1/6/2015

Greeting from a snow covered evening in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Yesterday we received 5 inches of the white stuff and it started to snow again this evening. Not sure how much more we are expecting, but it already looks like enough that I will need to get up early and shovel the sidewalks, again.  Shoveling snow I’ve noticed that I’m not getting as winded as I did last year – not having to stop to catch my breath and etc.  Small indicator that going to the gym is helping – yeah me…

Snow glows white on the mountain tonight...

Snow glows white on the mountain tonight…

Grocery shopping in the snow sucks

Grocery shopping in the snow sucks

John is still not feeling well.  He called in sick the past two days and spent the day sleeping and coughing.  Not a nice way to spend this birthday last Friday.  He was absolutely miserable on the train. Hoping he makes it to work tomorrow, but not counting on it.

Starting to get a new routine ready for the Central Iowa Figure Skating Club’s spring show in March.  This time they have a theme of Mama Mia! – the songs of ABBA.  Going to be skating to Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! – this should be interesting…. Could they have picked a gayer theme.. I mean really… Waiting for a parent to complain about me skating to a song about waiting for a man after midnight. ;)

Here is video of the skating routine I did in December, where the theme was Masquerade Ball/Phantom of the Opera.

Don’t like watching myself skate – it feels much different going through the moves then what it looks like.  Plus I can instantly point out all of the flaws… every… single… one… :)

Doing these shows is lots of work.  Have to mix/chop the music using Garage Band so it is around 1 minute and 30 seconds long (regulation for most competitions), work with coaches to block out the choreography and come up with an outfit to wear. Then lots of practice sessions where I try to remember it all and rehearse over and over so it becomes second nature. Each time they like to push me to do something more difficult.  Last time it was a small waltz jump.  This time I want to try doing a lunge…

I was pretty down on taking the Amtrak train from Kansas City, MO to San Bernardino, CA.  By the first night I was not comfortable and my lower back began to hurt.  Sleeping in coach chairs sucked – felt like I was in a train car of horny refugees.  Waiting until 8:45pm to eat supper each evening also did not help, but was all that was available to us…

To do the train right you really need to spend the money on a roomette in one of the sleeper cars.  You then get first seating in the dining car where the cost of the meals are included with your ticket.  You also get flat fold out beds in a private room. Problem is that it makes the trip much more expensive, but much more enjoyable.  That is the only way I would do an another multi-day train trip.

Here’s some random photos from the train trip:

From Observation Car

From Observation Car

Pretty Scenery

Pretty Scenery

More precious sights

More precious sights

Not much else going on tonight.  Glad to be blogging again.

Posted in West Des Moines | 3 Comments

1/3/2015

Made it home to West Des Moines, IA today by 1:00pm. Train ended up being close to 2 hours late to Kansas City this morning.

The drive home sucked – I was tired from not sleeping well on the train. John is too sick and medicated to drive – so he had to endure “Derek’s taxi service”.

I spent most of last night attempting to sleep in the observation car because “trashy mom” talked loudly all night long. Think she ended up having sex in bathroom with young man sitting across the aisle from me.. They had a long make out session in their seats at 2am before heading downstairs to the bathrooms. So tragic…

Apartment building and the cats are fine. Prince would not let me pet him – kept running away when I got close. He insisted on John petting him first.

Will blog/post more later. Right now at the walk in clinic with John. He is very very sick and I hope the doctor gives him some shots and strong medications…

Posted in West Des Moines | Leave a comment

1/2/2015

A big Happy Birthday to John today.  The world became a better place 41 years ago :) Unfortunately he is spending it being sick on an uncomfortable Amtrak train heading back home.  We will arrive in Kansas City tomorrow morning.

I had a pretty wretched evening trying to sleep in my coach seat.  Would get comfortable with my ear plugs in and sleeping mask over my eyes, until… My back started hurting, my arm would start to go numb, people next to us started talking loudly at 1:00am for 20 minutes, guy behind me started to snore, my lower back hurts more now, then we stop at a train station where large group of people de-trained, then another group got on, then just not comfortable at all – figit around and then I finally got adjusted and slept from 3:30am to 6:00am.  Better then nothing.  Sigh….

Today I found that if I unbuckle my belt it makes my lower back feel better.  Would love to change out of my jeans and into some comfy shorts but the bathroom floors are way to sticky, stinky and gross to attempt it.  I’ve seen things in the bathrooms that I’m having a hard time forgetting.

The plus side is that the scenery is pretty – lots of rugged dessert with a dusting of brite white snow. Will be arriving in Albuquerque, NM in 30 minutes. Looking forward to seeing a gymnastics team de-train.  They have been annoying like freshman college girls…. :)

 

The weather forecast is calling for snow in Kansas City and Des Moines.  Hoping we don’t behave to much trouble driving the last leg home…

Happy Birthday, John!

 

Posted in Palm Springs, CA | Leave a comment

1/1/2015

Happy New Year!

Tapping out this blog entry with my iPhone while waiting in San Bernardino, CA for Amtrak train to arrive for our trip back home.  Will spend the next two nights sleeping in coach chairs – my back will be sore once done.

We took the train out here to attend Dave and Mitch’s annual New Year’s Day party.  We spent yesterday helping them prepare for it and today executing the food and etc. for it.  I joking referred to myself as “kitchen bitch #1″.  Did enjoy helping Mitch cook and prep.

John was quite sick and miserable for most of the train ride here.  He saw a doctor at a walk in clinic and obtained some medicine.  He is slowly getting better and I hope he can enjoy the trip back to some degree.

Have two New Year’s resolutions for myself –

#1 Blog more.  Got out of the habit of blogging because my computing habits have changed.  Find I use my iPhone to surf the web and read emails much more then in the past.  Sitting down at my computer in the evening to write blog posting just is not happening.  Going to make an effort to use iPhone and iPad to do postings on a regular basis.  Going to try using voice recognition for this.

#2 Eat more whole foods. Try to cut back on processed food that is high in fat and carbs.  Have lost 12 lbs from working out at KoKo Fit Can’t lub, so think this is the next step….  Want to try to eat squash once a week.  Acorn, butternut and spaghetti varieties.  Will see if John protests…. :)

Train will be arriving – so going to get this posted and use a “real” restroom one more time. Will post more about our trip soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in CA, Palm Springs, CA | Leave a comment

12/7/2014

Hello all, John here.

Argh, again neglected you all for 2 months…  bloggers curse– When we have stuff to write about not enough time, and when we have time, nothing to write about.  Ugh.

Anyhow, All is well here.  We did loose another tenant.  Lease was up, and she chose to move on to a bigger yard for their growing family.  I can understand that.  They left the place almost as good as they were given it, and we only need to do a few repairs and some touch up.  Finally, not a total disaster… Which is good, as financially we couldn’t have dealt with another complete remodel this year…

Hopefully we will have the For Rent Sign up Monday or Tuesday.  I am a little cautious though, we haven’t had to rent one this late in the year yet, so hopefully we get it filled quickly…

On to other things, Derek has been the skating queen, and has his big Christmas Show coming up.  I am sure he will do just fine, though he seems quite concerned about it.  He enjoys it, but sometimes I think he gets a little too involved…

Work has been, well work.  Still not thrilled with the company, but I have made some progress at positive change, as well as some progress on the Apple front.  I am not sure where it is going to go, but I am trying to make the best of it even though most days I come home and feel like I just went through war.  When I decided I was done with trucking, and went back to school, one of the driving factors was the passion for ones work and the level of expertise that one could surround himself with to continue to grow.  Sadly, in transportation I felt that I was nearing the end of being able to learn new things, and better myself–  The challenges were gone, and most of what I did, as well as what I could see on the horizon to do would be repetitive, and challenges that have already been overcome.  In IT, I find lots of new challenges, lots and lots of things to learn, at times it tends to be very overwhelming, and I have found a few people that I can gain new perspectives from…  Anyhow I am going to stop there before I digress into land of negativity…  I am trying to be a more positive person, but those who know me, know how difficult that can be!

Good news is I passed another Apple Cert today.  Apple released the ACA for 10.10 Yosemite.  It really isn’t a very difficult test, and is done non-proctored.  I am not looking forward to the ACSP and ACTC renewals, which I expect in March…  I have pre-ordered the books already, but they are not quite released yet.

I also am starting a new course on Lynda.com (a training site that has all sorts of very good training– it cost $25.00 a month for unlimited access, which is really cheap in the scheme of IT training).  The course is focused on the UNIX command line, and using Unix with OS X.  Now, I get most people simply don’t care, even if you are in IT, but having a good understanding of what is going on “under the hood” if you will, is pretty valuable, and one of my projects at work is assisting in the development of a product around Macintosh Managed Services.  A Large part of that will deal with the ability to send scripts against these machines remotely, and having a greater understanding of that will make or break the idea…

 

Anyhow, I wanted to get something written.  I should go down and help Derek for a while…  Hope all is well with everyone!

 

John

 

Posted in Des Moines, IA | Leave a comment

10/5/2014

Greetings from a nice sunny fall day in Iowa..

Temps got into the upper 60’s today – felt pretty good with the sun out.  Its the type of weather where you can’t decide if you should wear a sweatshirt outside or not..

I’m really stiff and store this evening.  Was planning on heading to KoKo Fit Club for a work out yet tonight, but decided against it because of the soreness I feel.  Two weeks ago I took a fitness test at the gym, and they calculated my strength went up 26%.  Now the work out sessions have me lifting heavier weights.  Can do it but I feel the burn…. then feel sore the next day..

One of the KoKo Training Machines.

One of the KoKo Training Machines.

Have also been doing lots of ice skating.  Taking lessons at two places – Buccaneer arena and at Metro Ice.  Both places take different approach to the lessons – feel like I’m getting well rounded training.  I’ve had almost every skating coach in Des Moines at one time or another.  Think my skating ability is kind of a “community project”.

Practice time at Buccaneer Arena

Practice time at Buccaneer Arena

I’m also preparing a new “Adult Light Entertainment” routine for the Cyclone Country Championship being held in Ames on November 8th.  Attending “club ice” time so I can block out the routine and practice the different elements in it.  This is the third routine I’ve done -so it is starting to feel like a step by step process.

Not much else going on… I’m heading off to watch TV for a bit…

 

 

Posted in Des Moines, IA | 1 Comment

9/27/2014

Wholly Crap.  I had no idea it’s been this long since we posted.  Wow.  Sorry all.

Summer in general has been a bit of a whirlwind.  Weather here in Iowa wasn’t great for most of it…  We haven’t really camped anywhere all summer…  I blame it on work and Derek’s constant Ice Skating.

I guess the big news is we flipped another apartment.  We lost a tenant at the end of last month, our last “inherited” tenant.  In general they were good people, and always paid on-time, but…  It was time for them to go too.  Near the end of June I got into a bit of an argument with him over his “third” car.  Our lease specifically limits number of vehicles– we don’t have that much parking room.  I had made an exception for him as did the last owner.  In short he wanted to get another car, and I said no.  This is also the same one who we let store “2” bikes that multiplied to 7, and had similar issues with.  The lease came due at the end of August, and I simply did not want to deal with more confrontation, and I ended it.

Of course they didn’t make it easy–  The left another disaster for us to clean up.  No effort at cleaning, and total disrespect for our property.  Seriously I would like to give people the benefit of the doubt, but being property owners has seriously made me even more cynical.

Labor Day weekend we “gutted”.  We were smart this time and got a big dumpster.  More 4 year old carpet destroyed! Yippee, $2900.00 out the window.  We pulled out the cabinets, the 3 damaged doors, 3 sets of closet doors, and anything else left behind…

Of course we had to paint the ceilings again.  Seriously?  Is it some sort of a renters game I was never told about?  How much crap can we stick on the ceilings?  sigh.  Got that done, and got all new lighting installed.  Prepped for Dad and Besty’s arrival the week after…  They did a great job of getting the new kitchen installed in short order.

Pretty much had things wrapped up by last weekend.  So it now has new floors, new lighting, all new kitchen appliances, all new cabinets, new bathroom vanity and sink, fresh paint, 3 new interior doors, 3 sets of new closet doors, replaced all the outlets and light switches, and removed the cruddy bathroom tub door.  Not bad for shy of 3 weeks work.  Derek did a lot of it, and redid all the woodwork too.  I’m glad its done, but I don’t want to do another one!

So had it on Craigslist and the sign in the yard.  Dealt with a few crazies, but I hope we found a great new tenant who is moving in next weekend.  Maybe my stress level will drop a little now.

Well here are a few pictures.

DSC_1326.JPG

  DSC_1331.JPG

DSC_1356.JPG

  DSC_1350.JPG

Anyhow, Sorry for the long gap.  We’ll try to post again soon, and hopefully we will have a camping trip in here too.

Posted in Des Moines, IA | 3 Comments

6/8/2014

Greetings from an overcast day in West Des Moines Iowa.

John is outside pressure washing the siding on the apartment building and I just got done cleaning the bathroom.  Decided to do blog posting while my head clears from all of the cleaning products.

Spent the last two weeks getting my knee back in shape to skate at the Heart of America Invitational in Kansas City.  Practiced four times last week and found the knee brace really helped.  Club practice ice is from 5pm to 6pm each evening – so I take a taxi there, then John picks me up after work.  He usually arrived a bit before 6 and waits in the parking lot for 15 minutes. The taxi drivers with Cab Trans are quite chatty and seem like they enjoy driving me to practice.  They ask me lots of ice skating and hockey questions.  Costs around $13 for 15 minute trip… so not the end of the world.

Took Friday as a vacation day from work.  Spent the morning playing Minecraft, getting rental car (white Nissan Altima) and packing for trip.  At 1:00pm meet John and one of his coworkers for lunch.  We took a short walk on the skywalk to the Big City Burgers and Greens.  Enjoyed a black and blue burger with fries drizzled with truffle oil.  Was pretty good and was nice to meet one of John’s coworkers

After lunch I hit the road for Kansas City.  Was an easy drive – just take I-35 South for 3.5 hours.  It was nice to hop in a car by myself and drive somewhere – something I don’t do much anymore.  Bad part was that I hit Kansas City right at rush hour – so had to contend with unfamiliar roads and stop and go traffic.  The last 15 minutes the GPS took me through a maze of interstate roads until I arrived at hotel in southern suburb of Shawnee, KS.  To save money went with a Motel 6.  Came to $54 a night and it was “just fine”.  It was an older hotel but my room was clean and updated in past year.

That evening was able to go to public skating session at the Kansas City Ice Center so I could practice on their ice and get a comfort level with their facility.  Found their ice to be a little faster to skate on then at the Buccaneer Arena.  Could really notice it when I did a simple two foot spin – easier to start spinning and would go faster.  Practiced for an hour and was happy with things – was able to go over routine several times without music and practice certain parts over and over.

On Saturday got up early and headed back over to the Ice Center for 8:00am practice ice.  They let you spend 15 minutes on the ice with 11 other skaters and go over your routine once to music.  Gives me a chance to get “my skating feet” back for when I do routine for judges later.  Is a bit intimidating to be out skating on the ice with 11 girls who skate and zip around the ice really fast.  Just blocked them out and did my thing.  One girl gave me the stink eye as she almost hit me trying to do some sort of jump… Oh well..

Next was waiting around until 10:00 and changing into skating clothes.  Then they let you go on the ice with 7 other girls for a quick 5 minute warm up.  Gave me another chance to “get my skating feet back” and practice some of the more difficult elements one more time.

Then we all exited the ice and I was up first.  They announce your name, you head out on the ice alone, strike a pose so they know to start the music and go through the routine.  Was not nearly as nervous as at the last competition.  Routine went as planned, the very ending where I do a simple waltz jump was a shaky but did not fall.

Then changed out of my skating clothes and waited 15 minutes for results. I won a first place gold metal.  Coach Elena said if I did not fulfill the requirements for Adult Light Entertainment, then I would have received a lesser metal – being only skater in category does not guarantee you first place. Ordered a few photos of my performance from professional photographer who was rink side – will post when I receive them.  Believe there is a video of performance taken by one of the coaches – will post if I can retrieve from them.

Prince modeling my gold medal

I then stayed at the competition for two more hours watching the other skaters in our club compete.  Most received metals for their performances.  Was nice to see the club skaters being able to compete well with the other clubs in the area.

Started for home at 1:00pm.  Trip back was easy once I got out of Kansas City.  Stopped for a quick lunch at Wendy’s then made it back to West Des Moines by 4:30pm.  Had John pick me at car rental place and was glad to be back home.  Ethan kept by my side for the next two hours meowing – like he was telling me everything I missed…  I asked John to refer to me as “Gold Medalist Derek” for the remainder of the weekend – he just groaned and muttered something about being the only one in my category…

Decided to make supper at home – we were both tired of eating out.  Made fetuchinne with red sauce, meatballs and french toast.  In the process of cooking I splashed boiling water on top of my left foot.  It really hurt.  I immediately put ice cubes in my sock and that helped me get through supper.

After enjoying supper, got the kitchen cleaned up and watched the first two episodes of the second of Orange is the New Black on Netflix.  Kept an ice pack on my foot while watching TV – see some the skin has blistered.  Is sore, but not bad enough to need medical attention.  So far I’m liking this season just as much as the first one.  Like how they go into the back stories of the other characters and let you see how they ended up in jail.  Many times I watch a series, love the first season, but hate where they have taken the story line in upcoming seasons – like with the TV show Weeds….

This morning we both slept in until after 8 and had simple breakfast at home.  Think John will be done with pressure washing soon.  He was having problem with breakers being thrown – believe water got into some of the outside plug-ins.  The siding gets dirty because grass does not grow next to the building.  The wide overhangs prevent rain from falling on it.  One of my projects for this summer is to put stone pebbles around the building along with landscaping fabric and a stone border.  Once done it should help keep the dirt from flying when it rains.

Next Thursday through Saturday I’m participating in the Des Moines Charity Hack 2014.  It’s a 48 hour event where computer programmers get paired up in teams and work on IT problems/solutions for various non-profit organizations.  It’s a marathon programming session – where you work for two days straight to do as much as possible.  Their web site explains a bit more.  Thought it sounded fun – so taking next Friday off of work and going for it.  I will probably be the old guy with a bunch of 20-something computer savants but oh well…

Not much else going on… Think we will probably go out for a mid-afternoon lunch, get grocery shopping done for the week and then head back home to finish up laundry.

 

 

Posted in Des Moines, IA | 3 Comments

5/25/14

Greetings from a nice Memorial Day Weekend in Iowa..

We spent the three day weekend cam the Meskwaki Casino RV park in Tama, IA.  The park was fine.  For $19.00 a night we got a nice paved site with 50 amp electrical service and picnic table.  No water or sewer at the site but the RV had plenty for us.  The park was only 1/5th full so was nice and peaceful – no children or barking dogs to contend with.

All Setup

For fun I went swimming at the hotel pool twice.  The second time a large family (mom/dad and grandparents) kept staring and scowling at me with their best “I’m from North West Iowa” demeanor  – was creepy after the first 15 minutes.  Thought they were about ready to form a prayer circle and exorcise my demons by the time I was done swimming.  Left after 90 minutes… Was not even wearing my favorite My Little Pony t-shirt… :)

We also took some rides around Tama, Toledo and Marshalltown. I like driving around small towns – interesting to see the old homes and figure out what the history of it was – John not so much.  Took in several antique/thrift shops and a Hardware Hank.  I purchase d two used cookbooks (Kingsford BBQ and Mr. Food’s 15 minute meals) and John purchased a fitting to fix the melted water tube that leads to the ice maker in the freezer.  The tube had melted last winter because I left the fridge on by accident.

We made it home by 1:00pm.  The apartment building was “just fine”.  Took an hour to get the RV unloaded and interior cleaned.  Was glad that the RV did not have any problems during our first trip of the year.  Was worried since it froze solid on us last November when the nasty cold front came through before we could complete our last trip of the year.

A few weeks back the 8 foot commercial picnic table was delivered by a big Holland semi truck.  The driver refused to deliver the 8 foot pallet with the various parts wrapped in plastic on it to a security location in the back yard.  He opened the back of the truck and said “Here you go” – implying it was my job to unload it.  The truck had no lift gate and he had nothing to unload it with.  He eventually helped me drop it on the curb before taking off.  So I was stuck moving the picnic table parts one at a time to the back yard – could not just leave it on the curb.  In hind site I should have refused delivery unless he put it in the back of the apartment building.

The table went together easy enough.  I got it 75% done before heading off to ice skating, then John finished up the final braces while I was away.  We now have a nice outdoor area for the tenants to use.  So far, the grill gets used much more then the table.

Outdoor area. Now just need some grass to grow... under the oak tree.. maybe..

Three weeks ago the handyman service installed a new front door.  They did a shitty job.  We are still complaining about it.  Basically the door is installed crooked, does not shut properly and does not seal unless you pull the door closed yourself.  The door closer is set to pull the door closed as hard as it can and still does not work.  They are now trying to blame the security company and their door strike.  One handyman told me I was going to need to tell my tenants to use the door handle to close the door behind them each time they enter or leave.  Asking tenants to do anything is like asking Prince to speak in French – just not going to happen.  John is going to call them again tomorrow to have them fix the door problems.  This could get nasty.

Two weeks ago the security company installed the new door access systems.  They did a shitty job with no attention to detail or workmanship.  They guy who did the installation was probably not old enough to purchase alcohol.  At least he was pretty to look at.  He took four days to do a job that should have taken a single day, damaged our new door frame when installing the new strike plate, accidentally drilled a hole in the hallway wall and did not drill pilot holes in wooden panels that cover up the large holes left by the old access system in each apartment.  The panels cracked when he drilled drywall screws into them.  We bitched up a storm and his manager came out and attempted to fix the problems.  We finally got tired of the whole shirt storm and sent him away.  Never again.

Their first attempt to cover up the gouges to the metal door frame. New door did not look new for long.

Once we get the door and security system projects resolved, I want to start installing landscaping rock around the apartment building.  The wide overhang of the roof causes grass to not grow two feet out around the building.  Each time it rains, dirt gets thrown up by the rain drops.  We stopped at Menard’s over the weekend and picked out the style of stone border we like and along with the smaller rock.  Now trying to decide if it would be better to work through a landscaping company and purchase materials in bulk, or have it delivered by someone like Mendards or Lowe’s.  This could easily be a $1500 project… sigh….

Still working on the Adult Light Entertainment ice skating routine for the Heart of America ice skating competition in Kansas City, MO in a few weeks.  The routine has a baseball theme to it using the song Right Field originally by Peter, Paul and Mary.  Skating buddy Rich was able to artistically mix the song so it fits into 1 minutes and 30 seconds dictated by the rules, and still tell a story.  This is an old Pizza Hut commercial that is somewhat the inspiration:

I need to get lots of practice in the next two weeks.  The main problem I’ve been having is that I keep throwing out my right knee.  Kept twisting it when getting out of the jeep – believe it is a recurring Meniscus tear.  Putting ice on it made it feel better.  To help it heal faster and prevent further twisting I purchased a Shock Doctor Knee Supporter.  It has really helped and have been able to continue skating while wearing it.  Will keep wearing it until I make it through the ice skating competition.  Bad news is that over the weekend I developed gout pains on my left knee – calling the doctor for medicine tomorrow.  I just can not win… John tells me that is what happens when a 45 year old tries to skate like a 13 year olds…  That really is not the case… I know my limitations but keep pushing :)

My knee all iced up...

Love this knee support - helps keep my knee stable so it can heal nice and strong.

John blames the ice skating for my knee injuries but I’ve not hurt them skating – happens when I’m off the ice.  I’m quite proficient at falling properly on the ice and tend not to hurt myself.

Not much else going on… heading off to read for a bit and fall asleep.  I’m “On Call” this week for work – so hoping I don’t get paged in the middle of the night.  At least it is a short week with having today off :)

Posted in Des Moines, IA | 1 Comment

4/27/14

Greetings from a stormy day in Iowa.

Had a nasty line of storms roll through this afternoon but ended up not being too bad.  Did not lose power or have any damage in the neighborhood.  Just lots of rain.  Ended up driving to ice skating lessons in the tail end of it.  All city roads so was no big deal.

Last weekend the weather was nicer out.  We purchased an electric pressure washer for use on the apartment building and motor home.  Went with a Greenworks 1700 PSI 1.4 GPM Electric Pressure Washer at a cost of $189.  It comes with 5 different nozzles and two tanks for soap or spray on wax.  It had enough power to get the grime off the RV but not too much that it would strip off the decals.  Only drawback is that you can only apply soap from the two dispensers while using the low pressure nozzle.  No big deal – just apply soap with low pressure, wait a minute then remove with higher pressure nozzle.  The RV really needed to be cleaned, but was surprised that it did not have too many black streaks on it.  Wonder if that is an indication of less pollution in the air, or we just got lucky?  John got up on top of the RV and washed the roof – he said it was quite cruddy. Probably the first time it has been washed since we left Portland, OR.

Pressure washer in action

 

John finally giving the roof a good scrubbing

Almost done..

We have been living without satellite TV for over a week now.  There’s things we both miss (HGTV, Bravo, USA Network to name a few) but I’ve found new shows to watch on free over the air TV, Netflix and Hulu Plus.  Last week watched the first season of The Paradise and really enjoyed it.  Is about a department store in the early 1900’s with all sorts of drama with the salespeople and management.  Is similar to the Mr. Selfridge show but set in the United States. Now hope seasons 2 and 3 comes to Netflix soon…

Yesterday had the fun of disconnecting all of the Directv’s equipment and putting it in a box they mailed to us.  Will drop it off at the post office tomorrow.  Is nice to have less equipment connected to the TV’s now.  We are still having trouble with some of the over the air TV channels getting all pixelated now and then.  Normally it is ABC, but tonight it was NBC.  Living in the city you would think we would have really good reception.  Will probably play around with moving the antenna to different locations in hopes of finding a sweep spot for reception.

Equipment all boxed up

Finally have a security company lined up to replace the door access system, right after the front door is replaced.  Have Kaufmann Handyman Service installing the door this week (I hope) and then Dakota Security should have the access system installed the following week.  So ready to have this project done and over with.  Without a working doorbell, can’t tell when delivery people are at the front door.

My ice skating adventures continues. Did not have lessons at Buccanner arena on Saturday due to scheduling conflict with a hockey game, but had lessons at Metro Ice today.  Still working on being able to do a 3 turn.  Instructor has me doing some exercises that will help – like skating on just the right foot while going in a circle that keeps getting smaller.  Three turns (right and left foot) is the last element I need before I can test out of level 4.

Also practicing for the “It’s A Small World” club skating show on May 10th.  This show is like a recital for kids to show off their new skating skills to their extended families and friends.  The adult learn to skate class is representing the country of Jamaica and skating to Bob Marly’s song One Love while wearing tie dye t-shirts and shorts.  Ever notice that ice skaters usually perform with not very warm clothes on?  I think it is some sort of cruel joke :) Been having practice sessions Wednesdays at 5:00pm to get the routine down. “Let’s get together and feel all right”.  Been taking a taxi there and then John picks me up on the way home.  Works out OK…

Also preparing for another ice skating competition – this time in Kansas City on the weekend of June 7th for the Heart of America Invitational 2014.  The ice skating club wants lots of its members to attend so off I go..  Believe they get points that helps their standing, or just bragging rights?  This time I’m being judged on a “Light Entertainment – Adult” category.  You are judged more on the entertainment value of the routine then specific skating elements.  Here’s two examples of Light Entertainment I found on YouTube:

Not telling what I’m doing – is going to be a surprise.  It’s not anything like the two videos above.  Have several coaches help put something together that has been stretching my skating ability and may include a little jump or two… Had learn to skate friend, Rich, help me by mixing some music for it.  He was able to take a 3 minute song and reduce it down to 1 minute and 39 seconds – even added some additional sound effects.  Thank you, Rich!!

That’s about it…  Did have a good giggle when I read about how a stash of E.T video game cartridges for the old Atari 2600 video game system was actually found in the New Mexico dessert.  Was an urban legend about how Atari’s ET game was so bad they ended up burying millions of them.  They confirmed there was some truth to the legend:  E.T Found in the New Mexico Landfill

E.T. phone home..

I remember playing the game back in the day.  Think we borrowed it from someone and did not actually own it.  Remember playing it on and off but not really getting too far with it. I was more into Frogger and Pitfall…

 

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