Monday, July 04, 2011

[Rant] A Day in My Life

A Day in My Life: A simple description of a typical Saturday, for no good reason. Nothing terribly interesting happens. Just trying to personalize things a bit.

I sleep in, which means I don't worry about getting out of bed until 9. I can get up earlier, but only if feel like it. Since it's Saturday and I pretty much won't have any significant social interaction with anyone who cares, I don't shave and cover my mangy head with a baseball cap. I have a beloved friend who has told me I look ridiculous in hats, and it's almost certainly true, but like I said, today is a grub day. I slap on a t-shirt, cargo shorts and sandals and hop in the Camry. I immediately remember that it is due for an oil change and its annual detailing. I vow to get it done next week, as I have each of the last three of weeks.

Sleeping late also means I have little time to waste so breakfast will be fast food. I stop at the McDonalds near my office. I eat a good deal of fast food. Perhaps too much, but I am not of the belief that it is inherently unhealthy. If you don't overindulge and supersize things, you don't get a ton of calories and as long as you make up for it by veggie oriented eating the rest of the time, you're fine. Plus, you get in and out in 10 minutes and spend about $4. I rarely carry-out; I almost always order at the counter and eat in. I keep a book with me in the car and I take the opportunity to knock off a chapter while I'm shoveling the breakfast burrito in my face. The current book is How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe (reviewed above).

From McDonald's to the office. I have a leftover issue that I probably won't be able to resolve until Monday which will be a bit of a black mark for me, so I'll see if any brilliant solution comes to me by staring at my computer screen. Joyfully, I arrive to an email that says one of my employees has gone above-and-beyond to take care of it. A big dose of awesome. Now I can use the extra time to get some personal stuff done. I have a tenant renting my condo and, not realizing I needed to, I never notified the condo association. This resulted in a sternly worded letter and some paperwork to fill out, so I take the opportunity to shamelessly use the company fax machine to send the stuff over. I then hop on the web to try to get the utilities switched over but it turns out I can't do that without the tenant's SSN. I'll be seeing the tenant tomorrow when I get the garage cleared out so I'll deal with it then.

Speaking of shameless, I go to the candy machine and see that there is a dangling bag of M&Ms. That means I can get two bags for the price of one, which approximates theft, but then these machines have shorted me regularly enough in the past so it's probably more of a wash. I briefly munch on M&Ms while I surf the web in my ongoing hunt for a cheap smartphone plan for ATT or Verizon (I have given up on T-Mobile) when I receive an email from another dear friend who is about to move to England for three years along with her husband and two-year old. She points out that the 2012 Olympics in London would be the perfect opportunity for a visit, and I immediate realize that I will be semi-obsessed with trying to plan it for the next few weeks. We'll see. But the cumulative force of everything I have yet to do drives me out of the office and back on the road in short order.

I plan to hit Abbot's Nursery, but I'm zoning out to Sirius and zip right past the freeway exit so I continue on to Bed Bath and Beyond where I need to buy a shower caddy. The one I want only comes in brushed nickel and everything else in my master bath is polished brass, so I just buy an inexpensive one as a placeholder until I find what I want, then I'll move the cheap one to the upstairs bathroom. I also snag some placemats since I ate dinner the other night on two layers of paper towels. I am disgusted with the level of girliness I am displaying. Worse, I forgot my coupons.

I check out and throw the housewares in the trunk and backtrack to Abbott's. I had some landscaping ideas early in the season, but after a fair amount of rotting wood siding was discovered, I decided I would hold off on any major landscaping projects until that gets sorted out and I see where I am with money. Still, I have some serious bare patches in my gardens that it wouldn't hurt to address if only in a small way. I see some good stuff at Abbott's -- I like the Asian Lillys and some of the other perennials, but I quickly realize I need to make some measurements and maybe even sketches before I make any decisions.

So I head back home to address lawn and garden issue number one: getting the sprinklers going. Programming them turns out to be a breeze, the problem is that, while the program kicks in and countdowns occur as expected, no water is coming out of the nozzles. There is a valve somewhere to turn on the water, but the problem is I have no idea where it is. Fifteen minutes or so of searching about doesn't help and I can't find any documentation so I'm stuck. I make a call to the local sprinkler guy, get voice mail, and leave a message. Frustrated, I take the opportunity to call for another bit of maintenance I have been meaning to get done: have an external keypad set up for my garage door.

I call the local garage door guy and he makes me read some numbers off the garage door closer to him. He tells me $45 if I just want the unit and install it myself, another $45 for him to install it. Since I have no bloody clue how to install one or even where to find the wires I tell him to do it. He says he'll be over shortly. I use the interval to re-pot a lucky bamboo, and to spray vinegar on some weeds that have intruded into the cracks in my driveway. (Vinegar is supposed to be a cheap, organic trick for slaying weeds.)

The garage door guy appears and it takes him all of ten minutes. It turns out these things are wireless. "Installation" involves nothing more than screwing it into the door frame. The joke is on me. I would call it a life lesson but odds are I will never have to install a garage door opener so it's really just a loss. I write the guy a check.

Having failed to get the sprinklers working and having gotten soaked on the door opener keypad, I need to blow off some steam. I decide to bike to Pinckney Rec Area, about 8 miles away, do a criminally hilly five mile trail run around Crooked Lake, then ride back. Sure enough, as soon as I'm ready to leave, the sprinkler guy calls back. His turn to get voice mail; I'm geared up to go.

The ride over is pretty sweet and quick and I'm feeling good. I lock up my bike and walk by the shore of Silver Lake passing all the swimmers and picnickers and find the Crooked Lake trailhead. I set a steady rate, about nine minute miles, knowing full it won't last through the hills. And it doesn't. Between the hills -- some so steep you could only technically call my pace a run -- and the bugs -- this passes through essentially a thickly wooded swamp -- I finish in at a 10 minute mile average, which is exactly what I ran when I did the organized race here a couple of months ago. At least his time I have the excuse of the bike ride and the bugs to slow me down. The good news is that I crossed paths with what looked to be a turkey hen and about eight chicks. They say there are a ton of turkeys around this year. In fact, Washtenaw County is rich with wildlife -- coyotes, fox, turkeys, and scariest of all, feral pigs. And now we have a bear or two for the first time in living memory.

Sucking down about a gallon of water from the fountain I make a note-to-self that it's time to start swimming outside. Silver Lake is where all the triathletes train swimming laps around the buoys and I'm tired of the pool. The ride home is, if anything, nicer that the ride there.

I get back and I am tired. 16 miles of riding and five miles of hard hill running. It's quarter to seven and I need some food. I'm not up for cooking so I decide to treat myself to one of my favorites: Pad Thai from No Thai at North Campus. I take the scenic route along the river to get there. Chicken Pad Thai, medium spicy, Diet Coke. I sit and eat and read another chapter.

Before I'm done for the evening I have to follow my discipline. On the way home I stop at Barnes and Noble, further treat myself to a piece of key lime pie, and work on my writing project (still not at the point I can discuss it, but my confidence level is about 95%). The next time I look up it's 9PM. I drive home, stop and pick up my mail, pay a couple of bills on line, including an outrageous one to a periodontist that I have very mixed feelings about. I pack my gear for a 10AM class at the gym tomorrow and now I am toast. I crack open a beer and zone in front of the TV to write this overlong post.

At this exact moment I look up and it's 2AM and Empire Strikes Back is being re-run in HD. Obi Wan says "That boy is our last hope." Yoda replies "No, there is another." I change the channel to High Stakes Poker at Bellagio. Doyle Brunson has a set but he doesn't realize someone else has the same set with a higher kicker. Or maybe he does because he mucks it. I would have gone broke on that hand.

It's bedtime. My final thoughts: 1) I ate poorly today; something that I will correct tomorrow -- double up on veggies, 2) I left the damn shower caddy in the trunk of my car. Sigh. Goodnight.