I traded in a morning commute for a morning walk.

Morning Walk Nature View

When the pandemic started, I was excited to be working from home. One thing I soon realized however is that I didn’t move very much. Walking from the parking lot to the office, and then around the office at work, added up. Not a lot of steps, but way more than I was getting when working from home. So I started morning walks.

Each day I start the day with a walk. I go for a 30-60 minute walk each morning. It helps me clear my head, gets me some exercise, and is a great way to start the day.

Some days, when the weather is nice, I walk farther. Either way, I’m moving and that’s the point. Only a few times have I had to re-think my walk. Brutally cold mornings (negative double digits) have had me walking inside my house, which isn’t as nice, but typically in the winter I just bundle and make it work. Brutally hot days however aren’t really a concern as I’m walking before the heat of the day.

Another benefit of walking is that I’ve been able to listen to my podcasts. I typically only listen to podcasts on my commute, so without a commute, I wasn’t listening to podcasts. The walk helped me catch up and keep up with most of them.

I’ve been walking daily for over a year now. I enjoy it so much that I even do it on the weekends. I’ve always liked walking and having the ability to do it each morning is really nice.

I’m not sure what I’ll do when I end up going back into the office, but hopefully, we still have a treadmill desk to help me keep up my steps. It’s not about the steps though, but about keeping moving and being active.

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I built the 1988 LEGO 6395 Victory Lap Raceway!

1988 LEGO 6395 Victory Lap Raceway

In 1988, I received a Lego 6395 Victory Lap Raceway! Well, I think that’s when I got it, I was like 9 so I don’t remember, but that’s when it came out. Fast forward a few (ok a lot) of years, and I put it back together!

This is a pretty sweet Lego set that comes with four race cars, a truck, a doctor with a stretcher, and like 13 people! It’s completely Shell branded and lots of details.

The instructions are fun too as they’re not as detailed as they are now. Sometimes you just get pictures of the next step all to put together but no indication of what blocks they used or where they go. Not hard, just different.

Lego Instructions
Instructions – Step 10 & 11

By now you’re probably wondering where I got such a sweet retro Lego set. Well, my mom saves everything. She brings up Legos and instruction booklets when she finds them. Sometimes I get a lot of pieces, sometimes it’s just one. Over the years, I’ve gotta quite a few and had 98% of the pieces for the Lego Raceway.

I have a lot more Lego sets that are currently somewhere in my parent’s house. You never know what she’ll bring me next. Could be parts to my Airport Shuttle (6399) from 1991 or the manual to my Lego Giant Truck (5571) from 1996, or just some random pieces. It’s always a surprise!

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We installed a cat door.

Cat in Cat Door

Over the weekend we installed a Purrfect Portal cat door. It was pretty easy to do and looks amazing.

We installed it in the room we keep the cat litter boxes in. It’s supposed to be under the stairs storage but works well for litter boxes. The cat door should slow the cats down so they don’t track out as much litter, keep the smell down when they poop, and it hides the sight of the littler boxes.

Our main concern was that it’d be too small for our bigger cat, but he fits just fine. He has to squat down quite a bit but doesn’t mind doing it. Our kitten has no problems however still goes fast in and out of the room.

Since it worked out so well, we might get a second one for my daughter’s room so she can have her door closed at night.

I highly recommend the Purrfect Portal cat door. Easy to install, works great, and looks amazing!

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Today we said goodbye to our cat Sassy.

Our cat Sassy through the years

Sassy is now in cat heaven. We knew it was coming, but she took a turn for the worst Christmas evening and we realized that it was time.

Sassy was 17 years old (nearly 18) and she lived a good long life. She was around before my wife and I got married and she’s been a big part of our lives.

In the past few years though she lost her sight and her hearing. Even without them, she was able to find her food, littler box, and her favorite sleeping spaces. She may have slowed in her old age but she kept things interesting right up to the end.

Even though we knew it was coming, and we’ve put down another cat a few years back, it’s not easy. She’s in a better place now though and she’s no longer in pain.

Thanks for everything Sassy. We’ll miss you. 🐾

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Anna and the Apocalypse – A bizarre, comedy, horror, musical.

If you’re looking for a movie that has it all, Anna and the Apocalypse might just be that movie.

I’m not sure what genre Anna and the Apocalypse falls under but it’s a horror-comedy musical. It has parts that make you laugh out loud, parts that are a bit gory, one inappropriate song about Santa, sad parts, and they even break out into musical numbers quite often. The only thing it doesn’t have is predictability. Well, at least not as predictable as most movies.

Think of it like if they turned Shawn of the Dead into a musical. It may sound a bit weird, but that’s why it’s amazing.

I have to say, I kind of liked the music. It was easy to relate to and pretty catchy. I’ve been streaming the soundtrack for days.

To make it even better, it’s all about surviving a pandemic. Even though it was made in 2017 it feels relevant to 2020. Only instead of dealing with science-denying mask-holes, they’re dealing with zombies.

This isn’t a family flick. There are no adult situations, but plenty of violence. Granted, a lot of it is pretty fake. Most of the zombie kills seem too easy to actually kill a zombie, but that’s part of the fun of the movie.

Anna and the Apocalypse is one weird movie, but also kind of awesome. It also happens around Christmas so I guess that makes this a zombie Christmas musical.

Don’t set your hopes too high though as I think part of it’s charm is not realizing what you’re getting into and not expecting too much. It’s a delightful movie and one that I’ll be watching every Christmas now.

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Kasa smart plugs by TP-Link work with Siri.

Smart Plugs & Siri

Smart plugs are pretty cheap as long as you want them to work with Google or Alexa. HomeKit on the other hand requires more expensive smart plugs. However, with Siri Shortcuts, you can make Kasa smart plugs work with Siri without HomeKit.

To make it work, you’ll need some Kasa Smart Plugs. Once you have them setup in the Kasa iOS app, head over to the iOS Shortcuts app. Create a new shortcut and select the Kasa app. Once the app is selected, you can set it up to turn on or off a device, play a scene, or change the lighting color/brightness if you have a Kasa smart lightbulb. Give your Shortcut a name and then save it.

Now, you can ask Siri to run that shortcut and control your smart devices.

I have this working great to turn on and off some lights and will be setting it up with the Christmas tree this Holiday season.

Kasa smart plugs and Siri Shortcuts are a great combination even if they don’t work with HomeKit.

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