Sunday, August 31, 2008 No comments

To-do list mostly crossed off

Given that this was the first weekend in some time that I had more or less free, I was looking forward to crossing a few things off my own to-do list (not the one that Mrs. Fetched keeps, which is infinite and growing anyway). Here’s what it looks like at the moment:

Fix the dehydrator (it might be fixable, if I can find a replacement thermocouple)

Work on my windmill project (learned I had a few missing parts, will proceed tomorrow)

Replace broken floodlight fixture above the garage

Start setting up the back garden for next year (longer-term project, wasn’t really planning to attack this weekend)

Replace latch on back porch screen door

Fix the Civic’s sunroof (just needed a little lube on the rails)

Not bad — of the five I actually intended to at least start, I finished three and started the other two. And I have one more day to plonk at the windmill. I think I'll have the mechanical bits done tomorrow; the electrical end requires more parts & time.

Friday, August 29, 2008 2 comments

It’s a Family Affair

Plenty of stuff to blog about this week, but no time to sit down and write it.

We took several treks to downtown Atlanta, specifically Atlanta Medical Center (aka “the old Georgia Baptist”), where Jam has been recovering from her little mishap last weekend. The final tally was: mild concussion, bruised spine, lots of bruising around her hips, no internal injuries. Fortunately. She’ll be coming home tomorrow. The docs didn’t want her by herself, though… so when I said coming home, I meant that literally. As in, to FAR Manor. Hey, her kids have been here all week. That hasn’t made much of a difference in things; they used to get off the bus here last year and hang out with Daughter Dearest — the only real difference was that I had to get up a little earlier and drop them off at school. No biggie; it was raining 'most all week so I was in the car anyway and the school is right along the way.

As I also mentioned in passing last weekend, Mrs. Fetched got me an iPhone 3G. It's really nice to only have to carry one gadget now: phone, music, camera, and a few games all stuck in this package that just invites you to caress it. If there was a way to connect a keyboard, I could use it for most of what I do with a computer now. As it is, I’m already dealing with 80% of my personal mail on the iPhone… finally, a gadget I can pick up in the morning and check out the state of the universe before getting out of bed. Daughter Dearest “recovered” the iPod touch, which should suit her quite well because her campus has wifi pretty much everywhere.

The glaring omission, IMO, is that it doesn’t pull in the to-do list from iCal. Hunh? Kind of an obvious thing to miss. There are certainly other flaws… the battery lasts just long enough to get through the day, although getting a car charger (like with all our other phones current and past) will help a lot with that. I’ll just need to rig something up for the bike… maybe a little foam cradle in the airbox with a charger cable would do the job. The cool thing is, there’s a lot of public wifi access in this otherwise benighted corner of the world. I’m starting to put together something on Google Maps to mark them, wherever they might be. Seems like something that would be just the thing for Google Maps, but there doesn’t seem to be one at the moment.

Mrs. Fetched still doesn’t have her iPhone up. After it sat on iTunes for over 24 hours without activating, I called AT&T sales and explained the situation (we got a used iPhone from her sister and we’re trying to pull her line over from Verizon). The salesperson transferred us to a support person — which was what I’d hoped for — and she told us we needed a new SIM card (the store person said we didn’t). So I took the phone in Thursday while working at home, and the guy at the store was reluctant to do anything because the account is in Mrs. Fetched’s name. He probably would have done it, had I thought to bring a Verizon bill along, but he needed the account number there and I didn’t have it. Tomorrow, tomorrow, we’ll fix it tomorrow, it’s only a SIM card away…

Daughter Dearest is home for the 3-day weekend, hooray! She about ran Mrs. Fetched ragged just talking about her first week. Something I was glad to hear: “I walk everywhere. It doesn’t make sense to drive.” I think she’s already getting a little toned. There’s a couple of guys who like to hang around her, of course, and she & her roommate get along quite well. The people next door are noisy in the evenings, which seems to be the only fly in the ointment — they have an Xbox and boys are visiting every night until midnight curfew. (Which goes to show, you don’t need a hot body to attract a guy… just an Xbox.)

Mrs. Fetched asked her how her classes are going. “OK… but hard.” She was a bit miffed when one of the music instructors told her to “forget everything you learned in high school, because it’s wrong.” Other than that, she’s doing well with her voice coach and her other music classes. She has to put something together for a recital in a couple of months, and finally convinced someone that 8 years of piano lessons should be enough to skip Piano I. And maybe II. Her Bible instructor was funny; someone asked, “Do we need a Bible for this class?” His response: “Only if you want to pass it.” Um… you think?

And that’s the week in review. FAR Future will appear at its regularly scheduled 7a.m. Monday time; I’m like three episodes ahead, thank God. Short week next week, followed by a week of vacation… I hope the chicken houses will let Mrs. Fetched have some time too.

Monday, August 25, 2008 2 comments

FAR Future, Episode 48: The Talk(s)

And moving right along…

Friday, September 11, 2015
The Talk(s)


In the long hot days of August, Murphy’s star is in the ascendent and nothing works right. No wind equals no wind power, blackouts are pretty much all day and half the night, and just forget about net access — via email or any other way. Nobody wants to heat the house further by lighting a candle, but the kids must have memorized their way through and around the place. If they’re not reading, writing, or painting, they’re as content in the dark as not. Kim and Christina would call the dark their friend, and I’d not be surprised if Rene and Serena do as well.

Daughter Dearest should be home next week. She had a little harder time than she thought, getting train tickets and an entry permit into Wingnutistan (one of Sammy’s correspondents came up with that, and the opposition has picked that up as a good handle). Hooray, just in time to start school! I’m cleaning out the old studio for her to sleep in, but I’m going to float the idea of her sleeping in the living room with the kids to keep things on the up-and-up this winter. Or maybe I shouldn’t use that particular phrase right now.

I had The Talk with each of the kids last week, one at a time — like I said, August is an unlucky month, so I waited. I started with Rene, figuring he’d be the easiest, and work my way up the difficulty ladder with Serena, Kim, and Christina. I took each of them down to the pond, where we could sit at the picnic table and relax as much as possible — being by the water helps me think, anyway. I don’t want to go into all the details, so I’ll mostly summarize.

Rene turned out to be a bit of a challenge — and let the others know what was up. “Me and Serena aren’t even boyfriend-girlfriend!” he protested before I got halfway through. “Besides, we’re not gonna do anything stupid anyway.”

“You never know,” I said. “You might not think it’s stupid at the time, either. Besides, look at Christina — she’s probably the smartest one of all of you guys, and…”

Rene nodded. “Yeah. I don’t understand that at all.”

“Anyone who says they do are probably lying,” I laughed. “The biological drive is powerful stuff, though.”

Serena lived up to her name — serene — and had an interesting insight. “It’s like a three-act play,” she said after I delivered my spiel. “Act I: child. Act II: adolescent. Act III: adult.”

“Maybe. There’s no curtain, though, and no intermissions. But ‘all the world’s a stage,’ right?”

“‘And all the men and women merely players,’” she grinned.

“I suppose. But you and the others are about to hit Act II, and that’s where the drama really starts.”

Kim was a handful, every inch the high-strung artíste. “Look,” he said, “I care about Christina too much to do anything to hurt her!”

“I know,” I said, trying to reassure him. “You have a lot of self-control that I didn’t have at your age. But right now, you guys are feeling pretty intense, and that just makes everything harder on both of you. You two could lose control and not even realize it. It’s like…” I thought of Serena’s analogy, and (ahem) groped for another. “It’s like trying to draw when your hands are shaking — you can’t make it come out right.”

Kim went quiet for a minute. “We… we’ve talked about it,” he admitted. “I told her it’s too soon, we’re both really not old enough. She says she knows, but…” he waved his hand, “she doesn’t get it! She said something like being ready whenever I am.”

He plopped his chin into his hands and looked across the pond. “I guess you’ll tell her parents,” he said. “They probably think I’m a total snake anyway, the way they look at me.”

“No they don’t,” I said. “At least Guillermo doesn’t — he knows who’s pushing who. I don’t know about Maria. They’re just really worried, and so are we. But I don’t think they blame you.

“I’ve tried to explain their own daughter to them, and I’ll try explaining your girlfriend to you. Christina is probably a genius. She’s as bright as anyone I’ve known, and I’ve known some seriously intelligent people. The thing about geniuses is, they like to make their own rules. Look at it this way, though: any painting, even a masterpiece, needs a canvas to give it structure. Right now, you’re the canvas she’s painting herself on. It’s a huge responsibility, and it’s not fair to you, but at least you’ve got us to help you.”

“So you’re the frame, huh?”

“Huh. I didn’t think about that, but yeah. We give the painting — and the canvas — some boundaries and a lot of support.”

I went to sleep that night trying to figure out what analogy would work with Christina, then woke up with the answer. Thank you, God. And Serena.

Forewarned or not, she knew what was coming when we got to the pond and was determined (at first) to make it difficult. “This is gonna be the sex talk, isn’t it?” she asked, looking at a cloud. “You sure you want to do this? Give me some pointers?”

“You know about hormones, right?” I countered.

“Yeah,” she gave me a curious glance and returned to the sky. “I covered that material a couple months ago.”

“Well, guess what? Reading about something, and experiencing it, are two different things.”

She really looked at me for the first time. “I— oh. I never thought of that.”

“Yeah. The changes start before you start having periods. Mood swings, intense feelings… it’s your own personal biochemistry experiment, and you don’t have a choice about being the subject of it.”

“You mean… me and Kim… it’s all chemical reactions?”

“Some would say so, but I don’t agree — it’s the easy way out. Sure, that’s part of it, but we’re more than just our hormones. We might not be able to control what they do to us, but we can control what we do to other people. Or with them.”

She chewed on that for a while. “Mama and Papa said it was a phase, or a crush, something I’d get over. I thought that was an easy answer, too. What you say gives me a better overview.”

“But not the whole thing?”

She shook her head. “I understand a little better now. But it doesn’t help how I feel about Kim. Or explain it.”

“Well, like I told Kim, geniuses like to make their own rules. If one of the rules you make is to not let hormones override your good sense — what you know is right and wrong — you’ll be OK.”

“Yeah. Thanks for… for that. It helps a lot.” She hugged me, and we walked back. That was the entirety of our conversation: she heard what she’d needed to hear.

So today, on the fourteenth anniversary of a disaster that predated all four kids and participated a greater disaster, the one we’re living in now, a smaller disaster is averted. For now, anyway.

continued…

Sunday, August 24, 2008 8 comments

An Overly-typical August Weekend

Tomorrow’s episode of FAR Future begins, “In the long hot days of August, Murphy’s star is in the ascendent and nothing works right.” Even though it hasn’t been hot, it hasn’t exactly been the best of times. Not that everything is w0rNg: many days were perfect riding weather, Mrs. Fetched bought me an iPhone (!!! still trying to figure out that one), and we’ve been getting lots of goodies out of the garden. Even the disasters have not been all they could have been: Daughter Dearest’s tip-over saw all three involved walk away; Mrs. Fetched’s mom went into the hospital earlier in the week for a possible heart attack that turned out to be a bacterial problem… and there was today’s excitement.

But I cannot let this go by: we got Daughter Dearest off to college yesterday. We spent the morning getting her signed in and unpacked, ate the lunch they provided us all, then had a half-hour gathering that ended with a “if you’re not a student, you have to leave now. Say your good-byes.” Mrs. Fetched, despite threatening to cry all week when this moment arrived, held up very well. I had to generate a tear or two in her stead. But only one or two. I’m really happy for her, getting to start Book II of her life. Like many people my age, I’d love to have the 40-odd (and I do mean odd) years of experience and the 18-year-old body to do it all over again in.

Of course, the texts and phone calls weren’t long delayed. DD forgot a couple of minor things, stuff you can live without if you’re a guy, but… so I figured we’d make a list, toss them in the car, and buzz over to drop them off.

Coming home from church, we topped the hill just before FAR Manor and there was a pack of emergency vehicles just a little farther down, in fact at the top of the dirt road we used to live on. “Go up there,” Mrs. Fetched said. “I want to make sure it’s not any of us.”

I didn’t recognize any of the cars, but saw a woman lying on the pavement… not good. The EMT crouched in front of her blocked her face, but when I saw my nephew Brand X running toward us with his mom’s purse in one hand and her cellphone in the other, Mrs. Fetched said “Oh $#!+.” Yup: her brother’s wife Jam.

Brand X calmed down and gave us a quick run-down of what had happened: they were riding horses, and Jam’s horse had a neurotic episode when it stepped off the grass and onto the pavement, reared up, and Jam hit the pavement butt-first. The EMTs figured her pelvis was broken, and the shrieks when they put her on the stretcher suggested they were right. They figured she’d be a lot more comfortable riding to Atlanta in a helicopter (the nearby hospitals are not set up to handle trauma), and Bill Elliott’s airstrip is the nearest pickup point… so we followed the ambulance there and waited for the chopper. The local EMT told us where they were taking her — Atlanta Medical Center, “the old Georgia Baptist,” and gave us a map. They got her aloft, and we ran back to the manor for a quick lunch and a little strategic planning. Mrs. Fetched isn’t comfortable driving in city traffic, so I got to take Brand X down to the hospital to see his mom while she made the DDDelivery.

The map was good, and we arrived in good order (not much traffic Sunday afternoon) after I gassed up my Civic (spending $20 of the remaining $30 of my gas budget, but there are things you have to do because they’re the Right Thing, and thus want to do them). They told us where Jam was (still the ER ward) and pointed us in the right direction. She was there, in major pain (even with as much Demerol as they thought prudent to give her) but she did her best to reassure Brand X. He was holding up his end pretty well, fielding phone calls from various relatives until her battery gave out. We had yet to call Mr. Sunshine, so we used my phone for that and other numbers I had. They finally took her off the hard-board (which led to more shrieking, of course), but after they did that and changed her cervical collar, she was less uncomfortable.

The only good news in the situation came from the MRI scan — her pelvis wasn’t broken after all, thank God. The doc figures there’s a lot of bruised “soft tissue,” maybe some organs and maybe her spine as well. They’re hanging onto her for a while, and were getting ready to move her into ICU when Brand X and I packed it in and headed back.

So that was my weekend. Not as bad as Jam’s. Brand X is staying with us for a couple of days, and I need to get up early to get him off to school.

Friday, August 22, 2008 11 comments

The Barge Capsizes

We had a little excitement Tuesday evening. But I'll let Daughter Dearest tell you about it. In her own words, with no editorializing…

Rolled PathfinderWell, I was told to write a guest blog, about the car I probably totaled... So yup. I’m DD. Sometimes I leave sarcastic comments on Father Dearest’s blogs. You might have seen some of them. Anyways, from my point of view, I thank God that I’m alive, as well as the well-being of my passengers in the crashed SUV (also known as ‘the barge’) that were with me.

Well, it’s 12:25 AM, and I’m writing this on my computer so that I can transfer it to Father Dearest’s computer sometime today. I can’t sleep, as I keep seeing the horrifying images of the car crash in my head.

So I suppose I’ll start off by telling it from the beginning. We’ll call passenger 1 “Light Bulb” as he seems to need a couple screwed in. We’ll call passenger 2 ‘FTC’ as that’s the acronym we’ve come up with to describe what girls are like when it comes to him.

Monday, I had to take a trip to the dentist because I thought I had a cavity on one of my molars. Afterwards, Mom and I went to eat breakfast, upon finding out I did NOT have a cavity (yay!) and then we went to pick up Light Bulb to help us work on the dreaded “7th layer of hell” as FTC likes to call it. (Also known as the chicken houses for you slow middle-aged folks ;) just kidding. ) So, after we pick Light Bulb up, we return home to change into more suitable clothes for the chicken houses. Mom had mentioned something about going to the cannery to help Maw-Maw (grandma) can some vegetables and make applesauce.

We drove down to the grandparent’s and Maw-Maw is about to go to the cannery, so Mom tells me to go with Maw-maw, and Light Bulb can help her with the chickens. In between the process of home to grandparents, I set my cell phone on my very cluttered, in-between-cleaning-and-moving bed, so it wasn’t with me the entire day. (I will reference to this later.) So, Maw-Maw and I go to the cannery to get our stuff done. We arrive at our destination at 12:30 PM or so, and The Big Man (one who runs the cannery) isn’t supposed to be there until about 1:00 PM.

Long story short, Light Bulb and Mom show up, and we finally get everything done around 8:00 PM. We all go to eat at our favorite place in the world (we being mine) and I don’t get home until around 9:00 PM. At this point, I figure I have maybe 2 missed calls on my phone that’s on my bed, so I run upstairs to get it.

I had 7 missed calls and 3 voicemails, which was pretty much shocking, as I never have so many calls or voicemails. 6 of the calls were from FTC and 1 was from Father Dearest. The basic messages were as follows:

VM 1: FTC: Hey, I just wanted to know if you wanted to go psssshmming. Call me back.

VM 2: Father Dearest: Hey, where is everybody?

VM 3: FTC: Hey... are you okay? You haven’t answered your phone all day... Please call me when you get this...

Well, I did call him back, and he had said he had been worried that I was in a car accident or something (ironic, no?) and couldn’t get to my phone, or that I was really really busy, which I was. He also said he wanted to know if I wanted to go swimming earlier in the day. This, of course, was sprung off of me chewing him out because he hadn’t called me or sent me an e-mail just to say “hi.” for a week, and I was kind of upset as I was under the impression that best friends usually checked in every couple of days or so, like we had been for the past several months. This is the basic conversation:

“Do you want to go swimming tomorrow?” FTC asked me.

“Um, I’m not sure. I’ll check with Mom to see if it’s okay.” -Me

“Okay. I have to work but maybe we can go afterwards.” -FTC.

“All right, I’ll call you when I know that it’s okay.” -Me.

So Tuesday morning, I asked Mom if we could go swimming, and she said sure.

That afternoon, she gave me $20.00 to put gas in the barge, and that we could take it because my car is in the shop. I found $5.00 in my pocket, and contributed to the gas, which filled it up to about half a tank. It took a while for FTC to call me that afternoon, and I figured he’d be too tired, but ‘lo and behold around 3:30 he called me.

So, Light Bulb and I were off to swim with FTC. We went swimming, and while we were there I had to call mom to see what time we needed to be home. We decided around 6:00, which was perfectly fine with me. I told the boys, they complained, and they took a while to get out of the water and to the car. After that ordeal we had to stop by FTC’s house so he could get some dry clothes. It was 6:00 when we left his house, and I checked my phone as I was waiting for them to get in the car.

Mom left a message saying we needed to meet Father Dearest at the AT&T store, so I told them to hurry up and get in the car. We started off down the dirt road, and everything was fine until we turned onto the second dirt road. I was going about 20-25 miles an hour when we reached the curves in the road, and I hit a bad rut that gets in the curves from the stupidity of the teenagers who drive too fast around them.

Upon hitting this rut, the Pathfinder started to fishtail, off of the said path I wanted it to find, but I controlled it until my foot slipped off of the brake and hit the gas pedal, in which the speed was probably 30 mph at that point and we hit the embankment really, really... REALLY hard. I saw it coming, so I was the one who tensed up really bad, and all I could think was “OH SH**, OH MY GOD HELP US PLEASE* at the same time. I thought maybe after the impact of the bank, we would stop, but it seemed like it lasted forever because it DIDN’T stop. Once we hit the embankment, the car had done a complete 180 and decided to topple over on my side of the car. That was an *OH DOUBLE SH** moment, and then I thought *God I hope everyone will be okay*. But I heard the words “It’s going to be okay,” in my ear as God spoke to me, keeping me from going completely insane. After a few seconds, of finally realizing what had happened, and my eyes adjusting to the sudden dark and disorienting situation, I looked over towards Light Bulb and said “Is everyone okay?”

My heart stopped pounding so hard when I heard both of them say “Yeah..” in the way that we were all in shock and pain. Prior to asking, I had looked up, and the sunroof fell out just as I had done so. My thought was “Oh, that’s nice. Guess that’s how we’ll get out.”

I unbuckled my seat belt, I think.. I don’t remember... but then I crawled out through the sunroof. (Did you know it’s very disorienting sitting in a car that’s turned on it’s side?)

When we all escaped from the Pathfinder, which was now toppled over on the driver’s side I started looking for my phone, because it had been between my legs when I had driven, so I could feel it ring if I need to answer it. I realized my phone was in my hand a few minutes later when I actually looked down at it, and the ghost white knuckles surrounding it. It was then that I started crying, both in relief and despair as thousands of thoughts went through my mind:

“Oh God, Mom’s work car.”

“Oh God, the insurance.”

“Oh God, what if I get a ticket, although I didn’t do anything wrong?”

“Oh God, what if they’re more hurt than they look?”

“Oh God, what’s going to happen?”

I was shaking so hard, I didn’t believe I would be able to hold myself up. It was at this point, that I fell on the ground just out of the edge of the glass all over the dirt road, and just cried. FTC called his mom and told her to come because he knew she would want to anyway since she was only minutes away. I looked at my phone and I was going to call my mom, but FTC pried the phone out of my hand and said I was incapable of calling my mom in relation to the condition I was in, which was correct.

However, he didn’t handle the conversation with my mom like I wanted to handle it:

“Hello? Okay um... Don’t panic, everyone is okay. [DD] rolled the car, but everyone is okay. Umm.. Uh... we’re on... uh.. [Such and such] road. Yeah, not far from my house.”

And then I quit listening, because I knew mom was on her way. I didn’t really know what Light Bulb was doing. I think he was thinking about calling his mom and dad. I didn’t worry about him while I was on the ground, just so he didn’t step in the glass.

FTC’s mom got there just a few minutes after he had called her, and Light Bulb was walking around without his shoes on the gravel in which we told him to be still because he was going to step on some glass or something. It was when I saw FTC’s mom that I realized I couldn’t really see. Everything was blurry. In the crash my glasses had flown off and were in the unknown rubble of the toppled Barge, or so I thought.

I got up from the ground and looked at my hand as a small twinge of pain caught my attention. A small piece of glass had punctured my hand and it was bleeding slightly fluidly. The glass had fallen out and I wiped some of the blood off. FTC saw it and wiped the rest of it off on his shirt, which was sweet. Yes, he may be air-headed, but he’s sweet too. He hugged me after I got up and cried and kept telling me everything would be okay.

I believed him, I just was so shocked, and my chest had started to hurt at that point. Finally, Mom and Maw-Maw came around the next curve and stopped. Mom got out and hugged me and I cried some more. She told me to go sit down in the van, so I did. I was very distraught as the full fledge of reality hit me as I looked at the car while everyone picked up the random farm utensils that were inside and now on the ground and still were inside. FTC found my glasses, which were behind the rear wheel, folded and unbelievably unscathed. YAY! I could see again! Not that that was a good thing...

FTC, Light Bulb, and I were very very lucky we weren’t hit by those things in the back of the barge and that we left with only minor cuts and bruises, which I still seem to find other random ones every day.

There was Barbed wire, nails, hammers, staples, huge tool boxes, hard plastic pipes, screens, and a bunch of other farm-related equipment in the back of her Pathfinder. I believe Mom as she told us today our guardian angels were all over that car. I think mine had to work super hard to keep my arm from being broken, as my window was down and my arm could have gotten caught under it, as well as I could have hit the steering wheel, and everything else (other people) that could have fallen on top of me.

Several people tried to come around the curves, but we stopped them and made them turn around as they stared in awe at the broken glass and toppled car. I think it was more awe as they found that everyone was okay. It looked pretty bad.

Mom had called Father Dearest and told him to just come on home, that something had come up and we couldn’t make it. After she saw me, and that I was okay, she called him back and told him to come to [SAS (so-and-so)] road. Mom said Father Dearest had said “Is she hurt?” so he had jumped to the right conclusion.

While this was going on, Light Bulb got in touch with his mother and father, and said that he was all right, but his dad was on his way to the accident scene anyway. When he got there, I honestly thought he would have yelled at me or something, but he was okay once he found out everyone was okay, and he kept checking on me to make sure I could breathe deep because my chest was bothering me.

Finally, the policeman got there. He was very nice, and didn’t treat me disrespectfully like some cops do treat teenagers. He asked FTC and I what happened but not Light Bulb. I supposed that was because Light Bulb seemed rather disoriented still. Our stories were the same, so there wasn’t any further investigation. Within the time that the police got there and had gotten our statements, Mom had called a towing truck.

The policeman went around to the back of his car and pulled out a black box, in which my heart almost stopped, as I thought I might be in huge trouble and be handcuffed (I thought they might be in the box), but he pulled out a camera to take pictures. As it turned out, the road wasn’t graded properly, which also contributed to my monstrous crash.

While the policeman was taking pictures, I asked Father Dearest if this crashed topped “The Boy”’s other ... six?

“Well, The Boy has always managed to keep all four feet on the ground, so this one is by far the most spectacular.”

I smiled, and finally got the nerves away enough to laugh at something someone had said while we were waiting for the tow-truck to get there. Afterwards I thought about looking for my iPod, and mentioned it to Father Dearest as most things had fallen out of my purse and on top of me. We (FTC, Light Bulb, and I) were going to take a picture in front of the car, which would have shown you the underside of the beast with us in front of it, but mom disagreed to it, saying “This is not something to be proud of.” I looked around at the other people’s faces and saw them trying not to laugh at the situation. I, on the other hand, thought it was very acceptable to be proud of having survived hell.

When the tow-truck got there, we waited to watch the car be turned over before we went home. The guy hooked up the cable to the car and started to turn it over, but it started to slide. I had forgot to mention that, the car was still running when we each emerged from it, and I had to turn it off. I didn’t put the emergency brake on, or put it in park as it was the absolutely LAST thing on my mind that was reasonable enough to do, besides turn off the car. So Mom suggested that we put the E-brake on. The tow-guy said that was a good idea, and after a few cracks and pops and a little persuasion, the car was on all four feets again. (Yes, I said feets, deal with it.)

By this point, I was exhausted, as the adrenaline was starting to drain, and the pain in my body became more apparent. Maw-Maw took me home while Mom and Father Dearest took the car to the repair man. It was amazing, I thought, that of all the things that DIDN’T fall out of my purse, were my keys. I thought maybe they had also been lost in the rubble of the vehicle.

Before Maw-Maw took me home, she asked me if I wanted to drive.

“Are you kidding me?” I really thought she was.

“No, the best thing you can do is get back behind the wheel so you aren’t too scared to drive again.” What she said made sense, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to get behind MY car wheel and have no problem. SUV’s however... well... That’s a different story.

When I got home, I don’t remember putting the keys in my jeans pocket. I waited for everyone else to get there, and after the boys (FTC and Light Bulb) got there, I went upstairs to vacuum, which I was in the process of getting ready for when FTC called to go swimming. I didn’t want to be still, and I knew I’d just be sore the next day, so why not do it now when I wasn’t terribly sore? I knew my chest hurt, but it hurt a lot worse on Wednesday.

Now, I’m hoping I’m tired enough to get some sleep. Maybe the images won’t be so bad, and I won’t start shaking like I did before I came downstairs to get my mind off of the accident. I’m also completely sore, and I have a huge bruise on my chest from the seat belt. I would rather have gained a bruise than lost a life though.

I can say it was an experience that changed slightly how I look about life. I already know that life is precious, and I wouldn’t stand a chance if God wasn’t here watching over me and the two passengers that were in the barge with me. Oh, by the way, it’s 2:28 AM. So, hope you enjoyed! It was quite the adventure for me, and everyone else.

Monday, August 18, 2008 11 comments

FAR Future, Episode 47: Young Love in the Time of the Junta

Katiebird suggested a romance long ago, and I said it would happen eventually.

Saturday, July 18, 2015
Young Love in the Time of the Junta


Hm. That would have been a good name for a movie or something. Directed by nobody, and I once again end up a spectator.

For the summer, we’ve moved our bed to the screened-in porch, and the kids to screen tents (boys in front, girls in back). Guillermo and Maria remain in what used to be the guest bedroom — they say they don’t mind the heat, and they leave their window open so they can hear (and shush) the boys. We do the same for the girls, of course.

So last night, I woke up from a nightmare about a guard dog at some kind of camp (seems like most of my nightmares involve a dog attacking me). I don’t get back to sleep right away from one of those, so I figured I could grab a beer and sit out in the driveway with a dog that would only lick me to death. I was trying to be quiet, because I didn’t want to wake Mrs. Fetched or spook the kids outside (or the dog, who would wake everyone up with the racket he’d make), so I used the flashlight to see where I was going. But when I got in the garage, I saw another light through the open door, so I turned off my flashlight and stayed quiet.

It was a new moon night, so it was dark otherwise. But I could see Kim sitting on the edge of the driveway, shining his flashlight down toward the girls’ tent. It wasn’t long before Christina walked up, following his lighted path, and plopped down beside him. Kim turned the flashlight off, and it was dark and quiet again. They talked quietly in their own Spanglish argot, which I’ve learned mostly in self-defense. Translated:

“I can barely see,” Christina said softly.

“If you can see at all, you’re doing better than me,” Kim replied. “I can barely see you and you’re right here next to me.”

“That’s OK. We don’t need to see, and besides, nobody can see us.”

“Makes it hard to see anything to draw.”

Christina laughed, Kim snorted, and they were quiet for a few minutes. Finally, Christina said, “Hey. Did you ask Farf-Dad about getting a scaffold?”

“Not yet. We won’t be doing much inside until it cools off anyway, September or maybe October. We have plenty of time.”

“It’ll be so cool. Don’t you think?”

“Yeah. I think they’ll like it.”

“Maybe we’ll be famous artists some day, and it’ll make the house worth a lot of money to have our painting in the stairwell.”

“Maybe.”

They were quiet again for a while. I recognized it: people who are completely comfortable with each other might take long pauses in their conversations, but (and it’s heresy for a writer to admit) words aren’t everything. Finally, Christina took a deep breath. “Kim?”

“What?”

“You wanna kiss me?” She said it fast, probably nervous.

He laughed. “Sure.” Smack — he landed one on her temple or maybe her forehead.

Christina huffed, and was quiet for a moment.

“What?” Kim asked.

“That wasn’t what I meant.”

“Um… what did you mean then?”

“I meant like this.” It got quiet again, except for the breathing. Given the time it went on, she had put a serious lip-lock on Kim, and he wasn’t exactly struggling to get loose.

They finally broke it, and Kim’s voice was muffled — maybe he’d buried his face in her shoulder. “We shouldn’t do that. You’re still eleven.”

“So what? I wanted to kiss you when I was ten. And I’ll be twelve in December — is it that big of a difference?”

“It probably is to our parents.”

“I don’t care. I’m smart for my age; they tell me that all the time. That should count for something.”

“Yeah, but still.”

“You’re not going to do anything I won’t let you do.”

“I know… but that’s what scares me.”

“I love you, Kim. You’re… I trust you.”

He sighed. “I love you too. I wish I knew why, though. I thought we’d be like partners, working on our drawings and stuff.”

“We can still do that, you know.”

“Yeah, but… I don’t know. I guess it’s going to be different now.”

“It’ll be better.”

“I hope so. We need to get back to our tents, though. It’s late.”

“OK. After you kiss me one more time.”

“Christina—”

“It’ll be OK. One more time, then I won’t ask you again until after my birthday. I promise.”

“Well… all right.” Again, the quiet breathing, and even longer than the first time. I was starting to consider making some noise, when they finally broke it off. Kim turned on his flashlight again, and pointed the way for Christina to get back to her tent, before standing and walking back to his. I went back inside and got the rum… nightmares got nothin’ on reality (or potential reality) at FAR Manor.

I guess it’s time to have The Talk with all the kids, one at a time.

continued…

Friday, August 15, 2008 10 comments

WTF of the Week

Okay… I’ve known that Planet Georgia is full of moonbats, and they’ve been running the place since 1984 or so.

But finding a dead Bigfoot here? That goes above and beyond the call of the weird.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008 8 comments

Albums and Insanity

Ether Demo CD album coverI mentioned The Boy coming to church Sunday, but neglected to mention that he had a stack of his band’s demo CD to give to me and a few of his friends. I had to take the car to work yesterday, since it looked like rain and I wanted to bring the work laptop home so I work at home today, and that gave me a chance to listen to the CD.

Like many albums, there are actually one or two decent tracks on there. One was “Hair Piece,” about a guy who’s losing his hair and getting flak from his SO over it. Another was “Cell Hate,” which is a lot shorter than it needs to be… there’s so much to hate about cellphones that it should have been easy to fill up an entire CD with one track.

Which brings us to last night: Daughter Dearest was meeting someone at MalWart who’d borrowed one of my monitors to get it back. Someone else asked her if she could get them some food. She would have, but left her debit card at home (always a good strategy when going to MalWart)… the woman said she’d wait, and DD called us (while the rest of us were picking in the big garden). Mrs. Fetched smelled a rat and decided to come along. We met in town; I took DD’s car home because my monitor was sitting in the front seat and the girlies went back to MalWart. The woman was gone, but they saw a Suzuki Reno for sale and Mrs. Fetched decided DD needed a new vehicle (her Civic is leaking oil again). She called me at home to tell me all about it.

“What do you think?” she asked, as if my input means anything.

I sighed. “Well… if you can figure out how to get that, pay for DD’s college, keep the mortgage up, and all the other bills we have, let me know. Or we can just chase the renters out of the trailer, move back in there, and let them foreclose on this place.”

She laughed. I’m not sure what she found funny about that… with the kids out of the house, I wouldn’t shed a tear over losing this heap.

The only good that came of it was when we were eating lunch in town today, and she started nagging me about looking up the gas mileage on a Reno (nowhere near as good as a Civic, but reason and logic are unwelcome when they clash with the decision already reached). I pulled out my iPod touch, and lo! there was a signal! The county is actually doing something useful with some of our tax money and has wifi available around town “for occasional use by residents and guests of the county,” as the entry page put it. There was some mumbling in the ToS about responsibility, which I took to mean they wouldn’t appreciate people downloading pr0n or warez (or large system updates). Since I was only interested in hitting fueleconomy.gov, checking the weather, and a little Twitter’ing, I was OK.

So that’s the third open wifi I’ve run across out here. Maybe when we go bankrupt, I’ll just do all my net access in town.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008 12 comments

Phony to the Gills

Gosh. Who could have ever suspected that China would ever stoop so low? Talk about insecure.

First, China Brings Bullshots to the Olympics exposes the “fireworks display” in which the footprints march from Tiananmen Square (after stomping dissidents flat, no doubt) to the stadium as computer-generated. (A “bullshot,” the article explains, usually refers to a screenshot from a game that's been Photoshopped to make it look more impressive. It works quite well for video, too.) If China makes anything better than the rest of the world, it's fireworks… so they must have (correctly) assumed they wouldn’t get Beijing’s toxic hot-sour soup air cleaned up in time.

Now, we learn that the little girl who sang at the opening ceremonies was lip-syncing. The girl with the real golden voice was not considered pretty enough by the organizers… so they set up this sham.

Beijing hasn’t just lost face, they’ve lost their entire head and half their neck. This stuff is childish… it reminds me of a 12-year-old girl stuffing her shirt and telling older guys she’s 18. C’mon, China, if you think you’re all growed up at least act like it.

Monday, August 11, 2008 4 comments

FAR Future, Episode 46: Reporting In

Monday, May 11, 2015
Reporting In


Giving this new blog-by-email thing a shot. It’s supposed to be more reliable, being store-and-forward, but we’ll see. It makes sense, being an offshoot of the “mobile blogging” feature that (given the junta’s interference with the cell network) is even less reliable than interactive Net hookups these days.

So I was right — they do have a file on me. I got the info straight from the horse’s ass mouth. Hm… probably not a nice thing to say: whoever it was that tipped us off must be pretty close to the local tentacles of the junta. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Rene gets to go first this time, since he has his ducks in a row:

Holá, y'all. We had a bad scare a month ago. The government wanted us for some reason, and I can't get anyone to tell me what for. We haven't done anything wrong. If they just want to send us back to Mexico, they could have done that before I guess. But all the grownups think there's something else going on, but they don't know what or won’t say.

So Dad and Farf-Dad had built a hiding place for us a while ago. I guess they knew we'd need it. Someone told us the patriot people were coming, so we got all our stuff and put it in there, and got in and and closed it up. We had mattresses on the floor and blankets and stuff on the wall so we wouldn't make noise if we moved. We had water and a little food, because they didn't know how long we'd have to be in there. I'm glad it was only two hours. Using the bathroom in the bucket would have been stinky!

We heard them in the closet, trying to get to the attic, and Christina got really scared. I think Mom and Dad were worried too, but I saw the way they covered the hiding place and I didn't think they would figure it out. Then the patriot people got all excited about something, and then Farf-Dad said something funny about a Mexican squirrel. After that, they came back to the closet and left. Farf-Dad made us wait a little bit, he said because he wasn't sure they wouldn't turn around and come back after a few minutes. But we got out and we were happy.

Then Christina did her crazy thing with Kim. I think it scared Kim, and Mama and Papa got upset about it too. Mama asked me to keep an eye on her when she's around Kim, but they don't do anything weird. The only thing they do is sit on the steps at night and talk real quiet. I think they want to paint the tall wall in the stairwell, and they're trying to figure out what to paint. But I guess she wants to be Kim's girlfriend too, and that's what got the grownups upset. Kim's 13 now, his birthday was last week, and Christina's 11. I asked Kim what he thinks, and he said Christina's like his partner. He likes her a lot, but he's afraid the grownups will get all crazy about stuff and not let them draw together, and he doesn't know what to do.

Serena and I talked about it a little too. She thinks it's romantic, and wants to write a story about it. But she's too busy with her play. I wrote a scary story but it needs a lot of work. But we don't know if we're going to be "romantic" later or not. We don't write together the way Kim and Christina draw together. They do lots of that, and maybe that's why they're how they are. Farf-Mom says we can meet other people our age, and we're not limited to the people in our own house. But if Christina or I go out, the patriot people might get us, so maybe we won't get to meet anyone else. I guess it wouldn't be bad to marry Serena, even if we're not in love, but it would be good if we could meet more people.


I guess I need to talk to Kim and Christina about a few things, or maybe all of them. I did ask Rene if he meant to spill the beans to us (as in, “the grownups”) with his report here. “You guys know about it anyway,” he said.

“Not the part about talking on the steps at night.”

“Yeah, but they don’t do anything. They just talk.”

“As far as you know, that’s all they do.”

“I peeked at them a couple times. They just sit and talk is all. Maybe they hold hands, I don’t know.”

“Do you ever sit up at night and talk with Serena?”

“Um… well, yeah, but we just talk too.”

“So when do any of you get any sleep? Seems like all of you are up wandering around at night… and I hear you sometimes.”

“Sometimes we just aren’t sleepy.” Hm. Seems like I’ve heard that one before. Oh yeah. I have: from my own kids, way back when.

I was in town Saturday for groceries, and came back to find an envelope taped to my handlebars. It was sealed up, so I put it in my jacket and waited until I got home to open it. Inside was a copy of a report on our “case” with the Pat-riots last month — it had a reference number to my file and a bunch of other info. When the 'Riots do one of their “investigations” (as they call it), the local office debriefs them and writes a report. They mentioned an informant (whose reliability score was downgraded, awwww) and they ran the number on Guillermo’s truck… turned out MARTA impounded it and towed it off a few weeks after we abandoned it at the North Springs station. Since they never applied for the travel permit, the Riots assume that Guillermo and his family left it there, took the train into Atlanta, and went to the underground (an interesting thought, Underground Atlanta isn’t a retail district anymore). They concluded that they shouldn’t bother me anymore because I don’t make trouble and try to help people. Hooray!

Of course, that doesn’t mean they’ll destroy my file. I guess I should consider it a badge of honor.

continued…

Sunday, August 10, 2008 6 comments

A Visit to The Boy

Sign in the kitchen
The Boy came to church today, and heard me do the sermon (White Knuckle Sunday on Planet Georgia!). He wanted me to have a look at his friend’s laptop, which has a problem with its power connector. I’m not sure I can do anything useful with it, given the shape it’s in, but if we can get a small Phillips screwdriver on it I’ll give it a shot.

This sign greeted me as I entered the kitchen, which is just to the right of the front door. I found it extremely entertaining. Snippet’s calligraphy is better than her spelling. There was a similar sign on the refrigerator, suggesting a minimum $5 “donation” for people eating their food. Hm… amazing what you learn when you have to pay for stuff yourself.


gardenSpeaking of food, it looks like Mrs. Fetched’s mom planted yet another garden right next to the trailer. Not much weeding has been done in there, but there were plenty of ripe tomatoes and some snow peas (woohoo!) and green beans, with corn and okra on the way. I tried to put across to The Boy and Snippet how much money they could save by growing some of their own food, and how much healthier it is. I think the saving money part appeals to them, at least.

I’m not sure you can see it here, but one of the green bean vines was happily climbing a utility pole guy wire.

Saturday, August 09, 2008 2 comments

Awwww

M.A.E. came by today to visit for a while, and brought her baby along. She's a real cutie (the baby, and I'm sure M.A.E.’s boyfriend thinks that of them both), ain’t she?

Da girlie is already figuring out that being cute can get her out of a car seat.

Thursday, August 07, 2008 9 comments

The Odd Saga of the Missing Glasses

Getting myself together this morning for the ride to work, my glasses came up missing. Mrs. Fetched was off early to a video shoot, so she couldn’t help me find them. I looked all around the bed and dresser, using a flashlight in the dark corners, and came up completely empty. Needing something, I finally grabbed an older pair of glasses I had laying around — the prescription has changed, but they were good enough to see the road — and got moving. Daughter Dearest, always supportive, said they made me look like a dork. She’s such a sweet thang.

Close to lunch time, a thought occurred to me and I called home to ask Daughter Dearest to check the laundry basket. I remembered picking up a handful of dirty clothes in front of the dresser this morning, and putting the glasses on the dresser in the dark the previous night, so I thought I might have scooped up the glasses with the laundry and dumped them in the basket. DD said she needed a nap, but would check the laundry before I got home. I spent the afternoon using the old glasses as little as possible, hoping to keep from straining my eyes too much.

At last, I headed on home… to learn that my glasses had been sitting on the bed. On Mrs. Fetched’s pillow. I have no recollection of picking them up and putting them there this morning, but that had to be what I did. I looked all around the bed, but never thought to look on the bed.

It’s definitely August.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008 3 comments

Food, Coming and Going

If you’ve ever done (food) gardening that consisted of more than a couple of 4x8-foot beds, which I’ve done a couple of times, you’ve learned that Harvest Time isn’t a single week in October. My mother-in-law is a serious gardener, which means a couple acres at a minimum — and she plants not only a lot of different veggies, but several varieties of each so there’s a steady stream of fresh food from July on into October. Or whenever the first frost hits, which on Planet Georgia can occasionally wait until November. So yesterday, we were picking in the tomatoes — if I have it right, there’s no less than six varieties of tomatoes: beefsteak (and she says, “Don’t plant a tomato whose name starts with B”) and one I forgot, which were what we mostly got last night; Romas (my favorite for dehydrating) which are just now starting to ripen; yellow pear (ditto, and they can sit on the counter for a month at a time without getting soft); Rutgers, and Tommy Toe (both of which are still green).

So we took a collection of buckets with us, and filled six of them before it got too dark to tell the ripe ones from the not-so-ripe ones. She spent a large part of today at the county cannery, putting up those and other harvested food — it’s only in the last year or so that I’ve really begun to appreciate the magnitude of what she does. We spend maybe $200/month on groceries, and that was typical when The Boy and Daughter Dearest lived with us, and griped about $400 food bills when we had Lobster and M.A.E. living here a couple years back. That turns out to be a rather paltry food bill — I’ve been reading articles lately about how a family of four ends up dumping $1600 at the grocery store (what are they doing, buying complete prepared meals?). Then there was yesterday: “I put up 60 quarts of veg-all,” she told me as we brought the tomato buckets back to the house. “Big V helped some.” I wouldn’t quite say we have complete food sovereignty here; but if the entire food distribution system went down tomorrow, we wouldn’t starve for a while.

We went up to North Carolina over the weekend to visit my mom — she was glad to be at the summer place, after “six weeks of living out of suitcases” in Michigan and Wisconsin. Daughter Dearest came along, which was a pleasant surprise for Mom, and we vegged out for the most part. But while we were there, M.A.E. called Mrs. Fetched (a relief… I was afraid something was amiss with The Boy again and we would have to leave early) with the latest. She and her SO are sharing a house with her sister and her sister’s husband; both of them have kids (the sister’s is 9 months old, M.A.E.’s is 3 months old and a cutie). But the sister-couple both quit their jobs shortly after they moved into the place, the summer electric bill is running around $200, and they needed a little food relief so they could deal with the rent and electricity. Way-ell, like I said, we can help with the food situation: we loaded up a case with 12 jars, some miscellaneous stuff kicking around in our pantry, and ran it over to her place last night. That should keep them going for a little while.

I don’t know if M.A.E. has developed any cooking skills or not, but this is pretty simple: put a jar in a pot, put it on the stove, let it get hot. One meat, one veggie, and we left them a loaf of bread too. We shall see, I guess.

Monday, August 04, 2008 4 comments

FAR Future, Episode 45: High-Stakes Hide & Seek (part 2)

I’m not a big fan of cliffhangers, but I suppose there’s times when you have to do stuff you don’t like. (In my case, that’s at least every other day.)

Sunday, April 5, 2015
High-Stakes Hide & Seek (part 2)


Synopsis: Having been warned about a Pat-Riot group wanting to round up Guillermo’s family, we decided to make it as difficult as possible for them. They weren’t ready for my claim that their quarry had left back in October. One of the 'Riots let slip a clue about an informant.

After some back-and-forth, and Kim barely managing to keep our dog from attacking them, I agreed to show them my own proof of citizenship then escort them through the manor…


I came back out with my birth certificate, driver’s license, and a video camera.

“Hey!” Bad Riot barked, which got the dog barking as well. “You can put that fuckin’ thing away. You ain’t takin’ no video.” Good Riot didn’t look pleased, either.

“Why?” I said to Bad Riot. “If you ain’t got nothin’ to hide, you shouldn’t have a problem with it. Right?”

They squirmed. I love hanging belligerent idiots on their own words. “Dammit, Bobby,” Good Riot finally said, “let him take his video. It ain’t gonna do him any good.”

“Well, let’s get going, then,” I said. And just to tweak them a little more: “Bienvenidos a mi casa.” Good Riot snorted and returned my birth certificate, and we went in the house. I led them to the guest bedroom, with Mrs. Fetched right behind. “Here’s where they slept.”

I pointed the camera and they poked around, pulling boxes out from under the bed and asking “whose are these?” about a zillion times. The closet was full of Mrs. Fetched’s old clothes, stuff she never wears anymore. The desk sported an old Mac and the network boxes, with backup batteries underneath.

“Did they use this computer?” Good Riot asked.

“Yeah, it’s the guest system,” I said. “I wiped their accounts after they left, though.”

“Why’d you do that?” Bad Riot rolled his eyes.

“It’s an old computer. I needed the hard drive space.”

“What’s that room at the end of the hall?”

“My bedroom.”

“I don’t want you in there,” Mrs. Fetched said. “I haven’t cleaned it up.”

“We just need to check the closets,” Good Riot said. “And maybe look under the bed.”

“Fine. Do whatever you need to so you can get the hell out of my house!” she snapped and stomped away.

They went in the bedroom and looked around. “This ain’t so bad,” Good Riot assured me, “you oughtta see my bedroom.” He chuckled and looked under the bed, pulling out a box to make sure there wasn’t anyone behind it.

“Jeez,” Bad Riot said, coming back in the bedroom door, “the bathroom goes around to the hall. Why didn’t you tell us?”

“Sorry,” I said. “I didn’t think about it. Anyway, the kids’ rooms are upstairs. Do you want to check those too?”

“We got to,” Bad Riot said, beginning to drop his belligerent attitude. “Let’s get it done.” He sighed, as if he was resigning himself to bagging no Latinos on this outing.

They checked out The Boy’s old room, which was now Kim’s and Rene’s. “Lots of books up here,” Good Riot said. “Your kids read a lot?”

“It was my library before Kim and Serena came around,” I said. “You heard about that, right? People were dropping off their kids last winter? They’re some of those.”

“That was bad,” Good Riot said. “Least we got a government that protects those kids now.”

I said nothing… maybe that was payback for the Spanish welcome downstairs. We moved to the girls’ room, and they finally found something to pique their interest.

“Hey,” said Bad Riot, trying to dig his way through the closet. “Where does that hatch go?”

“Behind the bedrooms to the attic above the garage.”

“C’mon, Mike. We gotta check this out.” Bad Riot started tossing stuff aside until I cleared my throat and pointed at the camera, then he got a bit more careful, muttering under his breath. Mike, aka Good Riot, crowded in and they finally managed to clear a path through Daughter Dearest’s old toys and treasures. They opened the hatch and Bad Riot looked in. “Damn, it’s dark.”

“Light switch inside to your right,” I suggested.

“Um…” click “Yeah. Thanks.” He crawled in.

“Hey! Be careful. You’ll put a foot through the ceilings downstairs if you get off the wood!” I yelled.

“OK!” Bad Riot crawled in, followed by Good Riot. I figured I’d better follow, to minimize damage if nothing else. Good Riot had a wind-up flashlight, and he put it to use as we got past the light.

I heard a thumping noise in front of me, and Bad Riot yelped. “Mike! Gimme the flashlight! Someone’s up here!” Bad Riot reached back, grabbed the light, and scuttled forward. I heard a rasping noise and more thumping, and we joined Bad Riot in the attic. He played his flashlight around, and swooped back as a pair of lights winked back. A squirrel thrashed its tail and chattered at the light, then leaped for a corner.

“You found him, guys!” I laughed. “If you can get that Mexican squirrel outta my attic and deport him, I’d owe you one!”

Both of the Riots just shook their heads. “C’mon, Bobby,” Good Riot said. “They’re gone, just like he said.”

We made our way back to the hatch, then back outside. I helped them get the Dummer turned around, and they drove off. I waited for the engine noise to fade, then pulled out my phone. Meeting in 10 minutes, I texted.

Ten minutes passed — I wanted to make sure the 'Riots weren’t going to pull a head-fake — then I went back to the girls’ room, opened the hatch in the closet, and rapped on the false wall covering the hidey-hole. Guillermo pulled the pins holding the false wall in place, and they came out. Group hug! then downstairs. (“Mexican squirrel?” Rene gave me a look. “That was baaaad.”)

“You heard that?” I said. We all laughed.

We came downstairs, and Christina ran to Kim and hugged him hard, whispering something I couldn’t hear. Kim gave her an awkward hug and me a deer-in-the-headlights look.

Guillermo cocked his head at the two, then looked at me. I just shrugged and suggested, “Just relieved, I guess.” But Christina wouldn’t unwrap until her dad cleared his throat, then she let him go and sulked away while Kim just stared. Maria gathered her up and took her back upstairs to bring their things back out (and perhaps a few words of motherly advice on the side).

Meanwhile, Rene trotted over to Serena. “You’ve got to put this in your play,” he said. “A magic squirrel who can hide people.”

“Sounds nutty to me,” she retorted, and they laughed.

We’ll need to be careful for a while. I’d hate to have Guillermo’s family more or less prisoner here, but I guess it’s a better place than where the 'Riots would send them.

continued…

Friday, August 01, 2008 6 comments

New Toys in the Manor

iPod touch with Atrio headphonesAs part of Daughter Dearest’s preparations for college, she decided she needed a new laptop. The used G4 PowerBook we got her a while back is getting creaky, and (as G4s do) runs a bit hot. Fortunately, she had been saving her money for a while and realized she had enough for a new MacBook… especially since the stars aligned and she could get a $100 student discount, and Planet Georgia is in its “tax-free weekend” phase where they waive sales tax on school supplies (including computers). Apple is also running a rebate program in which they’ll rebate the entire price of an iPod nano or touch if you buy one with a computer. She is happy with the nano she got for Christmas, and I’m happy with the 5G iPod I bought a couple years ago, but I have no problem getting a Touch if I only have to temporarily pay for it.

So DD is migrating her files over to the new computer, and I’ve been fiddling with the Touch’s wifi capabilities. She’s going to pass the PowerBook to The Boy, who has been wanting a laptop “for school” and has borrowed both the PowerBook and my own MacBook on occasion.

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