Thursday, February 25, 2010

Good Vibes. Please Send.

Two days ago my newest niece, Natalya was born.  It feels as though we've been waiting forever for her to arrive. She was nearly a week past her due date.  Here she is with her older sister Mya.
This morning Steve and I hopped on a plane bound for New Orleans so I could run in the inaugural Rock N Roll Mardi Gras 1/2 Marathon.  When we landed in Louisianna and I received a call from my Mom.  There is a problem with the baby's heart.  Little Miss Natalya is having open heart surgery first thing in the morning. 
It always amazes me how quickly you fall in love with a new member of the family.  A few days ago she didn't even exist.  I haven't even met her, but I already love her.  Because there's nothing else I can do I've researched this to an almost pathologically intense degree.  The baby is in an exceptional children's hospital with a specialty in cardiac care. She has an excellent prognosis.  Her Mom and Dad are with her.  (Little Mya is staying with her grandmother.) 

Intellectually, I know this is going to be okay and I have absolute faith that she's going to be just fine. But if you have a minute send some good vibes to her and her family.

Afraid of My Own Strength

First, let me tell you that the move is completed.  Thank heavens.

We had a bit (ha!) of tidying (ha!) to do at Steve's old place last weekend.  While Steve went to ride his bike on Saturday morning, I thought I'd get that cleanin' party started.  Sometimes even the most mundane event can become an adventure. I was cleaning the shower and tried to turn the shower head to rinse off the shower wall.   That's when the shower arm ripped off in my hand.  Not the shower head, the shower arm.  That thing that goes through the silver donut and into the dark recesses of the wall.  

Hmm.  I tried to screw it back in, but it wouldn't go. When Steve got home I asked him to help. He was stumped too and he's an engineer.  The shower arm was threaded, so it should screw in, yes?  But when I reached inside the wall (scary!) the inside of the pipe felt smooth and there weren't any threads. 

Sunday morning I stopped by my neighborhood hardware store, North Park Hardware.  This is old skool hardware, not Lowe's.  At North Park Hardware, they don't have lawn furniture, rubbermaid containers, barbecue grills or a website.  They have hardware - every type of wall molly and screw, tons of tools and all the obscure stuff that the old houses in this neighborhood need.

They also have very knowledgeable staff.  No one says "it's not my department"; these dudes know how to fix stuff.  So I was a bit ruffled when the owner glanced at the shower arm and said "You don't even know how much trouble you've got."  Turns out I'd ripped the pipe in half.  The reason I couldn't screw in the shower arm was the old pipe was stuck in there.

The owner walked through the store with me and tried to find a tool to clean out the pipe.   He found the closest fitting tool, but it wasn't exactly right so he took out his saw and modified it for me.  I went home and tried it, no luck.  Back to the hardware store.  He found another tool which was slightly too large, so he took it on over to his grindy wheel thing and ground it down to size.  Really, does anyone at Home Depot customize tools for you?  No, they don't.

Then he did something extra awesome.  He pulled another tool off the shelf and loaned it to me.  He said it was expensive and I was only ever going to use it once.  How many times was I going to rip the shower arm in half?  The tool was also pretty much indestructible so he said I could use it and bring it back the next day.  Not that I could buy it and return it.  Or even leave your name and address.  He just pulled it off the shelf and handed it to me.  How friggin' fantastic is that?

Went back to the apartment and spent the next few hours engaged in the knuckle scraping work of removing the snapped off piece of pipe.  It was a strenuous, frustrating job.  And frankly Steve had his doubts that I could do it.  (He was busy sorting and packing stuff so the plumbing repair job fell to me.)  In the end I got the old pipe out and installed the new shower arm. 

I'm proud to report that:
  1. I'm strong enough to rip pipe in half.
  2. I'm tenacious enough to spend hours making the repair.
  3. I returned the perfect tool to the world most awesome hardware store.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Whee! Fun is back.

What a perfect day to run. I didn't get out until nearly 11:30, but it wasn't at all hot. It was typical San Diego - 60 degrees with a breeze coming off the ocean.

I was little worried since I haven't been running and my ankle isn't quite 100%. I haven't done any serious distance in a month. With the New Orleans race looming large in 2 weeks I decided that it's now or never to get some miles.

Running was surprisingly easy today; I wasn't rusty at all. Cranked out 9 miles along the bay and then lapped around to the ocean and ran along the beach. I felt nice and strong. Normally I run early in the day starting at 8 A.M. at the latest. Running at the beach at noon is completely different. The boardwalk was jammed with cyclists, families milling around and an array of motorcycle gang dudes. It was a slow process for those last 2 miles weaving though people.

Great run, but I'll be happy to go back to an early start.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

So Close

Hopped up on the scale fully expecting to reach a big weight-loss milestone.  Today I was supposed to have lost 10% of my starting body weight.  Losing 10% of your weight is huge.  It lowers your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and muffin-top jeans.  I've been really careful with my nutrition plan - especially in the last two weeks while I've been waiting for my ankle to heal. 

Hop up on scale.  Prepare for awesome.

The instructor gave me the fake happy, "Great job! You lost!"   I asked her if I'd hit 10% and she said, "Nope. .2lbs to go."  What?  Point 2?  Less than a quarter pound? Couldn't you round up? She asked if I had on any jewelry or a belt.  No, of course I've removed that stuff.  Did I have spare change in my pocket?  What is this the first time I've ever weighted in?  I've taken off jewelry, gone to the bathroom, worn my lightest weight shoes. There is nothing left on my body that isn't required for public decency. All that to be mocked by .2 pounds.

It's like a marathon.  When ever anyone asked me how far I ran, I'd say 26 POINT TWO miles.  I wanted credit for completing those last two tenths.

Ah well.  Next week.

Monday, February 01, 2010

February. How did that happen?

January is a misty water colored memory. We are still moving Steve from his place into our house. Of course, you’re probably wondering why it’s taken us so ridiculously long to complete this move. Not since Moses led the Israelites to their new crib in Canaan has a relocation taken so long.

We had the best of intentions. We were trying to make this a stress-free move by moving a couple of items every day.  That would space the move out over a month. We’ve gotten derailed nearly every weekend…vacations, play-off tickets. Plus Steve is mentoring for Team in Training which means he’s gone every Saturday. Oh, and to celebrate the anniversary of spraining my ankle I resprained ankle. Good times.

We also didn’t fully account for the stress of a slow move. I’ve had exactly one move in my life that did not involve professional movers. That move was coordinated by my mom who is so effortlessly efficient that my stuff practically jumped into the moving boxes out of blind allegiance to my mother.

Here’s the deal with professional movers. One day they show up and they make the pain stop. Oh, you didn’t get to sort these books and donate them? Tough. They’re in a box. Didn’t get to drop these dresses off at the battered women’s shelter? They’re going with you to your new home. Professional movers come in like a swarm of locusts packing everything including half full trash cans and dirty cat litter pans. Movers are on a take no prisoners packing spree.

The other thing we didn’t fully understand was that a slow move would turn me into a raging looney tune. I hate clutter. Hate it. The slow move is an endless clutter parade.  I get everything put away. Instantly, more boxes and clutter come into the house. By the love of Swiffer, when are the professional movers coming to make the pain stop?

Long time reader Lisa commented that I don’t seem to enjoying my long runs. She’s right. I’m not enjoying the long runs, because my brain is constantly saying…you should be packing, moving, working, cleaning. Running was my time away from the world. Now my world is crowding out running.

We are almost done with this move. All the big stuff is moved, now it’s just conquering the final clutter and we’re home sweet home.