Category Archives: Domus et Familia

Posts about home and family

Summer feet

Abigail is in the kitchen cooking dinner. It’s something I used to do all the time and still do quite a bit, but I’m grateful for the times when she cooks too. It feels like a great luxury and favor to me. I was so desperate to suck every indulgent morsel out of this little treasure of time that I almost checked LinkedIn to see what folks there were up to. Some indulgences cost more than they are worth.

I have never quite been comfortable with the idea of indulging myself. I do it. A lot. But every Swiss Cake Roll carries with it a bit of shame which is both part of the point and part of the problem. The problem being that I weigh 227 pounds and don’t really enjoy hauling something like 40 extra pounds around. Plus I know the difference between indulging myself and taking care of myself. Taking care of myself includes things like having a nice salad, even if I do make a sad face while I’m eating it.

Or running. I love running. I was not able to do it for a long time. 18 months or so, I think. Now I find that running is hard. The “easy” routes are a challenge and the “hard” routes are currently unthinkable. The chafing is also a challenge, and I am concerned about using petroleum-based products that might combust amid all that friction. Still, I hit a stride yesterday and that made running today all but inevitable.

But I forgot two things: a spoon and some shoes. The spoon was for the chili that I had brought for lunch. I need to not eat out some much at lunchtime. What to do about lunch was a question that would take some figuring. The shoes are somewhat self-explanatory in the running context. I was in the locker room, wearing my shorts and tech-tee when I realized why my bag was so light. Hoping against hope, I went barefoot to the car to see if I had some muddy sneakers on the floorboard in the back.

No such luck, and now I was kind of freaking out. Too much work was circling around in my head, and I needed the endorphins to mellow me out. And there was the fatness. After a few steps in the parking lot, I thought “Hey, the Kenyans do it, and I just talked to some Kenyans on the phone. Why shouldn’t I run barefoot?” Gravel. Sticks. Broken glass. Broken feet. The reasons are on infinity scroll. So I made a bad decision.

I ran without shoes down the sidewalk toward a small city park. People look at you funny for running in that neighborhood, and they really look at you funny when you don’t have any shoes on. The asphalt path in the little park was 1/8 of a mile. Eight laps, all the while a tiny Jack Russell strained against his leash to see what sort of idiot person ran without shoes. I finished the mile and went to the bottom of the hill, through the trendy arts district, and back up towards the starting place.

The best part were the bricks in the oldest section of sidewalk. Rather than being rough and hard, they were warm and smooth. I’ll run barefoot again just to run on them. But I won’t run barefoot tomorrow. A couple of new callouses are getting started on my big toes. Those will have to mature a bit before I take them out again. My legs, however, feel the best they have in a long time.

A funny funny riddle

Farmer Chase says that they have already put up 70 some odd bales. They’d do more, but he needs the equipment for other things. Not all of the corn is in yet, for instance. And there is still everything that needs to be done for the animals. I was just dropping off some egg cartons. (Those things are expensive, it turns out. Save your farmer some money by dropping off some old ones.) It’s probably not helpful for me to come sauntering in on a day when they are not off and everyone else is. Farmer Chase is a nice guy though. He shares some words even when he doesn’t so much have the time.

The farm was just a stop on our route from the river to the Shell station, where we were going to get a cold drink. I had been teaching Louisa the proper pronunciation of “cold drink.” There’s an “au” sound in “cold” and an very short “a” in “drink.” We needed a cold drink because we had walked all the way down to Riverbend, swam, and walked back. That’s farther when you’re ten than when you’re 40, but it is far enough in either case. We both had a pretty good time, and I figured a sugar rush was just the thing to put a rosy glow on the afternoon so as to make it a repeatable adventure. There’s a flaw in that logic, but I don’t want to hear about it.

Besides which, we both deserved an award. The crop of clover which had been growing in our little vegetable bed was harvested today. Unfortunately, none of us are cows or goats, so the clover was disposed of. We worked the soil — worked the land really — until our little spread was, well, spread. I did amend the soil. A small rider about using federal commodities left at the end of the school year for summer food programs. Also, an earmark for a 1.35 scale model of “SplashVille” in downtown Swannanoa. Just those two things. Plus some vermiculite, a bit of peat moss, lime, and compost from our composter. Sure, the rewards will come in August when we pick our tomatoes, but ain’t nobody got time to wait for that. Nobody except maybe Farmer Chase, who will be too busy to think about it before then anyway.

Carry the news

Me, I’m a man of the people. I don’t eschew less efficient ways of transportation simply because they are plebeian. People should know that I’m just like them: I put my thrift shop pants on one leg at a time. If it were not for the lovely Abigail, I would probably not even wash them before I put them on. There are so many things potentially lurking in the unwashed thrift store pants. She knows this but has been patient as I have learned. Not by experience. Not yet.

The lovely Abigail also knows that being a man of the people does not necessarily mean that I have to, or will be able to, navigate the streets on a pedal wagon of the people. Technically speaking, this particular wagon could be The People’s Wagon because it is covered in Chinese characters which I do not understand but has enough technology that it clearly post-dates the Second World War. Visions of me in a revolutionary cap joining the throngs of people pumping their thighs up and down to the rhythm of life in the city.

Except we kind of live in the suburbs and only a wingnut would ride something that can’t possibly go more than ten miles and hour on the curved, hilly roads around here. In addition to which, this thing was a wreck. Literally, a wreck. Things were bent and permanently out of shape. There was rust. I was going to be a rust warrior. The Keydet across the street could restore a 1984 Chevy C/K Custom Deluxe, so I could clearly handle this.

Or not. It probably took the lovely one about a month to figure out that this was going nowhere. She may have known it as soon as I backed the car in. Doesn’t matter. While she was clear about her reservations, she was never obstructionist. Some things I have to learn on my own. Last Thursday night, I came to the realization that, at almost 40 years old, I would probably not accomplish everything I have planned to do. Tonight I realized that being a Chinese wagon bike restorer is on the “not accomplishing” list. Thank God for small miracles and the patience of good women.

When we find ourselves in the place just right

I wonder if sometimes I should not be more demanding. I’m generally reasonably happy when things work like they are supposed to work. Things don’t even have to exceed my expectations for me to be pleased. As a matter of fact, having something exceed my expectations is a whole other cause for concern because then I suspect that a) I’m being had, or b) the other shoe is fixing to drop. So things working out just like they should is about as good as a pudding cup in my humble opinion.

For instance, I have this tablet. It’s not an iPad. Don’t call it an iPad. Don’t call it a comeback either. It’s a tablet. It’s pretty slick, works well with the android, the applications, what have you. In my new life as consigliere to the non-profits and prophetic, I’ve found the portability of this slippery little sucker to be nigh unbeatable. But if you use it all day, you lose power. Not spiritual power. That’s everylasting. Tablet power is not, however, everyready. The tablet, she gets tired.

So I bought this dock thingy. It has a keyboard, and, yeah, that’s nice. It also has USB and SD outlets. If you don’t really know what those are or why they are important, then nothing in this post is going to seem exciting to you. That’s ok. It’s not your fault. I think those are very exciting, especially for if I ever become a roving blog reporter on the town. It could happen. But the point is this dock. This dock she has a battery. The battery in the dock refreshes the battery in the tablet at its own expense. It’s like the Secret Service of lithium ion, especially since the head of the Secret Service now is a woman.

The only problem is that the first dock I bought apparently did not finish the part of the training wherein it was supposed to learn how to take the bullet for the tablet battery. Either that or it was just plain lazy. Either way, I took it personally. I thought it was my fault for somehow installing it improperly. (It’s actually a lot like an IKEA chair. You really cannot screw it up.) I thought that maybe the tablet had a bad chip or something. (Now I feel bad for doubting my tablet’s integrity.) I scoured message boards for possible solutions.

When you reach the point when you can say you have “scoured message boards,” it’s time to seek a new solution. I turned to the manufacturer. I scoured their website. I *gasp* submitted a service claim. Now, in this service claim I was clear to run down all the things I had already tried, just so we would not waste each others’ time. They bumped me up to VIP, a status which does not include bottle service. I repeated my tale of woe to an ASUS tech who goes by the name of “Eva.” Somehow, I don’t think that’s her real name. I’m also not confident that she is one person. Kind of like Shakespeare. “Eva” gave me a number and told me to ship my dock to Texas.

Not only did that sound expensive, it also sounded time consuming. I’ve got inane blog posts to write wherein the story being told did not take as long to transpire as the post takes to write. I’m a busy man. I can’t wait while my dock goes to Texas, gets received by a 19-year-old on break from Texas Tech who promptly chucks it in a pile with all the other busted docks before he puts a new dock in the box I sent him and ships it back, standard ground, to me. I can, however, simply return the dock to the store, get a replacement, and see if the problem persists. I did, it did not, and now I am more than reasonably happy.