Well, I’ve got the snow tires in the back of the truck.

It’s that time again – take the truck to Les Schwab and let them swap out the tires. It’s late in October. Snow will fall – it always does. It does every year. I don’t know how much will fall in town, but we’ll be driving up the mountain to ski, so we need the snow tires.

I sort of think of it as a privilege to swap out to snow tires. I never had to worry about this in Alabama, Texas or Arizona 🙂

Ethel got her new ski boots, and brought home the skis and boots from the mountain, so that we can get the heaters out of the old boots, and get the bindings set with the new ones. This is a longer story arc than the semiannual change of tires – Ethel’s had the same boots since at least 2014. I’ve had mine since Christmas of 2014; I understand that there’s new tech out there, but – doggone it! – it’s hard for me to move on from boots that have served me that well. It’s that animism again.

It’s another gray day – and it may stay this way until spring. Whitefish gets 151 “sunny” days per year, according to Sperling; Durango gets 266, and Pagosa Springs get 287. Here’s a kicker – Tucson only gets 286. Pagosa Springs gets one more sunny day per year than Tucson. I didn’t know THAT 🙂

Ethel keeps looking at the house on Capitan. I keep telling her to buy it, if she wants to do so. The problem is convenience. Here in Whitefish, we are:

  • Less than a mile from the two grocery stores
  • 1.1 miles to the gym – and lap pool
  • 2 miles to the Whitefish AA group
  • 3 miles to church
  • 9 miles to the ski hill – where we have reserved parking, a locker, ski valet, and reserved first tracks
  • 11 miles to Costco

Those are some pretty big conveniences. In Pagosa, at the Capitan house, it’s more like

  • 3.6 miles to City Market
  • 3.4 miles to the gym and pool
  • 7.2 miles (15 minutes) to the Alano Club, where most of the meetings are
  • 4 miles to church
  • 31 miles (41 minutes) to Wolf Creek, where we have no parking, no locker (yet), no valet, and no first tracks
  • 216 miles to Costco 🙂

So we’re living with the handcuffs of convenience. How to give up those conveniences?

I suspect that we might not. And that might be reasonable.

But then, somebody, I’ll look back at my life and say that I traded grandeur – mountains, deserts, sunshine – for convenience.

And maybe I’ll be okay with that 🙂

A week ago Saturday, Tennessee lost to Ole Miss.

Nothing surprising there – Tennessee has lost to lots of folks lately. But there was a call late in the game regarding the Vols not making it to a first down; it was close, but replay shows they didn’t make it. However, the fans didn’t react well. They started throwing things onto the field – water bottles, assorted trash, golf balls (one of which hit coach Lane Kiffin, although id did no damage).

And a mustard bottle. Some random Tennessee fan actually had a bottle of French’s and managed to toss it onto the field.

Play was stopped for about fifteen minutes or so; the bands and cheerleaders had to leave the stadium because they were getting pelted as well, It was sort of ugly – and terribly, terribly funny.

This last week, Tennessee came to Tuscaloosa* to play Alabama. My eldest son was there, and he happened to snap this picture of a Tennessee fan walking to the stadium – with a mustard bottle in his pocket 🙂

Well, okay, at least they aren’t taking themselves too seriously 🙂

I keep doing that – taking myself too seriously. It’s not good for me. I’m at my best when I don’t pay any attention to what I think, and I hope that those around me don’t pay any attention to that, either.

Life continues here in the gray Pacific Northwest. Today’s another gray day. Ethel’s downstairs lighting a fire as we speak. I reckon I’ll go ahead and order more firewood; I hesitate to do stuff like that, because she keeps talking as though we were about to leave, or at least that the possibility exists. I’m no longer involved in the search; if she finds something that she wants to go live in, then I’ll gladly go along with her.

But in a transaction like that, the cost of a cord and a half of firewood is just plain nothin’. So I just went online and ordered a truckload.

The leaves are about 80% down. We’ve already dumped some over the fence; I’m waiting until the rest drop before I get any more.

Still in kind of a waiting mode – I don’t know what I’m waiting for, but there’s definitely a feeling of some sort of change coming. It may be huge and external (read: Colorado or other sunny place) or it may be internal; my demands have greatly decreased, although I still have strong preferences. Or it may simply be a relaxing into the inevitable, which is itself a change for me. But it feels like change is in the air.

I did my swim today. It was faster than it has been lately, but slower than it was a few months back. I have now moved into a new training zone – the world of PCPR. That’s “Post COVID Personal Records”. I’ve decided to go ahead and treat my life as though I were in Long Haul COVID – the fact is that I ain’t been the same since that day and a half of COVID in mid December. I’ve not yet been able to get back to the levels of fitness I was enjoying a couple of months before that; every time I almost get there, I get knocked out, and wind up taking a week or two off.

So I’ll simply assume that I have a different, post-COVID body now, and that all of the record books got rewritten last December 19th. Hey, as I’ve heard it says – if you’re going to tell yourself a story, it might as well be a good one.

*I say “came to Tuscaloosa”, even though I live some thousands of miles away. There’s still the notion that Alabama is “home”, and if it’s “home”, then I must sort of be there, in some way, such that someone is “coming” there rather than “going” there.

At the Whitefish Group, they lost their old orange-labelled pot, and the old labelled decaf urn. So now, when I make decaf, I have to sort of group the evidence around the coffeemaker, so that nobody takes it and pours it into a regular urn.

It’s strange, being back at WFG after a year and a half at the Baffled Lot. Although not entirely strange – most of the morning meetings are at least half Baffled Lotters. Gotta go somewhere, I reckon.

For the first time ever, I signed up to chair a meeting at the Whitefish Group. I’ll be chairing the Wednesday morning Big Book Study. I almost certainly won’t be chairing it the way that any of the current folks expect; I’ll be doing it like an Inductive study, although I won’t tell them that. I suspect that the regular Wednesday morning crowd is liable to change a bit over the next few weeks.

They have all these rules and things that the chairman is supposed to read and do; I intend to read them, and to say “It says here that I’m supposed to….” so such and such. And that’s exactly what I’ll do – say that I’m supposed to do such and such. And, if anybody complains that I’m not doing enough of that, why, then, I’ll just give up and let them chair the meeting, right 🙂 ?

It may work out. Or it may blow up.

But at least I’ll have some decaf.

Looks like there was a pot of gold over at Bad Rock Gap yesterday:

I don’t know if somebody got to it before the rainbow disappeared or not.

Today is a golden day here in the Flathead – colors are at their peak. The poplar are just fading, the aspen are almost perfect, and the larch are as gold as they get. They changed in two days, as far as I could tell; on Monday they were still green, and on Wednesday gold. It’s not a bright gold – it’s more of a burnished or burnt gold. But it’s very pretty.

I didn’t lift today – I got my ride and run in, but I had an appointment at my gynecologist at 10 AM. I actually thought that she would cancel it because of my lab results, so I didn’t get on the bike as early as I could have, but she didn’t cancel – so after I finished my jog, I just headed on over there. It cost me my lifting today. I didn’t swim yesterday – fatigue won. So I’ll repeat this week next week, instead of moving up 10%.

I’m still having one cup of coffee in the morning, and one in the afternoon. That seems to be working pretty well. I had my physical last week, and apparently I’m healthy. Doc can’t say if I have Long Haul COVID – there’s no test. He started me on a mild SSRI for SAD or depression – whichever one it is, the first thing to try is an SSRI, so we’re doing that. All my numbers are good; my cholesterol is creeping up, but that’s reasonable given the slight weight gain and the reduction in training volume. If I straighten out, that will straighten out.

Two years ago, he gave me an easy twenty years. I’ve used up ten percent of that time, and accomplished nothing. I’d better get busy.

I’m healthy enough and wealthy enough – still waiting on the wise part.

I need to get to the rifle range – I need to get that 30-.06 sighted in. According to Don, we’re going hunting next week when he gets back to town. I’d like to get some ROI on that rifle and sight – and the cost of the ammunition; ouch! – and some pounds of venison would help along those lines. And at least then I would have had the experience of actually successfully going hunting. That’s got to be worth something, right there – last year, all I got was cold, wet and lost 🙂

Okay, now back to the piano. I just finished the #5 Hanon, and I don’t like the way that it felt. So I’ll keep doing it until it feels right.

Ethel just visited Apgar Lookout, and is on her way back down as we speak.

That’s our friend Leslie, whom Ethel has been hiking with for the past few months. They tried to get to the top of Apgar a month or so ago, and it was too hot – they turned around about 0.8 mile from the summit. (That takes some doing – I don’t think I would have the necessary discipline to do that).

This is called Tongue Out Tuesday because they often hike with Juneau, and they take a selfie of the three of them with their tongues hanging out. As you can see in the above photo, they just barely have their tongues out today. I’m not sure if they aren’t as hot and tired, or maybe too tired to stick their tongues all the way out.

I love it when she does stuff like this – where she tries, and fails, and then tries again. It just tells me good things about good people – and reminds me that I’m married to one of them.

Meanwhile, I’m up in the office, doing Hanon drills. I actually got a full day of practice yesterday, and then last night my left index finger started bothering me – feels like arthritis. I really don’t want to know that. It was bothering me again today, so I took four Ibu – an NSAID dose. Let’s hope it works.

Today was bike, run, lift; the ride was Raymond+1. During the ride, TrainerRoad throws up helpful text at spaced intervals, to tell us about the ride – the intention, what to expect, provides cadence and stroke advice along the way – and what it said today was that Raymond was intended to “help raise your pain threshold”.

Well. THAT’S not something you want to hear at the start of an hour ride.

But I made it through it, and got the run and lifting done as well. I’m currently extending my run times by 10% per week; doing the same thing to my long ride duration. We’ll see what happens.

Now back to the piano, for Hanon #5. This one is doing something different from the previous four. I am never in favor of “doing something different” 🙂

At least, that’s what I figured out this morning.

Here’s the pool at the Pagosa Lakes Rec Center:

This morning, I was at meeting, and when I shared, I started off by telling the group that I was scared because I knew I had to go swim laps this morning, and I didn’t want to do so. That’s the second part of Step Ten (I’d already done the first part). And, so, on the way home from meeting, I went to the gym and jumped in.

I never – and I think “never” is being used here correctly – wake up and say “Oh, boy! I get to swim today!” I never look forward to swimming, and I never want to swim, and I dread it up to, and shortly after, actually getting in the water. It takes at least 300 yards for me to get comfortable.

But once I get warmed up, I never think “I shouldn’t be doing this”. And I am never sorry later that I swam – I’m always glad, after the fact, that I went ahead and did it.

That’s pretty much the story of God’s Will for me. I don’t want to do it, but later on, I’m glad that I did.

And I realized, while I was thinking about this, that we can’t go to Red Lodge. We were going to leave today and go check out the area and some real estate, but there are concerns about Red Lodge; while it gets about 50 more days of sunshine than Whitefish, that’s probably not enough, especially when one realizes that Pagosa Springs gets almost twice as many sunny day as the Flathead.

And there’s only four meetings a week, although there are four more in short driving distance.

But there is not a lap pool, and there doesn’t seem to be one closer than an hour or so’s drive away.

I haven’t actually trained up for a full race in four years – yes, that’s true (I did a sprint three years ago, but that was done on regular training). But the flip side of not having raced is that I have never, ever, completely quit training.

So I need to have a lap pool available – either that, or a place to put an Endless Pool. One or the other. I often wonder if I will ever actually complete another Iron Man. But that’s all supposition – the fact is that I do, always, continue training. And so I need to honor that by making sure that I have access to a place to do swim workouts.

That means, if we do move to Pagosa, I need to be in the Pagosa Lakes HOA – which is the area that allows access to the Rec Center gym and pool – or have a place (and the will) to put in an Endless Pool.

This was a slow week, but a full one.

Those are, I’m pretty sure, my slowest ever pull and CHW workouts, on Monday and Wednesday. And I’m just as certain that the Lion Mountain jog I just did with Juneau this afternoon was the slowest trail run Ive ever done that wasn’t way up high high, like Pikes or Kendall Mountain or Imogene. (I’m pretty sure that I used to run UP to Coal Bank Pass faster than my average pace on this rolling mountain run 🙂

The two midweek runs were only very slow, but not “slowest” 🙂

No progress on moving to a sunny place. And no progress on putting the pictures back up to show that we’re staying here. Limbo.

No real progress on piano. It’s been a month since I’ve been to a lesson, but I’m planning on getting back this week. But I haven’t made any progress.

I feel like I’m waiting for something. I have no idea what it is.

Whatever it is, it’s coming slowly 🙂

This is Ogden, Utah.

Ogden is an interesting town. For one thing, it’s got a pretty, well, ugly name (my apologies to any Ogdens, or Ogdettes, reading this). It’s at the far north end of the Salt Lake metropolitan area, and it’s 25 minutes from Snow Basin and 35 minutes from Powder Mountain*. It’s the safest city in North America, and it’s full of Mormons who want to cook you pies.

But Ethel doesn’t like it, because it’s in Utah. No, I don’t understand it myself. She used to love Utah, just like she used to love sailing. I sort of think that Kim Puckett should keep some sort of bulletin board on the wall in her office, so that I’ll know what she likes and doesn’t like at any given moment.

Ogden has lots and lots of sunshine, and a huge inventory of homes in our price range with fantastic views, and every possible service that we could want, and it’s an hour from the Salt Lake airport, so we can fly anywhere. Plenty of gyms and lap pools and Costco. Great health care. We wouldn’t have to concern ourselves with Californians taking over the city council and voting in mandatory kale consumption and legalizing opiates. It suits us, in values and value and priorities and possibilities. And the cost of living is actually below the national average.

But Kim Puckett doesn’t like it. She…well, she just doesn’t want to move back to Utah.

I have to admit that I wonder if this isn’t really some subconscious thing, based on how the last time we went back to Utah, her grandboss made her come back into the office, and all sorts of unpleasantness ensued, resulting in us leaving two years later. Things like that operate where you can’t see ’em, and so they tend to run things.

I’d fly to Ogden tomorrow. But…..I’m not us. We’re us.

Maybe she just doesn’t like the name.

*I just learned that Powder Mountain has the most skiable acreage of any ski resort in North America – more than 8000 skiable acres. I am completely blown away by this fact. In addition, PM also gets over 500 inches of snow per year. Now I’m ready to pack up and go. But I won’t. Just call me St. James.

Yes, it was just snowing outside. It’s the first time that I’ve seen snowfall this autumn. However, it didn’t last, and it wasn’t heavy enough to show up on a photograph taken through the screen outside the window anyway, so I didn’t bother. But it is proof that we do, indeed, live in snow country.

Not as much “snow country” as, say, Purgatory. But apparently we didn’t get the condo up at Cascade Village – we haven’t actually gotten a refusal of our offer, but apparently their realtor* told our realtor that they were “leaning towards” another offer, so, we’re moving on.

I don’t believe, just yet, that we’re moving on to 21 Meadow Lane. But that doesn’t mean that we’re not.

This house is also in the Cascade Village subdivision, but it ain’t no condo. It’s almost three thousand square feet. It’s more house than we need. It is at nine thousand feet, as well, but the real gasping for oxygen happens when I look at the price tag.

I work the numbers, and it seems that we can afford this place, with what seems to be no real hit on our lifestyle – but then I simply think about the price of the house itself, and I just can’t bring myself to do it. I think I started typing this as a way of talking myself into it, but it’s really having the opposite effect.

About our schizophrenia; we have two ways of going here. One is to buy a primary residence in a ski town. If we do that, it uses up our easy resources, but that’s fine.

The other possibility is to buy a small place at the mountain, and a primary residence somewhere else – possibly Alabama – where we could afford to buy a primary and still leave plenty of money for the ski house. And the reason for this is that Ethel is willing to live at the mountain, provided that she can have another place to have a “real” life, with community and church and stuff like that.

And I just realized that we’d forgotten that part of the equation when considering Meadow Lane. It’s a primary residence, at the mountain. Which means that she would be too distant to have the kind of life that she says that she wants.

So, Meadow Lane is out.**

I also became aware during this process of attempting to buy the condo that it’s probably not going to work for any of the properties that we want. The people that we were competing against were all investors; they wanted to buy the condo for the rental income, so they were willing to spend more, and to accommodate – even welcome – all of the existing reservations, whereas we wanted to have those reservations cancelled. And it’s probably going to be like that for anything that we want up there.

So we’re probably going to wind up not living at the mountain, but living in town. There. That’s a cold, chill wind that just blew through me. But at least it cleaned out the cobwebs.

Now I go back to piano practice.

*actually, their realtor is our old realtor – the realtor that we used when we bought the first two condos at Cascade Village. Funny how things work out.

**I would say here something like “…and I’m glad we had this little talk” but suddenly I’m not. But at least that got worked out. I think Kim Puckett forgot about this, as well.

Here’s a picture of Kim Puckett with our friend Romina, sometime back in the day:

Here’s a picture of Temperance Brennan, from Bones:

Now, I’m not saying that they are the same person, but – you never see them at the same parties. And, so far, I have been unable to get Ethel to wear that dress for me. So, there’s that.

Today we find out if we are going to get the condo at Cascade Village. So far, we’ve heard nothing, and in this case, no news is probably, well, no news, which means that they haven’t decided, or that somebody else got it, and they are taking their time about informing the losers 🙂 Well, at least Realtor.com still has it showing as not pending, so, there’s that.

I have reintroduced caffeine into my day. After over three weeks of no caffeine, and no benefit, I’m trying one cup (or shot or drink) in the morning, and one in the evening. One thing about caffeine – while many people call it “addictive”, it’s not, really* – and, unlike alcohol and the other “dangerous drugs”, it doesn’t activate the phenomenon of craving; the only reason people drink more is because they have developed a tolerance, and apparently if you keep the levels under a certain point, that won’t happen either.

But a cup in the morning and a cup in the evening haven’t made me a whirling dervish of productivity. However, it does seem to help.

In two days, I get my annual physical. I have a lot of questions this time – do I have Long Haul Covid? Am I depressed? Why can’t I sleep through the night, even with no caffeine in my system? Why am I taking Prilosec to avoid heartburn? Do I have SAD?**

Okay, time to get back to the piano, and doing some chores around the house. Otherwise, I’m wasting this second cup of coffee.

* well, you can have your opinion, and I can have mine, but the Cleveland Clinic says so, so, that’s good enough for me.

**…and, what about Naomi?