Friday, July 25, 2014

Alien Invaders

Airplanes are falling out of the sky.  It’s a good thing my conference was last week and not next.  If I were a Comic-Conner instead of a GISer (maybe too much crossover there for a good contrast) I would probably be balking on the concourse.

First it was the Malaysian airliner that was shot down over the Ukraine last week.  The news yesterday was rife with stories of aeronautical destruction.  Algerian plan goes missing, a TransAsia Airways plane crashes during an emergency landing, and lingering news about the Ukrainian incident along with news of two military jets being shot down in the same region.

I’d say “I’ll just stick to my bike” except I haven’t been riding much the past three weeks.  Not a pedal stroke in California (though I did learn to surf), and I’ve not been back on the bike since I returned home.  It’s been too hot.  My last ride was with Bean up and down the Creek at her request right before I left for San Diego.

Took this photo before I was a surfer

On top of everything else we are now a two car family again.  Forester Gump is back on the road!  I’m not even going to go into the drama that was getting it registered in Kentucky.

I will, however, chronicle the drama that was getting it running again.

Last fall we had a new motor put into Gump.  The original engine had 300,000+ miles on it.  Then it died.  After much discussion we decided it made economic sense to replace the motor.  Shortly after we got the cherished family car running again my lovely wife was pulled over by the local constabulary and warned not to be driving around on expired out-of-state plates anymore.

Gump was stabled and the long slow wrassle with KY and CO motor vehicle personnel began.  Finally we got a notice from Colorado…wait, I wasn’t going to go down this particular rabbit hole.

Anyway, Gump was all legal again, but needed an oil change and a new battery.  I went out Monday afternoon to saddle him up.  First I popped the hood.  I reached in—cognizant of the fact that in Kentucky it is likely that a car that’s sat for a few months in warm weather may have a wasp nest under the hood--and released the inner latch and raised the hood.  A swarm of what appeared to be miniature Ender’s Game formics came exploding out from under the hood.

I believe I screeched like a little girl.

When Mandy got home I employed her non-anaphylactic hood opening skills and we were able to spray the living daylights out of the nest with wasp and hornet spray.  After changing the battery she discovered a second smaller nest in the engine compartment and we took care of it in short order.

I drove the car up and down the road a couple of times and saw that the gas tank was low.  I decided I’d put in a gallon of gas from the lawnmower to ensure we could get to the gas station.  I parked the car in the driveway, got the gas can, and flipped the filler hose cover open.

Stinging death deployed in my face.

The second time I did not screech like a little girl.  Reportedly I made a sound “like some kind of animal” as I flung myself across the yard away from the wasp infested mothership we call Gump.

“Are you okay?”  Mandy asked as I stood in the kitchen doorway in stunned silence.


“Did you get stung?”


“What happened?” she was grinning.

“Lotta wasps.  In the gas cap.” 

Her eyes grew wide.  She then explained what the noise I had made sounded like from inside the house.

I acknowledged that it would have been a crisis of epic proportions if I’d opened that cover at the gas station in town.  It’s always crowded there.

She found another nest between one of the rear doors and the frame the next day.  We’re almost out of wasp and hornet spray, but I think we’ve repelled the invaders.  Luckily they miscalculated the scale of their invasion fleet and disguised themselves as pesky waspers.

Two car family.  Yeah, well, you do what you have to.

I’ve been trying to run a lot.  I’m not running a lot per se, but I have been running more frequently and longer distances.  Tomorrow I’ve set myself up to run 11 miles.  It’s okay, I am a professional over-schemer.  

Actually, I recalibrated my training calendar last night.  If I'm going to do the 50k distance at Cloudsplitter on October 4th and I believe the validity of the first "16 weeks to 50k" training plan I found online I need to run 22 miles tomorrow.  My most recent long run was 9.5 miles and my longest run ever was the Iron Horse half marathon ten months ago.

Stop judging.

I've been trying to decide how far I can jump tomorrow to try and make up some ground.  Maybe 15-16 miles on the road?  I felt really good after my 9.5 mile trail run.  I felt like I could go a lot farther.  So I think if I fuel well today I could conceivably pull off 15 or better.  Maybe by next weekend I can be on track for 50k.  Then I've got a year to work from 50k upward over the mountain.

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