Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest

Saturday, January 30, 2016

How to Inflate an Exercise Ball

Thera-Band Professional Exercise Ball
We've been rearranging things in the basement, which resulted in one of the computer tables being moved onto the carpet. It's kind of thick carpet, so desk chairs don't work very well. They work fine if you are just sitting, of course, but trying to move one is a nuisance. It's not like in the kitchen where, when you stand up, the chair just slides backward on the linoleum. Here, the best you can hope for is that it falls over backward when you stand up. Don't trip over the legs when you turn to leave. We aren't even going to talk about trying to scootch it up to the table when you sit down. It's a big fat annoyance, coming or going.

    But look! There's a big green exercise ball! I could use it for a chair. They are a little precarious but you can adapt. Not may favorite perch, but they move easily on the carpet, this is not a going to be a heavily used system, so good enough.
    This ball has been rolling around in the basement for years, mostly ignored and now it is low on air. Depositing my enormous bulk on it sends me halfway to the floor. I should pump it up, and if I am going to pump up this one, I should probably pump up the red one as well.
    Time for a little sidebar. Why do we have unused exercise balls rolling around in our house? Because when you stay in one place for a while, things accumulate. And because occasionally people develop enthusiasms for various activities and then they buy stuff in support of those activities. Eventually that enthusiasm wanes and you are left with the stuff. Valuable stuff, stuff you paid good money for, worthwhile, useful stuff. Shoot, stuff you might actually use again someday. We have a lot of crap like that.

20 oz carpenter's framing hammer
   Back to the project at hand. First I have to locate the red ball (bottom corner of front hall closet), the pump (back door closet), and the tool for prying out the plug. Didn't even look for the tool. I remember what it looks like: about two inches long, white plastic, round on one end and a two tined fork on the other, but I have no idea where it is or even where to start looking. Surely I can find something else that will do the job, and I do. It's a 20 oz carpenter's framing hammer.

Seamstress's tape measure
    We're making progress, now I need a seamstress's tape measure to measure the circumference of the ball. That's how you tell when you have enough air in them. I suppose the air pressure is too low to be able to measure it accurately AND cheaply, plus gauges are technical and weird. Tape measure is simple. Now all I need to know is the number. That's easy, it's written right on the ball. Well, no, it's not. What we have is the diameter in centimeters. My tape measure in inches, so I need to convert a 55 cm diameter to a circumference in inches. Google does that for me:

Google calculates circumference
Bah! Double bah and humbug. My seamstress's tape measure (SWMBO's, actually) only goes to 60 inches. But hey! I picked up a short paper tape at IKEA the other day, I can just tape the two of them together. Now where's the tape dispenser? A short expedition to the far corners of the basement turns it up, hiding in plain sight.

Small Foot Pump
    All accoutrements acquired, now to begin pumping. Squeezing the pump between my hands works for a bit, but I can see this is going to wear me out, so I move to foot operation. Sitting on a kitchen stool seems to work best, but the pump wants to fall over on the carpet, so I move to the hard floor. Works better, though the pump wants to squirt out from under my foot if my attention wanders.
    Each squeeze of the pump boosts the circumference by one-sixteenth of an inch. We are down about ten inches, so 160 pumps should bring us close to the mark. One pump per second would be two minutes and forty seconds, but maybe I'm not pumping that fast, and I might not be giving it a full squeeze every time, so we go for five minutes and after five minutes I'm right at the mark. I give it a few extra pumps to allow for air escaping when I disconnect the pump and insert the plug.

P.S. The plug on the newer, green ball didn't require a tool. It is a slightly different shape and I was able to pull it out using my fingernails and wiggling it a bit.

Update April 2016 replaced missing picture (top).


Anonymous said...

These days, most measuring tapes for seamstresses are in cm on one side and inches on the other.
Cop Car

Chuck Pergiel said...

So you lost the tape your mother gave you? Bad cop. Have a donut. It'll make you feel better. Get one with sprinkles. Deputy Samuel Gerard likes the ones with sprinkles.