Tuesday, June 21, 2011

On The Rocks

I bought my refrigerator almost 12 years ago.  And the sucker is still going strong (knock on wood).  When I purchased it the store was having a sale....all fridges over a certain dollar amount qualified for a rebate on an ice maker.  Basically the ice maker was free....although I think I had to pay for it, and then receive a check in the mail...I don't really remember, since it was almost a dozen years ago, and frankly I can't remember what I ate for dinner last night so......

Anyway, when they delivered the fridge, they installed the ice maker, but couldn't hook it up, as my dwelling was not equipped for such modern technology.  I've since moved a couple of times...and the last couple of dwellings have been equipped, but alas I'd since lost the items necessary to complete the hook up.  So all these years every time you open the freezer you see the ice maker just sitting there with an empty bin under it, unable to produce ice.  All these years we've had to be very careful to keep the arm up so that the pump wouldn't burn itself up attempting make the glorious ice.  There have been a number of occasions when I've heard a strange noise and upon investigation have found that someone has been negligent and let the arm fall thereby forcing the pump to work itself into a frenzy.

All these years we have filled ice trays, emptied ice trays, bitched about ice trays being empty in the freezer, spilled water putting trays in the freezer, pulled half frozen trays out of the freezer spilling the water on ourselves and the floor...well you get the picture.  We've been living a hard life.

A couple of months ago out of frustration at pulling yet another empty ice tray from the freezer Denny suggested we go to Home Depot and get the items needed to step into the world of luxury.  So off we go.  As we were standing in front of the display of tubing and connectors not knowing where to begin we were actually approached by a Home Depot employee...did we need help?  After I picked my jaw up off the floor we explained what our "project" was.  This guy knew exactly what we needed.  Not only did he lead us to all the necessary supplies, he gave us step by step instructions on what to do.  I must confess, I couldn't believe our luck.

Our treasure has been sitting on the counter ever since.  I hinted several times to Denny to go ahead and hook it up.  Of course I made the mistake of telling him before he did it to be sure to put something under the valve and run the water for awhile first cause god only knows how long that waters been sitting in that pipe.  That, I guess is where I made my mistake....I tried to "direct" how to do it.  Now he had an excuse (in his mind) to not do it.  We've filled, empty, spilled, and bitched about ice trays ever since.  

Sunday I decided to throw caution to the wind and try to do it myself.  Pulled the fridge out of it's cozy stall and wiggled my way behind it.  After my torturous hike Saturday morning, my right knee is a little sore, and feels alotta swollen inside.  The quarters were cramped.  I was afraid if I sat on the floor wedged in behind fridge I might get stuck in there, along with the dust bunnies.  Luckily I had absconded with my niece's little step stool a couple of months ago, and that was just what I needed.  She was visiting a few weeks ago and saw it in the corner and asked her mom "did you give Aunt Cece my step stool?"  (hahah, wanna arm wrestle for it shorty?).

Of course by now it's been quite sometime since the expert Home Depot guy gave us instruction.  What I have now are little bags of nut thingies, little brass tube like thingies, a filter, and several feet of tubing.  I can't possibly remember how all this was supposed to be used.  So, drag my butt out from behind fridge, fire up computer and google it.  I also didn't really know exactly where on the fridge the water tube was supposed to go.  And I kept thinking maybe I shouldn't even do this, cause lets face it, the fridge is getting old.  I was having a hard time ignoring that little superstitious voice that says as soon as I do the fridge will break.

The Internets is an amazing thing.  You can find the owner's manual of a 12 year old refrigerator.  Amazing.....unfortunately it didn't include any information regarding ice maker.   But I did find a site where some guy posted a question about how to hook his up.  After getting past the rude comments like "times are tough, fill up the trays", I did find some helpful comments.  So back to behind the beast.  Drain the old stale water from the pipe, hook this to that, and that to this, check for leaks, wipe up water.  Tighten everything.  Wipe up water....tighten....Check for leaks..........

And now wait.

And wonder. 

Did we burn out the motor at some point in these last 12 years?

Will it work?

Take a nap.

I present:

Now That's a beautiful sight!

I'm keeping the fridge out of it's little cozy about 8 inches for awhile.  I want to be sure we don't get any leaks.  But so far so good. 

Thing #8, hooked up an ice maker to the water source.

I'll take mine on the rocks please.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

What is that noise?

This morning our group met up with another running group.  A third group consisting of boot campers joined us also.  There were more than 40 runners total.

The plan was to run an 8 mile trail run.  Many of us had never ran these trails (myself included, thing #7 completed).  Someone familiar with the trail was to run ahead and mark it.  I was a little concerned because I am a slower running.  Was concerned that I would be the last person back, and would be running alone.  Luckily Missy came just as we were starting out so I knew I'd have a buddy to run with. 

Missy was literally putting on her watch and situating her bandanna as we started out running.  During the first quarter mile she mentioned she didn't think she was going to like this run.  A little too remote for her....too much nature....said she doesn't like creepy, crawly things....said she doesn't even like to see a lizard.  I thought this was hilarious....maybe we'll see a snake ;)

The trail is tough, much of the beginning was up hill, so steep that we had to walk.  On several occasions I heard Missy mutter "f*ck".  I hate to admit it, but I think the fact that she was hating this run so much made it easier for me.  After about 2-3 miles we started feeling a little less tortured like maybe we'd be able to complete this run.  At one point a man was running in the opposite direction.  After he passed Missy asks "Did you see that?"  I said "I think I did....what did you see?"  She said "He had a prosthetic leg", "Yeah, that's what I thought I saw too".   A couple seconds later she says "God Dammit"  (I am lovin this run!)  She says "That's a sign from God".  Personally, I saw a man with a prosthetic leg (just sayin), although we were inspired to put forth a little more effort after that....well for a little while at least.

We kept following the orange arrows painted on the trail by the fearless leader.  Eventually those arrows lead us down some very steep terrain.  At least we were going down right?  And we kept going down, and down, so steep, had to carefully walk down, afraid of falling on my ass.  And still we kept going down, and down.  Eventually it flattened out a little, faithful orange arrow pointed to go around a fallen tree on the path, and then under another fallen tree, Missy muttered...I think that was poison oak.  I looked around but didn't see anything there. 

We heard voices up ahead....I think we are around mile 4, finally we see the people we were hearing...they are part of our group.  They are saying we've come the wrong way.  There is talk of poison oak, seems Missy was right, when we went around and under those trees there was poison oak there.  Did I touch it?  Did it touch me?  Dang, I don't know.  Julie says do not touch your skin, pour water on it to rinse it.  I am torn between wasting what little water I have left on the slim chance that I did come in contact with the dreaded plant, or saving it to stave off dehydration (now who's the drama queen).

We wait and soon pack leaders come up from the right, yep, they hit a dead end.  Fearless Leader took a wrong turn a ways back and we've been going the wrong way for awhile.  Quite awhile.  We have to turn back the way we've come.  Back under the tree and around the other tree, this time being super cautious not to let any vegetation touch me.  And then it hits me....oh no....all that ridiculously steep downhill that we just traversed....are we going to have to go back up it?  Yep.  I tried to keep myself from thinking about how long we went downhill.  The thought was so overwhelming I'd be tempted to just sit down on the trail and give up.

Several times I had to stop and catch my breath and allow my heart beat to slow down.  Last thing I wanna do is have a stroke out here and have to be airlifted outta there.  One of the boot camp ladies was having a tough time of it.  Nina, Missy, and myself stuck with her, keeping her motivated to keep moving, don't give up, we can do this.  (I'm actually very surprised that the boot camp leader wasn't there making sure all her ladies made it out ok, but that's just my opinion). 

Finally we climbed up outta there and came to a fork in the trail, found a new orange arrow, boot camper Angela looked at me and said "I'm just gonna head to the car now".  Huh?  How do you know where the car is?  She thought the trail not marked with the orange arrow was the path back to the parking lot.  I had no idea, she could very well be right....heck if it were, I'd go back to the car too.  But I am at the mercy of the orange arrows.  Nothing looks familiar to me.  I have no idea how to get back to the car.  I'm not willing to veer from the orange arrows.  I convinced her to keep going.  Unlike with Missy, I was not enjoying the discomfort Angela was experiencing.

As we rounded a corner, I kept hearing a sound....what kind of animal is that?  Sounded like it was coming from the ravine to the left.  Dang, it is loud.  Is is a bull frog? Some kind of bird?  Dang it is sooo loud.  Pterodactyl?  Round another corner, and we see it....Ooooohhhhh......a house on the hill....with half a roof.  Imagine the sound of pulling nails out of wood.  Very, very large nails, from very very large wood, the kind a giant would have.  That's what the sound reminded me of (after seeing the half a roof).  But maybe it was the sound of a pump or something....at least it wasn't a warthog. 

Finally we found the last of the group waiting for us at a bridge.  They gave us the option of taking the short 2.5 mile trail back to the cars or we could do the 5 mile trail.  Missy said she wanted to do the 5 miler, but since we all wanted to do 2 she would sacrifice and just run the 2 miles back. 

Missy and I were so excited to be so close to the cars we practically ran the whole way back...well except for the uphill parts.

We all celebrated being back from our little adventure.  Pictures were taken, stories were told.  Missy asked if I had heard that wildebeast in the ravine (dang, I'm so sorry I missed seeing her face when she heard that!).  Travis did impressions of John (we all so miss John, hurry back from vacation man!).  Margaret made it back safely, with her sense of direction (or lack of) she must have gotten in the middle of the pack and stayed there for dear life.

Driving home I kept thinking, dang I think I'm itching....I should have doused myself with the water.

Thing #7, ran through Powder Canyon, not knowing which way to go, following orange arrows along the way.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Playing in the Mud

The race that I have been dreading anticipating since 12:15am January 1, 2011, has been run.  How do I know the exact date and time?  This particular race, "The Camp Pendleton World Famous Mud Run", sells out less than 24 hours after registration opens.  Registration opens precisely at 12:01am Jan 1st.  I sat poised at my trusty laptop new year's eve and waited.  Signed myself, my great nephew Anthony, and my niece Kristine up.  Registration sold out by noon that same day. 

I really didn't need to do this race.  I had already ran it on 2 previous occasions.  The only reason I decided to do it was because Anthony wanted to run it with me.  While I definitely liked the idea of running it with Ant (great nephew Anthony) I still dreaded it.  It's a tough run, and then there's the mud....and obstacles.....A couple of months ago I told Anthony that I'd give up my bib if he had a friend who would like to run in my place.  Nope, he wanted to run it with me.  Maybe I should feel flattered.

Finally the day came.  You've got to hand it to the Marines, this is by far one of the most well organized races I've ever run.  Kristine was not able to run it as she is in Africa.  So my running buddy Alicia ran in her place.  We arrived in plenty of time to pick up our t-shirts, check our bags, take a picture in front of the map of the course with our water proof disposable camera, and hear the National Anthem sung by a 15 year old local girl. It never ceases to amaze me how the National Anthem can shut up a crowd.  Every single person stood in reverence, the only sound was the voice of the singer.  I think the fact that we were standing on a Marine base made it all the more solemn.

In true military fashion (hurry up and wait), we were directed to proceed to the start line....and wait.  While waiting, Alicia and I took a picture with 2 Marines who were standing in front of us.  They were running "Boots & Utility", which means regulation military boots and utility trousers, these guys took it a step further with painted faces and backpacks....the packs were weighing in at 35lbs and 75lbs.  Unbelievable.  You go boys!  If we have the pic I'll post it here later.  I'll also post the pic of the guy in funny underwear....if we have it.....

Finally the race began....or so we thought.  There really isn't enough room at the official start line for all the runners (approx 6K) so they stage us in an area that is large enough, and then we walk and try to run in mass to the start line.  At the start line there is a firetruck getting the race started right by spraying everyone with the fire hoses!  I was going to take a pic of the firetruck, but the water came our way, everyone screamed started running, I was afraid of being trampled, sun glasses got wet, couldn't see anything for about a minute (running blind).  Finally got my glasses cleaned, and realized I had lost Ant and Muddy Running Buddy Alicia.

I caught up to Alicia after a couple of minutes....but couldn't find Ant....is he in front or behind?  We ran and kept looking back over our shoulders, scanning the crowd ahead for Ant.  So much of this race is up hill....so hard to stay motivated and keep running.  What kept me going was the thought that Ant wanted to run this race with me, and I had lost him at the start line!  I kept glancing back to make sure he wasn't behind me, and kept running forward to try and catch up if he was ahead.  Alicia told me to go ahead and keep trying to catch him.  We figured he would be waiting at "The Wall" for us, since he was our designated lifter (supposed to give us a boost up over "The Wall").  I ran till my quads were screaming.  I'd take a walk break and then run some more. 

Finally at approx mile 4.5 I came to "The Wall"....and no Ant!  Where is he?  Surely he wouldn't scale the wall without lifting us over it first???  And now I'm stuck, I promised Alicia I would wait for her at "The Wall".  Finally she came sauntering around the corner (shouldn't have left her alone!)  Down into the mud we went.  Found a Handy Marine at the wall willing to give a hand.  I told Alicia to go first.  I had toyed with the idea of going around the wall (while I had been waiting for her, and looking for Ant because the course switches back after the lake crossing) I had noticed some runners going around the wall. Strong Handy Marine gave Alicia a lift up the wall....she straddled it, and hesitated...trying to figure out the best way to get down the other side.  At that point I decided I was going around, last think I wanted to do was contemplate how do get off that wall.  Denny tells me I have to go back and run the race again cause I didn't complete that obstacle....yeah,.... right.  Going around wasn't nearly as easy as I thought it would be.  It was a drop of about 3 feet from the side, and I fell in the mud.  Alicia helped me up, and I promptly fell again.  If you hesitate in the mud a second too long, your feet get stuck and you lose you balance.

Out of the mud and on to the river crossing.  At the shore there is another of those Handy Marines willing to help out, if you give him your camera he will take a picture of you in the water.  We hand him the camera and gingerly enter the water (it's hell to get old).  Three young ladies toss their camera to Handy Marine, and jump into the water ahead of us.  He takes their pic, tosses the camera......  Was that the right camera?  I shout to the girls, wait, is that yours or ours?  She looks at it and says, it's the right one.  Now from where I'm standing it looks exactly like ours...Kodak, waterproof disposable.  So we may end up with half a roll of pictures of complete strangers instead of the precious ones we took before that river crossing.  Will just have to wait and see what we get.

River Crossed, on to "Wall Number 2"....this particular mud pit had a "Wimp Wall"...since we are wimps.....well Alicia is a wimp and straddled the wimp wall...I'm a super wimp and went around this one too....but again didn't anticipate the 3 foot drop and ended up on my butt in the mud.  Fall 3 more times trying to exit mud pit (the fire hose on the left spraying me in the face didn't help any).  Slide down the mud hill on the way out (onaccounta I'm afraid of falling and breaking a hip) sliding down on my butt...hmmmm, no wonder I had all that mud in my shorts at the finish line. 

Down another mud hill (also on my behind, and mud in my shorts), and enter "The Tunnel".  Duck walk through tunnel...almost falling backwards mid-way through...whew...don't know how I would have managed to get out of that dang Tunnel if I ended up on my ass or back.....nothing to grab onto to hoist myself back up, and quarters too cramped to right myself....visions of rolly polly bugs.....  Tunnel Cleared!

On to the next obstacle "Slippery Hill", a huge, extremely steep hill with another fire hose at the top.....of course those Handy Marines are at the top trying to spray us off the hill.  Thanks guys.

Slippery Hill summited, shoes and shorts a little heavier...run to mile #6 water station (there is ample water on the course at precisely every mile HOORAH!)  Point 2 miles to go!  And then I see it.  The last obstacle.  I had forgotten all about it.  The - mud - pit.  We have to belly crawl.  Dang.  I thought I was done.  Handy Marine to the right of me yelling at me to GO!  GET IN!  FACE FIRST, GET IN!  Crawling through the mud, Marines yelling at us to STAY DOWN.  As we approach the final mud hill out of this muddy mess the final Marine is yelling "GET OUT OF MY WATER!"

There is a little fountain area where you can rinse your face off, we see Ed and Kathleen.  We all hug, congratulating each other on finishing (technically they finished 30 minutes before us, they ran as a team of 5, and teams start sometime after the individuals).  Faces rinsed, sprint to the finish line, and there is Ant.  Showered and waiting for us.  He finished 40 MINUTES AHEAD OF US.  That's the last time I run a race with him.  He's beat me twice now (last time was the 5K at Angels Stadium)....I don't think he wanted to "run the mud run with me"....I think he wanted to "kick my butt at the mud run".

As we stood in line waiting to take our cold, very public outdoor group shower, the mud baked in the sun on our skin.  Mud rinsed out of my shorts, off to the group changing tent.  Steamy inside tent, wall to wall bodies trying to change out of muddy clothes into clean clothes while standing on one foot, trying not to touch one another.

6.2 race miles completed.  Brings the total race miles to 24.26 with 25.74 to go

How We Perceive Ourselves......

I had a sales representative come into the office today.  She's trying to sell me a payroll service that includes workers comp, employee benefits, human resources, safety, etc. When I shook her hand I'm thinking, "Wow, she looks old for a sales rep., wonder how old she is".  During the meeting we start talking about retirement plans and she says "We are probably about the same age"........ I wonder if the shock and disappointment showed in my expression.

On a side note....If she had been male I would have never even thought twice about how old he was.