Monthly Archives: August 2019

Our builder says that we are on schedule – so everything will be done by next Friday.



When Ethel told me this, my eyes rolled so much that I was worried they were going to come right out of the sockets.

The landscaper was supposed to start this week (after originally obligated to be there on July 24th)– he didn’t. He did park a trailer and small tractor at the house. I suppose that that is a form of “started”. The fence company can’t come back until after the landscaper is done. So, there’s that. (I laid out thousands of advance dollars and scheduled things months in advance to insure that the sod would be in and established before we moved in, so that the dogs wouldn’t tear it up. Wanna hear God laugh? Tell Him that you prepaid subcontractors and expected them to show up).

The external doors – front door and doors into, and out of, the garage – were all being painted by a local company who “bakes” the paint on external doors like an auto paint finish. They’ve had the doors for over three months. They started to deliver them this week, and realized that they’d messed them up – so, ooops! They now say that they’ll be there on Tuesday.

The tub was in, and then Ethel told ’em that they’d put the faucet in the wrong place – so now the tub is back out, and we’ve got to wait on plumbers and tile folks to coordinate. That has “forever” written all over it. (I’d’a left it alone – I knew that getting the tile guy ANYWHERE, for ANY REASON, is like pulling teeth. But Ethel was insistent).

The granite was supposed to be done by “the end of the month”. It might be delivered tomorrow, or maybe Monday. Until the granite is in, the plumber can’t put in the bathroom and kitchen and laundry room sinks and faucets –

– and, until the granite is in, the gas cooktop can’t be installed in the island. And the gas cooktop will be delivered on Tuesday, along with all of the other appliances. So if the granite isn’t there, I reckon we’ll put the cooktop in the bathtub, which isn’t in, either.

While the appliances are coming in on Tuesday, they’ll be coming in around the carpet guys, who will – allegedly – be putting the carpet down on Tuesday, as well. Tuesday will either be a very, very busy day – or nothing at all will happen, because they’ll all call and say “Can’t do it today, because of <fill in reason>”.

On Wednesday, the internet gets installed; it’s my intention to take the bikes, Wahoo Kickrs and screens over there and install them then, assuming that the carpet is in.

I have no idea when the gutter guy is going to show up and put in the gutters, or when the roofers will return with the rusted corrugated metal that we are using as accent siding. I’m not sure that I even believe that they ever really laid out the corrugated metal “up on the mountain” to get it pre-rusted. We’ll see.

Ethel has taken to saying that this whole custom construction thing is like a house of cards – a balancing act. I, myself, don’t think so – because there are people who can, indeed, build a house of cards and make it stand. This is more along the lines of a travesty – a pretense at order; a bit of conscious dishonesty, with everybody pretending that they are actually committed to a schedule and then going home and drinking a six pack and laughing about the whole thing (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

None of the closets are built out; none of the plumbing is actually hooked up to the water.

So, for now, we’ll all pretend that all of this stuff is actually going to happen as, ahem, “planned”, and that the house will be finished by next Friday.

But one thing that ain’t pretend, at all – on Tuesday the 10th, the movers show up and take all of our furniture over there. That’s gonna be real.

Of course, the furniture might be sitting on plywood because there’s no carpet, and the clothes might be laying on the floor in the closets, and we might be eating at restaurants because the appliances are sitting in the garage.

And there may not be a front door.

But the stuff will be there.

(Actually, TODAY was the day that the house was SUPPOSED to be finished. We’re carefully not mentioning that, out loud, to anyone. It would be setting fire to the Emperor’s new clothes while he was still wearing them.)


Apparently, nobody wants to play with me.


I had made arrangements to play golf with a friend from the gym on Tuesday. It was a 9:10 tee time; but by the time I got there, they had added somebody else as a fourth and taken off early. Now, I wasn’t EARLY, but I wasn’t late. Maybe they are like Ethel – they want to be early for everything – but I was there at the clubhouse about seven minutes before tee off, and they were long gone – there was a second group already on the tee box, behind them.

Now, if that were that, then that’d be that. But nobody else wants to play with me, either.

I know a bunch of golfers at church. They sit around and talk about golf. I talk with them; they say that they’d love to play with me. I ask them to give me a call when they want to play.

My phone doesn’t ring.

My good friend Jerry is a case in point – for the last three years, we’ve watched Alabama football together. Played cards together. And he was always going to play golf with me – but never did. Now he’s moved to Texas, where he’s still playing golf.

So it seems to be across the board – nobody wants to play golf with me.

Now, I could understand that, had they played golf with me and found me too slow, or too noisy, or too, well, bad. But it’s never happened. The only person I’ve played with since I got to Whitefish is Ethel. (I’m not referring here to the people that the starter would pair Ethel and I up with at the tee.I’m talking about people that I know.)

So I can’t say “they don’t want to play with me because of what happened last time”. There is no last time.

The only possible explanation that I can come up with for why folks don’t want to play golf with me has to be my personality.

Oh, well. As John Hammond, the owner of Jurassic Park, said about Ian Malcolm, “[he] suffers from a dreadful excess of personality”.

Some day I’m going to get rid of my personality. I figured out, many years ago, that everything that makes me uniquely me is a flaw or excess of some attribute. Maybe if I keep working these Steps, my personality will be removed, and I’ll be a pleasant, quiet, non-offensive nobody that doesn’t rub anyone the wrong way. I keep trying.

Maybe then somebody will play with me.

I’ve got a running log that is a spreadsheet; it goes back in actual reporting to 1 January 1993. I tracked daily mileage of timed and untimed miles, 8 week averages, and had comments each day about the weather, workouts – and also life events (that’s how I know what day, for instance, we left Arizona, and then when we arrived in Vermont when we made that move back in ’97 – and it’s October 4th and October 12th, respectively.*)

Over the years, I’ve added a bunch more columns – and removed some. I now have columns for running and biking and total training equivalents. I have columns for number of days sober, and number of days abstinent. Each year, I make my “days skied” column visible again.

On 20 May 2003 – which was (I believe, by coincidence) Ethel’s 20th birthday in AA, I started tracking how many meetings I went to each week – and that count included AA, OA and Al-Anon. I also kept an eight-week average. This is just so I could see if I was starting to go off the rails at any point.

I had always said that when I retired, I would go to more meetings. Well, 4.5 weeks into retirement, I’ve already hit a new high on my 8 week average – 8.63 meetings/week.




I’m pretty sure that I made it just over 8 some years back, but only briefly. And, who knows? This may not stay this high – although I expect it to go higher – and then to come back down, once we get into ski season 🙂




*Incidentally, we signed the lease on our home in Waterbury, VT on the 18th; my comment entry says “Agnes, I have no intention of leaving this place”**.  Spoiler: We did.

**If you’re wondering who Agnes is, I suggest reading the Five Names of Ethel 🙂

Well, I won’t get into shape this year.

Every year, the week leading up to Labor Day, the Whitefish Wave shuts down for five or six days for “club scrub” – i.e., they do deep cleaning, replace flooring and equipment, all that stuff. This is a phased shutdown – so far, they’ve taken out half of the cardio equipment (that’s that empty bay that you see in the photo). Tomorrow they take out more stuff, and on Thursday I might as well stay home – until Tuesday.


This is why I never can get back into shape. Every year, I almost get back into shape, and then they close the club for up to six days.* During those six days, months of work goes down the drain – I lose all strength and conditioning.**

I also lose all of the form improvements that I’ve made in my swim stroke, and the next week, I have to start all over again from scratch.*** It’s like I become a sea anchor, instead of the lithe, streamlined uberdolphin who’s knocking out sub-1:40 pace like a real swimmer just before they close the club.****

No wonder I haven’t done an Ironman in almost two years. I just get back into shape for a sub-13 in late August, and bam! they close the doors, and I turn into a gelatinous mass of Puckettplasm that can barely walk down the street. *****

This is why I want to move elsewhere – there’s no other gym in Whitefish, so I’m doomed to repeat this cycle of “train to near perfection/Club Scrub/end up on the couch with a three pound box of Cheez-Its” for as long as we live here.****** I think that when the house is ready, we should sell it and the condo and move to Waimea Town, where I could train like a Konan.*******

But I’m pretty sure that she won’t move. She’s so mean and selfish.********

So I’m stuck here in Whitefish, where I have no other training options*********, so every year, I’ll lose my fitness, and every year, I’ll try to get my fitness back, and fail.

Woe is me!


*N.B. – this is not why I never get back into shape.

**editor’s note – actually, that’s not true. I can’t be losing more than a few percentage points of strength or aerobic conditioning.

***a week of not swimming can, indeed, cause one to lose a little form, but it can’t take more than a couple of weeks to get it back. So this statement, like the others, is untrue.

****actually, several times every year, I get into a pretty good (for me) swimming form and condition, and I’ll get my average pace for workouts down under 1:40, and then – for no reason at all – I just quit swimming for a month or six weeks. I have no idea why this happens. But we can’t blame it on Club Scrub.

*****truth be told, I haven’t done an Ironman in almost two years because I keep getting injured, and when I get injured I get lazy, and I stop swimming, and the bike and elliptical training levels drop to bare maintenance minimums. I can’t really explain the gelatinous mass; in the absence of any real reason, I have to blame Ethel’s cooking.

******full disclosure – I actually seem to be addicted to moving. I don’t need a reason to move – I need a reason to convince Ethel to move. This sounds like a good one.

*******tell the truth and shame the Devil; Waimea doesn’t have a gym, at all. And if I lived in Hawaii, I’d be laying on a beach eating poi, instead of living on keto and training 7-11 hours/week. And just to be clear: “Konan” in this context means “a triathlete in Kona”, rather than “an alternative spelling for a medieval Arnold Schwarzenegger character”.

********okay, this part is true.

*********if pressed, I have to admit that there’s a gym in north Kalispell that has pretty much everything that the Wave has. So if I was willing to drive and pay for a day pass, I could go there during Club Scrub. But ain’t nobody got time for that!

The one subcontractor that is always there when they say they will be there, doing what they say they will do, is Simco Electric. (I just wanted to give them a shout out).

Everybody else is late, delaying, or AWOL 🙂

Today, the electricians put up, among other thing, the pool table light:


(Yes, I know that that light looks funny. There are two other crimson Alabama globes that weren’t yet attached when I took this picture.)

It’s set at 70 inches above the floor – which is the standard 40 inches above the standard 30 inch pool table surface.

However, it will be four to six weeks before there’s a standard pool table surface under it. That delay is on me – I wasted some time trying to find a good used table locally before ordering yet another table from Costco. I didn’t, so I ordered one. Same table, same red felt.

All all of the in-ceiling speakers and Sonos ampliers have been installed; while installing one of the wall speakers for the back deck, the electricians poked a hole in the speaker, so there goes more money – and more time. Fortunately, Amazon does two-day shipping.

The granite guy finally showed up to measure. He said last week that he would be done by “the end of the month” – today he told Ethel that it would be the end of next week, which is absolutely and completely unacceptable* – since the appliances and sinks and faucets can’t be installed until after the granite goes in, and they’ll have to bring the granite in across the carpet, which is out of the question.

The asphalt that was supposed to be poured a month ago two weeks ago last week today is still nowhere to be seen. The plumber hasn’t been heard from.

We have heard from the landscape guy – he sent us a message asking which type of flagstone we want for the backyard patio. He was scheduled to start the lanscaping on July 24th. Lemme check the calendar….

I told the builder to fire them all (except Simco Electric). He’s not going to do that, though.

Oh, well. No huhu, cobber. I’m never going to build another house. Ethel tells me that this is absolutely the last one. Watch this space.

*actually, we old-school Third Edition types aren’t actually allowed to say that anything is “unacceptable”. So when I do that, it’s tongue in cheek. However, I’m close to biting my tongue that’s in my cheek, so there’s that.

Okay, you all know about Schrödinger’s cat – that if you have a cat in a box with a random machine that will release a deadly gas, then the cat is neither alive nor dead – it exists in some sort of quantum never-never land, UNTIL YOU OPEN THE BOX.

Then, reality has to “decide” whether the cat is dead or alive.


Now, this is all quantum physics mathematics mumbo-jumbo; I’ve never learned enough math to even be able to talk about it.

But here’s the thing – it seems to me that we’ve always had Schrödinger’s box. It’s the word “maybe”.

Just by invoking the word – or the associated verb phrase “may be” – I can change my perception of reality.

I avoid the news like the plague – because, well, it makes me sick like the plague. I gave the world to God back in 1985 (okay, He already had it. I just made it official) and now I don’t vote, don’t gripe, and don’t want to know.

But I still follow college football happenings, so I suppose you could call that “news”. And last night, I had occasion to Google a past player and current coach, and an article showed up in the sidebar that was news – and, Lord help me, I clicked on it.

It got me angry – well, that’s pretty much the reason that I look at news. It’s like I say to myself “I’m too happy. I think I’ll see what’s happening in the world”. And I saw what was happening, and didn’t like it. I couldn’t believe that Americans would act like that.

I told Ethel “Let’s move to Mexico. I don’t want to live here any more.” Ethel told me I was “lolling” – that’s from a phrase in the Big Book: “He is like the retired business man, lolling in the Florida sunshine, complaining of the sad state of the nation.” Well, she was right.

I then just forgot about it (which is not, by the way, the Tenth Step. That’s a bit more involved) until this morning, during my prayer and mediation time – then it came back up and needed to be dealt with.

I realized that the only way to be free from my self-centered objection was to say the unthinkable – “Well, maybe they’re right”. Sure, I don’t really believe that – but here’s the thing; just saying “they may be right” opened up a Schrödinger’s Box in my head, and in that box, the possibility that they may be right had a place to exist, even though it seems to defy all laws of reason, common sense, and the Constitution.

And I realized, again, that I don’t know what’s good for me, or for you, or for anyone – or for the country, or for the world. And since I really, really, honestly don’t know, then I can honestly say that “they may be right”.

It’s a bit of freedom – I don’t know if the cat is alive or dead. I don’t really know how things are – how can I know how they should be?

However, I do believe that God is bigger than quantum math, and that God knows if the cat is alive or dead. And God does know how things are, and how they should be.

So they may be right. I may be wrong.

But God ain’t a maybe. I think I’ll trust Him.

Today I told my tri friends in Invading Poland that I was going to do my swim today easy. I keep swimming hard, and then being worn out – and this is my first hard long week in a while, and I just want to do all the workouts; I don’t care how well I do ’em. I just wanna do ’em.

So I set out to do this swim easily.

I failed.

I have no idea what happened – or maybe I do. I was doing the warmup and “swimming easy” – and I was focusing on keep my head down in the water. So the warmup went slightly faster than it has been. That’s always a bad sign.

So I did my drills, and then I did my 25 yard sprints with Band – that’s having a band around my ankles, so I can’t kick. In doing these, I focused on keeping my head way down under the water. So they went well.

And church was out.

The rest of this workout is repeats – 200s, then 150s, 100s, 50s, and 25s. So the repeats keep getting shorter, but the rests – they are long – get proportionally longer as the workout goes along. So, of course, I kept getting faster.

I kept telling myself, at the end of each repeat, “Okay, that was too fast. Need to do the next one slower”. But it kept not happening.

Now I have to live with the aftermath – dragging around all evening, and then getting up and doing the bike, and ellip, and core/resistance tomorrow after what should have been an easy day today, but wasn’t.

Now, I’ll say this here – I’ve got a 30 minute Dory Club swim on Friday. Dory Club – that means “just keep swimming, swimming, swimming” – easy. I haven’t done one of these in well over a year, for some reason, but I’m going to do one on Friday.

And I’m not even going to look at the clock for the whole thing. I don’t CARE how fast I go – I just want to swim for 30 minutes without stopping.

I’m going to swim it easy. EASY.

I’m training. I don’t know why I’m training, but I’m training.
And this is the hardest week in a while – 11 hard.


Six years ago, Coach Ian started me out on a rotation of 8, 10 and 12 hour weeks. Well, I’m six years older, and probably in close to the worst shape of my life, so I’ll be happy with 7, 9 and 11 hours – and this is my first real 11 in a while.

I was talking with a friend last night who wants my help to “get in shape” – upon investigation, he wants to get into shape to be in shape; i.e, “exercise” instead of “train”. I told him that I could help him with knowledge and order, but I can’t coach “getting into shape” – I can only coach in terms of training for events.

But the truth is that right now, I’m having difficulty maintaining the fiction of “training”. The only thing on my schedule is Ironman Arizona in three months, and it’s kind of hard to pretend that I’m going to be able to do that; I can’t walk without limping, even after about ten weeks of physical therapy.

And after over two months of testosterone in my butt, I’m still lumpy, dumpy and grumpy. (I think that’s three of the seven dwarves).

I have yet to contact the Ironfolks to see if I can defer again; I suppose I should go ahead and do that; failing that opportunity, I’ll try to see if I can get my registration moved to another race next year. (that clicking sound you just heard was me emailing WTC to ask about those options). Then I can start pretending that I’m training for that.

I was waffling about whether I was going to go ahead and do this 11 hour week; I thought about backing back down to 7 and climbing back up. But at some point, you have to go ahead and try, dad gummit, even if failure is likely.

Today’s swim went well, but the swim usually does, once I actually get into the water. But Tuesday and Thursday are going to be testers – I can’t pretend otherwise. And what the “11 hours” does not reflect is the core work and lifting that I do on my hard days; that’s not taken into account.

“Once more into the breach, dear friends – once more!” Like the third Meg Ryan said in “Joe vs the Volcano” – “We don’t know anything, Joe. We’ll just jump.”

I’m just jumping.


In M. Night Shyalaman’s “Lady in the Water”, Freddy Rodriguez play a character who is only working out one side of his body:


I’m not doing that. But something weird is going on.


This has been happening infrequently, until today – today, the sleeves have been misbehaving since I woke up. Apparently this shirt has sleeves that are right at the cutoff point.

If I pull the right sleeve down, it works its way back up. If I pull the left sleeve up, it works its way back down. My arms our out of balance.

“Out of balance”. Yep, that’s a pretty good description for most of the things going on right now at Chez Puckett 🙂

My right calf is still stiff and torn, even though I’m going to physical therapy two days per week. Ethel is also limping, because of her right calf being in great pain – possibly a pinched nerve. So if we go anywhere, we do synchronized limping.

With the house, everything has suddenly stopped – right after the builder told us to “order everything now!” So we’ve got lighting fixtures and plumbing fixtures and ceiling fans and light bulbs and in-wall speakers piled up all over the place. With no where to go – and Ethel doesn’t feel safe putting most of them in the house, because we still don’t have any external doors; so most of this is over here at the condo.

I’m busy all the time doing stuff that costs money, instead of making money.  And I’m training hard for, apparently, nothing at all. That’s a special kind of dumb.

All if this, BTW, represents a type of faith – you keep going with stuff that doesn’t seem to make sense right now, because “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. We believe that eventually all of this stuff will wind up where it belongs in the new house; we believe that following these courses of treatment will have us walking upright again, and I seem to believe that if I keep training, eventually I’ll turn a corner and be fit again.

Of course, it’s possible that the purpose of such faith is not to achieve the good report at the end that Paul was talking about; it may be that the purpose of faith like this is just to keep somebody moving forward, regardless of the destination.

But, as I travel on this journey of faith and hope, I sure wish that my shirt fit better 🙂

N.B. – the cotton ball taped to my right arm is due to my going to the labs today – seems that my gynecologist wants to check my testosterone levels, now that’s its been eight weeks since she shove testosterone pellets into my rear end. (You can’t make this stuff up).