Saturday, April 17, 2010

Some change seem to be pointless--at least to me.

A couple of days back our dishwasher STB and we needed a new one--we heard it coming since it had started making an unprecedented noise for the last month or so. One remembers quickly how much of a pain it is to wash dishes by hand and we create a lot of dirty dishes. I figure that over the life of the last machine (7 years) we did 10 loads per week, so figure 3,500 loads total.

We ordered a new one yesterday and it came today. I had earlier today removed the old one and especially remembered to salvage the L-Connector/adapter. You see, rather than just having the inlet to dishwashers be a 3/8" pressure fitting like what everyone has, they require you to buy the adapter. So, I was ahead of the game since I saved the one from last time. Nope! They changed the inlet to a 3/4" hose connection. Wonderful! The local hardware store didn't even have it but the next town over did,-so I blew an hour going out there, getting it and returning home.

What was sort-of my fault was forgetting that dishwasher makers do not include a wire clamp on the electric box. This is something I could have salvaged off of the old one, except that the delivery guys had already hauled it off. Luckily I had one, though it did take a while to find it.

The last irritant was with the mounting brackets: They used to come already attached to the machine. Now you have to do it yourself and it took me an extra ten minutes to decipher how.

A job that should have taken me an hour was stretched-out to 3-4. It is done and hopefully will not leak, short-out or give any other problems for a while.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Last Training Run, till the big race.

But it felt like the last run I ever want to do: I did about 6.5 miles and at the 9 minute mark began to do intervals: 90 seconds of sprint followed by 90 seconds of recovery. I did 14 of these cycles by the time I got to the end and I was wrecked. Then, my wife was just heading-out for her lunchtime walk with the dog. She got me to join her but 1/4 mile into it she revealed her plan--to run with the dog. She ended up jogging pretty much the whole two miles. It was not fun, though probably good for me as a cool-down. Of course the company was welcome and she set a new PR for making it all the way up a big hill at a run.

The big race is large for a couple of reasons: There will be around 25,000 (official) runners, about 1,000,000 spectators and not least--the darn thing is 26.2 miles long.

Note: I may in fact go for a jog between now and the race but it will not be any great distance or speed--just a kind of stay loose thing. Also, I am number 11442 and you can set-up free email or text updates here

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Drum

In a more perfect world, the drum would have been on a pallet and I would have had a pallet jack. As it was, there was a 55 gallon steel drum of what we called, "green" in the basement of the Sun Valley Lodge and I needed to get it to the loading dock.

We used pretty much only two kinds of cleaner in Sun Valley: "Pink" was more or less like windex and "Green" was for everything else. Both were highly concentrated in that you would fill your spray bottle with 2 oz of cleaner and then the rest of the way with water. The green was a great cleaner, but you had to rinse your hands soon after each time you used it or your skin would peel. One could wear rubber gloves but most found it difficult to clean quickly with gloves on.

We had gotten a delivery of these cleaners and it all came to the Lodge, but one of them was needed over at the other hotel, the Sun Valley Inn. Now, I could have rounded-up some of my housemen, but we were fairly busy and I didn't want to take them off their normal duties. I would at least try, via my mind and modest strength,- to move this drum.

I figured the drum weighed around 500 lbs, but it is not as if I planned to just pick it up and carry it out. I had a dolly and an elevator, so all I really had to do is figure out how to get the drum from the floor to the deck of the dolly--maybe 3-4 inches high. I found that I could--just barely--tilt the drum onto its edge and then maneuver it around. I wedged the cart against the wall so it wouldn't roll away and then got the edge of the drum onto the cart. Finally, I took a run at the barrel and tilted it to level, enough that it slid onto the dolly. Wheeling it out to the loading dock was uneventful. I was rather proud of myself and planned to brag heavily at lunch time.

Later, a bunch of housemen and supervisors from the Lodge came over and picked-up the drum. Soon after they drove-off with it came word that there had been an incident. They had been wheeling the drum into the Lodge on its edge and the drum got away from them. It badly lacerated one guy's leg.

At lunch our manager asked me with a penetrating gaze, "David, how did you get that drum of green out to the loading dock"? "Um, oh I just used that cart that we always use. No problem."

Postscript: I did the math just a few days ago and found that moving the drum was really at the limits of my capabilities. It took 140 lbs of force to tip the thing onto its edge and since I only weighed about 130 lbs back then, it is about all I could do since the force was horizontal. It must have taken quite a bit more force to lift it onto the cart, but I could take a run at it. In this step, control didn't matter, so I could go all-out. In the tilting-up step I had to apply just enough force or I could have tipped the barrel onto its side. It might have broken-open but at the very least, I would have never gotten it back upright.

Here is the math...

Yesterday's run

I was a little ambivalent about how fast I should go on this last training run. On one hand, a really fast time would provide encouragement for the marathon, which is Monday after next. On the other, at this late stage it is probably best not to push too hard since there is only about a week to recover. I split things down the middle: Pushed hard enough to run the thing in sub-8 miles, but not by very much. I got good conditioning out of it, a small amount of confidence-boost and I should recover in time for the race.

One thing that helps about this course is that I expect to take around 1 hour and 45 minutes (this time 1:43:55) so the run can be divided into 7, 15-minute segments:
  1. Home to Dahlia's friend Fanny's place (on the bike path just before the Westford line,
  2. Then the end of the bikepath,
  3. The start of curve road
  4. The end of curve road, where it hits Concord road
  5. The end of Concord road where it hits Rt 4
  6. Rt 4 through town and to the bikepath
  7. The bikepath back home through the swim and tennis club.