Monday, June 30, 2008

Weekend Recap

The weekend was enjoyable if not very productive, which is how I like it. Friday I was up bright and early and out on the water by 7:00AM. It wasn't hot yet, in the low 70s, but it was very humid. I headed up river toward Ryan's Dam. The water was great - nice and flat. The downside was I was still pretty sore from Thursday evening practice. For that practice I was in a double something I've only rowed a few times before. We rowed the double about 6 miles racing 4+s. I was also sculling with someone I've never rowed with before. It was pretty rough starting out as we were constantly dipping to port. Over time we got better and smoother and by our last piece from Jacob's Rock to our cove (about 1 1/4 miles), we stayed even with the 4+s until right at the end when one of the coxswains in the 4+s got too close to us and we had to drift wide to avoid clashing oars. Back to Friday's row, I wanted to try and get in 10 miles since I hadn't single sculled in a while. Going up river was fine, but by the time I spun my boat and started heading back, I was just exhausted. Rather then a steady row, I had to just row in mile increments and then take a break. Funny how it's always easier heading up then heading back to the boathouse. After my row, Ann and I went to the Original Steak House for lunch. I tried their crab cake sandwich and it was really good. I highly recommend it. After lunch I went back and took a nap while Ann watched her HGTV (boring). We went for pizza for dinner (sausage, mushroom and onions - yum) and early to bed.

Saturday morning was my club practice. We took out two 8+s - the old line up and the young line up. We rowed up about a mile past Ryan's Dam (4 1/4 miles) and did several race pieces on the way back. I was in the old line up boat and we got out hats handed to us time and time again. We were missing three of our strongest rowers so it really came as no real surprise. More of a surprise was how fast they could walk right through us. Saturday evening we were invited to witness some old friends renewing their wedding vows on their 40th wedding anniversary. It was a bittersweet ceremony. On one hand it was a moving ceremony for a couple that has been together so long, obviously care for each other very much and have raised three fine children. On the other hand he is very ill fighting lung cancer and recovering from a heart attack as well. He didn't look well at all, which could be expected. We wished them well and socialized with neighbors, something we do too little of and generally had a good time.

Sunday I went for a bike ride minus Ann. She decided to skip out again and stay home claiming it was "too hot". Please the temperature at Dulles airport, which is right next to where we ride was only 72. Of course the humidity was a stifling 94%. Since Ann wasn't with me, I headed east from Rt 28 toward Vienna rather than west toward Leesburg just as a change of scenery. Vienna is 12.5 miles from Rt 28 so it turned into a 25 mile ride. I managed to knock 3 minutes off that ride from last time doing it in 57 minutes each way. Last time was 1 hour exactly. Bike speedometers are fun to have. Despite the humidity, it was really quite nice out. The trail wasn't crowded but enough people were out riding, rollerblading, jogging or walking to make for some interesting people watching. After my ride, I came home and got up on the roof again to clean out the gutters. A job I hate but it needed to be done. It was amazing how much I sweated doing that job. My shirt was dry after my bike ride, but was soaked after cleaning the gutters, Yuck. Hopefully they are now good until late October when the leaves start falling. After the gutter cleaning, Ann and I settled into to watch the finals of Euro 2008. It was a good game and I was surprised to see Spain come out on top. Germany has a knack of pulling games out in the end and I kept waiting for their tying goal to come and it never did. I'm pumped now for the next World Cup. We also watched the Nationals pull out their rubber match game with the Orioles in 12 innings. It was nice to see them smack the Birds around.

Hope you all had a great weekend.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Yesterday was Daughter#1's birthday so I want to wish her a Happy Birthday! She recently moved into a new apartment, which we will see shortly as we travel foolishly over the 4th of July weekend to CT. Nothing like battling NJ beach traffic on the NJ Turnpike over the high weekend of the summer. Ann and I gave her a digital camera for her birthday. This is about the fifth camera she's owned. Daughter#1 is like death to anything electronic lest it be a camera, cell phone, a computer or her car. Like her Mother, she seems to emit some sort of ion and/or magnetic field that destroys electronic devices. Unless she drops them in the toilet first. But we love her.

For practice on Tuesday we didn't have enough guys for two 8+s so we went out in an 8+ and a 4+. I was two seat in the 8+. We did four 6 minute race pieces with the 4+ acting as the rabbit for the 8+ to chase down. Each piece had a different stroke rate. The first piece we were capped at a 28 SPM (the 4+ had no cap and could row at whatever stroke rate they chose). We were closing before our 4 seat caught a crab. So much for race piece one. The second race was at a 24 and again we caught up to the 4+ in about the last 150 meters, but we lost set, which slowed us down and we didn't catch them. The third piece was a 20 SPM. We got close but no cigar. Same for the last piece. On the way back to the Boathouse, our coach set his launch at max speed and told us to see how long we could hold him off before he waked us. We did this twice and once it was for 1:45 and the second time it was for just over 2 minutes. It was good workout, but a stark reminder how much work we still have to do. A 4+ should never be able to stay ahead of a 8+. Sort of embarrassing.

Yesterday was a work at home day, but I literally spent all day on the phone. I'm handling a good sized competition at work and myself and the rest of the work team spent hours talking to various competitors regarding their proposals. Thank god for speaker phones. My arm would have fallen off if I had to hold my phone to my ear the whole time. Needless to say, that left little time to do anything else other than scarf down a few Coronas afterward while making dinner to unwind from that marathon. Ugh.

I have a three day weekend coming up, which I hope to do a lot of nothing. Isn't that why God invented weekends? Even He/She rested on the 7th day.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Rowing, Soccer and Eating

The weekend was one of comfortable routine. A lot of what I did is what I do almost every weekend. While not an exciting lifestyle, it works for me. Saturday morning was rowing practice. It's become clear that our Coach has already split us up into a plus 50 boat and a plus 40 boat (numbers refer to average age of the rowers in the boat). I'm ok with that. In Masters rowing it's important to not necessarily put the fastest 8 rowers into a boat, but the 8 fastest rowers for a particular age group. We've tried the first method and found ourselves rowing in the "Open" category racing against guys fresh out of college and gotten our heads handed to us. Paying more attention to age groups makes a lot more sense. The practice consisted of equal time drill work with race pieces. We rowed down to the race course doing extended warm up drills to work on our timing. First up after the warm up was a 1,500 meter piece at a 24 stroke rate. My boat, the plus 50 boat, won with open water. We spun the boats and worked on a drill intended to extend our reach at the catch. Master Rowers are famous for rowing short, especially as we age and get less flexible. Next race piece was also 1,500 meters at a 28 stroke race. We finshed behind the plus 40 boat by 6 seats. My boat tired in the last 500 meters and we also lost set as they pulled up even with us dipping badly on our port side and that cost us the 6 seat difference at the finish. We did another drill after that race piece to get us to back our oars in at the catch so we're not missing water before beginning our third piece. This piece was at whatever rate worked best for us. I'm not sure what happened, whether we were tired and sloppy or what, but we got waxed by the younger boat by several lengths of open water. It didn't help that our coxswain wandered all over the course. After that we headed back toward our boathouse. When we had about 1 1/4 miles left, our coach decided we had one last race in us. Again it was whatever rate the coxswin and stroke decided was most effective. We jumped out to an early lead, the plus 40 boat caught up with us and we were dead even for the last 500 meters or so. Exhausting, but a very intense two hours on the water. The best part? The competitive women provided breakfast for the club after practice. A nice way to finish up and tasty too.

After practice we did some on line shopping for Daughter#1 whose birthday is this week. Then Ann and I settled down to watch some Euro 2008 with the Netherlands playing Russia. It was a really exciting game, especially the final few moments of regular time and the overtime. I was routing for The Orange, but the Russians had too much speed up front in the end and won 3-1 in overtime. I have to say judging by the crowd shots that the Dutch women are really cute.

After the game, it was time to think about dinner. There is nothing I love to do more during the spring, summer and fall (and sometimes winter), then grilling out on the bbq. Saturday we decided to have some ribs. These were country ribs and boneless.

I had a helper to make sure things were cooked correctly and was more than happy to sample the wares.

The finished product and Mmmmmmm they were tasty.

Sunday was bike ride day. Ann wasn't feeling up for it so I went by myself. It was really muggy as I left home, but by the time I got to the Trail, it was a really nice day. Moderate temperature and humidity. Since I had gotten a later start than ideal, I decided to stick to the basic ride out to Leesburg and back. 41:00 minutes out and 40:35 minutes on the way back. It was fun to just be able to go at my own speed and not have to wait or slow down for Ann. On the other hand I did miss her company. Hopefully she'll be along next weekend.

After Saturady's great soccer game, Ann and I were were really looking forward to Sunday's game that pitted Spain against Italy. Two of the tournament favorites. What a disappointment. As exciting as Saturday's game was, this was pretty boring. Games like this give soccer a bad name. Italy seemed content most of the game to let Spain bring the game to them and play defense. I guess they wanted to force overtime and take their chances in a shoot out. They got their wish, but came out short in the end. Next game is Weds with Germany playing a depleted Turkish squad in the semi-finals.

The Son dropped by for Sunday dinner. We grilled some steaks. In return he fixed one of our computers that was having problems connecting to the Internet via our wireless network. A fair trade. Then we got hit by severe thunderstorms. Again. That routine is getting old.

All said a comfortable weekend and a pleasant one.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Missed Practice

I missed practice last night, which was very disappointing. The weather was beautiful, low 70s, and I was looking forward to it, especially since Saturday's practice went so well. When I come from my place of business, I have a very small window to make it to practice on time. Most of the time I'm pulling into the marina parking lot right when practice is suppose to beginning. I literally change in the parking lot since I don't have time to make it home first. Yesterday, my vanpool dropped me off in plenty of time. Unfortunately, there was an accident two miles up the road I need to take. It took me over 30 minutes to cover the distance to the boathouse (about 5 miles). As I pulled in the parking lot, I could see the boats leaving the cove. I kept right on going and headed home. A beautiful evening lost.

Today was very similar to yesterday so I didn't want to miss today too, so I went and rowed over my lunch hour. So to speak anyway. Since I work from home on Wednesday, I can take my lunch whenever. When I arrived at the boathouse, there was a sculling class underway. Underway but taking a break and having lunch. It looked to be high school age rowers almost all girls. The George Mason Men's Crew Coach runs the sculling camps on that side of the reservoir. I grabbed one of the boats they were not using and headed up river. I was undecided how far to row. On one hand I wanted a decent workout, but on the other I had a limited time and had to return to my home to work. I settled on a 6 mile row. The water was way choppier than I like due to the wind and I was rowing right into it. Finally after rowing about a mile and a half, I turned a corner and the trees blocked the wind and the water was much better. It took me just over an hour to row the six miles so I was happy with that. Although now work seems so much more boring.

Its Brats on the grill tonight with a cold Corona. Till next time.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Father's Day

Father's Day here was a nice one. It was not that much different than most Sunday's with the exception there were presents! As we do on most weekends, Ann and I arose early to go for a bike ride on the W&OD Trail. When I mean early, I mean like 6:00 in the morning. Even getting up that early by the time we did everything we needed to do before we headed out, we didn't actually leave the house until 7:45. Ann has missed the last few weekend rides and it showed. Oh the whining and complaining that ensued over the the first part of our ride. We stopped at Ashburn Road, which is 3 1/2 miles from where we start and Ann was ready to turn around and go back to the van. I talked her into continuing. but only after much discussion. As we rode into Leesburg I noticed a few trees along the trail had been blown over by the recent storms that have come through our area. The only reason these trees were not blocking the trail was that their benches had gotten tangled with other trees propping them up as it were, but that was the only thing holding them up. I assume the park authority will be along to take them down shortly. As we pulled onto the sidewalk that leads from the Trail to the Douglas Community Center, there was a fallen branch on the sidewalk, I managed to steer around it, but Ann wasn't as fortunate and took a tumble. She wasn't seriously hurt. A skinned knee. It doesn't show up all that well in the picture below as Ann has already cleaned it up a bit. I caught an earful though, as if it was my fault. Ann did calm down pretty quickly though and all was well.

On the way back we stopped at a Luck Stone Quarry overlook that is not quite halfway between Leesburg and Rt 28. I thought it would be a good place for Ann to take a break and to fiddle with her helmet.

Since we ride on the weekends, we've never seen the quarry in operation. It spans either side of the trail.

The are benches to rest at the overlook. All have been donated or sponsored by Friends of the W&OD Trail.

I liked the inscription on the plaque, so I took a picture of it. Below Ann takes a break at the overlook.

After we finished our ride we returned home. After cleaning up we took a ride down to The Son's condo. His garbage disposal wasn't working. Luckily all the needed to be done was hitting the reset button and it worked again. Good thing since that's the extent of my garbage disposal knowledge. We watched some Euro 2008 soccer at The Son's place before returning home. He came by later for dinner consisting of steaks and corn on the cob. After dinner, Ann and The Son gave me cards and presents. Daughter#1 also had sent along a card. Daughter#2 didn't send a card, but did call and wish me a happy Father's Day. The Son gave me a very generous gift card from Amazon and Ann gave me a book that I have wanted since seeing it reviewed in Newsweek.

You really can't tell from the picture, but The book is entitled 1948 - The First Arab-Israeli War by Benny Morris. I've always been a big reader of 20th century war book be it WWII, Korea, Vietnam, etc. The Arab-Israeli wars have always interested me although I'm not exactly sure why. It could be my love of the Leon Uris book "Exodus", which I've read about 10 times over the years. Maybe it's to get a real perspective to go along with Uris's fiction, which is based on true events, but fiction none the less. The other story that holds a particular fascination for me is the WWII battle called Operation Market Garden. It was the largest airborne assault in history as allied forces tried to seize a series of bridges across Holland from Eindhoven to the real prize, the bridge at Arnhem. The bridge would take allied forces across the Rhine and into the German heartland and end the war. Cornelius Ryan wrote a book about it and they made a movie about it with the same name: A Bridge Too Far. It was an allied disaster in the end, but a bold plan none the less. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened had Patton's 3rd Army been the Garden part (land forces) rather than Montgomery's XXX Corps. Of course history is riddled with "what ifs". Anyway I look forward to reading my new book and thank my family for making my day special.

My Dad

I hope Dad's everywhere had a wonderful Father's Day. I know I did. I don't want to go into much detail right now since I have some pictures to share, but I haven't uploaded them yet. It wasn't way different than many of my Sunday's in that I went for a bike ride, visited The Son, and later The Son dropped by for steaks and corn on the cob and to exchange gifts and cards. So a good time.

Since I'll get to my own Father's Day later, I'll share some memories of my own dad.
  1. He's 79 this year.
  2. He was too young to fight in WWII and was out of the Navy by the time Korea rolled around. For that I'm grateful.
  3. He was a Seabee.
  4. He married his high school sweetheart. We lost her 23 years ago and it still hurts.
  5. He was married and had three kids by the time he was 23. I can't even conceive of having 3 kids (all one year apart) at that age.
  6. He worked days at a gas station and went to college at night.
  7. He worked for Ma Bell as did his daughter (my sister) and our grandfather (Mom's Dad).
  8. He was very tolerant for letting me tag along when he went out to play his games be it semi-pro baseball, bowling or golf.
  9. He was a natural athlete, a trait that unfortunately did not flow down to his sons.
  10. He could have signed a minor league baseball contract coming out of high school.
  11. He was a volunteer fireman.
  12. No matter what job he was doing around the house or on one of our cars, he always seemed to scrape his hand and/or finger.
  13. He was mine and my brother's baseball coach for years. Until I almost 15 anyway.
  14. While coaching our Little league team, he recommended switching this big, slightly overweight kid from first base to pitcher. The kid went on to pitch in the Mets farm system.
  15. He always took my sister, brother and I into NY city on Christmas eve to the office building on Broadway where he worked. We would eat cookies and cake and play with the adding machines. The train ride into the city was the highlight.
  16. My Dad loves model trains. Until he retired he never had the time (see three kids) to set them up properly. Now he has trains in the bedrooms of his house and in the dining room. He' also a member of a railroad club in the Orlando area.
  17. My dad has never remarried, but he's had the same gf for probably 18 years now. We all like her. She's been good for him and vica versa.
  18. He still drives minivan even though he hasn't had kids at home for 30 years. He says it so he can haul big items - like plywood for setting up train layouts. To my knowledge he has never hauled plywood.
  19. He is the first generation of the family that went to college.
  20. His father immigrated from Glasgow and his Mom from Aberdeen, Scotland.
  21. He grew up in the same house in NJ all his life (I think).
  22. He loved the NY Giants (baseball and football).
  23. He was really proud when my brother went into the Navy.
  24. He used to own a really nice boat when we lived in Maryland and lived a short ride from the Chesapeake Bay. It was a treat to eat crabs out on the boat as the sun set in the west.
  25. I hate that he lives 800 miles away and I only get to see him a few days every year.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Drill Work

The brutal heat the enveloped the area since Saturday has finally gone away to be replaced by some quite nice temperatures and humidity. I would say spring-like, but its a tad warm to be truly springlike.

Practice on Tuesday ended about twenty minutes early as thunder and lightening started lighting up the sky west of us. Luckily we weren't far from the cove where the boathouse is located and we were able to make it there and get the boats put away before the rain started. In the mid-atlantic late afternoon thunderstorms are a fact of life during the summer. Hopefully, we won't lose too many practices to them. The practice itself was easy as practices go. Two 8+s were put together and we rowed up to Fountainhead at a low stroke rate (18) while also doing leg only drills by 4s. It's early in our season, unlike most clubs that have been rowing since March, so we're still getting use to each other and getting rid of the cobwebs that we all accumulated over the winter. I'm sure the intensity of the practices will increase as we head into sprint racing season in July.

My Friday off is tomorrow so let the weekend begin!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Biking and Soccer

The weather continues to be sweltering and pretty miserable overall. It should be an interesting practice this evening in the heat and humidity.

In order to get in a bike ride and to beat the heat, on Sunday I got up at 6:00AM, got the laundry started and loaded up my bike in the minivan. Our powerpack/air compressor has given up the ghost, apparently and I haven't been able to put any air into my tires for the past few rides. They still feel good and firm, but I know they could use some air. I ordered a new compressor that hopefully will be here by this coming weekend. Anyway, I drove out to the W&OD Trail for my ride minus Ann again. She claimed it was going to be too hot, but at 7:00 in the morning it wasn't really - at least not yet. Since Ann wasn't with me I decided to head east toward Vienna rather than west toward Leesburg. It's a bit more challenging and a little more crowded. I also decided since I started so early, that i would shoot for 30 miles rather than our usual 20 mile ride. As I headed off, the weather was really quite comfortable and not bad at all. After riding about 4 miles, I saw all these riders headed west. There were a lot more than the usual weekend riding crowd. I also noted that they were wearing numbers on their backs. I also started seeing direction signs for the Tour de Cure. It was a ride/fundraiser for the American Diabetes Association. It was nice that they were headed in the direction opposite than me although there were several riders who decided that it was a lot less crowded if they rode on my side of the trail. No collisions occurred, but I did have to slow down several times to give them time to pull back over to their side of the trail. It took me an hour to ride the 12.5 miles into Vienna. It took me the same time for the ride back, which indicates that the ups and downs of the trail even out over that stretch. Once back at Rt 28, I rode past the parking lot up to Ashburn Road and back making a total of 32 miles for the day. On the way back, I stopped at Smith Switch Station to refill my water bottle. There were a number of riders resting and chatting. One of the riders was discussing a collision between riders. I didn't catch exactly where it happened, but apparently a rider coming off a side trail didn't look for traffic and collided (t-boned) with a female rider causing her to take a nasty fall. She must have been pretty shaken up as it sounded like she went into shock (was feeling cold) and an ambulance had to be called to taker to the hospital. She was wearing a helmet, which apparently saved her from a much more serious injury.

After my ride, I just hung out the rest of the day. Given that I was tired from the ride and the temperature was headed up to 96, it was the sensible thing to do. To amuse myself, I've been watching the Euro 2008 soccer tournament. Think World Cup, but with European teams only. I love watching the World Cup so this is a treat. The level of competition is pretty amazing. My only complaint is none of the Great Britain teams made the tournament. England finished in third in their qualifying group by one point. Scotland also finished third in their group, 2 points behind the second place finisher. Ireland, Wales and Northern Ireland also failed to qualify. So I think I'm routing for the Netherlands. They're off to a great start thumping Italy 3-0. Think orange. Spain plays Russia and Greece plays Sweden today. ESPN2 replays the best match of the day at 8:00. That's right about the time I'm getting home from soccer practice. It's a nice break from watching the Nationals who are just going down the tubes this season.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

A Hot Weekend

Summer has descended with a vengeance. Temperature's soared into the 90s and combined with the high humidity, the heat index is well over 100. Thank god for air conditioning.

Friday was actually a nice day. Sunny and warm, but not hot. I had to work (from home), but I managed to get over to Sandy Run for a row. I got in 7 miles before returning home and work. The water was pretty clear of debris considering the heavy rains on Tuesday and Thursday. It was a good row. My endurance is growing and the boat was running well and not just toward the end of the row, which is typical of a lot of my sculling efforts. My catches are getting much better and I'm also getting better suspension. I was pretty happy with it.
While I was out rowing, Ann was taking our terrier mix, Rosie, to the Vet. Her ear has been bothering her and she has been scratching it a lot. The Vet cleaned the ear out and diagnosed it as allergies and gave Ann some medicine to treat her. The Vet also stated that Rosie needed to lose some weight and like right now. So we have her on a diet plan and are giving her more walks. She needs to lose about 5 pounds. We'll see how our little garbage disposal does.

Today, Saturday, I had 4 hours of rowing scheduled. Two hours of my regular club practice and two hours for our adult rowing camp. As I made my way to the boathouse this morning, I was struck by how foggy it was. I'm use to seeing fog in the fall around the water as the cooler air interacts with the warmer water. But this was different. The dew point and the air temperature were the same creating the fog. The fog was way to thick for us to take out the boats. We pulled the boats out to do our weekly check on them hoping that the sun would burn off the fog. After about an hour it became obvious soon enough that that wasn't happening and we put the boats away and went home. I returned about an hour later for the rowing camp and the fog had pretty much dissipated and it was now hot...very hot and very humid. We broke down into our boats and headed out. There were three 8+s with each containing four experienced rowers and four camp/novice rowers. The organizers had set up a serious of four events. A 2:00 minute race with a cap of 26 strokes per minute, a 2:00 minute race with a cap of 20 strokes per minute, a 180 degree spin from a dead start and a 2:00 race after spinning with no rate cap and finally a pass the water bottle from cox to bow while we row. It was the last session for the camp rowers and it was designed as a fun way to end things on the water as well as give them a taste of what it's like to be in a race. I was stroke for one of the boats. We did quite well winning all three of the races and coming in second on the water bottle pass. Our novice rowers were pretty excited about winning and they did quite well at the higher stroke rate. Remember these people had never rowed before last week. Most have indicated that they will join our club and continue rowing with us, which is good for them and for us. I'll post some pictures once I have them in hand.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Stormy Weather

We had a severe storm come through the area yesterday afternoon and evening with high winds and heavy rain. There were a few tornadoes in the area but none closer than about 20 miles from us. The storm did leave a mess in its wake as these pictures show.

After the first line of storms roared through the area around 2:30, an e-mail went out cancelling the rowing camp practice for that evening. When I saw the e-mail I thought to myself, Noooooo, it will clear up and we can row. Indeed it did clear up and the sun came out - for a short while. By the time we would have been meeting at the boathouse, the second line came through that produced a few tornadoes. It's a good thing clearer heads then mind run this thing. The previous evening (Tuesday), for our regular club practice, we managed to load up the boats and row just out of the cove before we heard the first rumbles of thunder and had to return to the docks. So we've lost two straight days of rowing due to the weather. Hopefully the third time will be the charm and we'll get out on the water. So far so good It's sunny and warm, in the low 80s. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Now I Can See...No Wait

Up until I was about 40, I had nearly perfect vision. But my father's side of the family has this curse. When you turn 40 your eye sight goes to hell and your blood pressure soars. Of course the blood pressure could be related to my kids so who knows. Anyway, I've been wearing glasses for quite some time now. I almost can't remember a time when I didn't. I wore hard contact lenses for a while back in the day, but my eyes didn't tear enough to keep them moist and I would have to take them out after about four hours. I also tried soft contact lenses, but I couldn't see clearly enough with them. I have acute astigmatism, which makes fitting me with contacts difficult and laser eye surgery impossible, at least for now. During my last eye exam, my Doctor asked me again about trying contacts. I was interested because I find glasses annoying. You lose track of them, they get dirty, they slide down your nose when you sweat, etc. In general they're a pain. The Doctor wanted to try a new type of contact on me. I was agreeable and he popped them in my eyes. These were just dummy lenses, but when he gave me some lenses to put in front of them, the effect was amazing. I could see. I could see 20/20 again. Not only that, but the lenses felt comfortable in my eyes. The contacts themselves are hybrids. They have a gas permeable hard lens in the middle with a soft outer ring. I decided to give them a chance and ordered them. They are not cheap. This past Wednesday, I finally was able to go pick up my new contact lenses. I had to be able to put them in and take them out twice before they would let me take them home. I manged that with only a minor bit of struggling and off I went. My world was so much clearer and sharper then with my glasses. I loved them. I could actually read road signs again when I drove. Our tv looked like HD. This was great right up to the time I had to read something. With my glasses reading was never a problem even though seeing distance was. You can laugh at bifocals, but they work. With the new contacts I couldn't read squat. Everything was out of focus. The Doctor had told me I would need reading glasses, but I figured not me. Well yes me. So off to Target to get some. They're not too bad as reading glasses go, but really haven't I just exchanged one set of glasses for another? Its nice to see things over 2 feet away as they were meant to be seen, but I read a lot. My job requires a lot of reading and includes a lot of 10 pt font, which is tiny. I imagine I'll be wearing these reading glasses as much as I wore my other glasses, which is not what I wanted. Plus I'll be constantly taking the reading glasses on and off. This whole contact lens thing has turned in to very much the mixed bag.

This weekend was a Friday off weekend, which I love. Friday a got in an early row. The water was finally free of debris and I didn't have to spend half my time looking behind me for logs in the water. The water was flat and the temperature warm but not hot and muggy. I rowed up well past Ryan's Dam and got in a total of 11 miles. When I got back to the dock, my hip flexors were so sore and tight, I could barely walk. That has never happened to me before so I'm not sure what was going on. For the next few hours I walked around like an 90 year old man just shuffling along.

Saturday was the official start of my rowing club's season. The kids are finally done rowing for the spring so we have access to their equipment. We had 13 guys show for the first practice so we took out an 8+ plus a Quad. I was the bow seat in the Quad. Our set was back and forth, but despite that we managed decent boat speed for a first practice and managed to stay in front of the 8+ for most of the practice. After our practice, most of us hung around to help with the adult rowing camp we sponsor. It's a two week, six times out on the water camp for beginners. We send out 4 novices in an 8+ with 4 experienced rowers. Having experienced rowers along to help with setting the boat (keeping the boat level), allows them to learn much more quickly. I got to be the stroke one of the 8+s and off we went for our 2 hour lesson. That 2 hours plus the 2 hour regular practice right before the camp session plus the 11 mile row the day before left me one tired puppy. I would have loved to come home showered and taken a long nap, but nay. Thunder storms were coming and my gutters were so clogged I had seeds starting to sprout in them. It took me over and hour and a half to clean them out. It's a pain in the ass job, but I didn't mind it in the past, but this whole getting up on the roof is getting to me these days. I'm really getting worried about losing my footing and going over the edge. I need to find someone else to come do them. I'm too old for this crap any more. Saturday night we had a club party. A way for everyone to get reacquainted. It was also a chance for the Board to go over things for the coming season with the members. As the Treasurer, I had to go over how we did for last year (we finished in the black) and what went into developing the budget for 2008 and from that how we calculated membership fees. It went pretty well I thought. The party was a lot of fun and we had some good food (pot luck) and drink. The party was held at one of the rowers houses. It's fairly new, really gorgeous and on the water. Everyone was suitable impressed.

Sunday I went for a bike ride by myself. Ann was in a bit of a funky mood and decided she didn't want to go. I thought the trail was a lot less crowded than usual given how nice a day it was. I made it out to Leesburg in 47 minutes and back in 40 minutes. I probably can do better but my legs just felt tired after all the rowing the previous two days. I'm sure the partying didn't help matters either. As I was resting in Leesburg before heading back to the van, Ann called to tell me that the battery in our other car was dead. I hadn't been having any problems with it or any indication that the battery was about to go. I hope maybe I didn't shut the door all the way and the battery had just run down. I put it on our battery charger for about 6 hours and it started right up. I'm hoping that problem doesn't reoccur. I was also looking forward to watching the Nationals play this afternoon, but they fell behind 5-0 in the first few innings so I turned it off. Maybe they'll do better when they return home. Another weekend in the books. I'm so not looking forward to returning to work.