Monday, March 31, 2014

Day 7.080: Wrapping up

Well, the movers are booked and, unless several very unlikely things all occur to upset the plans, we will be leaving our house in the Capital District for the last time on April 10th (Day 7.090).

It's a sad and scary thought, but the last five months have been sufficiently difficult - both logistically and emotionally - that it is mostly a great relief!

(I don't know why, but Exile #3 decided she needed to wear all the bows from E5N1's birthday party gifts!)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Day 7.079: The old haunts

Funnily enough, my run at the Corning Preserve on Saturday (where I took this photo) may not be my last, even though we are leaving the Capital District in less than two weeks. Marathon training means that there's a chance I will be back there for one last run next weekend. I also had a long run in the rain this morning but that was less photogenic.

Incidentally, we are planning a farewell open house for all our Albany-area friends on Saturday - if you are not a Facebook friend of Exile #2's or my real-named alter egos and would like to come please email me (address at the bottom of the page) and let me know! We'd love to see as many local friends as we can before we cease to be local.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Day 7.078: Now who would like some cake?

We have a pretty crazy couple of weeks ahead. Tomorrow, I go back to Maine. After a week of work I come back here for a final chance to get the house ready for the packers who arrive on Tuesday - which happens to be E5N1's birthday. So, with all that in mind, Exile #2 smartly decided to schedule his birthday party for today (and not at the house).

He and his friends seemed to have a blast. Here is the blowing-out-the-candles moment, a view of the homemade cupcakes and E5N1 after the party sorting through the loot:

And this is how we were forewarned not to have E5N1's seventh birthday at the house (and perhaps some cake decoration inspiration):

Friday, March 28, 2014

Day 7.077: Mission accomplished

I left work at noon, ate my packed lunch on the road and only stopped to fill up the car in order to be home in time to set up the Xbox so that Exile #3 and her friends could dance. 

They are gathered for a sorry-you're-leaving party and are currently watching a movie. Various parents will be picking them up over the next hour or so.  I think they've had a good time.

Tomorrow is E5N1's turn - although he has another excuse for a party too.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Day 7.076: I ran a what?

All of these things have something in common:

They don't look very much like the route map I posted yesterday.

All but one of them were suggested (not the specific pictures - just the things) by either commenters on this blog, my Facebook friends or my running forum buddies.

If we count "licensed to carry small arms" as a T-rex vote, then that wins with three votes. Two votes went to each of aardvark, dog and kangaroo. There was a strong thread of puppets with Kermit, Sam the Eagle, Cookie Monster and Big Bird all featuring. Sherlock Holmes and The Stig round out the guesses - leaving just...drum roll...the mouse.

Yes I thought it looked like a mouse, but what do I know. I may have been influenced by the fact that one got into my desk drawer at work and tucked into a snack I'd left there over the weekend.

All of this nonsense did lead me to these people though - hat tip to ilanarama for that one!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Day 7.075: Picture a long midweek run...

Some of my Facebook friends have been trying to work out what my route from this morning's run looks like.

There is a right answer (in terms of what I thought it looked like when I designed it), but the other answers are just as much (probably more) fun so feel free to jump in in the comments!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Day 7.074: Cold and beautiful

The temperature was just below 10°F this morning (-12°C) when I went out for my run. I was really hoping I was done with my extreme-cold running gear, but I wore it this morning and may need it again later in the week.

There were compensations for my efforts - like this view when I was nearly done:

I was actually a bit too warm by that point, but as a result of my exertions - not the weather.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Day 7.073: Don't ask me why!

One sunrise, one confused expression, two runs, two lighthouses, three goofy smiles, four selfies, no good reason.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Day 7.072: Two lighthouses before breakfast

For the first time in several weeks, I was able to run my long run first thing in the morning today. I decided to head south down the coast to see a couple of lighthouses.

My run took me through downtown Portland, across the bridge into South Portland and then into Cape Elizabeth.

The first lighthouse was one we visited on Exile #2 and the kids' first visit here in November.

(I didn't spend time getting a good angle - but thought I'd prove that I was there!)

and then I ran the whole length of Cape Elizabeth to the actual cape to see this one looming above Dyer Cove:

Then it was time to turn around and run the nearly-12 miles back again.

P.S. On the way back past the first lighthouse I realised I could see up the coast to this lighthouse too (for a bonus third!).

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Day 7.071: The fruits of my...wrong turn

It's almost certainly my last weekend alone in the apartment, and so it's time to think about what needs to be done in order to move out.

This morning I decided to take my recycling out. This was a quite momentous event as I had some 72 bottles and six bags of assorted cardboard and plastic taking up quite a bit of my small kitchen. I run past the recycling place almost every day, but it was only my second attempt to get there by car and I took a wrong turning.

I found myself in a very congested parking lot, and looked up and saw it was Trader Joe's. Well, what was I supposed to do? Just drive out again? I decided to go and do a bit of grocery shopping.

I didn't end up with anything particularly Trader Joe's-y but I did buy some Mexican food and rustled up this for dinner tonight:

which I then crunched loudly on while Skyping the family. Good times.

I also disposed of all my recycling - remembering to achieve what I'd set out to do albeit after getting a bit distracted.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Day 7.070: Sleeping around... hours a night is a challenge when marathon training and even that is probably not enough.

That was my phone screen as I was going to bed last night. It was just after 9 and first alarm was set for 3:55 am - seriously, who knew that was a possible beginning-of-the-day time?! - so that I could run my 12 miles, have a shower and get to work on time. As you can see - on shorter run days I allow myself to lie in until 4:25!

The real story however involves the previous night. Wednesday night was my big night this week because Thursday was one of my two scheduled rest days. So I could get to bed, sleep for maybe 8 hours, catch up a that didn't happen.

Firstly, I stayed up too late playing 2048 (are you thanking me yet?), but it was still going to be OK when I was going to bed about 10:30 pm until at about 1 am when I was pulled unceremoniously from my sleep by a car alarm going off in the apartment complex parking lot - right outside my window. Oh well, you can't win them all - at all as I discovered when, having got back to sleep my phone rang at 2:30 because Exile #2 was in the house with three kids and a malfunctioning carbon monoxide detector. Sometimes you just have to roll with it!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Day 7.069: Throwback Thursday #1

So, Throwback Thursday is a thing on the interwebs - it's Thursday - post an old picture. I've done it on Facebook a bit, now I'm doing it here.

I looked back seven years in the blog - then went back another week to find a nice photo. This is what I found. Wow.

If you're interested, you can read the post here - one of the many culture-shock stories of Year 0.

As for the present day, our real estate transactions are in progress, as are move preparations, marathon training, a still-fairly-new job and all the normal things of life. None of which is very interesting to write about so you won't get to read about it (any more than that). Not today anyway.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Day 7.068: You can thank me later

I have just discovered (thanks to today's XKCD) 2048. It's a very addictive puzzle game that you can play on your computer or mobile device. Click here to try for yourself!

I've since introduced the rest of the family, and a cross-section of my Facebook friends to the fun.

Here is my best score to date - check out the 1024 tile (not, however, the eponymous 2048 yet)!

Enjoy and - when you're ready to complain because your whole life has fallen apart - read the second sentence again and don't say I didn't warn you!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Day 7.067: New England and England (new)

I haven't spent much time tweaking my PC at work. My personal touches did not go far beyond choosing a wallpaper image from the options provided by Windows - this rather Maine-ish lighthouse.

My Dad sent the image on the right - taken today on my parents' walking holiday in the Lake District. It made me a little homesick for a moment for that kind of landscape.

Not that the landscape round here is bad at all - as I remembered when I looked back at the other screen!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Day 7.066: A slight slip-up

Here's another picture from the "Rug City + marbles" session last weekend. It has nothing to do with the rest of this post.

On Saturday afternoon, I arrived at my hotel more than 30 minutes before the wedding was due to start. The wedding venue was less than 15 minutes away. I did a quick bag drop in my room then asked the hotel to call me a taxi. So far so good. A few minutes later a taxi arrived. Even better.

This is when it started to go less well. The taxi was not for me. I waited. I waited some more. They called the taxi company again (he'll be right there). More waiting. Even more waiting. The taxi company called the hotel (not a good sign). They would be twenty minutes. It was now 5 minutes before the ceremony was due to start. They called another taxi company - they said ten minutes (at least I might make it by the end). Then a couple of minutes later the first taxi company's taxi showed up. I got in.

It doesn't get better yet.

The driver confirmed the address with me - then spent what felt like ten minutes typing the address into his ancient Garmin GPS. Then we were off - down to the road and make a right turn. I wasn't sure of the route, but that didn't feel right. I tried to see the Garmin, but it didn't seem to be saying anything. A few minutes later it woke up - Recalculating - continue for 0.1 miles and make a U-turn. Great. Just great. I may have muttered something under my breath. The driver pulled over just before a blind turn on the 55 mph one-lane-each-way-with-double-lines, let a car go past us and went for the U-turn. He didn't make it. We were now doing a 3-point turn. By a blind bend. On a fast narrow road.

Then, as we were side-on blocking the whole road, a car came round the blind bend.

We survived that moment of excitement and a few minutes later, we were driving back past the hotel - some 40 minutes after I'd called for the taxi. We eventually arrived at the church. I was too rushed/happy-to-be-alive to be upset by then. I walked in just in turn to hear the end of a song and them being declared husband and wife - well that was the point I suppose.

The rest of the day was - happily - a vast improvement and I wasn't the last to arrive at the church - my friends walked in a couple of minutes behind me (for less dramatic reasons) only in time to hear the bagpiper lead the recessional.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Day 7.065: CT & run (for ME)

So this was my day: I woke up at 8-ish realising that drinking about 3 times my normal blow-out night of two beers and going to bed two hours later than my normal up-late time of 10 pm was not going to pass unnoticed. Actually I was fine, once I was up and about - what a lightweight I've become!

I had a shower and went to breakfast where I was lucky enough to chat to some people who I thought had driven home last night without my having much chance to catch up with them.

After that I hit the road. Two stops - one for a quick Facetime chat with my parents and the other for a very slow and still only OK lunch at Friendly's (I know! I know! but I'm a hopeful kind of guy).

I made it back just before 4 pm in time to hit the road again - this time for my longest run of the week (only 14 miles because it's a cutback week).

Then I Skyped the family, got a bit chilled, warmed up in the shower and then watched Nebraska since Exile #2 had rented and watched it last night. It's rather good.

Anyway, back to normal tomorrow. But it was all more than worth it thanks to, you know, this:

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Day 7.064: Neither here nor there

I'm neither alone in Maine or home with the family in NY.  I'm actually in Connecticut, but for a very nice reason:

I've partied until after 11 o'clock and now it's WAY past my normal bedtime, so I'll just say a happy and tired goodnight!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Day 7.063: A cycle in the winter

This is a graph of my monthly running miles since...well, since I started running.

That's July 2011 at the left. The two big bumps peaking in the late summer months are my two previous marathon training cycles - and yes I am in the middle of a third cycle.

It's the first time I've tried to do serious training in the winter and it's definitely a different experience. Working the runs around winter storms, running on snow and ice and through slushy puddles and having to bundle up in enough layers to go out when it's sub-zero Fahrenheit but still be able to run are all challenges that just don't come up in the summer.

My current peak should end up looking almost exactly the same as the previous one since I'm following the same training plan. Hopefully I will have another good race in May. At times it's nice to have something to focus on that isn't to do with new houses, schools, jobs and cities, but all that needs to be factored in too. Hopefully I can continue to fit everything in.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Day 7.062: Moving stories

Today I was accused of sounding "a tad melancholy recently". Well that won't do!

The truth is that the sale of this house:

seems to be going fine and I've been reluctant to tempt fate by mentioning it.

Whereas the purchase of a house in Maine has been going less smoothly and I've not really known what to say about it. Hence the melancholic diversions. Sorry.

On top of that, I'm in the midst of marathon training so I tend to be up early to run and tired (but only occasionally actually melancholy) in the evenings when I normally write this. Sorry.

Hopefully there will be some better entertainment to come.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Day 7.061: Breaking my habit

This is the second consecutive week that I have not been cooking any of my Portland-staple Indian food. No particular reason except the general chaos and its relationship to: having time to cook, having time to shop, eating at "home" in the apartment for a few consecutive days to make the cook-and-reheat cycle make sense.

So, tonight it was pasta, salad and garlic bread:

I'm not exactly suffering.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Day 7.060: Pretty good

I had a pretty good run this morning, a pretty good day at work, a pretty good dinner, a pretty good time watching multiple episodes of Between Two Ferns but now I'm missing these guys:

and that's that.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Day 7.059: Daylight savings? Don't wake me up!

Ah, the clocks went forward yesterday and today I had to get up for work (but fortunately not to run - just for work was hard enough!)

Here is a nearly perfect song from a good (but not in my opinion great) album by Lianne La Havas:


and no, the relevance does not go beyond the title, but the excellence does!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Day 7.058: One person ruffle

I remember seeing a film where a wife or girlfriend returned from a trip to see the bed and conclude that it was too messy for it to have been made that way by her other half alone. If I recall correctly, she described it as a "two person ruffle". I can't remember if she was right, but let me tell you I can make a bed pretty messy on my own.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Day 7.057: Just add marbles!

E5N1 has now added marbles to his rig cities for added awesome!

...and added trip-hazard.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Day 7.056: Structural inspection

It wasn't a slam-dunk today (to willfully use a US sporting term) at the house in Maine. However, I'm now home and I've been looking at the photos and videos that have appeared on the computer in my three week absence.

Most of them seem to have been taken by E5N1. Some of the videos are comedy gold, but I haven't got the energy to deal with them this evening, so here is a still picture that I would have been rather pleased with if I'd taken it.

Straight out of the camera for your pleasure - check out those walls!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Day 7.055: Getting here

Today was a normal run, work, eat, Skype day but tomorrow has all sorts of excitement.

We have just one last hurdle to cross in the sale of our home, and tomorrow, the big one in the purchase of the new one happens. I will be spending a couple of hours at the house with a home inspector hoping to find everything that is wrong with it (and hoping that that is very little!).

After that, I'm heading home to work out what we need to do with the last few weekends I have to sort things out there for the move.  See you on the other side!


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