09:00 – After several days of highs in the 60’s and lows in the 50’s, it was 39F (4C) when I got up this morning. The leaves have noticed. A week ago, most of them were still green and attached. Now, a lot of them have changed and fallen. Barbara vacuumed the yard yesterday, and there are already a lot more leaves down. My guess is that most of the deciduous trees will be looking winter-bare by mid-month.

After a mediocre October, kit sales are looking up for November. If the current pace persists, we should do at least double kit revenues this month relative to November of last year. Barbara labeled several hundred bottles yesterday; today she’ll label and fill several hundred more. Among other things, I have the messy job today of filling 500 g baggies of plaster of Paris for the earth science kits. I don’t think I’ll depend on the zip-lock to keep them sealed during shipping. I’ll heat-seal them above the zip.

10:29 – As expected, I get 22 half-kilo bags from each 25-pound sack of plaster of Paris. As I was working on them, I though how odd it is that our abilities change with age, usually for the worse, but our perceptions of our abilities don’t. When Barbara picked up the 25-pound bag of plaster of Paris, I was disappointed that Home Depot didn’t carry larger bags–50 or 100-pound. As I was man-handling a 25-pound bag today, I realized that it felt, if not heavy, at least noticeable. Back in the day, I’d have thought nothing of shouldering a 100-pound bag and carrying it around. I’d have thought nothing of doing that all day long. Now, a stinking 25-pound bag is a noticeable weight for me to carry around, and hauling 40- and 50-pound bags of sand and gravel up and down the stairs is distinctly non-trivial.

I’m a pale shadow of what I once was, both physically and mentally, and I try to keep that in mind. In the immortal words of Harry Callahan, “a man’s got to know his limitations”. About the only thing that hasn’t degraded too much is my reaction time. I still have the reflexes of a rattlesnake, albeit perhaps a middle-aged rattlesnake.