SITREP (SITuation REPort)

I was raised a Navy brat. I read techno thrillers. SITREP is standard nomenclature in both. If it's not familiar in your lexicon, this is a great opportunity get familiar! This will not be it's last usage.

There's been another bike ride.

This time it was the MS-150, an annual fund raising ride for Multiple Sclerosis.

Our friend TW has the disease. We also rode across the US a couple of summers ago, so he's doing pretty well. If you know TW, you know that persuasion is pretty much his life's purpose. Yada Yada Yada, I find myself a member of the team that raises the most money each year. I also learned how they raise the most money each year; it costs a lot to join the team. Of course I learned these things after I committed to doing the ride.

On the plus side, I got to enter the regional MS Society office with TW. Come to find out TW is the 15th highest fund raiser, no surprise there, but who knew. So we walk into the office. Come to find out that TW is also on the board and (apparently) adored. I basked in his reflected glory. Also on the plus side, by virtue of their exulted status, the Raw Hinies (the team name) has a luxury tent at the finish line in a prime location near the finish, with an infinite supply of food and tables and near the beer tent. 

The MS-150 is a two day event. Ride from north Denver to Fort Collins one day, spend the night (and have a very pleasant dinner with TW, SeW, and SWITBO), ride back by a slightly different route. There are several route choices, I did the "Classic" ride in both directions. Old School.

Of course, I won my division. Rode the Serotta. After the Cyclocross bike I took to South Dakota (see the previous musing) it is like a feather. The following paragraphs not-withstanding, there were some REALLY good riders. The route is pretty common for training, and a lot of pros live in the area. There was some real talent. Of course I did not see them for long, they passed me like I was unwashed...

First day, by virtue of the Raw Hines, we got a REAL early start. Had a little bit of traffic from the other early starters, but manageable. Rode strong like ox all day. Those that dared to pass were deemed (by me) to be worthy of passing.

Second day was not pleasant. Later start, the Classic route adds some miles at the beginning, then rejoin the main route with what by the time we got to the join point were all 3,000 plus of the masses. And, it was hot. It's axiomatic, but there was also a headwind. And, again, axiomatic, but the last 18 miles are up what averaged a 2% grade. Uphill and into the wind. If you study cycling, all rides, even loop rides that start and finish in the same spot, are uphill and in to the wind. It's a physical law. 

In an effort to combat the law, the masses formed awful, to the point of dangerous, pace lines. They pass you, then run out of steam so you fight your way across their line and pass them back.  Or, they pass you, but barely, and pull over in front of you before they have actually passed you. I had to get hard-on the brakes a few times to avoid the pull-over scenario. The get across their line scenario is actually easier; accomplished with a stern discussed look and a few hand expressions (power alley for me, same skill developed over decades at airports).

I figured the fewer times I stopped, the more thinned out the herd would become. Reasonable strategy, but I was a tired puppy by the end.

Agree with Sweetie that we'll not meet at the finish line, to avoid the masses. She scouts a location to meet and calls. Of course it's another half mile, but sounds ideal. I get to where I'm going to divert from the route and stop at a stop light. I'm beat and have spent more time looking at the ground in front of me and dodging dodgy pace lines than ahead very far. So now I look to sort how to clear the intersection. If this were a movie, the camera would look across the intersection and then pan-up. Then smash cut to a shot of my face as I realize that she failed to inform me that the meeting point was indeed an extra half-mile, UP A 7% GRADE. She did have a cold Gatorade at the finish. She felt vindicated by that. I think it's a start.

A busy week for CtC and FtF and we have a new architectural controversy

The legacy the Quail Manor is gone. The more we tear down, the smaller the Quail Manor looks. I particularly like the junk in the front yard. Seems somehow fitting for a concrete double-wide. I wonder if the old red Cadillac is still around somewhere. We could just pull it up the yard, use some of the left-over cinder blocks to prop it up, and call things done!

Photo courtesy of CTC.

Photo courtesy of CTC.

CtC hired somebody to demo the house cinder block walls. The somebody was going to use CtC's truck and trailer to haul said blocks to the dump. In this process CtC's truck becomes totaled. Nobody is hurt. But I'm pretty sure there is a story here that will require some beverages to be told. I'm heading down next week with appropriate beverages in hand. I'll get the story. If appropriately embarrassing for anyone not me, it will be told in a future musing.

Been a tough week for CtC! He's spent the week fending off my bitching that we're not making progress (this was before I knew the bare outline of the truck story that has been reported here), demoing the cinder block walls himself (with FtF who will benefit greatly when Framing the replacement walls, so he's motivated) in the middle of Tucson summer, buying a new truck with some associated untruthful car dealer shenanigans, and finishing another job that never seems to finish.

The slab got cut for underground plumbing on Wednesday. In the process CtC redesigned how the drains would run into a much more efficient approach that eliminates some legacy clean-outs that were very unfortunately located in the middle of the pergola out back. Way to go CtC. I was waiting for the call that the slab had to be replaced too. What I thought was that call was just to let me know he was rerouting the drains straight to the South side of the house and eliminated the back yard stuff.

Meanwhile, Jake (the Architect) is redoing drawings to convert to the framing rather than block wall approach. We have an issue with the garage door wall this time. Now, this wall is like 15 feet long. It does not support anything but it's own weight. HOW can we have an issue with the garage door wall. Well, the issue is that this wall is integral to the structure of the south wall that does carry the weight of the roof. The garage wall provides support so the south structural wall does not twist. Fair enough. So, we need to put a 12 inch tall beam over the garage door since the wall is short and the opening for the garage door is most of it's length. The beam stiffens the wall.

For various reasons, we actually needed 18 inches. 12 for the beam and 6 for the universe or something. The garage door is located where the roof is lowest. Now we can make the beam less tall, but we'd need to make the garage wider so the garage door is a lower percentage of the total length. If we make the garage wider, by virtue of geometry, the roof gets lower, we have less room for the beam. 

Calls were made, vigorous discussions were had (remember CtC is tired, cantankerous, and out the money for a new truck he didn't really want). We decided the least bad choice was to lower the garage door from 8 feet, which we really didn't need but it looked cool, to 7 feet. And, we raise the whole roof 6 inches. Good side is we get 6 inches more ceiling height inside! Down side is the house is getting to where it is taller than it is wide or long.

Plan for next week

I think we are turning the corner from planning and demolition to construction. We'll keep the "Reservations Calendar" up to date with "Themes of the Week" for where our focus will be each week. This coming week will find:

  • The front courtyard walls and existing landscape slabs removed.
  • Revised plans submitted and approved.
  • Footings laid out, dug, formed, rebared, and hopefully inspected and poured. That's a little optimistic, but better aggressive than not.
  • Underground plumbing roughed in.
  • Under slab termite treatment applied.

Keep your fingers crossed.