Today’s Walk 1.049

When:  Friday–late, late afternoon – 2/16/2018
Weather: The walk was short with 50ish temps.  I had my hood up!

Today’s walk was barely an afterthought.  With a week of “nap” failures, I chose to end the drought.  The nap was pushed back as I waited for the sprinkler crew supervisor.  He told me he wanted to go over the system, but it was really just to collect the check.  The big disappointment was the fallout of the roofing crew.  As they removed the dumpster where all of the old roof shingles went, they pulled it out over one of the sprinkler heads.  I had to coordinate with the roofing company to get the repair.

At work, it has been a week where the BIG project was put on hold.  This involved labeling and doing things unrelated to anything very productive. My teammate and I are pretty good powering thru these redundant tasks.  The “labeling supervisor” (I don’t think the title labeling supervisor will catch on.  There are about 20 or so labels that go on each unit we send out.  By participating in the labeling, I will be better equipped to verify the labeling is correct when the entire systems are QCed.  I am fine helping, but keeping track of all of the labels–including printing–is something I am happy to allow someone else to take responsibility for.) is a thankless job.  Because we are pretty quick and systematic in the labeling, the supervisor advised us to slow our pace.  We alternated between going slow and a variety of stalling techniques.  When doing tedious, detailed work, the supervisor wants to balance the days out.  As today was Friday, our goal was to finish the weekly goals.  Fortunately, the week’s productivity had been high.  We were just coming in to fill in some small gaps.

There was nothing spectacular about my walk.  I saw a couple dogs and a couple of new real estate signs.  Even a short walk feels good.  I am planning to take a more “normal” walk before we take our weekend trip.  If nothing is planned of a unique nature in North Carolina, I hope the walks will fill the void.

Today’s Walk 1.048

When:  Thursday, late afternoon – 2/15/2018
Weather: Nice day for a walk in the mid-70s

  • Not a walking stick: Right before reaching the house, there was a guy walking with a large stick.  It was too short to be a walking stick.  It was shaped almost like an ax–the “blade” was less threatening.  It may have been a souvenir from the walk OR a means to defend himself from rabid armadillos, OR most excitingly, he may be having flashbacks to some buried experience in his past.  Exciting? The last option would be a more interesting story should I see him again and get inspired to add more to his tale.
  • People I saw:  It was a lonely, lonely walk.  The largest part of it was me being all solitary.  I had my own thoughts to keep me company.  When I walk without a nap (most work days would have my social interaction improved by a nap), my thoughts are often very poor company.  I did see one walker dressed similarly to me walking parallel to me on the other side of the street.  I was passed by a low-profile bicyclist.  He was one of the polite guys–he let me know he was coming.

Today’s Walk 1.047

When:  Late afternoon Wednesday – 2/14/2018
Weather: Spectacular Day.  Temps in the high 70’s

When it is a beautiful day, you don’t have to use your imagination to believe you will have company on the path.  When it is Valentine’s Day and the walking is during early dinner time, you justify your loneliness.  I shared the sidewalk with no pedestrians.  There was one bicyclist that I crossed paths with twice.  My wife and I did our Valentine’s things earlier in the week.  It is a day that can be flexibly celebrated–it isn’t Christmas.

I did get the chance to go past the area where my previous sins were videoed or at a minimum photographed.  (This was the path I crossed while it was in a partial construction state.) . The man who was previously paparazzi to my wayward wanderings was looking under the hood of his car.  He had no interest in me.  I maintained my normal pace.  I didn’t risk looking at him.  I looked forward and whispered, “You don’t see me.”

Yesterday’s walk was through the neighborhood.  As it was trash day, I was able to do a bit of research on my neighbors.  if the recycling cans are still on the street, someone gets home early at that house.  Numerous cars pulled into garages as I walked by.  I didn’t pull out my notebook and scratch particular facts on each address.  I just observe.  When I am no walking a dog or walking with my spouse, the input to my eyes and ears give me the mental stimulation my brain insists on.  I hope to see some interesting things on my walks in North Carolina this weekend.

Today’s Walk 1.046

When:  Late afternoon Tuesday – 2/13/2018
Weather: The sun was out with a slight breeze.  Temps in the high 40’s

Today’s walk was delayed due to life.  We are getting a new roof on our house.  When I came home from work, I was pleased to see the roof moving along nicely.  A leak in the garage was found to have a bad board above it.  The threat of rain kept the crew from tearing off the full roof at the beginning of the day.  it worked out fine.  They made excellent progress.  We are hoping it will only be a half day of work to complete tomorrow.

The bad part of the day was the possible intervention of the Home Owner’s Association.  The roof salesman assumed we didn’t live in an HOA.  As the roof started going on today, I found out we needed to get a form to the HOA 5 days prior to the job starting.  The form said “modification”.  I think, “How is a new roof a modification?”  Regardless, the roof salesman was a standup guy, he made a couple of calls and cleaned it up…I think.  It would have been rough if they had to stop action until approval.  The most relevant walk today didn’t take me anywhere.

After clearing this up, the neighborhood was all I had time for.  The only thing eventful was the dog walker.  When she was a 100 yards or so away, she switched sides of the street.  The sidewalk in a residential area is about 1/3 narrower than my regular path.  I will sometimes drop to the street and pass other pedestrians.  Today, I was glad to let her shift sides of the street.

Warmer weather coming, then colder again.  A small trip this weekend.  Maybe some interesting observations to come.



Today’s Walk 1.045

When:  Late afternoon Monday – 2/12/2018
Weather: The sun was out with a breeze.  Temps in the 40’s

  • Animal Sighting:  There really was not much to see today.  When that happens, I have to gather what contributions I can.  Today, I saw cows trying to warm themselves.  They were on the west side of the barn.  I was paying close attention, but that would lead me to believe they were avoiding wind from the east.  Three of them were able to shelter; three were not.  I am guessing there is some sort of bovine hierarchy.  They didn’t look like they were sharing.
  • Jogger and the glut:  Along the whole walk I saw only one jogger…until I got to the very end.  While on the home stretch, I saw everyone else.  I saw a dog walker.  A couple was doing their walk together.  And, my gold buddies weren’t golfing today.  They didn’t have their clubs.  it was good I didn’t “loan” them the golf balls.  They were theirs to lose.
  • Tree tags: I have noticed the one yard right off the sidewalk.  Their trees along the path have lots of tags.  The leaves are still on many of the trees; they are oaks.  I found where I can buy the tags on Amazon.  No comfort I found a reason for the other tags.  I thought it maybe meant they were “special”.  It is likely the residents are just trying to keep track of them.  Two trees in very close proximity were over 100 numbers apart.  Maybe they just like playing games with people walking by their property.


Today’s Walk 1.044

When:  Sunday, late morning – 2/11/2018
Weather: Not a beautiful day.  Too cold for most Texans

The mornings freezing rain had melted.  It pooled on the sidewalk as it melted.  As I walked, I saw no footprints or bike tire tracks emerging out of the pools.  This either meant I was alone out there OR the indicators had evaporated.  My lack of sidewalk company made it another solo walk.  Solo walks are not very exciting to write about. The dogs who always greet me were not outdoors.   None of the standby ideas chose to be worth springboarding to.  As the weather warms this week, I hope somebody or anybody decides to share the path with me.

Today’s Walk 1.043

When:  Saturday from dawn to dusk – 2/10/2018
Weather: It started out bad and got worse–freezing rain was threatened

My Friday evening was cut short.  I needed to get to bed so I could be ready to go Saturday morning.  What did I do ALL day Saturday?  I volunteered/worked at a robotic meet.  A team of judges and I, plus  “fans” (Yes, robotic teams have fans–some quite loud.), spent the better part of a day helping support and cheer 48 teams through the strenuous but necessary process to allow the “winners” to emerge.  (There is not just one winner.  Seven teams move on to the super-regional by way of their robots performance and/or team judging results.)

  • Robot Inspection:  This was the role I “signed up” for on this day.  Not being a coach, I am somewhat of a pretender when it comes to inspecting the robots.  In previous meets, the inspection takes place.  However, in this meet, it was for ALL of the marbles.  Also, with some robots never seeing more than one meet before they are completely dissembled, the ancestors of the original robot need to be inspected during each meet.  To protect myself from unfairly giving a “Pass” when a “Fail” was the correct response (All robots at this meet passed.  The minor offenses likely just required multiple trips to the judging station.), I was able to coerce my cohorts to take a team judging approach.  I read from the checklist as my partner verified the particular robot met that requirement.  (Because of the various components available, some requirements did not apply to many of the robots.)  I checked off the box before reading the next one.  Due to the specific components used, I did not complete one of these myself.  I kept the “real” inspector on task.  I tried to stay in the background enough to allow him to be the authority.  When the checklist was done, I gathered the signature from the team before passing on the completed inspection.
  • Field Inspection:  Field inspection became a “Battlefield Promotion”.  This is usually where the backup occurs.  And, because it is a little more complex, fewer volunteers seem to favor this area.  The event organizer showed my partner and I the tricks to effectively doing the field inspections.  While my partner was there, I read off the line items and marked them off when he said they were completed.  When he went to the bathroom and didn’t come back, I handled them on my own.  I hit the highlights pretty well.  Once you know the key points of the field inspection, I enjoyed it more than the regular robot inspection.  It was fast!!  When you are the inspector, the teams assume you have knowledge.  It is much easier to do this with the field rather than robot inspection.
  • Referee…who touches the right mouse button once at the beginning of the match:  The biggest responsibility I had the rest of the day was pressing the button and starting 18 matches.  (I really should have only started 17.  One clock starter left early.  I was drafted to help.  Thus my 18th.) . After the match was done and the teams agreed with their scores, I was responsible for putting the “glyphs” (brown and grey blocks) back into the starting area.  The glyphs must be within the taped area and not breaking the 4th plane.  (They can’t be stacked 4 high.)

On the personal side:

  • I got a t-shirt.  They always give you t-shirts when you volunteer.  This year, the color was a military green with the necessary sponsor/event information.
  • There is always a lounge for the volunteers.  Knowing less healthy food would come for lunch and dinner, I picked up a couple of clementines.  Once the clementines were peeled, I didn’t bother eating the sections individually.  I chucked half of the peeled clementine into my mouth.  My body wanted to breathe but neglected to tell my mouth.  The clementine went down the wrong pipe.  Really, it went nowhere.  The juices were a poor imitation for air.  I choked and coughed while attempting to assure those also in the break area I was not dying.  Words did not come out easily.  The cough was arguing to have its life extended.  It gradually died.  As the cough died, I immediately “hopped back on the horse” and consumed the rest of my clementines.
  • I got a meal.  Dickies catered.  The brisket was excellent.
  • We ate at “Meteor Hamburgers” for dinner.  They offered powdered sugar or salt on my sweet potato fries.  I was advised to go with the salt.