pleasant visiting with them.  We all met on Sunday afternoon for a cookout at their family farm on the other side of our county.  The old farmhouse is much as I remember it from boyhood visits.  Seventy-Six enjoyed meeting relatives, playing with other kids, chasing and playing with little farm kittens, and looking at the penned chickens.


I bought a new camera that’d been waiting for someone to purchase it since its manufacture in 2007.  It is the 7.1 megapixel Pentax Optio W30 (at right).  I bought it to replace the somewhat older 3.2 megapixel Pentax WR33 I bought as a factory refurb in December 2005.  The WR33, about the same size and shape as Klondike Bar, has been devouring AA rechargeable batteries these past two or three months, but seems to “run” normally on standard AA batteries.  I put the WR’s lanyard on the W30, and the short wrist-strap that shipped with the new camera on the Klondike Bar.  I don’t think I could manage a camera in my kayak on a wrist strap without dropping it over the side.  The Giant Leaf-Blower photo was made with the W30 as was the close-up crop below from the control panel of my HP scanner/copier/printer.  The kayak photos further down the page were shot with the W30.


I think the new Pentax (at $99.95 including shipping brand-new in box from an vendor) will serve pretty well for the next five or so years if its build-quality is anything close to that of the WR33.  Certainly, it cost less than the WR did five years ago.

Barton Springs Boat Ramp

Saturday before last I went to the county administrative complex and voted early.  While there, I spoke with a friend and we made plans to paddle the following day.  We met at a nearby lake the following morning.  He paddled the Pionier 450- S, and I paddled the Pouch E68.   We had the unexpected opportunity to practice a T-recovery and even though all was well, we decided to abort the Fall colors tour of Carroll Creek branch.


Late April – Early May

Over the past three weeks I’ve been busier with deadlines than at any time in the past several years.  Usually so even-tempered that small furry animals seek me out to renew their spirits in the environs illumined by my radiant glow, I have lately been cranky and difficult to live with.  Lucky, then, for Caution-Lady and Seventy-Six that I was only rarely home in the evenings before eight o’clock.  I also spent most Saturdays and Sundays away from the house engaged in related activities.

On the Saturday the Nashville area flooded, I worked at Stepford, but the weekend before that, at Shovel.  Stormed that weekend, too.  I snapped some pictures on the way home:

End-of-the-Line Walking-Horse-&-EasternHome-in-the-StormHere are some photos from the Saturday before last:

Front-Pond Front-Walk-FloodedShed-Lake

We’re hoping the ditching and sump-pump will go a long way to resolving the drainage issue:



A Maddeningly Busy Week

Tuesday, or was it Monday, I drove to Murfreesboro early, then back to the office by one.

Seen Thursday morning - looks like my wife's not the only one

Seen Thursday morning - looks like my wife's not the only one

Thursday early I looked at a foreclosure in the same neighborhood as the house upon which we’d made an offer a month or two back.

House stank. Huge house, four bedrooms, two baths, attached garage with big workshop, bonus room, big attached storage building. Built on a slab. Three really ugly and large 1960s sliding glass doors. Maybe 2200 square feet. All the floor covering must go. All the wallpaper must go. Everything must be repainted. Possibly a shower pan in one of the bathrooms must be replaced. Kitchen cabinets are ugly, but can be tolerated because they can probably be cleaned. Appears structurally sound. Exterior looks okay. Three layers, at least, of shingles on the roof, so plan on another. Puny cooling unit, so plan to replace.

Amelang Wheel Alignment

Amelang Wheel Alignment

Thursday I took Thursday, my silver 1997 Volvo 850, in to see Mr. Amelang for wheel alignment and balance. While I sat in a scuffed metal folding chair by the shop’s hot wood stove reading a model airplane hobbyist magazine, the quiet mechanical precisionist identified a goose-egg sized bulge in the inner side-wall of the car’s front right tire. At the same time, he mentioned to me that the tires were about worn out. I looked, and beheld wear-bars within a hair’s breadth of worn tread. That bulge looked pretty bad, too. I’d taken Thursday too close around a shoulderless right-hand turn dropping the doomed tire off the pavement’s edge. Plonk. Cussword. Steering had been pretty squirrelly for a week or so thereafter, which is what prompted me to have alignment seen to.

Thursday last Thursday

Thursday last Thursday

“Do you think it’ll be safe to driver over Monteagle to Chattanooga tomorrow?” I asked.

“I wouldn’t drive seventy,” Mr. Amelang replied, then, after a pause, “I’ll move it the back, that way if it blows out, it won’t do as much damage.

Radio controlled airplanes

Radio controlled airplanes



Mr. Amelang's most recent project

Mr. Amelang's most recent project

Drove 75 or 80 miles per hour, one on the Interstate, to Murfreesboro where I bought four Michelins to replace the 80,000 mile Yokohamas that’d given maybe 55,000 mile service. To be fair, I’ve always kept those tires close to maximum inflation for more precise steering and better mileage, which undoubtedly contributed to their early demise. Had the tire-shop fill the new Michelins with nitrogen which supposedly prolongs the life of the tire by remaining cool and neither expanding nor contracting during use or according to season.

On the way to town after work I stopped at Subway to pick up sandwiches, then met my wife and our realtor at barn of a 2600 square foot house located not far from where the Cautious One works. House has been on the market over a year, ridiculously overpriced for its location. Four bedrooms, two and half baths, large detached two-car garage.

We looked at two other houses, ate our supper in the car; returned home tired and well after dark.

Friday morning I arose at 4:45 am, pressed the button to make the coffee I’d prepared the night before, made and ate a bowl of oatmeal, made a lunch that included half of my previous night’s supper. Looked at the Internet. I was in the car driving a little after six. Stepford is on US Central Time, but Chattanooga is on Eastern Standard Time.

Those four new Michelins were a little mushy. Although I was only able to make them speak on one very tight freeway onramp (I think Exit 178 from I-24 East to 27 North), the tires at recommended inflation did not lend themselves to the rail-like tracking I have come to prefer. Both ways over Monteagle, the tires seemed to drift me centrifugally left or right as the road curved according to the hill’s topographic vagaries.

Only one of my appointments presented for testing as scheduled, and she arrived much too early. The scheduled interpreter arrived on time according to arrangements made several weeks ago. I administered fewer instruments than planned because more in-depth testing would have been inappropriate based upon observed behaviors and tested levels of academic achievement. The referring file contained nothing of use in preparing for the evaluation.

While I was busy getting to and working at Chattanooga, Caution-Lady and my mom took Seventy-Six to Nashville for CT scan to determine whether the apparently bone-covered cyst on his left brow extends its foul reach through the suture-line and into the infant boy’s skull. He did fine, although he had to have an IV to introduce some sort of dye into his system for imaging contrast.

On my way home, I got cheap gas at Manchester, and stopped at Jim Long Imports for Thursday’s 150,000 mile service. Ugh, another expense.

Back home, CL and 76 had arrived just a little before I did. We ate a quick supper, then had to enrobe our cranky baby (detoxing from the sedative given to induce stillness during the CT scan) in his green Godzilla costume to take him around to the homes of relatives and friends for his first ever Trick-or-Treat outing. He fussed horribly at the first stop. Was somewhat less angry by the time we got to my mom’s house, and after a short visit during which my wife and I ate cookies and candy on behalf of our son, we headed home without making the other intended stops. The kid just needed to be home. So did the parents.

Today, we accomplished nothing, but did look at some more houses. I am tired again.

11/2/08, 4:42 pm:  I’m trying to make this note update at Facebook.