Â This week’s e-mail is a day later than usual for a couple of reasons. As you all must know by now, we plan to head for Florida on Wednesday of this week. I’ve been getting the cottage ready for the long cold winter and have moved a lot of my clothes and all the food into town.
Being the frugal person that I am, I’ve set the thermostat at 50 degrees since no one is there most of the time, unlike Jean who sets the thermostat at around 57Â and we are here all the time. I usually go out each day to check on things and do some more things around the house, but it’s cold enough that I don’t sit around watching TV or reading the paper. If you’ve ever sat on a 50 degree toilet seat, you’d also know that you don’t linger long in the bathroom either.
Most of you also know that my son Matt has been teaching me the art/science of brewing beer. I’m also sure you all know that I’ve brewed ales, but haven’t brewed any lagers because they have to ferment at colder temperatures than ales. The good news is that the yeast that I’ll use to brew an Irish Red lager likes temperatures around 50 degrees.
So this is an ideal time to brew a lager and let it do its primary fermentation in the basement while I’m in Florida. When I come back around November 25th, I’ll bottle the Kolsch that’s been in the refrigerator cold conditioning for the last couple of weeks. Then I’ll transfer the lager to the five gallon carboy and cold condition it in the fridge until spring. So Larry and Terri, we’ll have to do another taste test next spring to see if we like Irish Red ale or Irish Red lager best. The ingredients are the same except for the yeast so we’ll see.
So that’s a long explanation for the first reason I didn’t go out to the cottage and write my normal Sunday epistle yesterday. It’s too cold to sit there that long and my fingers don’t work after five minutes, so I’m writing it in town and e-mailing it to myself out there. The computer out at the lake is where I have kept my address book up to date so I’ll go out later and forward this to all of you. Sound geeky?
The second reason I didn’t go to the lake yesterday is that Jean and I went and looked at a couple of the condos where Judy lives. Jean is thinking that, at this point in our lives, the maintenance of an older home is getting harder and more expensive. Since we go to Florida for a while in the winter, she would feel more comfortable if we left the condo empty with neighbors who would watch over it rather than the big house in town.
We met Ron at 1:45 and didn’t get home until 4:15, so that pretty well shot the afternoon. I didn’t want to drive out and spend $5.00 for gas, and sit in a cold house writing this, and drive back here in the dark so there you have it. Not cheap…thrifty! Anyway, Jean liked the lastÂ condo we looked at and wanted someone to write a check right then, so we’ll see what she thinks after a good nights sleep. I’ve told her…I’ll rephrase that…I’ve asked her to think long and hard and be absolutely certain she wants to sell the house in town before she does it and regrets it later.
I’ll be off the air for a while until I get things set up in Florida. Good luck to Martin and Jim at Ironman Florida next Saturday. I’m sure they’ll both do well and we’ll be there to supply race support. I’ve been commissioned to take Judy’s place as the “The Happy Snapper” and take some pictures. I usually take my camera for a long ride, get it out at the last minute, and snap a few pictures as our friends are pushing their bikes to their rooms after the race. Hopefully Jean and Becky will remind me to start a little earlier.
Congratulations to Diane, Laura, Laura’s sister-in-law Stacy, Libby, Liz and Pat on their finish at the Grand Rapids half marathon yesterday. Anyone else? I haven’t heard much about the race but Jean heard some from Judy so she’ll pass it on to me. Diane and Mike and Jean and I sat at the same table at a cocktail party last Monday andÂ Diane must have “caught my blister” from Ironman Wisconsin beacuse IÂ heard that she pulled up lame at mile 12 or so with a blister. No, we didn’t play “footsie” under the table…she must have gotten it through my shoes…as a doctor she should know better. Anyway, she decided not to lay down and quit and toughed it out only to finish 4th (the top three get awards) by 9 seconds in her age group.
I had my annual back spasm after moving a plant for Jean last Wednesday, so I thought it would be good to exercise it by raking leaves at the cottage the rest of the day, carrying 9 bags of leaves to my car, and dropping them offÂ behind the city garage. That didn’t help much so the next day I helped Jean bag and carry 14 bags of leaves from the house in town to the same place at the city garage. Knowing that running is always good for a sore back, I ran five miles with Larry and Paul yesterday.
Today I plan to spend three hours brewing beer and cleaning up and then the boys from next door and I will take in the dock at the cottage. Between carrying one end of all threeÂ dock sections, eachÂ weighing about 80 pounds, and standing in waist deep 45 degree water wrestling the posts out of the lake, I should do myself in. Luckily I’ll be sitting in one position all day Wednesday and half a day Thursday on the way to Florida, so that should make it feel better.
Just (Not As Smart As I Thought I Was) Jack