Thursday, July 12, 2007

Race Starts, Crime and Yellow Jackets

Someone flipped a switch here in Virginia and we went from the high 90s with humidity to match to what feels like a fall day - bright blue sky, no clouds and very little humidity. Hopefully this will stay with us for a few days.

Practice on Tuesday concentrated on getting us ready for our first race, which is a week from Saturday. We did a lot of race starts and built on that adding first a start and high ten (ten strokes at a very high rate), to a start sequence with a high 20, a start sequence with a high 20 and a settle 10 (slowing the stroke rate to race pace) and finally to a race start with a high 20 and settling with total time of 2 minutes. if anything the practice showed we still have work to do. Complicating matters was that we were a rower short in the 8+. We had taken out and 8+ plus a 4+, but we had only 11 rowers. We borrowed a novice guy to fill out the 8+. Now this guy is pretty athletic and he'll be a very good rower, but not yet. To throw him in a boat doing race starts and high 20s wasn't fair to him. He's only been rowing for a month and he's never been asked to row in the high 30s. The first couple of starts were a disaster to the point where he had to sit out a few. Eventually we worked him back in and he started to get it so kudos to him. I suspect today's practice will be much of the same, but with slightly longer pieces, but in Quads and a 4+ rather than an 8+. I've been told that I'll be in an 8+ and a Quad for next week's race. From what I can tell I'll stroke our 8+ "B" boat and row bow in our "B" Quad. I predict DFLs for both boats, but maybe I'll be surprised.

Like most suburban families, we have two cars. A newish minivan and a much older Chrysler Concorde. I use the Concorde as our commuter car such as our commute is down to our local commuter parking lot. We haven't had but one problem all these years parking the car there. Someone broke a passenger window and proceeded to steal our radio. The police and insurance were very nice about it all and we got it replaced. When I got in the car on Tuesday I reach in the glove box for the removable faceplate. Not there. I looked under the seats. Not there either. Looked in the trunk. Not there. Hmmm, strange. I didn't have time to look further and drove on to meet the vanpool. After practice I looked again. Nothing. Ann looked when i got home and she found nothing. It appears that someone has made off with the radio faceplate rendering the radio and CD player useless. Why anyone would do this since having the faceplate does them no good is beyond me, but then such petty crimes usually are. Certainly we are partially to blame for leaving the car unlocked (apparently) and leaving the faceplate on rather than removing it, which I always do. Our routine was somewhat messed up returning home on Monday so I forgot to d both. You never know how much you always listen to the radio/CD in the car until you don't have it anymore. What a pain to have to replace it.

One of the recurring problems we seem to have with the house is hornet nests. Every year they seem to build one either under our deck or under one of the roof overhangs. One year we had one bigger than beach ball before our neighbor pointed it out to us. This year we found one before it got too big - somewhere between a softball and bowling ball. It was in a place that my ladder wouldn't reach and frankly I don't like messing with stinging insects. I wasn't thrilled with the company we used last time as they didn't seem to want to do the job and then it took them two days to do it. One day to spray and the next to come take down the nest. This year Ann did some Internet checking and came up with the Beekeepers. They're located in Frederick, MD, which is a hike from out house, but they said they did northern Virginia so she set up an appointment for yesterday. They were great. Came when they said they would, removed the nest in no time, guaranteed their work, offered to come back if the insects did (turned out to be a yellow jacket nest). I highly recommend them.

Time to enjoy some birthday cake for two of my co-workers. I love Thursday's (burp).

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