Saturday, February 6, 2016

Mud, Mud, Mud

Well, the heavy rains combined with the AEP work (digging a 24 inch wide trench then putting the conduit in then filling the trench) to really mess up my road. There was a 30 foot long near ravine (14 inches deep at points) near the gate and rutted mud everywhere else. I had to straddle the ravine when I got home Wednesday night and if I had slipped in I am sure I would have had to pull my truck out with the tractor. I got out on Thursday and finally on Friday morning I rode the tractor down with a bucket of 57 to start filling the hole and after I dumped it in (and it made no impact), I realized it would take all my stone just to handle this one part. Instead, I got 12 loads of dirt and filled it back in. I had the scraper on at 2.5 and that helped smooth things a bit but no close work can be done until it dries out a lot. My classes are going well and three weeks are done. Our move to the new building has changed again, so now it will be mid to late July. I asked Rosemary about my summer course and she said she should know by late April. Had a fun visit with Claire at the Next Door bakery. We chatted a lot and looked at a few houses in Blacksburg. She is excited about the wedding and about the possibility of owning a house. I should be getting my truck pretty soon and I should have the electricity done in 3 weeks so that will be a relief. Then I approach the Sissons about the right of way.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Post Snow Storm

I have survived the eleven inches of snow, although getting out at the gates is a bit tricky with the remnant ice. The electricity is on hold but I talked to Bryan and he will be out in about three weeks, assuming the electricity is finally in. I noticed that the glass cover is missing from the meter base so I taped a plastic bag over it to keep out the rain and snow. My power went out last night but I think it may have been due to the new room heater, which shouldn’t be a problem once I get the electricity done. I had a nice time meeting with Claire Hall over at the coffee shop. I gave her some tips about house buying, which she appreciated. Gyorgyi called and we will get together soon. I haven’t heard from Gabe in quite a while so I left a message today on his work cell. I assume everything is going well, but I am assuming he is not coming to visit. I talked to Dave and we had a good funny conversation with a lot of laughs. My classes are going well, and I am hoping that will continue. My truck is on schedule for mid-February and I am getting excited about getting it. I have been bike riding and walking and doing my weights and yoga, but me knee is not doing well. I hope I will be able to keep going until May. I spoke with Rob during our walk around his neighborhood and he says I should hire someone to stay with me for the first couple days and that seems like a good idea. He thought once I get past the first few days (when the pain will be extreme), I should be fine. He thinks I should stay in the rehab place as long as I am covered and that will be fine with me. I spoke to a couple of people at Lowes and they suggested that instead of putting in grab bars, that I get a seat that allows me to slide from outside the tub into the tub and get up easily. That sounds like a good plan.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Electricity is coming and a big snow storm hits

Another of my usual catch up entries. It is January 23, and I survived the brunt of the big snowstorm. We could have gotten up to 18 inches but my last measurement after the snowfall had stopped showed about 10 inches. On Friday morning I drove my truck down to the gate at about 7 am, just after the snow had started to come down hard and then I ran the tractor a couple of times, first running down to the gate using the scraper blade and then getting back up with a few tense moments of slipping. I decided not to go back down until Sunday at the earliest, when it should warm up into the high 30s. But I did clear out about 250 yards of road so I could walk some and that worked very well. I took several walks on Friday and then two long ones today. I rode the stationary bike (which I lubricated today, but the oil had no effect on the noise so I think I might have to buy a new bike) and did my weights and yoga and watched Duke finally win (after an unheard of 3 losses in a row), beating North Carolina State by 10 points. They looked very good in the second half but they need Amile Jefferson back or they will have no chance of going far in the NCAA tournament. The big news is that the Eliot company crew, especially the backhoe drivers Brandy and Tino, got the cable and conduit all the way to the meter base on Thursday. And more importantly, they didn’t fun into any big rock which would have required them to bring in a jackhammer machine and would have cost me thousands of dollars. I worked with them on Wednesday and Thursday morning, mainly keeping the conduit in place while Tino backfilled the trench Brandy dug. They were terrific and wouldn’t accept my tip (they did accept some meal money on Tuesday), which would have been generous. Brandy also dug the trench I asked for and dug it all the way to the culvert. I think I may leave it uncovered and just let the grass grow up on the hill. I have figured out that I will have to pull 15K from my 403B for the new truck down payment but that is better than the 25 I thought I might have to take out. I don’t think Cathy is going to quit and there is little I can do. I offered to help and that is all I can offer. My classes are going well and I have about 45 students, not a bad load at all. My knee held up well working with the Eliot crew and I just hope it will be okay until May. I finally spoke with Kelly and she is doing fine. That is a comfort to me. I have no idea when I will see her again, but that will be up to her when she feels that it will be okay with Alfredo. I got down to the pasture around 11:30 and cleared all the way to the big hill. On my way back Andy Sisson showed up and he cleared my road up to the house. I offered to pay him 100 dollars but he only wanted 20 but I ended up giving him 40 and promised to send him some Harry and David pears (I did order some and also some chocolate truffles). I emailed my kayaking friend and her driveway hasn’t been plowed yet so I offered to pick her up tomorrow morning and drive her to her office. I watched the first playoff game and Denver won an exciting one, winning 20-18. I checked out the bikes over at Dicks and a newer version of the one I have is 500 dollars with 129 to deliver it and install it, which I will do. I then had some food at El Grande and talked to Cathy and she sounded okay even though she is very concerned about the girls. The second game is a blowout but I have to wait for a call from my kayaking friend so I will watch till 9:15 then head slowly home, parking near my gate and walking up.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Electricity finally starts

The good news is that the Elliot company started work on the electricity. They started near the Sisson gate right by the electric pole and have finished several hundred yards of digging out the trench with a backhoe and laying down the cable then covering it with the dug up dirt. It is not on the road but about 10 feet from the road in the pasture. Tino, who was working alone when I left the hollow, said that they shouldn’t be up to my hollow till next week and that he thought he would be able to dig my trench for me by the greenhouse. That would be terrific. I talked to Danny and Dougie and things are fine with them. If AEP won’t pay for the grass seed, I told Dougie I would take care of it. I got disappointing news about my two saxophones. Washington Music won’t buy them and it will be too much of a hassle to sell them online so I drove up to Valley Repair and gave them to Glen and told him they are his to sell and keep the profit. He says he will share some of the profit with me but I told him not to worry about it. I just want them out of the house and not deteriorating any further. The house is getting neater and neater and another hour of work should have all the windows cleaned. I got a bike ride in today on the Huckleberry and then a walk in my hollow just before dark. I should have the electricity in and a decision on the right of way before too long. And I will also have my new truck coming in soon. Still waiting for news on my young friend. Talked to Lou about Cathy’s situation and I am not sure what is going to happen. She says she doesn’t want to learn anything new but there wouldn’t be much to learn.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Cleaning Windows and Writing Class Outlines

It is already Friday the 8th and a lot has gone on to catch up with. The very good news is that my colonoscopy on Tuesday morning was fine so I don’t have to go back for 5 years. I have also order a 2016 Toyota Tacoma with blind spot technology, back up camera and back up collision avoidance, all features I want. It is loaded with other features and should be a fun truck to drive. Toyota has to build it so I will have it in early April, right after the CEA conference. I got an interesting but somewhat disturbing email from the old friend who contacted me. Her earlier emails seemed a bit off but this last one was bizarre. I think she might have psychological problems so I am going to cut off my communication with her. I did get to apologize for being a jerk back when we were briefly involved and I am glad I was able to do that. I still haven’t heard from CEA about when my presentation will be but the schedule is supposed to be out the 15th so only another week to wait. I have my three outlines done up to the CEA conference in late March and it won’t take much work to finish them up. One of my young friends has gotten some disconcerting health news. She has to wait for test results next week and it is likely that everything is okay. My trip to Wild Dunes was a lot of fun. I rode my bike a lot, played some golf, visited Theresa, Marv and Joyce, did a number of beach walks and ate dinner at the Peninsula Grill and P.F. Chang’s. I also got a walk in the Congaree National Park though it was flooded and had to stay on the boardwalk. I have been cleaning the windows and I am about half done so that will be nice since I haven’t done this in years. I have also done some straightening up of files and gotten rid of some junk up by the cabin, including the owl house that fell down. I spoke to the crew chief of the two groups that will be coming to put the electricity in and he said they should be starting Monday and that it should take around 2 weeks. My bet is sometime next week and the work will be done by early February. I am going to see if they will do some work on my drain project. I will offer to pay a little for it since it shouldn’t take even an hour. My kayak friend and I have had some fun email exchanges but I don’t see us kayaking for a while.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Finals Week

Things are going pretty well with a few exceptions. All the work I put in on the drain pipe from the French drain didn’t fully solve the problem. There is still a very small flow even though I dug down several inches below the drain pipe and where the flow comes out of the ground and put in two tractor buckets of good clay. I must not have gone deep enough but I am not going to worry about it. I diverted the small flow back into the trench I dug and that seems to be working to save the road. If I ever get some money, I will hire a pro to fix the problem. I responded to Tracy’s unfair e-mail and explained why I have been more than generous with her. She will get her money (likely between 45 and 60K) when I sell the hollow and not sooner. The contract I initiated with her (a very generous one) states that clearly so I have no idea how she can write that my “promises are cruel and empty.” I am sorry she is angry but I am undeserving of it. My classes are almost over (it’s finals week) and I will be off for 5 weeks. I have decided to have my knee done in May and next Tuesday I should get a cortisone shot from Dr. Gardner. I’m hoping that will hold me till May. I am in too much pain all the time so I really have to do the surgery. Had a nice dinner with Cathy Gallo on Saturday and it now seems that Lou can work as long as he wants to. I am meeting Claire tomorrow and we will have a good chat. On Thursday, I am planning to take Maddie and Claire out to dinner and then to the Cinebowl to use up the video game card I bought for them. That should be fun. Kelly is still struggling a bit and I hope I have been able to help her some.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

A rough day

I had a very difficult day, though the kayak trip with my friend ended with a fine bunch of waves. She was very good and she wasn’t too cold when we finished up. I got too upset in the middle of our trip and it was because of the e-mail from Tracy, who really blasted me, and I think unfairly. I brought up some of the unfair things that have happened to me at Radford and my friend was supportive though she didn’t see everything my way, which is reasonable. Anyway, I dug up the buried treasure yesterday with the farm tractor so I don’t have to worry about anybody finding it and none of it is still on the property. I wasn’t feeling great this morning and tonight I feel on the verge of getting sick. I know when I have such a stressful day that I am likely to get sick. I have finished up all but one of the 444 papers and I have made up all the part twos of the final exams so the movie questions are the only things that remain. I am sorry Tracy is so angry with me but I really do think I have been more than fair with her. When I sell the hollow she will receive a lot of money (at least 40K) and she will get even more since I am going to give her half of any of the added value I receive from the electricity and from the right of way (if the sissons will sell it to me). I don’t have to money to pay Tracy now and the contract is clear that she gets her money when I sell the hollow, not before. My friend thinks she will never forgive me and perhaps she is right.