Homework done in the nick of time last time. Well, let’s use the work “done”, loosely. I didn’t even upload it here, as the clock ticked closer to the midnight deadline, I submitted it: 20230921_PSY_Learning-Lab-1. As you can see, somewhat… what’s the word?

See, there is a problem, I did open the assignment document, create a new document side-by-side to type my answers into- yet the clock was ticking, and I’d done two of the five activities in the document. Out of time, I saved what I had and I uploaded it. I figured getting 5 or 10 of the 20 points was better than nothing.

It just got graded. I got 20 of 20. Somewhat shocked, I went to review what I uploaded- maybe my 20% was actually pretty good. Ah, no. Not really. Somehow, it looks like I made an error when I saved and named my document to upload. I saved the document given to us, the instructions, as my homework output file. I uploaded the assignment itself, instead of even the 20% of it that I did do, and… scored a perfect grade.

Well, really, that just tops off a great day. I slept well, woke up a touch earlier than lately and dozed with the ocean. I got a call from my doctors office, he had completed the forms I’d dropped off and were ready for me to pick up. Somehow, it took me well over an hour to motivate from my bed. Firstly, I knew that I was hungry and I had already decided I wanted to drive out to Poppa’s Place in Brooklyn for breakfast- both because I have missed it, I really like their skillets, also to lay out some packets and see what would be picked via RF directly versus how many packets would be picked up by other digipeaters in the area. In the process, being able to see where any dead spots might be.

Once I did get up and get dressed and made it downstairs, I slumped into my chair with a cup of tea and my laptop. Nothing to interfere with this mornings browsing relaxation. Except, I was hungry and I couldn’t decide if I wanted to get breakfast first or do the errands first. That made more sense, yet it was already going to be a long drive to get breakfast, and I was hungry. So, I got a boost. And went back to my laptop. Problem everted.

Several hours later…

I decided I should hurry up and do the errands and go get breakfast before I got hungry again. The timing was perfect as I (sat in my car, connected radio to wifi…) drove over and parked at the doctors office. Getting out of my car, I ran in to a friend. Or rather, on my my son’s friend’s grandmothers, or another one of my friend’s mother’s… you get the idea. Hadn’t seen her in several years, and it was good to hear news from her clan. I don’t want to spoil any surprises, yet based on our conversation, I gave the advice that she should buy her grandson a nice flight simulator setup for his computer so that he’ll learn to play with more than just his keyboard. Then sign him up for flight lessons.

It took a while- as long as I could stand standing- to say goodbye (til next time,) and make my way inside. Everyone seemed so nice and polite today, the nurses at the window were quick to start looking for my forms, though it took a minute to find them. Then over to the SOS and again, no appointment- however, being a slower day I guess, they had a walk-in appointment available and offered me a near seat to wait ‘virtually’ in line behind the people that had arrived on time for their appointments.

Pretty quiet at first, then I saw someone I knew, though it took me a minute to be sure. Almost enough time for a full family update before my number was called, there was a good conveyance of information for the time allotted. I had said I hadn’t recognized her as there weren’t nearly enough children around her! There with a friend, the young toddler was the other woman’s. Her triplets were now over five years old I was told. Amazed, my next question went to the oldest- in the National Guard, and worked our way down from there (sophomore now and doing well.)

Missed the final update and by time I was done at the counter, they were gone. The… receptionist? licensing technician? office worker? counter worker? customer service rep? The person who called me up was wonderful, helpful, assistive and funny too- we got a little side tracked and talked a bit about how some parking lots have too many handicapped parking spots and other’s don’t have enough. For the ones that have too many, I’ll park up front I said, for the once with not enough, I’ll park in the back.

No she said- you’ve got the placard now (and a new plate coming,) you park up front. No I said, if there aren’t enough handicapped spaces, it’s probably a small lot and most days I can walk if I need too- some other’s can’t. Seeing she was intrigued, we continued off together on a tangent.  Really we’d decided, if everyone thought of others first, we wouldn’t even need ‘handicapped’ tags at all- if you were feeling good one day, you’d park in the back- next day you hurt your foot, you’d park up front. We also both knew this was unrealistic and impractical in the current world- yet, I am quite sure we shared a moment were we both envisioned a future when it will be so.

In other news, I’ve been thinking for a long time (for me,) about getting a new plate with my callsign on it. My amateur radio operator license qualifies me for, as a official ‘volunteer’ of the Federal Government (a hand often overplayed by many ‘hams’,) to receive a free (with validation,) license plate that identifies me as such. In fact, these license plates are always reserved for all amateur operators, in case they ever decide they want a free license plate. Since I was already getting a new plate, I thought this would be the perfect time to switch it to something I’ll always remember: AD8GN

Also know, pretty much any other amateur operator that sees it will also instantly recognize it (other than the call sign, it will include an emblem of a radio antenna emanating waves,) and me as another operator- if the antennas on my car hadn’t already given it away. Instead of the disabled plate cost of $12 I think (down from the normal $35,) I only had to pay a $2 fee to verify my callsign. My SOS station attendant asked about the nature of a radio plate- confused as why I only had to pay $2 for a custom plate (in a happy, inquisitive way.)

Down another tangent, before long I had my phone out showing her the mapping site, mentioning the aprs/gps technologies, higher power in addition to the comparisons of “CB’s”. She only slightly picked up on the mention of CB’s, recollecting the word I spoke and nodding for me as her eyes went left and right for a lack of meaning behind it. Or the cheapo two-way walkie-talkies at Best Buy, I added. “OH, yeah..” Mouth open, checks bright, head, neck and body swaying together in agreement.

Having another shared image, I told her it was about the same thing… other then I have a 1500 watt power limit, rather than 1, or 3 (even CB’s are only 4 watts now I think, down from 5- ha, as if any truckers follow the limits.) Her eyes tracking me as I moved, she was intent, absorbing and questioning me further. More power? So I can talk to China (still only on FT8 so far, no voice.) “NO, way…” Bright smile, genuine interest, will she google I don’t think so- however, I believe she will be even more personable with the next person that gets a radio plate, handicapped or not.

I like days with no clock. No time except hunger and dark. It feels better, so much more natural than to trying to force myself into some level of adherence to this concept of world synchronicity. So much greater to let it float away, to just float away, following here, going there. I was finally laying down packets on my way to Brooklyn. See, usually I use a “Smart” mode, to send less packets with my radio- if I go straight for twenty miles, it will only send one packet at the end when I turn. Or, I can turn on manual mode and set a timer: today was one packet every 30 seconds. My station at home was able to receive the RF (radio frequency,) via my antennas there and upload via the internet.

My iPhone has Internet too of course, and it was hot spotting it’s wifi to the 10″ Android radio in the dash, which was simply using the Chrome browser app to view the mapping website linked above. Oh, and the map was lighting up like a Christmas tree as I drove. Essentially doing a reverse Pacman impression. It entertains me. Simple minded I guess.

I wish I could say breakfast was great, it wasn’t. I didn’t have it. By time I sat down it was 2 pm. I thought about it and the waitress offered me a menu- usually, I just order the skillet directly (all the breakfast good stuff in it, covered with gravy and an over easy egg.) With a menu in hand and the sunshine in the windows, I was quick to see the a wet burrito platter. Lunch was delicious. I cleaned the plate and it was well worth the price- however, in the scoring of the Wet Burritos of Jackson County, this didn’t really land the points to get on the leaderboard. Really, only its perfect plate presentation separated it from bar food. Also, I like bar food.

Belly full, errands done, I felt good (also, I had rolled a few togo before I left the house- one for before Poppa’s, one for after.) Pulling out, I head south to US-12 and headed West across the South County line. I suppose that most people enroute from Brooklyn to Jackson would not go through Concord, however, this was the beginning I guess of a county wide APRS survey. Which again, entertains me. Also, I found the ride to be quite enjoyable. Compared to the drive last week from Detroit causing so much pain and cramps, then the crack when I got home.

The last week has been much different, the pains have changed- the dead pork chop has been throbbing and screaming every day, yet, I am finding much more range and reach in my left leg- though, my left foot still turns in. The long steps feel good- and add easy speed. Sunday I’m sure I’ll PR my timed mile again, as long as I don’t over-stress myself before then. The rides now are feeling like a massage as my pelves assumes the mold created by Ford. My seat at its narrowest angle, the full upright position, except that I also set it fully tilted.

As I move down the road the gentle vibration going over the Michigan highways had calmed and pushed the tension from my body. I do like the new radio, also it’s tunes- it does include a commercial radio receiver (aka 106.1 fm, etc-) yet, it’s also so distracting; I muted it.

Just floating down the road. US-12 is such a nice highway to drive- I passed the spot I spun out on my exodus from Jackson. Oh, the memories. Today was good day. Sunshine and a joint, open highways, packet radio and quiet contemplation. While I went, I also composed a northern route I’ll take next to finish the same task on that side of the county- maybe not this weekend though, I still have a lot of work to do. I think I just used up a good bit of luck with last nights PSY work, and having missed class, I’m not going to take another chance at painting myself into the same corner- if I can help it.

Relaxed and home until I decided to make my self do another APRS survey of the local neighborhood- on foot. Yes, my car lays down RF packets, so does my small handheld (or self-clipped,) radio. I did say that I wanted to take a big long walk today… (I really feel at the moment, that I should stop saying such things.) So, begrudgingly I got up and went. Yes- I probably smoked a bowl first.

The walk and all of its composition were well planned I’d say- just not by me. I headed north and picked up a CQ call on my walkie talkie- this is rare enough when I’m in my car, as my handheld is very underpowered comparatively. Unclipped my radio I continued on while talking (that itself was a feat!) Pass the opposite side as Dollar General, there was the table set up “giving” out “free” phones- it’s a gig of some sort signing up people for their ACP benefit for phone or internet.

I was called over and finished up my QSO as I crossed the street to hear their quick pitch. Quickly rejected, as I do not need another phone and also that I already use my ACP benefit with Xfinity. Almost every single person in Jackson qualifies for ACP, check the Xfinity website- go click click yourself some website buttons and see if you’re eligible to take $25 off your bill every month. The conversation quickly moved to my radio with some “What is that?” questions and there was another quick introduction to ham radio for the day.

Onward north I made it close enough to see the ice cream shop looked closed, then turned on Austin Street and followed it to the end before turning south. I’d like to say I did good and kept a consistent pace, yet I was also trying to take longer steps (which felt great,) which take even longer to complete and were throwing off the cadence. Pushing to cover the distance, I was easily up into a high cardio range and had sweat dripping down from me. Why was I wearing jeans a t-shirt and an overshirt for this outing?

Down that street towards Ganson, at one point I just had to stop. For most of the walk I’d been carrying my cane, ha, I envision myself leading a marching band. Yet, I always carry it, sometimes I need it. Then I needed it. Also, I could have just fallen to the grass, yet that might seem odd in someone else’s yard. Stopped on the side for a minute or two, resting on my cane I heard a door open and a greeting extended. Turning, I recognized the face and could not place it- pretty sure it was someone from Church.

We chatted- she seemed to know me, she asked how I was, I gave some sixty second summary of the last twenty months. She shared some of her health issues with me, we traded stories. She described the effort of going to the store today, and I recalled and relayed the stories of showering the day before events because I didn’t have the energy then to shower and do something else in the same day.

More than a moment we shared as we recollected stories and the solutions we’ve found. After a while she asked me, “Do you know who I am?” Nope, no idea at all. She smiled, Ryan Wixom’s mother-in-law, how could I forget. I smiled as the faint recollections came back into focus, and remembering that I still have his hoody too.

A total of 1.89 miles in just over an hour by time I finally made it home. Lots of resting, which is still standing.

Now, I have some thinking to do. On my way back into town from my afternoon drive, I ended up coming down Spring Arbor road. About a half mile before it, I realized I was about to pass the Jackson County Humane Society.

Maybe I shouldn’t have gone in.  I very specifically asked them to show me the ugly dogs. The young woman at the desk, playing along, said all the dogs were in the same room, I have to pick between them myself. I went and looked at the dogs. Through the window in the door before I opened I saw the first dog, all white, quietly sitting looking at the door. I opened the door and went in; the room exploded in barks. Not Lovely, she sat at quietly looked at my. Calm and patient.

I ended up asking to get her out and they led me to a room with her. Very happy dog, almost fully white and medium sized. Playful too, lots of energy and quick motion. I sat on the couch and she was quick to cover me and take all the attention I was giving. Once I stopped for a moment, she ran around and explored the room, then went back to the door, alert and point to in. Waiting to go back out that way. I called her over, and we went through another round. Not much for sitting or staying, she certainly thought she was a lap dog. I let her pretend.

Once I stopped petting, she’d circle the room and go wait at the door. Great dog, not the dog for me. Back to her cage, I mentioned it appeared she’d had a recent litter. The person there told me she had a litter of eight or nine pups just two months ago- there was even one left in the puppy room. There is a puppy room? I said. I had to look. Right? I had to look. Up to the front of the building, I opened another glass door to an eruption of pandemonium. Except one puppy, Pancake just laid there sleeping.

This story will have to be continued. It’s late. Two oh seven am. I have wake up early for errands.

Time to rest.


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