Thursday, October 30, 2008


Wow, would I like to have one of these:

At $3,295, though, I don't think it's gonna happen even if my Garmin 195 that I bought used is over eight years old. Not even with Xmas coming soon. Sigh.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fall Cold

Fall Cold? Yeah, I got one. And the Weather-out-the-Window(tm) also fits the bill:

It looks like it will be another day of staying in and finding ways to fill the time. Madden '09 on the Wii, which was worth the purchase price for the new 5-on-5 mode alone, will help. I like the 5-on-5 because it helps geriatric old players like me to pick the receivers out of the crowd. The simplified play calling helps me quite a bit too. It's rough & tumble fun!

When I first got addicted to Guitar Hero on the Wii, I used to joke that I couldn't wait for them to come up with Wii Bagpipe or Wii Orchestra Conductor. I pre-ordered Wii Music yesterday, my first-ever pre-order:

As shown above, you can play as the conductor. And one of the sixty available instruments is.... the bagpipe. I am soooo prescient, even when I'm just being a smart-ass!

I checked the comments on my Bucket List post, and darned if there wasn't the offer of an opportunity to operate a backhoe. I know that this doesn't seem to be all that exotic of a wish, but there's just something about moving large amounts of dirt with the precision inherent in the scalpel-like backhoe that appeals to me. So, who's got a helicopter? Or a tank?

Brave Sir Hogarth, who is anything but a stranger to his nether regions, has been showing even greater attention to that area than normal. I got him on his back this morning and made an aerial survey of the area. I found a flea! I believe this to me my fault. I must have picked one up when petting the beautiful Faygo at The Farm(tm).

She's a sweetheart, but she's somewhat Palinesque in her love of the outdoors. (Note to New York Times: I am NOT insinuating that Sarah Palin has fleas. Dig up your dirt elsewhere. In fact, I know a guy that can hook you up with a backhoe.)

I tried to watch the newest Indiana Jones movie last night, but was unable to sit through it. It felt very contrived and formulaic. It's a shame because I find Harrison Ford to be one of the saner Hollywood types, the whole Calista Flockhart thing not withstanding. To each his own and all that. But he digs planes, and is very active as a spokesman for the EAA. Stand up guy, if impressions matter. But that movie was awful.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

In the pursuit of scientific knowledge

The Weather-out-the-Window(tm) forecast this morning could have been written by The Autumn Chamber of Seasonal Commerce. The promotional materials would write themselves: Crisp! Clear! Seasonally Temperate Temperatures! And, last but not least, Deep! Blue! Sky!

And I awoke with a cold. Stuffy head, watery chest & cough, and a deep feeling of malaise. Rats. Not that would have mattered, though, what with college football on the TV and, as I found out mid-morning, my assistance desperately needed for one of Egg's school projects. Accelerated biology. And me? I never even had regular biology back in the day. So, with an appropriate level of trepidation, I requested a review of the assignment. It turned out to be less accelerated than I had feared: create a 3D model of an animal cell, and a rudimentary drawing was provided for guidance.

I have a sordid history of assisting Egg in her projects. The first (and most memorable) was the Pine Box Derby car that we built together when she was 7 or 8 years old. We started with the basic kit; I'm not sure they even had the fancy pre-cut kits that they have today. The basic kit is pretty much just a block of wood, some nails, and four plastic wheels:

She wasn't really into cars or racing very much back then (but more than she is today), so I came up with the design plans. Unfortunately, just about any modification to the shape of the block was going to require the use of a power saw and I wasn't overly keen on the idea if turning her loose with a band saw. In the interest of good parenting, I did the sawing. Putting on the wheels also seemed a bit risky, both in the construction phase (let her use a hammer??) and in the ultimate performance of the racer. Straight wheels are fast wheels, I figured. The body needed to be sanded before painting and, well, she just wasn't strong enough. So what exactly did Egg do as part of the construction of the car? She painted it. I then sanded it, painted it, sanded it, and painted it again, of course, but she put on the first coat.

Came the day of the big race, and there we were at the registration desk. I was filling out paperwork (covenant not to sue, liability release, etc.) and Egg was rolling the car back and forth on the desk.

SO the lady behind the registration desk says, "Be careful Honey, you're going to break your Daddy's car."

Hurumph. At least the child wasn't standing there with a stump where her right hand used to be. I mean, I had to do some of it, didn't I? Really, what was she trying to say? That an eight year old couldn't have built this?

The weigh-in was next. I believe the weight limit was something like five ounces. Of course, Egg's car was much lighter - something less than three ounces if I remember correctly. "Yeah," I remember thinking, "lighter is better in flying and racing."

Then, The Race! We were up against the complete antithesis of our entry. This kid, whose father apparently wasn't quite as loving and devoted as Egg's, had taken the block of wood from the kit, spray painted it bright yellow, and written "School Bus" on it with a Sharpie marker. Sad, it was. Made me feel bad for his impending humiliation. I even thought about slipping him one of those Big Brother brochures, thinking that he must be some kind of orphan or something.

His yellow bus beat us by a country mile. Not. even. close. It turns out that you need to have your car's weight right up to the limit. Who knew? Well, besides the bus kid, who knew?

So, here we are a few years later, trying to figure out how to make a model of an animal cell. These days I act more in an R&D role whereby I provide a working prototype and let her do the rest. The first step is supply procurement, and for that we go to Egg's version of Harbor Freight: Hobby Lobby. We wandered the aisles for half an hour on a scavenger hunt for the most fiscally viable means of making the model. We looked at paints, fabrics, felts, wood chips, and Styrofoam, adopting and rejecting ideas as different and less costly alternatives were discovered. By the time we got home with the supplies, we had spent over $28. You can buy a model for $18.95. I guess you wouldn't get the full educational experience out of that, though. Here's the pile 'o stuff:

Even at her age, I still do the cutting. The smaller spheres that would be used for the nucleus were cut on Co-pilot Rick's band saw, and I cut the large sphere with a saw left over from the kayak build after first testing it on one of the left over smaller spheres:

It didn't take long to finish up the proof of concept:

Egg did the rest, and this time I have proof:

I think it turned out very well. But I still know nothing about biology!

The Bucket List

The new bucket list over there on the right sidebar has listed as one of its items 'Build an airplane.' Make no mistake: I am under no illusions as to what that means. Even a "quick build" kit requires years of effort and devotion. My take on the whole thing is that it is a great thing to do if you're trying to productively fill your time, but not so much if you're at the stage in life where you have to find time. Keep in mind, though, that my viewpoint on this is heavily biased by the fact that I already have an airplane. I'm afraid my motivation would be in great danger of flagging during the years of effort required to build something as complex as an airplane if I, you know, already had one.

The number of hours that go into a project like this are staggering. For example, Bob Collins is building an RV-7A, and recently completed one part of the canopy that took a total effort of 235 hours spread across three months! As a comparison, the only significant building project I've completed (the kayak) took a total of 80 hours, spread across six months. A few minutes of introspection into my working habits, patience, diligence, and competing demands on my available time indicates to me that I will have to select from one of three possible strategies:

- start now, with the goal of completion being very, very far in the future. There is an RV-6 based at Bolton than took 14 years to build. That approach is viable in that it spreads the time and dollars demands to a sustainably thin level, but creates other issues. For example, what if that 14 year builder had decided halfway through that his flying needs would no longer be met by an RV-6, and that he needed some other model? Given that to this very day I cannot decide which plane I would want to build, this path seems rife with risk.

Another problem is that you can't economically test yourself on a smaller project such as building a tail. The tail kit isn't hugely expensive relative to the remainder of the plane, but you need a lot of tools to build it. The cost of the tools and building a work shop easily exceed the cost of the tail. And, of course, if you decide not to press forward after the tail you have a lot of tools on your hands, and a tail with no airplane.

- wait until I'm either fully or semi-retired. This would alleviate the time concerns, but exacerbate the funding concerns. Between being on the dreaded fixed income by then and the increased building pace dictated by having more hours to fill, it would be harder to afford.

- Build something simpler than a "legacy" RV. This is where something like the RV-12 would appeal - it allegedly requires roughly half of the hours of one of its bigger, more complex brethren. Still, it has a canopy. Having followed Bob's progress on his canopy this summer, I'm not sure I could ever get that part done. An open cockpit RV-12? Hmmm.

Well, there is in fact a fourth option: modify the bucket list.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Really, I just crack me up

It was bound to happen, what with all of the hours practicing with the band and the long bus rides to competitions. Co-pilot Egg has got herself a boyfriend. He's a percussionist in the band. Quiet lad, though; it's hard work to get a word out of him. You could count the number of words that he has uttered in my presence on your thumbs. So, it was dinner with the family tonight, and with the boyfriend along as a guest. There wasn't much by way of dinner conversation, so the Co-owner seized upon the opportunity to convey some marching orders, primarily with regards to the dress code for the lunch that they have scheduled with Egg's grandparents on Friday. Jeans are OK, but they have to be 'nice' jeans. Egg seemed unclear on the topic of what exactly constitutes 'nice' jeans, so I volunteered that jeans with holes in the knees would not meet the standard. A poignant look from Egg prompted the BF to reply:

"I don't have any jeans with holes in them."

Loath as I was to respond in anything but a friendly, respectful manner to what was by far the longest series of words that I had ever heard him string together, but I couldn't help myself. I'm weak, damn it! Weak!!

I said, "Well how do you get your legs in?"

Dead silence from him, and barely stifled guffaws from the ladies, both of whom had fervently hoped that I wouldn't embarrass the lad. Sorely disappointed, they were, but not at all surprised that I had.

Trying to settle things down, the Co-owner shared with him that "he had really stepped into that one!"

Ok, I simply lost it over her unintended continuance of the joke. I admit it. And I only made things worse when I suggested that to avoid further damage, she "should just zip it."

I'm not sure, but I think he broke a smile at that one.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I could get used to this weather

It won't last, though. Can't. Maybe it helps me to appreciate it all the more knowing that it must end, but maybe not. Either way, 'tis glorious flying weather of which I gleefully took advantage today. Perfect weather for a trip to The Farm(tm).

With weather like this, there's no big hurry to get out of the house. It's not going to get frightfully hot and bumpy, precipitation of any sort is completely out of the question, and Darke Co. airport is never busy (except for the weekend Tony Stewart brings all of his friends out to race at Eldora, the track he owns in Rossburg). I think it was after 10:30 by the time I got to the hangar and started preparing for the trip. I was a beautiful morning to fly; clear skies, a combination of low temperatures and high ambient pressure contributing to Papa's virility, and a ride as smooth as silk. Smoother, in fact, if that's even possible. Smoother than silk. Hmmmm.... that would be a good name for a horse.

But as you'll see, I'm getting a little ahead of the narrative. The flight out to Darke Co. was a piece of cake, but as is always the case when flying to KVES I harbored a little trepidation for the impending landing. I never seem to get a good landing there mostly, I think, because of the stand of trees that roil up the ubiquitous crosswind. The winds, if not dead calm, were at least in a coma. Very light, in other words. This was reflected in my landing, which was actually pretty good. I had forgotten how bouncy Papa is just after flaring to a touchdown; the absence of the extra weight of a co-pilot keeps him a little lighter on his feet a little longer than when I'm flying alone.

This guy is a witness to every landing I've made at KVES, good or bad. He's pretty stoic about the bad ones - that's why I like him:

Although, come to think of it, he's not particularly effusive about the good ones either.

I was met at the airport gate by my parents and we got on the road to the Darke Co. Fairgrounds, where we would be visiting the newest member of the racing stable, Smoother Than Silk. He's a friendly young lad, and fine looking as well. You can get a look at him in the video:

I also walked around a bit with the camera:

Once back at The Farm(tm), I took another walkabout with the camera:

The flight back was a little warmer than the morning flight. I'd have to describe it as not-too-hot, but-could-be-a-tad-cooler. The ride was a little bumpier as well, but not horribly so, Still, I was a bit tired from the early morning wake-up when Co-pilot Egg got home from her band competition and kinda sorta wanted to get home. Unfortunately, my 2,100 rpm cruise power setting was only giving me 124 knots across the ground flying against a light headwind. I threw a few more AlGore Brand Karbon Kreditz(tm) ("The Best Environmental Abuse Dispensation Money Can Buy!!") on the fire to boost Papa up to 2,400 rpm, which gave me another dozen or so knots on the speedo. Kreditz well spent!

The landing back at Bolton was surprisingly easy. Well, to be accurate, it was the approach that was easier than expected. I thought I'd be trying to work my way into a pattern full of touch&go students, but such was not the case. I didn't hear or see another airplane at all. The landing? Well, it was pretty easy too.

A Four-fer: Flying, Formation, Friends, and Fotography

October seems to be the pinnacle month of the calendar year for good flying weather. It is by no means a given that every day will be amenable to amateur aviation, of course. October can also bring forth the wet, gloomy weather that keeps aviators like me sitting at home watching TV just as well as the others (I'm looking at you, March), but when the weather is good in October, it’s really good. The temperatures are down in the I-could-live-with-this-every-day range, the air is almost as clear as it will be in the frigid days of February, and the ride is often as smooth as a good Weizen Brau. With the promise of an entire weekend of fine, late year weather, my thoughts, as always, turned to the topic of…

Mowing. Well, mowing and flying, but mowing first. I was without my helper this weekend and was therefore on the hook for getting the entire job done myself. I’ve been spoiled of late with the assistance of Co-pilot Egg, but she had a grueling weekend of her own to get through. A full day of school on Friday, followed by an away football game Friday night, and an immediate departure from the football game on a long bus trip to Ypsilanti, MI for a band competition. She wasn’t scheduled to get back home until well after midnight Saturday night. In actuality, she got home at 3:30 AM. The band’s efforts were well worth it, though, since they brought home a second place from a very competitive event. And it would have been a first place, contends Egg, except for the fact that the winning band had such colorful plumes. I guess that could have been the deciding factor....

Knowing that I would want to get some flying in on Saturday morning early enough to get back before the O$U game against Purdue kicked off, I did the mowing after work on Friday. That out of the way, the full weekend was open. In giving up my Friday evening of unwinding from the work grind, I was betting on the forecast being accurate, and it turned out that it was. Saturday morning’s Weather-out-the-Window™ looked perfect, and an electronic follow-up indicated the same.

Given the half-day requirement, I thought it might be a good idea to try to photographically capture some of the recently emerging Fall colors. Winter is the season for Black & White, Summer is more of a watercolor pastel, but Spring and Fall are perfect Kodachrome (or digital equivalent) seasons. The light is good and the haze is light, as it were. And don’t discount the positive effect smooth skies have on focus; it’s significant.

Of course, you can’t just fly around taking pictures in the era of $5 plus avgas. These days, every flight should have at least two goals simply in the interest of fiscal efficiency. As it turns out, the Central Ohio landscape offers few opportunities to capture anything but flat, brown fields. One has to head towards one of the more topographically interesting corners of the state to find rolling hills covered in multi-hued trees. Or, one can head due south, down to Portsmouth (KPMH) where one will also find a restaurant. Photos and food? Good enough. But Portsmouth also offers the opportunity to meet with RV-9A builder/flyer Ted. And meeting with Ted in turn offers up the chance for a few minutes of loose formation flying. Food, Photos, Formation Flying, and… Friends. It’s a four-fer!

Co-pilot Rick was riding along to assist in all four. Arrangements were made for an 0830 show at the gate, and after pre-flight was taken care of, Ted and I made our rendezvous arrangements for our in-flight join-up. Meet over Pike Co. airport at 3,000’. Whoever got there first would orbit to the left. Comms on 122.85. Piece of cake. Rick and I made an on-time departure (which is so very easy to do when you don’t actually set an official departure time) and made our way down south at a fuel-sipping 2,100 rpm. Ted checked in on point-eight-five to report his arrival at the Pike Co. hold while we were still ten minutes out, so we bumped the black knob in a bit to add twenty more knots to our pace.

The sharp-eyed Co-pilot caught sight of the orbiting -9A well before I did. Ted was heading West, but entered a left turn just as we picked him up visually. Perfect! I was able to cut inside his turn and make a nice join on his left wing. We followed Ted’s lead for a few minutes, then Ted fell back and swapped positions to put us in the lead.

I took a heading back to Portsmouth for breakfast. The winds were still dead calm, so I had my choice of runway. I thought a nice overhead break into a left downwind for runway 18 would be nice, and announced such on the Unicom. Thus publicly making a bit of a fool of myself; runway 18 requires a right hand pattern at KPMH. Which… I knew. But forgot. D’oh! Easily rectified, though. It simply required that Ted move from my right wing to my left wing. Still, one likes to be perfect in one’s flying and even with knowing that goal to be unobtainable, one cringes when he makes mistakes.

All in all, it was a superb day for flying, photographing, and breakfasting feeding. The breakfast conversation was enjoyable, although with the Co-pilot and Ted (and you, Dear Reader, due to my unfortunate recent lapses here in the Chronicles) both knowing my weakness for political discussion, it was mostly about our other favorite topic: flying. The flight back was Rick's leg, so I concentrated on taking pictures. The colors were magnificent, as I’m sure you will agree (click each picture for larger):

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Therapy for a feeling of quiet desperation

By the end of work week the last, my feelings of quiet desperation were coming very close to morphing into a full-blown funk. I made the mistake of checking the current value of my 401k; let's just say that the last three years of socking away the maximum annual contribution are for naught. I would have been better served just spending it. Poof, gone in a flash. I've made better investments (in one dollar increments) in strip bars, for crying out loud.

Never satisfied with the first mistake, I exacerbated the whole thing by actually paying attention to the full-throated cacophony of finger-pointing and blame assignment emitting from the mutually culpable collection of clowns in our Congress, an organization that excels at creating a crisis, either real or manufactured, and then profiting from it. (See also: Global Warming) That is, of course, when they can take time off from spending public funds and creating legislation to protect their sinecures. Consider me a charter member of the 59% referred to at the link.

The so-called World's Most Deliberative Body, the Senate, turned out to be anything but. No, as of last week the World's Most Deliberative Body appeared to be the Republicans in the House of Representatives. Yet even that was temporary, as it turns out that they were simply holding out for a sweeter bribe before voting in favor of the most rushed, ill-thought government waste of our money becoming law, an event made even more galling by the fact that our ostensible saviors were the exact same people that created the situation in the first place. And while the House GOP initially considered it a horrible bill, they were just fine with it after sufficient pork was added to what was supposed to be a no nonsense, gotta-do-it-or-die, critically important bailout package. It doesn't inspire trust to see the evidence that nothing is so critical that it can't be used as a Trojan Horse for yet more shamelessly wasteful and inappropriate spending. I console myself thusly: at least we all got the screwing that never seemed to result from the $1 investments detailed above. In spades.

I guess at the end of the day, I still believe in this quote from Ronald Reagan:

"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. From time to time we've been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people.

Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else? All of us together, in and out of government, must bear the burden. The solutions we seek must be equitable, with no one group singled out to pay a higher price."

Beyond all that, I waited far too long this time around to relearn the lesson of media avoidance during the latter half of an election year. I've been inundated with phone calls, radio and TV commercials, and "news" articles from both sides attempting to convince me that their respective opponents are evil incarnate, liars, and crooks. And the thing is, I now believe both sides to be correct. Where does that leave me?

I was further disappointed while perusing my absentee ballot to count no less than eight candidates running for president, with the disappointment arising from the fact that I had no idea that there were that many, or who most of them were. How many people on the street could tell you the name of even one of the six that you never hear about? Why is it that those others never really get a shot? Why are we always stuck with what I consider to be a choice between awful and lousy? It's a choice between two pairs of candidates, not a single one of whom I consider to be qualified for the positions they're already in, much less the jobs they're campaigning for.

And what are we to do about an inordinately powerful media whose interests run from 'remarkably diligent' to 'even more remarkably incurious', often seemingly always depending on which consonant follows a candidate's name? When the press become cheerleaders for one side or the other, as they clearly have, it becomes impossible to trust their product. Without having the press as a trusted watchdog watching over it, it becomes impossible to feel any trust at all in the far-too-large, far-too-powerful, and far-too-meddlesome government that we have created for ourselves. It becomes inevitable that feelings of desperation and futility will poison our outlooks.

So, the end of the week left me feeling as if I had been punched in the stomach. While I'd like to say that a bright, shiny Saturday morning washed all of that away, it actually took a little more than that. We had a pretty full day planned for Saturday, but the morning was open for a little quality time with Papa. It wasn't a sufficient time window for anything extensive, but there was enough of an opportunity to at least cavort around the local area for a spell. It has been a long time since I flew solo in Papa, and it was a refreshing reminder as to why an RV-6 is such a great little plane. We spent twenty minutes just finding ways to swap the horizon with the sky in varying degrees, and also to remind us why this kind of thing is better done on an empty stomach. Breakfast, such as it was, didn't make an unexpected reappearance, but let's just say that it did go so far as to make travel arrangements.

The afternoon was filled with attending a band competition that Co-pilot Egg was competing in. We've been to these before, but this one was special. Her band would be performing with a total of 31 other bands (ten of which were in Class AA and would thus be competing directly against her school) in the Buckeye Invitational, hosted by The Ohio $tate University Marching Band. In other words, my daughter would be performing in the vaunted Ohio Stadium, aka The Shoe! And my oh my, wasn't her daddy just as proud as he could be!

Egg's grandparents (my in-laws) have been wanting to attend one of her competitions, but unable to because of the difficulty in getting to the far-flung locations and climbing into the bleachers once there. Through a connection provided by Egg herself, we were able to drive them to the stadium and get VIP service once there, up to and including elevator access to the press box. The view from up there was phenomenal, and the in-laws were able to enjoy the show. My father-in-law, what with being a highly esteemed Professor Emeritus in Music and all, even took a professional interest in the proceedings and kept a score sheet of his own. I didn't see what his results were, but at the end of the day the actual judges awarded Egg's band with two of the five 'Outstanding' awards, First Place in Class AA, and overall Grand Champion.

And to put the icing on the cake, The Ohio $tate Marching Band also performed their traditional tunnel entrance, followed by a fantastic halftime show based on the music of Benny Goodman. The selection of a Benny Goodman show was pretty interesting when you consider that the O$U band is brass only; no woodwinds at all, much less clarinets. They also performed the world famous 'Incomparable Script Ohio', or what I facetiously call 'The Interminable Script Ohio'. Followed, of course, by a singing of the Alma Mater and a rousing rendition of the Official Rock Song of the Great State of Ohio: Hang On Sloopy. I was very thankful that Egg had this chance to see such a world-renowned marching band perform; it is very unlikely that she will ever be able to attend a football game there. Let's just say that it is no typographical error when I replace the 'S' in the name of the university with a dollar sign.

Sunday morning provided yet another dose of the beautiful October weather that I love and hate so much. I love it, of course, because it provides conditions perfect for flying. I hate it because it is a sad reminder of the end of decent weather. October is like a hospice program for Summer. Co-pilot Rick and I had decided to give Mansfield yet another chance, our luck with being able to get there on previous occasions having run somewhat on the bad side. Our luck was no different today; there were NOTAMs regarding some runway and taxiway closures, and an early check of the ATIS recording indicated that many of the ramps were also out of commission. I don't have the funds to waste on a "maybe we can get to the restaurant, maybe we can't" flight of even half an hour, so we expediently aborted the Mansfield destination in favor of near-by Urbana Grimes.

That actually went pretty well - we managed to arrive at I74 during a lull in the normal Sunday morning traffic. In fact, we were a little concerned by the lack of radio traffic as we monitored the Unicom on the way in. When Urbana is that quiet on a beautiful Sunday morning, there can only be a handful of reasons: the Unicom frequency was changed and I somehow failed to get the memo, the runway was closed, or the Board of Health had shut down the restaurant. None of those seemed likely (well, maybe that last one), so we continued on our way. Once we arrived at the airport, we could plainly see that none of those were, in fact, true, and that the actual problem we would have would be finding a parking spot on the crowded ramp. Oh, and before I forget, the landing sucked. No excuse for that, either; winds were dead calm.

One fine breakfast and too much coffee later, we climbed back into the calm sky for the short ride back to Bolton. We threw tradition to the curb and let Co-pilot Rick fly a leg in smooth sky, rather than the bouncy, turbulent conditions that normally signify that it's his turn. I took over on the base to final turn, and bounced another landing. And, to add insult to insult (there were, fortunately, no injuries), I missed the Alpha 3 turn off and had to ignominiously taxi down to Alpha 4. It was 0 for 2 on good landings today.

But... as we were pushing the plane back into the hangar I realized that I no longer felt the burning in the back of my throat, the tenseness in my muscles, or the overwhelming desire to sigh every 30 seconds that are the symptoms of my quiet desperation and sense of futility. I'm relatively sure that I will suffer a relapse by Monday afternoon, but for a few brief hours all felt well. There's nothing like RV therapy to put you right, even if just for a day.