Monday, September 26, 2016

Winter Prep

I know it's still barely fall but the weather has gotten cooler fairly abruptly and it's a strong reminder that preparations are in order for the coming winter. This of course means staying warm during the frigid winter months, and as much as I like the cold, it does take some getting used to after summer. I'm not completely ready to give up on wearing shorts, though it's about that time.

Though I'm not sure why I'm so OCD about this, especially since there are plenty of other projects that deserve my attention, but my goal is to get the year 2 wood pile done, and I'd say I'm about 65% done. We have a pretty good sized pile of uncut logs leftover and I thought I would just leave them as is over the winter but it's looking like I'm going to have to cut a fair number of them to reach my goal. The other day I split what I thought to be a massive pile of wood but when I stacked said pile it barely made a dent in our supply. What a bummer.

On a brighter note, I cleaned the chimney so we're good to go with burning, and we are all set with kindling, which I powered through when mom was away. It makes an incredible mess in the basement so it's best to get it done before she can witness the chaos. We have a healthy pile of fat logs going, and I even managed to stack a couple of small loads of emergency wood which comes in handy on those miserable stormy nights when the wood box is empty and the last thing you want to do is go out to the woodpile, in the dark, and fill it up.

So all in all things aren't looking too bad considering that it's late September. I'm hoping to finish year 2 so I can direct my OCD at something else, but for now I'll keep attacking that pile of logs.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Rick Payette for the pic.

Why Did the Turtle Cross the Road?

To torment me, of course. I was heading off to work the other day and had to swerve to avoid this fairly large turtle crossing the road, or should I say standing in the middle of the road, not really moving. Being the good samaritan that I am, I naturally stopped to help the thing along. This is not the first time this has happened, we've stopped to help turtles get out of dangers way in the past, except previously the turtles were small. This one was big, and for whatever reason was just standing there.

I went to pick the thing up and that only seemed to piss him off, because he started rearing his head and jerking his body, hissing all the time while clearly trying to bite me. Needless to say all my real-man training went out the window and I dropped the beast, though I'd only managed to lift him a couple of inches off the ground so his fall wasn't that bad. Gathering up my courage and wanting to help out, I tried again with the same result; the thing was vicious and clearly wanted to be left alone. I tried to encourage him along the road but seeing me as a threat he wasn't going anywhere, so I decided that the best action was no action and left him alone.

As I was driving off, however, I couldn't really bear the thought of a crushed turtle sitting on the road, so I went back for one last try and saw that he had disappeared. I was relieved on many levels, but mostly that he was (hopefully) out of harm's way. I was also relieved that I was out of harm's way and didn't have to deal with the thing.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Nancy Witthun for the pic.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Another Busy Week

As some of you may already know, last week was about as crazy as can be with us burning the candle at both ends with mom away on her big excursion. Left alone to hold down the fort, I was saved by the fact that the kids chipped in to help in a big way. In the end, it's a good thing for them to help out around the house, but they do it willingly and never make a stink about helping out. You gotta love that.

Anyway, it was a particularly busy week with field trips, sleepovers, school, and a very busy work schedule. Now mom is back safe and sound, which we are extremely happy about, but she's feeling a bit under the weather from all that travel, so once again I'm sort of riding solo while mom recuperates. Things are still busy, especially with winter on the horizon and the need to get all the firewood ready. On that note, things aren't looking so bad, though there's always work that needs to be done. Then again, what else is new?

For now we keep plugging along and doing what we know how to do. At some point things will become a little more sane, but I may be too old to appreciate it by then.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Wes Peck for the pic.

Sleepover

Last week I let A have some friends over for a sleepover and I think she had a lot of fun, though she didn't get a wink of sleep. This is what happens when kids get together for a night of fun and gossip. Originally there was a dance at school which she would have gone to but was somewhat ambivalent about. Then she and N went to a social group on Friday night and a few of the older girls were having a sleepover at their friends house which is about 45 minutes north of us. I said she couldn't because I had some things to do and was not able to transport her. She was bummed and spent the next hour ruminating on how we could make it work, so I told her that if they could make it over to our house they were welcome to sleepover here.

Now we don't do a lot of sleepovers, which I think is a bit of a bummer because I personally don't mind the kids having friends over. This time around I was riding solo so I could make the executive decision and make that decision I did. After some discussions on social media A arranged for the friends to come over and suddenly it was a party. They are good kids so things were very mellow, but suffice it to say that they didn't get much rest, and for the next couple of days someone was a walking around like a sleep deprived zombie. No regrets, just a need for sleep. Besides, who needs sleep when you're filled with youthful vigor?

I scrambled to make breakfast for the crew the next morning which was complicated by the fact that one of them was a vegan, but I managed to get lots of fruit and even managed to whip up a vegan quesadilla, which took with her for lunch. I'm glad A got to have her buddies over and if it were up to me, they could do it more often. This, however, is not the case, so never mind.

Oh well, glad we could do it when we could. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to mcholley1 for the pic.

Playing With Fire

With summer waning I realized that there is firewood that needs to be attended to before the snow (hopefully) comes. We've already got this year's wood all split and stacked. It's been seasoning for over a year, and we had a dry summer, so hopefully it's ready to burn. I still needed to get all the kindling split so I spent a couple of days in the basement working on it, dreading it in fact, though like all things in life, it wasn't as bad as I thought. I just kept working on it and before I knew it I had all five bins filled. I can check that off the list.

I also brought down the fat logs and backup kindling blocks, as well as a couple of loads of dry wood for emergencies when the wood box is empty and I just can't bring myself to brave the weather to fill it. In a pinch we have a stack of kindling blocks that would work as firewood as well since they are all hardwood. I love when planning works out well.

That leaves firewood pile #2 for 2017-18. My goal is to get it cut, split, and stacked, but it's definitely taking longer than I thought it would. I've been splitting like mad man and generating these massive piles of split wood, but when I stack them, they barely make a dent. Total bummer. On a bright note, the weather is getting cooler so splitting and hauling are not as painful. Also, we have plenty of wood, so I can keep chipping away at the stone, as the saying goes.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Stephen Butler for the pic.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Mom's Back

We are happy to report that mom is back home and we are extremely pleased to have her. It's been a grueling week holding down the fort on my own, for all the obvious reasons as well as some extraneous ones. Anyone who has done the domestic thing will tell you that being at home is hard work, but toss in part-time employment at night, extracurricular activities, and a never-ending chain of real-man duties, and it gets pretty crazy. Sometimes I don't know how I get it done, but get it done I must. It's not as if we as parents have an option, which is a good thing because it forces us to just do it.

Either way, mom's back, so we can return to some semblance of normalcy. She had quite the journey home from Africa, and needless to say she's tired and jet-lagged, but at least she's safe and back with us. I worked on Thu, Fri, and Sat, and they had me slated to work on Sun, but I just couldn't pull it off. I had to be at home to pick up mom and get the kids to their various activities. I was able to track mom's flight online and it all went pretty smoothly, I think. She didn't have her phone because it wouldn't work in Africa, anyway, so the plan was for her to email us en route. I got updates and when she finally landed at Logan, I had a good sense of when she'd arrive back in New England.

We drove over to meet and the it was awesome to see her again. A week is a pretty long time without seeing or hearing from her. She was in a small village with no electricity so email and phone service were not options.

She had much to tell but that's a story for another time. For now we're just glad she's home and getting some much needed rest, not to mention some good home-cooked food.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Teruhide Tomori for the pic.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Back To The DMV, Again

Third time's the charm, right?

Despite all my rantings about how much I dislike the DMV, it hasn't been that bad thus far. In fact, I had to go back for a third time, if you can believe it, because I had to renew my driver's license. In years past they let me do it through the mail, but this time around they needed a new picture so I had to go in. They don't take appointments so we (R and I both needed to do it) both had to take a number and sit and wait. It worked out because I had to take A to her morning rehearsal and then went and took a number, then mom came later with N and waited with me. Once we were called it went smoothly. In fact, the young guy who helped me was incredibly chipper and in good spirits, which made it more enjoyable. Much more so than anything I'd ever experience in LA, where the DMV is a complete hell hole.

Now I'm all set for the next 4 years, which is a very good thing, despite the fact that I had a good experience this time around.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Andy Maguire for the pic.