Aug 142009

I had been wondering what my exit strategy would be for the kettlebell class.  I mean, are we just going to be his students forever, or is there a natural point where we just part ways?  Harinder’s talking about a New Years Eve marathon workout (with some people actually running a marathon) and that seems interesting…and very tiring.

Anyway, those thoughts are gone as he started talking about doing some mace training.  When he said we needed to buy ropes and were going to be doing a lot of climbing up trees, I was thinking that sounded like a natural point to say good bye, but when he said mace training, the flame was rekindled.

Partially cause I thought a morning star was a mace.  But still, the mace is kind of interesting.

This week, our homework was to make our own.  Seemed like a reasonable way to save $150.

But I’ve said that too many times and been wrong.  Turns out there are lots of times when $150 is well spent.

Last night, we went to OSH to get a shovel handle and cement and some nails.  I figured Sal had a mini basketball that I could use.  It reminded me of when my grandfather cut my football in half so he could use it to hold cement while he did patch work around the yard.  Except that I had the ball owner’s permission this time.  When we got home, we couldn’t find the basketball – we might have donated it.  I found one today at Sports Basement for $6.  The cement was $10 and the handle was $10 and the nails were a couple of dollars.  $30 bucks and a little elbow grease beats spending $170 + shipping and handling right?

Sure, I wasn’t sure how long a handle to buy.  Or what girth.  But I bought what felt comfortable.

And I didn’t notice how much cement I was buying.  For this project could they package too little cement?  Though when we did the math, the ball was supposed to come out to 15 pounds and when I looked at my bucket of cement it was 10 pounds.  1 more trip to OSH.  Catherine pointed out, as we were mixing the cement that the bucket looked bigger than the ball.

She was on a roll.  That was probably the 3rd or 4th mistake I had made that she was pointing out.  Pacing herself.

Turns out, making cement is a lot like making cookies.  In Jason’s Bishop class a few years back, I mixed all the ingredients in together and mixed them and didn’t get a good dough.  Gotta add things in order and mix in order.  So one should really add cement to water, not water to cement mix.  Says that on the box, but I was more focused on the 5-1 ratio with water.   I need to balance my focus.

So we made some crazy cement with that first batch. Good thing we had two buckets.  Though the water ratio was way off.  Soupy.  Started up the 2nd 10 pounds of cement, adding the cement to water, instead of the other way around.  The idea was that we wouldn’t put in that much water, then add cement, then add our soupy cement to balance out the ratio.  Which was working out well, until the soupy cement started to set and wasn’t that easy to scoop out of its bucket.  Wasn’t exactly “quick” but it wasn’t still soupy.  That’s when the panic set in.

Started to pile the cement into the ball with some gardening tools. It was getting chunky.  It was like diffusing a bomb, but not really. The time pressure was there, but instead of an explosion, we were only faced with 20 bucks/pounds of wasted cement.  Still, it shouldn’t be this hard.  In the end, it stands on its own, but is slightly cockeyed and probably stands on its own cause of a flat spot, not because of a well designed center of gravity.

And it’s a pain to swing around one’s head.  The off center center of gravity should just make exercising with it that much more challenging, right?

So, to recap, what I would do differently next time (cause there will be a next time unless I get smarter soon):

  • buy the enough cement the first time.
  • add cement to water – not water to cement.
  • cut a larger whole in the ball to make it easier to fill and keep the handle aligned while filling.  Mis-aligned handle isn’t really correctable once the ball is packed with cement and its mostly set.
  • maybe use a size 4 soccer ball.
  • Ha.  I forgot to mention that screws are better than nails if you don’t have holes in your shovel handle already.  With the nails, I managed to scratch my leg with the claw while removing a nail.  Then Sal started crying and I thought I hurt him somehow, but it turned out he didn’t like me bleeding.  Though I could hardly feel it, he needed me in a bandage.  How does tetanus work?

Now I have a heavy ball with a handle and a heavy ball with a stick and six weeks to make a difference…

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