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Sunday, February 20, 2022

Rules of Thumb

Napping puppy! Break for puppy mom!

My life these days seems to be governed by rules of thumb. Here are a couple of examples I’m finding especially pertinent:


o  For each day in a hospital, expect recovery to take a week. Ten days in a hospital, then, make for a ten-week recovery time.


o  A puppy can go an hour between eliminations for every month of age, so expect a two-month-old puppy to be able to last two hours from one pee/poop session to the next.


Merriam-Webster defines ‘rule of thumb’ this way:


(1)       A method of procedure based on experience and common sense;

(2)       A general principle regarded as roughly correct but not intended to be scientifically accurate


Apparently there is no evidence linking ‘rule of thumb’ to legal wife-beating in 18th-century England! 


Those words “roughly correct” in the Merriam-Webster definition reminds us that a rule of thumb is not hard and fast. Some patients recover more quickly after hospitalization and surgery, others take longer than the one day/one week rule suggests, and some two-month-old puppies can sleep for five hours at night before waking and needing to go out. There is wide variability in individual cases. Faced with unfamiliar situations, however, as I have been recently, it's helpful to be able to estimate outcomes and adjust expectations somehow, and a rule of thumb gives us a compass, however wobbly, rather than leaving us completely at sea.


My analogy above set me to wondering about what kinds of rules of thumb might be applicable to sailors. One I found says, “When in doubt, take the longer tack first.” No doubt sailors will understand what’s meant by that. Here’s another one for deciding how much anchor chain is necessary in a given situation:


...So how do you decide what is safe before looking elsewhere to anchor? Traditionally you use the scope – a multiple of the water depth to determine the length of anchor chain you’ll need to use. The RYA suggest a scope of at least 4:1, others say you need 7:1 but in crowded anchorages 3:1 is quite common.


A moment’s thought, however, tells you that a static rule of thumb in an environment that can significantly change in different conditions will not sufficiently account for the main forces acting on your boat, namely the wind and the tidal stream....


Given that reminder that a static rule of thumb is not sufficient in every situation, sailors will want to read the entire article!

Sunny Juliet taking a brief rest break from outside tomboy play

A kind friend and neighbor (I have wonderful neighbors here in Dos Cabezas, AZ!) did the driving yesterday on my commute to see the Artist in the hospital in Chandler, up southeast of Phoenix, and that same friend and neighbor puppy-sat with Sunny for over three hours so “dog parents” David and Pamela could have a good, long visit in the hospital. Back home in the evening, it was early night-night for me here in the ghost town. Missing my life partner, I chose one of his favorite books, The Count of Monte Cristo, for my bedtime reading but never got beyond the first page. In fact, I had to read the first sentence over several times to get it to sink in.



On February 24, 1815, the watchtower at Marseilles signaled the arrival of the three-master Pharaon, coming from Smyrna, Trieste, and Naples. 


-      Alexander Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo


Would you have been able to name that novel, given the first line?


Speaking of the Artist, his birthday is tomorrow, 2/21, and I would be happy to convey birthday wishes to him from far-off friends. Just leave a note in a comment here, and I will read him what you write. Thanks!

Okay, I found the picture I really wanted! Both were taken on the porch at Source of Coffee, in Willcox, AZ, but I love David's laughter in the one below. Now, if only I could remember who he was talking to that day!

THIS is my guy


Unknown said...

John & I are wishing David a Happy Birthday along with a speedy recovery! Hugs to you! XOXO

Deborah said...

Brother-in-law David - we miss you and love you!! Looking forward to your continued healing and spending time together.


Happy birthday to David, and a full recovery, too. However long it takes. And take care of yourself, too, dear Pamela. Give Sunny Juliet some snuggles for me.

Unknown said...

Happy Birthday, David. Here's to a speedy recovery! –– All best, Jim and Becky

Anonymous said...

D!avid, Happy birthday. Wish I could leave a bright colored background or emoji of a cake, but know that you are thought of with love and admiration today and everyday.

Marjorie and Walt Farrell

Christine said...

A very joyous birthday greeting, good wishes to both of you!

Mr G said...

Happy Birthday to my favorite artist. Looking forward to seeing you.

Barbara Stark-Nemon said...

Wishing birthday healing thoughts from Northport where a 43 degree heat wave if happening between temps in the teens.... and perhaps apropos of the rest of your post, that last photo of David laughing was prompted by someone suggesting that it would be a good idea to get a puppy!! (It is, in fact a wonderful idea!). Hugs

Jeanie Furlan said...

šŸŽ¶ I’m singing….! (Think: the end of the song..) šŸŽ¼ Happy BIRTH-day dear Daaay-vid, Hap-py Birth-day šŸŽ‰ to Youuuuuuu šŸŽ¶! Antonio and I are sending our Best Wishes for you today and many hopes for a fast recovery and a healthy time soon with your Pamela and new puppy-ness, Sunshine! šŸŽ¶ “She is your Sunshine, your healing Sunshine, She’ll make you hap-py when skies are grey!”šŸŽ¶ Love šŸ’• and Laughter to you!

Carol Cronin said...

Happy birthday to the Artist! And as your resident sailor-reader, I can clear up the "sail the longest tack first" which indeed is an important rule of thumb on the water. Sailboats cannot sail straight into the wind, so in order to make progress in that direction we sail "to windward;" head about 40-45 degrees off the wind on one tack, and then tack and head about 45 degrees off the wind on the other tack. So if the wind is blowing from the east, to make progress due east you would sail half the time to the northeast and half the time to the southeast. (This of course takes much longer than motoring directly upwind, which explains another rule of thumb/adage: "Gentlemen do not go to windward.")

Usually your destination is not EXACTLY upwind, so the "longer tack" is the one that is closer to your desired heading. If your destination is due east but the wind is north of east, it's best to start off on port tack (which would take you on a course that's closer to east). That is the longer tack, because if the wind doesn't shift before you get to where you're going, you would spend more time on that tack than the other one.

The reason for this rule of thumb is that the wind ALWAYS shifts. But this is probably already far more detail than you wanted.

If all this is clear as mud, AND you want more clarification, feel free to send me an email: carolncronin AT gmail DOT com. I can talk about this stuff all day!

PS Here's hoping your family members will do better than your new rules of thumb.

Dawn said...

Happy belated birthday to David!! I hope he gets to come home soon, to you and Sunny!

Peace and tranquility, Karen said...

Well, a belated happy birthday to David. He must be enjoying the view from his room a bit too much. You must both be miserable and we need David to get back on track so that little Sunny gets to know him. Much love to both of you. George and I are thinking of you. Can we call David?

P. J. Grath said...

So, Karen, you and I talked today. The proxy team? Everyone, it has been a rough week, but I look forward to sharing all your greetings with David when he can fully appreciate them. At present we are mostly holding hands and gazing into each other's eyes. A blessing!

Karen Casebeer said...

I just read on Susan Ager's FB about David's passing. I'm so very sorry, Pamela. Your love for each other was so palpable; I cannot imagine what you've been through and are going through now. Please know you are in my heart and prayers right now at this difficult time. I didn't write this for publication on your blog, but it was the only way I knew to tell you I care and how sad I am for you. Karen Casebeer

P. J. Grath said...

Karen, it's good to have your message here in a comment. Guess I need to get a new post up to tell the many people who haven't heard yet of David's death. It is a very strange time for me -- so much wrenching grief and at the same time so much deep gratitude for all the years together, all the love, and all the friendships forged together with others. I am hearing from so many people! My David touched an amazing number of lives.