Un-fucking Myself – 2nd Quarter Update

A very busy summer is underway.  There’s no grass growing under my feet, or any other part of my body, for that matter…

Time for the second quarterly report regarding my on-going quest to un-fuck myself (my battle cry from January). In April, i reported my progress after the first quarter of the year, and am dutifully reporting the latest update as the second quarter comes to a close.

The good news?  i’ve stayed with the fitness quest.  As of today, i’ve lost a total of 25 pounds since January.  Had hoped to see 30 pounds vaporized, but i’m good with what i’ve done so far.  Would like to double that for the year-end report…  Many happy miles on the bicycle, regular gym habits, and an accountability buddy have been critical.

Not such a good report on the ‘de-cluttering’.  Wanted to see another three or four trips to the thrift store, and a few more full-dumpsters during the quarter, but that was not to be….  Many hours on the bicycle, when i should have been excavating, perhaps….

During the month of June, the mechanical shit in my world was breaking as fast as i could fix it — and i was fixing it like a motherfucking ninja!  Mostly, the category of “things with wheels” was vexing — having an abundance of ‘wheeled’ things, it goes with the turf, but damned if it wasn’t aggravating.

Jeep was stonecolddead, and i couldn’t get it to hold charge, so it went sailing away on a flatbed at the beginning of the month.  The day it returned?  The Jag overheated when i got to work the next day.  i poked around and identified that problem as a slow leak in the coolant resovoir, and topped it off during my lunch hour.

Glorious weather on the next day got me on the motorcycle – which led me to the next headache:  Weirdness and overheating as i got the bike home that night.

Decided that rather than put myself at the mercy of the Motorcycle Repair Mafia, i was going to dig in myself — and i did.  Drained, flushed and filled coolant, replaced a thermostat, and did an oil change.  The service manual and a bunch of crazy old coots who post repair videos on youtube were my best friends for a few days.  For extra support, i joined an online forum – and promptly realized that i had, in fact, repaired something that wasn’t broken*.  But it did it myself, damn it… and the bike is operational.

Not so much the Jeep…  Two weeks of joy, and then the transmission took a massive, and noisy shit, the following Friday night.  Executed a nationwide search, and within two days i was able to buy a rebuilt transmission, have it shipped to my repair shop, and have them perform the transplant.  As of today, it is back in my stable.

kardashian headaches

To be sure, i know that these are truly first world problems.  Problems i bring upon myself through the choice to operate a fleet of aging vehicles.  i could be rational and functional, and sell the entire lot, buy myself a nice, dependable new sedan, and avoid the headaches.

Not gonna happen.

The upside?  My mechanical confidence is strong.  i’m ready for what lies ahead.  Rolling into the third quarter of the year, i will press on with the fitness goals – always easier to keep moving in the summer.  The de-cluttering will get an assist, as The Girl will be coming to visit, and i’m going to put her to work going through her abandoned belongings!  She’s been living abroad for 3 years.  If she doesn’t want it, she is going to give it away.

Plenty of other adventures ahead… and a project or two that shall be revisited.  Life is good.  It can all turn in a heartbeat, so i’m going to enjoy the ride while it lasts.  Onward!  Speed ball to the finish line!

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*Suzuki VX800 is a weird beast.  Combination of air and water cooling, there is an on-board fan that kicks on in slow traffic, or long idle.  i did not know that.  When the fan kicked on for the first time, i assumed overheating.  The coolant needed a flush anyway…

 

 

 

 

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Arrivederci Roma

The kid with the tangled mane of hair sprawled across the worn gray carpet in the living room  She’d spent hours working the music box mechanism.  Winding up the platform, where the wooden boy, arm raised confidently, strode toward the train.

get on the train kid

She played a game.  Trying to wind up the music box just enough so that as it slowed, it would end on the final strains of the tune.  Sometimes cheating a little, pushing in the metal button to stop the music at the right place.

Forty five years later, the kid still has hard to manage hair.  She still doesn’t care much what it looks like most of the time.  She was back in that same living room yesterday, bringing her mother home from an appointment with the cardiologist…

Mom is doing ok as she approaches her 86th birthday.  The lung cancer has apparently been radiated into submission.  A pacemaker keeps her heart ticking along.  She moves slowly, with the assistance of a cane.  Usually out of breath, the cardiologist ran another EKG, and ordered some blood work to check for anemia.  Checked her pulse oxygen, which was a reasonable 93% using the finger cuff.

“I’m just so tired.  Sometimes I just think my heart is going to quit.”

Mom has been working through her estate plans.  She is not confused about what she wants to happen when she dies, and has taken the advice of her attorney to get things sorted.  We’d just returned from another visit to the bank to address some of these issues

Going into Mom’s apartment, she brought me to the dresser where she keeps her important papers.  She was showing me where she keeps stock certificates, and other assorted documents.

i was surprised to see the little guy on the music box, still chasing that train…

At the first strains of the tune, i was right back on that worn gray carpet.  A little dusty, it still worked perfectly…

“Your Dad gave me that years ago…”

“i know, Mom.  i remember this well…”  Still able to wind it up just so… Still able to use the metal button to bring the music to a halt at just the right place…

“Do you want it?  Put your name on the bottom of it.  Or just take it home now…”

“No.  i can’t do that…  You still have it out!  It looks perfect right here…”

“Well, you better mark it if you want it because if you don’t it might disappear after i’m gone…”

We had discussed this over lunch.  It is entirely within the realm of the plausible that anything that could potentially be of monetary value will vaporize as soon as she dies.  “The perils of benefactors, the blessings of parasites.”

i left it there, but the melody has been stuck in my head ever since.  Thinking about my father.  Thinking about the man that devoted his life to caring for her, and her children.  Leaving behind friends and family in the northeast, and starting over in his new role…

arrevederci roma

Get on that train, kid.  Don’t look back…

Odometer Reading

18,994 days.

My heart has beaten approximately 1,899,540,442 times in total.

i have taken approximately 417,523,886 breaths in total.

The moon has orbited the earth 695 times since i was born.

30,592,757,589 miles – the distance i have traveled as the Earth revolves around the Sun.

My finger hovered over the ‘submit’ button, but i’d already missed the deadline to apply for early retirement, at least for the current offering.  “Once you submit your retirement application, it is irrevocable.”

Perhaps it’s a good thing i missed the deadline this time.  Perhaps i’m not quite ready yet.

The job i have is amazing.  i’ve returned to my wheelhouse – science and technology program management.  Getting ideas from “proof of concept” into the realm of “prototype”. Serving as translator between scientists and customers . A necessary function, and i’m good at it.

But i keep thinking about those heartbeats…  Those breaths…  Those miles….

Not a milestone birthday, but today i start my 53rd year on Earth.  At best i have 25-30 years left.  During a good portion of those years, i will run into more physical limitations. Within the next ten years the motorcycle will certainly have to go, horseback riding will cease, and adventure travel may start to include the occasional comfy cruise…

My chances to hike into Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate decrease with each passing year.

i spent the evening doing motorcycle maintenance.  Changing out a dead thermostat on the ’91 Suzuki.  Coolant flush.  Oil change.  And thinking through the future.. Not so much “What’s next?”, but “When?”

Zen and The Art of...

And wondering… “How many heartbeats do i have left?”

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*Calculations extracted from this page.    Highly recommend running your own numbers…