Notice anything missing?

Last night somebody stole my roof rack. The Yakima rack was nearly 12 years old (except the new q-towers, which are only a few months old) but it might be worth something to somebody. The really annoying thing is the v-rack. The only people who use v-racks are kayak racers, and it’s unlikely anybody will use this – more likely they’ll sell it scrap for less than what it cost me for the ropes to tie it down.

I’ve phoned a few aluminium recyclers, but nobody has seen it yet.

Don’t worry, it won’t affect anything

Before upgrading to Lion, I checked the compatibility of the apps I use, and discovered that Quicken doesn’t work on Lion. Intuit hasn’t actually updated the Mac version or Quicken for nearly 5 years, instead bringing out something called “Quicken Essentials For Mac” which didn’t have the one thing I used most in Quicken, which was bill paying. So I decided to bite the bullet and start using my bank’s ancient and creaky web interface to pay my bills. In a wonderful bit of synchronicity, my bank started offering a web product called “FinanceWorks” which did the other thing I used Quicken for, which was showing me what expenses were coming up, which helps me decide how much money I have to transfer into savings or back out of savings and the like. It even allowed me to combine information on my bank accounts, my credit card, my retirement accounts and my mortgage all in one place. Very nice. It’s an Intuit product, looking very similar to their web site, but it’s integrated into the bank’s web site so once I log into the bank’s web site I can bring it up without any further logging in.

Flash forward to 7 days ago. My bank phoned me up and said they had to change my account from “Foo checking” to “Bar checking”, but the account number would stay the same and all my web payments would be unaffected. I said ok, and within minutes, the bank’s web interface showed the change.

But it turns out they lied. There was one thing that changed – FinanceWorks can’t update any of my bank accounts. It’s still updating my third party accounts, it just won’t update my primary accounts.

And that has lead me into the hell that is Intuit technical support. The way you start a support request in this case is you just click a button and it shows you some details (like your customer id, financial institution, account that’s not refreshing, error code, etc) and sends it to Intuit. That information should be more than sufficient for Intuit to see that the accounts that aren’t refreshing are the ones on my primary bank, ie. the one that I didn’t (and couldn’t) enter login details into FinanceWorks, they’re included automatically. And yet the first couple of responses from Intuit are along the lines of “make sure you can log into the bank’s web site?” and “did you enter your details correctly?”. I kept responding and telling them that it was my primary institution. So those responses started tapering off (but not ending) and I started getting a different response, saying to use this particular option to reset my account. Except I couldn’t find this option anywhere on their site. And so I’d respond saying that I can’t find this option, and they’d respond with another demand that I use this option. (I should mention at this point that the “Help” in FinanceWorks is just a simple FAQ, not searchable and not very detailed or complete – also, there is no search to find options on the site, so it is possible that there are menu items I can’t find).

It’s been 7 days now, and I still can’t get FinanceWorks to update after this supposedly innocuous change. And as of 5 minutes ago they just sent me another “Go to the account details screen and change your login information”.

A long boat on a short car

One of the problems with my car is that the gap between the roof rack bars is so short. I bought a v-rack so that I wouldn’t be supporting the boat at two points near the middle and having it flexing all over the place, but the fact that such a long object is supported by two bars very close together means that the v-rack itself bounces up and down, or more accurately pivots forward and back, and places a lot of stress on the bars of the rack. It makes a lot of noise as it flexes, and I’m continually worried that the rack is just going to tear out as I go over a bump.

So today I took some action. I bought a couple of Seattle Sports “Hood Loops”, which are little nylon loops with a grommet on the end that you can attach using one of the quarter panel bolts under the hood of your car. I also bought a couple of “Quick Loops” from the same company. They’re a similar idea except instead of bolting them to the car, you just close them in the rear hatch and a soft but strong piece of plastic tubing prevents the loops from coming back out. Those are more experimental – once I figure out exactly where I want them, I might replace them with something bolted or otherwise more permanently attached. I ran a rope from one Hood Loop over the v-rack and down to the other Hood Loop, and did the same in the back with the Quick Loops. I then put the boat on the rack and went for a short drive. The difference in stability is incredible. It’s so much more stable, and quieter. Also, when I take the rack off for the winter, I can flip the Hood Loops inside the hood out of the way, and take out the Quick Loops, and take the car to the car wash.


For the last several months I’ve been trying to slowly build myself back up after the surgery. I paddle once or twice a week, and generally I do one “long” (for values of long that seem ridiculously short to me) continuous go at first, and then continue for as long as I can doing paddle/rest/paddle/rest. Sometimes I have to stop because my shoulder is sore, sometimes because my muscles are tired, sometimes because my aerobic system is worn out, and sometimes it’s all three. Up until last week, my maximum “long” stretch was about 1.25 miles, and my total distance was generally around 3 to 4 miles with a lot of stops.

Last week, I was off work, so I actually managed to get out 3 times. I also started getting much more diligent about doing the stretches and exercises my physiotherapist prescribed back when I was still doing that. And I went to see the massage therapist I was seeing a couple of years ago about my shoulder and neck.

On Wednesday, I managed to paddle 1.5 miles, take a quick drink of water, and keep paddling to a total of 2.5 miles, and then do stop/start paddling for a total of 4 miles. That’s the first time all year I’ve seen two miles in less than 11 minutes per mile. (Oh yeah, did I mention that my speed compared to last year also sucks?) So that was pretty good.

Today, I did even more. I managed to paddle 2 miles, take a quick drink of water, and continue to a total of 3.2 miles, and then do stop/start paddling for a total of 4 miles. That’s 3 miles in a row at less than 11 minutes per mile! That’s real progress!

Ok, granted both times my shoulder was pretty damn sore afterwards, but I’m so tired of waiting for the pain to go away before I start getting fit again. I have an appointment with the surgeon next week to see why it’s taking so long, but I suspect he’s going to tell me to stop paddling.

I’m making progress, and I’ve got the erg so I can keep going all winter. Here’s hoping I can bring the endurance up to the old level and then start bringing up the speed.