Scratch Thing #60

60. Power wash back of house/return power washer

If there is a lesson to be learned by the readers of this blog, it is be cautious what you lend me. It may be a while before I return it.

I borrowed a power washer from a good friend over a year ago. This spring I finally got around to power washing the front and both sides of the house. It took until this fall to finish up the backside of the house and return the power washer. Good thing I have kind and patient friends! I bet if I asked to borrow it again, it would be on my front step ASAP.

The back of the house was in a word, dirty. Because of the direction the wind normally blows here at Swamp Acres, the wind whips and swirls at the back of the house like the wind off the back of a large truck. This results in an eddy of wind that tosses dirt back up against the house. Similar eddies are what cause the back of any car, truck or van to be dirtier than the rest of the vehicle. It is also has a mostly northern exposure. This results in moss growing on the slabs of concrete outside the two patio doors. Extra dirt, moss, procrastination inclinations; it adds up to a recipe that only needs a cold breezy autumn day and a deadline to return a power washer to be complete.

But it got done. We can laugh at it, and at me, now. Good thing that good friend likes cool weather, because it looks like he will be power washing his deck on a cool and breezy autumn day.


Cleaning is hard for a pack rat…

(re: Thing #13 – Clean my office space)

I made a good start at cleaning my office space. I still have a lot more to do, however.

I am a pack rat. My sister and I joke that it is a genetic trait that we inherited from our maternal grandfather. Grandpa White didn’t seem to throw anything out. He did have the good habit of using what he hoarded. He made a cattle watering trough from an old bathtub and used at least three different types of pipe to feed water to it. He had a storage room full of toys, some of which had mixed parts, that all of his grandchildren played with. His brother Andrew never threw away any mail, including junk mail, and when it came time for him to move we filled two truck sized trash bins of the useless paper.

I am working hard to stop my own hoarding. It is difficult. My office space is small, but over the last six years I have accumulated a lot of “stuff” in it. Not all of it is work related. I have memory items from my childhood that I “decorated” my space with. I have coin collection related items, hiking stuff and of course–books.

On the work side of things, I still had a CD to restore the hard drive of the work computer I have not had since 2003. I had software that I do not need now, and will not run on my current workstation. I had notes on projects that I finished years ago. I had every single empty FedEx envelope that has been sent to me (I do reuse these as file folders). I have business cards that vendors and coworkers have handed me over the years; cards that I have never used.

I am being ruthless in throwing things away this time. Just not the important things. I am keeping those special cards from Doris. And fun things like my Eeyore Pez dispenser. Practical useful things like paper clips.

Everything else has to go.


While walking this morning I got to wondering how long, in actual walking time, it would take to reach 1001 miles. Well, I have kept track of many of my start and stop times when hiking, and I know the distances, so it was easy to calculate. 338.1756 hours, approximately. That is a little over 5.6 days of continuous walking. My normal walking gait on flat ground clocks in at 3.2MPH, and my normal gait over hiking terrain varies, but it consistently hovers near 2.6MPH. Slower when there are lots of difficult hills, faster when there are not. Hiking up Sugarloaf in the Great Seal State Park I was under 1.5MPH and that is the most strenuous trail in the area. A good average difficulty trail in Scioto Trail State Park, from Caldwell Lake to the Fire Tower and return, I clocked in at 2.86MPH. I estimated the amount of different terrain I plan on walking for my 1001 mile goal and it came out to an average speed of 2.96MPH.

Given optimal conditions and hiking for 10 hours a day I could hike the same distance as the American Discovery Trail (ADT), i.e. coast to coast, in 171 days. Given the reality of the actual ADT, the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains, the Utah desert and bad weather it would take much, much…very much, longer to actually walk across the USA. Maybe someday…

I think for now I’ll just stick to hiking locally.

Procrastination Cessation …

Hello. I am a procrastinator. I sometimes can keep my head down and get things done, but over the last year I have really let a lot of things slip. I am going to rectify that.

I stumbled across an interesting meme here on the internet. It is called “101 Things to Do in 1001 Days“. The idea is to complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days. The tasks must be specific (i.e. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (i.e. represent some amount of work on my part). I realize that some of the tasks on my list may not seem to fit the requirements, but I think that even the most mundane ones will be stretching (and hopefully breaking) my procrastination. I like this meme because it gives focus like other “beating procrastination” exercises, but it also sets a time table that won’t cause panic or frustration. 1001 days is approximately 2.74059 years. That is a long time.

I am going to participate. But a lot can happen in 2 and three quarter years. Kids get married or graduate from college. There could be more grandkids. We could win the lottery. For this reason I am reserving the right to revise this list based on a major life event. I mean, if I win the lottery then fixing the van is not a stretching task anymore, right. A stretching task to replace the van task would be setting up trust funds for loved ones, or building them houses.

My list of 101 Things can be found on the sidebar as a sub-page under “About Me.” It contains such mundane things as taking care of all the broken door knobs in our house, and using and returning a power washer I borrowed from a friend over a year ago. It contains necessary things like doing my back exercises and and cleaning up my pack-rat messes (I am a hoarder of useless things. It’s genetic.) The task list has a few hard things like learning to read music (which I have failed at before), and important things like working with my parents and sister on formalizing the ownership of the family farm to protect it from seizure should my parents’ medical costs spiral out of control. It also has fun things for me, like going on a “get away” with just Doris (beach, cabin in the woods; something we have talked about for years), and reading all the Hugo Award winning novels that I have not yet read.

I took me the better part of a week to create the list. I strove hard to keep all the tasks realistic and important, even the fun ones. Don’t wish me luck, tell me “It’s about time!”