Posts Tagged ‘Herself the Elder’

Cast off, matey

September 20, 2020

The New Albion Privateer, in matte black.

There’s a new ship in the harbor: a New Albion Privateer.

The temptation is to load it down, saddle up, and sail away. But to where?

Lacking a passport, I’m restricted to the lower 48 states, Alaska and Hawaii being something of a long bunny-hop by bike. I don’t think Hans Rey could make either in one go, even if he started with a bean feast, a lit fart, and a tailwind.

Unfortunately, several of my preferred bolt holes are either hot as blazes or actually on fire. And if I leave New Mexico, I face a 14-day quarantine when I return.

Plus, Herself would have to rassle up her own grub in my absence, in addition to working for our living, catering to Miss Mia Sopaipilla, and assisting the assisted-living place with Herself the Elder, who recently took another digger, this time breaking her right wrist.

HtE is issued a fresh 14-day quarantine every time she leaves assisted living to see a sawbones, which is not nearly as much fun as seeing the road unfold before you from the saddle of a brand-new bicycle.

This is a review bike, of course. Merry Sales provided frame, fork, and a big box of bits, but the Great Parts Shortage of 2020 being more or less ongoing, I had to contribute a few items from my personal collection, among them a wheelset, inner tubes, saddle, and brakes.

Between us it made for a pretty tasty build, and I can’t say much more than that until the paying customers get theirs. In the meantime, I’m getting mine.

Still sticking pretty close to home, though. I’m not getting too far away from the mailbox until our ballots show up. That’s a review I can’t wait to write.

The fire next time

July 29, 2020

That may be Cthulhu’s eye up there in the clouds.
Or it could be the moon.

This is what the eastern sky looked like around 7:30 last night.

“No more monsoons! The end is nigh! Prepare ye for mostly sunny and warmish!”

Which it was. Eighties as I pedaled off nine-ish this morning, and it only got hotter.

Later in the afternoon Herself popped round to the Dark Tower for a window chat with her mom, but couldn’t stick it out more than a few minutes.

Don’t expect her to have a window chat of any duration with Louie Gohmert, though. Not even if the dumb sonofabitch wears a diving helmet and a diaper over his Bug-hole.

And now for something completely different

June 1, 2020

“If you want anything done in this yard you’ve got to meow
until you’re blue in the mouth,” says Miss Mia Sopaipilla.

We’ve been cocooning a bit, I suppose.

It’s not easy to watch America doggedly screwing its head even further up its own arse, especially while striving to make some novel observation about the practice. The bon mot proves elusive. So we’ve turned our gaze elsewhere.

The back yard has needed work for a while now, and it’s been getting some. Weeds pulled, vines excised, lilacs pruned, pond rock and red mulch laid down, balky gate repaired, etc., et al., and so on and so forth.

In the process we discovered a few new aches and pains along with an old faucet and four sprinkler-system heads we didn’t know we had. They could be part of some prehistoric irrigation network; for sure there are a couple real anachronisms on the other side of the yard, metal jobbers buried in the pine duff like the plungers on land mines.

We’re not great with roses, but occasionally we get lucky.

The apple tree by the kitchen window has had the schnitz. All the neighbors say it’s never been worth a damn, and we’re starting to agree, though Spike the Terrorist Deer, that notorious outside agitator, seems fond of its bitter, undersized fruit.

So that will probably come down directly, along with a Siberian elm that is more than a match for my skills with a shovel and bad language. Probably have to take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

The neighbors with the little girls have partnered with another couple up the street to form a collective of sorts. Between them they have five munchkins to educate and entertain, and they share other interests as well, so it seems a great leap forward.

The gang performs a daily bicycle/scooter rodeo that relies heavily upon our steep driveway for a launching ramp, so we’re making our own small contribution. From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.

Elsewhere in the cul-de-sac, a four-legged neighbor went west. Daisy was a sweet old Lab who, with her cousin Gunner, served our little community as a combination of early warning system and welcome wagon.

Gunner is deaf, and a bit shy, but Daisy had been known to stride into homes like a Monty Python bobby, as if to enquire, “Wot’s all this then?” Their human has already arranged a new companion for Gunner, a black Lab pup tentatively named Henry.

Beyond our immediate ’hood, Herself the Elder’s assisted-living home has undergone a round of Bug® testing, and the all-clear has been sounded, though the lockdown remains in force.

Last Friday we delivered a load of Asian food for the joint. Pre-Bug®, Herself had been taking her mom out on Fridays for a bit of shrimp fried rice, and we decided to revive the practice as a take-out deal after Daisy and Gunnar’s person said he’d been doing something similar for his mom.

Then we thought, “Why not spread the wealth a bit?” From each according to his ability, etc. So everybody got some, including us, because I am a sucker for a six-pack of gyoza and pretty much anything else I don’t have to cook.

Speaking of wealth, when the light is right we can enjoy what the previous owner of El Rancho Pendejo called “the golden hour.” Once the day’s chores are finished we park ourselves on the back patio with frosty beverages in hand, admire our handiwork (such as it is), and hope to pan a little color from the dung as it all runs downhill.

The golden hour. “Well done, Yahweh,” as Doc Sarvis once said.

Welfare check

May 11, 2020

Herself chats with her mom jailhouse style,
on the phone, through a pane of glass.

We swung by the Dark Tower yesterday, bearing gifts.

Herself the Elder had requested huevos rancheros for Mothers Day. So we ordered up the takeout from Weck’s and ran it on by.

“You’re spoiled!” exclaimed a staffer. Dern tootin’. As spoiled as one can be in an assisted-living facility under lockdown in plague time, anyway.

Ain’t nothin’ a couple sacks of mulch and a cat statue can’t fix.

Afterward we continued a ongoing backyard-cleanup project. I’m a lifelong asthmatic with a personal, portable plague of allergies, the most severe of which is to yardwork.

But the space was starting to look like a tumbledown Tinkertoy tower of rusty playground equipment, a bullet-riddled ’63 Rambler American on blocks, and a three-legged pit bull with bowel issues would actually constitute improvements.

So, yeah. Yardwork.

Up north, where the yards are 35 acres, my man Hal forwards a Colorado Public Broadcasting piece about how gig workers there — including him — are getting the runaround from the plague-jiggered unemployment system, such as it is.

“This is exactly what happened to me when I applied,” he said. “I apparently need to call there. But of course cannot get through.”

Well, you can always get through here, bub. What’s going on out there in Greater Dogpatch? Are you digging holes and filling them in again? Redistributing wealth? Fetching takeout to shut-ins? As the Year of the Plague drags on toward Memorial Day, we want to hear how our readers are getting by. Wag your tales in comments.

The Omega Cat

March 21, 2020

Miss Mia Sopaipilla mans (cats?) the battlements.

Miss Mia Sopaipilla, The Last Cat Standing, checks the southeast perimeter for any sign of Spike the Terrorist Deer.

Things are greening up and budding out, and staff seems preoccupied with other matters, so Mia stands the watch.

In addition to the wine delivery we had a couple of packages to drop off at USPS, so I strapped a Wald basket on the rear rack of the Soma Double Cross.

One never knows. The sneaky sonofabitch might like cat food.

Meanwhile, staff kitted up for another wine run yesterday afternoon. We chatted briefly with Herself the Elder via phone, next to her closed bedroom window, and then scurried back to El Rancho Pendejo as a light sprinkle began.

We saw quite a few cyclists on the Tramway bike path, in some cases moms herding mobs of children.  I think of being on lockdown with a herd of bored and restless rug monkeys, and I wish I’d been kinder to me sainted ma, who was sentenced to life without parole as a housewife and mother.

Elsewhere, I see our “leaders” have been up to the usual, which is to say not much barring high crimes and misdemeanors.

It really is long past time for the press to quit covering what Chazbo Pierce calls “the daily briefings from the Coronavirus Superfriends,” which have devolved into miniature campaign rallies for Il Douche, free telemarketing for his only product, bullshit.

There is no breaking news to be had at this surgical theater of the absurd, and responsible journalists should take the time to suck it up, watch the comedy, pluck the rare diamond from the dung, and pass the stone, with an addendum tallying the ratio of facts to lies. No diamonds? No distribution. See James Fallows at The Atlantic for more. I like James so much that I ponied up for a subscription.

In other news, United Airlines is cordially invited to go fuck itself. Jesus. These people are completely without shame. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I would rather pay to push my Subaru uphill into the wind, wearing roller skates and this goddamn ankle brace, than fly United for free.

Year of the Plague

March 13, 2020

Everyone’s world is getting just a little bit smaller.

Has everyone settled in to The New Normal yet?

Herself had to make a supply run to Herself the Elder’s assisted-living home yesterday, but since she forgot her biohazard gear and breathing apparatus, she had to leave the goodies on the porch. The joint is on lockdown, with the drawbridge up and the moat full of gators, piranha fish, and plugged-in toasters.

She managed to snap a selfie at mom’s bedroom window, though. And of course, when you can’t get actual facetime, there’s FaceTime.

Elsewhere, the noobs are trying to figure out how to work from home. Lucky for me, I have a black belt in social distancing, which I have been practicing since 1991, when after 15 years in the Petri dish of daily journalism it was suddenly just me, my Mac SE, and a Hayes modem, in a spare bedroom.

Also, as a geezer with a broken ankle and the Socialist Insecurity due to start rolling in next month, I don’t have much to do or a pressing need to go somewhere to do it.

So I got that going for me, which is nice.

The hard part, for me and for thee, is the temptation to go all COVID-19, all the time. Don’t do it. Send a daily hate mail to the White House and then call it a day.

Watching this lame reboot of “A Day at the Races” ain’t doing it for me. There are more horses’ asses than horses in this one, and I don’t think the fat fuck playing Dr. Hackenbush is even a vet, much less an MD.

And now, today’s musical selection:

 

Sunshine patriots

February 15, 2020

Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment), demonstrates his readiness posture for the press.

Herself has three days “off” each week, but the “off” part is short for “off her rocker.”

Yesterday she pulled a full shift with Herself the Elder (eye appointment, lunch, New Mexico ID, etc.). And today she attended the local Donks’ 2020 ward meeting (she is a precinct chairperson and narrowly escaped sentencing to the pre-primary convention).

Tomorrow she has to give me a haircut. Yeah, yeah, I hear you laughing out there, but it’s harder than it sounds, chasing down and eliminating rogue hairs on my vast expanse of scalp. Like mowing the lawn for someone who doesn’t give a shit about lawns. Why can’t a fella go bald all over at once, is what I’d like to know.

In solidarity I went for a couple nice bike rides in the sunshine while the cats napped in sunny spots. Tough work, but someone had to do it.

Mama and the papas

February 7, 2020

Herself and Herself the Elder surfing the Innertubes for Kindle books.

We took Herself the Elder out today for a bite of lunch, a bit of light banter, and some medium-heavy shopping.

A tip of the Mad Dog sombrero to the staff at the Weck’s near Juan Tabo and Copper; they were exemplary, nearly as sweet as the two giant brownies we had for dessert.

Too, kudos to HtE, who has bounced back quite nicely after a long stretch of physical, emotional, and geographical challenges. She’s still using a walker, but her strength, endurance, and mobility seem greatly improved and she may be able to graduate to a HurryCane before long. We bought her one today, just in case.

I could’ve used a walker myself after that meal. Or maybe a wheelchair. The Original papas plate is a major gut-bomb, especially when you smother it with green chile and chase it with a brownie.

I felt like Monsieur Creosote after I finished that bad boy. Thank God nobody offered me a wafer-thin mint.

¡Feliz año nuevo!

January 1, 2020

Another one bites the dust.

Well, here we are. 2020. A whole new year to play with. It’s like bringing that new bike home from the shop. Can’t wait to take it out for a spin.

Actually, I’m in no rush. It’s still below freezing out there at the moment, and it wasn’t much warmer when I took an old bike for a spin yesterday afternoon.

It was a Steelman Eurocross, and the only reason it and I were on the trails was to squeeze one final drop of fun from the old year. There was a chilly wind from the north, and I was wearing my heavy-duty bib tights, two long-sleeve polypro undershirts, a stout long-sleeve winter jersey, tuque plus cycling cap, winter gloves, wool socks, and winter shoes.

The trails were just a bit tacky, which was fine, especially when I took a detour through a gravel wash. This is a long, gradual uphill, and not ideal for 33mm tires in dry conditions unless you’re Belgian or Dutch. I put ’er in 36×28 and ground me some gravel, just like the Kool Kidz do.

All in all this proved a relaxing interlude between bouts of tech support at Herself the Elder’s place. She’s been having trouble getting her iPhone and hearing aids to make nice together via Bluetooth. The cable-TV setup is likewise challenging. Once again we find engineers making things more complex than they need to be, just because they can.

“Lookit me, I’m engineering!” Indeed you are, Poindexter, and I hope your granny writes you out of her will.

So, yeah, studying the catechism of elder tech, pondering the mysteries. Lacking faith, but doing the works in hopes of enlightenment.

After some success that can be described only as limited Herself and I came home to El Rancho Pendejo, warmed up some leftovers, watched a bit of standup on Netflix, and called it a night long before the ball dropped in Times Square.

Tomorrow, we agreed, would be another day. Year. Whatevs. Where the gravel at?

Feed bagged

November 29, 2019

Dinner, tabled.

Well, that could’ve gone better.

Thanksgiving 2019 proved something of a bust at El Rancho Pendejo. The mom-in-law was not feeling up to snuff after a poor night’s sleep and hardly any breakfast. A record-shattering snowfall and the subsequent need for shoveling same delayed dinner about 90 minutes. And Mama Kerr’s lemon meringue pie never came off the bench.

The paprika chicken with turnips and taters got in the game, though, as did the stir-fried succotash and baking powder biscuits.

By the time we had all the starters lined up on the field, alas, the MIL was not exactly eager to tie on the old feed bag. She nibbled a bit of this and that, and then asked to be taken back to assisted living. The abrupt changes she’s endured in the past couple of weeks — moving from sea level to altitude, trading a tropical climate for our semi-arid variety, and waking up to a historic Thanksgiving dumper — probably didn’t help matters.

But I got in a bit of upper-body work, shoveling the driveways here and at assisted living, so I got that going for me, which is nice. There are plenty of leftovers, which is nicer. And today Herself will take her mom out for a manicure and maybe a smallish bite of lunch somewhere.

Meanwhile, the merchants are pitching but I ain’t catching. Let ’em blacken someone else’s Friday, sez I.