We had a quiet West Seattle weekend: Friends over on Friday and we all drank no small amount of great Italian wine and ate the last of our French Comte cheese. I worked around the house and in the shop (me and the lathe are friends) Saturday morning while Stamps-With-Foot nursed a touch of a hangover and snuggled with the Brodie – He didn’t complain. Sunday was lazy with Brunch at Meander’s in White Center (Go For the Chicken and Waffles!) and afternoon coffee at C&P. After coffee and reading, there was a trip to Trader Joe’s, home for left-overs, some quality hottub time, and then we finished the evening with glasses of port, sitting in front of a fire.
Posts Tagged My Day
Oh Seattle… Why can’t you be pretty and green and sort of warm all year? I keep telling myself that Summer and early fall here make the crappy six month of fallwinterspring all worth it, but that is a hard pill to swallow right now. This has been an especially dreary winter: rain, cooler than normal temps, very few sunny days (I remember 4…) and it didn’t really get cold enough to kill the mosquito eggs, so we are looking forward to a buggy spring. Oh Joy. On the bright side of things, the lawn and garden at La Masion du Talley are erupting with jonquils, tulips, cherry blossoms, the begonias and the dahlias are just coming up, there is green on the espalier apples, new raspberry canes are shooting up, my rose bushes in the back are leafing out, I saw a couple of honey bees out foraging, the grass is lush and green, and the first hints of the lavender up front are coming in. I spent the weekend splitting my time between the inside of the house and the yard. In the last two weeks I have been in Tokyo, Orange Co.., CA and Las Vegas, so my part of the household chores had gone unattended to. Here is how it all went down:
Slept late Saturday.
Breakfast and coffee while sitting next to Brodie.
Washed a load of whites and a load of colors.
Thought about going for a run.
Lost two hours of my life to Pinterest instead…
Put dishes away – some of them anyway.
Stamp-With-Foot took Brodie to new vet.
Got dressed and picked up living room and office.
Wife loves new vet. Brodie, not so much…
Finished a couple of small house projects.
Got ready to take Brodie for a walk in Lincoln Park
Canceled trip to the park.
Brodie went back to sleep on the couch.
Went downstairs to work on my Workbench of Doom in the basement.
Heard water running outside… SHIT! Gutters overflowing! Downspout Plugged!! FVCK!!!
Ran outside, put ladder up DURING hail storm, dug pine needles and holly leaves out of gutters on both sides of house.
Water started moving down drainpipe.
While on top of wet, slick ladder – wished I possessed The Force – would kill neighbor’s trees and lift them out of the ground like X-wing fighter…
Said loud dirty words about gutters, pine needles and neighbor’s trees.
Squinted eyes, pursed mouth, and made mental note to buy copper nails, a large auger bit, some Drain-O, and a vile of the poison that coated the blade that Bilbo was stabbed with for that hateful tree.
Climbed down slick ladder with frozen hands prayed for a single bolt of well placed lightning.
Went inside, threw wet hat down and stomped downstairs to plan a crime.
Stamps-With-Foot made me coffee.
Felt better & cleaned the basement a little.
Wife took me out on Movie Date.
Had a nice time.
Came home and sat in the hot tub for a good long while – nice light rain fell.
Wife all for me taking a hit out on the tree.
Fell asleep looking at Pinterest again.
Up at the crack of dawn on Sunday: 9:00am
Coffee and breakfast.
Wrote some e-mails and sent a few pics to Instagram
Wife left for appointment and Brodie and I went to C&P Coffee.
Brodie tried to eat a black lab the looked funny at him while I was ordering coffee.
Being French, he has a Napoleon Complex – Really, really.
I grabbed him in mid air and other dog looked like he wanted to tinkle on the carpet: hid behind owner
Brodie looked hard at that dog whole time we were there.
Stopped by Home Depot on the way home and got moss killer for the roof and yard.
Noticed the moss while unstopping gutters.
Came home, cut the grass and spread some Weed&Feed that will lead to the eventual demise of all the dandelions, clover, and nettles that dare to take root in my yard.
Edged and mowed the front and back yards.
Found a couple of ferociousness dandelion patches.
How had I missed them?!
Got out the instant death weed killer and murdered me some dandelions.
Giggled like Buffalo Bill as he put the lotion in the basket.
Other neighbor walked by told me that I had a beautiful yard.
Beamed with pride and tried not to look like a weed serial killer or that I was hatching a plan to commit arborcide!
Wife came home and helped me spray the roof for moss.
Took off overalls and went with wife and Brodie to Lincoln Park – pretty end to the day!
Went to Trader Joe’s for the week’s worth of groceries.
Stamps-With-Foot made dinner while I worked on some handmade Christmas gifts (starting early)
Looked at Pinterest and Instagram again.
Stole wife’s phone because her pics of Lincoln Park were better than mine.
Heard noise outside.
THE WAS A FVCKING RACCOON ON MY ROOF!!
Thought about getting The Ruminator’s pellet rifle.
Decided I did not want to be on top of ladder and at eye level with mad ‘coon that had just been tagged with a pellet.
Turned the water hose on and ruined his night.
He jumped off roof and into the hated pine tree.
I thought about the pellet rifle again… decided to let the raccoon and tree just have each other.
Came in and wife was asleep and the dog was snoring like a 75 year old alcoholic with sleep apnea.
Wrote a couple blog posts.
Turned off lights, set alarm, and went to snuggle with wife.
My J-O-B occasionally has me fly all over God’s Green Earth with zero to little notice to provide support when something is wrong with an airplane or aircraft system. It never happens on a wednesday at 9:00am. Nope, I usually get the call as I am headed out the door for a 3-4 day holiday weekend with the family. I spent Thanksgiving a couple of years ago in Abu Dhabi, there have been Labor and Memorial Days spent in England/Northern Ireland, and I cannot remember the last MLK weekend that I got to hang out at the house.
This past Friday was one of those days: I got off work and was home just long enough to put on my shop apron, turn on the shop lights, and cut a piece of 47X13.75″ 1/2 plywood for my basement bench before my phone started blowing up. After about 9 calls to and fro, I had tickets booked for the first direct flight out to Tokyo the next morning and a semi-unhappy wife. Stamps-With-Foot has been very gracious about my last minute travel over the past 9 years. She understands that my employer’s ability to have me do these types of trips are part of the reason that we live where we do, have our cute house, and can save for college funds & retirement. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t still get a little miffed – this trip is going to cost me something shinny, I can feel it.
Anyway, I love Japan in general and am here for couple of days. I will have a chance to pick up some ruffled-feather-soothing Japanese gifts for my my wife and mother (The Nana had planned a sunrise Easter Mass/Service as a family outing and was not please that I “bailed”), and there are a couple of things I want to pick up for the kids while I am here, so life shouldn’t be too hard for me when I fly home
I have a neighbor with a rose blossom tree that is the first bloomer of spring. We can see it from our breakfast nook and the kitchen window. The second I see the small red buds starting to show, I know that spring is on its way. Petals are now covering a small patch of ground on my side of the fence and the ornamental cheery trees in the neighborhood blooming. Now is the time to peel myself from my winter sloth and get to the gym, run, and ride my bike. I took my wet-weather commuter-bike down from the rafters in the shop, blew off the sawdust and immediately saw that my head tube was cracked. Son of a…. No idea how it happened. No crashes or huge drops that I know of. It is an aluminum frame, so if cracked it is unrideable. When steel fails it is gradual and you have some warning. When aluminum goes, there is no warning. One just finds him or her self in a bloody and broken pile on the street.
The bike is my Winter/wet-weather commuter, but due to my only laziness, it has only see the road twice since last fall. I have some other bikes, but finding the crack was a a blow to the momentum I was building to finally get off my ass. I took it into a local shop where I know and like the owner and explained the issue. Specialized has a lifetime warranty and he called his rep and I will have a new frame in a few days. I will then spend some time in the basement tearing the old bike down and rebuilding on the new frame. I am sure that I will obsess over some minor detail that will cost me days and some amount of cash.
I decided to work on the kitchen cabinet doors, cut some plywood sheets down, and tackle a bench top while the sun was shining. I opened the shop, brought out a plastic truck-bed toolbox to cut on (my 4 sawhorses are currently being used elsewhere), pulled 3 full-sized sheets of ¾” and ½” plywood out of the lumber rack and drug it all out into the backyard. After marking the first sheet, adjusting my saw blade depth, lining up my rip fence, and checking for clearance – I started my first cut and immediately ripped a 6” long kerf-cut into the top of the tool box that the sheet was sitting on. Dammit! I cut the rest of the plywood up without incident, but grumbled thinking about the mistake (I will fill and patch it with molten P-Tex plastic at some later point). After stacking all the assorted pieces of ply back into my cluttered shop, I man-handled the 170+ pound beech and maple in-work bench top from the basement and placed it on the now-damaged toolbox – trying very hard not to either herniate a disk in my bask or tear what is left of my shoulder.
My Shop/Garage is pilled deep and high with lumber, hardware, undone winter projects, wood shavings, tools, sawdust, flotsam & jetsam, etc…. I spent an hour trying to set up my router and in all the clutter and mess I couldn’t find a ¼” collet for one router and the other does not have an integrated fence, so using my big monkey brain, I improvised a fence. All I really wanted to do with the top was to route channels for t-track and thoroughly sand it down before taking the beast back into the bowels of the basement to apply stain and a tung oil finish. All was going as planned and my first cut was perfect. The second cut went just the same, but at the very end of the third cut my improvised fence failed and the router wobbled – gouging the top that I had spent a month building. Jesus H. Christ I was pissed! – Mostly at myself, but there was some vitriol left over for the machine in my hands. I said dirty, hateful, vile things while resetting the fence and making an adjusted cut. I moved on to make my last cut in the very front lip of the bench and while the fence held, I stood up mid-way through the pass and the router wobbled, making the bit chew into a section of wood where I did not want it to go. I gritted through the rest of the pass and finished the cut, but the second I was clear of the wood, I wanted to throw the still running router on the ground and beat the electric life out of it with the pruning shears that were leaning against the garage wall. I had to walk away, hand over my mouth, and just breathed deeply with my back to the offending router, my own incompetence, and the damage they had both wrought. My moment of reflection was short lived because just as I turned, I felt the first drop of rain fall from what was minutes ago a blue sky that had ominously darkened while I was focused on my router-rage (I swear it happened just like that – strait out of a hip urban dramedy…). SHIT!! I ran for something to cover the bench top. The only thing I could find was a pink tent fly and a sheet of cardboard. I covered everything and retreated into the shop, right eye twitching with disbelief/confusion/anger. I spent the next hour drinking coffee laced with sawdust and moving piles of crap around in my shop.
When my sweet wife got home she MAY have found me in the shop muttering to myself, pacing, covered in saw dust, contemplating the logistics of building a giant sealed dome over our entire lot. She talked me off the ledge, helped me put the top back into the basement, patted me a little, told me I was pretty and smart and a good boy, put me in some fresh, sawdust free clothes, and took me out to see a movie.
I got up the next morning and after a yummy breakfast of flaky croissants, bacon, eggs and two cups of coffee, I went downstairs and chiseled out the offending screw-ups, then cut and glued maple patches in. After calming down some and after a good night’s sleep, I felt better about the whole thing, but me and that router are still not on speaking terms.
I am an admitted cyber-hoarder. I have gigs and gigs of image files across 5-6 hard drives: Images of furniture, vacations, design details, machines, demotivational posters, LOL cats, etc… that I will someday get around to looking at again or using for some future unnamed and unknown project. The few times I have gone looking for something, it has taken forever to find the wanted file.
I was introduced to Pinterest and I thought that this was the solution to my hoarding problem: a cleared up hard drive, organized files, I would be able to add comments to pictures, etc… Nope. Wrong. Stupid Pinterest solved nothing. Now I save files to my hard drives AND link to Pinterest. I have said many times that I don’t use Facebook because it is the black hole of time management. Now I will “glance” at my Pinterest account and BAM!! it is 2:30 am, I have 2% battery left on my iPad, and I have been repinning pictures for seven hours. This is really cutting into the time I have allocated to plotting my scheme for world domination… Dammit!
We had an eventful, rain soaked weekend. Lots of stuff got done, but it wasn’t the sort of thing that great novelists write thought provoking prose about. Maybe a SNL skit though. Details below.
Home from work and into jammies.
Sent some e-mail and web-surfed.
Yummy pizza for dinner.
Finished watching season 6 of Dexter – Debra KNOWS!!
Heard weird water noise outside of basement window…
SHIT!!! Gutters clogged!
Ran outside, pulled ladder out, said DIRTY WORDS.
Up on rickety old wooden extension ladder after midnight in a rainstorm…
Prayed for the death of my neighbor’s pine tree.
No, really. Prayed for the tree to die or for neighbor to sell me his house so I can have the pleasure of turning it into mulch.
Dried off and apologized to Stamps-With-Foot for snapping at her while 15′ in the air, digging out leaves from the clogged downspout.
Off to bed.
Passed out and dropped Kindle on the floor -still works.
Up at 10:00 – no time for coffee – grrrrrr…
Drove downtown with my mother to see a talk by Clay Jenkinson – a Jefferson and TR scholar – my two favorite presidents.
Coffee and half a cookie for brunch – health food…
Presentation was great – funny and enlightening.
Took Mother to grocery store then home.
Called The Ruminator and chatted about Christmas lists and school and stuff.
Cleaned living room floors and rug.
Cussed the neighbor’s tree again – pine needles everywhere.
HATE that tree.
Took sweet wife to see shiny vampire movie instead of new 007 – we suffer for those we love.
Snuck food and cookie into movie.
Came home and obsessively checked gutters for clogs and basement for water for the next 24 hours.
Cursed tree – shook fist at it like an old man.
Spent some time in the hot tub in the rain relaxing/fantasizing about a chainsaw, limbs on the ground, and wood chips everywhere while laughing maniacally.
Went to look at Pintrest “for a minute” before bed – closed iPad 4 hours later at 3:45am.
Skype/FaceTime call with friends in Germany.
Worked on mid-century modern style bookshelf for bedroom.
Poked 20ish holes in wall looking for a studs. Stud-finder worthless on plaster walls.
Threw stud finder.
Hung shelf in a partial stage of completion. Will paint later.
Worked out Christmas budget with sweet wife.
Re-arranged living room to make room for Christmas tree.
Set iPad on top of built-in hutch to keep it out of the way and “safe.”
Watched helplessly as iPad slipped into crack and fell 5 feet and between hutch and wall.
Stared at wood, disbelieving.
Said foul, vile, hateful things.
Paused to collect myself.
Said foul, vile, hateful things again.
Contemplated getting the sledge hammer and splitting maul out.
Had to walk away before I broke stuff.
Went to Target: mood did not improve.
Shopped for Christmas tree in driving cold rain: mood still poor.
Found a nice, full 7′ tall Noble Fir.
Let tree air dry a bit and put it up in living room.
Worked on Christmas cards with sweet wife.
Wrote some funny stuff on cards to friends and family.
Went out to my little shop and cut two long 1/2″X5/8″ sticks of fir & popular.
Attached L-bracket to the ends.
Fished iPad out using the chopstick technique.
Wife so impressed, she bragged about my big ol’ brain on Facebook.
For just a second, I thought “When McGyver spends alone-time with a bottle of lotion, he is thinking of ME….”
Remembered that I was the dumb-ass that dropped it there in the first place and decided not to let me ego run rampant.
More Christmas cards.
House smells like Christmas.
Taught cat to hop onto edge of tub.
Fought internal demon to keep from teaching her to swim.
Also resisted the urge to splash.
Shower and shave – need new blades
Dog snored like a 70 year old alcoholic man with sleep apnea.
Put him on wife’s side of the bed so they could snuggle.
A couple of months ago, we were robbed – my shop was cleaned of tools. It is just now that I have calmed down enough to write about it and not rant and want to get up and throw things/commit serious bodily harm to someone. All of my hand tools, small power tools and a rolling large tool box were taken. It was a huge blow, not just in dollars, but in sentiment as well. There were carving chisels that were my grandfathers, most of my father’s wrenches , 80 year old spoke shaves, saws, a brand new – never used – router, and all my air nailers. Cleaned out.
We were in the UK and Ireland for 9 days and a couple days after we got back, I had a miserable day at my J-O-B and just wanted to work in the garage/shop and make a big pile of plane shavings – stress relief. I walked in the door and there was stuff everywhere (more than usual). Boxes off shelves, lumber moved, clamps scattered… I couldn’t comprehend what I was seeing – did my wife move my stuff… No… Wait… Fvck!! I got crazy mad, then wanted to cry. My stomach tied itself in knots and my heart was sick as I made a mental calculation of what all was in my tool boxes. I called the cops.
Police came, took a report, I called in insurance company, and started looking on Craig’s list and in local pawn shops, while taking slow and painful inventory of what was gone. Not one tool, chisel, saw, router, or wrench ever showed up. To add insult to injury, I know who took it all. We had some contractors do some work at the house around Christmas and one of them was a little sketchy. Not weird junky-itch sketchy, he just looked around at everything in the house and yard with an appraising eye and followed me into the shop to get some supplies I had for him to use and he lingered just a little too long. I didn’t really put it all together until weeks later. I won’t go into details because I cannot “prove” anything and an online accusation could lead to court or this guy showing up at my house again and that would lead a different sort of court case… But I KNOW this guy has my stuff. I know, not a hunch, not a feeling, I know. I called the police to tell them what I had found and I was told that unless he was seen on a public street with one of my tools in his hand, that they could do very little. No warrant to search his vehicle, or house, or shop would be forthcoming… Man, it pisses me off that I paid this guy for slow work that I had to finish AND he took my property – tangible links with my father and Grandfather.
I filed a complaint for the workmanship issues and uncompleted work with the BBB, gave him a craptastic review on Yelp, and let the guy who recommended him know what all exactly happened. Maybe I can save someone else’s stuff. Additionally, I cut the plug off of a power planer months before the break-in because it had an electrical short to the metal housing. I hope that he puts a plug on it and the thing shocks the living shit out of him or that one of the carving chisels slips and relieves him of a reproductive organ in the lower abdominal region…
As per usual, our weekend was jammed with crap to get done before the dreaded Monday morning came calling. Here is how it went:
Up at 7:30
Coffee makes me into a human being. Able to now form whole sentences without grunting
Remove panels from back fence for new hot tub delivery
Smash thumb, say F-word. Say again louder just because
Clear temp spot on patio for said hot tub.
Spend 10 minutes day dreaming about hot tub magic on a cold winter evening – snow falling into the hot water…
Three J-O-B related calls wake me from my hazy never, never land
Get bact to work making room for te most expensive lawn accessory I have ever owned
Put hot house tent on second planter box
I WILL HAVE LOTS OF RED TOMATOES THIS YEAR, DAMNIT!!
Say hateful words about last years green tomatoes
Paint primer on cabinet base
Get primer in beard
Don’t realize about errant primer
Take dog with me to C&P Coffee Shop
Get some weird looks
Wonder if I have a boogie…
Meet wife at home
Wife cleans primer off face
Wrap living room in plastic and cover floor – looks like a scene from Dexter
Wife paints around trim
Work on J-O-B stuff from home
Three huge Somoans deliver hot tub
Do not argue about price
More coffee with nephew at C&P
Pizza and game night at sister’s place
Mom talks smack about she “never” cheats at games
Lighting REALLY wanted to strike….
Dominate in board game after dinner!!
Take that, Mom!!!
Up at 8:oo – wife brought home Starbucks
Super love wife
Researched crazy Seattle building codes for hot tubs and decks
Talked to a couple of friends in Germany using Skype – we miss Germany
Made a plan for deck that will keep me from getting a fine – maybe
Work on kitchen cabinet base in shop
Clean shop a little
Daydream about the day when I have a work space larger than a prison cell
Fondle jointer plane and wood mallet
Move desk for mother
Help tape trim in living room and paint ceiling and help paint walls
Mention that wall color looks like mac&cheese
Receive sustained dirty look from wife
Do not comment about color further
More paint in beard
Notice this time
More working for THE MAN at home
Wife goes to club meeting
Fix drawers on wife’s dresser solely for the brownie points
Lock self out of house
Look at sky and shake head slowly…
Mark pad site for hot tub with paint and mark wiring trench path
Spray paint toe of left shoe
Say the F-word at least twice
Go to sisters house and bum dinner
Sister is a great cook, single, very pretty – just saying in case you know a gent 45 – 55 with taste and a real job… Has to be single and not a dick. Must love really obese dachshunds.
Play the whole locked my self and the dog out of the house thing off like I meant to do it
She doesn’t buy it
Not a word said about Kraft wall color – not even a smirk. Want to sleep inside tonight
Send a flurry of work emails
Curse my work email server to a firery prolonged end
Retype all the email and send again.
Off to bed to snuggle with wife.
When you open up your travel toiletries kit and you find that your toothbrush is broken in half after 20+ hours of flight-time and after arriving at your hotel just as all the local shops close, you have two choices: Use the nub or go to bed with fuzzy teeth. I chose the former and as I made a mess of things, I couldn’t help think that I must have set my karma on fire at some point in my recent travels in order to deserve the splotch of toothpaste that somehow landed in my right eye. Did one of the ferns I took out of the yard have a Secret of NIMH expansion colony under it? Did I cause a bride-to-be in transit to miss her wedding by taking a specific parking spot? Was the taxi I took from the airport destined for more worthy/needy passengers? Did I drink the last beer in the last keg of Guinness at a pub on St. Paddy’s Day and did violence ensue?
I apparently am a blog-tard… I recently accidently turned off all comments for like a month and had no clue and a couple of days ago I mistakenly published a draft that had incomplete sentences, more misspelled words than usual, no pictures, and a run-on cycling related rant that I digressed into. I am officially grounding myself from posting for a week.
I have mentioned previously that my relationship with my wife is a Polaroid of happy modern love, with a side order of belligerent puppy. Her dog REALLY wants to be alpha-male in our house ! He wants prime the snuggling position when TV watching. If I get up off the couch or chair, he is immediately in my spot. Brodie tries his dead-level best to sleep between the wife and me – sneaking into the blocking position in the middle of the night. I ofter wake up to jowles and puppy breath sharing the pillow with me. If we have to leave him in the car for a minute while we run in somewhere, he waits for us in the driver’s seat. My bathrobe is now his bathrobe, etc…
So night before last, I got up to pee and got caught up for like 30 minutes writing a work e-mail on my iPhone. I came back to bed and I found that not only does Brodie share a love for firm pillows, my side of the bed, high thread-count cotton sheets, and cute girls, he apparently also has a deep affection for presidential biographies…
That dog has some sort of diabolical plan formulating between those big ears… I feel that he is trying to slowly replace me – you know, like some morning he will dig a deep hole out back, help me into it, and trot back into the house to have his morning coffee, read the news, and get ready for a hard days work, all without Stamps-With-Foot ever knowing the difference…
Sunday before last, my Father-in-Law, the Chatty Buddha, and I trekked over to the 2011 Seattle Bicycle Expo. We got a late start, make later still by the whole Spring Forward thing. We arrived at the show a little after 3:00 (show ended at 4:00), snagged free parking, and talked the two young ladies at the door into letting us in for free! We spent some time looking at the classic bikes (Where I drooled some and my pants got a little tight), made a quick walk of the show floor, and the circled back to the booths that were most interesting: the $70 cycling Jerseys going for an end-of-show-special for $30 were particularly attractive. We picked up a couple and a conned the vendor into giving us two caps that matched the jerseys for the price of one. J
I walked through the Bamboo Getto and took a few shots, talked to the gents at Co-Motion cycles, Eben Oliver Weiss, AKA Bike Snob, gave a talk that I wanted to see, but my packed weekend schedule prevented it. He Blogged about his trip here.
We had to take a trip to the vet early this morning. I was reading the West Seattle Blog and there was a post about a couple of dogs dying of something called leptospirosis. As I read the article, I grew increasingly alarmed and upon seeing that we live two blocks from where the deceased dogs lived, I was on the phone to our vet immediatly. Come to find out, Brodie had been given the first of two boosters for leptospirosis back in July, but we missed the second. Crap…
Look, I really like that dog. He may be the best dog I have ever had. Even our friends who are cat people let him come to their house and chill. I would be beside myself if something happened to him that I could have prevented. Stamps-With-Foot is bordering on insanity when it comes to this dog. She will tear up as we carpool from work, thinking about snuggling with him when she gets home. She is SUPER puppy-narcissistic: takes every opportunity to show an album worth of pictures to perfect strangers (“…and this is him sleeping…”) and will go on at length about how sweet/smart/handsome/cuddly/soft/smart/amazing/laid-back/handsome/etc… he is. If something happened to Brodie, she would be inconsolable. Things would be ugly! I already had to have the, “No, we can’t clone the dog! Do you know how expensive that would be?!?!”discussion.
So, off to the vet we went. The Wife made me call her after the visit to let her know that he was OK… He got his first round and our dog walker (STOP judging me! I swear we are not those people) is also aware of the outbreak and is watching him closely when he is out and about for his mid-day stroll.
2010 wasn’t a bad year according to the crazy/obsessive spreadsheet that I use to track my daily life – It could be worse, some people spoke Meth to pass the time, I have spreadsheets. While super-nerdy, I have never shopped my derriere on the street corner for a new template or some cool calc function…
Anyway, I wasted sometime in 2010 cyber hoarding and we got sucked into a number of DVD series that hypnotized us in front of the idiot box. But, on the whole though I feel better about 2010 than I did about 2009, since I spent more than a quarter of the year rehabilitating my again repaired shoulder – the 4th time is the charm!.
Successes were: I snuggled with my cute little wife, drank great beer, had a second wedding, read a bunch of really good books, ran a good bit, cycled some (not as much as I wanted/needed to because I was lazy!), My shoulder is now stronger than before the latest accident, traveled a little (work and pleasure), got to do some serious work around and to our home. Here is how the numbers for the year shook out:
|218 Miles||127.8 Miles||139.5 Miles|
|710 Miles||1271.3 Miles||945.5 Miles|
|3 Days||7 Days||10 Days|
|31 Books||23 Books||41 Books|
|33.5 Days||32.5 Days||98 Days|
|45 Times||4 Times||33 Times|
|34021.30 Miles||26,533 Miles||61,341.3 Miles|
|0 Nights||3 Nights||8 Nights|
|310.87 Hours||204.4 Hours||0 Hours|
2011 looks like it will be a good year as well. I have some building and woodworking projects that I am really looking forward to (skin on frame Kayak, kitchen cabinets, detailed carvings…), my shoulder feels great, Snowboarding is on the schedule, I have a short list of peaks to climb, we are finally getting the basement exercise room squared away, so I will be able to train while watching DVDs (I got a SWEET Classic Warner Bros. Cartoon set for Christmas), There are a couple of cyclo-cross and road racing events planned, I have committed to finishing the first complete draft of my own book, I have a fantastic summer with the kids planned, a climbing trip with The Big-Belly Orthopedic Redneck Climbers Assn MAY be in the works for August, I will get to see the family more, and I will get to read some books that have long waited for my attention (Life in a Medieval Village, Theodore Rex, Just My Type, America’s Best Travel Writing – 2008,…) and some great new releases (Keith Richard’s Life, Carriger’s Heartless, Bryson’s At Home, The Second Book of General Ignorance, etc…). We also plan to spend the year simplifying our life and the amount of crap we have, paying down some debt, planting a HUGE garden, and generally living a lighter existence.
I REALLY, extra, super dislike daylight saving time, especially come that time in the Fall when I have to set the 20 or so clocks in the house/cars back one hour. It means that my commute home is in the dark and I have to light myself up like a disco ball so that drivers on their way home after a crappy day at work won’t run over me – again. I don’t care if some Victorian Kiwi (who should not have taken his mind off Entomology) thought it was a great idea that would increase the available light for his bug collecting. The practice has become unnecessary and annoying in the 21st century. 90% of Africa doesn’t observe it. China, Japan, and India think DST is bunk. Most of Central & South America and Australia have let it go, and yet in the USA only the state of Arizona has the foresight to opt out. First we toss out DST then we adopt the metric system. My little soapbox rant for the day…
The following pictures are how every night of my life now goes. Cute sleepy wife goes to bed and puppy follows her. I follow mere seconds to an hour later and this is what I find:
Stamps-With-Foot sound asleep, Dog (Brodie) on my side and in my spot. Wife snuggling dog. I walk in and without fail this is the reaction I get:
Brodie: “What?! You got a problem monkey? I was here first, this is my spot! Don’t even think about disturbing me, I’m comfy and set for the evening. You should have got here first…”
I ignore him, walk around the bed to hop in and turn off the lamp and I am greeted with this face:
Brodie: “If you touch me I am going to EAT YOUR FACE OFF – I swear by all that is Holy (salmon kibble, the stuffed monkey, & chasing kitties) that I will FVCK YOU UP if you… Hey!… NO… Stop… Damn it!!… Fine, I will sleep on the other side of her, but tomorrow night I am going to attack balls if you try this sh!t again…”
With that pronouncement he then makes a couple of turns, flops down with a huff, snorts a couple of times, may pass some gas just because and then begins to snore like a fat old guy with sleep apnea and a deviated septum. Modern love with a dose of belligerent puppy.
My ride home on Wednesday was a soggy one. I had planned on a little drizzle, but what I got was a downpour. I forgot to put on the fenders so I had water, mud and road grit striped up my butt and bag. It made for an annoying commute, but it was a self-created annoyance. I should have dressed for the worst and fendered-up. On the positive side, all the cyclists who clogged the Interurban Trail last week in the sunshine were gone and there were only a hardy few, sporting full rain gear, lots of lights, and waterproof panniers. Last night I came home on my normal apres-work 3-mile loop. By the time I got home, my shoes were water-filled and heavy – let’s call it resistance training.
Yep, fall is officially here. My strawberry plant’s leaves are turning red, the heirloom tomatoes that I have fought to save all summer are finally turning from green to red, and it is now time to install extra lights and the fenders on my commuter. This time of year is both comforting and scary for us lovers of the two-wheeler. The trails and paths are free of our spandex clad brethren on their first ever “road bike”, there are very few kids on big-wheels to dodge, the ladies after-work-walking-club (the one that walks 6 abreast on the trails like a Spartan phalanx) has retired to the treadmills at LAFitness. I find that my ride is quiet and boring and drama free… Except that drivers tend to lose what little ability they had to see cyclists. Even with three blinking lights attached all willy-nilly, fall and winter commuters are spooky around intersections and shared roadways.
Son of a… How has my life turned into a sitcom? Crazy relatives show up at the house, I have hillbilly neighbors, my dog is cuter than me, and now I have dropped my iPhone in the fvcking toilet. It is like NBC has the cameras rolling on my life (could be worse – it could be a Soap opera: lying, cheating, poison, jail, drama, bad acting, eye-patches…). My company’s CEO just happened to be in the stall beside me (how does that occur in real life??) and giggled like a little school girl as I exploded with hateful curse words and looked on in horror as I had to fish the damn thing out. I turned it off, ran to the sink and washed it with foaming soap. I them wrapped it in towels, ran to the production line and put it in the heated epoxy/potting chamber. All was good for the first 10 minutes and then it turned itself back on?!?!? I turned it off again, but noticed that there was some color run in the screen. SH!T My company provided the phone and doesn’t have iPhone insurance, so if it doesn’t turn back on, I bought a new iPhone…
I just got through making fun of Adam Brown for his super-nerdy waterproof phone case. I really wish I was that geeky! This would be more funny story than possible expensive tragedy. I just e-mailed him for info since if the thing does turn on, I need to protect it. If not, then I will need to encase my “new” phone in a potty-proof wrapper.
The phone did great with the drying out process. I turned it on a couple of days later and everything worked fine. Two days after that, I hooked it up to my computer to sync and I was asked if I wanted to download the latest and greatest software. Sure, why the Hell not? After the download, the power and home buttons, stopped working if the phone was disconnected from the computer, but worked fine as long as it was plugged in. I am sure it was some sort of weird latent damage caused by the dunking in the potty that showed up later because of the diagnostic check and cycling that accompanied the new download. The phone is now a brick and after a HUGE rigmarole at work, I was given a new one, though it wasn’t free. It looks like I get to share the cost of the new unit. I guarantee that this one will be covered in layers of protective geeky love.
This announcement was made over the intercom at work: “Please do not leave your work area to go fishing. You may fish only after your work day is complete. Thank you.” I work in an aerospace engineering/production facility in the Seattle suburbs. Fishing and fiber optics do not normally go hand in hand… I actually thought it was a joke until I went outside for a break during production shift change. There were fishing poles and waders everywhere. Our building is tucked into a tight bend of the Green River and is surrounded by water on 2.5 sides. The pacific salmon are now swimming upstream to spawn and the river is thick with them – I mean there is a river of fish in the actual river. They are huge – most between 3-4 feet
I was awestruck. It was like a scene from one of the old Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom shows from the Alaskan wilderness where host Marlin Perkins would describe what a bear was thinking as the bruin stood on a water covered ledge in a snow-melt river swiping 4 foot salmon out of the water.
I believe that this afternoon I will be going to Big5 and to get my fishing license so that I can attempt to BBQ some fresh Salmon this weekend – I saw attempt due to the fish repelling pheromones that I seem to produce. Just in case I do either get lucky or am able to steal a fish from a true angler I am thinking of using my father-in-laws ceder plank salmon recipe. YUM! Again, I am amazed almost everyday with the place we have chosen to live: The people, the culture, and the natural world that surrounds us.
Why in the Hell would anyone choose to get married?! Not the commitment/loving one person forever part, the actual wedding part. The logistics of the thing are as complicated as planning an invasion of a small island country. Stressful is not the word for what this “little party for our family and friends” has become. Budget – long gone. Nerves – frayed.
My lovely wife and I have been married for almost four years and are just now getting around to having the reception. We booked the event hall just after New Years and have spent the last 7 months planning, deciding, rethinking, deciding again, spending, organizing, finding a caterer, picking a menu, herding cats, applying for permits, cake tasting, choosing the proper glasses, wedding dress alterations, finding flowers, writing checks, wine tasting, finding a new caterer, buying kegs of beer, tracking down a violinist, making invitations, finding 7 matching ties in one place, forking over the credit card, DJ – band – or iPod?, finding rooms for out of town guests, writing vows, buying gifts, soothing ruffled feathers, renting suits, keeping feuding family in their respective corners, dealing with lost bridesmaid dresses, etc, etc, etc… It never fvcking ends.
I am at the point where I want to run screaming from our cute little house – abandoning my green yard, letting my tomatoes wither and set up a tent in the mountains where I can live like a hermit until all this is over! After all the wine and beer are gone, after everything has been cleaned, and after all the guests have all flown back to their respective cities and towns, I am going to stay home every weekend for a year, read my Sunday paper, work in the shop and on my yard/garden. I am not going to plan one single fvcking event, outing, or trip. I am going to church on Sundays, yoga on Saturdays, visit a few galleries, and go see a film or three. I am not going to take on any more projects and I am going to spend my off hours reading, writing, making love, cycling, running, climbing, and building cabinets.
When my kids and grandkids decide to get married, I am going to do my dead level best to bribe them into eloping and will give them a lump sum of cash that would have been spent on their wedding/reception as a down payment for a home.
post written on and uploaded from my iPhone
I can’t be the only man to notice that instead of just one anniversary he has to remember 3-5: the day we met, our first date, the first weekend away, engagement, wedding, ect… All this on top of birthdays, Valentines, Christmas, Easter and all those other occasions when your wife expects acknowledgment, a card, a gift or all three. I see a conspiracy here…
It just so happens that I can never forget the day we met as it was St Patrick’s Day, which means one less chance for me to forget something and get in trouble. I really like not getting in trouble at home. My day was thus:
Alarm at 7:15
Shower and dressed by 7:45
Laurel made coffee J and cereal
Told each other “Happy Anniversary”
Took truck to work
Listened to NPR on way to work
At my desk at 8:30
Pinched for not wearing green
Submitted change orders
Refilled my coffee
Work on 3 quotes
Went to lunch
New battery for watch
Bought 2ga green ear plugs
Ate chicken strips
Called wife on break to say ‘love you’
Back to work and meetings
Revised another drawing
Had more coffee
Lots of e-mail
Had apple snack
Pinched again – they didn’t see the green plugs
Chased the assailant down/exacted revenge
Got home at dusk
Went for a walk with Laurel and the puppy
Ended up at the pub
Had a pint with Laurel to celebrate anniversary
Puppy got into a fight
Realized I left debit card at pub and tab open
Went back to pub…
Downloaded a couple of iPhone Apps
Came home to home to happy and slightly tipsy wife
Turned in early
Up at 2:30am – puppy snoring like a grown man…
There is a special place in Hell for people that wantonly abuse animals. Seriously, a small metal closet where Hitler holds their hand and whispers sweet nothings as they are tater-holed by a Santa suit-clad Mephistopheles.
Our first puppy was rescued after being mistreated and dumped at a shelter. He is such a lover and we questioned why anyone would ever part with him. He does get lonely sometimes with just the “bald apes” to hang out with so we started looking for a girlfriend for him (he is fixed, but two boy dogs in the house is a bad idea). We had met a female Frenchie in foster-care (Bulldog Haven NW) named Jasmine, who was extra sweet, but she had some serious problems and wasn’t adoptable when we briefly met her. Fast forward nine months and we were able to arrange a play-date between Jasmine and Brodie. They didn’t immediately try to eat one-another so we brought her home for a weekend visit that has now stretched out to a full blown adoption. There were a couple of initial scrapes – he wants to be Alpha and she outweighs him by 1/3. Size wins. They are both attention hogs as well and it took a few days for them to work out that it was OK for the other one to get a little scratch or rubbing.
We remembered that Jasmine was turned over to foster-care without any hair, she was under weight, and had a small scar on her rump, but we were unprepared for the reality of the extent of her mistreatment. She was a puppy mill dog and had two litters before she was a year and a half. At some point she was infected by the mange mite and started losing hair. She was thrown outside and someone attempted to get rid of the mites by pouring boiling water on her. It gave her a massive 3rd degree, full thickness burn on her rump. The “Treatment” didn’t kill the mites and she was left outside to die. Her wounds and ears were attacked by flies and she suffered terribly, but held on until she was rescued. The people at Bulldog Haven nursed her back to health and showered her with love.
She has to wear clothes all the time because she gets cold really easily – her hair will never grow back on her scars, so only her head and legs are fuzzy. It sickens us that someone would damage an animal like this and not do serious jail time – this is where the knowledge of the Karma-closet in Hell comforts us.
Jasmine and Brodie have a love connection and for the first time ever Brodie is playing like a puppy without escalating the play to a full on fight. There are still some jealously issues over the “apes” but they are working it out peacefully. If you look past her scars, you would never know she was ever mistreated. She LOVES to be with her people, sits in your lap, is super free with the kisses, nuzzles and shows her tummy as often as possible. We couldn’t be happier and now Jasmine has a home where she will never be mistreated again. A home filled with yummy bacon and salmon flavored snacks, a soft bed, warm food, and an annoying boyfriend that she cuddles with when they think no one is watching.
Lap dogs | Jasmine sleeping | They HATE cats together | Her scarring…
I did a decent job in 2009 balancing my inner geek with my outdoor proclivities. I did occasionally spend WAY too much time designing/drawing tools, writing html/java code, more than once found myself in an hours long vegetative state in front of the flickering idiot box at 2AM, and I spent entirely too much time surfing Wikipedia, cycling websites, WSB, and CNN, but… I did manage to occasionally pick myself up out of the techie gutter and run/bike in the sunshine, take a long and relaxed climbing trip with old friends, cycle in a 100+ mile charity ride, flirt with my cute wife, drink great beer, buy a new home, and I managed to read a bunch of really good books even considering we had cable TV for much of the year.
As you can see from the small spreadsheet below – even after allowing for the fact that I fell and tore up my shoulder again, I rode more and ran almost as much as in 2008. I traveled MUCH less for work in ’09 than I have in the previous eight years and that is a trend that I hope to continue. With all the time spent working and moving I didn’t make it to the gym like I should have, something I will rectify in 2010 since I need to get my shoulder strong and want to have a stronger core for climbing. I plan to read more and watch TV much less – my pile of books that I “have to” read in 2010 is already two feet high. Since I am ecstatic about having a job in the current economic climate, there is nothing that I can do about the number of overtime hours and they will likely increase next year as I need to pay the mortgage and save for the kid’s college funds.
Moved from Germany back to US for job in Seattle
Drove cross-country in the middle of winter
Started new job
Lived in temporary basement apartment
Laurel took 1week trip with her mom
Survived lay-off at work
Laurel started new job
Started traveling for work
Laurel hated new job
Road trip to Portland
Laurel gets new job she likes
Stuff arrived from Germany – no damage
Found a house to live in
Started bike commuting to work after unpacking single-speed
Looked for a puppy to adopt
Found and adopted Brodie (½ Boston ½ French Bulldog)
Laurel laid off
Traveling for work again
Laurel found a new job as HR director
My daughter in Seattle for two weeks
Took time off
Did tourist stuff
Had FANTASTIC time with Madison
My daughter flew home, everyone sad
Started looking for a new house to buy
Work going great!
Found great house and put offer in, offer accepted
Went on most laid back climbing road trip ever
Had great time with friends
Laurel LOVES her job
Flew to rural Louisiana to help design helicopter system
Took weekend off while there and spent it with the kids
Reached 1,200 bike-commute miles
Brodie escapes twice and eats glasses
Brodie still a GREAT puppy
Bought small flat-bed truck for moving and yard work a new house
Halloween at work, took my Penny-Farthing and wore great mustache
Heat stopped working in Rental house, landlord waited 3+ weeks to have it fixed.
House closed 107 days after offer accepted – incompetent selling agent
Moved out of rental house and into our new (built in the 20’s) home in West Seattle
Fell down the basement stairs at 05:30 and tore up shoulder third morning in house
Got great painkillers from doctor
Saw 3 doctors in 5 visits. Had x-rays, ultrasound, and an MRI
Had shoulder surgery (4th on same shoulder)
Need to have another special surgery in 2010 to repair a tendon
First house guests come up for long weekend
Worked till Christmas
Brother&Mother-in-law come for Christmas
Heavily self-medicated due to acute mother-in-law induced stress.
Killed Zombies on Christmas Eve at the shooting range – new tradition started
Finished 23rd book this year
Gained 10 pounds since surgery
Father-in-law came in for New Years
Took 1st run after surgery – felt good, but not great.
Spent New Years Eve with Laurel, Donald, David, Lucy, Rosy, and Brodie.
Alarm at 6:50
Snuggling for 10 minutes after the snooze
let the puppy out
Kiss Laurel bye
Hang out with puppy for 15 in front of CNN
Get clothes together
Ride to work
Discover belt missing
Say dirty, hateful things
Sit at desk and e-mail/draw for 4 hours
Quick lunch at desk
Walk to Starbucks
Coffee, coffee, coffee
Make a few calls about new house
Back to work
More e-mail, meetings and drawings
Play fetch with Brodie
Talk about our day
Clean up kitchen some
Watch part of DVD
Work a little on computer
Laugh at puppy
Organize some writing drafts
Get ready for bed
Catch up daily journal
Read a little
Pass out ~12:30
As I live in the beer capital of the world and great beer swirls all around me, I feel that there is no reason to drink sub-par beer. As my particular favorite fermented beverage is wheat beer, I thought about having a blind taste test that included a group of multi-national friends to see which of the most popular and available brands I should buttress with my patronage and financial support. The Beer Fairy (we are big buds – exchange Christmas cards and all that) stopped by our flat this past weekend and left eighteen (18) different quality brands of Hefeweissen (or just plain “weisse Bier” as we were repeatedly corrected by a German participating in the event). My darling bride graciously volunteered to be the beer wench/test focal for the evening along with another friend – both sporting dirndls, making for an authentic German beer drinking atmosphere (they are both getting some good stuff for this added and appreciated surprise detail). The tasting was loosely organized along the lines of a blind taste test – very loosely.
All 18 Hefeweissens we tested and a few other kinds of beer consumed after the testing. This shot was taken on the way to the recycling center the next day. I know my neighbors looked out their windows as I lined up the bottles for the picture and thought, ‘Crazy American, what is he doing now…‘
It wasn’t a test that would hold up to scientific peer review: Pallets were not cleansed before and after tasting, the beer was swallowed after the tasting (spitting good beer in my house unless you are having a heart attack will get one unceremoniously booted out the door!), the participants were seated together and were allowed to talk about the beer and/or each other’s mother if they so desired, food was served with the beer, there was not a control group given the same beer each time, no random sampling of participants from the overall beer drinking population was used. Multiple tests were not conducted under exacting standards, etc… This was a gathering of like-minded friends who just like beer. So, if you are reading this and you work for one of the companies that we decided sucked – sorry, but it is going to be real hard to sue me for posting an OPINION on my VERY obscure, almost NEVER read (…save for a couple of friends and a crazy English woman…) website/blog.
Just before 7:00pm on Friday, guests started showing up and we sat down for an evening of semi-scientific research. A few were late and a couple had to leave early, so the testing had to accommodate this flow of testers. All counted, there were three Americans, one Scot, one Swede, an Englishman, and three Germans who participated as testers and a good number of significant others and onlookers drinking wine and the hard stuff for the duration. Of those who participated in the actual testing: two were women, seven were men, and we ranged from twenty-two to thirty-six years old. Our dirndl-clad test administrators kept us well stocked, washed glasses between rounds, and delivered mini-pizzas and other snacks fresh from the oven. We had music playing in the background and a slide show of 350+ beer and weisse Bier related images scrolling on the big screen throughout the evening.
Going into this test I just knew that my personal favorite, Franziskaner Hefeweissen would come out on top and that my second favorite, Franziskaner Weissen Dunkel, would place well (I am brand loyal). Though, I was open to try other options to see how they faired against mein Lieblingsbier. I picked regular Franziskaner out the minute it touched my tongue and it was the only beer I gave the top score to, but I was somewhat surprised by the overall result. Here is a link to the results of the overall test and scorecard templates if you are interested, but the top five beers we tested, listed in ascending order, were:
#5: Franziskaner Hefeweissen (I was appalled!)
#4: Edinger Weisse
#3: Schneider Weisse
#2: Franziskaner Weissen Dunkel
#1: Paulaner Hefeweissen Dunkel
As you can see, the Dunkel Hefe’s scored the highest marks and that could either be because of the group of testers selected or because it just tastes better – not real sure… One thing to note though was that although Paulaner had the #1 beer, the brewery also produced the beer that came in second to last: regular Paulaner Hefe Weissen. Odd…
In dead last place was Schoefferhofer Hefeweissen. It wasn’t drinkable (one of the testers scribbled “never again” on his score card as a comment for this beer) and one would think that production of such a concoction would have already ceased due to an angry pitchfork wielding Bavarian mob storming the gates of the brewery.
The evening was a rousing success: lots of beer and food was consumed, there were no fights or broken furniture, no one got sick, no hookers showed up, not one person was locked out of their house by an angry wife/girlfriend, and we agreed to do this again in six or eight weeks to test the quality of local Pilsner (though I might expand the rules to include Czech beers as they are the ones that invented Pils…). Most of the credit for the successful evening goes to Laurel and Megan, who were so gracious to us all, even after we got loud – and I need to give a special note of thanks to Karin, who made all the yummy snacks and testing glasses possible.
It is windy and raining today and we are sitting inside snuggling with the heater in the living room, but the weather last weekend was nice enough for us to get out and ride our bikes to the city center on Saturday and to Altona the next day for coffee and books. My muse/wife was also gracious enough to let me snap a few pictures of her. She is her own special Betty Crocker/Jenna Jamison/Laurel stew and I couldn’t ask for a better friend or wife or partner in crime.