Monday, June 20, 2011

Is it rude or impolite or perhaps just clueless?

Yesterday afternoon I took the kayak out on the river. A beautiful afternoon with bright sun and a little bit of a breeze. A new dock has been added replacing the more tentative wood pallets floating on the mud banks and make entrances and exits a little less awkward. Or should I say,at least the entrances are.

It was remarkably busy on the river. Tourists, I imagined. Some of the rental places and high end resorts will truck people in with trailers of kayaks and return in a couple of hours. I don't mind that as I have been one of the out of towners on the Cape or elsewhere and there are enough branches of the river that go unnoticed to the occassional visitor.

Coming back, on schedule to meet the family for a fathers day dinner, there is a back up at the dock. From the appearance of one person standing on the dock, dripping, I knew that at least one kayak had tipped. At least it was at the end, not at the beginning, as I once did. On the dock was this younger guy trying to drag the kayak up onto the dock, with much verbal drama and with each dip adding more water to the inside and to the weight. The other kayaks are all over the dock, blocking me from getting out or getting on my way and blocking everyone for that matter. Waiting patiently as this guy, easily 30 years younger than I, seemed helpless in trying to figure out how to get it out of the water and was verbally clear that he resented the situation he was in helping his wet companions.

Having enough of his rants and wanting to get on with it and get my stuff out, I step out of my boat, knee deep in the mud, hoisted myself up the dock, grabbed on to his kayak, pulled it on the dock, turn it over and dumped out most of the water and moved it aside. Still somewhat perplexed, the guy is told to dump it over again to get the rest of the water out so that it can be brought to the truck. Meanwhile I have to manuver around them to keep my kayak from drifting away. They are now set and the truck is here to pick up their kayak and I can now move mine out of the way and out.

So, if someone helped you out in this way after you'd been struggling, would you say anything? I know I would, even if it were a simple thanks. But not a word. They went on their way chatting and the guy complaining.

Some tourists give others a bad name, they are absolutely clueless.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

officially a runner

I have been running for about 3 years and for that long written about my workouts and running, but for some reason when people ask if I am a runner, I will often qualify it as yes I run, but not too much. In reality I logged about 450 miles last year and have so far logged 150 miles and over 60 miles just last month, but when I ran I would run a mile or so, then walk a small bit then run again. No matter how much I seemed to try, I always needed to walk for a bit. They were still good workouts but didn't seem serious and in the category of a real runner.

I have friends and relatives who are very serious and good at this and run great distances, that I at this point only dream of. though they have invited me to come along sometimes on the shorter excursions , I have always been intimidated because I wasn't a straight out runner.

The past month or so, I decided I needed to kick up my gain. Having burned off some winter pounds, my weight again had plateaued. Little by little I adjusted my pace and kept pushing a little more distance before the walking. I also started keeping my head down when I approached a hill, getting a little further up.

The past two weeks I have been making good progress, first hitting 2 miles, then three and last week four miles, before I needed to walk. Then a couple days off this week, one for rest and one because I didn't feel great, and today I headed out to see what I could do and ran continuously for 8 miles and an hour and a quarter. Stopping at the top of my street, where I usually start my cool downs. And yes I am able to walk still and don't hurt a bit and look forward to another good run tomorrow.

I reached a milestone not just in miles but in my mind. I now consider myself a runner because I know I can do it and can perhaps do more. It may take a while before I am ready for the half marathon, but knowing now that I can do a good distance straight on and handle some good hills, makes this goal much more real.

Friday, June 10, 2011

There are time when my wife will say that she wishes she lived in a condo or apartment so that when something goes wrong, you just pick up the phone and it is then their problem to fix. Romanticizing of course, but anyone who is a homeowner knows that there are times when it is not for the weak of heart.

We seem to be on a roll. The carpenter ants are back (or did they never leave) consuming huge amounts of time and mental energy for me to figure out how to tackle this rash and finally I called in pros, who told me they'd do just about what I am doing, except that they could fog the inside of the walls in the effected area.

So that is on the project list as is getting in a carpenter to do repairs and the gutter people back to diver more rain away from the house.

The weather too has been fierce. Last week it was the tornadoes in the area, this week it has been storm after storm of high winds and rain.

Last night's storm knocked out power in a wide area and left debris all over the night before we were readying to head for the basement, it was so heavy. An then there was the big bump in the night, which was this neighbor's tree hitting our house and taking a bite out of the roof. The rain and wind kept going so that I couldn't check out the damage from the outside until morning. I was able to assess from the attic that it hadn't gone through.

So at 6AM I am up on the roof patching this hole for the oncoming rains and winds. It looks like it held during last night. Now comes the negotiation with the neighbors and the repair people and insurance. Yeah I know I am whining, but I have to get it out somewhe

Friday, June 3, 2011

The past couple of work days have been dominated by planning and strategizing around the tornado damage. I work for a multi-program organization and one of the program sites is gone, another has a huge tree on top of it and another has moderate damage, mostly blown out windows, but neighborhood that it is in is one of those making the national news as looking like a bomb went off and where a mom sacrificed her life to save her child.

Fortunately most of my hundreds plus co-workers are fine, inconvenienced by lack of electricity but at least a couple people lost their homes and several had their cars destroyed or had major damage.

Working in this planning environment becomes very methodical and practical, such as retrieving the mail that can't be delivered or securing computers, and also the creative involving how to house people in multiple work places near where they need to be and how to compensate people who couldn't come to work and what can we as co-workers do to help those displaced and how to help staff with kids in schools that will not reopen. The latter group is the caring factor that makes this where I like to work. As far as "output" it hasn't been the most productive of weeks, but I feel exhausted and have been busy. Its come after a few weeks of doing several things that are emotionally depleting.

But I am by no means complaining and have little tolerance for the few that are whining because their electricity if off. They after all still have a house and a home and car when there are so many very close by that have lost lives and homes and so much.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Western Massachusetts like many other parts of the country rarely makes the big news. But yesterday as I am in my office about a mile away a tornado strikes. I had been looking out from my second floor office noticing the oddly yellow sky and the wisps of clouds that were coming down from the main clouds. I'd heard of tornado warnings and as I looked at this I was thinking, where is the safest place in this building. Then someone came in and I had to turn my attention in another direction and the sky just grayed. The below video is what was happening where I was looking.

As I was leaving work and driving west to the Berkshires (which was gratefully untouched) I had noticed that the storm was traveling east but not knowing that it was a tornado moving east.

This morning was surreal. People with stories about damage they had. Co-workers who had roofs lifted off their houses or barns that just disappeared. Several programs and clinics could even be accessed to determine the damage because the surrounding neighborhood were so damaged. At a meeting I heard the story of someone in her office watching the storm approach and noticing all the debris and the windows in her office blowing in and the window blinds ripping from the ceiling and her hiding under her desk. Total small towns wiped out as the tornado plows through.

The damage will take years to repair and rebuild and I am more than a little spooked.

This is not something expected here, yet it happened.