Ice-Free Eaves

Apparently having not learned my lessons from last winter’s leaky roof adventure, I didn’t quite get around to cleaning the leaves out of the eaves troughs before the snow came. Over the last couple weeks, ice was starting to build up again.

In my defense, there was only about a week between the leaves falling off the trees and the snow starting, and the snow hasn’t let up since. I was hoping the Looj would help me out, but it didn’t fit. I called some maintenance company about an estimate, but haven’t heard back.

So I was pretty much on my own. As I was saying, the it’s been looking pretty grim as the snow hasn’t let up. Until today. A Saturday.

Today, miraculously, the temperature drifted briefly above 0°C. That was my cue, and I sprung into action.

I hooked up the rubber hose to the hot water tap in the garage, got a chisel-like device, climbed up on the ladder and chunk by damp, icy chunk, removed the leaves from the eaves troughs.

They work much better now.

I only did the L-shaped section bordering the back patio. That’s the only part that’s been giving me trouble (the ice really likes to build up in the L-corners of roofs, it seems), and it was most easily accessible by ladder. I ended up very wet by the end, and my hands ended up dyed bluish-black from the gloves I was wearing. The ladder ended up a little bit icy. I’ve put the damn thing away till the spring. I hope I don’t need it again.

I’m really going to have to work on getting someone to help me out with this maintenance stuff, since I can’t seem to keep up with it all. I’m just glad I was able to get this horrible weight off me, especially since I’ll be home in Belleville the next few weekends.

Caffeine (The Gym Part 3)

So the first time I go to the gym and do much of anything, I nearly pass out. This is not a good sign.

And this is annoying, since one of the reasons I wanted to start going to the gym was because I figured this near-fainting thing was just due to me being incredibly out of shape. But by this point, I’m thinking there must be more to it than that.

I could rule out a couple theories about feeling faint after exercise: things like dehydration (symptoms were wrong and I’d drank lots), low blood sugar (I’d eaten more than enough), heat exhaustion (it’s not that hot), etc. None of them really matched up.

I’d been poking around and doing research about this for a few months now, since it’s been happening more often lately. The one thing that stood out is I’m always fine when I’m sitting; it’s when I’ve been doing work with my legs and then standing up, that’s when I feel it.

The symptoms are all basically the same as fainting, and you faint when you’re not getting enough blood to the brain. It’s the body’s way to get you to lay down so it can get oxygen to your brain so you don’t die. Very handy.

I figure the muscles, unused to exertion as they are, are taking more than their fair share of oxygen. So the answer is get the muscles more used to exertion.

Even so, there are lots of people who are way more out of shape than I am, and they don’t nearly pass out after a little bit of bike riding.

I went in for a follow-up orientation to finish going through my routine with a different guy. I explain to him the situation, and he is almost ready to turn me away and make me get a doctor’s note before we can proceed. What I’m describing may, after all, be a sign of low blood pressure. He takes my blood pressure, and it’s pretty much okay.

I’d realized something since the first gym trip and decided to bring it up. My caffeine intake was kinda high. Like 5+ cans of Coke (Zero) a day high. We get free pop at work, you see, and since the start of the whole diet thing, I’d been drinking an awful lot of diet pop. And I know diet drinks are bad, and I don’t really like them. As Marion Nestle points out, they’re introduction hasn’t seemed to have a positive impact on obesity at all. But they’re “free”, both in terms of money and effort and calories, which made them too tempting to avoid.

I think I’m going to avoid them now.

When I mentioned the diet Coke thing, he backed off from the doctor’s note idea and explained how caffeine can dilate the blood vessels and how artificial sweeteners are amino acids which require more water to flush out of the system.

I am planning on bringing this stuff up with my doctor, but laying off the pop this week, I’ve been to the gym twice so far with no ill effects. Wednesday I actually pushed it kinda hard, and came out okay. So I’m hoping I’ve got this thing figured out.

I’m planning on going to the gym three times a week. This month is going to be a bit iffy with the number of trips home and back, but I think I can get into a routine which will help me out with stage 3 of the diet…

Feeling Faint (The Gym Continued)

Back during one of my co-op terms in Belleville, I got it into my head that I wanted to bike out to my grandparents’ place on Purdy St–way the hell the other side of town. Now Belleville’s not an incredibly big town, but that’s still a substantial bike ride. You’re going downtown towards the river, crossing the footbridge and riding up the other side. It was summer and it was hot. While that still might not be an incredible achievement, I hadn’t biked much in years. Even though I biked a lot in highschool, getting my bike to Waterloo and back every term wasn’t something I wanted to do.

I was actually feeling pretty good by the time I got there. A little winded and tired, maybe, but I’d made it. And then I got off the bike.

Still okay. I thought. Legs were just a little wobbly. Ooh, I’m just a little bit light-headed. I rang the doorbell to my grandparents’. It was becoming increasingly clear that I wasn’t doing so well. I was sweating like crazy and my face was flushed. My grandma seemed concerned but I couldn’t entirely make out what she was saying. I let them lead me to a chair in the living room and they got me a drink. My ears were ringing and I was feeling nauseous. The whole world looked whiter. All I could do was sit back and breath, maybe taking a sip of water now and then.

It took a few minutes, but things slowly returned to normal. I had a nice visit, but I can’t remember how I got home. I think I left my bike and got my grandpa to drive me back.

I’ve had this happen a few times in the last few years. Like on my biking adventure several years ago, or once on the first bike ride of the season. This year, though, it’s happened an alarming number of times. Like when I’m doing some light riding on my stationary bike, or just biking to work. This is stuff I have no business not being able to do.

So at the gym last Wednesday, the trainer dude first decided that before I could get my little keyfob thing (which I had in fact been paying for the last 11 months), I should do a strength assessment. This involved going to several different weight machines and just seeing how much I could do. Legs, quite a bit… everything else, not so much.

After that, he had me run though a typical workout. Keep in mind I’ve never done this before. Last time I lifted weights was grade 9 gym class.

By the second or third machine, I was feeling a little shaky. He jokes “you’re not going to faint on me, are you.”

I go “Uh, not yet.”

After standing up from the next machine, I nearly do.

At least he was nice and brought me water and juice.

(to be continued)

(Yes, I think I have this figured out. But this is a long post already and I don’t want to keep writing. Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion!)

Organic Restaurants

I’m on the lookout for local restaurants serving organic foods–meats especially. So I was impressed that the recent Networking column buried in the business section of the Record had two potential options.

One was the Exhibit Cafe, located in the Children’s Museum in downtown Kitchener. By the sound of it, they deal in light lunch fare, serving local and organic meals. They’re attached to a local company called Millbank Foods (with no website for the cafe that I could find). I think they had a booth at the Canada Day thing at UW.

The other is Village Creperie, which does have a website with a lovely PDF menu. The menu promises “We only use organic flours, fish, meats, vegetables, fruits, dairy,” which is nice. I’m not entirely sure what a “Galette” is, but some of them sound good.

NaBloPoMo 2007 Final Status: Fail

I was doing pretty well up until the last week too…

Ah well, maybe next year. Actually, I kinda want to try WriMo again next year. We’ll see what’s going on with stuff, I guess.

What it came down to, basically, was the stuff I was spending most of my time thinking about is stuff I’m very reluctant to post out in public like this, and the stuff that I could post about was losing out on processing time to the other stuff. The goal, however, was to get myself to write even when I didn’t feel like writing, so that excuse doesn’t really wash.

Ah well.

I was enjoying it while I was doing it, though. I’ve still got a few posts I wanted to write but never did. There’s also that whole unresolved laptop thing that is just as unresolved for me, too. And I never told you what happened when I went to the gym. I’ll save telling those stories for when they have satisfying conclusions.

For now, though, I am tired and should go to bed.