Various Topics

First off, I have a niece who lives in Minneapolis.  Thankfully, she’s safe.  Still, the rioting, looting, and arson have to be unsettling.  The 3rd precinct cops abandoned their building, and let it get torched.  They let the rioting and looting go on for almost three days, with no response, while tear gassing the people who were actually peacefully protesting.  Then, they cut and ran.  What kind of message does that send?  The Mpls mayor is an even wimpier version of Justin Trudeau.  Where is the leadership in the Twin Cities?

Second, the Clown Coalition™, led by ringleader Gov. Cuomo is breaking up.  Good.  Even the Three Stooges subcommittee of Cuomo (Moe), Murphy (Curly), and Wolf (Larry), are starting to go their separate ways on lockdown rules.  Murphy can run again, so he’s starting to reopen the state, but still persecuting individual business owners.  Wolf can’t run again, and knows his political career is over unless Biden wins in November and taps him for a job, so he’s being a vindictive SOB, especially against counties that refuse to enforce his fiats.  Stuffing COVID-positive patients in nursing homes and assisted living facilities was the dumbest move ever, with predictable consequences.

Third, these perpetually extending lockdowns are ridiculous at this point.  As are the face mask rules.  Even Fauci, the guy who hasn’t been a practicing MD for at least four decades, is on video as saying they’re “symbolic.”  Yeah — they’re symbolic of subjugation.  Other than that, they’re symbolic of virtue signalling, unless you are in a health care setting.

Other than that, I’ve made great inroads on property maintenance.  I don’t fell the dead trees with 2′ diameter trunks, saw them off into 8′ sections, haul off brush, work the log-splitter, sawmill, or chipper/shredder, but I have done an awfully good job of power washing our patios.  The only issue with that is that the Ryobi that has a Honda engine, does not have a throttle, and if you don’t get the choke set just right after starting it, the engine will cut if you let off the pressure on the handle at the business end, to move the engine to do another section, so it’s touchy.  You have to find its “happy place,” to keep working without having to restart it, which also gets tricky if the engine’s not being cold started.  It’s a good machine that generates loads of water pressure, but the engine is touchy.  The good news is that when I get done with a 300 sq. ft. section, the parts that had turned black or gray with grime or mildew are back to being their original light tan color.  The difference is so obvious.

I freed the pool house fridge from its packaging on Tuesday, plugged it in, and it immediately started humming, and cooling.  I’d like to switch the door to open the other direction at some point, given where it’s placed, but it doesn’t really matter, because nothing’s obstructing it.  Maybe I can do that in the Fall, when we shut down the pool, and I unplug it.  For now, it’s fine, and works like a charm.

Lockdown and face mask rules must end.  Some of us have enough trouble breathing in hot and humid weather without the damn things, and with them, the condensation and CO2 that builds up in them, within minutes, makes me breathe really hard.  I can only imagine how awful it must feel for asthmatics or people with COPD.

Patio Furniture Assembly

I ordered a sectional sofa and coffee table set for the patio last winter, just to get the super-discount, even though I knew it would have to sit there in boxes until Spring, when I could assemble it, although I did take inventory of the parts when it arrived to make sure they were all there.  Today, I finally got around to assembling it.  Took me roughly three hours, but I did it by myself with nothing more than an Allen wrench, and took a couple of breaks to cool off from the blazing sun, and get rehydrated.  Despite having parts for which there were no instructions, it was pretty easy to figure out, and more than enough hardware was included to piece it all together.  Not bad, overall, for three corner pieces, two midsection pieces, plus the coffee table.  Half an hour apiece is longer than it usually takes me to assemble a piece of furniture from parts, but it’s acceptable.

Seems like pretty solid stuff.  The cushions, described as tan, have an odd pinkish color to them.  Hopefully, they will bleach in the sun, so that they don’t look just a little “off” against the bright red accent pillows that came with it.  Of course, if the red pillows bleach in the sun, then they’ll fade to pink.  Oh well.

Tomorrow, I’ll tackle the mini fridge that I bought for the pool house.  It’s down there, in its place, but still in its shipping box.  It seems best to cut the box off the fridge with a utility knife than tip it over, slide it out, and put it back upright.  That way I don’t have to wait a couple of days for the lubricant to settle back into place before plugging it in.  I can’t wait until the pool company gets here to open my pool.  I know how to do it, but it’s not a one person job, and I don’t have any of one of the three key chemicals to do it on my own.  Can’t go buy some, either, because of lockdown.

This whole lockdown thing has gone on way longer than necessary.  It’s progressed to our governor becoming a tyrant, and punishing any county that questions him about anything.  At least when our pool opens, I can sort of pretend to have a normal summer season.  We were supposed to be in MN over this weekend for the annual family reunion.  That got canceled.  My second cousin’s wedding got canceled.  Our bird watching shore mini vacation got canceled.  About the only thing we can “plan” at this point is a grocery run.  It sucks the wind right out of the sky.

Another Covert Mission

This is really getting to be a drag.  Mom calls, and snail mails me her shopping lists, because she refuses to learn how to use email, even though she has the equipment and wi-fi connection to do so.  I can’t keep fetching, then driving over an hour away to a different state to keep delivering the goods to her, every time she realizes she forgot to add something to the list, which would be every other day, if she had her wish.  I can’t keep running up a tab for her, which never costs less than $100/per shopping trip, with a promise to pay me back later.  She already owes me hundreds, and she’s got a helluva lot more money than I do.

I do not need the grief if I can only find one size of something she wants (a 2 lb. jar of Jif — and it HAS to be Jif — peanut butter isn’t good enough when she demands two 1 lb. jars).  If I can’t find her preferred brand of unsalted saltines (there’s an oxymoron for you), no other brand will do, even though they all taste the same unless they’re stale.  By the time we get done crossing off the vast majority of the items on one of her lists, we’ve gone to half a dozen stores.

I think she enjoys this.  She’s manipulative by nature, and my dad did everything for her but cook dinner while he was still alive.  This probably has more to do with keeping up with her neighbor, whose son lives five minutes away.  HE drops off shopping for his mother, and mom must demonstrate that she has a willing slave to do the same for her, even though I’m not technically allowed to.  She’s the one who laid off her home aide, who used to come in twice a week to do that.  I guess I’m a whole lot cheaper, since I don’t get an hourly wage, and so far, she isn’t paying me back for the cost of the goods, let alone the cost of gasoline and tolls.

At some point, I will require that she fork over greenbacks to cover the cost on the receipts I give her, or ask her to send me a check for the previous items, along with her next list.  Otherwise, she’ll have to have someone else do it, or rehire the woman she laid off.  She spends more in two weeks on groceries and drug store items for herself than the two of us do in a month.  I can’t keep fronting her that kind of money.  I’m not running a 1930s general store.

Mini-Fridge

We’ve lived here for years, but so far, have made do with a cooler for beverages down by the pool.  I finally broke down, and sprung for a kegerator sized mini fridge for the pool house.  The previous owners had something similar down there, but took it with them when we bought the place.

It cost a bit more to get one rated for outdoors use, but I think it’s worth it.  We don’t have an outdoors kitchen, other than a Weber kettle grill, and a picnic table.  The pool house is semi-underground, and has an upper level patio on top of it, but the entrance is old style saloon doors, so it’s not completely enclosed from the elements.  I figure we can plug it in for four months, and unplug it for the other eight.  Might want to wrap up the plug end while it’s not in use, to ward off corrosion.  It’s pretty energy efficient, anyway.  It should be able to hold a couple of cases worth of beverages, and some snacks, so they don’t go stale or melt in the heat and humidity.  Nobody wants stale tortilla chips and warm salsa, or stale crackers, and liquid cheese spread.

This is scheduled for Monday delivery.  Unless I can snag the FedEx delivery guy, and ask him whether he’d be willing to bring the package down to the pool patio area, we’ll have to either use the hand cart, or load it onto a small trailer behind one of the tractors to get it down there.  The thing with refrigerators is that if, for some reason, you cannot transport them upright, you’ll have to leave them unplugged for a day or two before plugging them in.  Not a big deal, in this case, if that’s what we have to do.

Yes, it’s a convenience item, but since our jackbooted governor keeps extending “lockdown” every time the reopening date approaches, we’re not going anywhere anytime soon, except to smuggle my mom some groceries, so we might as well enjoy being stuck at home for the foreseeable future.  Seriously — let me enjoy my own pool, with some cold beverages, at the least.

Woo-Hoo!

This rocks my socks, so to speak.  I finally got through to a live person at my pool company to schedule a pool opening.  It won’t happen before Memorial Day weekend, but it will happen the following Monday.  This makes me really happy.

We’ve had to cancel a family wedding, a family reunion, and a three day mini-vacation, all of which were scheduled during April and May.  Evidently, my pool company got an exemption from the “non-essential” business closures our jackbooted governor has imposed.  Since we can’t go anywhere, except to smuggle in groceries for my mom in an adjacent state, having our pool open is fantastic.  Even before it gets open, I can still don shorts and a t-shirt, and soak up some sun on one of the patios.  At this point, just being able to open the windows, and get some fresh air in here is glorious!  First world problems and small pleasures, right?

The Three Stooges

In this SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, which is already subsiding, may I present The Three Stooges:

  • Moe = Gov. Cuomo (NY)
  • Curly = Gov. Murphy (NJ)
  • Larry = Gov. Wolf (PA)

All three issued exucutive orders, which are not law, to mandate that nursing homes, long term care facilities, and hospices take in coronaviris patients, knowing they were not equipped to handle them.  Nearly three months later, they are rescinding their orders?  Was it because they wanted to get old people off the Medicare and Medicaid rolls, or was it because they’re all bumbling incompetents?  Maybe a bit of both?

This infuriates me.

What’s starting to happen is that drug overdose and suicide deaths are catching up with coronavirus deaths.  Financial ruin takes a bigger toll than these politicians, who have never missed a paycheck in their lives, realize.

Related to all this is that I had to be an outlaw this weekend, just to deliver groceries to my mother in another state.  I wore a face mask, but it would have been funnier if I’d dressed up like a wild frontier bandito.  Next time, I’ll show up looking like the Frito Bandito.  It was a good day to be an outlaw, but it might not be, next time.  Spies are there looking for vehicles with out of state plates.

Mom already called me this morning, saying she’d snail mail another grocery list, and bitched me out for not getting two items that she told me not to write down last week because she would put them on her list, but didn’t.  Fine.  Okay, it’s my fault for not writing down what mom told me not to, obedient little servnt that I am.  I want to help, but I live in a different state, so delivering goods to her, even if we already got them the previous evening, is still a half day production, at minimum.  We’re not going to do this forever.  We did this for several years before my father died.

“Keep a tab running for me, and I’ll pay you back,” is what she says.  Sometimes, she does repay me for what I fetch for her, but just as often she doesn’t.  I always give her the receipts for the items i bought for her.  It wasn’t even worth telling her she owed me multiple hundreds for hosting a dinner she organized at a restaurant after my dad’s funeral for family members that she was going to host, then told me to host it instead, and said she’d pay me back.  She never did.  I do not expect to be paid back for these hundreds of dollars worth of groceries and personal care items, either, but it kinda burns when she can afford them more than I can, and I have to run a tab for her, for which my chances of getting repaid are 50:50.

 

YAY!

Our favorite local pub was reduced to selling gift cards to survive.  Jen, the owner’s daughter, stopped by this morning to personally deliver the one I called to order yesterday.  She could have popped it in the snail mail, but has a brother who lives in my neighborhood, so she simply offered to deliver it in person on her way to visit him.  I only ordered one for $50, which will cover the cost of a meal for both pf us, including tip, but maybe only half the cost of the next one.  She handed it to me.  Other than that, we “social distanced” from each other.

The good news is that they will reopen, for take-out only, tomorrow.  When they can reopen for business for sit down customers, it’ll be at ~30% capacity.  Also, Jen told me that our favorite waitress will return when they’re allowed to reopen for real.  Jill is the best waitress.  Even when we got a table or booth that wasn’t hers, she’d still stop by to briefly say “hi.”  We’ve been going there for ~a decade, starting a few months after they opened.  Great place, great pub grub, and if a wait staff member isn’t up to snuff, he/she is gone about a month later, because the owners are observant, not because people complain.  My neck of the woods is not filled with Karens.

GRRRRR

We had to bag out on the annual family reunion this year.  I’d made hotel reservations before any of us had heard of SARS-CoV-2.  But, our veterinarian is not allowed to board our dog, per state government edict.  The cats would have been fine left here for five to six days, with clean litter, and plenty of food/water.  Not so the dog.  Since we can’t board him, it put the kibosh on our cross-country trip.  So, I was finally able to cancel our hotel reservations, but it took a bit of figurative teeth pulling.  What sucks is that the email confirmations I received for our cancellations said it might take up to 30 days to refund me.  No cancellation fees this far ahead of time, but still, it’s hundreds of bucks that I’d prefer to be refunded sooner than later.

The word went out to the family.  Chances are good the whole thing will just end up being cancelled this year, rather than rescheduled for July 4th, or Labor Day weekend, anyway.  SARS-CoV-2 is playing Old Harry with everybody’s plans, not just ours.

On another note, I was able to get a gift card from my favorite pub for when it reopens.  Spoke to Jen there (owner’s daughter).  She happens to live nearby, so instead of popping the thing in the mail, she’s going to drop it off in person tomorrow.  She was going to do so today, but couldn’t, so she called to let me know her change of plans.  If she can’t drop it off in person, she will pop it in the mail.

Also, I’m getting a little jazzed about potentially being an outlaw.  Mom is not good with computers, and still can’t figure out email, so she snail mailed me a grocery list.  We have not yet received it.  But, when we do, we’ll go hit an ATM, get some cash, her groceries, and drive an hour to deliver them to her, vicariously.  My car would bottom out, if we have to drive around a roadblock and over a curb to get to her place, but the truck won’t.  It’s not technically illegal to deliver goods to her garage, and call her to let her know they’re there, but it is sort of prohibited in her retirement community for family members to visit, however briefly, even w/o personal contact.

It might be fun to haul out my cowboy hat, wear a goofy looking pair of sunglasses, and a bandana over my face mask.  Think Minnie Mouse meets 1960s western TV show.  If some Karen calls it in to report us, and I get a citation, I’m sure I could get it dismissed with a phone call.  Grocery delivery is a shitload more important than breaking an abitrary rule or two that is not legal in the first place, and is not government imposed.  Yeah, this could be fun.  It beats the crap out of ordering some pears for her from Harry & David.

Upside to Lockdown

My grovernor is pretending to schedule opening of the state, little by little.  Naturally, this will start with the other end of the state, and work its way toward me, so we’ll be last.  I’m really sick and tired of the moving goalposts for the lockdown.  It was initially so that hospitals didn’t get overwhelmed.  They didn’t, so the next excuse was “Keep granny safe.”  If someone’s granny won’t emerge from her cave, how can I infect her, even if I have asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2?  Now, it’s that we have to wait for a vaccine, that might not even be effective, although we still don’t have a vaccine for HIV after four decades.  This is bullshit.

In the meantime, I’ve discovered some great restaurants around here that we never knew existed.  They deliver via Grubhub or Doordash during lockdown.  Yeah, it’s more expensive to schedule delivery than order for pick-up, but not really all that much, and some restaurants don’t even allow pick-up nowadays.  I thought we only had one Japanese place in town that had been there forever.  It turns out there’s a relatively new one that makes stellar pork gyozas, and sukiyaki.  Yum!  There’s also one that’s sort of pan-South American, specializing in empanadas.  I can easily make empanada dough,  and have done so, but the variety of fillings they make are things for which I don’t always have the ingredients on hand.

The one Vietnamese place we have in town isn’t doing delivery.   I miss their giant bowls of pho.  I don’t necessarily mind not being able to order from the Korean place, since making mandoo is pretty much the same as making potstickers, which I can easily make at home from scratch.  Grocery stores have not had toilet paper for at least five weeks, but we can always find flour, and Asian ingredients, which I consider staples, anyway.

We have not yet been able to plant veggie seedlings in our garden, but since we had such a mild winter, our herb garden is going gangbusters.  Even things that are normally grown as annuals this far north are coming in from seeds they spread last fall.  I’ve got a nice supply of fresh sage, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and cilantro.  Cilantro bolts pretty quickly, so when it does, I just let it go to seed for coriander.  Any renegade basil we might get hasn’t sprouted yet.  If it doesn’t, a six-pack of seedlings is only ~$1.50, and they will bush out to knee height within three weeks after being planted.  We give the stuff away to neighbors who want it, just like we do wood chip mulch.

Oh, well.  Whatever.  We’ll …

Nicky’s on Patch

Although I’m not sure when our favorite sleeping midget joined Patch, I received an alert in my inbox today.  Note that aside from the profile, both posts he made are only a day old.  Here’s the link to his profile page.

Perhaps Patch doesn’t allow users to insert links into posts.  Nothing he mentions is linked within his entries.  Patch is basically a network of local news bulletin boards, as far as I can tell, sort of like Nextdoor, but more newsy than members asking for local contractor recommendations, posting about local festivals, or warning neighbors about a rash of car break-ins in whatever neighborhood.

From his profile, he evidently still considers himself a small press publisher who has a boss and co-workers.  LOL.

For those of us still theoretically in lockdown, with arbitrary rules about which businesses are allowed to remain open, under what circumstances, stay safe, and stay sane.

On a closing note, for a bit of levity, my brother-in-law decided to serve rabbit for Easter dinner.  I kind of wish we’d thought of that.  We just fixed a spiral cut ham, with a few side dishes.  Boring, but traditional.  Lots of leftover ham, of course, but there are so many ways to use it.  When we finally get down to the bone, with just some scraps worth of musculature left on it, we’ll make a nice big batch of split pea soup.