Why did I think a Winter Walk was a Good Idea?


When the world is on fire or just when things are crap, remembering good times can lend strength when needed. To that end, let's start the twelve days of Snookmas!

A couple winters ago, might have been more than a couple, I was somehow managing to convince Jonathan to go on walks with me. During the summer, this isn't a difficult ask. During spring and fall, this isn't a difficult ask, and I usually can manage some level of consent. Sprinter is questionable, depending on the weather.

Winter is almost always a no. This time, however, I managed to convince everyone, all Snooks, to go out for a walk with me.

No, I don't know how. The winter was in full force. Winds were howling, snow was all over the place, the sun no where. The weather was miserable, beyond miserable. Yet, they agreed, so off we went.

We all bundled up, long underwear, pants, shirt, shirt, shirt, coat, socks, boots, coat, hat, gloves, scarves, we were all set.

Out we went for this walk around the block. All one kilometer of invigorating winter weather walking. Here we go!

The wind was so bad, we made it less than 50 meters down the street. They were willing, but, wow, was the weather awful. It was a right Ottawa winter.

To this day, years later, I have no idea why they agreed to go out into the wicked winter weather with me. I'm grateful they did, and what an inside joke we have, but, hooboy, nature wins when she wants to win.

A Slog Too Early


We are day four into a Challenges challenge, and day four of my increased seriousness and dedication to my Vinson training, and I have to say, if I'm this mentally tired 4 days into a 579 day journey, that journey is going to be a long, hard slog.

The Challenges app is an iPhone app where, with an Apple watch, one closes various exercise related rings a number of times, gaining points along the way. The standing ring is a point for each time one stands for a minute per hour, for a maximum of 14 hours in a day. The exercise ring is 12 points per 30 minutes of exercise as registered by the Apple watch, for a maximum of 36 points per day. The movement ring is 12 points per two times one's weight in pounds, with the unit being calories (I weigh 130 pounds, so 260 calories burned with movement is once around for me). The challenge allows for up to 14 stand points, 36 exercise points (that's 90 minutes of Apple watch recorded exercise), and 36 movement points. Those last points are easy enough to make, I manage 300 in a day just typing, so you can imagine how many I have when I'm exercising for 90 minutes of Apple watch approved minutes.

Yesterday was easy enough, with a hike with Andy.

Today, not so much. If I don't exercise before 8:30am, the garage is too hot, and I need to wait until 7:30 pm before the evening is cool enough, and hooboy, is this messing up my sleep schedule, exercising until 9, 9:30 at night.

Still, managed to walk the 82 additional minutes at a 10% grade at 2.2 miles an hour for the 90 minutes. I'm four for four on the full exercise and movement points.

And I am tired. Today was a mental push to remember what I'm working towards, and the effort it'll take. Did I mention the slog part? It was a slog. I did not want to do any of my pushups, nor did I want to walk any of those incline steps.

But I did, and here we are, day four of five hundred seventy nine days of Vinson.

Nerve Damage

Book Notes


Book Notes

Thoughts When Looking for a New Property Manager


A friend of mine is looking to rent out her house, and asked me for advice in finding a property manager for her place. Here's what I suggest when hiring a property manager.

Is the communication good?

Property managers need to communicate effectively and timely with you.

Even on the initial call expressing your interest in hiring them can give insight into their communication styles. Do they respond in a reasonable time? How are they with follow up questions?

Will they communicate with you how you want? Phone, email, text, your choice.

I had a property manager that never answered the phone. All calls went through an answering service, and were often not returned. Tasks were done, but the communication was strained.

My representative at another company was the son of the owner and, well, had such horrible communication skills that I asked to have another person assigned to my account.

What are their after hours procedure?

Pretty much, you want to know your tenant has access to them in emergencies.

What does the renters / owners website / portal look like?

These days, property management companies have websites for both renters to contact the managers, and owners to receive documents and

What "extras" is the property management going to charge you?

One charges me for quarterly property walk-throughs but doesn't actually do the walk throughs. Quarterly I call them up and ask them to refund the charges.

What services are they going to provide?

One management company refused to handle an AC unit repair.  Another management company put in a new driveway for me.   Clearly you want the latter if you need a new driveway.

How are their online reviews?

Take with a grain of salt, because the people who post are the ones upset. Happy people rarely post reviews. However, see if there's a pattern to the complaints.

One property management company "loses" rent checks, then charges the tenants a late fee. They did this with one tenant before said tenant called his bank and me, and told us what was up. The company stopped with him, I don't know that they don't still continue the practice with other houses.

How large is the property management company?

If it is too big, I am ignored as being too small. They might let a property go unrented for months, asking for too high of a rent.

If it is too small, the tenant or you may not have good communication.

Best luck with a company more than 6 employees, fewer than 20.

How long have they been in business?

Short isn't bad if the members have experience. Shorter is also okay if the company is a new franchise of a larger property management company like Real Property.

What is the property management company going to charge you?

Rates should be no more than 10% of the monthly rental income.

Watch out for initial fees. Most are $500 to get you into the system, sometimes they charge a full month's rent, to "get you into the system," without guarantee of rental.

Check referrals.

A good property manager will be happy to provide referrals, as they'll have many to give, so ask to talk / email with satisfied customers. Ask questions to these about their opinions of the property manager. Do they communicate repairs and issues to you?

Ask about any unexpected fees the property manager charged. Ask about any problems encountered and their resolutions.

If you have an HOA, ask the referral how well the property manager communicates with the referral's HOA.

What are the property manager's expectations for you?

How soon do they expect a response to authorize a repair, for example?

If you'll be inaccessible, what would the property manager do?

When I talk with them, do I like them?

You're giving money to someone for a service. Do you like them?

Yay for Running Again


I went for a run this afternoon.

Recently, I've been on my treadmill daily, walking for 60-75 minutes on a 10% grade at a slow 2 mph pace so that I can both walk and work. After about a month of this, my heart rate never goes above 115, and drops back to under 80 bpm within a minute of stopping, so I've clearly begun adapting to the treadmill workout. Talking with Zeb about my mountaineering training preparation resulted in his strong suggestion that I up my cardio to some movement more strenuous, given I've begun adapting. So, running it is.

My runs have not been particularly long. I worry about injuries from adding on too many miles too quickly. As a result, I'm not increasing my mileage more than 10% a week. Which is to say, I'm not running very much.

And yet.

And yet.

The injuries have begun, beginning with my old hamstring injury. Which is nominally fine, I'm not going to be playing ultimate as far as I know. I'd rather not be in pain every step, but here we are.

Today I was all of about 40 meters into my run before I realized I had left my earphones back at the house. Returning to the house would have been simple enough, and yet, I didn't. I kept running, wondering how the run would be with only my thoughts for company. How long has it been since I just ran, alone with my thoughts, no distractions, the road in front of me.

I am happy to report, I am fine company when running slowing on an empty street. I'm enough out of shape that even my short runs induce a mild runner's high.

Mask and all.