Monday, August 30, 2010

Robot Surgery & Myrtle Beach postcard

A few weeks back I reported on Upstairs Hal's tumble down the stairs. Thanks for all your warm wishes regarding his recovery! Meanwhile Downstairs Hal's right wheel refused to move after I initially fixed it, and DH (I know for you sewing bloggers, DH refers to Dear (darling? dearest? devoted?) Husband but here it's Downstairs Hal) refused to break free of a tight clockwise circle because of this. After contacting the iRobot support team, I bought a new cleaning module for Upstairs Hal and a new right wheel for Downstairs Hal. I think the total for these two items was in the $70 range. The parts arrived before vacay, and yesterday I performed surgery on both Hals.

Here's the interior guts of Upstairs Hal, while in the process of installing his new Cleaning Module which is green (unlike the old one which is red)

cleaning module replacement in progress

Here's Downstairs Hal without his right wheel:
Right wheel roomba replacement in progress

These surgeries were super duper easy--just unscrewing a few screws, popping the old parts out and putting the new parts in. You do need two sizes of Phillips screwdrivers--your standard average size and a much smaller one.

I also replaced the sidebar brush on each because why not...

Then I annotated my Hals with Sharpie marker so I know what surgeries have been performed and the date (and with that I have officially turned into my father). Of course on the one with the Cleaning Module replacement, I wrote that the "bin" has been replaced. Er, it's not the bin...I have a tendency to do that sometimes (write one thing while fully meaning another).

annotated roomba

So what was the success rate:
Downstairs Hal (right wheel replacement): running as smoothly as ever. Surgery was a complete success!!

Upstairs Hal (cleaning module replacement): The good news is he no longer clunks. Bad news is he is still kind of lurching along, and now has a new affectation: he won't go straight across a floor, but rather arcs across in a large sweeping convex curve, like maybe he needs his right wheel replaced too. I think I might just try the new wheel in UH to see if that corrects this problem. So I would say the surgery was a 75% success.

The postcard I wrote to myself arrived today. Does anyone else write postcards to themselves while on vacay?

Myrtle Beach postcard

that I sent to myself...

I had already forgotten the butterflies, so this was a great reminder!!

Len confirmed it is my SI joint that is inflamed and strained. I'm supposed to ice it for two weeks. It sent me scurrying to the internet to read about SI joint pain relief. Note to self: never ever ever read medical message boards again EVER.

Good night!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Myrtle Beach day 8 / Return to Jersey

This morning I awoke at 6:30. Excellent timing for the sunrise. I took a bazillion sunrise pix which are in my Myrtle Beach 2010 album if you want to see them all.
This gives you the idea.

Here's when it was going up. I wanted to yell to all the people walking away from it "you're missing the sunrise!!!"

And here's the last pic I took:

And here's it's reflected in the slider:
reflection in the balcony door

I did the jumble (am stuck on the last word and the puzzle), did all my stretches, got dressed, and packed packed packed. Got out of there and drove to K&W for my final meal, a K&W breakfast (my first of the trip!). Shoney's can be packed on the weekends and by that point I didn't have time to waste.
K&W breakfast
Believe me, I wouldn't have applied that much syrup to the french toast. But it was good--tasted just like my mom's!

The Myrtle Beach airport was such a zoo. I have visited during the summer previously and never saw such craziness for car rental return or the security line (40 minutes--that's longer than Newark, for a much smaller airport).

Walked back out to the plane and took a pic before boarding. Oh, and while waiting to board I recognized two people who had been seated in front of me on the flight out! They were on the same flight going back.
walkin' to de plane

Got comfortably seated in first class next to an incredibly anxious father who wanted to be seated near his children, who also got seats in first class. In fact, there were 8 children in first class out of 16 first class seats. What lucky kids!

It was disappointing to have the same pretzels as everyone else in coach, though beverages were served in real glasses during the flight. Plus there were drinks served before takeoff, and the Direct TV was free. Speaking of which, I watched a show called "Clean House" which is just another version of the old "Clean Sweep". It has inspired me to do some more decluttering.

I was the first person from my flight to the baggage carousel, and my bag was the fifth off the plane. Went to long term parking and got my car, but when I went to leave the only "green" lane was the EZ Pass lane, and I don't have that. I just stopped my car in front of all the booths. Finally I saw movement in one of the booths for credit cards/cash, but the light was red. I drove up to the booth and the woman said she said she was feeding a bird and forgot to turn the light on.

Now I'm home and have weighed myself to assess the week's worth of food damage, then went grocery shopping. I bought Irish Spring as deer deterrent for my impatiens. I know there's only about 6 weeks left for impatiens to bloom before the first frost, but I think I can get them to bounce back after the feast the deer had about 2 weeks ago. I should photograph them now as the "before" photo. I will Miracle Gro them tomorrow.

I honestly don't know when I'm going to sew again. It might not be for a while!

It is great to be home!

Good night!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Myrtle Beach day 7: last full day in paradise

Today's my last full day in Myrtle Beach.

This morning I watched the garbage truck while eating breakfast. I solved the Jumble yet again. Ah, sweet satisfaction. Oh! And I saw a LOT of dolphins this morning. So neat!
the garbage truck

I used miles to upgrade to first class. Maybe that was foolish, seeing as it's sort of looking like I might have been upgraded for free. but I'll never know for sure and I know I'll enjoy it!

K&W for lunch. It was kind of huge, but good as always! Here I'm half way through...
Lunch at K&W

Then I hit up the Christmas Mouse. I must say, the scent of cinnamon was not as strong as it was in the past. Going there is a ritual.
Christmas Mouse

I like their little mouse logo, and the neon "open" sign.

I thought my parents might enjoy this picture of Holiday Sands South, where we stayed often in my teenage years.
Holiday Sands South

and the hotel they built to the right of it, Holiday Sands at South Beach
Holiday Sands at South Beach

Mom was saying that it looks like Myrtle Beach has been Disney-fied. I agree with that, though there are little bits of the 60's left over, like the Sail Inn across from my hotel.
the Sail Inn

Here's another view of the Sail Inn
Sail Inn

Here is the sign for my hotel, and then you can see the Carnival sign in the background. There are little motels still dotting the coastline. In this shot you can't see the Carnival building itself, because it's in between some giant hotels.

I spent the afternoon on the beach, had another nap, didn't read anything. It is so unusual for me to not do very much!! Finally I got up out of my chair and walked to the 14th Avenue pier and back. Spent maybe 20 min in the ocean.

Dinner was at K&W, where I had a nice chat with the grandfatherly type server.
Then I ziplined again, this time while it was still daylight out! It is very, very tame. Then dessert was at Kirk's
Kirk's Ice Cream Shop
The public access spaces have these neat "pay" reminders
Pay to park

Since my flight isn't til the early afternoon, I will pack in the morning. That is really, really great. I won't have to get up early, no big rush...

I've been working on my back pain. I had totally fallen out of my routine and the pain was amplified as a result. Now I'm back to doing more stretches than ever and it seems to be helping. I haven't done any toning for 10 days now, and I need to get back into that. The formula that seems to work is:
  • do my stretching morning and evening. mid day too if necessary
  • do my toning class at the gym
  • watch my posture

Good night!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Myrtle Beach day 6: a day without food porn

Yeah, somehow I didn't take pix of any food today. But honestly what I ate isn't anything you haven't seen before.

Ladies, happy 90th anniversary of being able to VOTE! Today in 1920, the 19th amendment was passed!

Shortly after the start of a new day:
somewhat after dawn of a new day

Beautiful clouds!
clouds this morning

So my new room doesn't have a "do not disturb" sign. So I made one myself using the back of a receipt. I took it off this morning before hitting the beach. I come back from the beach and at first I think I'm at the wrong door. There's a "do not disturb" sign on my door, and it's plastic, but it's not a "best western" sign. I have no idea who put it on my door! I took it off again....but housekeeping never showed up.

Guess what I had for lunch? Lovin' the breakfast buffet open til 2pm every day.
the shoney's sign

Across the street from Shoney's is a t-shirt shop and Krispy Kreme. Camelot is in the middle on the ocean.
t-shirt shop on left, krispy kreme on right

I rented beach chairs and an umbrella today. I swam before lunch and only got my feet wet shortly before dinner
to the far left

Here was the view from my chair
my view from my beach chair

The beach sand is SO HOT. It didn't help the blisters on my feet (which were obtained during my donut mission the night before).

If I looked up:
looking up

One of my more favorite beach plane signs:
Crabby Mike's

My hotel is on the left and in the middle (I'm staying in the building in the middle).
my hotel is the smaller building in the middle

I actually fell asleep in my chair. when I woke up, I expected to be in my hotel room. And my hands were numb like they get in acupuncture! I didn't even read that much this afternoon. It was truly an unusual afternoon of doing nothing.

Around 4:30 the umbrellas are dismantled and you are kicked out of your beach chair. Now I'm left on the sand. To the right you can see the thunderstorm about to roll in
after the umbrellas have been dismantled for the day

I had dinner at K&W and surprised the grandfatherly type worker. He is just incredibly nice. He wanted to know if him saying "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year" made me change my mind about leaving. Hee! I ate way too much again. At least this is only one week of the year!

Mother Nature was putting on quite a show tonight with the moon. I wish I could have recorded the moon's ascent into the sky, while it played with the clouds. It felt very much like it could have been a meditation video. It was red and orange and the clouds were all around it...over it...cutting it in half, striping it like a tiger...all sorts of patterns.
Myrtle Beach moon 8/26/10

good night!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Myrtle Beach day 5: movin' on up

Started the day with cereal and the Jumble. I actually got all four words today! Woot!

So yesterday the desk clerk said I would have to move rooms in order to extend my stay. I packed up everything this morning, and then the manager told me I could have kept my room. Well, since I'm all packed up, can I move to a higher floor? The answer was yes! Now I'm on the 7th floor. It's still over the pool but it's much harder to hear the folks in the pool. I've always liked being on a higher up floor.

Lunch was at K&W. It was like Thanksgiving dinner! Before:
lunch:  before

lunch:  after

There was actually no line at all when I got there. I don't think I've ever seen it like that before. Not even someone in line or at the end of the line. totally empty.

On my drive back to the hotel, I saw someone being handcuffed. I believe that's the first time I've ever seen that in person...

Came back and took a nap, read a bit, went swimming in the ocean, read some more, finished postcards, and went back to Cracker Barrel for dinner.

Oh, but here's my afternoon snack:
my afternoon snack

My new view
new view to the front

My reflection:
this is my reflection

I wanted to take a picture of a pelican but I was too slow
the pelican flew out of this shot

I'm a huge fan of George, and now am a big fan of Sirius satellite radio in my rental car. Also, when Pete and I went to Hawaii in 2006, Freedom was the first song on our vacation CD, to be played after we were sprung from the conference. So I've always associated it with being free and on vacay, even though the song has nothing to do with vacation whatsoever. What a coincidence that it was playing when I got back in the car.
Sirius satellite radio

I went to a bookshop and bought a book for tmw. I finished the one I bought at the airport on Saturday.

I just liked how this looked:
palm frond?

These yes/no signs seem so vintage to me
Yes or no

So I decided to walk to Krispy Kreme. On one side of the sign, it was "hot now":
Hot now

the other side was more specific:
Krispy Kreme Hot Doughnuts NOW

I like this "mini mart" neon sign through the seagrass:
sea grass and the mini-mart
The hotel in the background of that shot is called "Camelot". No joke.

And finally, I ate the donut--do you see the moon?
the moon through the donut

The evening finished with fireworks! Someone was on the beach lighting them, and these were a step up from the usual amateur effort.

Good night!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Myrtle Beach day 4:extension

I'm not sure that the rest of my vacay time is going to top the heddy heights of yesterday's ziplining. I guess today's big news is I changed my return flight to Saturday! I was supposed to leave tomorrow.

The sun peaking out in an overcast sky:
glimpse of sun 8/24/10

I don't know if I'll keep taking pix of Shoney's breakfast buffet. I mean, I eat the same stuff every time (and I actually eat fruit afterward which I never photograph):
Shoney's breakfast buffet for lunch

Rocky road ice cream cone for snack, after outlet shopping (I am all shopped out!)
rocky road ice cream cone!

Shot of my room:
the hotel room

The housekeeper got creative today with the towels, though I'm not sure if this is supposed to be something?
interesting towel formation

Here's a shot I took before I went swimming. I swam in the ocean instead of taking a nap today. I'm trying to look like a sullen rock star here (I finally bought some cheapie sunglasses):
trying to look like a rock star

The ocean is rough again but I figured out where to stand. I was probably in the water for half an hour or so??

I went to Cracker Barrel for dinner--but I didn't take a picture. I felt like I was at a very "on display" kind of table. The waiter was super super nice.

Hit up the Piggly Wiggly for cereal, then took a walk on the beach. My SI joint is really annoyed. Or at least I think it's my SI joint. I think it's from sitting in a weird position this morning. I don't think it has much to do with the ziplining last night.

Since I was all pumped up last night, and I had taken a 2 hour nap yesterday afternoon, I didn't fall asleep til after midnight. Tonight I'm pretty tired and will have an early night.

Good night!