T is for Treadmill

This is how my treadmill looked for 2 weeks.  It felt much longer!

As I write this on Friday the 15th the treadmill saga has not ended, but soon, very soon, I will know the final outcome.

I have gotten into the habit of doing most of my computer work while walking on the treadmill. It was a devastating blow when right in the middle of the A to Z Challenge the walking belt developed a crease and every time the belt went around it made a thwumping noise.

So I looked up treadmill repair and talked to a very nice woman who did some research and said they would only replace the belt if they could replace the deck too. The belt was available but not the deck. The deck was no longer made and the deck wasn’t flippable. Bummer.

My next step was to look for a new to me treadmill on Craigslist.  I found one that looked decent, a good price and would work with my Surfshelf . But someone else was coming to look at it already and they ended up buying it. Nothing else on Craigslist looked suitable or in my price range.

Back to the repair option. I did some more looking around and decided maybe I could replace the belt myself. First I decided to remove the current belt to see what the deck looked like and to make sure I could actually do this.

My treadmill is around fifteen years old but it has been gently used. I am the original owner, it has only been used by me and only for walking. I have never done any type of maintenance on it because it has always worked fine. Before moving to the desert most of my walking was done outdoors, I just used the treadmill during really bad weather.

I got the belt off pretty easily, my husband only had to help with a few super tight screws. The deck looked fine to me. Smooth, no cracks or bowing. I decided it was worth the $100 to try and replace the belt. I ordered one through Amazon and impatiently waited for it to be delivered.

Once the belt arrived it took maybe forty minutes to get it on and get all the rest of the pieces reinstalled. There was only one problem. When I actually stood on the treadmill the belt wouldn’t move. It moved fine when it was just switched on so it wasn’t the motor. With the treadmill belt I received two tubes of treadmill lube. Apparently one is supposed to lube the deck every so often. I had NEVER in fifteen years done this. So I put the lube on and spend several hours trying to get the tension on the belt right to no avail. Now what?

I call a second treadmill repair place and “confess” as to what I had done. Now I wait for the repair guy (on Saturday the 16th) and hope it really is just a matter of getting the tension correct.

I am prepared for the worst but hopeful for the best.

Two Hours Later (on Saturday)

There has been no feeling of joy. No excitement at the thought of getting back to my old routine. The treadmill guy is an hour late. When I call him I get “What time was I supposed to be there? Wow, I really am running late.” He is to call next week and schedule a new time. The treadmill saga is turning into the treadmill debacle.

The Happy Ending

By Wednesday morning still no word from the treadmill guy.  I send an e-mail and he says he’ll be here later today or Thursday.  Late Wednesday afternoon he says he is on his way. Turns out to be a very nice guy.  He is the owner of his own independent business.  I am happy to do business with an independent owner.  And he was very good at what he does.  As I type this I am once again walking on my treadmill!!!  Turns out I missed a guide underneath that the belt needed to go under (or maybe it was over?).  Other than that I did everything right. Once the belt was under (over?) the guide the tension was easy to fix.  While he was here he also tightened up the belt on the motor which he said was a little loose.  And he tightened the handle on my front storm door on his way out.  (It fell off just before he came and I couldn’t find the allen wrench.) If you need exercise equipment repair or maintenance I can highly recommend Tommy G Fitness here in Tucson.

Can I tell you how happy I am?  Now I can spend more time reading A to Z blogs!


G is for Goals

A quick update on how I am doing on acquiring new habits for 2016 and my twelve areas to clean.

Around mid-March I realized I had lost sight of my goals for the year. I think this was because they are written in my bullet journal and I had started writing my daily task list in my day planner. I sat down with my lists and refreshed my memory.

First the cleaning list. I actually had four tasks already done (all associated with clearing out and organizing the garage) so I was ahead of schedule. But several of the tasks left could be rather time consuming so it is best if I don’t slack off. I decided to tackle the shredding. It only took two weeks of 10 to 15 minutes a day and I was done. Another task crossed off.

Next up will be working on my photos. I have the latest batch of printed photos to post in an album and I plan to do that next week. The more herculean task will be to label, group and purge all my on-line photos. I have more than 4,000 so this is going to take some time. I will have to spend say 15 minutes a day or maybe do a month at a time. Once I get started hopefully a good method will present itself.

On the habits side I am making progress.  Slow progress, but progress.  Some habits are very hard to get to stick.  Any interruption to the routine and I have the unhappy task of starting all over.  I would be referring specifically to my healthy eating goal. Right now I am on day five of the Whole30 and it is going well.  I will give details when we hit “W” which will be towards the end of the 30 days.

For March and now April I started a task tracker in my bullet journal for these four things:  walking 10k steps a day, 10 to 15 minutes of quiet time each morning, working on my upper arms and in March it was doing the shred and now in April it is meeting my blogging challenge.  I’ll add the photo work once it begins.

I have been doing excellent on my 10k steps a day typically getting in between 11k and 13k steps.  But now I have hit a hiccup, my treadmill needs to be fixed.  I love doing my writing while walking.  It seems to help hold my attention and I love accomplishing two big tasks at the same time.

Now I am scrambling to think of ways to get all those steps in.  If I walk my neighborhood loop it is 1,000 steps, boring but easily doable when the weather cooperates.  So I am trying to create a new routine where I walk a loop or two after lunch and after dinner.  We’ll see.  With walking the dog in the morning and walking to get my son from school I should be close to 10k steps.  I am also considering dropping my goal to 8k steps, just until the treadmill is fixed. If it even can be fixed, still researching that.  I won’t be very happy if I have to replace it.

While not officially meditation I have learned to greatly appreciate taking ten to fifteen minutes each morning to plan my day, sit quietly and maybe do a little needlework.  I am finding it very soothing and when I can’t do it it seems like my whole day feels a bit rushed.

In addition to walking I wanted to add some other type of exercise.  I have decided to work on my arms which are starting to get kind of um, flabby.  So each day I take a few minutes to do a few pushups and/or use my hand weights to do a series of exercises.

I feel like my plate is full enough for April with the A to Z blogging challenge and the Whole 30. Mid- May is when my son gets out of school so a whole new routine will have to develop then. I am hoping to remain flexible so that I don’t completely lose sight of my goals over the summer break.


The Great Outdoors


San Diego Bay


We spent three full days last week camping on San Diego Bay. Temps in the 60’s, clouds in the morning, sun in the afternoon; it was heavenly. I spent most of my time outdoors. I walked on the beach or stared at the water from my lounge chair and ate meals overlooking the bay.  I watched sailboats and battleships go by.  We did a harbor tour, walked around the campground and visited the ocean via a nearby state park.  I thought about how much more time I spent outdoors when I lived in New York and Montana then I do now that I live in Arizona.

In New York I had my dream front porch, wide, covered and with a wide wall for a railing you could use as seating  or put candles or flowers on.  I had a small table and chairs out there along with a rocker and a papasan chair.  It was an extra room in the summer and fall.  I frequently ate breakfast or lunch out there, read and admired my roses.

In Montana I missed my front porch but had a park like backyard.  My infant son and I spent much time in the backyard with a blanket spread under a large tree.  I loved hanging out laundry while he sat in his little tree swing.

I don’t find the weather in Arizona conducive to being outside.  Mostly it is too hot or too windy.  I do not enjoy being outside in harsh wind.  I do like to sit under the covered patio and watch monsoon storms.  We don’t have the best vantage point from there but sometimes we get good views of the clouds or lightning.

The biggest difference in getting outdoors between here in the desert and up North in Montana and New York was being able to walk to do many errands.  Up North the few days when walking around would be hazardous or very unpleasant were scattered throughout the year.  My neighborhoods had sidewalks and walking to the store, bank, library or post office took paths down picturesque residential streets.  I could admire flowers blooming in spring and summer and holiday decorations in the fall and winter.  I also liked looking at all the different houses.

Here in Arizona walking for errands doesn’t happen much for two reasons.  First, six months out of the year the sun is blazing hot.  In the summer if it has clouded up you are in danger of being caught out in a violent thunderstorm.  And while the bank, grocery stores, a few restaurants and post office outlet are just over a mile away the walk isn’t pleasant in the best of weather.  There is no sidewalk along the busy 45 mph street meaning you have to walk in the also busy bike lane.  Along some parts people have trod a dirt path through the weeds and brush and I walk there where possible.  It is not relaxing though as you have to keep a sharp eye out for snakes and pricklies.   There isn’t much in the way of scenery, mainly cinder block fences, cacti and the backs of two story houses.  The mountains are to the north and west but they don’t change much and after a few minutes I lose interest in them.

What I loved about walking to do errands in NY and MT was being able to take different routes through residential areas admiring all the different houses, yards, porches and landscaping.  Here everything is beige.  Most houses look pretty similar and the landscaping is all the same.  There are a few weeks in the spring where there are some blooms but not many along the busy road.  Each housing area is self-contained so you can’t try and detour down  side streets.

Coming back from San Diego I tried to brainstorm how to spend more time outdoors.  Of course this isn’t the best time of year to start as it is triple digit heat and the sun is broiling by 8:00 am but I thought I would give it a try.  Of course there is the pool and I do try and swim every day.  This summer I am getting into the habit of getting up about 6:30 am.  I put on my workout clothes and go out into the backyard.  It is already warm but still pleasant in the shade.  I water the plants and simply sit for a few minutes and listen to the birds.  Sometimes I plan my day, write down my to-do list.  At 7:00 am I either jump rope (M-W-F) or come inside to do yoga (T-TH).

It is easy to spend time outdoors when you have a sense of purpose and decent weather.  In New York and Montana I didn’t have to think about getting outdoors, it just happened.  Being outside here requires more planning, effort.  You have to decide to go up the road to Mt. Lemmon, packing a lunch or researching a hike.  You have to check the radar for storms.  You have to get up early to beat the heat.  (Walking after dark in not an option for me with no sidewalks or streetlights and an array of wildlife to be leery of.) Some days my son and I get out of the pool and eat 3:00p snack on the patio.  Once the monsoon season starts we will sit under the back patio and watch the rain.  It’s not much but it is a start.  In the heat of summer that is all I ask of myself.