Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Recovery From the Week Past

Last week was grueling. Monday, I went to Milwaukee to do a post inspection on a parking garage. Parking garages can be the most annoying things to inspect, what with levels going up and levels going down. Last Monday was cool but gorgeous. The view of Milwaukee from the top of the garage was superb.

The next three days were spent in Chicago. We have a huge job, the next phase of "Revive Wacker Drive". We're up to the last section to be torn down and replaced. This involved installation of equipment and inspections of sections of buildings from Monroe south. We did the 100 and 200 blocks last week.

Tuesday was gray. Even the Chicago River looks cold. The thermometer outside one of the banks said "45", but the wind made it seem like 25. Fortunately, we weren't outside very long, but we are in loading dock areas which aren't always the warmest places.

Inspecting buildings like these mean there is a lot of walking. The quickest route is often the stairs. Now, I'm supposed to be avoiding stairs if at all possible. It wasn't possible. Stairs go up to the loading dock. Stairs go down from the lobby to the first basement. I really detest parking garage ramps. Their angles downward are stressful on my knees right  now. And I loathe buildings that have a middle basement level, even if it was just one room, a pump room. There were usually stairwells that had to be inspected, too. It was just a lot of walking.

Wednesday, we had low hanging clouds, all day. I think Chicago's skyscrapers look so much more interesting when the clouds skirt around them or below their summits. This was the Sears, no, Willis Tower on Wednesday. It's always going to be the Sears Tower for those of us who are of a certain age. Yes, there is a sign out front that says "Willis" Tower but it will take years for the "Sears" moniker to fade from local vernacular.

Wacker Drive reconstruction is adjacent to the Tower now so on Thursday, we had to inspect its loading dock and a storage room. That really was it. The loading dock is huge, as you would imagine for a building this size, and trucks are coming and going constantly. It runs very efficiently. I would hate to be a driver who had to deliver down there, however. Low clearances and tight turns make the delivery system disconcerting, at best. No one ever thinks about how the office supplies get to them from the store. It involves one or two guys in a truck, trying to maneuver that truck to back into a loading dock and unload. Add a major street reconstruction and it's got to be a huge headache.

By Thursday, I was having some problems. My right knee is still achy from all the walking about and stair climbing I did. My hands hurt from holding the camera and tape recorder the same way for hours on end. I was allowed to leave the inspections early and the guys finished the few little things that needed to be done. I know that had I had the pain from November in my knees now, I wouldn't have been able to do a quarter of the walking I did. I need to monitor the right knee because I can see fluid accumulating there, as it did with the left. I found myself, a few times over the weekend, reaching for the cane, just to stand up. I need a few weeks of not being on my feet to recover.

As I walked back to the car on Thursday, here was the view north along the Chicago River.

It seemed like a really long walk back to the car, although it was 5 blocks total. A week later, as I sit in the warmth of my office, the past week seems a distant memory. It's such a double-edged sword. I need to be more active to lose weight to help the knees but too active and they start hurting and I run the risk of fluid build up. I probably overdid it last week, but I did enjoy being out and about, something I found hard to do this year past.

Beverage:  Earl Gray tea


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