Monthly Archives: July 2007

All Golfed Out

You probably already know that I’ve been playing golf the past few weeks after three years of not playing at all and three or four years before that of playing two or three times on our Upper Peninsula trip. I played ten rounds through Tuesday although the Country Club computer only had me for nine scores. The member-guest tournament was this past weekend and I played 18 holes Friday, 27 holes on Saturday and 18 holes on Sunday so I’m all golfed out. I’ve gotten the bug to start playing again, so I’ll continue throughout the rest of this season and will decide whether or not to join the Country Club for next year this winter.

I played with Robert, my step-son, as my guest. He’s a -0- handicap and I’m a 22, so we played in a flight where most of the guys were around 10 handicappers. Most of them were good, steady golfers and then there was me. I had thought before the weekend started that I would be intimidated by better opponents, but I wasn’t. On Friday we played with a couple of Robert’s friends and they all played a game I haven’t seen before. When you watch golf on television and see professionals that hit the ball 300 yards or more, you think it must be an exaggeration, but these guys did the same thing. If I really got a hold of the ball, my drives would go slightly less than 200 yards, so I was always the first to hit my second shot. I’ll spare you the shot-by-shot description of all 63 holes but suffice it to say, I proved my 22 handicap was earned with some really bad shots. We had lots of fun and I saw people I hadn’t seen or talked to in years, so it was a success.

While I was gone from the lake for three days, a mole moved in and had a blast in the side yard. It’s been so dry out there I couldn’t imagine there were any worms or grubs near the surface but the tunnels were everywhere. I’d make my standard summer comment like “this means war”, but the moles keep winning the battles, so I give up. Well, not entirely. I’ll still set the traps and spray with all the “sure fired mole chasers” you can buy on the market that never work. Apparently my neighbors have the stuff that does work and you know they won’t tell me ‘cuz they don’t want me chasing the critters back into their yards. When it comes to moles, neighbors aren’t always neighborly.

I still haven’t trapped the woodchuck that has set up camp in our decorative rock garden. He has always been bold, but since I set the trap with apples, we haven’t seen him around. A part of me is hoping he got hit by a car and won’t be back, but the animal lover side of me hopes he just doesn’t like us as much as the neighbors and now I can be the one who isn’t neighborly. Maybe the reason he left so suddenly is that a raccoon died in the trap while I was in Florida two winters ago and was less than fresh by the time I got home. The smell of death can be a good deterrent. Hey! If I trap a mole and just leave it in the ground, maybe the others will move out. Wait a minute! That will make the yard stink and maybe that isn’t a good way to try and sell a house. Never mind!

Just (Not A Threat To Tiger Woods) Jack

Hard Work

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, watching other people do a race is hard work. Bill, Larry, Brenda and I went down to Muncie to watch Brian, Diane, Corrine and Tom do the Muncie Endurathon, a half-ironman triathlon. It’s a six hour race for me, or longer if I have trouble on the run, but, naturally, they all finished it in less than six. I’m amazed at how fit all of the athletes are and I’m still surprised to see people in their fifties, sixties and seventies still doing these races. We knew the capabilities of our buddies, so we were always in the right place at the right time when they came through transition or the finish line.

The tiring part about it is that you see someone and chit-chat for a while before the race, but once they have left on the swim, it’s 30 to 45 minutes before you see them again. Then it’s just for a few seconds and they are off on the bike for two to three hours. Again it’s just for a few seconds and they are off on the run for another hour and a half to two hours. We guessed their finish times within five minutes for each of them so it’s not like we had to hold a late night vigil, waiting for them to finish just before the truck that’s picking up the race cones like people have to do for my races. I was carrying Diane’s bicycle pump for quite some time and Bill and Larry wanted me to let them carry it or take it to the car, but I was trying to build up my arms so I refused.

As we watched the racers come out of the swim, it was interesting to watch the differences in style. Some would leave the water and be “trucking right along” headed for T1 (transition from swim to bike) and others would be walking. We saw many staggering just a bit, either from water in the ears affecting their balance, or the lack of oxygen in their legs since the body sends much of it to the arms that are doing all the work. We saw a lot of people in wetsuits, but quite a few without. Some of those people had just a swim suit on while others had their triathlon race suit on. A few people had “skin suits” which are tight fitting suits that let them glide through the water. One guy had a “skin suit” on that I still think was his real skin that had just been painted. To say that it was revealing was the understatement of the year. Brenda commented several times about what a good job the Mohel had done at the young man’s Bris (if you’re not Jewish, look it up).

Congratulations to the racers. Tom got a second in his age group, Brian got a second in his division, Corrine was fourth in her age group and Diane was fifth in her age group. My title as “King of The Mediocre Athletes” is safe for another year.

The Sunday run was at Judy’s yesterday and lots of people showed up. Judy pestered Kevin for so long that he gave in and came to walk with her. I did my usual six miler, but I misjudged the route and ended up in front of Judy’s at 5.36 miles. Of course I couldn’t stop there so I ran back and forth in the neighborhood until 6.00 registered on my Garmin. The neighbors must have thought I was nuts but, of course, if they knew me they would be sure I was nuts. The X-rays from a month ago showed a fair amount of thinning in the hip cartilage so I’m guessing my long run days are limited. I think it will be a good idea to lose some weight to take some of the pressure off, so I’m now on my 89th diet (lifetime, not this year). By tomorrow Bill and Larry will be selling chances to see who can predict how long this one will last. If you want to wager, you better sign up soon ‘cuz the early times go quickly.

The Green Street house and the cottage still haven’t sold. Every time I think it doesn’t matter whether they do or not, I get an insurance bill or a property tax notice and I change my mind. I was going to bring in the three bags of lake weeds to town yesterday, but when I tried to pick up two of the bags, I noticed that the bottom had rotted through, so I’m heading out to “rebag”. Anyone want to rent a nice house or a cottage for a year?

Just (Rested Up From The Hard Job Of Watching) Jack

How Rumors Get Started

At swimming this morning I caught a glimpse of how rumors get started. Luckily there was a male presence to nip the story in the bud. People think we go out to Diane’s Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings to swim for the healthy workout. Not so! We really go to sit around afterwards and chit-chat with a little swim thrown in so we have an excuse to be there. During that chit-chat session, I was getting my swim bag together when Jean, Judy and Kim got all excited because Diane had put a motor on her road bike. I know that Diane will be riding that bike this weekend at the Muncie Endurathon and, although I have a lot of respect for her as a doctor, a mechanic she ain’t. I went out and looked and, apparently, Mike was charging a boat battery that was sitting on the floor by the bike and the cord went into an electric receptacle behind the bike. The cord went right through the area where the bike’s crank is. I’m not sure how the girls’ logic made that leap, but it did. Rumor squashed!!! Diane will not be cheating at Muncie!

We missed Bill at the swim today. Nancy was having some pretty significant medical tests at 7 this morning (our thoughts and prayers are with you, Nancy and Bill) and as they left the cottage yesterday, Bill said he would either drop her off at Pennock at 5:30 or she could ride the transit bus ‘cuz he had to be at the lake at 6 to swim. I’m guessing they had a discussion about that when they got home and he decided, without any pressure, that he would much rather take her to the hospital and wait right there for the tests to be done.

Speaking of the cottage, we had the Sunday run out there yesterday. The temperature was 70 at 6:30 when I went out and dropped off the water and it must have been close to 80 by the time the run was in full swing. The humidity was high so it was a miserable day to run but we did it anyway. Most of the runners cut their run short, but a few die hards did the “hilly” 8.6 miles around the lake. Most of them wished they hadn’t, but not Pat. He had a ball out there stopping at the store in Prairieville for water, stopping at someone’s house for water, pouring water from the drinking jug over his head, and then missing the turn onto the South end of Sprague Road and adding .8 miles by turning back at the North end. While everyone else was whining about 8.6, he went 9.4. What a man!!!

I’ve gotten a few comments about some of my recent e-mails where I whined about my frustrations. If you wonder if I’m in some downhill slide, don’t worry. You all know by now that these e-mails are my therapy. You also probably know by now that I am a tad bit on the thrifty side (some people would say cheap) and it saves me the high cost of therapy sessions with a “shrink”. I’ll write an e-mail and send it out to all of you, but then on my copy, after each paragraph I’ll insert the standard comments like:

     How does that make you feel?

     You can’t be serious?

     How’s that working for you?

     Do you think that was the best choice?

     If you had it to do over again, would you do the same thing?

     What in the world were you thinking?

     What does your family think about that?

     What in blue-blazes is wrong with you?

I could have gotten the whole list from the psychology textbooks, but that would have cost money too, so I just watched Dr. Phil a few times and took notes. I’m much, much better now.

Just (Mentally Fit As A Fiddle But Physically Shot) Jack


I’m frustrated with lots of things so I’m in one of those funky moods.

I’m frustrated that one or both of these houses don’t sell. It’s not that we have to sell them or we’ll end up in the foreclosure mess that many others are, but it’s the cost of property taxes, insurance and utilities that are going to waste. If I thought that my property taxes were being used for the good of humanity, I’d feel a little better, but when I read the paper and see what our local officials are doing, I think my hard earned money is swirling down the toilet.

I don’t want to stop now and only offend local politicians. I think on a state and national level, things are much worse. It’s hard for me to believe that all Republicans feel that they have the only legitimate answer to what ails us and all Democrats think the Republicans are full of it and only they have the solution. No matter what you think about Iraq, immigration or the state budget, I don’t understand how the two sides can be so far apart that they can’t agree on anything and there is no chance for compromise. Well over 50% of Americans think that government is broken and there doesn’t seem to be any way to fix it. We can go back to the “throw the bums out” philosophy of many years ago, but when we vote in new people with great ideas, they somehow morph on their trip from Michigan to Washington and turn into clones of the people we just voted out of office.

Enough of politics. If I keep thinking about it I get angrier by the minute and it’s not good for my blood pressure. That brings me to another problem. I’m frustrated that my left hip is not better. Not any worse, but not any better either. My mid-week runs have been in the 3.6 mile range, so I’m not in any pain until the very end. On Sundays I’m trying to run around 6 miles and the discomfort usually starts around 4 miles. Today, being such a beautiful day to run, my hip mess decided it wanted to get out early so it appeared in the first mile. I toughed it out but it wasn’t pretty. To make it feel better, this afternoon I went out to the cottage and weeded the flowers. The bending over and stretching made the joints creak and both hips were begging for Aleve.

If that wasn’t enough, I’m frustrated that my latest health issue, prostatitis, is taking a long time to resolve. We know what the problem is, but my doctor says that it often takes weeks before things are back to normal. In the meantime, I’m sidelined off the bike. I feel left out when everyone else is able to go out for a nice bike ride during the week or on Saturday, so I try to keep myself busy by doing outside work around the cottage. Since I’m a man, and we can’t always help ourselves, I dive into jobs that always take a bit more strength or endurance than I have, so I overdo. Not a lot, but just enough to wake up muscles I didn’t know I had and to increase sales of Tylenol by 30%.

When I’m not swimming (I can do that without much problem, at least until we have to go back in the pool), or hobbling through a run, or beating myself up doing yard work and chores at the cottage, I relax by playing golf. That’s my next frustration and it’s a dandy. Parts of my game are getting better and I feel like I’m getting closer to where I left off a few years back, but then my lack of coordination rears its ugly head and I revert to a real hacker. This past Friday I played with “the guys” who meet at the first tee at noon. I had seven pars, so you would think I had a good score. Wrong!!! I had two bogeys and the rest were doubles or triples with a cool 10 thrown in for good measure, and I hit all ten shots…no penalties…no lost balls. What a mess, but I only lost $4 and I had a good time just being out there.

Just (Looking Up From A Deep Valley) Jack