Older, Wiser

April 12th, 2006  |  Published in old and busted  |  1 Comment

Manzanita RentalI don’t think I had any big birthday entry in mind, which is probably a good thing, since the usual post-weekend-on-the-coast psychic hangover still seems to be with us going into Wednesday night. So here are some highlights:

We rented a house in Manzanita about five minutes from the beach and a few minutes more, perhaps, to Laneda Ave. It was a pretty cozy place with a fireplace and comfortable rooms. Sue and Michael were with us the first evening, then Justin, Dunetchka & Amelie joined us all the next. Ben and Amelie do well together, even though they don’t really play together so much as next to each other. We had to disconnect all the phones in the house because Ben’s thing involves talking on the phone in little conversations that go something like:

“Hello? Yeah. Yeah. O.k. Bye.”

Since there were two phones, we figured there’d be enough to go around for the children, but a screeching match ensued over who’d have a monopoly. We gave them each a phone, which seemed to satisfy Ben. Two minutes later, though, he walked up to Amelie with a sippy cup, held it out to her, said “Milk?” then snatched her phone when she took the cup.

Sue continued her newish tradition of anatomically correct birthday cakes with a chocolate cake topped with a naughty bit she had to special order from an (the?) erotic bakery in Seattle. She got her credit card number stolen for her troubles, but her bank appears to have a good fraud department, so the Finnish train tickets someone bought on her card won’t come out of her pocket.

Because I was the birthday boy, the weekend had an aspect I found pleasing: Not a lot of insistence on doing stuff and plenty of hanging around, with time to reflect on the fact that my birthday wishes each year seem to get more heartfelt.

BenWe spent some time on the beach Saturday. Amelie likes to munch sand, and she & Ben both had the same way of stamping in the puddles, though Ben seemed to favor digging in the sand with sticks this time around. He was also less intent on throwing himself into the ocean, which was o.k. with us.

We stopped at Camp 18 for lunch with Sue and Michael on the way home. Even though a service station attendant campaigned hard to get us to not go there, I would not be dissuaded. Camp 18 is a key part of the coast-going experience. I’m not sure if it’s the stuffed cougars or the antler chandeliers.

I’m winding this entry down thinking “Wow … sounds boring,” and it may be that it was, though I wasn’t bored at all. It was unstructured time with good people, which is the best kind as far as I’m concerned.

I didn’t take a ton of pictures, but here’s the flickr set all the same. I’ve got a special movie to put up soonish, too, featuring an unexpected talent from one of our party.

Elsewhere

So that covered the “older” part.

The wiser part today is about chairs.

I’ve had the same “executive chair” in my office for about six years now. It’s a sturdy chair, but the padding has broken down and it was never ideal for doing a lot of typing/mousing. So I got sick of it a few weeks ago and went in search of a new one.

On the good word of a Cool Tools contributor and some trial lounging around in the store I picked up what I thought was a Russell Executive Chair for a decent price. Over the past few weeks, though, I’ve discovered the real point of a chair is its adjustability. The chair I got (and I’m not even sure it’s the right one) had a mild booby trap in the form of a fairly rigid lip on the front of the seat, and a fairly high concept of “low,” so the circulation in my legs has suffered a little because they press against the lip and I can’t make the chair go low enough to reduce the pressure.

So back to the office supply store this evening, with more attention paid to how many points of adjustment a given chair has.

AmelieAs much as the “executive chairs” are tempting, they’re really not for people like me. It’s too easy to sink back into them, so while they feel great in the store, they become a nightmare in the office, where it’s hard to sit forward enough to type and mouse but still get any back support.

It turns out the class of chair I was after is a high end “task chair,” which has a lower back and less trim, but sports a few more adjustment points. The one I got (for much less than the plush executive models) has three adjustment levers (height, tilt, back tilt), a recline tension adjuster and adjustable arms (which I’ve set to just get out of my way so I don’t have to reach over the right arm to get at my mouse.

It’s no Aeron, but it offers a much more custom fit than the chairs in my price range, and with low arm rests I won’t be cutting off the circulation in my arms from leaning on them when I type for long periods of time.

I think I just had more to say about my new chair than my whole birthday weekend. Read nothing into that at all, except, perhaps, that birthdays come but once a year, while my desk chair is something I deal with every other day of the year.

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