Surviving training and fish tank update

After a crazy weekend, I got right to business on the fish tank on Monday.  Knowing I was waaaay in over my head with the caulking, I asked Kevin’s dad to come over and help.  What ensued can only be described as an exercise in stickiness.

We started with the clear caulk on the inside of the tank.  Let me back up for a second on this.  First of all, I have a major bone to pick with the caulking industry.  Why make these tubes to difficult to decipher?  All I needed was 100% silicone.  There’s apparently a type of caulk you are NOT to use on fish tanks, mainly because the chemicals leech into the water and kill the fishies.  So I avoided anything about mildew proofing.  That just helped me narrow down my choices by a small amount.  What I was left with was an overwhelming selection of different types of caulks, all 100% silicone.  But, the catch with the remaining selection was that it could have been caulk for bathrooms, windows, indoor, outdoor, roofs, kitchens, and quite possibly, my garage door.  What the heck?  If it’s 100% silicone, then what’s the difference?

I can’t even remember what I ended up with, but I left the store praying to the caulking gods that I made the right choice.  Clear for the inside and black for the outside.

So back to the tank.  The inside was a good place to start.  It gave me some practice smoothing it with my finger and getting the right size of silicone bead on the seams.  Bead, wipe finger, grap a paper towel, and then quickly remove excess with a paper towl.  Repeat.  Several times.  Attempt to keep cat away.

The outside of the tank was a little more challenging because it was black caulk and very hard to remove.  I ended up taping the tank and then going through the aforementioned process.  All in all, it took a couple of hours and a roll of paper towel.

Now the waiting part.  The tube says 24 hours for a full cure, but I’m paranoid.  That tank is going to sit for a few days just to be sure. 

Next steps:

  1. Buy gravel.  Black seems to be the winner at this point. Maybe I’ll do an emo tank.
  2. Buy the filter and whatever tubes go with it.  Yes, I still have no idea what I’m doing.
  3. Get my water testing supplies.
  4. Fill with water and wait.

This is an illustration of the nitrogen cycle.  From my investigations, this must happen before you add fish.  I see differing reports on how long this takes.  Two weeks?  Four?

In other news, I am almost halfway through with my time with Cori.  Yesterday was my fifth session and we did something totally different.  Instead of moving around the floor to various machines, we went upstairs and worked on an interval/cycle routine. This consisted of fast elliptical, ab work, ball work, and arms.  Be still my knee, please.

It was a great workout!  I actually sweated, which is something that I haven’t been able to do in awhile. By the end of the last circuit, my knee was definitely starting to feel that familiar pain.  I think my muscles are so undeveloped, it was a combination of weak supporting structures and perhaps an angry knee.

I’m definitely feeling something in my knee area today but I can’t tell if it’s injury or just a hard workout. I may take some Motrin later and ice it tonight when I get home to see if it helps.

This gives me hope that I can get myself back into shape.  It may not happen quickly, but I’m definitely putting in as much as I can during my sessions with Cori.  Maybe I’ll reward my effort with a new heartrate monitor next week!  I currently have an old Polar unit that is probably around 8 or 10 years old.





I’m actually going to the gym

Can you believe it?!  Here’s the scoop.

So I am definitely a bodily basket-case. Thankfully, I have a new Heather in my life.  Her name is Cori and she was sent to me from the weight-training gods.  She promises not to make me bulky and is patient with my persistent questioning.

And, get this.  I sent her my blog to read.  I KNOW!  Why would I do this?  Well, it’s another layer of responsibility for me.  Plus, maybe it will help her to read my accounts from working with Heather for two months this summer.

Cori, welcome to the blog.  I promise to play nice and not say nasty things about you.  I may grumble though.  Ha!

So here are the deets about Cori and me working out together.  I have 12 visits with Cori, which is hilarious because after the first 2 visits, it is clear that I will probably need re-evaluation and have to see her forever.  Well, maybe not forever, but it feels that way right now.

I have seen Cori 4 times now and I am pleased to announce that I have not regressed yet into my normal injury pattern.  We meet twice a week after work on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  I hop on the ellipical while I’m waiting for her to arrive.  She teaches a class before we train, which I thought would be too much for her, but no.  Cori bounces up like she just took a springtime swim in the creek and is happy to see me.  After an hour of her class (I’ve SEEN these poor souls through the window of the studio), I’d be crawling to my car.

The name of the game with Cori is low weights and don’t do anything stupid to get hurt.  I can live with this motto.  My knee hurts almost every day, but I’m working through it because she has convinced me, or perhaps I’ve convinced myself, that it is just my muscles learning how to grow and be normal muscles.

She is also teaching me how to learn the difference between pain and burn.  And, I’m learning how to recognize when something hurts when I’m hurt.  So far, I’ve just managed to come off as a paranoid hypochodriac, but I am learning.  It’s very hard when you have been injured nonstop for two years straight.

Things I enjoy about the gym:

  1. I feel like I’m doing something just for showing up.  Although I’m starving and ready to go home, I feel accomplished that I didn’t detour to my car and send Cori a pitiful text to bail out of training.
  2. The people-watching is at a supreme level.  You know how I love to people-watch.  I can get on my ellipitcal for my requisite 15 minutes and zone out on some good action.
  3. It’s motivating to be around people who are functioning at a higher level than myself.  Granted, Cori has the body I would kill for, but I’m convinced that somehow she is superhuman and a small part of me thinks I’ll never get there because I’m missing some genetic marker that she was blessed with at birth.  However, seeing other normal people like me doing things like JUMPING and sweating and not in pain is very motivating.  I can get there people.  And maybe, if I’m lucky, I’ll look like Cori by May of next year without blowing my knee out.
  4. The gym makes me forget about all of my other responsibilities for an hour.  For someone like me who ALWAYS has something to do, this is a godsend.  Me, not thinking about ANYTHING but Cori for an hour. No classes, no homework to grade, no dinner to convince hubby to cook, no laundry, no family issues to manage, no renovations at the Hall Hacienda.  It’s just ME.  That is a foreign concept.

Things I do not like about the gym:

  1. The germs.  Cori, please tell me I can start bringing my own spray when people start coughing up in there like it’s the next plague upon us.
  2. Seeing people who are better off than I am.  Yes, it is motivating, but it’s also a constant reminder that I may never get back to what I was before I neglected myself into this situation.  I have to moderate myself on this and not get frustrated. 

So there you go.  A new training saga begins.  Maybe the third time this year will be a charm.






Hobbies are good

It’s been almost a year since I graduated and I still haven’t gotten a hobby going.  Hobbies are good.  It’s what normal people do who don’t work full time and teach obscene amounts of classes.

I need a hobby.  More than my Wednesday night craft night.  I need something that I can say I work on frequently that is relaxing. 

I’ve decided to start an aquarium.

I know. 

Someone like me, starting an aquarium.  It’s nuts.  I’m too Type A for such an activity. 

Let me explain.  My grandfather always had a sweet fish tank when I was little.  I loved that tank.  It was so peaceful.  When my grandparents passed away, the tank was boxed up and put into my mom’s storage.  Last year, I decided that someone needed to do something with this tank and took it out of storage.  It’s been sitting in my dining room ever since, covered with a Mexican blanket.  Ha!

Well, I got off my butt last weekend and started to work on it.  Oh lord, what was I thinking.  The tank is a mess.

Let me back up.  The tank is a sweet tank.  My grandfather was quite the DIY’er in the day and made it himself out of automotive glass.  I guess this is why I want to fix it up.  It seems a shame to let this thing sit.

So here it is in all of her dirty glory.  Notice the stand- that is also DYI’ed.  You can see the white grime on the glass and the sad metalwork on the frame.

Pretty nasty, huh?  I went to town on Sunday with the metalwork.  Some of it looks like it was eroding, but I had to clean it.  Some Brasso, a toothbrush, and a washcloth got it done.  It took a good while but it’s nice and shiny now.  The areas of concern are mostly on the back of the tank, probably because it had water damage from prior use with the filter.  The top of the tank (unpictured) is another piece of glass with a notch cut out in the back for the filter setup.

After the metal cleaned up, I got to work on the white stuff on the glass.  Enter the scraper.

Little did I know, this would turn into a full day fiasco.  The scraper was good, but that razor blade got dull really quick.  I guess that is what 30 years of festering in a storage unit will do.  I had to bring out the big guns and get a value size of white vinegar.

Apparently, even if you rinse repeatedly, it is a big no-no to use any sort of detergent cleaner on the inside of a fish tank. White vinegar, more scraping, and plenty of elbow grease.  That’s what takes off 30 years of gunk.  That, plus some mindless TV and lots of caffeine.

When I finished the tank glass, I stopped for a lunch and thought about what to do next.  Should I chance filling the tank with water to see if it’s airtight?  Or, should I go ahead and strip out the silicone seals?


I look online.  Everyone says it’s a big job.  Well, I’ve got all afternoon and evening, right?  Ha!

I changed my razor blade and started at the inside of the tank first.  This was pretty difficult work.  Scoring the silicone, then scraping it up.  You have to get it ALL up because new silicone won’t adhere to the old stuff.  I worked.  I sweated.  I took breaks for chocolate.

Some of the areas pulled right out, which led me to believe that my decision to remove the silicone was wise.  Who knows how long that would have stayed water tight.

After I finished the inside of the tank, I started on the outside metalwork.  All of the metalwork was caulked with a very thin bead of black silicone, which came up much easier than the clear stuff on the inside.  Again, good decision to remove and replace. 

All in all, it took me 7 hours to remove the silicone on the inside and outside of the tank, with maybe an hour worth of breaks.  My fingers are sore and I managed to avoid cutting myself, which was Kevin’s main concern.  I’m not that lucky with most kitchen knives.

I wiped out the tank again with the vinegar, which now permeates throughout the Hall Hacienda.  I’m going to let it all sit and recaulk it this weekend. 

In addition to my cleaning adventures, I went to Petco to scout out their filtration systems.  We have a fish store by our house, but it may be overpriced so I wanted to get some comparison pricing done. 

I also went to the library and got several books about aquariums and fishkeeping, including one called “Your Aquarium Week By Week” or something like that.  It tells how to get your tank set up and how not to kill your fish.  I need that.

Stay tuned.  Fish saga continues.