Hi! My name is Ken. I'm going to periodically write about running, writing, and a number of other topics. Please feel free to read my posts and provide your comments. If you have a question about any topic, leave a message and I'll try to help you get the information you're looking for. Thanks for stopping by. I hope to see you again soon.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Wells versus City Water, Septic Systems versus Sewers

 I'll never buy a house with a drinking water well and a septic system. Well, that's my position at this point in life. And why do you suppose I'm against wells and septic systems? Wells provide some of the highest quality drinking water and septic systems can be carefully designed to accommodate even difficult sites. Also, there's no monthly water and sewer bills to pay. I know I just ruled out some fantastic properties and homes out in rural parts of the country.   But I'm okay with that and here's why.

Private drinking water wells can easily get contaminated with chemicals. Keep in mind that standard well testing for homes doesn't typically include analyses for all chemicals of concern. For example, agricultural activities can introduce pollutants like pesticides, nitrogen, phosphorus, and bacteria into the groundwater. Industrial and commercial activities can contribute things like benzene, toluene, xylenes, trichlorethylene, ethylene dibromide (EDB), methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), heavy metals, and cyanide into the groundwater from spills and other things. Storm water off roads and highways can be a source of elevated sodium and chloride from road salt, two pollutants of concern for people with blood pressure issues.  Another issue with a well is that when the power goes off, a water pump won't work unless you have a back up power source like a generator. The well system needs to be maintained too and that costs money and time when things break down.

Regarding septic systems, I grew up in a house that had one.  Our property was located at the bottom on a small hill. I lost track of how many times the system got backed up because the groundwater table was so high we couldn't flush the toilets. Also, a septic tank needs to be cleaned out once every two to three years. And to get to the tank, someone has to dig up the ground to find the cover. God forbid you need to do it in the winter. Although if you can't remember where the cover is and there's snow on the ground, the heat from the septic tank will diminish the depth of the snow over the tank, making it easier to find.

With city water and sewer, I don't have to worry about pollutants in and around the neighborhood polluting the drinking water and a septic tank backing up. When the power goes out, I can still get as much water as I need and continue to flush the toilet whenever I want.  I don't have to dig up my backyard or worry about getting a septic tank pumped out. Also, I feel comfortable knowing that the water I do get from the water company is regularly tested for many pollutants and has been treated to remove organics, inorganics and bacteria. The peace of mind I get from the water and sewer services is "well" worth the cost.

So the next time you're in the market for a new home, think about what I shared here. I hope it helps.

Also, I'd be interested to hear what you think about this post.  Am I being short-sighted?
Let me know.



Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Cricket

About a week ago, I was sitting in my family room watching TV when a chirping sound started coming from inside the room. Now it's not that unusual for me to find crickets in my garage. And some do squeeze under the door and enter the family room from time to time.

This cricket had an incredibly loud chirp that drowned out even the sound of the TV. After about a minute or so, I decided that it either didn't like the show I was watching or wanted my attention.  So I slowly got up and starting looking for it. It took me about a minute to find it.  It was about four feet off the ground on a small ledge of a wall ornament. I could have squished it, but I didn't.  I then grabbed a tissue and trapped it inside. Besides the chirping expertise, this cricket had one additional unique characteristic.  It only had one hind leg.

I carefully carried the tissue outside and released it on my deck. It hopped away as if it had two good legs. I was really surprised  by that.

About one week later, as I was letting one of my dogs out to go potty, I saw the same cricket again. It was hopping across the deck and almost got eaten by my dog.

You're probably wondering where I'm going with this cricket thing. My point is that everyone at some time or another feels like a wounded cricket. I know it sounds a bit odd, but I think we all can learn something from this little guy. No matter what life sends you, try to figure out a way to not dwell on things for too long and get on with living. Also, if you see someone wounded, provide that tissue or keep the dogs at bay. You just might be surprised how it helps that person or how good you feel after doing it.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Running after Fifty

I've been running for about thirty years now and things are getting increasingly more difficult. But I'm a firm believer that as you age it's best to follow that old saying "Less is more". I don't mean you should stop running or working out. I think you have to moderate your training by using cross-training to make up for those extra runs that you used to take. I used to run 5 to 6 days a week for a total of 35-45 miles. My body just can't take the wear and tear of that anymore. So I now run 3 to 4 times a week and mix in 1 to 2 mountain bike rides on rail trails. I prefer being out in the woods rather than on the roads competing with traffic. I also would like to mix in some weight lifting 2 times a week, but I haven't been disciplined enough lately.

I also have developed a routine where I run at work during my lunch. We have a small group of runners that run at lunch and two showers in the basement to clean up after. Then I run 5 to 6 miles on either Saturday or Sunday, depending on my schedule. The key for me is to not think too much about it and run early on the weekend before something gets in the way or you get tired.

Happy running and writing

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

First Night at this Blogger Thing

I'm a member of SCBWI, which stands for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. I have to thank Abigail Beal for the nice article she wrote in the SCBWI's July/August Bulletin about blogging. It got me motivated to do it. Plus, she talks about doing freelance blogging and actually making some money doing it. Excuse my layout. I need to spend some time improving it.