Wednesday, November 19, 2014

58 years old

Linda helped me celebrate my 58th birthday this week.   The actual birth date was on Monday the 17th, but I managed to milk the event into a several day event.   We went to see Daughtry do a show at the Ryman on the 16th,  and he was a lot of fun.  His voice is  unique and they put on a good show. He has recorded several commercial pop hits in the last 10 years and did them all.   He spent time between songs talking about the music and trying to connect to the audience and they seemed to have a great time.  Fun show..

On Monday the 17th, Linda got us a hotel room at the Union Station in downtown Nashville.  Union Station is a railroad depot/ hotel that was built over a 100 years ago and it is a gorgeous old building.  The stone building is still in great shape, with great service, and they have a very interesting restaurant where we had complimentary breakfast he next day. The central hall is really spectacular, with all the turn of the century architectural details. Check it out if you get into Nashville. 

The reason for staying downtown, we were going to  Monday Night Football at LP Field--aka "Plywood Field".  The Steelers were in town ! So how cool is it that MNF has a game with your favorite team on your birthday?  Really cool I think!! 

The weather in the last 10 days has been brutal,  cold cold cold. It snowed on my birthday, snow is unheard of this early in the season in central TN.  The MNF game was the coldest ever played at LP,  25 degrees with a breeze from the North.  LP was trying to deliver a taste of Lambeau this year.   We dressed accordingly-- a lot of layers and some carbide handwarmers-- and survived in good shape. But we still got cold feet and hands that we had to cure with a soak in the hotel bath tub. 

When the Steelers are in town, the town explodes with black and yellow jerseys and Steelers colors.   Everywhere you looked it was Steelers colors, and it is always fun to be part of this invasion.  In the stadium, it was close to 50% Steeler fans.  The upper deck was about 50% empty and with good reason, it would have been miserable up that high in the wind, the rest of the stadium was relatively filled.    We were in the 6th row on the 20 yard line on the Steelers side, and it was 75% Steeler Fans in our area and we all were excited to be there. Linda knows how to get good tix.    We were also near the tunnel where the players entered the Stadium.  We would give the team a great ovation as they came and went,   and Pouncey and Harrison acknowledged the attention as they entered.  I think the players were a little shocked at the noise  for them as they entered.  The fans also gave the Titans a very resounding booing as they entered, and they actually reacted.  That was really fun!!

The game was very hard hitting affair.  The Titans and Steelers were in the same division for many years when the Oilers were in Houston and that old rivalry was evident. I was a real slugfest.  The Steelers jumped out to a lead , lost it and by grinding it out late, ran the ball and won.  This win put the Steelers back in the payoff hunt and they need to get back into the playoffs this season.  Classic late season game.
The kitchen project is the coming along.  Linda has her blackboard up and taking notes.  The deco tile is ready to grout and we are getting closer to the finish line.  The flooring is on order and we are still waiting on a door to be delivered, but we are getting some final details done and the phase one will be complete soon. 

My gout situation is under control and that is a good thing. My diet continues to be low on meat and void of alcohol and some other weird foods.  But I am not having pain in the left foot.  As the Holiday season approaches, I will continue to test the diet to see how my body reacts to the uric acid elimination.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Do we need a spreadsheet to show the folly?

Flying home today we had an oil leak of some sort in St Louis on the SWA plane I had just loaded.   We had boarded the plane and were basically ready to hit the switch and leave for Nashville.   There was an eerie lack of activity from the crew after we loaded,  and then some pounding underneath the plane—and shortly thereafter the announcement to deplane.  There was on oil spot that someone had noticed on the tarmac.    I will give the people from the Midwest a huge amount of credit, no moaning, groaning, bitching and the expected outbursts you could expect as we unloaded.     Midwesterners take this crap is stride.  We got up,  grabbed our stuff and shuffled off the plane.     In the Eastern US, where everyone is infinitely more important, the reaction would have been chaos and some uproar.   Not the Midwest.  The Midwest gets over looked on the news constantly,  while living thru hot summers, tornadoes, floods and bitter winters. God bless the Midwest, he blessed us with a lot of patience for imperfection.  

Along this line of thinking, if you do complain and moan and whine—that behavior indicates that you are perfect. The person whom never lost anything, broke a nail, bumped your head, fell downs some stairs, fell up stairs ( one of my favorites) bled on anything, screwed up at work, got fired….  You get the idea.   So Midwesterners are not perfect by a long shot, but we can handle a broken plane with some level of sophistication.  And for that,  we can be proud.  

And another thing:
I travel a lot and always check luggage.  I see absolutely no reason to drag—yes drag—your luggage with you in the airport.   SWA will take care of it for free, what else do you want??   This recent plane deal was an example, drag it on, stow it, drag it off, watch it and drag it around with you to eat and go potty.  Drag it back on with you and stow it.  Drag it thru your final airport, it is exhausting and pointless.  Let the pros pack it the plane and drag it around for you.   It amazes me every time I fly, they drag this stuff on the plane…   A SWA flight attendant on one occasion gave this group a pretty good tongue lashing over dragging all this stuff on the plane.  He was spot on and then he suggested that Macy’s and Target had everything they needed when they arrived, and that should try that option instead.    Hear Hear !! 

I did run this week on a treadmill.  I ran 1600 meters without stopping at 8.5 minute pace.   I felt good and hopefully the back pain is gone for good.  My feet felt fine, so I may need to start dabbling a little in some conditioning before the weather  goes completely winter.   If it is sunny, I will need to get out and get some on me, this time change is a shock to the system—getting sunlight is a lot harder to achieve.  

Sunday, October 26, 2014

All over the Map

Literally, all over the map.    Linda and I drove to Green Bay, WI about 10 days ago for my oldest daughter's wedding.   We stayed in Merrillville, IN on the way up to split up the trip.  Linda's new knee gets stiff if we do not stop regularly and move about.  The next day we stopped at Betty's place-- the bride elect-- and dropped off some dining room furniture and discussed any last minute details for the big event on Saturday.    Then it was on to Green Bay.    

While in Green Bay we stayed at one of Linda's cousins house while she was out of town.   The house is gorgeous with a lot of bedrooms and space to sleep 10 people if needed.   I liked the Viking appliances and we got to try some of them out.  The dishwasher is SILENT ! and the cook top with griddle is to die for, really nice stuff in this house.  It was a real gift to use, because it was a Packers home game weekend, and hotel rooms are pricey for home games.  It was like staying at home in many respects. 

The big event went off without a hitch.  The weather was great- clear and sunny and a little cool, but as good as can be expected.  The wedding was outside and the reception was held in a nice little hall that easily held 200 people.   Everyone in Linda's immediate family turned out and we got to spend quality time with all the Lundins. Our daughter made it from Texas and she brought her room mate who was going to do the hair fashions.   I think everyone had a great time, I did.    We got in some dancing and had some cake--big deal at weddings for me.  Linda created a very popular cheese spread to start the evening off and the damage was severe as the cheese heads pretty much inhaled the 15 pounds of cheese selections.   With some advanced planning, the brides asked for separate plates to be saved for them during the picture taking, good thing,  the pictures took over an hour to crank through and only crumbs would have remained.   
The day after the wedding, we got in some visiting and started back South.   We stopped in Schaumburg, IL at IKEA and picked up the last batch of stuff for the pantry--except for 4 pieces.   We picked them up in Cincinnati the next day.   IKEA has been our source for pantry's cupboards and lighting.   In between these two stops, we stayed at the same hotel in Merrillville. 
Fast forward to this weekend.  The wall board is all in place(mud is needed) in the pantry job and the cup boards are in place but are not permanent yet.  Progress is steady and I think we will have a final project by Christmas. 

As far as being an Olympian, I feel like I am currently retired.  I just have been way to busy to run or train.  I did get in some stretching and core work yesterday as Linda did some leg work at the gym.   When the pantry gets done, I will get back to training.
  I had a follow up doctor visit about the gout.  My uric acid level was improved, but I need to continue some medications to prevent relapses--relapses do suck.   The doctor and I are going to try and get any of the crystals completely out of my systems so I do not have any tissue damage that can be avoided.  

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Change with a layer of dust

If you were wondering, yes, we are making progress on the kitchen remodel.   The electric is roughed in and the two new lights are hung, the framing and sub flooring are also complete.    The wall coverings and dry wall are coming up next.  
 I ran two new circuits to supply electric to the pantry.  While I ran these circuits, I added a light and outlet in the basement crawl space--I have spent enough time down there, I might as well make it 'nice', and added some power to Harry Potter's House so we can have some lighting in that space as well.  The new circuit job was as expected--frustrating and quite physical.    An old house with no provisions to get to the spaces where you can run electric wiring is normal and you have to get creative.   I muttled through, but now I a new access hole in the wall below the breaker box, I fixed the access problem with a circular saw.  Next time, the wiring work will improve smartly.  The dirt removal from the crawl space also made this job possible.  

Progress has been steady, and in the end, I think the product will be worth the effort.  I have been keeping up with the delivery of pieces and parts as they arrive.   The internet is big plus in getting stuff dropped off at your door.

We purchased a modern light that will hang over the new dining room table which is still in the box until the major dust is done.    The new light has some 3D elements and you have 50 small pieces of colored aluminum squares and some frosted glass squares that you can attach as you please.   Think putting up the Christmas tree every winter.   Linda gets to help with decorating the lights, this should be interesting.   And if you are not happy, change it until are!  And if you want different colored squares- get out the Krylon and presto chango--new colors.  This light is just fun and should be a real item when done.

I have been very strict with my diet since visiting the doctor a couple weeks ago.  Very little red meat and a lot more dairy protein. No alcohol of any type.  And water, water, water......  I have been taking my meds and have had no more flare ups of gout.  I get a blood test in three weeks and at that time the next step will be discussed with Dr. Amy.   I have been refilling some of the meds and this juice is pricey, so trying to manage gout with lifestyle and diet will definitely be my main option.   I do get an upset stomach and head aches as a side effect from the meds, it is nothing that cannot be tolerated, but it is still something that you have to work through. 

Training has not been happening,   No races for  several months and I have been burning a lot of energy on the remodel.  Coming up quickly is the wedding in Wisconsin for Betty and Linsi.  Effective, this week, same sex wedding are officially legal in WI.  The legal process has finished the usual court challenges.   So we will be going to a real wedding in Green Bay!!!  Cake, there will be wedding cake!  I love wedding cake. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Just another Saturday

Today the Greater Nashville Sr Olympians met at a track near the Cumberland River to run our district qualifier for the State Finals in 2015.    Very nice day to run, sunny with very little wind and pleasant temperatures, nice.  There was a heavy dew still on the soccer field in the center of the track, so I, like every one else warmed up on the syntethic track.   I got a really good, warm up and was ready for the 9:00 AM start with the 100 m dash.   I felt about as good as I felt in weeks-- the gout medical has been pretty effective.    They were getting the heats arranged when the meet was suddenly called off!!  There is a juvenile detention center close by and there have been an incident of several inmates ( I guess that is what they are called) overpowered a guard and one got loose.  So, they meet was cancelled for our safety.   We would all qualify for the events we were entered in, so no harm no foul.   This is similar to the flood year, you are all in, meet cancelled.   I doubt if a young buck could have done much to our group of antiques, he would have been pretty obvious in this flock of gray hairs.  Hopefully,  they got the situation under control and the escapee was rounded up safely.  

I visited a doctor last week, and had my blood checked for uric acid and the level was high enough to need to be medicated to get it under control.  The kidneys were fine, which is really good news for gout sufferers.   I am taking various medicines to control the gout and I have made some changes in my diet to see if I can get the uric acid content under control.   I get rechecked in 3 more weeks and my diet will be in flux for the next several months as I experiment with different foods and see how my body responds.  I have some history in my family of gout, I know my great grand father was effected, he lived to be 92 and had it for many years, and I am sure there were others.  

Diet changes in the short term include-- no alcohol of any type, no bacon or ham, no beef,  milk in coffee instead of cream. Nothing with corn sugar -high fructose corn syrup.  Linda and I basically got HFCS out of the diet several years ago, but when you travel, the stuff is every where--ketchup is the worst for it.   More cottage cheese, greek yogurt, egg protein and powdered protein supplements.   Limit meat amounts to much smaller portions. Drink a lot more water.

Training is going to be rather limited as well in the next few months.   We started the kitchen project last weekend and it will require a substantial amount of energy to complete.  The really dirty stuff is done,  and next we will start adding new wood and getting some form to the project.   We ordered some lights today and are working on getting a door and and some backsplash rounded up. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Kitchen Could Not Wait

If you like before and after pictures, here is a good example of our kitchen Saturday morning and Sunday morning.    We had discussed a remodel and finally the under the house work was far enough along to do the above floor work.  Access under the house was impossible and I have removed 16 yards of dirt to improve the access.   We removed a set of steps which were incredibly steep and a brick facade on the fireplace.    Once we started the work, I noticed some odd looking construction and finally figured out that the fireplace brick work was all a facade to the original--which is yellow and brick colored in the bottom picture.   We had not planned on removing all the added brick work, but until the dust starts flying, you have no idea what is going to appear.     In the end, it turns out we will have significantly more room than we had anticipated from this job. 

The corner where the stairs were will be a kitchen workspace/ storage that we will close in with some new walls. The fireplace will be bricked up and covered with some smoother wall covering.  It is quite rough and very dirty in its current state.   At day's end,  the houses' original floor and walls were exposed.   The current pine floor had been added as had the dry wall.  The orignal materials were all wood-- floor, ceiling and walls.   It had to pretty cold on a windy day in that old kitchen.  

In the stairwell, I added a floor and it is now the best closet in the house.  We have had enough time to size up our new space and have some ideas on how to maximize the kitchen  are finally getting discussed.   It is always exciting to find some new in an old house.   Some of this wood has not been exposed for 134 years, by the way, it was pretty dry when I removed it.  

This weekend, we have our District Qualifier in central Tennessee.  I will run so I can run the State Finals next summer.   But, the gout has came back after about a week of relief.   My foot was killing my Sunday while I was getting the floor installed.  I am going to a doctor today and try and get this thing fixed.   Training has been out of the question, just getting healthy is the current regiment.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Joys of Aging

Last weekend Linda I traveled to Lexington, KY for their State Finals track meet.   The weather was perfect temperature wise, but a stiff breeze was blowing down the finish straight and fast times were not going to happen that day.  I would call the meet frazzled in term of organization.   It started on time, but the heat races were all intermingled and you had no idea who was in your class.   Also there was almost no rest between the different heats.  It was 50, 100, 1500 --some resting--200, 400, 800.  I ran the 50, 100, 200 and skipped the 400.  I would have had about 5 minutes to recover from the 200 and was still gassed.  I wanted to run the 200 as fast as I could and finished second by 0.03 seconds, had it won and it slipped away in the last 15 meters.  In the 50 and 100 I finished 6 th in each!!  We did not get the results on race day, it was electronic timing and they had to sort the classes out and they it plenty tangled.  I found out about my finishes the next day when I checked in on line.  

The times were not fast, due to the wind and the chaos at the meet.  But two 6 th places was really bothering me- a lot.  I had changed my training for this meet and it was a test for my times.   Well, I stunk and that experiment was DOA.   The competition was very good, I nearly won the 200,  but stunk in the short races.  There were people there from at least 6 states I raced against.  A bunch of the fast folks from TN also ran.   They finished well, but their times were pedestrian as well.

I think the answer showed up yesterday.   About two weeks ago my left big toe in the big joint was ouchy and I thought my mining under the house was starting some turf toe.   So I was icing the foot and it was doing OK and I could run and walk around without much pain.   Yesterday, the shit hit the fan.   My left foot was swelling, impossible to get the pain under control and time to take action. I even got a pain pill off  Dr. Linda.  Not much help.  I am still thinking turf toe--by the way this is the problem that forced Deon Sanders to retire.   Linda took me to Good Feet to look for a plate to put in shoe to prevent flexing--typical treatment for TT.   They were no help, pricey, but no help.  
We then went to the local urgent care--nicest people you will ever meet- and asked for some help.  I told them my left foot was hurting and since I had been there twice for walking pneumonia, I was in the system and in the door in 5 minutes.  The doctor and I chatted for 5 minutes, he said  GOUT, and I was just totally surprised, that is for OLD people,  I am not old people yet!  We took some X rays and it was gout.   On the X ray of my left foot, a bone that was broken on the outside of my little toe side of my foot in 1980 or 1981 had never healed.  It was about 3/4 inch long and just floating in there.  I have wondered why at certain times I can feel it causing some pinching, now I know, it is floating around.    I wore that walking cast for 6 weeks until I cut it off myself, must have needed another couple of weeks. 

I chatted with the other tech and he ran track in college and was a 400 meter specialist.  We were really getting into it and had to shut up to get the X-rays and also to get out of the place.  He ran some 47's in college, nice kid. He understood the crap I go thru for each 400 race.
The doctor and I talked about treatment, by then I had Linda involved to make sure there we no screw ups on my part, and he said "two shots and you are gonna be feeling a lot better in 20 minutes".  Two shots and I felt better in 3 minutes and basically walked out the door with out a limp.  We were there for a total of 40 minutes and were done!!!  I love that place.  When we looked at the bill, I had a credit on my account, I really really  love this place.   It is called Physcians Urgent Care, open 7 days a week. 

I picked up some meds today that will go for 4 days.   Looking back at the last weeks, I have had some changes in my diet that were the cause of the gout flare up.  Hot dogs, smoked sausage and bacon are going to getting winnowed off the diet plan.  I have already cut out 75% of my beer, so I will need to keep that consumption limited.  Other foods will be swapped out, but it will done.  

I think the gout was a factor in my lousy performance, not an excuse,  but enough of an edge removed that I was not at optimum strength.  I have to really force the action to have good times and finishes.  My next meet is the district qualifier in two weeks.  Typically this is a jog fest, you just need to finish, but I will have to check my 50 and 200 times against the clock, to make sure the experiment was effected by gout.  Gout is for old people, I am not an old guy yet!!  Or am I?? 

We also went to IKEA in Cincinnati during our trip to Lexington and ate at one of favorite restaurant--Pappadeaux's.   Great seafood and cajun food.  We enjoyed some great salmon and redfish.  Yum. At IKEA we bought a load of chairs and a kitchen table for our kitchen remodel, some doors for the closet in the laundry room, a Billy bookshelf and some wedding stuff.    We need IKEA in Nashville, bad!!

Linda and I also acknowledged our tenth wedding anniversary this week.  Neither was in good enough shape to celebrate last week or this weekend, but "by gum" we are going to go out to dinner tomorrow before something else crops up to sicken or maim either one of us.   This partying is harder than you think.   'Sickness stuff 'was in our vows, we are really getting thru that section slowly as of recent times.