Monthly Archives: January 2007

Limp In Florida

 I’m guessing that when 90% of you saw the title to this week’s ramblings, and you remembered I just turned 60, you got this little smirk on your face and every Viagra joke you’ve ever heard came streaming back. The next thought probably was “90% of the men in Florida are limp, so tell me something new!”.

That’s not the problem at all. I’d tell you to ask Jean, but she’s not one to kiss and tell, so you’ll have to take my word for it (or not…I really don’t care). Anyway, every once in while I catch myself limping. Maybe it’s like moving to Tennessee from Michigan. If you hang around hillbillies long enough, sooner or later you start talking like a hillbilly. So maybe it’s just being here in Florida for a while. I go the grocery store during the day when the young people are working, and a good share of the people walking around are limping. I go to the YMCA three times a week and half of them are also limping. I run around the mobe park three times a week and most of the people I see are limping.

I’m not limping like Walter Brennan when he played Grandpa Amos in “The Real McCoys”, but it’s noticeable, at least to me. I really think it’s that pesky hip thing that’s been going on for a couple of months. I’ve been running three miles each time I go out and some days it doesn’t hurt as much as others. Sometimes it hurts on the bike and yesterday was one of those days. I rode 34 1/2 miles on a beautiful day. The weather is about to change, but yesterday it was around 73 degrees and sunny. There was a slight wind from the southeast at around 10 mph so I had to work to keep it at 15 mph going into it and rode easy at 19 or 20 on the way back. The hip hurt from the time I started until I finished and then ached most of the night.

There I go, whining again. I’ll stop!

I’ll be going back to Michigan for meetings on the 23rd and 27th of February and I’m in a quandary as to whether I’ll drive or fly. If I drive, I’ll have to have made the decision to stay for the rest of the winter. It’s cheaper for me to fly than to drive up and back alone. There’s a lot to do up there with moving into the condo and the CEO search at Pennock among other things. It would be easier to fill the Jeep with boxes than to put three or four at a time in Jean’s car.

I think Jean wants me home and I’d like to think it’s for companionship, but more than likely it’s to fix the things that she can’t and to carry my share of the attic junk up to the condo. She’s already had to have Bill come up and fix a broken basement window, Judy had to help her read the directions on how to program the garage door opener and Randall had to help her tighten down Becky’s bike seat. But it’s COLD up there. I have the thermostat set at 65 or so here and I’m on the edge of being chilly. With the thermostat at 57 in Hastings, I can’t get warm enough except when I’m in bed. Then I have to force myself to get out from under the covers when nature calls.

I know I must be back for the regular hospital board meeting on March 27th and there will be a couple more meetings around April 17th that I can’t miss, so at best, I’d stay here until the third week in March and that would be it. If the Green Street house or the Crooked Lake cottage would sell, that would make the decision for me.

What to do, what to do, what to do? Every time I almost decide to close up the mobe and go back home, I step out into sunshine and fresh air and wonder what I was thinking. Besides, I’ve paid my YMCA dues until the 7th of April. You know how “thrifty” I am. I would lie awake at night knowing I was wasting money by not using the Y.

Just (Not Ready To Write Off Winter In The Mobe Yet) Jack

Nothing To Report

First of all a couple of things from prior e-mails. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Dave and Maggie Coleman’s winter getaway ranch (El Rancho de Coleman) on the bike route at San Antonio. Maggie sat next to me at last Tuesday’s hospital board meeting and let me know, in no uncertain terms, that it was not their place. We all make assumptions, and once in a while they’re wrong. I assumed that the picture I sent was of their place. Since it isn’t theirs, I imagine the sign was for their place across the street. It looks like an empty field to me, but maybe the house sits way back so Dave and Maggie can get some privacy from paparazzi like me.

In my old age, after getting so involved with the above confession, I’ve forgotten what the second thing was that I wanted to correct from prior e-mails. If I remember later I’ll let you know.

Now I have it. Ignore the last paragraph. Last week I wrote about being the weather pox. All the time I was in Michigan the weather down here was great. Daytime highs were in the mid seventies and, occasionally pushing eighty. I watched the news last night and saw that the daytime highs by the end of the week will be in the high fifties to very low sixties and I’m guessing there will be lots of wind.

Jan Kietzmann, from Hastings but spends the winters here in the park, is on my Sunday e-mail list. Apparently she told a few of the people down here about my weather affliction and that I would be back on the 18th of January. Last evening, as I was watching the Professional Poker Tour on the Travel Channel, I heard some noises outside. I looked out the vertical blinds and there were about forty people in front of my place with torches, pitchforks, and signs that said “Take your *&%$# weather and go back to Michigan”.  I ran after them but those three wheeled bikes and motorized wheelchairs are faster than you would think.

The trip down was pretty uneventful. I flew down on Allegiant Airlines from Lansing to Clearwater St. Pete Airport. My mother flew up the same day so I gave her a hug, we talked for five minutes, and then I got on the plane she got off from and away I went. I sat in the aisle in an exit row, so I had plenty of leg room but I wish I would have sat next to the window. First of all, I like to look down and see where we are. If it’s clear, I try to figure out what part of what state we are over based on the topography. It makes the time go by quicker and it brings out the geography geek that lives inside me. You wouldn’t think that, with my exciting, outgoing personality, there would be something that laid back inside. I guess we all have little surprises that we hide.

Secondly, the guy next to me sat with both elbows on the seat dividers, so I had to lean out into the aisle slightly. You had to pay two dollars for water, soda and six dollars for alcohol, so I figured no one would have to go the rest room. Wrong!! It seemed like everyone did and would just about tear my shoulder off when they went by. The guy in the middle seat next to me had a book of sudoku puzzles and he worked on them from time to time. I couldn’t help but notice that he kept looking at the solutions in the back of the book and then he would erase two or three of the sections of the puzzle he was working on. It’s a good thing none of my schoolteacher friends were there. They would have had him sitting in the corner with a dunce cap on his head and, in an airplane, a corner is hard to find. Several times I stifled the “you’re only cheating yourself” comment…he was much bigger than me with some mean looking tattoos.

I’m running short distances, trying to get my hip bursitis to heal and I’m not riding very far either. I can’t swim until the dome comes off the pool at the YMCA, so I’m already a little bored. Without Jean here I’m spending a lot less time in the kitchen trying to figure out where things are. I just look at where they’re supposed to be and there they are. I thought I cleaned out the refrigerator when we flew home on the 11th, but Jean did leave me a half eaten cup of yogurt with an expiration date of January 12th. I would have thrown it away, but she must be saving it for something, so I’ll take it with me next time I go to Michigan. I’ll just have to find a 3 ounce container to put it in since I don’t check any luggage.

Just (Enjoying A 77 Degree Day While They Last) Jack

Weather Pox

 I wrote about it a while back, and I thought it was only at Ironman races, but it seems that I’ve become a real weather pox lately. I’m done whining about Ironman Wisconsin…well, I’m really not done but I’ll try to keep it to myself…but it seems that I bring out poor weather wherever I go .

Florida had great weather until we got down there in November. Then the first cold snap of the year came through. Other more deserving people overcame my pox and the weather straightened out for a while. I came back for Thanksgiving and for a couple of days, things were fine. Around my birthday, someone gave me crappy, cold weather for my 60th. I’ve never been one to give back presents, but that was one I didn’t want.

I drove back down to Florida only to suck down some cold weather with me, for their second cold snap. Again, the non-pox-afflicted people took over and the weather got really good again. It was fine up here in Michigan until I came back. The unseasonably warm weather shut off and the cold returned. Today, our first running day since I got back, turned cold with freezing rain, sleet, and some heavy wet snow.

I ran four and a half miles and walked a half to finish my five. All the time I was out it snowed, my glasses got wet and completely fogged over, and I couldn’t see a thing. After I finished, limping in on a sore hip…bursitis and it’s not from dancing at my birthday party…, the snow quit, the sun came out, and it’s nice again. Since I have meetings Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, all at 11:30, and since I’ll have to walk because we only have one car, the forecast is for 3-7 inches of snow.

I’d ask the classic question, “What did I do to deserve this?”, but the list would be much too long and I don’t want to give out personal secrets. I’ll wait until I run for public office for the skeletons to “come out of the closet” and, no, it’s not that kind of “coming out of the closet”. Besides, now that I’m elderly, I’ve forgotten the really bad things I’ve done and the “not so bad ones” seem almost good.

Friday morning we closed on the condo. Were now officially real estate poor. Anyone who wants to buy the Green Street house and the cottage, just call. We’ll make you a deal you can’t refuse. Since I’ll be going back to Florida on Thursday, Jean will be the land baroness of the North and I’ll be the land baron of the South. It’s not exactly fair because we don’t own the land under the mobe and Mom is the land baroness of my half of the condo, and we don’t own the land under that either. So I’m King of my own castle, a $27,000 mobe in Hudson, Florida, the Mecca for geezers like me

After giving away half of everything some years back you would think I would have learned. Like I’ve often told you, “I never said I was smart”.

Just (Spending Everything On Property Taxes And Insurance) Jack

El Rancho de Coleman

SignEl Rancho de Coleman 

We have some friends in Hastings, Maggie and Dave Coleman, who we have known for many years. We can’t say that we know absolutely everything about them, but they both grew up in Hastings, and you can’t break wind in Hastings without everyone knowing about it, and letting you know they know.

So we were surprised when we were out on our bike ride this morning to run across their winter get-away. If I had to guess, knowing the party animals that Dave and Maggie can be, I would have said their winter home would have been in Daytona Beach or Clearwater Beach, not in Pasco County. I’ve attached pictures of the house and their welcome sign. As you can see, it was a little foggy, but the place looks nice and neat.

You can see from the sign that they named their little spread “El Rancho de Coleman”. I wouldn’t have guessed they would have used a Spanish theme, but who am I to judge? I was a little “taken aback” by the sign itself. I know Dave and Maggie to be, as I am, racially open minded and sensitive to ethnic perceptions. So when I saw the color of the horseman on the sign, I wondered what that was about.

Some may say that it sends the same message as those little statues of black doormen that lined the driveways of wealthy landowners in the racially divided South in the fifties. But knowing how kind hearted Dave and Maggie are, I would guess that they had the picture commissioned by a local artist and didn’t have the heart to tell him or her to change the color of the rider to white. What kind of message would that have sent to the art community?

We rode 35+ miles this morning and the hills around San Antonio don’t get any easier. We started the ride after most of the people had left from the parking lot, but a couple guys hooked up with us and we rode together for seven or eight miles. They rode behind me talking to Jean for quite a while and then one of them rode next to me for a time.

I’m still a little nervous about riding in groups after the bike fiasco of 2003. The guy next to me rode with his handle bars about six inches from mine and I didn’t have a lot of room between my tires and the shoulder. A car came from behind so he cut in front of me missing my tire by what I thought was an inch and was probably more like a foot, but still too close for my comfort.

As he rode in front of me, I couldn’t help but notice that his bike shorts were about as old and as worn as my oldest pair and you could see right through them. I started laughing out loud thinking about what Larry and Bill would have said. “Hey Bill! How much caulk do you think it would take to fill that crack? Ha, ha, ha, ha.” I’ve heard that one so many times I finally got new bike shorts.

When we hit the hills on the North end of Culbreath and then across the whole length of Powell, they pulled away from me. Jean lagged back for a minute and then took off after them. She made another lame excuse about wanting to see if she could stay with them, but I think she may have liked the view a little too much. Anyway, she got her fill (no pun intended) and slowed down so I could catch up. She probably thought we were coming to a turn and she wouldn’t know which way to go.

We made it back and most of the cars had left the parking lot. I noticed that most of the license plates were Florida (duh!), any many were from Polk (Lakeland) and Pinellas (St. Petersburg) counties. It’s great riding and one of the few places in Florida where there are hills so I can see why people are willing to drive to get there. It’s about 45 minutes from Hudson so we add an hour and a half coming and going to the excursion. We’re a little spoiled about living in Hastings where you begin the bike ride in your own driveway, and within ten minutes you are out in the country on some great roads. If it wasn’t so cold there in the winter there wouldn’t be any reason to leave.

Just (The Weather Has To Get Cold Sometime) Jack