Making some adjustments

I knew that getting married would require making some adjustments, but there are some things that I haven’t quite figured out yet. For example, how is it possible for three people to generate so much garbage when we have a garbage disposal? I must be throwing out a bag every day. I didn’t think we generated that much trash. Plus, there’s running the dishwasher almost every day. Though that has more to do with the very large dishes that Karen wanted. They’re nearly too big for the dishwasher (stacking it is a joy since the dishwasher has collapsible tines, which tend to collapse when three or more plate are on them) and nearly too big for the cabinet (the large plates have to be tilted to get them in and out). Minor stuff to be sure, but it all takes getting used to. And you figure after seven months of this, I would have some things down cold.

Removing the bandage

I had to take off the bandage that was covering over my stitches today. I did change it every day, but kept it covered all the time. My finger was getting rather icky (I imagine that’s not a medical term, but it will have to do). The finger (my left index) is still a little stiff. I can type OK with it, but the real test will come tomorrow at work trying to write with it again. I’ll put a bandaid or something like that over the stitches so I don’t gross people out, and I don’t accidentally snag the stitches on anything. Which in my office environment is not too difficult to do. The stitches will come out on Thursday morning. There will definitely be a scar there, but since it’s on the top of my finger, it should blend in with all the other lines and stuff.

Living with nine fingers, Day Three

While I didn’t actually lose a finger, at times I almost wish I did. Trying to keep my left index finger out of the way while I do everything (since I’m left handed) is much more of a challenge than I had thought it would be. The simple stuff is the worst: shaving, showering, writing, and typing require much more concentration than they normally do. I need to keep this up for another week yet, until I get the stitches out. Ugh!

Good times to be a Democrat

At least for the time being. Great news the last two days: Santorum losing, control of the House and the Senate, and Rumsfeld getting fired. I just hope they don’t screw it up. The pessimist in me needs to stretch his legs a little…

I’m not a pundit by training (or by assumption of having a blog), nor was I a PoliSci major in college. I’m more of a cynical observer with a jaundiced eye. I’m throwing out the following things I think will happen, and we’ll see what sticks.

  • Investigations will be launched into the Capitol Page program (more intensely), screw-ups both pre- and post-Katrina, and wasteful spending in Iraq (or Halliburton flambe), and intelligence community screw-ups leading into the Iraq invasion.
  • A separate investigation into Iraq-related war policy. Rumsfeld will be hung out to dry by the Bush administration. That was why he was fired. Don’t accept that BS that he “resigned”. I don’t believe for one second that he suddenly had a moment of conscience and decided it was time to step down. He was ordered to, and like the good Republican soldier that he is, he did what he was told. And they’re going to screw him over. Getting rid of Rumsfeld was an attempt for the administration to distance itself from its failed Iraq policy.
  • They will be some bickering over oil prices. Nice to see that the Republicans want to take credit when gasoline prices go down, but not take any blame when they go up. Of course, both positions are BS, since the U.S. government has nothing to do with the price of oil or gasoline.
  • At some point a few years from now, the Republicans will blame the Democrats for screwing things up in Iraq. And they’ll point back to this eletion as the starting point for all of it.

Ben Franklin Bridge Run LBRR

I was wondering how I’d be able to do in this race, since I had just raced the day before, and I hadn’t done races on two days in a row in 4 or 5 years. Again, it was another cold and brisk morning. This start would be more difficult because we started on the bridge, which meant that the car was nowhere near the start line. I warmed up early, ditched the sweats, and tried to stay warm until the start. Saw Seebo, Kevin F., Kevin J., and Goat before the start. Nice to see that almost all of the other runners were well behind where the start would be, since in these types of races (even though I’m not all the fast) there are a lot of people who just want to tstart in the front. Most likely just for the photo op. But it creates a real hazard and hassle for those of us who are actually trying to race, since we have to dart and dodge around all these fools.

Before we lined up, Goat and I discussed pacing – we were going to try to start around 7:00 per mile on the bridge and see what happened from there. I lost Goat during the lineup and started out by myself; he caught up about 1/4 mile in. We hit Mile 1 in 6:55 (going uphill). “Nice pacing,” said Goat. “Not really,” I replied, “just lucky.” On the downhill to Philly, a lot of people passed us. “Don’t worry,” I said, “we’ll catch them back on the uphill.” Sure enough, once we hit the turnaround, we started passing people again – hit Mile 2 in 6:59.

Mile 3, which was mostly downhill, went by in 6:28. Goat said, “You can go.” “No, I’m good.” And then about 10 seconds later, I realized I was pulling away without picking up the pace. The interesting thing was that ther were no real groups in front of me, just a long singular line of runners with some decent spacing between each. So I decided I would try to use them one by one to ladder my way up the field. Surprisingly, this started working. I would catch up to the person in front of me and as I went by, hoping that they’d hang on. But nobody did. Mile 4 in 6:28. This ad-hoc strategy seemed to be working, so I just kept running my own race, not worrying about whether anybody stayed with me or not. Mile 5 in 6:33. Saw the guys cheering well before the finish line, and put in the last kick to finish in 41:20.

Not a 10K PR for me, but I bettered last year’s time for this race by 44 seconds. I am very happy about this. A good running weekend.

Another (partial) night in the Emergency Room

This time it was my turn. While cleaning the dinner dishes last night, I sliced the top of my left index finger while cleaning one of our lovely Henckels knives. My hand just slipped while washing it – I sliced the tip off of the rubber glove I was wearing (I wear them so I can get the water really hot). It started bleeding right away, so I ran it under some water and put a few paper towels over it to stop the bleeding. I had Karen put some ice in a baggie, which I put over the paper towels. After a few minutes, I took a look at my finger and saw that the cut was fairly deep.

Karen went to get Neighbor Bob to look at it, since she didn’t want to. He took a quick look and agreed with me that we should go to the hospital. Of course, with my luck, this all occurred while Victoria was taking her shower. Karen helped me put a gauze pad over the cut and we taped it on. Karen stayed home with Victoria while Bob comitted several traffic violations in getting me to the hospital. Luckily for me, the ER was not crowded, and someone looked at me right away. Since I wasn’t bleeding throught the gauze pad, they didn’t want to take it off right away. Long wait made short: after about two hours and two stitches in the first knuckle, I was free to go. Now I have two stitches, a gauze pad, and some FlexWrap to hold everything in place and to prevent me from reopening the cut.

Of course, being left-handed creates a few problems. One of which is typing, which I seem to be OK with this morning. We’ll see how much typing I have to do at work. There will be a variety of other tasks that will be more difficult, like shaving and showering. At least I get to get the bandage wet and redo it later.

Weird Halloween Day and a new car!

OK, those two things really don’t seem to go together, but perhaps it will all make sense at the end of this.

The day started out normally: went for a run, etc. before work. Karen and I had a parent-teacher conference at Victoria’s school, so Karen rode up with me on the bus. As we were walking to the bus stop, we were talking (as married couples sometimes do), and I felt my foot get stuck for a moment on the sidewalk.

“Great, I stepped in gum.”

I looked down at my shoe. No, it was not gum. It was worse – dog poo. Some a-hole was too lazy to clean up after their dog. Happens all the time in this neighborhood. I should have known better. When I’m by myself, I’m almost always looking down to make sure there’s no poo. This time I didn’t. And being in the city, there was no grass anywhere nearby for me to wipe off my shoe. So I had to rely on a combination of curb, bricks around someone’s tree, and some leaves on the gutter. Not fun. Nor 100% effective.

We get on the bus and start riding up. The girl sitting next to Karen asks one of her friends, “Is Halloween always on a Tuesday?”

“I don’t think so. I think last year it was on a Monday.” her friend replied.

It took great strength on my part not to shout out: “You’re both idiots!” By far, these two were the dumbest people I’ve encountered in several years, and that’s saying quite a bit.

The conference went well, and I headed into work for a fairly uneventful day. We were in the process of trying to buy a new car, since I was diriving a 1995 Jeep and Karen was driving a 2000 Pathfinder. In talking to the salesman that morning, he told me that it would be worth my while to come into the dealership that night, since it was the last day of the month and that they would make me a good deal. So we decided we would head out there, which meant that I had to leave work around 5:30 (i.e., early). I get on the first of two buses to take me home and some crazy homeless person crushes (I think) a beer can (I think) in the aisle of the bus after I sat down, which got whatever liquid it was onto my suit. The one I had just gotten back from the cleaners (see my previous post on this). I am now extraordinarily pissed off – not the best frame of mind to get in to negotiate for a new car. But we’re committed to try. We know that we have another dealer to play these guys off, so if we don’t get a price we like, we’re just going to walk away and try again over the weekend.

At the dealer, the first price we get is about the same as the price we had been quoted the previous Saturday. “No, this price is $350 lower.”

“Yes, but that difference is not worth my time. Not at all.”

“What price would work for you?”

This is the point in negotiations where I don’t know if I’m being ridiculous or not. So I name a price lower than what Karen and I had discussed, but with the two trade-ins would be a good price for us. The salesman seemed to be a little surprised and went to check to see what he could do. He comes back with a second price, but not where I wanted it to be – a few hundred dollars higher. I wanted to work the bottom-line price down some.

“Can we make the bottom-line price a round number?”

“You mean round it up to xx500?” (Don’t think that I’m going to tell you the price.)

“No. Round it down to xx000.”

Slight pause by the salesman. “I can do that. But you owe me lunch.”

I don’t feel guilty about this sort of thing, nor should I. The dealer is still making a nice profit off of me for almost no work. We go through with the trade-ins and the sale and leave that night with a brand new Lexus GX470. This is a very nice vehicle. When picking me up from work on Thursday night, Karen let me drive home. “You know,” she said, “after this, we can never go back to an ordinary car.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Dash for Democracy LBRR

I was vacillating this morning on whether to go with shorts or tights – shorts won out, but I had to make sure I stayed warm. Did a warm-up run of about 1 mile, and some stretching, just to keep moving. Ran back to the car (only 2 blocks away) to ditch the fleece, and some strides to make sure all the kinks were out. I was feeling surprisingly good.

We started out, and I felt like I was moving slow. I drifted somewhere behind Craig and ran near some other people, but not close enough to form a group of any kind, more like a line with small gaps. But that was good enough for me; better than the usual result of losing people quickly.

Mile 1 went by in 6:04 – and I still felt like I was moving slow. I was feeling good, and that was more important to me than the time (which was very nice). Mile 2 slowed a little bit, to 6:24. “Ugh!” I thought, “here we go again”. I was anticipating another quick start with gradual fade.

I then decided I had to stay in close contact with the guy in front of me. I got close enough that he could hear me breathing, and he promptly sped up. Mile 3 in 6:07, for an 18:35 finish.

Like Craig, I first thought this was a 5K, and was unbelievably stoked to set a PR by 45 seconds! But then my reality check came when I realized theee was no way I could have run that time at my pace. Damn those pesky laws of physics! A little online race pace calculator did show that my average speed would have gotten me to a 19:14 for 5K, which would have been a PR by 6 seconds!

I’m very hapy with this result. I hope I can put it to good use tomorrow for the Ben Franklin Bridge run.