Step, child

You gotta beat the sun down out of those hills.

Hoo, the sun hits the deck fast in the afternoons come January.

I burned the best part of today’s daylight doing chores. Sue Baroo the Fearsome Furster needed her registration renewed, which means she needed an emissions check, and we oldsters don’t like going to the doctor if nothing is visibly broken and/or leaking crucial fluid. One suspects a fishing expedition.

The clouds were headed one way and the sun the other.

Nevertheless, we went, and she got a clean bill of health and two years’ worth of driving privileges in The Great State of New Mexico and wherever its plates are honored.

Then I rang up our HVAC people to discuss some repairs to the combo unit on the roof at El Rancho Pendejo, and it turned out that they could handle the job right then and there rather than next week. So, yeah, by all means, take my money, please, we like being warm in winter.

The work completed, and the ugly topic of money and its distribution having arisen, Herself and I discussed some pressing financial matters. Then it was lunchtime, after which Miss Mia Sopaipilla required some light entertainment, and before you could say, “Sun’s getting a little low in the sky there, Skeeter,” it was a quarter after three in the peeyem and I had taken no exercise. None. Zee-ro.

I almost blew it off. Almost. But Herself had just told me a horrific tale about someone’s 70-something mom who was in a state of collapse and bound for The Home if she couldn’t walk 10 steps, and those financial matters we had been discussing concerned who gets what when I croak.

Not today, goddamnit. I got my 10 steps in before sundown. The Home ain’t getting me today, and neither is the Devil.

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16 Responses to “Step, child”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    One has to find a reason to get off one’s ass on a cold and windy day. Even a fake reason. I really didn’t need to ride over to Broken Spoke for a spare chain and then take the long way home. But I did. Now get lost, Devil! No, go away…stop grabbing my leg. Leggo!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I had planned to go for a ride before the HVAC job intervened, and I’m not much on afternoon workouts for some reason, possibly because afternoons used to be when I went to paying work back in The Before-Time.

      But the sun was out and I had to get out there too, if only for a short hike on the neighborhood trails. Tell ya what, though. I had a really dark set of Ray-Bans on and I had to pay extra close attention to the footing coming down.

      • JD Says:

        OK all you old and getting older folks!
        Stop whimpering and whining about the mundane administrative/governmental chores/daily BS obligations/$$$-making for your selfless-serving representatives chores, etc. you have …. and get your butts moving!

        PO’G: A two (2) year registration is twice what we here in CO enjoy. Is NM missing some $$$$ that could make “Duck City” more safe?

        And CO quit doing the emissions checks a while back because (your choice): it didn’t make $$ vs. the costs; public sentiment saw it as unnecessary and non-productive government BS; modern vehicles by and large are as efficient in emissions as they can get; other?

        PS: My 1990 Toyota 4-Runner is (knock on wood) still going strong! 🙂

        • khal spencer Says:

          Emissions checks are by and large a waste of time with today’s cars. My hunch is that the Duke City has not bothered to think about it.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          “Whimpering and whining?” I thought I was dashing off a quick seize-the-moment bit. But whadda I know? I only work here.

          According to the state MVD, emissions testing only applies to motor vehicles registered in or commuting in Bernalillo County, whose residents must be particularly thick-headed.

          All 1987 and newer motor vehicles up to 10,000 lbs GVW must pass an emission test every two years and at change of ownership. Gas-electric hybrid vehicles are required to be tested every two years as well and can be tested at any certified Air Care Station.

          Brand new vehicles do not need an emissions test for four years following initial registration from the date of the manufacture’s certificate of origin.

          Only dedicated electric vehicles and diesel vehicles are exempt from emission testing.

          This seems backasswards to me. Instead, maybe test the smoky old stink-boxes and leave the new ones alone? No, such a program probably wouldn’t pay for itself (I don’t know if the present one does, either) and would weigh most heavily on low-income families (plus the classic-car aficionados).

          As regards safety, I think it’ll take more than skimming the till at the MVD. We had 121 official homicides last year, which set a record, as did the body count the year before that. And don’t forget the assaults, armed robberies, property crimes, homelessness, and a general contempt for traffic laws that has The Duck! City streets looking like an unsanctioned F1 race most days (and nights).

          Oh, and leave us not forget the occasional Bengal tiger cub in a trailer, found during a shooting inquiry.

          Good to hear the old 4Runner is still ticking along. My Furster is doing likewise, but it doesn’t get out much. I’m still gassing up about every three months.

          • SAO’ Says:

            The cars who spew the most are exempted because they’re “collectibles.” Totally makes sense.

  2. khal spencer Says:

    Something on emissions testing for newer cars with state of the art emissions controls.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I wish JD and you hadn’t gotten me off on this tangent. I drove just a hair over 5,000 miles last year, so I’m thinking my contribution to planetary annihilation is comparatively small, emissions-wise, even considering the age of my rice-grinder.

      But then I have a gas stove! Aiiiiiiieeeeeeee! If I were Superman I could shitcan that death trap and cook dinner with my X-ray vision. But I’m not even Clark Kent.

  3. SAO’ Says:

    The sun didn’t hit the deck fast enough her this morning. 15 lb Bruno yanked his two-legged dad (who weighs the same, if you add a “2” to the front) onto his kiester, courtesy of an inch of no shit frozen fog on the fake wood deck. Of course, Bruno has four paw drive, so there’s my excuse for being out-tussled by a dust mop with an attitude. But still, Apollo could have done a better job spreading the rays this morning.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Oy. I feel your pain. Mister Boo took me down on the brick pavers in the kitchen once. He nearly met his maker then and there. But I managed to not fall on him and merely startled the kibble out of him.

      Ice is even worser than pavers. I ate shit once in Oregon, walking on black ice with a first date, and I failed some sort of exam there — “Dude can’t even walk.” — when I landed on my ass in a partially frozen puddle. And again in Colorado, riding a cyclocross bike across what looked like a puddle but was actually a puddle over ice over concrete.

      These days I have to remind Miss Mia Sopaipilla that I don’t have her night vision as she scampers around in the dark of a January morning while I stumble from bedroom to kitchen. Heinlein called this feline activity “following you ahead of you,” and it smells like broken collarbone to me every time.

  4. SAO' Says:

    My 80-something-cough-something father in law had his annual follow-up from open heart surgery today, celebrating the big Two Point Zero years since they cracked his ribs. Doc said everything looked good, all things considered. All things, of course, being the medical term for 70 years of driving a John Deere and the associated damage that comes from birthing calves at two in the morning and carrying 50 pounds sacks of this, that, and the other. Doc closed with, “Well, we’ll see you next year.”

    “No you won’t. Find someone else to practice on, I’m done.”

    And I’m not sure if that the first or last chapter of my never-to-be-completed novel.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Your FiL is a tough ol’ hombre. I’ve seen his type in Alamosa, Greeley, Weirdcliffe, still bearing the burdens of a long life spent hustling from before sunrise to after sundown and somehow remaining upright. And we desk jockeys grumble about carpal tunnel from harvesting news nuggets from the ’Net.

      “Where’s my Purple Heart, my partial disability?”

      “Oh, why don’t you shut the hell up and get a real job instead of wearing out the carpet between the computer and the coffeepot?”

  5. Pat O’Brien Says:

    When I don’t walk or play my guitar, it’s because life gets in the way. You know, cooking, cleaning, shopping, appointments, and other chores, just as Patrick describes above. Plus, the calendar on the fridge always has something written on each day. Modern life demands some of your time everyday. People tell you that being busy is good. I call bullshit on that. When you don’t get out for that walk, run, hike or ride, just call it a recovery day. No worries. Worry and stress, usually self induced, are the killers in this life not the occasional day off from purposeful exercise.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I consider a short walk a recovery day, old hoss. It’s almost the ultimate deceleration — from driving to cycling to running to walking. The final stage would be crawling, I guess. It’s how we start our journey and probably how we end it, crawling to the phone to call 911 after the dog/cat/parrot trips you for the final time.

      Anyway, if it’s a nice day I like to carve out some small piece of it to spend outdoors. I bank that half hour or so for the chilly gray February days I’ll spend staring out the window and longing for a hammock on a deserted white sandy beach.

      There may be a touch of shame in there too. Remember your mom telling you to eat your broccoli because children were starving in China?

      “So send my broccoli to ’em, they’re so hungry,” I’d say.

      In my geezerhood I sometimes feel I should get out there for all the people I know who can’t. Call it Broccoli Syndrome. Maybe we can get a support group, some funding, a celebrity spokesperson. Every dark cloud has a silver lining, they say, and we Social Security recipients must consider the composition of the House.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        Doing it for those who can’t is a great motivator for me. Totally new concept as Gallagher would say. Thanks mi amigo.

      • Shawn Says:

        Yep. Keep up the VOx expenditure and those nice sun photos coming to those of us in the clouds and mindful confusion. If you don’t do it I’ll get grumpy.

        SA; Sorry to hear about your PE to KE gravity excursion. I hope Bruno has been invited back in.

        Regarding ice; I took off one evening last week in my Ferrari van with the race slicks on for a quick milk run. I checked the onboard temp gauge as I backed out of the garage, 39F, and kicked up the heater fan and the Don Henley Boys of Summer. As I buzzed down the street I realized my race car was giving the feel of a hydrofoil over glassy water. Hmm? Check the temp gauge again. ICE! Uh oh. But the old van with the race slicks behaved well and somehow I was able to stop it before the intersections. Previous tracks (scratches in the black ice) and mayhem displayed that others driving that evening had not been so fortunate.

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