- Woke up at 5-something, before my alarm.
- Met the run club for a 10k around the neighborhood.
- Had a great turnout. I think there were 9 of us there after we hadn’t run together in months.
- Came home and reassembled the lawnmower. I’d taken out the gas tank on Friday to patch a crack in it with a generous amount of JB Weld.
- Mowed & edged our lawn.
- Mowed & edged Sandy’s lawn.
- Moved a bunch of stuff from Sandy’s backyard to the curb for bulk pickup on Monday.
- Broke down a bunch of limbs for Sandy for compost pickup on Monday.
- Pulled out the dead bushes in Sandy’s backyard that had died from the storm back in February.
- Fixed Bill’s water hose reel.
- Fixed my water hose that busted under pressure while I was across the street fixing Bill’s hose reel.
- Fixed the steps on the deck.
- Moved Maly’s old plastic picnic table to the curb for bulk pickup.
- Took Maly over to Bowie to pick up her yearbook.
- Found a 5-gallon gas tank that was on the curb and transferred the gas from my old 5-gallon tank that I loathed to my newly-found tank.
- I think I shoved a few slices of pizza into my face.
- Used up my last resort fix for the tub spout in the girls’ bathroom. That proved to be the final, permanent, unsuccessful attempt that rendered the diverter useless. So I had to take a bath. Our master bathroom is currently in full remodel mode so all 4 of us are using the guest bath. A tired, grown man trying to take a bath (not a shower) is also a futile endeavor.
- Loaded up the children and went to Home Depot to get a replacement tub spout.
- We also got a lamp, leaf bags, lawn spray for mosquitos, an extending ceiling fan cleaner thing, 3 bags of top soil, and whatever else we got that I can’t recall at the moment.
- Went to grocery store for things for dinner.
- Came home and feebly made dinner.
- Went to work on the guest bathtub spout. Cut 4″ from the copper pipe sticking out of the wall only to find that the pipe had been previously coupled, so my new spout doesn’t fit correctly.
- There’s probably some other stuff in there that I’m forgetting.
- I didn’t sit down all day until we got in the car for yearbook pickup and the trip to Home Depot and the grocery store.
- I’m tired.
Missing great grandma
Maly and her great grandmother had a tradition of going to Olive Garden for lunch ever since she was a little girl. Maly really wanted to eat at the OG tonight. She saved great grandma’s spot for her.
Maly’s first day of school
First day of 10th Grade today:
First day of 9th Grade last year:
First day of 8th Grade two years ago:
First day of 7th Grade three years ago:
First day of 6th Grade four years ago:
First day of 5th Grade five years ago:
First day of 4th Grade six years ago:
First day of 3rd Grade seven years ago
First day of 2nd Grade eight years ago
First day of 1st Grade nine years ago:
First day of Kindergarten 10 years ago:
First day of school 11 years ago:
First day of school 12 years ago:
First day of school 13 years ago:
Mara’s first day of school
First day of 4th Grade today:
First day of 3rd Grade last year:
First day of 2nd Grade two years ago:
First day of 1st Grade three years ago:
First day of Kindergarten four years ago:
First day of preschool five years ago:
First day of preschool six years ago:
The last days of summer
I’m not sure if it’s the anticipation of school starting soon, but it seems like the last few weeks of summer have been really slow and low-key. I get anxious and start to worry: “did we do enough with the girls during their break?!”
When I look back, invariably we always have a bunch of fun adventures and trips. But I tend to want to cram a bunch of fun stuff in when the first day of school is just around the corner. I decided that I really wanted to take the girls fishing again. We hadn’t been fishing since October of last year and thankfully we have a pond a few miles away that always yields lots of sunfish.
So we went to Meridian pond at sunset yesterday. Unfortunately there was lots of pond weed so it was a bit difficult to get a hook far enough out, but Maly was able to bring in a couple good-sized bluegills and a red-eared slider. And we caught everything with blinky hot dogs from Costco. Unfortunately, Mara didn’t catch anything because she was afraid she was going to catch and hurt a turtle.
We stopped at Chipotle on the way to the pond for our dinner. Dinner proved to be difficult for me because I was busy baiting hooks and releasing fish so it was an exercise in balancing a huge burrito, a beer, a barbed hook, and needlenose pliers. The sun went down quickly and we soon found ourselves without any daylight remaining.
Mara was still pretty bummed. She was having a bad evening all together. Earlier in the evening she found out who her 4th grade teachers are going to be. And she also found that, after 4 years in elementary school, she and her best friend, Kyla, aren’t going to be in the same class together. So I promised her that we’d go fishing again before school starts so she can catch some bluegills.
Short weekend and closing of the Olympics
This past weekend was a bit tame. I wanted it to be less tame because it was the last official weekend of summer for the girls. This weekend is actually their last official weekend, but it’s the weekend leading up to the first day of school so, if the girls are anything like me when I was in grade school, this upcoming weekend will probably be met with more anticipation than any other previous summer weekend.
I honestly can’t remember when we did on Friday. Pretty sure the girls were camped out inside all day while I worked. Pretty sure the Olympics were on all day on the living room TV. Oooh. I just remembered! Friday evening was the women’s Olympic marathon. That was awesome to watch and see Molly Seidel with bronze for the US!
Elise had also started feeling weird – to the point where we thought she might have Covid. This was considered because she’d worked a photo shoot earlier in the week and was exposed to lots of unmasked people. Friends brought over a rapid at-home COVID test that came back negative.
Saturday was a slow day too. My training plan had me take the day off on Saturday, but I can’t stand staying still or being couped up inside. So I decided I’d take a Fender emblem over to our old neighbors’ house in the neighborhood. I talked Mara into go along with me for the ride on the RadRunner. She and I rode to the Fender’s house and then we tooled around the streets of the neighborhood, looking for the blooming Pride of Barbados plants. Then I decided I’d take Mara to see some of the cool parts of the Drop Drip trail over by our house. Then we had a flat on the back tire. We knew we’d gotten something stuck in the tire as we were making our way back homeward from the Fenders’ place somewhere on Escarpment. Turns out that it was a little staple the pierced the tube.
So we walked the 1-mile home while I pushed a 70lb. bike. Mara didn’t complain, but she immediately hopped in the shower when we got home. It had gotten hot by that time (noon). Then I spent the next hour or so in the garage pulling off the back tire and patching the tube. Thankfully I’d recently purchased a bike tube repair kit.
I got the tire patched, went on a couple test rides and found that I did a bang up job of patching the flat.
Not much after that. The men’s Olympic marathon aired at 5 pm, so I watched that and saw Kipchoge take the gold with a minute lead on second place.
I went to bed early on Saturday night and woke up at 5 am on Sunday to get ready for a 7 am run with Ryan. That was a fun but tough run. I’m not too great of shape endurance-wise, and it proved to be a bit of a challenge to run with someone nearly 20 years younger than me who is planning to run a 2:40 in Boston. But I held on and it would up being a good and just-challenging-enough run. And it was really nice to catch up with Ryan. I couldn’t tell you the last time I went on a social run.
I was really tired the rest of the day, so I tried to take a nap on the couch when I got back. I think I might’ve fallen asleep for 10 minutes. Elise was on the phone trying to secure our accommodations for Boston in October.
Maly asked if I’d take her to Walmart to get graphic tee shirts for school. So we went to Walmart. She got her graphic tee shirts. She got a Purple Rain Shirt, some kind of “No bad vibes” shirt, and a Corvette shirt. I don’t know. I asked her if her friends might take notice of her shirt choice. They’re obviously from Walmart. She said she didn’t care. I thought that was pretty cool – she’s not worried about being a brand snob or if any of her peers are brand snobs.
We also bought some Jolly Ranchers, some pretty gross but addicting Taki’s flavored “meat sticks,” and a female adapter for the water hose in the backyard.
We got home and I fixed the water hose. Wasn’t too long after we got back from Walmart and the day started getting away from us. The girls went to church and I put a new saddle on the RadRunner that I’d gotten earlier that day from Amazon delivery. Then I went to HEB and got stuff for grilled pork street tacos.
The girls got back from church and I grilled pork and made all the stuff for tacos. Then we watched the closing ceremonies of the Olympics and then some new show on NBC called Family Game Fight.
The weekend came to a close way too soon. Another weekend that went by in a flash. I’d really wanted to take the girls tubing as one of their last hurrahs for the summer, but since Elise wasn’t feeling well, we had to postpone. Hopefully we’ll be able to go this upcoming weekend.
A Facebook hiatus
I’ve always considered myself pretty versed in culling my Facebook feed so it only shows me what I really want or need to see. I’ve “unfollowed” a bunch of people because, while I still truly like and care for them, I don’t necessarily agree with or have enough information or an opinion on agenda(s) of which they’re passionate and post about on Facebook. And personally, I feel like if you’re insistent about posting and posting and reposting about your stance, feelings, etc. on Facebook, it’s like screaming into your pillow. You may feel better about getting it out, but what you’re really left with is a wet pillow.
So I’ve culled out the majority, if not all of the wet pillow posters.
I’m also part of many Facebook groups. Most of which are relevant to me. For example, I’m part of many groups about running. I’ve considered myself a serious runner for the past 8 years. After 8 years of being in virtual social media running groups, I see the same thing(s) posted day in and day out. Same questions. Same arguments. Same opinions. Emphasis on arguments and opinions. Much like the tangible world.
I guess I’m blessed in that it has always been easy for me to slink away from an argument or a heated discussion about something in which I really don’t care too much about, or of which I have little or no opinion, and/or if the outcome of such discussions impacts me in no way whatsoever.
I’m part of a few hyperlocal neighborhood groups. These groups have come in handy for hyperlocal things. Things like “Help! There’s a rattlesnake curled up by our front door. How do I get rid of it?” Or “Our air conditioner just blew up. Know of a good AC guy that works nights?”
I’ve seen the ebbs and flow of social media. Specifically Facebook. Probably takes me longer than other folks to recognize patterns. Or I recognize patterns and I accept and adapt. I think I have a tendency to make it through a handful of pattern cycles before I start questioning if this thing is of any benefit or use to me anymore.
In the past couple years I’ve made it through an election and a pandemic. The division and opinions were amusing at first. It was like watching an episode of Jerry Springer. A train wreck that you couldn’t peel your eyes from. In between the debates there were still some things of use and interest but was still left to endure the negativity.
Most recently the negative noise has been around the Delta variant of COVID-19 and Austin going back to Stage 5. Opinions on vaccination status, social distancing, ICU beds and other things aside, the most important issue within my digital social ecosystems has been, “Great, but why do they have to close the pool?” And then there are arguments about the neighborhood pools.
So I put down Facebook. I can still easily go to facebook.com on my computer. The app is still in the “Social Media” folder on my phone. But I haven’t gone to either of them since Monday. And that’s been nice. I’ve now had four days without Facebook and there’s nothing that I feel that I’m missing. I did use Messenger the other day to communicate with a neighbor to whom I gave a bedroom door basketball goal for her sons. And I’ll probably use it today to coordinate a group run with the neighborhood run club (thankfully there’s no drama in my group there). But I don’t miss much of anything else. It was nice to see friends’ photos from cool vacations in the national parks and tropical islands, but I’m not going to die if I don’t see those. In fact, I’m sure there’s a level of jealousy that’ll just be non-existent. And most of my Facebook friends are real friends in the flesh, so I can see those photos in person with my friends if that opportunity presents itself at some point in the future.
It’s a hiatus. I’m not claiming to leave Facebook. I’m just noting how I feel lighter having not passively checked and scrolled through my Facebook feed all week. I haven’t lost anything and I feel no FOMO.
I have less mental inventory. Less chaos. Less stress.
I realized this post has absolutely zero funnies. I will use my newly-found mental inventory to get back to finding and recounting the funny things in life.
Elise is working with Buster today. They’re shooting debutants or something. That’s going to be funny to read in 10 years.
I told the girls this morning, “Don’t sit around and eat crap while y’all watch TV all day. Do something.”