Thursday, July 30, 2015

Mid-week update

Almost the end of a busy week, and I'll drink to that. Actually I already have, 2 drinks to be exact. That's several months allocation of booze but it was a great dinner with friends after a rough day at work.
We've had corporate people crawling all over and another company they brought along. They are 'here to help' but in reality didn't point out anything that we didn't already know that we needed to work on (customer service and communication issues). We already have processes in place but it's really embarrassing as this is my first time being in charge.

I took out my frustration and anger on my MMA coach with some kickboxing. The reality is I punched and kicked and swore and he laughed a little bit and gave me pointers. I just got back from my second gym session of the day, I spent an hour working on my kicking game, core and flexibility.

I'm sitting on my butt listening to the sprinklers in the garden and debating if I can actually get up and get some ibuprofen. My legs hurt from kicking the bag and pads, my knuckles hurt from being stupid and hitting the heavy bag without wraps or gloves. My shoulders hurt because they don't like me, etc. Honestly it's a damn good feeling even if I'm wearing my 5th shirt of the day and the laundry basket is angry with me.

A blogger I've followed for a long time is moving down by our cabin, and I think that's really exciting. I'm hoping we get to know each other in person, I have a lot of respect for this blogger and perhaps I can lend a hand as they move in. I would love to meet more people from the blogging world but for some reason my travels never take me really close to where they are (or where I think they are). When I was younger and into video games I was able to meet a lot of players and still have some great friendships as a result.

Time to switch out the hose and water the yard. A lot of things going on this weekend to plan (bike ride, running, scavenger/adventure hunt, ride/run/walk event with Chick-Fil-A, yard work, etc.). A life, full and fulfilled.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Work weekend in the mountains?

This was supposed to be a big work weekend at the cabin but of course that got derailed a little. Father in-law needed to get out of the house and a friend of ours from work came over for dinner. Not a big speed bump but we didn't get as much done as planned. I fired up the chainsaw for about 90 minutes, one of the ATV's was being used to pull large portions of tree into the road and then smaller portions loaded into the trailer to be placed by the woodshed.
It wasn't hot outside but the sweat was pouring out, damn protective gear like pants and shirts (long sleeved since it was next to the water and mosquitoes).

We also got a bookcase up. It had been sitting in the bedroom for almost a year and just wasn't a priority. Now our DVD's and books are organized and we can stop buying the same titles more than once (anyone want the gatekeeper series book one and two, let me know). I have enough books to fill about 12 of these bookcases but this will be the zombie type books for now. Normally there aren't two lamps in this rook but with father in-law around we have to hastily move things that can be knocked around/over. We are proud of our bucket lamp tables!

Rock is enjoying the new Jeep, since it's on 35 inch tires he has a better view of everything. We are going to change it from white to Kryptek Highlander in a few weeks. Should be sweet.

I had a few great workouts at the gym this past week, continuing on my journey to becoming a better athlete. Here is a pic from one of the workouts, the shirts real color is the lighter red.

I set a 'by the end of the summer' goal a few months ago. I wanted to run a trail by the cabin from one trailhead to another. It was 7 miles and after last weekends great run I just went for it. The run wasn't easy, I honestly wasn't fueled up properly for it (hindsight) but I'm stubborn and don't quit. 2 hours and 22 minutes later I was back at the cabin for a total of 10 miles and my summers-end goal smashed. The scenery was beautiful, the bugs weren't too bad and the wind was kind most of the way.





The weekend ended up at almost 20 miles and I really feel like I'm a runner again after a few years of not running at all. I'm going to keep doing the weird workouts, MMA stuff and running. I've set a new end of summers goal and it's closer to 20 miles on the same trail.

Tomorrow the garden will be cleaned of beans and zucchini. The cucumbers and tomatoes are doing amazing, it's going to be a great harvest for pickles and salsa. Just another step towards self reliance and sufficiency, doing what we can, where we can and as often as we can.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Inventory, endurance, new Jeep, lists....

I like lists as they keep me on track and somewhat organized. Unfortunately I never seem to get them completed as more (and more) items get added.

Rock and I are at the cabin and just unloaded some buckets (well I unloaded them, he stared out the window) of beans.
NOT long term buckets....

We are doing a great job of keeping inventory on the long term food storage we have here. I'm good at having an idea of what totals we have but having an inventory thats cloud based lets us check from anywhere when we think we need an item. We currently have 160 or more #10 cans that need to get transported down here and 8 buckets. Deciding to move a majority of the food storage down here was a big leap and took a lot of thought. We will still have months of inventory at home, just nothing long term (5+ years shelf life) besides some MRE's.


While out hiking with Rock this morning we noticed one of our tree's fell in the road and someone cut it up and moved it back onto our property. Since it's not an emergency I'll wait until next weekend when we are both here and then get the chainsaw working. We have about 1/2 cord of wood we have collected that needs to be cut to size and split. There are a few more tree's we might knock down depending on how the work weekend list goes (yes, another list).

I've been doing a lot of running lately, more than initially planned but I'm finally getting good at it again. I set a new time record on one of my favorite trails, dropped 3 minutes off my best time. It wasn't even an optimal weather or fueled day. My MMA coach told me I need to work on my endurance more so I'm adding longer gym workouts and longer runs. I'm dropping the amount of weight I'm lifting and focusing on more explosive and dynamic movements. It doesn't mean I'm not grabbing heavy things once in a while but that's the exception instead of the rule.
Today I'm attempting to run up the mountain FSR and back. The distance isn't concerning but the elevation gain is pretty brutal. I'll just take it slow and airborne shuffle my way up. Nothing gets your endurance cranked up like running at 8500-10500 feet in 4 miles.

People are out and about for the summer in the cabin area. The county put a 'dead end' sign on the road a few miles away and that's cut the traffic down about 70% from last summer. That means we only hear a few vehicles over the course of the day but we do see a few neighbors out for walks. They weren't sure what to make of my get home bag but Rock and I don't care. Normally my hands are full of dog harness so I just nod and say hello but don't engage in much conversation. People are very private here and that's perfect.

I had a white Jeep many years ago, and now we are getting another one. Our current Jeep hits the auction on Wednesday and we should make a few thousand more than we paid for it. This new Jeep has 35" tires, winch, off-road bumpers, etc. The interior and functions are exactly the same as current Jeep but it's also going to lower the vehicle debt total by $10k and thats nothing to scoff at since we really hate making payments.

55 degrees outside but the clouds are starting to disperse. Almost time to work on my running tan. Have a great weekend/week!

Monday, July 6, 2015

An empty grocery store

The supply system across the nation has always been touted as a just in time system with enough food for 3 days in the grocery stores (for the average number of shoppers).... or something like that. I know it was a holiday weekend but as I drove to the cabin I figured a grocery store run was in the works.
The parking lot was packed but it was Friday and there are always more people in town on the weekends and holidays. Inside the store I thought a riot had taken place, it was really empty. I'm not talking about 'a storm is coming empty', I mean empty. Nothing in the dairy case at all (milk, creamer, eggs, cheese, butter, orange juice, etc.), nothing in the bread isle (not even those cheap hot dog buns that always break apart and taste stale), almost nothing in the cookie isle, cereal isle, etc.

I actually turned on the news when I left with my nectarines in case I had missed something. It felt good knowing I didn't care that the store was down about 60% vs. normal levels. Just another reason to keep doing what we are doing because the zombies, apparently, like milk.

Father in-law fell down in the backyard the other day and laid there for a few hours until we happened by. Today he is in a care facility doing rehab and getting back on track so we can see if it's something temporary or long term. The rest of the in-laws really don't seem to care much that it's not only a huge strain on our relationship but it's costing us a lot of money. When one of us has to be there 1/2 the day, that's 1/2 a paycheck gone. It wouldn't be so bad if we were the only ones local, but 2 brother in-laws live 45 minutes and 120 minutes away. They should be proactive and coming into town every 2nd and 3rd weekend so it's not always us.... look at me asking for miracles.


Thats me on a trail at the cabin. It's called the rainbow trail but I think it was named for the colorful language... I only fell 5 times and only 3 were total wipeouts. I was very nervous and tense the whole time but the more I ride the more I'll loosen up and feel at ease. It's a lot different than running but it's going to be a great compliment to the fitness routine. I'm under 200 for the first time in years and I actually feel like more of a complete athlete than ever before. Instead of being good at heavy weights or running I'm pretty good at everything at the same time.
That's my new bike, a pivot 429SL Carbon. There were 4 of us that got sponsored but I'm the only one who wanted a 29er (I like a comfortable ride). I didn't think anything of it when I told them my current bike had 29 inch wheels and they plopped this bike down and told me to enjoy it. I have some social media and such to do now but in exchange for a $7500 bike I'm definitely getting the better end of the deal.

A lot of rain at the cabin and in town so far this year. The mosquitoes are vicious for the first time that I can remember. They just make me run (and now ride) faster.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A year later

We've had our cabin for a few days over a year so it was fun to be down there this past weekend and really enjoy it. There are times I think we haven't done anything to it but looking over the pictures reminds me of how much it's changed.
Of course I had to run the lawnmower, keeping the jungle at bay helps keep the bug population down and when the mosquitoes are like amazon drones.... well every bit helps.
The clover blew around but much of it still grew and is filling in bare spots

There is a spring here, with a few small damns. We tripled the water holding pools.

It was a beautiful weekend to be in the hills.
We have a lot of plans for the next year, right now we are holding onto our money. We could easily pour a lot into a new bathroom, deck, windows, carpet, etc. but unlike most people we know or work with, we don't like debt. We have a good amount of emergency supplies and are diligently continuing our stockpiling. There are only so many good storage spaces but we are steadily filling everything up.

Father in-law isn't doing good unfortunately and we aren't sure if he has simply called it quits or not. He is on 10 medications, doesn't eat much of anything at all, is always off balance and can't remember a lot of things. He needs to be on oxygen all the time but the hose bothers his hearing aids. So not only is he not listening, he takes his hearing aids out and can't listen. After dealing with the entire ordeal with mother in-law, it seems like it's been a year of shit but we are continuing to be strong and patient. It's hard, it's very taxing on our relationship and I understand how these health issues in parents can take a toll on marriages.
That being said, we are all booked and paid up for our 20th anniversary to Rome in August. We also might head to Paris and Normandy in September. If everyone is ok at that time.


Thursday, June 18, 2015

A much needed break

Life appears to be getting back to normal (our normal) finally. We hired a key manager at work and I hired an assistant. Both are working out great and the timing was perfect since 4 days after they both were hired we left for the island of Nevis in the West Indies.
It was time for R&R

This was our beach, I swam each day for about 2 miles, ocean swimming is so relaxing and I don't have to worry about turning every 50 feet.

I decided to get a new BCD for this trip, my old one works great but it's from a time when I was running a lot and didn't have as much mass. It worked out great and my allergies only bothered me a little. It was really nice to get some diving done. 

From our dive boat looking towards the island of St. Kitts.

One of the hiking/running trails we explored, looking at monkeys play in the trees.

The golf course one of the trails wraps around

From the dive boat looking back at Nevis. The volcano is rarely clear of clouds, this was probably the best picture out of the 2 weeks. It's thick rain forest and jungle with a lot of moisture. One of the dives had us at 100 feet checking out thermal vents (or hot springs as they called them).

Monkeys didn't care about us and most of the time didn't even get out of the way.

It's nice to be home, even if we are really busy with work this month. The schedule opens up in July and we are really excited to get some cabin and home projects done. It's been raining for weeks but even that looks to be clearing out starting today. the entire state is green and lush but the garden is stalled out a little due to the lack of sun.
We have been keeping up with the yard at the cabin and the clover is filling in holes and attracting a lot of wildlife. We usually have deer in the woods and even bedding down in the front yard plus there are always bunnies hopping around. We are still the only people in the area keeping their property in good shape. If we didn't keep the mowing up, the grass would be 3-4 feet tall right now.

We got out on the ATV's for a few hours and had to clear a lot of tree's out of the way, drive under a few leaning tree's and even make log bridges over some of the massive tree's that had fallen down. Next time we go out I'll strap the chainsaw down on the back rack so we can get the trail cleared out better. Being able to legally ride on the county roads is great, after a 4 hour ATV ride it's nice to be home in 20 minutes instead of backtracking.

The mountains at the cabin look amazing as always. 

I might attempt a summit on Saturday but haven't committed just yet. Rock needs some hiking and can't manage the summit attempts so I might spend time walking him around and getting some small projects handled. No matter what, it's nice to be back home and having our schedules getting back to normal. We are both still running and hitting the gym and Rock is holding down the fort (and me).


Monday, May 25, 2015

6 hours of sunshine!

It's been an unusually rainy spring, only a few days without rain in the last 30+ days. This past week was no different and we are hoping the garden seeds will survive. Cucumbers, zucchini, watermelon, tomatoes, bush beans, lettuce, onions, asparagus...


Here is some food from my last trip

Similar for sure! I actually rarely eat breakfast but when I'm on a trip somewhere I make it a habit so I have the energy levels for the whole day.

Work is still kicking me in the ass. I'm in the process of hiring an assistant but until then it's overload and non-stop action. This coming weekend I'm heading to the cabin to do a few projects and get it ready for the summer. Once the 20th of June rolls around my workload levels out so we will be enjoying a lot of cabin and ATV time.

The gym has been kind to me and the running is actually improving again. It's honestly miserable and painful but I'm just pushing through it. Once I start riding my bike my ankles and hips should get a little more flexible. Sometimes age and abuse catches up with me faster than I would prefer.

It's memorial day and I'm going to get an ice cream bar.