Too. Much. PT.

As I stated before, I am totally ramping up the amount of PT I’m doing, because Hooyah.  But even considering that, the last few days have been…strenuous.

A little background.

On Saturday, we decided to splurge and order out for dinner (we don’t do that very much – budget, dude.  Budget.).  We had some Olive Garden gift cards, so what the heck right?  😉  So I roll on out to pick up the yummy vittles, and on the way to the restaurant, I came down HARD on a dip in the road that I didn’t see coming until it was too late.  Didn’t think much of it though, because these things happen.

Fast forward to Monday morning.  The car starts up just fine, but will not shift out of park.

Crap.

So I rode my bicycle to work.  It’s 23.6 miles each way.  I’ve done it before; in fact many weeks I’ll ride to and from at least once.  But typically I’ll drive in one morning with my bike on the rack, ride home in the afternoon, then ride back to work the next morning and drive home.  Used to be, when I lived closer to work, I’d ride my bike there every day.  Not so much these days.

Anyway, you can do the math – I cranked out 47 miles on the bike on Monday.  Then still had to do Insanity Monday evening.  It was very tempting not to, but of course I couldn’t skip out.  Because what am I, a slacker?

Yesterday, I drove the Admiral’s minivan to work because she had a light day, and I had to pick my Mom up from the airport on the way home and that would be tough to do on my bicycle.  😛  I was freaking tired last night, and the hustle and bustle around the house didn’t really die down until about 2245, but hang it all I did my Insanity.  Last night was Pure Cardio; that one’s a grinder, too.

Today, I rode my bicycle in to work again, and I’ll ride it home.  So another 47 mile day.  And no, I’m not going to skip tonight.  Probably going to do the same tomorrow.  Thankfully, Friday is a day off at work, so I’ll get a little break there.

Long story short, I’m getting a metric butt-ton of PT this week.  95 Weightwatchers activity points worth so far, and it’s only Wednesday (by way of comparison, I’m allocated 45 points of food a day, and last week between Insanity, Pull-ups, and running a few times I only generated 73 activity points).  That’s pretty awesome.  Feels good.  🙂

I know what you’re thinking, though.  Kingswood, what’s up with your car?

Well…  I didn’t anything done with it until this morning.  I figured it was a transmission problem or maybe an interlock sensor issue (you know the brake-transmission interlock; if the brake ain’t depressed the gears won’t shift.  If the brake sensor dies…).  Now, the car’s 10 years old, but I have an extended power train warrantee that I bought when I purchased the car last year.  Normally, I don’t go for those sorts of things, but I may end up being happy I did this time.  Problem was, I couldn’t find the information the policy until last night, so I only just this morning called USAA to tow the car to a service station.

Interestingly enough, when the tow truck lifted the car up, the driver found a ton of transmission fluid on the street beneath.  Which has me thinking maybe that dip in the road from Saturday has something to do with this.  Which could make it an insurance claim as opposed to a warrantee claim.  So looks like either way I’ll avoid a HUGE financial hit.  It still sucks though.

So that’s the latest around here.  Go buy some books, will ya?

😉

New Wheels -or- The Great Bicycle Theft Incident

Here is another tale of woe.

Rewind the clock a week, to Friday the 17th.  My wife went out that evening for a girl’s night out and I took care of the kids.  She got back a little before midnight; the rest of us were already in bed.  She distinctly remembers closing the garage door and locking up before coming to bed.

The next morning, the 18th, I went out into the garage to check on laundry, since our laundry facilities are in the garage.  The garage door was wide open.

I shouted back over my shoulder, “Hey you left the garage door open last night.”

She replied, “No I didn’t…”

It was at that point that I noticed the two empty bicycle stands in our garage.  A second later, she arrived at my side and saw the same. Someone had stolen both of our bicycles.  The perp also had apparently gone into our minivan, because we noticed some thing out of place within it.

To say that Ericka was upset was to say that the federal deficit over the last five years is a paltry sum, not worth considering.  Tears flowed.  Self-flagelation along the lines of “How could I be so stupid” ensued.  It was a bad morning.

But wait, it gets better.

I called 911.  15 minutes later, I spoke with an actual person, who put me on hold again to transfer me to the Police.  Note: do not ever get into a life or death situation in San Diego.  Or more to the point, while in San Diego make sure you walk around with enough medical supplies and weapons to be able to deal with the life or death situation yourself because the cops ain’t going to.  Not with hold times like that.  A few minutes later, the police picked up and I described what happened.

“Were any weapons stolen?”

“No.”

“Did the stolen items amount to more than $5,000?”

I did a quick estimate in my head.  I figured the two bikes together were worth about $4,500.

“No.”

“Ok, you need to go to our website and file a report online.  Once you do that, we’ll process it in a few days.”

“Wait, aren’t you going to send out an officer to investigate?  I haven’t touched the minivan or the bike stands, so I haven’t disturbed fingerprints or anything.”

“No, they don’t do that.”

“Beg pardon?”

“They don’t take fingerprints, and unless the value was over $5,000 they’re not going to send someone over.”

“Well, there’s probably an officer patrolling nearby.  Can you ask one of them to swing by so they can talk to my wife?  She’s pretty upset.”

“Sorry, they don’t do that.”

It’s good to know the public services here in grand old California are top notch, what with the ludicrous amounts of taxes people who live here are forced to pay.  Oh wait, that money goes to other things.  Never mind…  Oh and did I mention the roads here absolutely suck?  Yeah, I mean they blow hard.  Even Pennsylvania has better roads than some areas I’ve driven through here in California.  That’s how bad they are.  Again, your tax money (not) at work.

Anyway, I gritted my teeth to hold back some unpleasant words and set about finding the serial numbers of our bikes.

So that’s the woe part of the story.  The worst part is my bicycle is my transportation to and from work, so this little episode really put a crimp in our style this week, let me tell you.

But wait, I can hear you saying now.  Kingswood, you told us you ran a Triathlon last weekend.  How’d you do that with your bike stolen?

Glad you asked.  Now comes the good part of the story: Moment Cycle Sports and USAA.

Moment Cycle Sports is the bike/triathlon shop around the corner from my house, the place where Ericka got her triathlon package, if you recall.  They rent bicycles.  They just happened to have a carbon frame road bike in my size available for rental on Saturday.  So they saved my bacon.  They also revealed that a whole lot of people in my area have had their bikes stolen lately.  Apparently there’s this guy who roams the neighborhoods late at night with a universal garage door remote, clicking away.  He just rolls into whichever garages open and helps himself to whatever he likes.

Bastard.

Of course, when Ericka learned about this, she felt a lot better.  This didn’t happen because she was careless, but because of a clever douchebag.

Now, USAA.  I love me some USAA.  Can’t say enough good things about them.  Their rates are awesome, their customer service is awesome, and when it comes to fulfilling claims…  Well, I’ve had to file a number of claims over the years and they have never been anything but fast, courteous, and eager to help.  Top notch company, USAA.

Anyway, it took a couple days to find my bike’s serial number, because I bought it three years ago and I’ve lost the receipt and while I thought I’d registered it with Specialized, I apparently had not.  Fortunately, the bike store I bought it from was able to locate the original sales documents and email them to me.  We submitted the receipts on Tuesday evening.  Thursday morning, USAA called and said everything was good to go and we should have the claim money (just under $3,900 – we have a $500 deductible) deposited into our checking account within 24-48 business hours.  Friday morning, the money was there.

So Friday afternoon, I went by Moment for a bike fit.  Turns out I need a larger frame than I recall from before.  I’m a 56; I could have sworn my Roubaix was a 52, but I could be wrong.  Maybe it was a 54?

Whatever.

Point is, they sized me up and brought forth a selection of recommendations from the bikes they had in stock.  One in particular struck my eye as I was waiting for them to come back, and I was gratified to see it on the list.  My bikes before have all been Specialized, but I decided to open my aperture a bit on this purchase.  I’m glad I did.  Once I set tush on that bike that stood out, I was hooked.  I picked the new wheels up today.  Behold:

IMG_2936 IMG_2937

It’s a Cervelo S2.  Aerodynamic carbon frame. SRAM Rival components (I’ve always rode Shimano 105s before, but the Rival is on the same level quality-wise and it works well, just differently, so I was happy to make the switch), pretty nice wheels, and it rides great.  Plus, it’s last year’s model, so I got it at a discount.  😉  Man, it accelerates quickly, and it feels…I guess the best word is tight.  I like it, and from the reviews I’ve found online it seems all sorts of others agree with me.

We’ll pick up Ericka’s replacement bike at the end of the week.  She’s getting the same bike she had before; she saw no need to change.

So all’s well that ends well, I guess.  But I’m still going to rip the fingernails off the guy who swiped our stuff if ever I find him.

Life Goes A’Rolling…

Dean and Kris have talked and posted a lot about life rolls, and how to deal with them.  The main point they made was sometimes life hits you and you just have to deal with it before you can get back to writing in earnest.

I’ve had a couple of life rolls lately.

First (and this is a good one), the Navy just transferred me to San Diego.  Hard to complain about that, but it did entail a week-long drive across the country with three small kids and a highly pregnant wife.  And then several weeks unpacking and getting fully settled.  I got exactly 700 words written from May 10th to June 5th.  But that’s ok.  Check out the results.

Look to the left from our driveway and you see the San Diego Skyline.

Look to the right from the end of our driveway and you see the Pacific Ocean and Mission Beach.

So the beginning of this week, I got started writing again.  I had a 1,400 word day on Sunday – not awesome, but ok.  Didn’t write yesterday, but that’s not a crisis.

And then we had today….

The is the least bad thing that can happen when a bicycle takes on a car. In case you’re wondering, the bicycle will always lose that fight.

We live just 3.5 miles away from my new duty station.  I bicycle to work.  This morning, I was heading in to work, passing the local high school, when a kid in a car parked along the street flung his door open right in front of me.  I had no chance of avoiding it.  My handlebar struck the door and I was knocked sideways…into the side of the moving car next to me in the lane.  Then I hit the pavement.

I got up on my feet quickly, sure that either I or my bike was completely trashed.  Amazingly this was not the case.  At first glance my bike was unharmed (I later found the gear shifter/brake mechanism is scratched to hell and canted to the side; it will likely need repairs).  It’s a carbon frame – it will shatter vice bend so I suspect the frame is ok.  I’m going to bring it to a bike shop to make sure.

I had road rash on my elbow and severe annoyance, bit little else…until I looked at my hand.  Ouch.

Turns out that pinky was broken in three places, and knocked out of alignment.  I spent the day in the hospital.  The Ortho Docs were able to set it no problem and put on a cast, so all’s well that ends well.  It COULD have been a lot worse.  If the car next to me was a few seconds slower, I would have flown in front of it and maybe got run over as opposed to just rebounding off its quarter panel.  So I’m one lucky bastard.

But…

I’ve got a cast on my entire right hand and forearm, and I’m right-handed.  Just signing my name is nearly impossible, and will be for the next 6 weeks, until they remove the cast.  And then after that the Doc says I’ll probably need Physical Therapy to regain full range of motion.  That sucks.

And as far as writing goes…  This post is now 531 words long.  It’s taken 25 minutes to write that much.  My normal speed is about 1,500 words an hour.  Do the math on how it had affected my typing.  I actually thought it would be worse than that.  But it’s also been bloody tiring, because I’m having to hold the cast up with my shoulder vice assume a comfortable writing position, so writing two-handed probably won’t happen for extended periods of time.  The offshoot?  Probably not going to get much writing done in the next month and a half.

Damnit.

Oh well.  Life rolls happen.  The most important thing is I’m not seriously hurt, I can still provide for my family, and they have my back 100%.

That, and I get out of doing dishes for a few weeks.  😛

Thank the Lord for little blessings, right?

On a brighter note, Glimmer Vale is just about ready for publishing.  Layouts are all done, and the ebook cover is squared away.  All that’s waiting now is the wraparound cover for the print version.  It’s going to rock!

Coming soon.

Plane Rides and Productivity

My trip to Tahoe took nine hours total.  Then I got here and realized that I didn’t pack any t-shirts.  I packed a ton of workout shirts, the shirt I’m wearing (my competitor shirt from the Marine Corps Marathon) and a long-sleeved collared shirt.  So I have two shirts for four days.  Not a killer problem, but really that annoyed me.  I also forgot my bathing suit, and there’s a nice spa here in the hotel (and apparently a pool party planned for Sunday night).  So I may go and buy one.  Oi.

After I realized that, I realized that I left the Team in Training packet, with my emergency nametag and tickets to our pre-race spaghetti feast and post-race victory part, in the pooka of our shelf at home.  ARRGGGHHH!!!  I”M SO STUPID!  Fortunately, the Team coordinators have extras of all those things.

That’s not even the worst part: I FORGOT CIGARS!  We’re staying in a freaking Casino (oh hell yeah!) and I forgot to bring cigars.  Man, I suck!

Now really, none of these things are the end of the world.  But man, talk about a bunch of scatter-brained mistakes to make.

On the bright side, I got some writing done on the plane, and in the airport.

I sat down and cranked out about 3000 words, finishing a short story I started a couple months ago that I’m calling Making Camp.  It follows young Larian, the main character in How NOT To Rescue A Damsel In Distress on the next step of his adventures: checking into his army unit.  You could almost say it’s a story about nothing, because really it just talks about what happens to him on his first day.  There’s no grand event, just him getting settled and getting put through his paces a bit.  But I like it.

After that, I got a little bit done on a heist story I started a little while back.  But I stopped after a little while, because I wanted a break.  So I put on the latest I Should Be Writing podcast and stared out the plane window for 45 minutes or so.  It was a good episode: all about ebooks.  My favorite thing.  🙂

When that was done, I recalled that I’d offered to read a Twitter friend’s first few chapters, and provide comments.  I’d read it through a day or two ago, but hadn’t gotten around to the comments part.  So I took some time and “jotted” my comments down.

The really awesome part is we’re staying in a Casino.  Did I mention that yet?  The crappy part about that is they want to charge $11.99/day for wifi!  Well, hell no.  I’m sticking it to the man.  I called AT&T and activated the personal hotspot functionality on my iphone, and it’s working like a champ.  Now, that costs $20/month.  But when I get back Monday night, I’ll just go online and turn it off.  I think the pro-rated cost will be something like $5.  MUCH better.

So that’s about it.  Good day, so far.

Just to make all you internet people jealous, here’s my first view of Lake Tahoe, from earlier this afternoon.

Go West, Young Man

Tomorrow morning, at O-dark-30, I’m heading west!

Ok, the flight leaves at 0630, and it’s not dark at that time these days.  But the sentiment still fits.  This weekend is America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride, a 100 mile bicycle ride around Lake Tahoe that I’m participating in with the Team in Training.  I’ve been training for a few months, and I feel ready.  Except the ride goes from 6300 feet to 7100 feet in elevation.  And here in upstate NY we’re at about 300 feet elevation.  That’s quite a difference, and it’ll affect everything.  I’ll only have a day to get acclimated, so here’s hoping it’s not a problem.  Probably won’t be, but you never know.

In the writing domain, I’ll have many hours on the plane, with nothing to do but read and write.  Maybe I’ll actually finish the four short stories I’ve started and left languishing over the last month and a half.  Or finish the edits on Masters.  Jeroen wrote me Tuesday morning to tell me he’s started working on the cover art, so I guess I’ve screwed around long enough on the text.  I got a lot of good input from people, and haven’t done much with it yet.

It’s interesting.  I listened to Stephen King’s On Writing a couple months ago, and he said something I’ve heard from several others: after you’ve finished a book, leave it to the side for a few weeks before you come back to it.  At the time, I couldn’t figure how you could do that.  I mean, how do you just push it aside and do nothing with it.  But I’ve literally not looked at Masters for almost three weeks now, without even realizing it.  I’ve just had other things going on with family, work, and fun.  And I’ve started other writing projects.  So now I find myself having done what King said, without even intending to do it.  Interesting.

Ok, that’s enough for now.  This weekend should be fun.  Wish me luck!

Making Progress and Burning Flicks

With just shy of 1,500 words written tonight, I’ve topped 52,000 total on Masters so far.  I didn’t get that much done in the writing world yesterday, only 300 or 400 words.

But that’s ok.

Yesterday, I rode 46.3 miles on my bicycle.  It was tiring, but felt good.  The other guys on the Team assure me they think I’ll have no trouble with the Century, but it’s quite a bit different riding a hundred miles than riding fifty.  I’m glad the race isn’t until June: there’s still plenty of time to train.  🙂

Then last night, we watched Tron: Legacy on our Apple TV.  I love Apple TV.  That thing just rocks.  The Netflix app on my PS-3 is awesome too, but for new movies in HD and surround, Apple TV is great.  Plus I really dig the photo slideshows you can display on it.

I gotta say, though, I was a little disappointed in Tron.  I absolutely LOVE the original.  The new one, though, while freaking awesome in special effects was, IMHO, a bit lacking in plot.  There was a lot they COULD have done with it, but in the end it was a bit cheeseball and predictable, to me.  Plus the characters were a bit flat, and a couple things happened that were just SO far beyond the realm of plausibility that I had to say “No, can’t suspend THAT disbelief”.

Another recent movie that disappointed me was The Tourist.  We actually watched that on Thursday.  I figured with Angelina and Johnny Depp it would be awesome.  In fact, my wife has been aching to see it for the same reason.  But I was very underwhelmed.  The movie just never grabbed me.  It just happened.  There were one or two twists that were like “Oh?  Ok then.  Whatever.”  Not a big deal or shocker, in other words.  Then there was a really jacked up deus ex machina near the end: where the hell did the supervisor guy come from?  Finally, the end twist was completely unsatisfying.  It came from nowhere, with no foreshadowing, but at the same time was completely predictable.  I just never got to really care about the characters, or what happened to them.

Both these movies had potential for greatness.  Tron did better than Tourist, but both were lacking.

Alright.  That’s enough babbling for now.  Time to hit the sack.

Pivotal Moments

I’m working on Masters again tonight, and I just finished a pivotal moment.  Well, two actually.

First, I finished the chapter where the hero fully discovers the nature of the big bad villains.  And, you guessed it, they’re bad.  Quite bad.

So that’s good.

I also got to over 50,000 words written in the story.  That’s rather pivotal too, I suppose.  If only because it’s a nice round number.  Plus, I made my progress goal for the session for the first time this week.  Heck, I exceeded it.  The goal was 1,200 words, and I got about 1,350.  And without difficulty, too, I might add.  The annoying inability to get going that I experienced earlier this week was not there tonight.

So I’m feeling pretty good, but I’m also beat.  So I’m calling it a night and hitting the sack.

Tomorrow, I’m riding 45 miles on my bicycle – more century ride training.  Then I’m taking care of the kids so my better half can work on projects for her business.  I guess I’ll write in the evening.  🙂

That reminds me.  I’m still raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Pretty please, with sugar on top, hit the banner link to the right.  It’ll take you to my fundraising page, where with a couple clicks on a secure server operated by the LLS, you can donate, and help a worthy cause.

Thanks!

Team in Training

I addition to writing, my day job in the Navy, keeping my better half happy, and raising my kids, I’m training for a Century Ride.  What’s a Century Ride?  Well, as the name implies, it’s a 100 mile bicycle race.  I’m training for America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride, 100 miles around Lake Tahoe, on June 5th.

A few years back, I ran a couple marathons with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training, to raise money for research into the cures for blood cancers.  I’ve been off the long distance wagon for a while, but over the last year or so I’ve been biking a lot more, so I decided to join the Team again, this time on my bicycle.

I’m riding in honor of my Aunt’s late husband, Joseph, as well as all the victims of these diseases.  I know it’s a lot to ask in these tough times, but I’ve put a link in my sidebar to my fundraising page.  If any of you folks out there in blogland read this and decide you’d like to help, please follow the link and drop some $.

🙂

We now return to our regular programming, already in progress.