Looking for writing-related posts? Check out my new writing blog, www.larrykollar.com!

Thursday, January 28, 2021 2 comments

Go yard (and raise the roof)

One of the reasons I didn’t want to buy the house that became FAR Manor, I thought the roof was pretty sketchy-looking. It was obviously uneven above The Boy’s room. But somehow, it held up all this time and never sprang a leak.

It's metal, man.
But the pandemic let me dump all the money we had been spending on restaurants into savings, along with what I’d been throwing in to cover insurance and property taxes (or any incidental one-time expenses), and it added up. Back in spring, an older guy came by and asked to lease the garden area where the mother-in-law once held court. Wife said “don’t pay us, just give us some of the produce.” That worked out well, but his son runs a roofing company. He came by in December, and gave us an estimate. I had enough in savings to cover it, so I gave it the go-ahead. Last week, it finally happened. I’m not sure how much the wife will like it when it starts raining acorns in the fall, but (as usual) we’ll burn that bridge after we cross it. But hey, the color matches the gazebo!

Not shown: the new chimney cap. The old one lost its covering on one of the many windstorms a while back. I took it down, and riveted new sheet metal on it, but another windstorm did for the repair as well. The new one looks a lot more substantial.

But even before that… I’ve mentioned Bobcat. He came around to help the wife with farm work, then brought his namesake and (under the wife’s direction) began clearing trees around the front of the place, to make a driveway loop. FAR Manor’s driveway has always been tricky to negotiate, especially with larger vehicles, and even more so with the Starflyer parked in front of the detached garage. He ended up clearing all the trees and brush from around front. Delivery vans have a much easier time getting in and out of here now—especially since it’s an equipment yard as much as a driveway loop.

Front (pano view)
Then he said, “Hey, while I’m here, you want a larger back yard?” In for a round, in for an octagon, as Bailar the Blue might say. Bobcat made it spacious enough that I decided to order another disc golf goal (and I probably could have made room for a fourth). He also planted grass, but didn’t get the sticks up and didn’t smooth out the ground before sowing. It’ll be a bumpy ride on the mower for a while.

Rear (pano view)
Charlie enjoys tramping around the expanded yard, and especially likes dragging a wagon or riding (or pushing) a tricycle around the driveway loop.

Plenty more parking… too bad we’re not having many visitors these days.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021 3 comments

Charlie Five, and a brief uh-oh…

Charlie wearing a paper crown, made in church last week
King for a day
Charlie turned 5 late last week, but of course we waited until Saturday to celebrate. After all, his bio-brother Skylar has his birthday pretty close to Charlie’s, and Sizzle has one as well. So the party was extended, but Charlie wore the crown! (After all, he made it in church the week before, as part of the Epiphany lesson.)

There was cake for everyone, and presents for the birthday folks. Sizzle brought some chow, and the wife made some stuff, and we all ate, drank, and were merry.

But… (cue the “dun-dun-dunnnn” music here)

Sunday morning, Sizzle sent the preacher and me a text: Daughter Dearest is running a fever we will be staying home today and keep everyone updated no other symptoms. Well, if DD got the ro, then we had been exposed as well—especially me, because I hugged her twice and she took a nap on my side of the bed.

They all went and got tested in the afternoon, and we changed clothes, took showers, and planned to hunker down. During the early days of the pandemic, I bought two huge canisters of powdered Gatorade, and sent them the unopened one. I caught a pretty good case of the flu back around 2000 or 2001, and staying hydrated let me bounce back pretty quick once the fever got tired of hanging around. The non-nutty sister in law was in the hospital with her own case of the ro, which likely happened (the hospital part) because she got dehydrated, and I wanted to make sure DD had every possible advantage. I made plans to do our grocery run as curbside pickup this week.

[Aside: Big V probably would have been a casualty, had she not checked out a couple years ago. She never took care of herself, and I suspect she would have been a ratlicker. The Boy could have gone either way, and probably would have. Mason definitely has mask fatigue, but he’ll wear it if we remember to bring it.]

Today brought a little better news. DD called me this evening and said her test was negative (woohoo!), and the sister-in-law came home from the hospital. Sister in law is debilitated, as is usually the case. I’ve heard that each day in the hospital adds a month to full recovery time. She was fairly healthy to begin with, so maybe she’ll bounce back by summer.

Meanwhile, since we’re still saying no to the ro at FAR Manor, I made a minor grocery run this evening. But given how the B117 strain (aka the “UK virus”1) is proliferating, I’ve once again broken out the Clorox wipes to clean off everything that comes into the house.

1If the wingnuts want to call the original the “China virus,” then it should be acceptable to call this latest strain the “UK virus.” And we should also call H1N1 the “American virus,” since it originated in Kansas.

Sunday, January 03, 2021 2 comments

Steak and RSS

Steak is better than sizzle.
It’s winter, it was 39°F out late this afternoon, but it was partly sunny with a little breeze. What else to do but put on a sweater and throw a top round/London Broil on the grill?

This was one of my better steak efforts, probably helped by tenderizing and marinating with wine vinegar (among other ingredients) for several hours beforehand. Wife thinks we can thin-slice the leftovers and pan-fry it, to warm it up without making it tough.

We shall see. Tomorrow, Daughter Dearest heads back to school, and I’ll say farewell to staycation and head back upstairs to the homemade worker’s paradise. But I’m making turkey chili for everyone.

As odd as it may seem to grill steak in January, one of my aspirations for 2021 (as listed in the previous post) is to re-focus on blogging. And not just shouting into the void (that’s what it feels like on Twitter quite often), but reading other blogs. There were a couple things some years back that we once had, but have no longer:

  • First, Safari (my browser of choice) used to have an RSS reader built-in. It was really easy to put my blog-buddies in a bookmarks folder, and put that folder on the Bookmarks bar. The folder would show the number of unread posts. I’m sure Apple had reasons to move the RSS reader to Mail (still scratching my head about that, though).
  • Second, Google discontinued Google Reader, that many people used to keep up. Fortunately, many of us using Blogger had our links listed in our profile.

So, I opened the Blogs folder in Safari (the links to the blogs still work, even if the RSS doesn’t) to see how many were left. Then, I checked my profile list. Altogether, I found about a dozen blogs that still existed, and had been updated fairly recently.

Next step: find an RSS reader. I ended up downloading Vienna, an open-source reader for MacOS. I also splurged $0.99 for a Safari add-on that shows what RSS feeds are available on a site and supports copying selections to Vienna.

So now I have my blog feed back, and so far it’s working pretty well. And with that, maybe I’ll be better about dropping new posts more frequently.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...