Quick Update

Yesterday morning, I drove up to Knoxville and bought a 2003 Anniversary Edition (also, apparently, the Expedition Edition) Folbot Aleut – a 12′, 40# folding kayak.  This is the first solo boat I’ve owned in several years.  I essentially quit paddling when my son got old enough to miss me and be bugged by the fact I was gone most of the day every Saturday and some Sundays.  Now, he’s been asking to go paddling with me.  I’m still working on, but more seriously now, rehabbing the Pouch RZ96.  This afternoon, we plan on paddling the canoe – an 18′ 1974 Grumman. Gear’s all packed and ready.

My son and I set up the Folbot yesterday afternoon – it was pretty easy compared to the only other aluminum framed folder I’ve had, and super lightweight compared to my wood framed folders.  I got some Harbor Freight super glue gel to stick down the keelstrips that’re coming loose.  Maybe will get that done today, too.

Still sober – about 32 years now, I think.  Still bicycling – working full-time again has cut into my pedaling time, but I’ve been leaving a bike at the office during the week to ride at lunch.  An easy 4.27 mile route, but better than not riding at all.  Recently also been getting up really early Saturday and Sunday mornings to ride to the gym, spending a couple of hours strength training, then back to the house.

I’m amazed I was able to remember my L/P for this site.

Here’s one of the seller’s images of the Folbot Aleut. I’ve still got to get my photo editing software sorted out on this computer.

Folbot Aleut

 

Advertisements

January 2012

My maternal grandmother would have been a hundred years old this year.

I recall that when I was a kid, I used to imagine what it would be like to live past the year 2000.  Turns out it’s a lot different than what I expected; so far, so good.

October 2011

I had a job interview on the Umpteenth Floor of a large, downtown buildingg.  Back at the office, I worked it out, and the expense associated with the job for which I interviewed would have required many more dollars per year to make the change worth the difficulties, in terms of travel and parking, worth my while.  On the other hand, the thought of working with the people who interviewed me, capable and intelligent people for whom I respect, held appeal for me.

I’ve tested for some other jobs and have more testing to get done.  Hopefully, soon, I will have found other employment.  Sad thing is, I thoroughly enjoy the work I do and am pretty good at it.

November 2011

This past Thanksgiving we spent at my wife’s family home with her relatives, and had a pretty good, if very brief visit.  The kids enjoyed tractor rides and combine rides, running around the inside of an empty grain bin, climbing on gravel piles.  I went along on these activities to keep an eye on my young son and take pictures for my wife’s scrapbooks.  I snapped self portrait; I look less misshapen in the Plexiglas reflection than I do in real life.  Funny how that corrects for asymmetry of feature.

Combine-Self-Portrait

December 2011

Early in the month my wife’s parents stopped over on the way to and from a visit with friends and family in a couple of neighboring states.  My father-in-law and son spent some time on a cold day riding around in the driveway.  Here’s my father-in-law on the Trek Navigator 1.0 I bought in August.  This was taken before I got a set of SKS fenders with mudflaps for my birthday and a Planet Bike rear rack for Christmas.

Jim-Riding

December was an eventful month.  Ron, employed longer by may agency than probably any other person at the time, retired.  Ron’s the guy who taught me how to witch for water, about synthetic motor oils, in addition to being the one person I respected enough to let use my office as a hallway from time to time and who, when he flared up at some ass-hatted thing I said or did, I listened to without anger.  Our unit misses him, and I am grateful for his participation in my real-world education.

The weekend of Ron’s retirement party, my family celebrated the birthday of one of my favorite relatives, a cousin who resided in the town where I work and with whom I visited pretty regularly.  The day after her party, she took ill and was transported to the local hospital where she died early the following morning.  The week after that, I marked another year closer to my own half-century.

Last Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we spent at home with friends and part of my extended family.  On the day after Christmas, we again traveled to my wife’s family home where we remained about a week.  My son and I threw snowballs at each other, he made snow-angels and kicked the little snow-men I made for him to destroy.  We had a good visit.  While there, I rode a 40 year-old Raleigh Grand Prix and really liked it.  I started thinking about buying a really old, really cheap road-bike pedal longer distances than I can reasonably cover in limited time on my Trek Navigator.  My son (not yet four years of age) enjoys making pictures with my camera when he can get his hands on it.  He took this and other pictures of things of interest to him –

Snowman

Paddling

2011 was a bad year for paddling.  I think I may have canoed and kayaked about six or seven times, if that.  My son’s old enough to really miss me when I’m away on a Saturday or Sunday, I’ve had family obligations to fulfill, my summer was busy with deadline work, I had trouble with my E-68’s hullskin fitting properly on its frame and wanted to throw the kayak into traffic or burn it.  I guess, mostly, time spent with my family is more important to me than recreational activity away from them, although I do still need solitude.  I skipped congregational worship less in 2011 than any year in recent memory, probably because I have really enjoyed being a part of the small congregation.  Smart people, real theological discussion and teaching of the sort that character in Fiddler on the Roof imagines he’d have if riches were his.  Lately, I’ve started “teaching” a secondary Sunday School class.

Cycling

I’ve mentioned elsewhere, maybe in this space, that I’ve enjoyed bicycling more than almost any other fitness activity because it’s something I can do right from home; I don’t have to load up a bunch of gear on my car and drive some place to bike.  It doesn’t sound like much, but I’ve been pedaling about 25 – 30 miles a week.  Several times I’ve ridden to Sunday service.  Probably the greatest distance I’ve biked in one day has been 12 or so miles.  Takes a long time on my bike.  I’ve ridden whenever I’ve had the chance, whatever the weather.  I bought a couple pairs of cold weather cycling tights.  I got bicycle clips to keep my cuffs out of the chains when I pedal in jeans or sweats.

Here’s a picture of my bike that I took today at a local nature preserve.  Bike needs cleaned-up, and maybe I’ll get to it this week.  That rack bag is a Zefal that came with an apparently out of production seat-post rack – both in nearly new condition for $10.00 from the local bike mechanic.  The rack on the bicycle is a Planet Bike Eco Rack, the fenders are SKS, and the lights are Blackburn Flea USB rechargeables.

Trek-Navigator-1.0

Father’s Day

Today is the second Father’s Day in as many years that I will be spending the morning at a worship service, then afternoon with extended family. Previously, I’d taken the day off for the annual Childless Man’s Paddlefest – an event observed, now not at all, but then only by myself. However, today, as at about this time last year, I am a father.

Bad Monday

Monday late afternoon or evening, for about a minute, I knew my son had died and held him in my arms helpless to save him. Out of desperation, I placed him on the living room floor and began artificial respiration. His 24 pound body was still HOT from the fever he’d been running, but his skin had turned a blue gray color and his eyes stared fixedly in the direction determined not by his mind, but by the position in which his head lay. His lips were blue. His body was neither rigid nor floppy.

Clear airway, tilt head, cover mouth and nose with my own mouth. Three breaths, instead of the prescribed two. Some chest compressions. Noise as the air passed out of his lungs, over his vocal chords, and out his mouth. My wife had already called 911.

Somewhere in all activity, I prayed while I worked, but not coherently. God doesn’t require my direction to work.

My son’s arms moved a little, but I thought that was just dead nerves twitching as the biomechanical mass shut down in no real order. Then he made a sound unrelated to CPR, and I listened for a heartbeat. It was rapid-fire. I listened for breath, and picked him up. He clung limply now to my neck and I took the phone from my wife. I don’t remember what the 911 operator said after I gave him details about our son’s condition and exactly where to find our house. The guy hung up or the connection was lost.

I could hear a siren, so carried my still breathing boy outside so the driver could easily see which house was ours. My wife rode with him in the ambulance and I followed in her car, which has the child carseat. At the hospital his temp was unreal high, but his other vital signs in the ambulance and in the ER were more reasonable. I still think the hospital should have kept him overnight and monitored him, but they concluded “Febrile Seizure” and with the okay of the on-call pediatrician, discharged him late that night.

By Wednesday, the fever’d gone and it has had no recurrence. He broke out with pink spots Thursday which seems to indicate he’d had roseola. Friday and Saturday, he was his usual happy, inquisitive, toddler-self. He still knows all the words, songs, and activities he knew before his fever and seizure. He seems a little more open-hearted, happy, loving since he got sick, and a little less arrogant. That made me worry about whether he might have lost a few IQ points due to sickness, but our pediatrician laughed at that, said there was no reason to think the fever or seizure had affected his mental processes. Maybe he’s more open because he knows we really will take care of him?

That’s the story of how I am still a father.

Paddling

Quiver Sail on deck at left saw some use yesterday 6/20/09

Quiver Sail on deck at left saw some use yesterday 6/20/09

I woke up early Saturday, and got ready to paddle. Tsunami Chuck sold me a hand-held Quiver Sail that arrived by Fed-Ex on Thursday or Friday. Because I’m a miser, I’d agonized over the past year or so about replacing my Round-Up golf that had umbrella inverted and snapped in heavy wind by the small island on Tims Ford Lake sailing up into Lost Creek Branch. Should I buy a good golf umbrella, or ask for one out of somebody’s garage for free? So, when Chuck posted a classified about the Quiver Sail asking only $35.00 for it, I bought it.

Although the National Weather Service predicted temps in the upper nineties, it also predicted 10 – 15 mile per hour winds. A good day, I thought, to try out the new sail. I loaded gear and boat yesterday morning (because we looked at houses Friday afternoon/evening). I had trouble getting the boat on the roof racks – the front-door prop method failed spectacularly and cussed Godward like a heathen. Finally succeed using angry brute force in racking the 75# kayak, and drove out to the Woods Reservoir public access ramp off Old Brick Church Road in Coffee County.

I explained to God that the reason I was cursing was because of a circumstance so manifestly out of order that in my anger I was inviting him to observe and get angry about it with me. I said I would probably always thus bring wrong to his attention in the hope that he will take corrective action. I told God I would prefer not to feel the need to use profanity, but unless he altered my consciousness somehow, I would probably continue to express the things he’s used to hearing me express. Not defiant or disrespectful; transparent and real.

The ramp was not crowded and the put in was easy. Immediately, my injured shoulder communicated its distress to me, and I worked on paddling technique. That helped some. I was paddling in to maybe a nine mile per hour wind. When I got out by Elder Island, I turned the boat around and deployed the sail. Not much joy there in terms of forward momentum.

I paddled over to Morris Ferry Landing to see what the Arnold Engineering and Development Center’s base commandant has done in terms of public access. I found, to my surprise, a number of vacation trailers still in place and in use up in the trees above the lakefront. Many of the rickety, tin-sided dock structures have been removed. The covered dock by the cafe/store building has been removed.

The public does have access to the site in terms of boat-ramp use, bank-fishing, and swimming. The formerly public toilets have been padlocked, and I saw no trash cans. Simple steps that tend to limit the amount of time members of the general public will remain on site during normal hours of use.

I saw a couple bank-fishing, both of whom I tested when they were high school students, along with their year-old baby boy. An alert-looking blond-headed little boy sitting quietly under the shade of a tree in his stroller observing everything. I congratulated them on their little one, and the fact that they appeared to be catching a lot of fish.

Paddling back under the causeway to the AEDC side of the lake, I found the wind had picked up, but wasn’t blowing in the direction I wanted to go. I paddled back past the smaller Island of the Birds, and again deployed the sail. Worked better in a stronger breeze, but still slower than paddling. I sailed for awhile, then paddled back to the ramp.

Sons and Fathers

At the boatramp, I observed an ancient pontoon boat having engine trouble – whining at high pitch, emitting clouds of white smoke, then stalling out. Two or three men on the deckboat in early middle age. Parked by the ramp was a black Pontiac Firebird, like the one driven by Dwight Schrute (only Dwight’s is some kind of reddish color). Standing at the shore was a young man with long hair. He belonged to the car.

“Engine trouble?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he said, “My dad can’t get it working.”

“You never know how your boat’s going to do until you get it to the water.”

Listening to the young man talk with his dad, it was obvious he wanted to salvage the situation for his father. He asked whether he should see about getting the father’s bassboat, and then called a couple of people to arrange its transport. It was important to this kid that things work out for his dad.

I recall when I was young and out for the day with my father sometimes things wouldn’t go as planned, and I always wanted to be able to alleviate his frustration by making things work out well for him. My dad’s tolerance for unexpected and confounding exigencies of circumstance was a lot lower than mine seems to be.

Now that I’m the dad, will my son be burdened with the sense that he’s got to make sure things turn out okay for me? I hope not.

Parties, Houses, No Paddling This Weekend

My youngest brother’s youngest child turned six, so my mom had everyone over for a birthday party Friday night.  On Saturday, we celebrated the 94th birthday of the oldest surviving male in the family.  Young Seventy-Six was a happy baby Friday night, and a fussy baby Saturday.

Since we got a new DVD player sans VHS player, we’re getting rid of your VHS tapes.  Gave several of them to my brother’s family at my mom’s house:

  1. Dr. No
  2. From Russia With Love
  3. Goldfinger
  4. Thunderball
  5. The World is Not Enough
  6. Braveheart
  7. The Fifth Element
  8. And some Anne of Green Gables collections for the little girl

Yesterday afternoon, my wife and I drove out into the country to look at a house on four acres in a neighboring county.  Barns and outbuildings.  I liked it, but it’s out of our price range.  We drove through a neighborhood that’s got five houses bigger than ours for sale well within our price range.  But the neighborhood.  Creepy.  Not a Twilight Zone neat-as-a-pin with no one about creepy (which sounds pretty good to me), but a grubby X-Files creepy.  Last time I really drove through there, maybe seven or eight years ago, it looked a lot better.

We’re planning to go out again with a realtor this afternoon to see the insides of some houses.

Caution-Lady’s going to bag church today as she’s stressed about upcoming parent-teacher conferences, and wishes to get some things done.  Cafe-Church pastor had surgery to remove cancer and a kidney last week, so he will not be in the pulpit today.  A Sewanee student from Flintville will be preaching.

I really need to wash the white car sometime soon.

Got all the line-trimming, mowing done yesterday afternoon before dark.  I’ll be glad when the pear tree is done producing and dropping fruit for the season.

Sore Shoulder, Election Results

One of my shoulders feels like it’s been crushed. I cannot sleep on that side. The pain is low-grade, but constant during my waking hours. Since losing and keeping off about 17 pounds over the past eight months, I’ve been experiencing more aches and pains. Did body fat mask the pain? Better to be without the fat. That shoulder, in fact, that entire side of my body has hurt since a seven mile walk I took in February. Used to be walking kept me free from pain. I am thinking about discussing it with my doctor or consulting a chiropractor. That shoulder’s hurt the last three or so times I’ve paddled.

I phoned the county election commission this afternoon and found that nobody had won the office of Constable for Seat 7, or districts 19, 20, and 21. The woman who answered the telephone said although write-in votes had been received, they were not counted because the candidates named were not qualified candidates because they had not registered with the commission prior to early voting. Spontaneous, write-in voting evidently has no legal effect. That should be made clear someplace on the ballot.

This evening as I was loading the car with boat and gear, I thought it would be nice to stay home tomorrow with my wife and infant son. But I went ahead and loaded up because I know if I stay home, I will accomplish nothing, will waste time with the computer, my wife will become annoyed with me because I will not be doing useful things, and I will wish I had gone paddling.

With this shoulder, I don’t think I will set out to do anything difficult tomorrow.

SATURDAY MORNING: On my way out, I decided to stick around the house to glaze and paint those back windows.  Temps’re supposed to be mid-80s today with a breeze.  Probably won’t have another comfortable day like this until Autumn.

Folbot Lateen Sail-Rig

Well, tomorrow’s the day I’m scheduled to pick up the sail-rig.  I don’t think I’ll be back in time to do much paddling tomorrow afternoon, and I am thinking about skipping church, Sunday, to paddle.  Seems the days I skip church to paddle are the days the congregation meets for a meal together, which is a pity because I enjoy spending time with the folks at Cafe Church.