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Your Call Is Important to Us…

Been a while and I apologize. I’ve had a few emails of concern wondering where I am and what happened and honestly – life happened. Just been busy. Now that weather is decidedly shifted to the good I’ve been doing home repairs, had a cold, yard work, grandkids, and the like…life!

I have also done a little hiking – not as much as I’d prefer and not as much as in the winter, but I have gotten out some: three hikes since my last update here. One was 7.5 miles, another was 10.5 miles, and one was 15.2 miles. My doctor and I have been closely monitoring my meds and many of the adverse side effects I was experiencing earlier this year have been remedied, making my last hikes far more comfortable than they had been previously. I still have some residual side effects, but I am able to deal with them – to tolerate them – and still remain happy.

We’ve driven my cholesterol waaaaayyyy down, from a high of 261 a year ago to 107 now. And my LDL was gone from 172.4 to 46.2 now. It is now so low that after the next round of bloodwork we may reduce my statin dosage. I had started at 20mg, we cut it to 10mg, may cut it again down to 5mg. My new mix of BP meds are working as well and I am consistently seeing values at and below the desired value of 120/80. So delighted with all this progress.

One thing I am NOT delighted with is the ability to get this cardio stress test done. I finally received a call from their office on May 7th. I could not take the call but called back within an hour. No one answered so I left a message. I called back and left another message two days later, and again a week later. It is now June 4th and a month has gone by so I tried once again today. Fingers crossed that third time is a charm! I need to know…you know?

We are in a real sweet spot (for me) in the annual weather cycle; late spring leading into summer is a gorgeous time of year. Rhododendrons and Mountain Laurel are in bloom as are my favorite flower – the bearded Iris. The water that had my lower yard flooded for months due to the 15” of extra rain that fell here has finally subsided and the yard is slowly drying itself out. I just had 5 yards of soil delivered yesterday and I have already begun the backbreaking task of hauling it down into the woods in an effort to continue to build up our ground level above the water level during heavy rain times. Typically the entire yard is dry, easily 50 or 51 weeks in a year; We flood as the ground water level rises during heavy rain seasons in the winter and early spring. But the abundance of rain this year resulted in flooding part of the lower yard twice: once for probably 6 or 7 weeks and just when it began to dry up, we had another onslaught of rain and it flooded again for a couple of weeks.

One nice thing the rain has brought is a return to going to the movies! For whatever reason, we had fallen off going to the movies for a really long period of time. But we’ve been twice in the last two weeks now on a rainy day and really are enjoying it. We’ve seen The Fall Guy and Furiosa: Mad Max Saga, and given the forecast for the four days after tomorrow, we’ll be going back again! And based on how awesome some of the coming attractions look, we’ll be visiting the theater a lot over the next few months!

Time has slipped past me once again; it is now mid-June and Father’s Day is this coming Sunday. But in fairness, I’ve been busy. I’ve had (another) five yards of loam-compost mix delivered and have been shoveling it into my wheelbarrow and lugging throughout the yard in (yet another) attempt to fortify and elevate the low-lying areas of my yard. Backbreaking work, believe me.

Our house was built in 1963 and almost all the windows are original. They are tired and worn and we have discussed replacing them several times over the last few years. Well this year it is in earnest and I have had a stream of replacement window contractors coming to quote new windows for us.

First off, they all push vinyl windows. I accepted quotes for vinyl but also requested quotes for wood windows. Wow. Without too much needless detail, the quotes for vinyl have been in the $8,000 to $10,000 range, and that is not for all our windows – only seven. But wood? All quotes were between $20,000 and $25,000. That is insane!

Well as we worked our way through this process my wife remained adamant that she wanted wooden windows; her logic was flawless: we have wooden windows now and wooden windows are the cream of the crop – why tear them out and replace with vinyl? It’s a downgrade. (Yes, better energy efficiency and so forth, but you gotta’ admit she has a point). But I just struggle with that kind of money for windows.

And then – a revelation. The real root of her problem with our windows is the storm windows. Old, corroded aluminum windows that take the strength of Hercules to open. And cleaning? Since they are triple track windows, cleaning involves moving the different components up and down several times, because taking them out for cleaning is not an option – period. And that’s when it dawned on us – leave the wooden windows and replace the storms! And that is exactly what we will be doing.

But before that happens, I have a lot of work to do. I had two or three interior windows with a cracked pane of glass. I had not repaired them because of time, amount of effort, and the lingering thought that we might end up replacing them someday. Well now that we aren’t, and now that I have time, this job needed doing. And since the storm windows have to come off anyway, taking them off now makes the window repair job so much easier.

There is a lot of technique and skill required in working with glass windows. It is best done with the window out and on a work bench, but removing these old sashes is rather difficult and makes quite a mess of the interior woodwork. So I did them in place. The first couple I used window glazing putty from a can; a real pain in the butt with the window in place; putty wants to sag and fall out – just a royal pain. But then I found a new glazing compound (made by DAP) in a tube applied with a caulking gun. It proved to be a real game changer. Much simpler, great adherence, and fast curing. Definitely the way to go!

As to the glass, I had each piece cut at a local hardware store. Quick and easy. I was on my last two window and got the old glass out and measured it for a replacement. But when I went to my glass guy, he couldn’t help me – he doesn’t stock pieces long enough for my window. I called a couple of glass houses and while they could all do it, none could do it that day.

So I ran to Home Depot and bought a 24”x36” sheet of glass prepared to cut it myself. Well, first cut broke badly and was unusable. I still had enough glass remaining to try again, and that too failed by breaking away from the cut line I had attempted. So that sheet of glass was now destroyed and still no replacement glass. I went back to the internet and called one more glass house south of me; no answer but Google insisted that they were open so I drove down. He had the piece cut and wrapped to go in all of three minutes.

I carefully prepped the frame, applied the glaze to the inner side, and set the glass. A big piece, I needed 12 glazier points. (Glazier points are small metal pieces that are driven into the frame, flush to the glass, to help hold it securely. The glass cracked on the 12th and final point. Back to the glass house and as soon as he saw me asked “what happened”? He said I likely had driven in the point at just the ever so slightest angle causing it to chip into the edge, rather than lay flat across it. He also gave me a couple of tips on a better and safer way to install the points than the way I did it. This time the piece (and points) went in without issue. I also need to paint all the windows now, rather than after the new storms are installed.

There is all that just mentions and add in watching our two grandkids two days a week, hiking, and the usual day of lawn cutting, weed whacking, and other required yardwork and that is why I say I’ve been busy! Speaking of hiking, I am trying to bounce back in my monthly hiked. I had six hikes in January but only two in May. I am currently at two for June and it is only the second week so I hope to get back to at least one hike a week. While not quite halfway with two weeks left, my YTD stats are: 22 hikes for 237 mile, averaging 10.8 miles per hike.

Of note, I have my appointment for my cardiac stress test – one week from today. I’ve had no real issues in any of my recent hikes which include a 15.2 mile hike and which average almost 12 miles per hike. So I feel strongly that I don’t have a problem in the artery with bad plaque scan. By this time next week I guess I’ll know. But I admit to being nervous. It’s been a wild few years – prostate biopsy (negative), prostrate MRI (negative), cardiac scan (not good news), and now a stress test. Let the good times roll!!

I will try to get this posted tomorrow….I hope to jot down a few thoughts for a Father’s Day post, but who knows?? So if I don’t get to it – Happy Father’s Day to all the dads and grandads out there! Stay well dear reader!

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