It is time for the final tally of miles walked this past year. Yes, I made it … whew! I actually finished up a few weeks ago thanks to stellar weather in October and early November. Good thing I wasn’t down to the wire as my walking regimen halted for four days over Christmas weekend courtesy of the Bomb Cyclone, when my measly walks were a trudge to the garage to run the car and along whatever snowy paths I cleared with my shovel.
What a difference a week makes, BUT, although the weather now feels like Spring, perfect for walking …
… it has rained yesterday and today, so I have slept in and rested on my laurels.
So here is how it all shakes out.
I met my goal of 1,256 miles (2,022 kilometers) on December 11th. I added another 28 miles to my total the past few weeks. Next year I will add one more mile for my 2023 goal (1,257 miles/2,023 kilometers).
And yay me for what I did driving wise, probably shocking fellow bloggers Ruth …
… and JP, both who teased me about my low car mileage back in January.
You both inspired me, (plus in May the mechanic reminded me I needed to drive the car more, forcing me to drive it to the Park daily and walk two more loops there, instead of walking through the ‘hood, unless we have wintry weather). I used to think it was fun to walk more miles than I drove, that is until I realized I was harming the car. The car was in the shop for two weeks in May or I may have racked up more miles.
Here are my odometer readings from January 2022 and a few weeks ago (1,300 miles is a lot of miles for me):
“It was the best of times, …
… it was the worst of times, ….” is not only a portion of a famous quote from Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities” but it also describes the last quarter of this year for me, when Mother Nature not only graciously granted me every weekend in October and early November to walk my socks off and really ramp up my miles, but she also had some wily weather tricks up her sleeve.
Yes, Mother Nature became my nemesis.
Maybe I whined about Mother Nature a little too much as to the heat and humidity, like on the first day of Summer when it was 96F/36C, or those doggone Dog Days of August, especially with this real-feel temp – ugh!
On the positive side, that lack of rain (this was our region’s third driest year on record) meant more days to walk!
I took every chance I got to enjoy the dry and unseasonably warm Fall weather. One local weatherman said the weather was “boringly great” and a couple of days later The Free Press described our weather:
It was great until it wasn’t …and, as you see here, again, like Christmas and New Year’s weekends, what a difference a week made!
Perhaps I offended Mother Nature by complaining here in comments or grumbling to myself as I added and subtracted clothing to match the weather that day, then, just before Thanksgiving, every time I turned around I was dealing with some weather-related issue here at the house. I was told it was our ever-changing temps: hot/cold and it was that disparity in temps that caused consternation, not to mention money.
I suddenly needed new deadbolt locks on both doors … never mind the fact that one door’s deadbolt was installed in 1984 and the other had been replaced in 2017. Both suddenly seized up and refused to turn. The locksmith said “hot/cold weather cycles are making your door frames shift ma’am.”
Then there was that hairline crack I noticed on the hall ceiling earlier this year. I thought it was pretty inconsequential – that’s a good way to describe it, THEN it morphed bigtime! Perhaps if I used the long-handled duster more, or had paid attention to that crack before I needed to change the light bulb in the hall light fixture, I would have seen that crack expanded and traveled across the hall ceiling and down the wall. That’s my job to fix now. And a paint job to boot … that painting task can wait until retirement, whenever that will be.
The Wicked Wind.
One day I noticed wide cracks in the mortar on the outside bricks. I had the handyman take a look and he determined the wind had caught the awning, partially pulling it from the wall and that created fractures in the mortar. Everything’s been shored up and tuck pointed, so hopefully that won’t happen again!
Yes, Mother Nature had her way with me with that wicked wind, but there was more to come … for sure my worst experience of 2022. Many of you know the whole story of the weather woes on December 2nd, so I’ll give you the abridged version here.
As I tootled off to bed that evening, I knew that gusty winds were forecast for the 1:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. time frame. And yes, that big old dead tree in the backyard two neighbors down was worrisome, but I fell asleep quickly as I’d walked five miles earlier in the day.
After hearing a series of horrific booms at 11:30 p.m., I bolted out of bed. Simultaneously I heard banging at the front door, threw on some clothes and found neighbors standing at the bottom of my front porch steps trying to alert me there was a raging fire in the house behind mine, just 25 feet from where I slept. The loud booms happened when a tree branch from the dead tree fell onto the power line and the line fell onto the chain-link fence between our houses – the arcing noises on the metal caused the booms. The wind whipping around moved the downed wire to the neighbor’s garage and it was on fire.
These are some photos of the fire from our City’s Facebook Resident Forum. These photos were taken at the front of the neighbor’s house – you can’t see my house as it’s behind the flames:
The fireman put caution tape around my house and I was told to wait for the all clear, which came shortly before 2:00 a.m. Inside the house, it was very smoky and I wore a mask for two days. We got power back mid-day Saturday.
I should have taken a photo of the garage, but the shell of a garage was demolished and hauled away a few days later. I only got photos of the debris. That corner of the yard is scorched, bushes planted decades ago gone, BUT the house was spared … as was I.
Years ago, before the Polar Vortex of 2013-2014 ravaged my butterfly garden, the yard was a paradise. I refused to replant, then I began walking in 2011, then blogging in 2013 … less time to garden, so, I will dwell on what to do about not only this corner but the rest of the yard over the Winter.
In 2022, I lost a few friends.
Spring was tough – I lost four friends from March through June. Terry passed away from complications of a stroke and COVID in March; Kirk was in his vehicle at a stop light when a dump truck driver was texting and rammed into his vehicle and Kirk succumbed to multiple injuries two days later in May. In June, John lost his life to heart failure. Lives snuffed out – friends suddenly gone.
I also miss Arnie, a fellow walker, whom I often mentioned in my posts. While I prefer a solitary walk, Arnie and I discussed nature as seasons unfolded at Council Point Park while we fed the squirrels. He only walked one loop per day here, but he frequented other nature venues where I visit, so he gave me rundowns of what he saw on his bike rides there. Arnie did not use a computer so he could not check out my blog, but he would have loved to hear about some of this year’s nature sightings, especially the Sandhill Cranes as he was a birder. Here is a photo of Arnie and his wife Carol I featured in a post. Carol walked sporadically due to back issues and has not been back to the Park since Arnie’s passing in June.
I hope 2023 will be better …
I’m borrowing an idea from fellow blogger Ruth. She is a Michigander like me and every month in her blog Ruth features an inspirational calendar’s monthly quote. I saw a great nature calendar with monthly quotes and bought it, then shared with Ruth I was going to be a copycat. This is the calendar front and back.
No, I’m not going to open it and hang it until January 1st. My mom never hung up a calendar until the new year arrived deeming it bad luck to do so. So, “Momism” or old wive’s tale, its shrink wrap stays on one more day. Stay tuned for the January page in my first 2023 post. Finally, (if you’re still here – I know this post is long), my New Year’s wish for you, appropriately an e-card calendar of nature scenes, can be found by clicking here.
Happy New Year one and all!