Archive for the Random Stuff Category

The Night Shift

Posted in Random Stuff with tags , , , , , , , on July 13, 2011 by brianestover

This is night number four in a row for me. The second night by myself. The first night by myself where Mom can die. I’ve had Jim or Georgia hanging out with me the last few nights.

I’m not going to lie, I’m scared. Scared that I’ll miss her going, scared that she might go without someone that loves her holding her hand and stroking her face. She needs to go though. Her NG tube was pulled over 5 days ago. She stopped breathing two nights ago for about 90 seconds. The two nurses working this side of the palliative care unit Jim and I all stood around. I asked for one of the nurses stethoscope. As she took it off her neck to hand to me Mom started breathing. Now it’s a regular pattern of breathing light then super compensating by breathing heavy followed by a short :10-:15 seconds where she doesn’t breathe at all. This has been going on for two days now. Jim, Georgia, Dad and I are all ragged from lack of consistent sleep. I’m glad my sister has the kids in and can’t pull long shifts here. But it’s going to be harder until Mom passes away because Jim and Georgia had to leave today.

The nursing staff in the palliative care unit have been great to the family, friends, co workers, people from church and from her life that have stopped by. There is a family lounge, I can walk around the entire unit barefooted, the rooms are equipped with a couch and a chair you can sleep on. There is a shower in each bathroom as well. They even let you drink beer up here. But now it’s all about Mom crossing the finish line.

Home Sweet Home

Posted in Random Stuff with tags , , , , on March 26, 2011 by brianestover

I’m back home for a few days. Although upon reflection it’s not really home. My parents no longer live in the house I grew up in, I don’t have my room anymore, there are only a few people from the days of yore that I still talk with, most of my friends in NC live in other cities, my grandfather has passed, my Nana has Alzheimer’s and has to live in a nursing home.

Besides the familial ties to the area, there are no other connections that bind me. As my parents age, and their decline becomes reality, the pull to move back to be around just in case still tugs at me. My sister lives in AUS and it’s a bit far for her to make a quick trip back to help out if something happens. Do I move from a city I rather enjoy back to an area that has several shortcomings? At least shortcomings from my point of view. It seems the women here come in large or extra large. There is nothing wrong with that if you enjoy large and/or XL. I happen to enjoy XS, S and have the ability to range up to medium if needed. The dialect gets to me as well. Don and Dawn are pronounced the same. The long O of my birth place does not exist here except in a transplant. There is no Mom or Mother here but lots of Momma.

On the other hand housing is inexpensive compared to my hometown. One can buy quite a bit more house for quite a bit less money here. There are seasons other then nice, warm and f*cking hot out. The roads for riding are pretty good, not a lot of bike lanes but not a lot of chip seal or cracks in the road. The BBQ is better then any I’ve had in AZ. My favorite place to run in the world is here. These trails seem to teem with all sorts of wildlife. I’ve seen deer, turkeys, squirrels, birds, snakes, turtles, geese and ducks on my many runs. Rarely do I see anyone out running on these trails, which is a shame.

When I’m here I tend to go a bit overboard on the running, this trip being no exception. While my goal is usually to average about an hour a day. Right now I’m sitting on two runs – just over 3 hours of running logged and just under 24 miles with three days left. The quads are reminding me though of all the downhill braking and stutter stepping I do to avoid tripping on a root. Maybe tomorrow I’ll have to hit Salem Lake for a less quad busting run.

It’s weird being back for the first time since Granddad has passed away. The house is different without him here. I’ve been helping Mom clean out his stuff. While she goes through his papers, I’ve been going through his clothing. So many times I’ve come across an article of clothing or picture that triggers a good memory. A few times it’s been overwhelming. He owned over 30 flannel shirts. He dressed grunge before grunge music became cool. He was skinny as a teen ager. Knees that stuck out, his chest was more rib cage then anything. His arms were ripped, not big, but sinewy. Every pocket had an unused Kleenex in it, a habit my Nana stared him for him. He wasn’t allowed out of the house without a Kleenex in a pocket many years ago. In one of the binders I found was their first ledger. Rent was $14 per week. Their first mortgage payment was $54.50. The telephone was $6 per month. They had ~ $80 left over every month from his paycheck. I knew he smoked cigarettes before his first heart attack. It was pretty cool to find some pipes that he had used and some of his always sharp pocket knives that I forgot existed until I saw them.

I also found one of his dog tags, pictures and letters of commendation from WWII. He was a Navy navigator on a bomber stationed out of the Aleutian Islands. My grandfather’s don’t talk much about their WWII experiences. My Poppop has only told me that he was a mine clearer with the Big Red 1. Some of the pictures of my granddad perched on his bomber showed 4 Japanese flags for fighter planes his bomber downed. I guess I never really thought of my grandfathers having actually having been shot at and having to shoot back. As that generation dies off, I realize what an incredible amount of history, told and untold, that dies off with them.

It was nice finding pictures of my Babcia, I haven’t thought of her in a long time, she died on the day of my First Communion. My Grandfather had to fly her body back to PA from GA. Uncanny her resemblance and that of my granddad especially their nose.

Mainly I realized though how much I’ll miss him.

The Big Spider Stroll

Posted in Random Stuff with tags , , , , on December 10, 2010 by brianestover

So quiet it was this morning when I awoke. No one else was up. It was early, the morning was cool. I decided to take a walk, explore the hood, get a lay of the land, see my surroundings. While I was scanning the headlines, drinking my tea and getting ready to go on a walk, I spied my niece tiptoeing into the room where I’m sleeping. She was creeping ever so quietly then suddenly, she stopped. She realized I wasn’t there. You could see the gears spinning in her head. Where is he? She was scanning the room, head swiveling right then left then right, looking rather confused. So I whispered to her, and watched her break into a huge smile as she came running over. Not quietly either. Since every one else was asleep I suggested we go for a walk.

Off we strolled to the park. She was very concerned that I wasn’t wearing shoes and insisted we turn back…..at the end of the driveway. Over her protests, I convinced her that my feet are fine to walk down a few houses without shoes. On the long journey back I spied a spider. Other then the tarantula spiders I see in Tucson, this is one of the biggest I’ve seen.

Of course we, um I mean I, had to take a picture of it. So here is today’s clue for the fabulous prize I have for some lucky winners.

Since my niece obviously inherited my good looks here we are at 6am on our long walk.

Sickest Bike Ever

Posted in Random Stuff, Triathlon with tags , , , , on October 12, 2010 by brianestover

I’m so jealous. Sarah got to ride the first Scott Plasma 3 available for consumer purchase in the US. Trisports.com got a few of them in the other day. Before any other retailer in America actually. Look at this bike. It’s sexy, it’s aero, it has two water bottle frame mounts and it comes in black. Black! There is no better lack of color for a bike. Ever. I think I’m in Lust!

How can you look at this bike and not want to get it? I can’t wait to see it in person. When Sarah told me she was going to ride it today before anyone else, I was a little upset. I wanted to be the first. Just because she is the marketing director doesn’t mean I can’t be the first to ride it. I’m going to have to have a chat with her coach about this. Oh wait.

So here you go, lust over it, buy one for yourself, buy one for me. I’ll even go 50-50 with you and we can share it.

Sam, the hiking machine?

Posted in Random Stuff with tags , , on September 6, 2010 by brianestover

This past Friday I got done with work early so Sarah and I loaded Sam up to take him to Mt. Lemmon for a hike.

Sam is 130 pounds of thundering mass. Goes from walking to full tilt in the snap of the fingers. When he runs, dirt flies everywhere, the ground vibrates as he thunders past, jowls flapping in the wind, exposing his rather large and shiny teeth from across the yard. Of course if you’ve never seen this then you 1. Don’t have a 130 pound Great Dane and 2. need a bigger yard if you do have a Great Dane. He also goes from full tilt to dead tired in about 4 minutes. I’ve seen him run, I have no idea why we took him on a hike.

Shortest hike of my life. Sam made it maybe 1km into the trail. Maybe. When you are 130 pounds of Great Dane though, that might be good. That was it, we stopped to get the water bottle out for him and he layed down. Done. Finished. Dog tired.

His Tongue Meter (highly scientific tool to evaluate if a dog is tired) was hanging out. I’ve never seen a tongue that big before on a dog. Or a human. Imagine French kissing that.

Maybe a nice swim in one of the many pools still left near the top of Mt. Lemmon would cool him off. All dogs love water, at least the last few I’ve owned did. Nope. Turns out he is afraid of water. Stuck his paw in and said “hell no, it’s cold”.

Still turned out to be an awesome afternoon. You can’t beat a short hike then a nap with your feet dangling in a pool of cold water.

Challenge Athletes Foundation – Operation Rebound

Posted in Random Stuff, Triathlon with tags , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2010 by brianestover

I have a few friends in the military. One of my best friends, a former pro triathlete in fact, who gave up his triathlon career to go back into Special Forces is a hand grenade magnet. Fortunately, after surviving multiple hand grenades exploding in close proximity multiple times in multiple countries, he only ended up losing some blood, a nerve in his hand, and some chunks of thigh and calf muscle. Not all soliders are as lucky as he is. Many soldiers have had one or more of their limbs ripped apart and torn from their bodies by IED’s or gunfire.

While we are at home training these solider/athletes are getting back into sport. But they have an additional challenge that able bodied athletes can not fully grasp. These service men and women have to overcome the additional burden of getting back into sport after losing one or more limbs. Can you imagine having to attach an artificial leg just below your knee in order to go run? I know someone who has to do that. Every run. Every ride. Every single day.

An organization exists that helps soliders adapt and allows them to once again take participate with us in sport. It’s run by the Challenged Athletes Foundation folks. It’s called Operation Rebound.

One of my friends, Eric Reid, who is a XO in a support battalion in the US Army is racing Ironman Hawaii. He has dedicated his race to raising money to support these wounded veterans. To borrow a phrase, “brother can you spare a dime?” Every dime will help.
Go here and help Eric help a solider across the finish line.

No Friggin Way

Posted in Random Stuff with tags , , on July 30, 2010 by brianestover

Get to the house to look at it. The house went into foreclosure this morning with a trustee sale schedule for 30 days from now. I kid you not. Lock box keys got changed as did Realtors. The good news is I now have 30 days to think about it. I can probably knock off another $20k off the house. The bad news is I’m officially my realtor’s worst client. Ever.

Am I Crazy?

Posted in Random Stuff on July 29, 2010 by brianestover

No need to comment smart ass and that means you and maybe you over there as well. I’ve been house hunting in spurts for the last two years. The house I used to own is back on the market. They just dropped the price by ~$15k. It’s now about $12000 more then when I first bought it. Which was 1997 or 1998. I sold it for $51000 more then I bought it for five years later. Besides, who offers list price anymore?

Am I crazy for thinking about buying my old house again? It’ll be interesting to see my reactions as I go through the house. I could do all the things like update the kitchen, convert the back half of the house into a very large master suite with a huge walk through closet to the bathroom and update the main bathroom that I had planned on doing before I moved to Phoenix. I could do all that and still be in well under what I sold it for. The yard is big, the property is just over a quarter acre. I could put in my gardens and chicken coop. I already know where to stick the water cisterns to capture roof run off. When I get a dog or two in January there would be plenty of room to run around in the yard.

I was figuring out mortgage rates as well. My mortgage would be just over half of what I currently pay for rent. In fact my mortgage would actually be the almost the same as when I lived there. That’s with a 15 year mortgage vs the 5/1 ARM that I had. I could realistically pay it off in < 10 years. My big concerns are the amount of empty houses within a 1.5 mile radius of this house. In Tucson there are empty houses everywhere though.

The crash hasn't hit Tucson as bad as it has hit the Phoenix Valley, which is a top 10 area in the country for foreclosures. I realize that buying now means I'm sitting on a house for at least 10 years before making any serious money on it. The house next door, which was a complete wreck even when I lived next to it, had been foreclosed on and sold for $75,000 for almost 1800 Sq feet. The new owners gutted it and redid it. The neighborhood behind the house has some rental units but lots of older people and some new build in-fills. The neighborhood in front of the house has two of my best friends and their kids, and some other friends in it, plus only a few empty houses.

The best two things are no need to measure any new running loops. I already know how far they all are. If I go over to the KGB's to drink I can just walk home!

Running the numbers everything looks good. Running through the back of my mind are two conversations. The emotional side of me is saying it's probably not going to be a big deal but are you sure about this. I lived there in a different time in my life. The rational and financially prudent side of me is screaming look at the numbers it's almost too good to pass up, actually at that price it is too good for someone to pass up, even if you/they just made it a rental property down the road.

Training Seriously

Posted in Random Stuff, Triathlon with tags , , , , , , , on July 24, 2010 by brianestover

Yep, that’s right. I’m back full bore into serious training. Seriously training to get out of shape. Not one workout has been done since Vineman. Unless you count running a car length yesterday to get out of the way of the old lady backing up in the parking lot.

Guess what?

The world hasn’t ended. Although I’ve not seen any people or cars this morning in my neighborhood. Maybe I’m the last survivor and it really ended but I slept through it. If you are going to sleep through anything, sleeping through the terrified cries of millions of people is probably the way to do it.

I had every intention of going riding this morning. Even made my bottles up and pumped up my tires. But instead I took half a bar of Xanax about 8pm and went to bed 45 minutes later. Didn’t wake up until 9 this morning. How awesome is that! 12 full hours of glorious, wonderful, uninterrupted, enjoyable sleep. I’m debating heading back to bed for a nap right now. And I’ve only been up for 30 minutes. Awesome!

It’s not like I’ve been completely lazy during this time. Well actually it is. But it’s been enjoyable. My biggest accomplishment was mowing my grass yesterday evening. I had enough grass clippings to feed three different compost piles. Then I had to go put the grass in two of them and stir it in. If you don’t think that is a tough workout, go try it. It’ll humble the fittest, tiny arm triathlete.

Oh damn I just saw someone driving down my street. I guess at least one other person made it through the end of the world. Maybe I should go grocery shopping if I want to eat anything besides cereal today. Grocery shopping or a nap on the hammock? Hello hammock!

The Fat Lady Hums

Posted in Random Stuff, Triathlon with tags , , , , on July 20, 2010 by brianestover

So it’s done. Vineman 70.3 is over. Along with it goes my racing…..for now. If now is a few months or a few years or a few decades it’s all good. While triathlon will be and has been a big part of my life, sometimes the things you know best have to be let go. I can’t complain, it’s been a good second run. Starting back in 2001 or 2002 with duathlon then progressing back into triathlon in 2005 after eight years of not doing a tri.

I was fortunate enough to be able to meet lots of people through this latest run and even make some very good friends. From Olympic medalists, to neo pros, to IM winners, to your typical Ager. I’ve met people from around the world, have gotten home stays with complete strangers and put complete strangers, some more strange then others, up for the night or three.

I’m sure not going to miss feeling like this after the end of a race. I’m not sure what I’m going to miss about ending my racing career for now. I am looking forward to not having to go work out or worry about if I stay up late how will this impact the next day. It’s also nice knowing that should I want to race again, even with the reduced workout schedule I’ve been on, I’ve still got some horsepower to fall back on.

Racing has always been something I just did. Show up race morning, flip the switch on then do the race. Finish the race and flip it off. I can’t really say it’s been about beating others or winning the race, but more about racing smart and doing the best I could that day. You make your own luck for the most part and I’ve been pretty lucky when it comes to racing. Control what you can control and worry not about the rest.

So that’s it for now for racing. Maybe I’ll toe the line again someday and maybe not.