1. Good help. I’ve been trying to get a downspout cleaned now for the last 6 weeks. It’s the company I’ve been using for years without complaint or problem, but for this they “lost” my first appointment and now I’m told “Oh, the guy was out there about two weeks ago.” A couple of things there: 1) I’ve been home almost continuously at any time they could have been here and I’m fairly sure I’d have noticed ladders and someone stomping around on my roof; 2) Even if for some reason I missed them, the cameras wouldn’t have; 3) In the past, their guy has always left a bill either in the mailbox or suck in the front door; and 4) The goddamned gutter is still overflowing every time there’s more than a drizzle. I’ve had these guys out here twice a year for the last three or four years with no complaints or problems, so I have no idea why they’ve suddenly turned into a shitshow. I’m out of patience, but expect someone else will be happy to take my money.
2. Assumed representation. Twitter is full of posts that start with “I speak for all Americans when I say…“ Let me be clear – No the fuck you do not. Not one person who has ever led off with that phrase has ever spoken for me even when I happened to agree with what they said. I’m a grown ass adult. The only words put in my mouth are the ones I decide to speak on my own. The presumption that you can or should speak for me or anyone else is makes you sound like an absolute gibbering idiot.
3. Balloons. A couple of times a year I have to schlep out into my woods with a pole saw and attempt to recover a mylar party balloon that’s caught up in the trees. People who see balloon releases as the high point of an event rank somewhere in my estimation below the ones who think fireworks are the height of entertainment. There’s literally no reason to let balloons go “into the wild.” Your message didn’t get to Jesus or your dead grammy or anyone else. It ends up in the woods or in the water or in the fields and stays there forever unless someone happens to find it and clean up your goddamned mess – like mommy use to follow you around wiping your nose and tidying up after you. So maybe try being a responsible adult and holding a memorial, or an awareness raising event, or photo op that doesn’t end with your trash becoming someone else’s problem.
1. Low bidder hard and software. About once a week my laptop does some kind of update that makes it functionally useless. Sometimes it takes fifteen minutes sometimes it takes three hours. There’s no way to tell in advance on which day it will happen or how long it will take. Each and every day I log in to my beloved low bidder piece of absolute trash laptop is like a game of low-stakes Russian roulette. I mean it begs the question of why these updates don’t run overnight, or during non-working hours when normal people are least likely to need to use their computer. Then again, the answer to that question would inevitably be stupid and unsatisfying so I won’t bother asking.
2. All the things. Somehow, all the things conspired to happen this week. Final approval of the new bathroom, diagnosing well problems, learning I needed a new washing machine, estimates coming in for a bit of driveway repair and maintenance, and wondering why the gutter people didn’t show up. There are many moving parts to keeping this household up and running and I suppose I let some of them slip a bit over the last few months – I’ll blame subconsciously trying to maximize the last bit of time I had with a sickly dog for that. Still. This week has been a lot.
3. Malaise. It’s the time of year. For most of my adult life I’ve found myself “enjoying” a minor funk as the days start getting shorter and fall comes on. It’s nowhere near debilitating and only lasts a couple of weeks before the keel evens out, but while I’m getting back to equilibrium, it’s a whole lot of demotivational… so I suppose if I seem a little more aggravated than usual, we’ll all know why.
1. Workforce “recovery.” This week I’ve started hearing the first rumbles that planning is picking up for the inevitable “return to work” phase of the Great Plague experience. It’s part of the workforce recovery plan that’s lain more or less dormant for the last year. The bosses will talk about it in grand terms of “bringing people home” to the office or of the supposed productive benefits of stacking thousands of people into 6×8 foot cubicles. They’ll talk of being “better together,” of having team synergy, or a hundred other phrases that mean, more or less, nothing. That’s the story they’ll tell themselves. Some people, I suppose, will even believe it. Me? Well, I’ll know from fourteen months experience that there’s almost no part of my job that requires being in a specific place during specific hours. I won’t have the audacity to say everything I do could be done from somewhere else… but I will say my time sitting in a cubicle could be limited to, like the old National Guard slogan, two days a month and two weeks a year – and every lick of my work would keep getting done on time and to standard.
2. Intellectual property. In a press release yesterday from the White House, the Biden Administration announced that it supports waiving intellectual property protection for COVID-19 vaccines. Patent protection is among the most important functions we expect from government. It creates a safe and secure environment for innovation. While the federal government, through its expenditures supporting Operation Warp Speed, has a vested interest in vaccine development and distribution, the more rational course of action would seem to be continuing to ramp up domestic production of vaccines for export and cooperation with a few foreign manufacturers as trusted agents rather than handing over the keys to the kingdom without sufficient safeguards protecting the monumental intellectual effort that went into creating these vaccines.
3. Schedule. I had some maintenance scheduled here on the homestead this week. The day before they were to do the work, their office confirmed that “Yep, they’ll be there at 8:00.” Perfect. I like and appreciate early hours. The catch, because there’s always a catch, is the crew didn’t actually roll into my driveway until 9:05. Had the arrival time been given as “between 8 and 10,” I’d have been fine with it. I’d have even give at least partial credit for a call letting me know they were running behind. Yes, I know I’m more a fanatical devotee to staying on schedule than most. I tend to leave so far ahead of my projected arrival time that I’ve been known to tuck in to a nearby shop’s parking lot for a few minutes to avoid arriving obscenely early to appointments. I don’t necessarily expect that from other people… but if you say you’ll be somewhere at 8:00, being there at 9-something tells me you’re not even trying.
Last year I was fastidious about winterizing the rental house. Since I’ve been waiting two weeks now to get the go ahead for a simple repair of the faucet/knob assembly in the bathroom, my level of interest in doing anything over and above the basics is pretty slim this time around. That translates into adding some weatherstripping and insulation and a few other odds and ends to save on the winter’s electric bill. Anything over and above that is just not going to happen. For the last 18 months I’ve been doing my best to treat the place like it was mine. Since that doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere, well, if it’s not a hazard to life and welfare I guess I’ll just go ahead and let it fall apart. It’s a pity that it’s got to be that way, but I can’t see myself expecting any less from my landlord than I expect from myself as a landlord. Silly expectations.
1. Wood floors. I use to think wood floors were the bee’s knees. If I did’t have dogs, I probably still would. No matter how many times, I sweep, vacuum, and mop there’s always enough hair coming up to build my own pug. God help me, when the sun slants through the windows just right it looks like the floor has never even seen a broom. Until I lived with wood floors, I had no idea how much filth wall-to-wall carpet hid. Ignorance is bliss. I miss that.
2. Window air conditioners. Window air conditioners are loud, dirty, and don’t work particularly well. I have two of them, which means I have two rooms that are sort of cool-ish and the rest of the house which is basically uninhabitable most of the time. Don’t get me started on the bigs, dist, and occasional black mold the damned things seem to breed. Central air is officially a must have in my next place. Failing that, I’m moving to Northern Maine where the subject of air conditioning is purely academic.
3. Green algae. Two sides of the fabulous Rental Casa de Jeff never get direct sunlight and as a result the siding on those sides seems to have sprung fourth with a remarkably aggressive colony of green algae. It looks God awful, but since you can’t see it from the road, it’s mostly my own private shame. It feels like something I should attack with gallons of bleach and a pressure washer. At present, though, it’s not quite annoying enough to make dragging a pressure washer up a ladder seem like a good idea.