CategoryFamily

Garage Musings

The Wife, The Brother-In-Law, The BIL’s Wife, and I cleaned out the garage a couple of weekends ago. We needed to start the purge for the spring move. The cleaning resulted in a Bagster full of debris, a carload full of Goodwill donations, and a long weekend of pain. So, of course, we have to start filling the garage back up with things we need when we move. It didn’t help that the neighborhood was having it’s semi-annual community garage sale. Prime Day may also have brought some things into the house.

I shudder to think where we will put the stuff from Black Friday/holiday sales.

Thank You Reader David and Some Writing Stuff

David Blackard, who blogs over at Blue Collar Prepping, is one of my alpha readers. He recently did me a great service by finding an old draft of the fantasy novel I’ve been working on and sending it back to me. It contained a bunch of writing that Scrivener swallowed in its updating between versions.

I like Scrivener, but there have been a few occasions when it syncs between my phone, my tablet, and my computer that it loses some writing. Mostly just a little bit, but sometimes a whole lot. I keep toying with the idea of switching to Word, particularly since I now have Office 365 and can write on my devices. I have this feeling if I were a more professional, or full-time, writer, I would like all the additional features of Scrivener even more. I may do a hybrid where I do a lot of the drafting in Word, and then figure out some of the editing in Scrivener. Not sure at the moment.

Anyways, David sending me my draft kickstarted my desire to write again. So, The Wife and I have agreed to at least one night a week devoted to our crafts. We purchased a Cricut for her back before everything went nuts, and she’s been using the hell out of it. With the holidays just around the corner, her projects list exploded. While my writing list hasn’t undergone the same expansion, it also hasn’t budged very much.

Bucky

On Monday, Sept 21st, I lost my cat Bucky. Fuck cancer. Fuck kitty cancer.

Bucky came to me fourteen years ago with his brother Ghost. They were part of a litter from a feral momma cat that my friend had brought in so Momma Cat could give birth indoors. My wife at the time had moved out maybe a few months before the two tiny kitties came into the house. Even then, Bucky was clearly the dominant one.

Baby Bucky

Fast forward a bit. My friend needed a place to stay after his divorce. He brought with him three female cats and a thirty-pound dog. Bucky was my street-punk cat who brooked no shit from any of the other animals. Including the dog. Then we were joined by friend’s new girlfriend and her pug. Bucky was in charge of the animal herd – and proved it multiple times. This era was also when Bucky got his first taste of beer. That cat loved his beer.

Young Bucky

Bucky Goes to Work

Bucky was a big cat. At his largest, he was pushing fifteen pounds. Which he used to prove his point when he wanted your attention. Which he did, but only on his terms. It was I want attention. Thank you. Nip.

Then came Irma. I made the decision that instead of riding out the storm by myself in a house I wasn’t too sure about, I would evac to The Brother’s place. Bucky had not been outside the house in probably a decade. He didn’t understand why I was putting him in this tiny cage. He didn’t understand why I was throwing him into the noisy metal box. He didn’t understand why the noisy metal box was moving. My big, strong, silent cat began to let out the most horrible sounding cry of distress. I would grow used to it over the next few years as he was forced to move from The Brother’s house back to mine. Then when we moved him down to what would become his final home.

I was worried when we were moving him into a house with several cats who were already established. Yeah, I should have known better. Within moments of being sprung from isolation, Bucky established himself as alpha of our clowder.

The last few months, you could see something was wrong. The Wife mentioned he was breathing harder than normal. He developed a cyst under his eye. We took him to the vet to get it removed. She took a look at his x-rays and told us that there was some cloudiness in his lungs. There wasn’t anything we could really do, so we kept him comfortable. Then, our normally voracious eater and demander of treats, started getting very finicky. We took him in Monday. He’d lost almost a pound and a half in less than six weeks. The cloudiness had taken up almost all of his lungs. After an excruciating period, The Wife and I made our decision. We spend a good ten to fifteen minutes giving our Bucky attention. If you didn’t know he was sick, he would have seen almost normal. Purring and happy that we were there.

Miss you my friend.

The Boss

F’ing Roller Coaster Weeks

In case you’re wondering why I had no Wednesday or Thursday posts last week, there were happenings.

The week started out with the dishwasher making a wonderful screeching noise. We call the appliance guy to find out he’s out of business. We find this out when The Wife gets a voicemail greeting of “I’m not the appliance person. I will not fix your stuff. I am a high school student.” I sympathize with the kid. Growing up, our dial-up line (kids ask your parents) was the old number of a Dominos.

Then, middle of the week, we get a new niece. I still think newborns look weird. I don’t understand why everyone thinks they’re cute. Still love the little one. Need to come up with a term of endearment for her. I’m thinking “pumpkin.”

In the middle of the week, our Toastmasters club had our Humorous Speech and Table Topics contests. I competed in the Table Topics, but didn’t even place. Plus, doing a contest virtually just sucks. I will also say my competition desires are waning.

The rollercoaster continued. After a series of calls, we went up and start the ball rolling on buying a house in one of the new developments that are cropping up around here. If the expected timeline holds, we will be moving into a brand spanking new house at the end of March. Both The Wife and I have been looking at each other with expressions of “what did we just do?” This wasn’t so much a straight incline as much a rising corkscrew.

So, of course, as we hit the high, the roller coaster must send us into a dive. First was work stress. Mainly being put in the position of having my data used wrong, disputing them, and being told “but you gave us those numbers.” Then being chastised for not being on a meeting where they didn’t send the invite. I like that I’m respected enough that my name is used as qualifying value, but not when someone uses it for political games. That, unfortunately, was not the lowest point of the week.

Our oldest cat’s been having problems. He deteriorated rapidly. Friday we took him to his last vet visit. Spike was a sweet cat. He loved being in my lap. To the point of coming up behind me in our office and tugging on my shirt. Sometimes, he figured out how to just plop himself down. A few times while I was on a video conference call. The house is much quieter, and I don’t like it.

By the end of the week, The Wife and I were emotionally exhausted. Also, my predilection for poor food choices and stress eating flared. I was already floating about ten pounds over goal. Now, it’s a bit more. I need to be better, and I need a healthier way. Particularly since my range time is down to zero.

Family Stuff

This weekend was dominated by my brother-in-law getting himself hitched. This was a very small affair (thanks COVID!) with just immediate family. We remoted in the bride’s family. Everything went splendidly. I did have some musings on the event:

  1. Despite all the teachings from sitcoms of my childhood, the wedding did not cause my niece-in-law (?) who is nine-months pregnant to go into labor.

  2. I smoked two of the large pork loins for the wedding. We had to borrow a neighbor’s grill so we could get both loins smoked in time. The upside is The Wife has tacitly agreed to the purchase of a larger grill when we move next year.

  3. Of course, when we smoke two of the small loins, the pork runs out. Two of the big loins, and there’s an abundance of leftover meat. Not that I’m complaining that hard.

  4. The Wife and her mother are frikkin’ amazing at cake decorating. And cake making.

  5. You know you have a reputation in the family when some describes how much cake they want by saying “half a Derek piece.”

Fun Show Time!

Last weekend, my brother-in-law and I went to the local gun show. This was his first gun show since diving into the gun world about nine months ago. This was my first gun show in a long while, and the first in my new town. It was much more sparsely attended than the last one I was at.

The crowd density was more pre-COVID Walmart instead of pre-COVID mosh pit. Masks were required, but proper usage wasn’t really enforced. Guns were more plentiful than I expected, but prices were running higher. Ammo prices were through the roof. A box of Speer Gold Dots were $60. I did end up picking up a couple of short magazines for my grandpa’s M1 carbine. Now, I need some more .30 carbine ammo.

I’m convinced I want three more guns before I would consider my safe to have the essentials.

  1. I want a better AR than my M&P-15 sport. Maybe a non-AR AR. I’d like an AUG, but I want something that runs AR mags. Maybe an MCX. A friend of my suggested getting a SCAR, but I don’t have the money his employer has to throw around.

  2. A carbine running M&P magazines. Maybe an AR pistol with brace. I’ve gots me lots of M&P mags. This one I’m really tempted to get a can for it.

  3. A double action .22 revolver. For training and plinking purposes.

Once the niece and nephew turn 21 (thanks Rick Scott!), I’ll need to add a .22 rifle.

Which reminds me. I need to take a couple of days off and take them to the range.

Car Shopping

After an off-hand remark to her co-worker, we ended up selling The Wife’s car to said co-worker’s daughter. Doing a private sale on a car with a lien is a PITA. Honestly, I could see car dealerships offering a transfer service. I’d pay a couple hundred bucks to have someone more knowledgeable go through all the steps.

This event necessitated the need for a new vehicle for The Wife. She’s wanted an SUV as her next car in the whole time we’ve been together. We had a plan for her to get one when the current vehicle was paid off. Well, that got shot in the face. Technically, the old car will be paid off, just not when we planned.

The real fun was introducing her to the used car market. Particularly when she realized that she could get more car for less money. It was even more fun listening to her describe her epiphany to said co-worker. In the end, she picked up a 2017 Honda CR-V with all the bells and whistles she wanted.

News From The Homefront

The Wife and I, like pretty much everyone, are under “safer at home” orders, as well as a curfew. I didn’t think I would suffer from cabin fever, but there have been a few times when I’ve been inordinately happy to run errands.

I am so glad that we managed to sell my Tampa house right before this insanity started. Now, I don’t have to worry about how the housing market will go in the future, I don’t have funds being diverted up there for upkeep, and we’ve managed to use funds from the sale for things we’ve needed during our extended home stay.

The Wife and I are both working from home. My job provides we with a computer, while The Wife remotes in using my home workstation. This has been going along better than either of us anticipated, except for the few times where we’ve had calls at the same time. She has also been surprised at the daytime antics of the cats – including their proclivity for making themselves known on conference calls. This arrangement has also led to some interesting purchases. Such as a new keyboard for The Wife to use on my workstation because she hates my ergonomic one. Fortunately, she already had a mouse, because she also *despises” my trackball. We also picked up a desk elliptical. I’m starting to hate that, but at least I’m doing some cardio daily.

We also got me some new monitors since I was working on a couple of small ones. Good for the couple of days a week I was teleworking previously. Annoying working from home all the time. The small ones were given to a neighbor who needed them for their kids. Getting the necessary cables was a chore, but thankfully we have some sources that scored them for us.

Our Toastmasters club has had its first virtual meeting. It feels very different than our normal meeting. I noticed people act more like we’re having a party rather than a formal meeting. More talking during some of the segments. Not interrupting prepared speeches, but more back and forth in other areas. Plus giving a prepared speech over video is difficult. I can’t get the same read on the audience. It did let me practice what I think will become my “pocket speech”.

There’s some other gun news, but that will wait for later…

Movie Fun

Miguel posted on this on FB, and I decided to have some fun with it. Then I roped The Brother and The Wife into it.

Derek

Favorite movie: Black Hawk Down

Movie that makes you remember your childhood: Transformers (Animated)

Favorite Tom Cruise movie: Edge of Tomorrow

Movie that makes you cry: Forrest Gump

Favorite 80’s movie: Real Genius

Favorite comedy: Undercover Blues

Favorite sports movie: Necessary Roughness

Favorite courtroom movie: 12 Angry Men

Favorite horror Movie: In the Mouth of Madness

Most overrated movie: Pulp Fiction

Movie you can watch over and over again: McLintock!

Movie with the best soundtrack: Pirates of the Caribbean

Movie you’re most embarrassed that you like: Grease 2 (maybe?)

Favorite Christmas movie: Die Hard

Favorite sequel: John Wick 2

The Brother

Favorite movie: My Blue Heaven

Movie that makes you remember your childhood: Rock ‘N’ Rule (1983)

Favorite Tom Cruise movie: Edge of Tomorrow/Live. Die. Repeat

Movie that makes you cry: I know I’ve cried watching a movie, but I can’t think of one that makes me cry.

Favorite 80’s movie: Ghostbusters

Favorite comedy: Real Genius

Favorite sports movie: Shaolin Soccer

Favorite courtroom movie: 12 Angry Men

Favorite horror Movie: In the Mouth of Madness (I guess? I don’t really like horror films)

Most overrated movie: A Christmas Story

Movie you can watch over and over again: Oscar

Movie with the best soundtrack: The Dark Knight

Movie you’re most embarrassed that you like: Not embarassed about liking any movie.

Favorite Christmas movie: Die Hard

Favorite sequel: Gremlins 2

The Wife

Favorite movie: Grease

Movie that makes you remember your childhood: Wizard of Oz

Favorite Tom Cruise movie: Cocktail

Movie that makes you cry: Homeward Bound (anything with animals – that’s why I don’t watch them)

Favorite 80’s movie: Sixteen Candles

Favorite comedy: 10 Things I Hate About You

Favorite sports movie: Good Will Hunting

Favorite courtroom movie: A Few Good Men

Favorite horror Movie: The Blair Witch Project

Most overrated movie: A Christmas Story (I hate that movie)

Movie you can watch over and over again: Dirty Dancing

Movie with the best soundtrack: Titanic

Movie you’re most embarrassed that you like: Magic Mike

Favorite Christmas movie: The Grinch 🙂

Favorite sequel: The Twilight Movies (no judging)

COVID 19

Nope, not sick. Not even close. Doesn’t mean I’m not doing things like stepping up my hand washing regimen, keeping some extra social distance, and watching who I go around.

Which is why The Wife, The Brother, and I killed our trip out west later this month. When two of the people you’re supposed to be visiting are in their nineties, and your flight is supposed to go through Seattle…

Fortunately, companies are doing their best to make sure that we stay their customer by making it easy to cancel flights and such. So, all of that money we saved up for our trip will just have to sit in the bank until later this year.

Which, honestly, if this isn’t cleared up by then, we’ll need the money for other things.

Work is making noises about sending my team off to telework for the duration. Which should be interesting – and good for my fuel bill.

I’ll be honest. I’m not worried about catching it. I’m not even worried about surviving it if I somehow do catch it. I am fucking terrified of somehow transmitting it to someone who’s immune system couldn’t handle it.

Take care out there.

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