She’s here folks!

A brief rundown on how things went. We went into the hospital at about 6 AM yesterday morning. After mercilessly sticking Carolyn 4 times, they finally were able to get an IV in. Actually that was down from the 6 times it took to get an IV in with the previous baby.

Around 8 or 9 they started her on pitocin and broke her water. It didn’t take long before Carolyn had had enough of the pain and we got the epidural going. Luckily she got it right in time – right after she said she wanted one, 2 other ladies on the floor decided they wanted one. Carolyn asked first though so the other ladies had to wait. After the epidural was in, it was pretty smooth sailing. No pain or anything

Around noon Dr. Samol came in and checked her – she was about 8 cm dilated. He left to go back to his office and said he’d come back and check her in an hour or so. Silly doctor… The nurse also decided she’d go get some lunch and be right back. Silly nurse… About 10 minutes later Carolyn said she was feeling some pressure and another nurse checked her and said “I can see some dark hair”. It was time for the show!

Once the doctor and nurse came back, Carolyn started pushing. One push and the head was out; one more and the baby was out. All in all a very easy delivery / birth. Both mother and daughter are doing fine. The other kids and I are also doing great.

You’ll notice I didn’t mention the name. That’s because, while I’m sure it’s unlikely, I don’t feel like giving any Internet weirdos anything (more) to stalk our kids with. I tried to email everybody, but I’m functioning on part of a night’s sleep on a chair, so I may have forgotten some people – don’t be offended :-) If I missed you, drop Carolyn or I an email and I’ll send you the “good one” birth announcement I cooked up

Bike Commute, part 2

And then it was time for the ride home. I went into the bathroom and changed into my ridin’ clothes. I left work at around 4:15 and headed out. Going up Innovation Way was a bit of a hill. I headed east on Socialville-Foster road, and came to the first of 2 parts of my route where I had some concerns. S-F is kind of a windy, hilly narrow road as it heads down to the river. At least it’s a windy, DOWN-hilly narrow road, going in this direction. I couldn’t remember exactly what it was like, and I had considered going a different way, but in the end, just decided to go for it. It actually turned out to be fine. I did have a few cars behind me that couldn’t safely pass me as I approached the river, though with the speed of the hill and pedaling in top gear, I was going about 22-25 mph, so it’s not like they were really hurting. I waved hello to the big bridge, and turned southbound on to the Little Miami Bike trail

The first section of my journey was about 4 miles, and it had taken me about 16 minutes. The second section was also about 4 miles, south on the bike trail, and proved rather uneventful. The weather was beautiful – temperature in the 60s or so, not to mention that nearly all of the trail is under tree cover. One annoying thing is that I was travelling more or less southwest, so I would often get the sun in my face. And yes, I do realize that contradicts the previous sentence (about tree cover). Deal with it.

In any case, I pulled into Loveland a little before 5:00, with 8 miles under my belt. I took a little break, called the mrs. to assure her I wasn’t dead and sipped some of my water. I had a big backpack on, with 2 bottles of water, along with my work clothes and some books that I had read on the bus. All in all it weighed about 15 lbs (I weighed it once I got home). I don’t think that the extra weight itself was that bad, but I think it did affect my riding posture. Thinking about it, due to the fact that the park in Loveland had water fountains, and if I left my work clothes at work (and wore another set the next day), I could probably get away without carrying anything.

After a few minutes, I continued on the bike trail. I had to cross a few intersections, but I found that the cars on the crossroads were very friendly – at least 3 times they stopped and motioned me to cross. Nice! I had about another 4-5 miles on the trail, till I got off at Beech Road. A few turns and I was crossing over the river on OH-126, bringing me to the 2nd of my areas of concern – the intersection of OH-126 and Loveland-Madeira road. I often come home this way while driving, though I am coming southbound on L-M, rather than westbound on 126 as I was today. So I know that this intersection can get a little congested, especially if you’re trying to turn left, as I was today. One thing that I had going for me was the fact that 126 is closed for repairs west of L-M, so there wasn’t much oncoming traffic. On the flip side, the intersection was up a hill, I had to stop at a red light, and the car at the head of the line (I was 3rd) stalled or in some other ways didn’t go right away on the green. I was having trouble getting any momentum going, so even though I was endeavoring to signal left, I was not able to get a good handle on my bike, which kept drifting right. The cars behind me just kind of turned left around me, and I had to go straight through the intersection, stop, and then cross when it was safe.

Coming home on L-M, there were (as usual) tons of cars stacked up going northbound, waiting to get through the intersection. So even though I was as far right as possible, cars were unable to safely pass me, since the oncoming lane was full of cars. I had them backed behind me all the way past Spooky Hollow, which you can see on the map I linked up above. If I were a hard-core cyclist, I’m sure I would love having cars stuck behind me, and would probably revel in getting as many stuck behind me as possible… but I’m not quite there yet. Other than that, the ride on L-M was nothing special, though it was pretty hilly and I was kind of wiped out by then. I may have to rethink my route home – nothing too bad, but some of the cars passed a little closer than I would have liked.

By the time I got into Madeira, I was definitely feeling it. I had a big ol’ Kroger truck stuck behind me for about 100 feet as I turned onto Camargo, again with no room to pass. There are several options for me to turn off of Camargo (Camargo Woods, Longfield, Osceola, or I suppose I could even go up to Sanoma or Thomas. All of those options involve big ol’ hills, none of which I was relishing. I ended up deciding to take the first one (Camargo Woods), because I didn’t feel like riding on the busy road of Camargo any more than I had to. Of course, that’s also probably the biggest hill of any of them, and I ended up walking up. After I got to the top of that hill, I got back on and rode the 1/2 mile or so home.

All in all, a fun experience, and it feels good to do something that I’ve always said I wanted to do. Final totals were 16.78 miles in 1:20:48

Bike commute, part 1

Well I made it through the first part of the bike commute. I had a hard time sleeping last night. I’m not sure what it was – maybe some combination of being sore from basketball and just worrying about the bus ride this morning. I was worried that maybe not ALL of the buses would have bike racks and this one just wouldn’t happen to have one, or there would be some rule about bikes couldn’t go on buses that would go on the Interstates. I wasn’t really worried about there already being 2 bikes on the rack (each rack can only carry 2), since I doubted many people would be taking buses on this route.

I was also concerned about just being able to get my bike on the rack. Since I’d never seen one before, there’s always the nervousness of trying to figure it out on the fly. This morning though I was able to print out an instruction brochure (pdf) from their website and run through it.

I got to my parking location over at Montgomery and Kenwood roads about 7:15 or so. The bus was supposed to get there at 7:30, but I wanted some extra time just to make sure I was there. I unhooked the bike, stowed the rack in my trunk, and stood waiting for the bus, reading my book. 2 other people got there right when the bus got there, shockingly on time! I got the bike on without too much delay, though I did get a friendly honk from the driver when I was putting the bike on wrong. It’s $2.25 for the bus, which I think is somewhat strange that it costs $2.25 if you ride from downtown up to Mason, and $2.25 for me too, even though I’m catching the bus 12 miles or so north of downtown.

Bus ride was uneventful. I read my book and just road-watched, which I also find fun. The bus route is pretty windy, hitting various places of employment. My stop is almost right at the end (it then continues down the road over to Kings Island). Total time on the bus was about 35 minutes. I got the bike off the rack without a problem, but then I forgot to fold the rack back up to its upright position (you’re supposed to do that if there are no more bikes on the rack), and the driver had to get out of the bus and fold it up. I apologized. Then I rode through the parking lot, chained up my bike and walked in.

More tonight!

Another bike ride

Went out biking again this morning. I know all 3 of you are probably bored to death with these recaps but nevertheless here goes. Actually, I always seem to have trouble when I’m searching my blog trying to find posts like these, so pardon me while I bike every street bicycle ride training Madeira.

This morning I am aiming to be my last training run before I bike home from work on the 21st, unless there are babial issues. I did just over 13 miles in just over an hour, averaging out to ummmm about 13 miles per hour. Actually, to be technical, it was 13.17 miles in 1:04:41, which is about 12.2 miles.

There were a lot of good hills on this route. Starting off was a good one coming up Drake Ave. I believe I calculated the grade (total climb divided by length of the climb) somewhere around 4%. For comparison, according to this site – 2% grade does not seem very steep, but it’s enough to substantially reduce forward speed, and for most riders it will absorb more than half their power output, while 6% grade is enough to cut speed to well under half, and absorb more than 80% of a rider’s power output (leaving less than 20% to fight air resistance and rolling friction). So somewhere between that. Also a good hill at the end of N Clippinger Drive and pretty much throughout the ride.

One interesting thing happened right at the start on Drake. Indian Hill HS is on Drake, and at the time I was riding (7:15ish), it was just about school starting time. That made the road a little bicycle unfriendly, since it was somewhat narrow and I had several school buses whizzing by me. But interestingly enough, right at the high school I actually got to ride in the flow of traffic. Because of all the people turning into the HS, traffic was slow enough that I was able to ride right with it. Actually, several times I had to stop, which also reduced my overall speed. While my cyclometer doesn’t count time when you’re stopped, when you’re barely moving at 2-3 mph, it does track time. I also got to ride with the flow of the traffic coming down the hill from Shawnee Run back into Madeira on Miami Ave.

I am interested to see how fast I ride on the bike trail. My overall average speed suffers on rides like the one this morning, because I do a lot of turning around in cul-de-sacs and such. So in theory when I’m riding a more straight route, I should be able to ride faster. Maybe 14-16 mph? We’ll see.

Another thing to note – my cyclometer also measures the max speed. Mine for the ride was 28.5 mph. And while I’m not entirely sure WHERE it was, it seems likely that it was in a residential area, in which case I was BREAKIN THE LAW, BREAKING THE LAW, BREAKIN THE LAW LAW LAWWWWWWWWWWWW. Actually I’m fairly sure it was coming back down the hill on the aforementioned N Clippinger.

Also had some chain problems – it seemed like it kept popping out of the sprocket / derailleur. And yes, I did just want to use the word “derailleur”, in all its Frenchy goodness. I’m not sure what the deal is there. It wasn’t too big of a problem, but it was annoying to have to get off my bike (twice) to pop the chain back in. PS – if you’re not sure what a derailleur is, I didn’t just throw that link in for my health people.

In any case, I feel good and am excited for the commute home on Thursday

Oh by the way, it’s super double coupons again this week. Meijer sure does seem to have a knack for scheduling them at very inconvenient weeks for me. At least we’re (almost) out of former Presidents to die this week. A sentence which will hopefully not get me arrested.

More biking fun

So I got out on the old bicycle again this morning. It had been awhile, though it’s not been far from my mind recently. I am sure you are all well aware with my madness regarding visiting all 88 Ohio counties in a 24 hour period. Recently I have been exploring a possible route and how long it might take to visit all 88 Ohio counties by bike. Obviously this would be a many-day adventure, and not one that I’m likely to ever actually DO, but the route planning is fun :-) .

Barring that, I pondered a bike trip from Cincinnati to Cleveland. There actually is a trail called the Ohio to Erie Trail that runs that route, though it is in various stages of completion, and the stages that are complete are at various levels of “goodness”. I did read one account of a guy who biked it, which I found quite interesting.

In any case, I busted out the old road bike this morning. All of my previous biking adventures have been with Carolyn’s old mountain bike, which is in better condition than this bike. I’m not even sure where this bike came from, though I would suspect from my step-dad. I got out the bike pump last night, pumped up the flat tires and did a test ride, and it appeared to be working fine. So out I set this morning. I ran one of my Madeira routes (Madeira J on my bike log or Route one over here). It’s 4.65 miles – I thought I’d keep it somewhat short for now. When I did this route back last summer, I clocked it in 25 minutes, and when I did it last winter it was 41. I’m not sure why it was so much slower in the winter, though I do remember it being DANG cold. Anyways, this morning I clocked in at 21:07. It felt pretty good. This bike is probably 15-20 pounds lighter than the big mountain bike. And of course, there’s about 20 pounds less of ME to lug around. I could definitely notice it going up hills.

I also have spent some time devising a route to visit the full length of every street in Madeira in one long route. My first draft was 49.6 miles, though I might be able to whittle that down a bit with some modifications. We’ll see if I can get that attempted before the winter cometh. I’ll blog more about that later once I have more confidence in my route.

Which brings me to yet another biking topic – riding my bike home from work. This is something I may have mentioned before here. The way I think I’d do it is to drive with my bike over to the Kenwood Town Center (sic) area, park the car, and ride the bus (with my bike) to work. There’s a route (pdf) that actually goes right by my office, and buses have bike rack space for 2 bikes. Then, after work, I change and bike home.

Here is one possible route – it is 16.7 miles and much of it is on the Little Miami bike trail. That’s the route that I was originally planning on. But after looking at the map, I also came up with this other route. It’s more direct (14.29 miles), but still stays off the major routes for the most part. I might try it out next week. While I’m here, I would just like to throw a major shoutout to – where those last 2 links went. It is a freakin awesome site for things like this. When the Google Maps API came out a few months ago, I toyed with a site like this, just for my personal use. I never really got any type of UI going or anything like that.

Adventures at Kroger

Thought I’d share my experiences at Kroger the other day. I was going in just for some weekly pickups – milk, paper towels, etc. Kroger also has a deal this week where Kraft salad dressings are 10/$10, but if you buy 6, you get a $4 coupon off of your next order. So I split up my orders – first order was the 6 salad dressings, so I could get the $4 coupon, and then use that coupon on order #2.

Things went fine, until I went to use my $4 coupon and the cashier (teenage girl) wouldn’t take it. She said that I couldn’t use it because she had just given it to me. I explained that no, that was a separate order, and there was no problem using it on this order. She insisted that “it wouldn’t work” and I held my ground that yes, yes it would. Finally, when it became apparent that she wasn’t going to use it, I asked her to go get a manager. She left with the coupon, and then came back a minute or so later saying that the manager had said I couldn’t use it. I told her I wanted to speak with the manager. I was remembering a good piece of advice that one of my co-workers (and fellow couponer) had told me. His thought was that if you leave the line, you’ve already lost. As long as you’re in the line, the stores will typically do whatever they can to get you out and move on. Once you leave the line and go up to customer service, the store really has no incentive to help you out (besides just general customer service). So I held my ground and told her I wanted to talk to the manager. She said “but…. I just talked to her”. So she went to go get the manager. As I suspected, the manager didn’t really feel like dealing with this, so the cashier just came back and said that she had told the cashier that I could do it “just this one time”. Victory!

I actually wanted to go back up to Customer Service to talk to this manager and find out her reasoning. It is my suspicion that the cashier mis-represented what actually happened and told the manager that the coupon had been printed out on the same order I was trying to use it on, which was not the case. I can see their policy in that case (barely) but this was a completely separate order. What’s the minimum time limit between orders I need to use here? Would it have been okay if I had done one order, circled back in line and then used it? Do I need to physically leave the store? Get in my car and then drive back? Fairly ludicrous I think. But it does fit right in line with my oft-stated maxim that cashiers and managers essentially make up whatever rules they feel like.

But the manager lady left as I was approaching. I don’t know if she saw me and felt like avoiding the confrontation, or if she just had “stuff ta do” in some other part. But I still went up to CS because the 5# bag of potatoes I got was marked 3/$5 but rang up at $2. Since Kroger has a Scan-Right guarantee, I got the potatoes for free.

Answering machine message

So, a few weeks ago, we got a new answering message. It was about a year or so too late – our previous machine was really in the crapper. It was quite frustrating to get messages such as:

“Hi this is . I was wondering if you could . Please call me back at .”

In any case, we haven’t had many messages on this new machine. Apparently, nobody loves us. But we did get a very interesting one a few days ago. I was going to record it and upload it because it was that funny, but J. erased it. Actually that’s a complete lie. While I would have liked to record it, I clearly wasn’t going to do that.

In any case, I will do my best to give you a brief synopsis. There are 2 people mentioned in this who shall remain nameless.

Person A: Person at church who is organizing the ward’s labor day picnic. He’s out of town this week.

Person B: Person at church who is helping with the picnic organization due to Person A being out of town.


“Hi Dan, this is . I’m trying to get some things organized for the Labor Day picnic here. asked me to ask you if you had any extra ketchup, mustard or relish. . I’m not sure why he asked me to ask you that. Maybe you work in a relish factory?”

It was so funny we listened to it several times. Good times….