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  • Irish Woman was furloughed from her job a few weeks ago, but she’s been keeping herself busy by undoing a lot of the landscaping and redoing it.
    • She tried to tell me that the new gas power washer could count as her Mother’s Day present.  I told her I wasn’t looking to die that soon.
    • One of the goldfish ponds in the front yard has been filled in. There were no fish in it, but several rather large and stubborn bullfrogs had to be ejected into the remaining pond.
  • I’d like to say that Boo has adjusted to this, but I’m pretty sure he’s scavenging scrap wood from the house to shore up the roof of the tunnel he’s digging through the back yard.
    • I’m tempted to warn him that the septic tank is back there.
  • The search for the new house has ground to a halt for the time being.
    • In the area we want to move into, our choices are either a $200,000 hovel that needs a few hundred thousand dollars worth of work put into it before it would be livable, or a palatial estate that costs more than the GDP of some small countries.
    • Other areas aren’t any better, and Irish Woman has made up her mind about where she wants to live.  I’d argue with her, but I’d rather be happy than right.
  • I must admit to a small amount of panic buying a couple weeks ago.
    • I purchase the coffee I like by the case from Amazon.  I get a new case automatically sent to me every couple of months.
    • Normally, that means I’m drinking from one case, with one or two cases on the storage shelves at any given time.
    • With me being home and working stupid amounts of hours, my coffee consumption has reached back into the “Working mids shift and having a newborn baby in 1992” range.  I soon found myself opening my last spare case with no coffee inbound from Amazon.  I was also out of cups for the Keurig.
    • When I went to order an extra case, my coffee was out of stock, so I ordered two cases of my second favorite and another case of assorted KCups.
    • So, I’m drinking my way through one case, have two cases of almost-as-good coffee, a case of “I need a cup of coffee, but don’t want to make an entire pot” fixings, then Amazon dropships a case of my favorite coffee on my doorstep.
    • If I can get a muzzle onto the monkey riding my back, I should have about 6 months worth of coffee.
    • Irish Woman looked at me crossways over this.  I just shrugged and pointed to her bourbon collection.
  • Boo and Irish Woman have started making a batch of homemade vanilla extract using $25 worth of vanilla beans and a bottle of good Finlandia vodka.
    • Friends tell me that making it with brandy or rum is also excellent.  We’ll try that next time.
    • Yes, they used good vodka to make vanilla extract.  Yes, I approved.  Vodka and I have the same agreement I have with tequila – Everyone leaves everyone else alone.  I use it for cooking, and it doesn’t try to get me in trouble on the Moscow Metro again.
  • We finally broke down and hired a plumber to come in and fix several small and a couple rather large problems we’ve had.
    • I know my limits.  I don’t work on things that could burn down or flood the house.
    • Even with them doing us a solid and only charging time and material, that sucking sound you hear coming out of Louisville is my wallet.
    • The plumber said that he’d do some of the easy things first, then tackle the hard things.  Little did he know that there are no easy things to fix in this house.
    • Is it a bad thing to hear the pleasant, mild-mannered man working on your plumbing stop, swear under his breath, then start hitting something with a hammer?
    • On several occasions today, he and his helper have told me that they’ve never seen anything like what we’ve got going on.  Hey, the plumbing is original from the late 1940’s and was put in before building codes reached this far outside of the city limits. You’ve got to expect a few surprises
  • I didn’t mind spending money on a 30 yard dumpster to clean out our house, garage, basement, and attic of all of the extraneous stuff we’ve accumulated over the the last 20 years.
    • I did mind, however, giving up space in the dumpster for stuff we found that the original owners had left behind.
    • It’s amazing how much stuff we have that only took a second or two to decide that it didn’t make the cut.
  • The battle with the honeysuckle continues.  I’ve resorted to the unilateral use of chemical agents against the foe.  If that doesn’t work, there’s always incendiaries.


  • Over the past few weeks, we began a combination of spring cleaning, purge of all that is extraneous, and preparing the house for sale.
    • This weekend, we worked on the yard.
  • Irish Woman has a small electric chainsaw.  She used it to cut back a rather aggressive honeysuckle bush.
    • She claims it was a juvenile whomping willow.  She survived the encounter, so I’m only say that it might be a hybrid of some rather combative arboreal lifeforms.
  • I tried using the electric chainsaw, found it lacking, and dug out my old gas-powered saw.
    • This, after several years of no use and some neglect, refused to start, no matter how fresh the gas or vivid the cursing.
  • One trip to the hardware store later, I was the proud owner of a shiny new chainsaw.  It worked like a charm.  I cut down two dead peach trees, one dead cherry tree, and then tried to cut the honeysuckle stump back.
    • Note that I said ‘try’ there.
  • As I was cutting through that darned honeysuckle, the nut, which secures the plate that secures the guide bar, which secures the revolving, toothed chain of death, decided to explode off of its bolt, taking all of the threads with it.
    • Imagine my surprise when the nut and retaining plate went 90 degrees to my right, the guide bar sent 90 degrees straight up, knocking my hat off, and the chain wrapped itself around what was left of the saw and my right arm.
    • Luckily, Husqvarna has some really good safety features, and the saw cut off almost immediately.
    • My long-sleeve shirt was ruined, but all I got from it was a couple light scratches on my hand and forearm, as well as an elevated heart rate and a distinct puckering sensation.
    • I was able to find all of the parts except for the nut that started all this.  It is my belief that it is currently moving rather quickly over Lake Erie on its way to Nova Scotia.
  • The hardware store gladly replaced my 2 hour old chainsaw of doom with what is hoped to be a better example of Husqvarna’s product.
    • I haven’t tried it out yet, but when I do, you can be sure that I’ll be wearing as much safety equipment as I can fit my fat self into.  Think “StayPuft Marshmallow Man stuffed into a shark-proof chain mail suit”.
  • Since we have to consider the epidemiological implications of every activity we do these days, I noticed that even though the hardware store was packed, everyone was keeping six feet of separation.  They were also refraining from touching anything or anyone.
  • Lowe’s has put up large sneeze guards made of plexiglass and two-by-fours at the checkouts.
    • Of course, in order to converse with each over and be heard over the noise of hundreds of people talking in a large warehouse, the cashier and I had to lean over to the side of the sneeze guard, but at least they’re making an effort.
  • A smart man uses an electric implement to trim the bushes in front of his house and not his machete.  A wise man has his wife supervise so that it’s done to her liking the first time.



  • Irish Woman and I ventured out yesterday to get some fresh food.  Now, that was an adventure.
    • Our local Kroger was, to put it bluntly, picked clean.
    • No paper products or cleaning supplies to speak of.
    • The produce area was down to a few bags of rather mushy cranberries, some brussels sprouts, and some apples and oranges.
    • The meat department had no lunch meat, few hot dogs, no ground beef.  There were, however, quite a few packages of frog legs.
    • The beer section was completely empty.  The soda area wasn’t much better.
    • Convenience foods, either shelf-stable or frozen, were flat gone.
    • The bakery was down to english muffins, bagels, and gluten-free bread.
    • There were ample diapers, formula, and other baby supplies, with the exception of baby wipes.
    • The family planning area was absolutely empty.   I guess folks are trying to not have a Christmastime baby boom.
  • My guess is that all of those folks who like to brag that the only thing made in their kitchen is reservations are having a bit of a problem right about now.
  • We also visited our butcher store.
    • We buy one of their ‘family packs’ every few months.  It has a few pounds each of beef, pork, chicken, bacon, and sausage.
    • We use a lot of ground beef, so we normally have to stock up in between the big purchases.  It just so happens that we needed to restock just as all this hit.
    • We tried to buy five pounds, but were restricted to three.  On the plus side, we had to wait for it to be ground.
    • We weren’t special.  Other customers tried to a dozen filet mignons or a pork chops, and were talked down by the owner.
    • On the spur of the moment, I bought a frozen rabbit.  Boo’s been wanting to try it, so what the heck?
  • I swung by a restaurant supply store later on.  Surprisingly, it was pretty well stocked, and I was able to get most of what we hadn’t been able to get at the grocery store.
    • They were completely out of toilet paper, but had paper plates and such aplenty.
  • Luckily for us, we usually have a few months worth of basics stored up, so the panic buying hasn’t impacted us too much.
    • Having a monthly shipment from Amazon of things like toilet paper, toothpaste, and batteries means that when the stores get blitzed, we have enough.
    • I was about to stop those shipments because we’re looking to buy a new house and move, but luckily for my sanity and marriage, I forgot to.
    • Unless the current situation continues for two or three months, we’re set.


  • I’m not saying this has been a rough winter, but we’ve passed viruses around the family more than we’ve passed the potatoes at the dinner table.
    • If it’s called “man flu” when I go to bed and stay away from the family when I’m ill, what’s it called when Irish Woman demands that she be allowed to sit in the living room and spread her plague so that she can be sure everything that needs doing gets done?
  • The quadrennial silly season continues apace.  For an independent in Kentucky, primaries are a spectator sport.
    • Some years, it’s like watching a bunch of highly skilled gladiators tear at each other until the strongest stands over his victims, sword in hand.
    • This year, it’s like watching pre-schoolers play rugby in a pig sty.
  • Apparently, the latest sobriquet for Communism-lite is “Democratic Socialism”.  I was asked to leave a semi-political group when I quipped that, by that logic, “gang rape” could be called “democratic sodomy”.
  • I am not allowed to list “Black Belt in Schadenfreude” on my resume.  I stand corrected.


  • This morning, while I was driving back to the house, the title “The Wights of Their Eyes” popped into my head.  I have no idea where that came from or where it will take me, but it goes in the ever-growing file of things to write about.
  • Following the family tradition of “Boo got sick last week, so Dad gets sick this week”, I’m sick.
  • Luckily, it’s not flu.  This particular brand of not-flu includes headaches, fever and chills, body aches, listlessness, and a smart mouth.
    • The doctor said that the smart mouth might be congenital.
  • NyQuil fever dreams are enhanced when you fall asleep watching a docudrama about a nuclear power disaster.
  • Nothing says “hectic couple of months” like finding two claim tickets from last year and saying “Oh, yeah, I need to call my gunsmith.”
  • I’ve been listening to biographies of mafia figures lately.
    • Some authors become too close to their subjects, sometimes literally.  It seems to cause some kind of Stockholm Syndrome in which the author writes the life of a worthless, conniving, manipulative scumbag as if he were some modern-day Robin Hood.
    • In this version, however, Robin Hood puts two behind Little John’s ear because the Sheriff of Nottingham is getting too close.

Thought for the Day

Good night, stars
Good night, moon
Good night, howling voice of doom

Time to sleep in my bed
Time to let my pillow meet my head
Time to pray against the walking dead

Tomorrow brings another day
The sun’s bright rays will light the way
While I keep the hordes at bay

So, good night, stars
Good night, moon
Hope I don’t meet my fate too soon


  • Going back to work after a little over a week off was just as much fun as it sounds.
  • For some reason, I got a hankering to watch a police procedural.  I ended up purchasing the first two seasons of Law and Order.
    • I’m 10 episodes into the first season.  There are 22 episodes in the first season alone.  It’s hard to remember when a TV series had more than 10 or 12 episodes to a season.
    • I’d forgotten just what a shit-hole pre-Giuliani New York was.  Looking back, it was almost as bad as large cities in California are now.
    • I’d also forgotten about the clothes and hair from that time.  Some of it made me cringe, some of it made me wish it hadn’t gone away.
    • The acting is as good as I remember it.  I’m especially liking Michael Moriarty’s role as Benjamin Stone.  To be honest, I don’t plan to continue to watch the series much after that character leaves.
    • It’s interesting that many of the issues discussed in this 30 year old television program are still with us.
      • Drugs – The focus is on cocaine and the crack epidemic.  Now, we’re worried about meth and heroin.
      • Guns – This comes up several times in the first few episodes.  There’s a serious bias against civilian ownership and use of firearms, especially handguns, in the plots of these episodes.  After 30 years of progress in gun rights ebbing and flowing, I wonder how these same sequences would be written.
      • Race Relations – Honestly, the friction I see between white and black characters from 30 years ago could be lifted, updated with new fashions, and reshot almost word for word.
    • One subject that appears several times is AIDS.  It’s easy to forget that HIV and AIDS were a death sentence back then.
  • The search for a new house is starting to ramp up.  Irish Woman and I have discussed our must-haves, wants, and can’t-haves.
    • Since putting Boo through private high school in a few years will cost more than it would to send him to college, we’ve decided to move somewhere the public schools are better than the holding pens Louisville calls their schools.
    • So far, our biggest points of disagreement are subdivisions (me no likee), the amount of land we want (I want more), and the existence of a pool on any new property (me also no likee).
    • She wants a nice house in a nice neighborhood with lots of nice kids so that Boo can make nice friends and have someone nice to play nice with.
    • I want a few acres of mixed woods and open fields, with a creek running through it, and clear fields of fire out to the main road.
    • I keep pulling up listings for North Dakota, Arizona, and Texas, but She Who Shall Not Be Named is not interested.


  • Many thanks to everyone who’s purchased or read A Woman Scorned.  If you enjoyed it, please leave an honest review on Amazon.
  • Well, the annual season of insanity is in its home stretch.  So far, I’ve only been an unhinged maniac on one or two occasions, but Irish Woman has helped me cope with much love and lavish application of The Look.
  • Yet again, my protestations that I neither needed nor wanted anything for Christmas were ignored.
    • Mistress has given DaddyBear clothes.  DaddyBear is a free elf!
    • I have extracted promises that there will be no presents for my birthday.  I am hoping that they will be kept.
  • Boo got his first shotgun for Christmas.  We took a trip out to Knob Creek to test it out.  I am proud to say that he knocked clays down on 2 out of 5 tries.
  • I also got out the single-shot .22 rifle and worked on the basics with him.  I’m also proud to say that my 11 year old, who has his father’s stubbornness and his mother’s… ahem… sarcastic attitude was attentive, obedient, and safe on his first trip to the range.
    • His marksmanship wasn’t bad, either.
  • I don’t know how it is on things like driving ranges, but the range safety officer, as well as the two gentlemen shooting on either side of us, were absolutely tickled at the presence of a first time shooter.
  • The gentleman on my right was sighting in a Thompson Center Long Range Rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor.   I looked at some pictures of his targets.  That’s definitely a rifle that will wear out the ten ring at 300 yards.
  • The other gentleman was shooting a 1911 in .22 TCM.  The fireball was impressive enough to make Sergei Mosin look down from heaven and nod approvingly.
  • After several days of eating food that is doing its best to kill me, I tried very hard to be good today.  Even started off the day with a bowl of oatmeal and a cup of black coffee.
    • Then I saw that there were still a few Christmas cookies in the kitchen.  I mean, I already had a cup of coffee to dunk them in, so what was I supposed to do?
    • I backslid even further when Boo asked if we could get tamales for lunch.  I couldn’t say no.  It’s Christmas, after all.  And if you’re going to go to the Mexican restaurant, you don’t want that basket of nice, hot tortilla chips to go to waste, do you?
    • I’ll do better tomorrow.  That is, of course, unless Irish Woman cooks.  In that case, all bets are off.


  • We signed up for the new Disney streaming service the other day.  Boo and I watched the new Star Wars series, The Mandalorian, tonight.
    • Dear Disney – If you’d made this story instead of “Mary Sue Goes Walkabout”, I wouldn’t have spent the last three years complaining.
    • There was so much that reminded me of the original trilogy that I can’t list it all.  Seriously, it goes beyond easter eggs or even fan service.  I’m pretty sure the writers sat down in front of a white board with “WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO MAKE THESE JOKERS HAPPY?” written across the top.
    • I refuse to get too attached to it, though.  Disney owns Fox, and we all know what Fox does to sci-fi westerns that a bunch of nerds get attached to.
  • We got our first cold snap this weekend.  Not quite cold enough to bring the brass monkey in for the night, but definitely enough to get me to zip up my sweatshirt.
  • While the latest word thingie is off to the beta readers, I’ve been working on cover art.
    • Hint to supporters of open-source drawing programs – Don’t get snide when a newbie politely asks how one uses said program to draw a rectangle.
    • Referring me to a page that holds the 12,385,757 steps necessary to DRAW A RECTANGLE does nothing to incentivize me to support your project.
    • Commercial software still has a learning curve, but at least there’s an incentive to make folks want to use your program.
    • PhotoShop is a little more involved than using a ruler and a pencil, not much more.
    • GIMP feels like the developers intoning “When you can lift this cauldron of glowing coals using only your wrists, then you may draw a rectangle.”

Today’s Plans

It’s Veteran’s Day, and I took a day off from work.  To celebrate, I’m going to relive some of the best moments from my glory days.

Here’s my agenda:

  • Take a perfectly clean rifle out of the safe and spend a few hours ‘cleaning’ it before presenting it to someone who hates me with the fire of a thousand suns for ‘inspection’.
  • Get into a spotlessly clean and pressed suit of clothing, complete with immaculately shined footwear, then climb around a greasy, dirty truck for an hour while filling out paperwork that will be glanced at and thrown into the trash.
  • Remove everything from my basement, sort it out into neat lines, and have the neighbor check to make sure I haven’t lost anything since the last time I opened up the storage room.
  • Lock a craggy old fart who’s too old for this shit into a room with an enthusiastic college senior who thinks he’s Patton.  Take side bets on which one survives the encounter.
  • Pack everything I need to survive for a year into two small bags, carry it all to the end of a runway, then sit and wait in the rain until told that the op’s been cancelled and there’s an equipment inspection in the morning.
    • Repeat that last step while blind drunk at 2 the next morning because you never know when you’ll need to do it for real.
  • Spend weeks planning something really, really important and extremely fun, including travel and lodging arrangements and a list of interesting people that you want to meet and have long conversations with, then cancel it after your plane has taken off because some pissants in some 3rd world shithole decided to have a ‘peaceful election’ and form a ‘democratic government’.
    • Spoil sports
  • Pack a briefing room full of guys from upstate New York, Michigan, North Dakota, and Alaska for four hours and teach them how to stay warm and dry in the winter.
  • Pack the same room full of native Texans and Arizonans and teach them about surviving the heat.
  • Teach about both heat and cold injuries after issuing a complete set of cold-weather gear to two Air Force guys and telling them to walk two miles for chow.
  • Be called fat and out of shape by someone who got carried by a fat and out of shape dude after she passed out carrying 20% of her body weight up the side of a relatively long, steep mountainside.
    • It’s OK, she only weighed about as much as my rucksack did. Soaking wet.  Holding a brick.
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