Monthly Archives: March 2005

Good News Bad News

 I thought I would start by clearing up some confusion about last week’s epistle. We are not buying the “pumpkin trailer” nor the “cracker shack” we sent pictures of last week. The house is on the corner of Hudson Avenue and Old Dixie Highway, is a typical old Florida shack, and will be the future home for a real estate office. The pumpkin trailer is on one of the canals near brother Bob’s house, is in the $175,000 range and, believe it or not, looks much worse in person than in the picture.

The one we are buying is in a mobile home park and is actually quite nice, but much less money. We’ll give park life a try to see if we like it. If not, we’ll make a change a year or two down the road with not much ventured. We have several friends in Club Wildwood, some from Hastings, and others who are avid bikers (cyclists, not Hell’s Angels).

So now for the good news bad news stories. There are two. First of all, the bad news (to me at least). There won’t be a Tiburon Mile in September this year. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a mile swim from Angel Island to Tiburon in San Francisco Bay that I did last year with my son, Matt, and was scheduled to do the week after the bike wreck of ’03 but couldn’t. The next one will be in September 2006 and I don’t know why they’re skipping a year. The good news is that my son Matt and I have signed up for the Alcatraz Sharkfest Swim. As the name implies it’s a 1 1/2 mile swim from Alcatraz Island to Aquatic Park in San Francisco. The bad news is that it takes place on the same day as the Muncie Endurathon.

The second story has to do with this morning’s long run. My schedule shows 150 minutes and, as many of you know, I have some issues going on in my left ankle area. The good news is that I had an excellent run. It was one of those days when everything felt good and, although I could feel the ankle problem every step, it didn’t hurt enough to stop me from enjoying the day…enjoying the day up until 144 minutes and 58 seconds.

I was on my way back and was in the last mile on Sea Ranch Drive which goes from US 19 to the condo. It’s a two lane street with sidewalk on one side. The street has no shoulders so I always run on the sidewalk. About a half mile from the condo I noticed a pickup truck going west. He slowed, made a u-turn, drove onto the sidewalk and parked the truck there so he could go to a garage sale across the street.

He was about 25 feet in front of me and I didn’t know what he was doing so I fixed my attention on him ready to jump out of the way to avoid being hit. The bad news is that the sidewalks aren’t well maintained and I stubbed my toe on one of the spots where the cement had heaved from tree roots. The good news is that, contrary to the theory of gravity, my feet caught up with the rest of my body and I didn’t fall. The bad news is that my big toe on that battered left foot started to throb. It’s color is similar to a concord grape and, no doubt, I will lose the nail eventually.

The second bad news part of that story is that I had to leave the sidewalk to run around the truck and ran through the “dog crap strip”. That area is about eight feet of grass between the sidewalk and the street. Dozens of people walk their dogs up and down Sea Ranch every day and use that part for their bathroom (the dogs…not the people). As considerate as they seem, most of them don’t clean up when their dog leaves a deposit. Between the throbbing toe and the good chance of slipping and sliding in doggie doo, I stopped 5 minutes and 2 seconds short of my 150 minutes. I walked, or I should say limped, the rest of the way in. My attitude’s improving since I didn’t use any bad words to let the young man know what I thought of his driving skills or his parentage.

Our plan is to leave Florida on Thursday, the 24th, and we should be home sometime on Good Friday. Robert works through Wednesday and plans to drive from West Palm Beach here that night so we can bring his bicycle back. So this is probably the last e-mail for a while. As always, I will miss writing them as much as many of you will miss reading them. For those of you who think they’re a nuisance, the good news is that you’ll hit the delete button one fewer time each week.

Until the next trip,

Just (I Hope Michigan Warms Up Soon) Jack

New Owners

Pumpkin Mobe

Pumpkin Mobe 

You probably remember the ramblings from last week about our struggle searching for the retirement home of our dreams. It was probably obvious that we didn’t know what we really wanted and was also obvious that Jean and I didn’t necessarily agree with which direction to go.

I’ve attached two pictures to show you all (that’s the collective you…not the hillbilly y’all) what our choices were. Since I bought the “cottage” at Crooked Lake, our budget for a third home has been substantially reduced. Jean was leaning toward a house, while I was leaning toward a trailer (sorry…a mobile home). The homes we could afford, as you can see, needed some work. Most realtors trying for a sale would call them “fixer-uppers”, but I know Ron Lewis and Brother Bob would call them “tear-downs”.

We decided that we would buy a mobile home to spend our winters in until we stayed more than two or three months, then would decide what we really wanted and make a change at that time. We may decide that we like trailer park life and stay there until we have to move to the old folks home or in with our kids (we’ll start out with the kid that caused us the most trouble and work our way to the kid that caused the least…kid’s, decide among yourselves who’s first).

We made an offer on a place and, after a counter offer back, agreed to buy a place in Club Wildwood. There are eight Hastings families there…Larry and Lorrie Blair, Jan Kietzmann, Bob and Dorothy Stack, Dick and Ann Welton, Ted and Clara McKelvey, Dick and Lucy Palmateer, Bob and ??? Branch (I don’t know them so I don’t know what his wife’s name is…it isn’t really ???), and Duward and Pat Cain. Former Hastings residents include Dick and Joyce Guenther, Lenny and Marge Burns, Larry and Betty Kornstadt and probably many others.

I wanted the “Pumpkin Trailer” in the attached picture, but it was on the water and was out of our price range. So we settled on one in the park on Homer Avenue (named after Ron Lewis’ father). We are now officially trailer trash.

Jean and Jan Kietzmann (Jean Walker…not Jean Kietzmann) went shopping for furniture yesterday. I had to stay home and watch paint dry, so I wasn’t able to go. After 3 hours of peace and quiet, Jean called and asked if I would come up the road a few miles ‘cuz she found a table she liked. When I got there, we looked at the table…then she punished me by making me go through the entire store and look at a couple of chairs. Apparently I’ve been a bad, bad boy.

This week’s long run was not a thing of beauty, but then again, it never really is. There isn’t a good place to “drop water” so I did the entire run with one bottle of Gatorade. It wasn’t enough. My schedule shows this long run day at 120 minutes (a rest week). After last week’s blister/ankle fiasco, I decided to run the 120 minutes, but then added a one mile walk to make up for the 9 miles I ran last week when I should have gone 135 minutes (13 to 14 miles). 

Jean’s getting bored running alone, getting bored with running flat, and there isn’t any food to eat when we get done (I won’t let her buy things at the bakery ‘cuz I know I’ll eat them after she goes to bed). So we’re coming home in a couple of weeks. We don’t know exactly when, but Jean will probably ride back with Robert and make sure he stops and rests every hour since that’s how often she wants to stop for 5 minute bathroom breaks that turn into 30 minutes of buying coffee and waiting in the quick-mart for people buying lottery tickets with change from their kids piggy banks, but don’t get me started. 

Jean wasn’t feeling well yesterday. She get’s mouth sores from laying out in the sun (no, not from talking too much), so now she’s down laying in the sun today because the medication is making her feel a little better, but don’t get me started there either.

Just (Now We Have A Place To Live) Jack


 Remember last week when I wrote about having one of those days where you thought you could run forever. Well, that’s at one end of the running spectrum and this week was at the other end. The way things have been going, that sounds about right.

I’ve been whining about this lower left ankle thing (yes, that is the proper medical description…like when I crashed the mountain bike on the Iceman and told the ER Doc I had “munged up” my shoulder). I felt it on every step. It doesn’t hurt like an ankle sprain…it just aches all the time. It didn’t used to bother me when I ran, just all the rest of the time. Now it bothers me while I run too.

That alone wouldn’t have stopped me. It was the blister on my left arch that brought an end to this morning’s 135 minute run at 95 minutes. We’ll go out and do an easy ride later and, afterwards, I will probably run the last 40 minutes ala Roch and Paul’s triahlon training schedule. As I took off my socks and was looking at my blister, I found a spot where one of my toes was all bloody (yes, it stained my sock). I had clipped my toenails down and thought there was no way one nail would dig into the toe next to it, but I was wrong. I guess I’ll have to resort to taping my toes. Oh No!! I’ve become a Jean clone.

It’s been an interesting year down here. We’ve gone through at least 30 different model homes and I’m not sure why. We can’t afford any of them. Jean says she likes to look at them to get decorating ideas and to see different floor plans we might like, but when we look at what we can afford, nothing is quite good enough.

Tuesday we looked at place in a mobile home park where there are 8 Hastings families. We picked out 6 to look at and could only get into 5. The other people weren’t home and the guy showing us the places didn’t have their key. The one we thought we would like we didn’t. They had a Golden Retriever and it smelled like he was bathed right before the Y2K scare. The odor permeated the trailer (Whoops!! Mobile home). It was in an area of the park we liked which was away from the noise of the highway and busy side street.

If I hadn’t bought the cottage at Crooked Lake, we could get anything we wanted down here. But then when we were in Michigan for 6 months each year I would have to stay in town trying to sleep in a house on the busiest street in Hastings that isn’t a state highway and spend my waking moments in a 60 degree house with two televisions that get 4 channels each and a hot tub that doesn’t work. So I’m stymied (not to be confused with Stymie, one of the “Our Gang” kids…you youngsters don’t know what I’m talking about) as to what to do.

We’ve met several people down here that like to bike, so we have plenty of group rides we can do. We went out to San Antonio (Florida…not Texas) Wednesday and did a 40 mile ride with three other people. It was on County roads and was like riding the back roads in Barry County (if you pretended the oranges on the trees were apples and the palmetto fields were corn fields). We may meet up with a group tomorrow from Tampa that will ride about 40 miles on the Suncoast Trail from Starkey Park to Anderson Snow Park.

Friday we drove 2 1/2 hours to the Sebring/Lake Placid area where we hopped in a car with friends and drove around all day looking at places there, then drove 2 1/2 hours back to Hudson. Someone please come down and babysit Jean so I don’t have to look at any more model homes. She even dragged me through the flea market yesterday afternoon. What a treat!!


Just (In a Bad Mood But At Least I Know Why) Jack