Friday, September 17, 2021

Back to Texas

Storm Clouds at BWI
September 16, 2021

Travel has resumed. Last evening after a challenging day at work, Chris and I flew to the Houston  area to visit Mom and Dad.  

The word of the afternoon was thunderstorms. Our flight was delayed boarding due to the storms. But, we got off and winged our way to Texas aboard a Southwest Airlines flight. The flight was relatively smooth and we arrived a bit late, but we arrived. Some flights had been canceled, but ours fortunately was not. 

Chris and I are here to visit with my parents and also attempt to decompress a bit after a really pressure-packed week. The flight experience was fairly normal except of course the requirement to be fully masked. I found that by the end of the flight the straps on my mask were hurting my ears.  But, I fully support masking requirements and, here it comes, mandatory vaccination. But those are thoughts for another blog. I am not sure I would feel comfortable trapped in an airplane with 120 of my new best friends without a facial covering mandate. 

For now, I’ll going to have some breakfast and prepare to visit with mom and dad. Travel is behind me and the morning is beautiful here. 

— Bob Doan, writing from Fulshear, Texas

Thursday, September 16, 2021

On to Infinity . . .

 Four Americans are circling the globe this morning as the first totally civilian crew to pilot a space mission. Inspiration4 launched form Cape Canaveral last evening in spectacular form placing the four onto orbit where they will remain, if all goes as planned, they will be in space for the next three days before deorbiting back to Earth ending with a water-landing off the Florida coast. 

It is all pretty exciting and a very extreme fund-raising campaign for St Jude Children's Research Hospital. The hope is to raise $200 million--which is as lofty a goal.

That a commercial company, SpaceX, has people in space, on-orbit where they will be for the next three days is almost mind boggling, but I believe that the commercialization of space and space travel is critical to achieving the dream of becoming a space-faring civilization. 

For now, here is hoping that everything goes as planned and that the mission is a success both in terms of the actual flight and subsequent recovery as well as in its fund-raising goals. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Closed Until May


Pool Cover Installed 2021
Elkridge, MD
September 14, 2021
As the leaves began to fall in earnest yesterday, the cover was installed on the pool to begin its winter hibernation.

Always a sad day, the cover went on fairly easily and I am hoping to see sparkling pool water when I open it during late April 2022.

The good news is that the pump is no longer running for hours each day and that saves electricity and I am not adding chlorine and chemicals to keep the water balanced--but that is all part of the joy of owning a pool. I am very hopeful that the new cover will keep the algae at bay and that opening in the Spring will be easier than it has ever been. 

There remain a few smaller projects, such as disconnecting the motor from the pump and filling some of the lines with anti-freeze, but together that is less than half an hour and can be done as I have time. Getting to cover on before the leaves fall is the most important part of the project. 

It was a beautiful day with temperatures in the 90s and I dearly wanted to be swimming in rather than closing the pool, but the season is over. Now I can sit and watch the wind blow leaves onto the cover and not feel compelled to skim them from the pool.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Season's End

Pool Drained fir Winter
Elkridge, MD
September 13, 2021

 The process of closing the pool began yesterday. 

The winterizing chemicals are in, the pipes are blown out with compressed air and the final preparations for the cover are being made.

The cover--yes the new cover. Well, I did made a small mistake. There were some holes in the seal around the coping that I filled. I thought the urethane-based sealant would set in an hour--but it takes overnight and so we had to delay installing the cover. 

But we did everything necessary to install the pool cover and that should take less than an hour today. Then it is done and the leaves of autumn will not vex us as they fall increasingly into the pool. 

Of course, pool closing day is one of the saddest days of the year, but given that I had a fairly difficult Monday it was good to be distracted with the activity as I came hope from work. I still need to disconnect the motor on the pump and fill the lines with two gallons of anti-freeze, but that will come as time allows. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, September 13, 2021

Monday Musings - September 13, 2021

1. Welcome to mid-September, It is the second Monday of the month. There are 15 Mondays remaining in 2021. Wow, the year is drawing to a close too quickly.

2. By this time next week, I expect my pool to be closed for the winter. Sadly, the closure of the pool along with the passing weeks on the calendar make clear the Summer is fading.

3. The NFL Season has returned. Family football scores:

   Dallas lost to Tampa, 29-31.

   Pittsburgh defeated Buffalo, 23-16.

   Washington lost to Los Angeles C, 20-16

   Ravens face Las Vegas tonight.

8 Chains North Vineyard
Waterford, VA
September 12, 2021

4. Chris and I spent an enjoyable day visiting our favorite Maryland vineyard and stopping of at a new favorite Virginia vineyard. It was a great day to be out and enjoying the beauty of the late-Summer. It was a great day to be out and about.

5. 44 runs allowed in three games! That is the what the Orioles have allowed during their past three games against the Blue Jays. That is two days worth of baseball. They allowed 11 runs in each game of a doubleheader on Saturday--and were leading late in both games before losing. They followed that by allowing 22 runs on Sunday. Can we put a fork in the Orioles season yet? There are 19 more opportunities for defeat remaining in the season.

6. Mandatory vaccinations are not unconstitutional. The Supreme Court ruled on that matter in 1905 in Jacobson v Massachusetts. So lets get vaccinated and defeat COVID.

7. With the recent 9/11 remembrance, I was reminded that after the attack after that September day Americans joined together to wage war on the attackers. I am saddened that now, when we are under attack from a virus, we cannot join together to win that war. 

8. Today in History. September 13, 1993. After decades of bloody animosity, representatives of Israel and Palestinemeet on the South Lawn of the White House and sign a framework for peace. The “Declaration of Principles” was the first agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians towards ending their conflict and sharing the holy land between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea that they both claim as their homeland.

Restaurants Close Dining Rooms Again as Delta-Driven Infections Spread - The Wall Street Journal

Covid-19 Could Become Like Flu if More People Get Vaccinated - The Wall Street Journal

G.O.P. Seethes at Biden Mandate, Even in States Requiring Other Vaccines - The New York Times

False Election Claims in California Reveal a New Normal for G.O.P. - The New York Times

West Virginia spike shows challenges facing states with low vaccination rates - The Washington Post

Unvaccinated people 11 times more likely to die of covid-19, CDC finds - The Washington Post

N.Korea tests first 'strategic' cruise missile with possible nuclear capability - Reuters

Russia planning to send humanitarian aid to Afghanistan -RIA cites foreign ministry - Reuters

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Successful Opening Day

Jax and I on the Field Game 1
Severn, MD
September 11, 2021
Photo by Nicole Haslup

Baseball opening days are full of hope and promise.

Yesterday was opening day for the Severn Seminoles 14U in Chesapeake Baseball Association (CBA) play. It was an opening doubleheader for Fall Ball, which is the developmental part of the season leading to the real season in the Spring--but it is still baseball and the games matter to the coaches and players. Scores and records are kept.

Opening Day was a perfect baseball day with temperatures in the 80s and a partly cloudy sky. The field was a bit of a mess, but we worked hard to get it ready for the games. Yes, games. The team had a doubleheader against Southern Maryland Sliders 14U. 

This opening day doubleheader was the tale of two games.

The first game of the doubleheader was full seven inning affair that the Seminoles won with a walk-off run in the bottom of the 7th, 4-3. It was an exciting game which saw the Seminoles overcome a 3 run deficit to win the game in a somewhat dramatic fashion. 

The second game was completely different with the Seminoles winning via the Mercy Rule in the 5th inning, 17-2. The bats showed up for the second game and the Seminole pitchers were able to control the other team. As well, there were some dazzling defensive plays that prevented the Sliders from getting anything going on the base paths. 

It was a great start to the Fall season. I hope the boys and coaches can keep it going.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Chlorinator's Revenge


Parts to Fix my Chlorinator
You may remember that last week I wrote about nearly assassinating the pool chlorinator when I could not get it to open and then close properly after filling it with chlorine tablets. Chris saved it from certain destruction.

The chlorinator got its revenge this week as the input fitting decided to break off while I was conducting routine maintenance and replacing the O-ring to make it all work better. Ugh!

An emergency troubleshooting event was required to allow the filter to continue working while replacement parts were procured. Of course the breakage occurred at 6:45 PM and the pool store, some 20 minutes away, closed at 7 PM. 

So Chris went off to the pool store yesterday and purchased the replacement parts and I installed them, successfully, last evening and all is good. The chlorinator seems to be working as designed.

To think, all of this and I will be closing the pool this coming week for the season. The summer fun in and around the pool has run its course.

But, the chlorinator just needed to get its revenge for its near demise last week.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, September 10, 2021

Facelift modernization

The New Look
Elkridge, MD 
September 10, 2021
A project which has been in progress for almost three long months was finally completed in our kitchen. 

We had the cabinets updated and I am amazed at how it changes the entire look of the kitchen--making it both brighter and more modern. I know I was amazed at how much brighter everything seems, and it is more modern--which is funny because I remember when I was a kid and my parents remodeled their kitchen to put in white oak cabinets--they were beautiful as are these remastered cabinets. 

Christmas Eve 2020
Elkridge, MD
The old brown look is definitely dated. I have included an image from Christmas Eve 2020 for comparison.

Chris is busy preparing Christmas Eve brunch ini this image and the dark cabinets can be seen. 

We are much brighter and that is important in a room which is very dark to begin with. 

Change is good, sometimes. It was just the nearly three months without doors and drawers that was a problem.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Not in Last?

In an amazing feat of baseball, the hapless Orioles have been victorious in 4 of their past 5 games!

That includes taking a series from the Yankees in New York for the first time since early 2019 and now winning 2 of 3 from the Royals at home in OPACY. Tonight they go for the four game series win, but can do no worse than a split if they lose. 

Maybe September will new kind to the Orioles. They are 4-3 so far during the month. A 50 win season is definitely almost possible as they stand 45-93 and are no longer the worst team in Baseball. That honor has shifted back to Arizona who are 45-95. 

The baseball season is rapidly drawing to an end and the big question for Orioles fans is: when will rebuilding be complete? 

Soon, I hope. 

I am looking forward to driving to Sarasota for some Spring Training games in February and March and hoping to see a team ready for major league competition rather than trying out for a spot in the College World Series. 

Finishing 42 games out of first has become nauseating and does not encourage me to go to the park--although I did enjoy my visit to the Nationals last Friday. I miss competitive baseball. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Note - OPACY: Orioles Park at Camden Yards

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

9/11 - 20 years Later

It is of course Saturday: the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attack. 

We are hearing stories of the survivors from ground zero and from the school children that were with President Bush as he received the news. But, I know that each of us have a memory, a story about that day when the world actually did stand still as we pored over the rubble and nationally collected ourselves. 

It is the stories of every American, no matter where they were nor what they did that day which are now part of our national fabric. The fear, the disorientation, the anger--those memories unite us because everyone over the age of about 25 definitely have memories of that day. 

I sat alone in a far away land watching NBC News in total disbelief worried about my family in Maryland. I felt helpless and small, safe in the truest sense of the middle of no where. My memories are very different that those of people who were living in the Beltway area and the rest of America on that day. I am told there was an eerie sense of quiet as all the air traffic quickly was grounded. My story included taking of of the first United Airlines flights from LA to Baltimore after that day and the security that was present everywhere. 

Chris and I had planned to journey to New York City this weekend, but we had not realized that it was the 20th annual remembrance of the day and have decided to avoid the crowds and the city and rescheduled our trip for another time. 

WE should each write our stories of that day down especially now with the end of Afghanistan so they are not forgotten. 

Remember! Do not let history be rewritten.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

My Zimbio
Top Stories