Category Archives: daily life

It’s me again

I haven’t posted in close to two months. To be honest, I just don’t have that “passion” for self-expression that other writers seem to build on. On top of that, I get little to no feedback, including from the person who encouraged me to write almost daily, as she did. (She said she wanted to stay in touch, but she didn’t say anything about the posts. Her health deteriorated since then and she has passed on.)

Also, I’ve been taking classes online through an outfit called edX. They are free unless I want a certificate to prove I took a given class. I’m just taking them for fun, but they take up a good bit of my time.

Digital Camera

I think I posted about the front shifter cable breaking on the Diamondback. During the winter, I didn’t worry about it because I didn’t have enough energy to use anything but the low gears anyhow. As the temperatures have risen, so has my energy level. I finally fixed the cable last week and got back to riding that one, which is still the “good” bike as far as actually riding.

4-24-2017 Stream near Eureka Ave on Camp Chase Trl

This picture comes from the trail that runs near my place. I couldn’t find a name for the stream, but the trail crosses it a 5-minute bicycle ride from home. By the way, this is in the Hilltop neighborhood, near Eureka Avenue. We have more going on here in Columbus and in the Hilltop than the crime you see on TV.

One of my goals for a while now is to ride a bike to London, Ohio, and camp for free at a little facility along the trail. I will give myself a day to ride the 22 miles, then come back the next day. One way I’m building up to that came today. I rode to Batelle-Darby Metro Park and back.

Batelle Metro Park 2

(These are cell phone pictures on a free phone. The quality kind of stinks, but I didn’t think to bring my camera.)

I didn’t remember to take breaks on the way down, and I only took one bottle of water. When I finally reached a place in the park (south part of it) that had water, the water was rusty and it didn’t clear up when I kept pumping for a while. Coming up the hill when I headed back, I realized that I had a wind to my right front. I made my way home with three breaks.

The good news is that I did it. The bad news is that once I sat down here I did nothing for three hours. I need much more stamina to do this distance (18 miles) without quite a bit of misery afterward.

I also need to improve my system so that I have much more water onboard. I might need to buy still another bike when I can. I’ve owned a couple of recumbent bikes in the past. Those are bikes that have a very different riding position, sort of laid back as in the next picture, which I found on the Internet. (This one is a Rans V, which I’ll never be able to afford.)

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/99/Rans_V_recumbent_bicycle.JPG/512px-Rans_V_recumbent_bicycle.JPG

Recumbents do far better riding into the wind, and the wind blows almost all the time in this flat country. I won’t have the money (mostly $500 and up) for one of those any time soon, but eventually I’ll probably get another recumbent.

Other than that, Loretta and I finally got our dissolution of marriage. We got a bill for it, too. It will be 50% each, and that will be payments. We’re still friends.

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.

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.

 

Ok, but living quietly

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Stolen from Wendy Usually Wanders

Asthma, arthritis, attention deficit  . . . that’s just the A’s. I’m feeling it with the weather swings. I’m ok, but I’m not doing anything interesting enough (even to me) to make a good posting. I asked a friend who has asthma and has traveled a lot how different places affect her breathing, and she singled out the humidity in Ohio as a problem. Yep. That and the fact that the weather changes radically from day to day here. Today was 25 degrees colder at 5 p.m. than yesterday. Tomorrow, snow. The next day, who knows? Tornadoes? Waterspouts?

Up and down and Up

2016-yule-park

Here’s a picture from the park on Yule, December 21. For once, the season in Ohio matched the calendar. I had a nice, contemplative holiday. For us, this is the beginning of the year and a time of re-birth. That’s what I need about now.

On the way home, the bus had to re-route around a big fire caused by a gas leak and explosion. The driver couldn’t handle the re-route and it got long and strange. We were near that fire much longer than is good for me. I finally got home, which is a mile from where the fire was still burning. My asthma/sinus/whatever is still reacting to either that, a weather change, or both. Many of my friends are sick with one thing or another.

This past Friday, I finally got a new prescription for the hypersomnia after a two-week snafu. (There’s nothing else like the combination of poverty and the medical industry.) The new medicine does seem to keep me awake. My sense of time has changed, and I think I had been having “micro-sleep” before, where I check out for a few seconds without realizing it. Also, in a very odd development, my typing skill has returned to its previous professional level after gradually dropping off for several years. Weird. However, I have been having some odd sensations and what not that might be side effects, the asthma/COPD/whatever lung issues or just the tail end of a rough year.

Wednesday or Thursday, I managed to lose my new neck warmer. This is not good. We are in a warm spell at the moment, but I need to cover my mouth even now. So yesterday, money came in the mail, a gift from an old friend. (Thanks D!) I decided to rush out and replace the neck warmer with whatever I could find. I walked into Walmart just before 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve. I wish I had video of that. It would give me a way to re-define the word “chaos.” Thanks to loving Greater Powers and time in recovery, I was able to find a balaclava (ski mask) and a couple of other items. I even had a nice conversation with the gentleman ahead of me in line. Then I got on the bus and went straight to my meeting and had a really good meeting there.

Today, I went to my usual Sunday morning meeting and another this evening. This is not a Hallmark Christmas, but the gifts are the best.

Accomplishments: Filing System, New Chair, Drying Rack

I have been accomplishing things this weekend, and I like that far better than the exciting/chaotic times I once had. It beats sleeping or sitting here in a daze, too.

Friday evening was boring but will serve my needs. I finally got filing supplies and set up a new filing system. I found the file box a month or more ago at the VOA Thrift in Galloway, but hadn’t used it until now. This may be the dullest picture I ever post, but for people dealing with SSI, Medicare, Medicaid, “Part D,” SNAP, and all the rest; keeping track of all the paper really counts.

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File box 12-9-2016

I’m not done with my filing yet. There’s a mini-mountain of paper waiting, but I can work it down now that I have the basic setup.

The weather has chilled. Saturday (yesterday) tested my winter gear setup, and I enjoyed the results. The neck warmer/face mask (prior posting) not only lets me breathe well, but it neither fogs my glasses nor collects condensation. The condensation improvement makes it the best face mask I’ve ever used.

Yesterday I took a trip to the VOA Thrift (again). The most important objective was to try to find a chair at the thrift shop. I use one chair at my computer and most of the time. The one I’ve been using was a $1 deal back in July or August from a nearby thrift, but I’ve worn out the legs. It looked like this:

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Notice how the front legs slant a little wrong? So did I. I figured in somewhere between a day and a month it would fall apart and dump me on the floor. So yesterday,  I took the time to find a different chair. Neither I nor the clerk could read the price marked on it. She sold it to me for my favorite price, $1.91. I had to carry it to the bus stop and from the bus stop back here. The bus driver was friendly and helpful, and I’m glad for that. It’s a little big to take onto the bus.

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New used chair 12-10-2016

This is way better. Besides giving me a safer seat, I also get much more comfort. It’s even short-legged enough that I can rest my feet  on the floor.

While I was looking around yesterday, I noticed a clothes drying rack. I have wanted one of those since I moved, and there it was. I could not carry both that and my chair yesterday, so I had to take my chances and go back today. Got it! This fits neatly inside my bathtub for the dripping part of drying clothes, then I can easily move it close to my wall heater. Here it is with a few cleaning cloths for a test use.

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You can’t really see my new jacket in the background, but I got that today too.

I like this kind of weekend. It’s not exciting, but it improves my life.