Cycling, Ribs, and Yoga

Today was the first time back on my bike since my crash 6 weeks ago. After breaking 4 of my ribs and collapsing a lung, I was a bit anxious as I approached the 1st hill (deep breaths).

Up to this point I was reminding myself of all the basics: ‘pull up on the back stroke, push down over the top, use the gears and save the legs‘ etc. That was on fairly flat roads. Quickly, the ‘mental’ messages gave way to familiar muscle memory.  Shortly after starting the 1st hill, I thought: “okay, here comes the test“.

But, I remembered the breathing technique I learned in a Yoga class, “ujjayi“, where you use your diaphragm to inhale and exhale. I had no discomfort!  It’s like the ribs get bypassed and the diaphragm does all the hard work. It was a relief and empowering.

It is amazing how in just 6 short weeks the techniques, which had been automatic, reverted to a deliberate, mental process. I had been practicing ujjayi breathing before my accident and was relieved this AM when I remembered it on my first ascent.

Truth be known: THIS time, as I began the big descent, I actually touched my brakes.   Well, “touched” is not correct. I used them for nearly half of the crest down, where I normally love to fly.  Now I understand, a little more clearly, why seasoned riders always go so much slower down steep hills than I do, er, DID.

So, am I chicken or more wise?

 

Fix Uneven Sidewalks

Has your concrete patio sunk or pulled away from your home?  Has your driveway lowered at the base of the garage? Would you like to level a sidewalk?

To remedy these and related challenges  has been daunting and, for me at least, has fostered procrastination.

What have you done to level things up?

I found this this remarkably simple way to raise sunken sidewalks, driveways, patios etc.  Watch this video.

Pretty cool.

 

 

Webcam Sneak-a-Peek Prevention

By now you have heard that people can easily hack into your computer to watch you through your computer webcam, right? Yep, and I guess it is easy. The scary thing is you have no way of knowing they’re watching: no blue light comes on, nothing.  Take a look at this fun little video.

Well, here is a low-tech prevention solution:  You know those little poke-a-dot things from your 2 hole punch? Tape one of them across your camera eye on your lap top when you’re not using it. Bye bye peepers.

Have you been hacked?  What have you done to prevent peepers?

Protect Yourself – Change the Locks

Mail boxes email lrgIt is always advisable to have the entry locks to your new home changed.  The previous owner, their family, the friendly neighbor –  have had a key to YOUR home.

If you are buying or, recently bought a home with a monument-type mailbox make sure you go down to the Post Office and arrange for them to change your mailbox lock as well.

Unless your agent obtains 3 mailbox keys from the seller, be ware.  When a new lock is installed the Post Office gives the homeowner 3 keys.  Typically, however, when we obtain keys from the seller, we might get 1 key for the mailbox (not all 3).  So, there are 2 other keys for your mailbox floating around out there.

The cost of the new mailbox lock is minimal when compared to the potential loss of stolen mail.  It will cost around $35 – $45.  Likewise, new locks for your entry doors will cost around $20 each when the locksmith ‘tumbles’ the existing lock.  The locksmith’s trip-cost will be additional.  It’s always nice too, for one key to open all of your entry doors.

Finally, it is easy and inexpensive to have your automatic garage door opener tweaked.  That is assuming the previous owner still has them to give you by the close of escrow.  If they have driven away with it still on their visor, a new opener is inexpensive and advisable.

Do you have a horror story about “keys”?  How about sharing for others to learn from?

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Gilroy’s New ‘Bad Dog’ Ordinance

Here’s a “High 5” for Gilroy City Council and Police Chief Denise Turner!  Gilroy has a ‘dangerous dog’ ordinance with some new “teeth” in its consequences.

Those who parade their dangerous dog like a warning sign will be responsible for their pet’s conduct: they now have strict liabilities for the costs of insurance, spay/neutering, microchipping and fines.  I just wish such an ordinance was on the books earlier…

The appraiser for one of our sales was attacked by the occupant’s dog even when the dog’s owner was right there with the appraiser.  I was in another part of the home and heard the commotion.  Unless you have experienced it yourself you cannot know the horror such an attack can have.  Not only is the event itself bone-chilling but the vivid memory of the attack lives long in the mind of the innocent person who was assaulted.  To the appraiser’s credit the value of the home was not negatively affected.

A friend of ours little girl was playing with her neighbor friends when their dog attacked her.  The top half of her ear was torn off and she had teeth punctures in her forehead.  The medical treatment included a  rabies regimine.  While she recovered physically that girl had emotional problems for many years after.

What do you think?  Do you think Gilroy’s toughened animal control ordinance went too far, not far enough?   If you think Gilroy, like San Francisco and Santa Monica over reacted to dangerous dogs I have one question for you: have you personally been involved in or know intimately of, a dog attack?   

Click here for the details of Gilroy’s new ordinance.

Doggie Doors vs. Insurance

In these Dog Days of Summer it seems like every other home I show in Gilroy lately has a pet door in the garage door entry to the home.  There is nothing more exciting than to have “Spike” come blasting through the door to check out who is in his home.

Gilroy, as well as virtually every other city, has a building code requiring that homes be built with a firewall between the attached garage and the home.  Many house fires begin in the garage so the firewall is engineered to impede a fire which starts in the garage from spreading to the home.  Most jurisdictions require the firewall to provide such a delay for up to two hours.

While making “Spike’s” life a little more convenient the homeowner who puts a pet door in the the door leading into the home from the garage may have problems collecting from their homeowners insurance where a fire began in the garage.

I find it interesting that many insurance agents say homeowners with such pet doors will still be covered yet home inspectors seem compelled to address this issue in their written reports.

Occasionally, a homeowner will cut the firewall for attic access or to install a drop down ladder.  They may face the same dilemma with their insurance company.

Building Code also requires that your garage-to-home door have a functioning, self-closing, hinge.  For obvious reasons that door needs to close so that the firewall retards the spread of a garage fire.  For reasons beyond me some homeowners disengage such a hinge.  Again, such a move may prove costly later.

So, why not check with your homeowner insurance agent and see what their position is on the doggie door dilemma.  We can check with the City’s code enforcement folks.  Sorry “Spike”.  Of course the standing rule remains: “caveat emptor”.

Smoke Alarms – Time to Update

I listened to home inspector today as he  inspected a house   I sold in San Jose.  He was talking about the importance of smoke alarms and how most homes only have an “ionization” or a “photoelectric” type detector   but not both.  Up to that comment I had smugly checked off that my home had a smoke alarm and we were set. I realized, however, that I didn’t even know which type I had.  Then the inspector referred to some studies that suggest people can sleep right through the constant    pitch of a smoke alarms going off – almost like getting  used to “white noise” or constant background sounds.

Enter “alarm and voice” devises and variable pitch alarms.  The newest alarms  even talk to you: “Warning, Warning, Fire, Fire“.  Then they put out a variable pitch alarm.  When the inspector mentioned “the other type of alarm: “the CO2 detector” I knew I needed to get updated.  “You know that Carbon Monoxide is called the ‘Silent Killer’, right?.  Well there is an alarm for that too”, he offered.  While I vaguely remember thinking about that in the past I did not install a CO detector in my home.

I found  “National Fire Protection Association”  website to be very helpful.  I quickly realized that my home was not adequately equipped with the most up-to-date smoke detectors nor do I have enough detectors in my two story home.   I’m headed to Lowe’s for all three types of alarms.

How about your home?  I recommend that you go to NFPA’s website