Saturday, May 21, 2022

Doubleheader Saturday


Sumner arrived almost exactly a month early yesterday. 

I looked at my watch just after 3 PM yesterday and the reported temperature in Elkridge was 90 degrees! I was outside and loving it! Officially, the actual high was only 89 degrees, but the heat of the day was sufficient to raise the pool water temperature 5 degrees. It is now 70 degrees and should climb even more today. I am seeing projection for the expected high of between 93-95 degrees!

My plan for the day? Coaching a baseball doubleheader! Yup! In the heat. We will be monitoring the boys carefully and are planning to bring home two wins! I am more excited about playing in the heat than I was about playing baseball in 30 degree temperatures. The ball should be flying today because our boys can really hit. 

And the good thing? After the game I can come home and fall into my pool to refresh from the heat and dust! Maybe that is the part that excites me most. 

BTW, the official first day of Summer is June 21st, but with Memorial Day next weekend and the heat continuing today and tomorrow before a respite it feels like my favorite month of the year: July!

Play Ball!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, May 20, 2022


I like to repair things. Fortunately, I usually understand when something is beyond my ability as was the case with an outdoors faucet repair.

Hole in the Wall
Elkridge, MD
May 20, 2022
Hooking up the water for the pool house and the house after the winter, the main outdoors faucet was not functioning properly. It was not leaking when off, but when I turned the water on the faucet leaked along the stem and out the handle. This is a fairly simple fix that I have done before on other outdoor faucets--but, this one was different. It was a ProFlo faucet and although I followed the YouTube instructions, the leak would not stop. Unlike non-frost free faucets, I could not take the innards out to repair it.

New Faucet
Elkridge, MD
May 20, 2022
This very faucet had been replaced about 5 or 6 years ago. I was disappointed that the ProFlo faucet did not last, but I was also aware that this repair required a professional because I had watched the previous repair. In the end the repair required soldering, pipe cutting, and about three hours of work by a professional plumber to replace the faucet.

All is good now, well, except for the hole in my wall that I need to fix. I have purchased a cover that will hide the hole nicely and when painted will be almost invisible. There actually was a smaller existing hole and cover, but I decided that since, for the second time, the hole needed to be enlarged to effect the repair that I would just put a larger cover on the problem instead of repairing the bottom portion of the hole to fit the existing cover which only provided access to the turn-off valve.. 

Not that I'm just covering over the problem, the problem was resolved.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Finally Out on my Bike

I finally got out on my bike again. I have not been riding too much since returning to Maryland due to the weather and life's busy schedule. Similarly, I have not one yet managed to visit a golf course to embarrass myself with how miserable my game has become. 

My ride was Monday as the weather was nice. I rode out in advance of expected storms, which did not happen--much like many of the dire weather forecasts that we have had in the area. I knew the expected storms were over an hour away and I was planning a 40 minute ride. 

In the end it was just over 8 miles and 39 minutes. The problem with this area is the hills. Riding the hills is tough. My app recorded over 500 feet of elevation change. While coasting and riding down the hills is exhilarating. going up can be a slog. I did manage to exceed 29 mph on the downslopes twice during the ride, but slowed to only 6 mph nearing the tops of some of the hills. The ride has almost no flat riding. I miss Florida for that. It seems almost everywhere I ride in Florida is relatively flat, with the exception of crossing the drawbridges which more resembles the hills here in Maryland. 

Hopefully, I will get out again soon. The weather is going to be in the 90s for the next three days. Yay! But, there is rain in the forecast.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Preparing for the Summer


Freshly Open Pool after Initial Vacuum
Elkridge, MD
May 17, 2022
Happy Hump Day!

In what should be the last pool opening in Elkridge, Chris and I enjoyed 80 degree temperatures and Pool Opening Day 2022 was one of the smoothest in recent memory. 

The day began with a trip to our local pool store to purchase chemicals and supplies. OMG, what a shock! Literally, chlorine is $4 a pound--up from $2.25 just a year ago. And when buying 50 pounds that makes a difference. All of the other chemicals and additives likewise have experienced a radical price increase. 

Under the cover, the pool was clear with only some debris that had blown into the water to remove. The algae bloom that we suffered with during the past few years was not present and only 12 pounds of chlorine shock seem to have brought everything into near balance. I still need to adjust the alkalinity and hardness a bit--but chemical wise, the pool is swimmable. Yes I am still doing the obligatory after the winter cleaning and need to brush the sides and vacuum again, but wow--the new pool cover I bought last season really seemed to do the job. 

Gray Tree Frog
Elkridge, MD
May 17, 2022
Adding to the excitement of pool opening day was the visitor we had watching the activity: a gray tree frog. The frog perched on one of the galvanized fence pipes and spent the day in the sun. 

The frog remained all day and even after we concluded about 4PM to get ready for a baseball game. The frog did not seem to mind having us around and even posed for a picture. I hope to see it again today.

With the pool open and nearly swimmable all we really need are a few more days of warm/hot weather. It was the forecast 91 degrees for Saturday which spurred me into action. I did not want to miss that opportunity to get the pool up and operating in advance of the Memorial Day Weekend in two short weeks.  

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Scams and Sellers

It is no secret that Chris and I are downsizing and selling many of our possessions in advance of our permanent relocation to Florida. I have principally been using Facebook Marketplace and have generally been successful. 

Yesterday I experienced something new and sinister. Scammers! Two very different scams, one that I successfully defended against and one which I didn't understand and got scammed--but was able to quickly repair the damage with no loss of money.

Very quickly after I posted and antique on line for sale I received two quick offers. Of course I was ecstatic and that clouded my view. I have a bias that scams involve money, but I learned yesterday that there are other valuable things, like my phone number, that scammers desire to control.  

Both scams were running simultaneously using Facebook Messenger. The first scammer told me that they needed to verify that I was real and that sent me a verification code to send back to them. I totally missed that it was a Google verification code and it allowed them to disconnect my phone from my account and gave them control, briefly. The scam continued as we conversed about payment and they reported they could not verify my phone and did I have another number. At that point I began to suspect something and did not give them another number. The email from Google confirmed the scam by indicating my phone was no longer in my account. I quickly followed the instructions to regain control of my phone in my Google account and closed the scam. I reported it to the FTC and to Facebook.

While this was going on I was also managing another scam. The person was allegedly sending me payment for the item using Zelle. I checked out Zelle, which I did not have, and uploaded the app on my phone. I think this is where I was able to determine quickly that I was the victim of a scam. The scammer sent me an email, using an address that looked like it was coming form Zellepay, but upon inspection was from a gmail account, saying they had sent me the money. The scammer was trying to convince me that the money had been sent to my account, but that it was being held up because I needed to upgrade my account to a business account by having them send more money to the account, which I would then refund to them. Problem is, my Zelle account app showed nothing of this and did not register that any money had been sent. I had Chris call Zelle while I was online with the scammer to confirm the scam. Amazingly, the scammer contacted me via Messenger audio and was trying to convince me that it was all legit. I finally had to block the Messenger account. I reported a phishing attempt to Gmail. 

The old adage about "Buyer beware" is now definitely "Buyer and Seller Beware."

Scammers are out there, lurking to get something for nothing.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, May 16, 2022

Monday Musings - May 16, 2022


1. Happy Monday and greetings. Welcome to the third Monday of May! There are two Mondays remaining in May and 32 remaining in the year. 

2. Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Penguins for another great season which ended last night with a game 7 overtime loss to the New York Rangers. The loss eliminates the Penguins from this year's Stanley Cup Finals. The Penguins held a commanding 3-1 lead in the series before getting swept the last three games to lose to the Rangers.

3. Rain! Yup, it is in the forecast for today. I wish we could readdress the rain and send it to the dry and parched regions of the country. 

4. Inflation. OK, so I am neither an economist nor a financial wizard, but I am concerned that the Federal Reserve (FED) is approaching the inflation crisis using outdated formulae. The current inflation crisis, unlike those of the past, is being fueled principally by outside forces: COVID, China lockdowns, Ukraine, and supply line disruptions. Our dependence upon the global economy, which is normally good, is underpinning the inflationary cycle. My view: instead of tightening the money supply to reduce demand, the Fed should provide inexpensive money to assist industry to research to overcome the problems. This should lead to greater U.S. economic independence and resilence. 

5. The Severn Seminoles 14U Baseball Team played a tournament in Delaware this weekend and posted a 1-1 record. Unfortunately the tournament was cut short by rain which thwarted their quest to win the Championship.

6. Don't miss the headlines that I have curated this morning. See below. 

7. Today in History. On May 16, 1929, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hands out its first awards, at a dinner party for around 250 people held in the Blossom Room of the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, California.

The brainchild of Louis B. Mayer, head of the powerful MGM film studio, the Academy was organized in May 1927 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and improvement of the film industry. Its first president and the host of the May 1929 ceremony was the actor Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. Unlike today, the winners of the first Oscars—as the coveted gold-plated statuettes later became known—were announced before the awards ceremony itself.

Ukrainian forces reach border near Kharkiv: 'We made it!' - CNN

China's harsh lockdowns could exacerbate population crisis - CNN

Kim Jong Un mobilizes North Korea's military in response to Covid-19 outbreak - CNN

McDonald’s to Exit From Russia After Three Decades - The Wall Street Journal

Buffalo Shooting Suspect Wrote in School About Wanting to Carry Out an Attack - The Wall Street Journal

America Leans on Aging Power Plants to Keep the Lights On - The Wall Street Journal

Ruling parties in Sweden, Finland back NATO membership in historic shifts - The Washington Post

Russian oligarchs loved luxe Sardinia. Now they’re frozen out of paradise. - The Washington Post

Suspected gunman allegedly inspired by racist theory underpinning global carnage - The Washington Post

Russia will not 'simply put up with' NATO's Nordic expansion - Reuters

Analysis: Neutral Switzerland leans closer to NATO in response to Russia - Reuters

China's economy skids as lockdowns hit factories, retailers - Reuters

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Around the Firepit

Chris Around the Fire
Elkridge, MD
May 11, 2022

Between the rainstorms of the past week, Chris and I found time and a dry spell to enjoy time around the fire pit. I believe it was our second fire of 2022 as we were lucky enough to have one during January.

I was surprised that the wood we used was dry and made such a fantastic fire, but we sat and enjoyed the crackling of the fire for some time. 

Unlike many other fire pit evenings, we did not remain out until after dark, but rather went inside to enjoy dinner. It was Wednesday and the middle of a very busy week. But we enjoyed the respite from the bad weather. It was at least warm!

Sadly, we will miss the joys of the fire pit during the time we spend in Florida. Our condo association and the Tequesta Fire Department do not allow open flames in our community. Not that there is really anywhere for a fire pit in the condo area. And no, no open flames are allowed on the beaches, either. The light from the fire is a detriment to the turtles when they are laying eggs and then to the hatchlings as they race to the sea. 

We will, however, survive and leave the joy of fire pits to our visits back to Maryland.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, May 14, 2022

I Have to Brag

Odenton, MD
May 13, 2022
I'm writing a brag blog today.

I have the best looking grandson in the world!

Last evening was prom night and my grandson was lucky enough to attend the event. He is a junior and his date is a senior. Chris and I were lucky enough to attend the pre-prom picture sessions. Yes, plural! We did three sessions as it turned out. One at home and two at the local community center which has some very nice bridges crossing a small brook which provide for very scenic settings. 

Chris and I with Ethan
Odenton, MD
May 13, 2022
The couple coordinated his vest with her dress and they were stunning together. The picture taking went a bit long, but I have it on good authority that the couple made it to dinner and thoroughly enjoyed the prom arriving safely back at their homes, compliments of her parents, during the wee hours of the morning. 

Chris and I had our picture taken with Ethan, on more than one occasion, and he made the scene look good.

I remember high school and prom. I have to admit, I did not look nearly so good, but Chris, I remember, was stunning in a very pink gown. Maybe that is why I grew to love flamingos!

But wait, last evening was about Ethan enjoying his post-COVID high school experience and I am very happy that life is resuming and those major milestones of life, which so many kids missed, have returned. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, May 13, 2022

The Smell of Springtime

Spring 2022 Lilac 
Elkridge, MD
May 12, 2022
The lilac bush next to my porch is in full bloom. It is a late bloomer due to our location at the bottom of the street where it stays a bit colder longer. But when it blooms, it is fabulous.

And the bush is in full bloom. I enjoy walking out the front door into the air filled with the aroma I most associate with Spring. During a brief break in the clouds yesterday, I was able to get a good image of the flowers which are producing the sweet aroma. Set against the newly mown lawn they are the image of Springtime enjoyment for me.

Growing up in Upstate New York there was a large lilac bush right outside on my second story bedroom window. It was one of those huge, unkept bushes which get larger until they begin to take over the yard. I remember enjoying the sweet smell of the lilacs during the Spring and then remembering that sweet fragrance as I mowed around the bush during the remainder of the growing season until the winter. I lamented that the two weeks or so of enjoyment were so short in comparison to the remainder of the year. I believe that in why I have grown to enjoy Crepe Myrtle. Although Crepe Myrtle does not have the fragrance of lilac, its flowers remind me of lilac flowers and their fragrance. Of course, I say that now until I have to skim the Crepe Myrtle flowers out of the pool once they bloom.

Springtime! Something new to enjoy every day!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Fighting for a Spot

When the sun comes out everyone, it seems, becomes excited. 

Louis, Finnegan, Riordin in a Sunbeam
Elkridge, MD
May 10, 2022
It happened the other day when the sun created a warm ray shining through the window onto the floor. Two cats and one dog found a way to share the space and soak up some warmth. Louis, who is back visiting, Finnegan and Riordin all managed to find space--and they were close to each other. 

For a while, all was calm in the house as the three slept together. Sadly, the sunbeam soon moved away and the three animals scattered.

I wish the sun would shine more often. Since the afternoon yesterday the skies have been overcast again and are expected to remain gray until next week. Rain and thunderstorms are the forecast for tomorrow making Happy Hour a potential washout. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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