Category Archives: Car-free

Birthday Post

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Happy birthday to me! I thought I’d post a picture without the glasses because it’s a lot more effort to get a good picture wearing them. I don’t feel like firing up the tablet and walking around or going outside to get a good picture that doesn’t show the screen reflected in the glasses, then transferring it to the laptop that I use to write. It’s my birthday, after all. I’m not working for it. After 45 years wearing glasses, they still annoy me daily.

Last year was a “round number” birthday, and next year is the youngest age I can collect Social Security (rather than SSI). This one is just another birthday, but people will want to mark it.

There’s a story on WeatherUnderground (.com)’s news feature this morning (by Linda Lam) saying that our weather here in Ohio will be near “normal” this summer. That would be different. We rarely have temperatures close to the average. This month, for example, every day so far has been ten degrees or more above average. Throughout March and April, almost every day was that much colder than average. “Normal” temperatures would be a great relief, but I’m not holding my breath.

I’d still like to have a car (hatchback, small station wagon, or minivan), but I’m not getting any momentum about looking for one. If you know where a decent-running one is for sale cheap, please advise. It doesn’t have to be pretty, but I can’t cope with rust that lets outside air or exhaust fumes into the cabin.

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It’s been a long year

 

So, as you can see, my appearance has changed since I last wrote here. I have glasses I like much better, and I’m without a mustache (for more than a few days) for the first time in over forty years.

I don’t have pictures of my new bike here, either. I bought another folding bike, and this one is an e-bike.

That is, it has a battery and an electric motor to give my riding a boost. Given how I lost endurance in the humidity last summer, I felt I needed the help, and I got my hands on enough money in August. This really helps! I took the pictures above in a park about ten miles from home, and I rode the bike both ways!

I decided to deliberately buy a low-end e-bike as a “starter” unit (they’re not nearly as cheap as a low-end “regular” bike), and that’s what I got. That’s okay so far.  For anyone who has trouble riding up hills or going longer distances, this is a game changer. I’m sure that what I have is not the best e-bike a person could own, but it might be enough for me. If you want one, I’d be glad to talk (or email or DM or whatever) to you about the topic. The biggest point I can make so far is the same as it is with other bicycles. Make sure it fits.

I continue my work on health issues. I finally changed my primary care. The new doctor (nurse practitioner with a doctorate in that) is, at the very least, much more willing to actually do things. She also communicates, in both directions, better than average and is not afraid of me as a “complex” patient.

If you ever saw my mother’s hearing aid, you’ll recognize this.

2017-10-27 hearing aid

That is the “demo” version of a hearing aid I’m working toward getting. It’s a lot like Mom’s hearing aid because it’s a bone conduction aid, which is the right kind for my hearing loss. I can tell you from having the demo for a week that it does me a lot of good, even in a big, loud crowd. Those cute little in-the-ear units you may have seen advertised on TV are not what I need; this is. Here’s the twist. That band holding the aid to my bone is outdated. Nowadays, the unit is called a BAHA, or Bone Attached Hearing Aid. It uses a titanium “abutment” that is implanted in the bone behind the ear. That’s what causes the delay in getting these, but also what makes it so much better than the old ones. I’ll have surgery the first of the year. After three months for the unit to bind to the bone, I’ll get the aid and a remote control. That would have been a fantasy for Mom.

My breathing improved immediately when the humidity dropped, as it always has. That gave me a nice break for a couple of weeks, then the Ohio weather changed, as it always does. Now that it’s colder, I’m still breathing well, but my sinuses are doing their usual winter antics. I’ll make a point of it that this is easier than the lung stuff. Anyhow, there’s more.

I have finally been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, or at least a “high A1C” (same thing). I am using medicine for this and trying to drastically change my eating habits. If you know me, you know the bad news is that I have a big job ahead with eating better. The good news is that I feel better a good bit of the time. For right now, I’m improvising. My eating is stranger than ever for right now, but the job of improving is under way.

On yet another topic, I’ve gone back to work on my family tree. My 23andme DNA test came back 100% Northern and Western European, about half of which was British Isles. I find that hard to believe. If any of my close relatives have had that test or have it in the future, I’d love to compare results.

About the Car Thing

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Car in Wendy’s driveway 3-2-2017

I took this picture through the window of a city bus today. (The yellow arc is some reflection on the glass.)  This car looked noticeably better than most I’ve ever owned until the right front wheel changed directions on its own. The people were just getting to Wendy’s when this happened and surely had no idea the car would break down. I’m a little sad for them and also glad I’m not one of them. Also, here’s a lesson in car ownership. If I can’t afford to deal with something like this, I’m not ready to own a motor vehicle.

New Bike, Old Chore

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So this is the folding bike I got with my back pay from SSI. (I got some other stuff, but this is the biggest thing.) It’s kind of a delayed-reaction impulse buy. I saw it in the window at a local bike shop one day in late December and decided to buy it because it’s similar to the Dahon I really wanted but about $170 cheaper. When I finally got the money, I bought it first thing. Dumb decision (which is why I’m not giving the brand or model). Buy a Dahon or another good brand if you can. On this one, the low gear isn’t as low enough for climbing, headwinds, or heavy cargo; the handlebar height doesn’t adjust to my size; and it has other drawbacks. Oh, well. At least it’s pretty.

That green thing on the seat post is not part of the bike. I’ve been carrying that gadget, called a Traileron, for years. (The black bump above it is a tail light.) It allows me to pull almost any cart behind the bike without any other hardware. This is actually the first time I used it. In this case, I towed my hand truck with my laundry as the cargo.

The detail of the Traileron is not as easy to see as I’d like because I’m not as good at editing as I’d like. The handle of the hand truck goes into a notch in the Traileron and is secured by a heavy-duty O-ring bent into a shape that works for the purpose.

How did it do? Pretty well. The O-ring is the brilliant part. It gives enough flexibility to let the hand truck adapt to the bike leaning or turning but is tight enough to keep it firmly attached. The sad thing is that Trailerons are not made any more.

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Here’s the “home and dry” picture. I wish the Traileron were still made. I would certainly recommend it as cheap way to get much more work from a bicycle. The user doesn’t even need a luggage rack, and the trailer can be any of many things, such as a child’s wagon, wire grocery cart, or even a golf bag cart. There’s a second O-ring provided that would give more choices. Thus, there’s less need for a trailer custom-made for bicycles. I imagine a good do-it-yourself person could probably make one, but there would be work involved that most poor people don’t have tools, shop space, or know-how to perform.

Ghost of a Business

I walk east on West Broad Street most Saturday evenings. When darkness began to fall before the time I passed this area (about 6:30 p.m.), this sign caught my eye. A close look told me it had to be a glow-in-the-dark sign. The building is boarded up with the plywood painted black, but that sign outlasted the business that bought it. I found it hard to get the building into the picture with my cell phone, even editing it later. That last pic gives you the spooky, odd feel of the place, though.

Need, Plan, Benefit

“Need, plan, benefit” is a format used to write proposals. It’s also a sound way to address issues. In this case, the need was to organize an overflowing cardboard box (upper left) between my bag chair and the door into a more useful and less unsightly “staging area” for my car-free lifestyle. The first picture shows the need, although this picture is too dark. (All of these have captions, too, but they got lost somehow.)

The plan: buy a big, cheap shelf unit and sort stuff onto the shelves. Also, use the top shelf to hold a lamp I bought for that area. I bought the shelf unit from Home Depot (lower left). As you might guess, the bus driver looked at me doubtfully when I brought that big package onto the bus, but she didn’t say anything. I got home, rested overnight, and assembled it the next day. Due to a quality control failure at the factory, I had to trim waste material from the ends of all the poles, but that’s part of getting things cheap.

The benefit: organization and easier trip preparation. The lamp sits on the top shelf, along with some hats and gloves. The next shelf is bicycle tools, parts, and equipment. The third shelf holds the many and varied bags I posted about a few months ago, except the barracks bag and big rucksack that are just too big. The bottom shelf is “miscellaneous” stuff, including rain gear and the bag for the bag chair.

 

Nice From Indoors

Pretty much any scenery (other than trash cans) is nice as seen from a safe, comfortable place out of the weather on a full stomach. Experienced outdoors, it’s usually different.

I got home today just as the rain began. It looks benign from my doorway. My friend in Spokane, WA, has been posting pictures of her husband shoveling large amounts of snow with lighthearted comments. However, I have walked miles in rain and snow. Even if I have the right gear, it’s far more difficult than driving in it or staying indoors. I’m counting my blessings tonight, but let’s all remember that people are homeless and trying to sleep in tents or under tarps in this stuff.