Chuq Von Rospach is a Silicon Valley veteran doing Technical Community Management and amateur photographer with a strong interest in birds, wildlife and landscapes. My goal is to explore the Western states and working to tell you the stories of the special places I've found. You can find out more on the About Page.
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Monthly Archives: February 2011
Laurie and I have been talking this over for a couple of days, and I figured this might make for interesting blog fodder.
We’ve decided not to renew our season tickets with the Sharks next season. Which given we’ve had season tickets since the Sharks first season, and we’re going through the 20th season now, probably comes as a surprise (especially to folks who know us well).
Why are we doing this? Well, it’s not because we’re upset at the Sharks, or the quality of hockey, or the cost, or whatever. It’s because we both want to spend less time sitting in a hockey arena.
Think about it. If you’re full season ticket holders, you’re committing to 43 games a year. Lots of season ticket holders sell off chunks; in our case we average about 35 games a year. That’s over a month a year sitting in the arena, so from October to June (depending on how deep a team goes into the playoffs), you’re committing a big chunk of time and a lot of evenings to being at the game. This year, especially, I’ve felt at times that it’s gotten in the way of some of the other things I want to do (especially photography), where the friday night or saturday game really limits the ability to do other things on the weekend. When I birded Panoche a few weeks ago, I only covered about half the territory I’d planned on because I needed to get back for a game.
Our decision was to drop the tickets and buy on the open market (hello, Stubhub) rather than hang onto the tickets and have to deal with selling off the ones we don’t want. It’s just less hassle and gives us more flexibility (and no responsibility…)
So we’ll still be in the arena, just less — and watching more TV from home, where we can multitask or PVR the games if we need to. or (gasp) miss one. I expect we’ll try tobuy tickets down in that area, or maybe grab tickets from some of our seat neighbors who sell them off, since we like that section and the folks in it, and we like the angle (or perhaps we’re just used to it…)
amusingly enough, we both had been thinking about this independently for a while, and weren’t sure whether to mention it to each other. And amusingly enough, neither of us was at all surprised to find out the other one was also thinking that way; the joy of sharing your life with someone for a long time….
And yes, this opens up options. We’ve wanted to check out hockey in other venues, and this frees up some cash (and time!) to give us a chance to, say, try the edmonton/red deer/Calgary trifecta, or do a trip through ottawa, toronto, montreal and some of the OHL. Or just start getting back up to Vancouver again on a more regular basis and wallow in the WHL and take in a game or two at GM place.
Oh, and we’ve also decided not to buy playoff tickets this year. Partly for this reason, partly because we just don’t think this team will go deep and can’t convince outselves to spend the money for another first or second round exit. maybe they’ll prove us wrong, if so, we’ll happily cheer (from home).
Behold the new hole in our garage.
The morning started as plumbers from about four counties all arrived at our house, in search of a slab leak. For those that don’t know, a slab leak is when your plumbing breaks, only the break is hidden under 6″ of concrete, and you get to guess where the leak is.
Fortunately, there are leak detection specialists. They have a gizmo that stuffs a sequenced electric charge onto your plumbing, and another gizmo that finds that and tells you where the pipes are, and how deep they are. They wander through your house hearing beeps (it’s the really expensive machine that goes PING!) figuring out where the plumbing is. Then they stuff your pipes with helium, and use a set of stethoscopes the size of a big can of soup (two, actually) to listen for the helium exiting through the leak. I swear it looks like the guy is dowsing….
And in about an hour, he mapped out where all the pipes are, and then he found the leak. And that made me happy.
Not because we found the leak, but because the leak turned out to be in the corner of the house, where the service enters. Right where we were seeing the water come out. And this makes me happy because the leak wasn’t in the dining room, or in the kitchen under a cabinet, or under the tile in the bathroom, or…
You get the point — if you see how this gets fixed, the place that needs fixing is best in the garage, where it doesn’t trigger major remodeling projects. So the plumbers used a saw to cut the concrete, and then a jackhammer to remove it, and after I took this picture, patched in new copper to connect the good piece to the good piece, and by about 4PM, we had water — and it wasn’t out in the front yard.
Tomorrow they’ll come back and patch the concrete, and we’ll give it a few days to harden, and then life will return to normal, at least it will once I clear out the concrete dust and the mud and all of the other debris that now inhabits the garage, and backfill the bed that used to be part of the front yard…
If you live in an eichler, this is the kind of problem you dread, and when they happen, they can become really bad really fast. If it had to happen, this problem is about as close to the best case scenario as you can ask for — so I’m happy. And it was a relatively quick fix, too.
and once they stopped jackahmmering, I even got work done…
But it’s been an interesting few days…
And how did you spend your Valentines day? I spent mine with the plumbers, with what we thought was a leak in the service line into the house. That’s been patched, but when we turned on the service again, the leak re-appeared. Not so good. That means we have a slab leak; this is an Eichler, it has no crawlspace, it’s on a cement pad. and in the pad is the plumbing, and somewhere it’s leaking. So soon the guys with the really expensive leak detection machine will arrive to find it, followed by the guys with the jackhammer to chew out the part of the floor over where the leak is. which is likely (I hope) either in the kitchen or dining room. if we get really lucky, it’s in the garage but somehow I doubt it..
And we have this nice hole in the front yard, slowly filling with water again…
But we have a nice new copper service line that no longer routes through the porch slab…
This is likely going to complicate my blogging schedule. and maybe vacation. And who knows what else?
oh well. nobody’s died, and that’s good.
I got an email from an old friend this week, and it dealt with something I was going to talk about, so it’s a good starting point for this…
I just wanted to drop you a note to let you know that I follow your blog; greatly enjoying your photos and prose since sometimes last year. I am saddened to read about your health problems.
I appreciate that sentiment — but to be honest, I’m really pretty happy with life. That hasn’t been true in the last number of years, but one thing I realized after I had the breakdown was that if I didn’t get to the root of things, none of the rest mattered and ultimately, I wouldn’t get it all fixed. The root of much of this was that along the way, I stopped liking myself, and so I went out of my way looking for reasons to be negative about myself, and that’s a big part of what drove the anger and depression that led to the collapse, and was a core cause of a lot of the weight gain — eating as punishment, eating because I didn’t give a damn. Probably, at some level, seeing eating as a really slow suicide path that wouldn’t be seen as that. At best, not caring if it happened. So if you play root cause analysis games (yes, life is nothing but a red flagged project needing some structure and a post-mortem), and you solve those root causing problems — you can fix things.
And so I ended up spending an enormous amount of time trying to understand what was making myself so unhappy, both internal and external triggers, and then understanding how to resolve those conflicts and come to terms with them. It was a process of learning to be comfortable and happy in my own skin again. There’s an entire series of blog posts on this down the road, when I can organize it and figure out how to talk about it.
In all honesty, I see myself as really lucky these days. I feel pretty good most of the time, ignoring the knees, and they continue to slowly improve; our seats at the Sharks are three rows off the glass, which is awesome, but that implies a bunch of stairs, which isn’t, but at the Phoenix game this week, for the first time in about six weeks, the stairs were merely annoying, not massively painful (down is a problem. up has never been a problem. go figure). So I’m hopeful this episode is almost over, and I’m trying to do a bit more exercise, within the caution of not overdoing it and causing a setback. I feel good enough that Laurie’s given me a hall pass, and I’m headed out this weekend for an overnight trip into the central valley to do some serious birding and photography, and see how it goes — hopefully Yolo Bypass, Staten island, Consumnes and Woodbridge on Saturday, grab a room somewhere on the I-5, and spend sunday up at San Luis NWR for the fly-out, and Merced NWR in the afternoon for sunset and the fly in. weather looks like it’ll cooperate, and I’m hopeful the birds will cooperate.
Whenever I want to feel sorry for myself, it’s easy to put it in perspective –Â I caught the diabetes relatively early (I’m guessing 9 months after it came on), and I had a head start of a couple of years on fixing the diet, since I knew I was a time bomb and it was likely to arrive at some point, and so while it’s something you have to watch and manage, for me, it’s more like dealing with chronic allergies or something. I’m not fragile, I don’t need insulin, I’m well controlled — and I hope to keep it that way, but for now, it’s more something to structure lifestyle mangement around than anything.
And when I look at how that (and grumpy knees) compares to what others around me are going through –Â honestly, my life’s not bad. I have grumpy knees and I have to watch my arthritis, and I need to lose weight. Â I lost an old college girlfriend to liver cancer this year, another had her 20+ year marriage breakup and she’s now being a single mom. I’ve helped a close friend through breast cancer and a full mastectomy. A photographer I know just announced her Lymphoma is back. I’ve lost friends to bone and breast cancer, my dad to heart problems. I can think of two friends currently under chemotherapy, three who underwent cancer surgery in the last year, two 20 year divorces…Â I could go on.
When you look at that, you wrap your grumpy knees with a heating pad and count your blessings, because I’m still happily married and working to keep it that way, my heart seems fine (I did a treadmill test a couple of years ago and they didn’t find anything to worry about), I have my photography and now that the apnea and diabetes are well controlled I now find I have my energy back, and I’m getting myself more involved in a bunch of new things which you may or may not hear about at some point. 2004-2006 was when things crashed, and things were pretty sucky for a while before that, but now?
I’m just having fun, and enjoying what I have, and trying not to overthink things or get back into the mindset of worrying and being upset over what isn’t. Because what matters is the stuff that is… And what is, is pretty cool.
So I don’t complain much these days. And that’s awesome, since there’s so little worth expending energy complaining about…