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Musings

  • I was once told that nothing good comes easy.  If that’s true, then this house must be glorious.
    • We applied for the mortgage in early June, and thought that the recommended 45 days for it to process was a bit excessive.  Imagine our shock when we were frantically providing paperwork, money, and explanations less than a business day before our closing.
    • My bank has a very convenient web portal for uploading the myriad pieces of paperwork that you have to provide when applying for a mortgage.  Of course, the lady we worked with didn’t seem to have a handle in using it, so we ended up emailing her most of it anyway.  Several times.  In a couple of different versions.  And it all had to get to her immediately or our mortgage would be denied and the world would end.
    • Day of closing was a real treat.  Our 9 AM appointment to sign all the paperwork was delayed by several hours BECAUSE THE MORTGAGE COMPANY DIDN’T THINK IT NECESSARY TO SEND THEIR APPROVAL AND MONEY TO THE TITLE COMPANY.
    • I will say that the actual signing went rather smoothly. I think I signed my name more for the mortgage than I ever did for a security clearance.
  • We moved in this week, and it’s been a marathon.  The movers got the big stuff and a lot of things we’d packed, and we’ve spent the last three days taking other things over from the old house.
    • The look on the movers’ faces when they saw the Coca-Cola machine, arcade game, pinball machine, and jukebox was priceless.
    • You’ve never known stress until you’ve got three coolers full of frozen meat and vegetables in the bed of your truck and you get stuck in a traffic jam in July.
    • All that canned food and such we have gathered so that we have the necessary amount of shelf-stable food for emergencies?  Yeah, my ammunition was lighter.
    • It’s amazing how quickly you go from “We have to keep this because it might come in handy” to “Forget it, let’s get another dumpster” when you have to drive 20 minutes each way with each truckload of stuff.
  • Irish Woman is happy that we now own a riding lawn mower, complete with two cup holders.  One is for the beer that she will drink while mowing the lawn.  The other is for the other beer she will drink while mowing the lawn.
  • Boo has had some misgivings about moving out of the only house he’s ever known, but seems to be adjusting.  Having a basement he can hang out in, a neighborhood full of kids, and a buddy who lives a couple of doors down seem to help.
  • For the first time in my life, I have a home with more than one bathroom.  I’m not sure how to handle this.
  • The dogs are finally returning to normal.  We put them into a kennel for a couple of nights while we moved to the new house, which freaks both of them out. Then we didn’t return to their house, with all new smells and rooms to explore. Plus, there are other dogs visible from our kitchen window, so they have someone to yell at.

Musings

  • Only mad dogs and Irish Women mow lawns under the mid-day sun.
  • Irish Woman says that taking a nap puts me in an awful mood.
    • I disagree.  Naps put me in a wonderful mood.  It’s the waking up from a nap that puts me in an awful mood.
  • Nothing makes you go from “I think I need to wash and vacuum the truck” to “I need to detail clean the truck” as quickly as a Labrador Retriever dancing in two extra huge root beers on the floor boards and upholstery.
  • When you’re dealing with a dog dancing in soft drinks in your truck cab, you need to be careful to remember to grab the dog’s medicine you put on the truck’s roof before taking off at a high rate of speed.
    • I guess if it’s good enough to pay for once, it’s good enough to pay for twice.

Musings

  • I know it doesn’t count as camping if we get a cabin and sleep in beds, but I have to wonder why I’m just as tired as I would be if we slept on the ground and hiked all day.
  • The first night we were there, I brought in the food cooler, but left the beer cooler out.
    • The raccoons opened that one and gave everything a good pawing over with their muddy feet.
    • No worries, said I, as I drained the beer cooler, gave all of the bottles a going over with a Clorox wipe, then put them back.  It’s nature, I said.  They’re just following their rambunctious instincts.
  • The second night, I arrived back at our campsite approximately 15 minutes after sundown to interrupt a raccoon smorgasbord in progress.  It looked like I’d thrown a hand grenade in a hen house as the fuzzy little bastards unassed the cabin’s porch.
    • This time, they gave both coolers a good going over, and I had to separate out the contaminated food from the still-vapor-locked stuff.
    • That is, of course, once I’d cleaned up the bologna, cheese, blackberries, and raw bratwurst they had strewn across the porch.
    • I ended up having to throw out all of the uncooked breakfast sausage, the ham, the leftover sausage gravy, and almost all of the fresh fruit.
    • Did I mention that this was after dark and I could see their beady little eyes watching every move I made?
  • Breakfast on Sunday, for two adults and a 12 year old with a hollow leg, consisted of a pineapple that I cut up with my pocket knife, bananas, hot dogs, 2 day old biscuits with jelly, and coffee.
  • Because of all this, I am declaring an official jihad against the thieving rascals.  No longer will I gently prod them off of my porch at night.  Nor will I indulge my lovely wife when she defends them based on their cuteness.
  • During our travels to and from the wilds of southern Indiana, I had the unique experience of stopping at a convenience store in an area whose drug problem has made the national news more than once.
    • The display of novelty glassware was only dwarfed by the “It’s not ephedrine anymore!” stimulant selection on the other side of the register.
    • Also, who would have guessed that the folk around there needed so many metal scrubbing pads?
  • The work to finalize the purchase of our new home continues.  The inspections are complete, with the exception of the one done by the Veteran’s Affairs folks.  I’m happy to say that our new home has a modern septic system, no evidence of termites, and the minor issues with the roof are being taken care of as I type this.
    • Irish Woman is already shopping for the pool she wants for the back yard.
  • The current work in progress is off to the beta readers, and I have a wonderful cover in the works from the nice lady who did my last cover.  Should have some snippets from it in the next few weeks.

Musings

  • Well, after several years of talking about it, numerous negotiations on what we both want and are willing to compromise on, both of us choosing hills we’re willing to die on, intense discussions about moving to North Dakota and taking up some honest living or another, stalking areas we wanted to live in, a couple of false starts, then a sprint to get to a house that we both liked before it was gobbled up, Irish Woman and I have started the process of purchasing a new home.
  • We looked at two houses yesterday.  Both were very nice.
    • Both properties were on the market for a little more than 24 hours when we took a tour.
    • One was a bungalow built in 1916.  It had been added onto, and had a lot of character and other things that made me like it.  It was on the edge of the country, with one of my favorite watering holes just down the street.
    • It also had plumbing and wiring very similar to our current house, which gave me pause.  One of my goals was to not get another fixer-upper.
    • By the time we got done looking at the bungalow, someone else had put in an offer, so deciding to not bid on it got easier.
    • The other house was a relatively new (well, newer than the house we have now) ranch on a nice lot in a neighborhood that we’ve been keeping an eye on.
    • We looked at the second house, then talked on its porch for a few minutes before asking our realtor to make an offer.
    • The market around here is so hot that a lot of properties don’t even make it to the realty sites before they’re sold.
  • With that, we began the paperwork part of this process.  As much work as this is to do electronically, I cannot imagine how it was done in the days of carbon paper.
  • Today, I have provided the following things to our bank:
    • VA certificate
    • Statements from our checking, savings, and investment accounts
    • A copy of our contract to buy the house
    • A picture of the check I wrote for the deposit
    • Our latest statement on our current mortgage
    • A genealogy going back five generations on both sides
    • Our latest horoscopes
    • Proof that we are, indeed, human.
    • Pawprint impressions from both dogs and one of the cats
    • An offer of our son’s hand in marriage to the last scion of some obscure Italian nobility. I’m told she’s quite lovely.
  • Finding someone to do the home and septic inspections was an adventure all by itself.  Apparently I’m just one of a million yokels who are buying homes these days.  I found one, count them, one inspector who could get the job done in the ten days we have per the contract.
  • Our plan is to move out of our current place, then fix, paint, clean, and polish everything so that we can put it on the market.  We’ve already gotten the plumbing fixed, and more is to come.
  • Hopefully, by the time the Kentucky Derby rolls around on Labor Day, we’ll be settled into our new house one county over and will only have one mortgage.

Musings

  • So, we’re at quarantine week… 10? Is it 10? Let’s just say 10 for the sake of the argument. I have no idea anymore without consulting a calendar.
    • I seriously don’t know whether it’s time to buy fireworks or a snow shovel at this point.
  • Is it a bad thing when you’re cleaning out the attic and hear baby birds chirping from the piping leading from the bathrooom fan to the outside?
  • I am proud to say that I removed the sentence “If you told me the sky was blue, I would look up” from a professional email the other day.
  • Is it a bad thing that I’m half a decade away from retiring from the day job and I’ve already picked out the date for my retirement party?
  • I was bored enough the other weekend that I took all of our dry goods out of the various shelves, cabinets, and tubs, then sorted and organized them. I was surprised that we had quite a surplus on peanut butter, applesauce, and canned beans. I was even more surprised that we were short on canned tomatoes of almost every variety.
    • A quick trip to Kroger and the restaurant supply store corrected that.
  • Irish Woman has returned to work after being off for about two months. In her time at home, she power-washed, repaired, cleaned out EVERYTHING, put in the garden, done landscaping, filled in one old goldfish pond, rebuilt another, put in a fountain, painted, trimmed, and home-schooled our sprog.
    • I’m not saying that going back to work will be less strenuous for her than not going to work, but since she first went back to her office, she seems much more relaxed.
  • My “I’m just going into the office for a couple of hours so that a technician can update the office software on my laptop” turned into “I’m going to sit here for six hours waiting for the bloody thing to reboot”
    • Since I work in a semi-secured building, I couldn’t even take in a tablet to read. And, of course, I forgot to pack a book or notebook.
    • Heck, I even forgot my coffee on the way to work this morning. I am really out of practice on this whole get-out-of-bed-and-go-to-work-in-another-zip-code thing.
  • Every single thing Boo was looking forward to doing this summer has been cancelled. At this point, I’m about to buy him a copy of the improvised munitions field manual and let him loose just so he has something to do.
    • This would be so much easier if we had the same rules for kids as we did when we were young.
    • “Bored? Here, take your BB gun and this pocket knife and go entertain yourself for a while. Don’t forget, you need to burn off all of those fireworks from last summer before we can buy more.”

Musings

  • 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.

Musings

  • 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.

Musings

 

  • 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.

Musings

  • 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.

Musings

  • 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.
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