Always tweaking something!


Early? Late? Wrong place?

Day 5225

Saw this license plate on my way in to work this morning:

He’s either a month late, 4 months early or too far north.

No matter what, I appreciate the sentiment.   Also – a Steelers fan in upstate NY?  It happens.  I even work with one.

This has been one weird autumn.  Got most of my leaves done.  I go toodling around on my lawn mower, vacuum up the leaves and after a bit I drive up to the curb, dump the contents of my bagger attachment and head out for more.  I can do my entire 1/2 acre empire in about an hour.

So I have my 80ish feet of curb space piled 2 feet deep with leaves on a Saturday.  (I’m on a weird piece of pie shaped lot – teeny front, wide-assed back end).  I was a happy guy.  Late Sunday, while I’m watching football and not inclined to go back outside, it got windy as all get out and of course the oaks decided it was a good time to drop a bunch of leaves.  Figured I’d get them the next weekend.

Then it snowed that Thursday night.  We got about 8 inches.  With all the curbs in our neighborhood absolutely loaded with leaves.  Snow plows didn’t even push the leaves back when they cleared the snow.  They just sort of plowed up TO the leaves, so the road was 3 or 4 feet narrower than normal.  And the crap the poor mail man had to drive through?  Glad they have all wheel drive trucks up here.

Now of course, with 8 inches of snow ion the ground, what did the oaks decide to do?  You guessed it, all the rest of their leaves came down.  That left a lovely sammich in the yard – a blanket of oak leaves, snow, and another blanket of oak leaves.  By Dec 1 most of the snow had melted and I zipped out and got a whole bunch more leaves vacuumed up.  Added them to the piles of leaves already at the curb.  Had the following Monday off, so when I heard the leaf vac truck start coming around, I ran out and started pulling leaves out of our foundation beds and mowed them up too.  Got another 5 or 6 loads of leaves up the the road just in time for the leaf truck to come by and take them all away.  Still have 2 or 3 beds to empty out, and of course not quite all the oak leaves are down yet, so there will be more to do in the spring.  There always is.  But the investment in a riding mower with a bagger attachment this spring was well worth the money when it comes to getting fall chores accomplished.

Big decision tonight – Al Anon meeting or not?  Spousal unit took today off from work – heard her go downstairs and call in for a substitute this morning.  She’s not sick, unless you call a thundering headache, a wee bit of nausea and a little dehydration sick.  I call it a hangover.  It was totally expected.   Most of last week? – Hammered every evening.  Sleeping on the couch by 8 – 8:30.  Sunday?  Not hammered.  Out of hooch, stayed away from beer & wine too.  Also – she was likely hungover pretty bad from killing off her bottle Saturday.  So I was curious when I got home last night – did she re-load?  The answer – yup.  Hence the “sick day” today.  

I had been planing on getting something out to thaw to make for dinner tonight.  (Chicken thighs braised in a garlic/white wine concoction).  But since the spousal unit had all day at home today, I didn’t get anything out. Curious to see if she spends the entire day farting around with that insipid “adult coloring” app on her iPad, or if she actually thinks about dinner and getting ONE other errand done (call a zoo near where our younger sons family is and inquire about season passes).  If she’s accomplished nothing but coloring & drinking, I’ll grab my Al Anon texts and head out about an hour before the meeting starts.  I’ll go someplace and grab a soup & salad for dinner then go see my old friends at the 12+12 meeting.  If she actually DID get something done, I still reserve the option to get to that meeting if drink, drank and drunk were in any way involved.


An Actual Message Exchange

Day 5199

Too bad – one more day and It woulda been 5200!

Lovely little storm we had last night.  (Named after our grand daughter who will be all of 7 in a few days!) Luckily it missed our local evening rush hour and our plow guys had everything in ship shape for the morning commute.  8 inches of winter wonder dispatched like dirty rinse water.  (Is that a thing?)  Heard it was much worse elsewhere, but they don’t have our road crews, so too bad for them.

That snow WAS a son-of-a-gun even for the snow blower though.  Wet, heavy, it didn’t load up in the auger chute like lighter stuff does.  Even in granny gear the snow would just lay there and not really enter the front auger dealie as fast (slow) as the snowblower was moving.  So the excess snow would spill out the side, even after taking only 1/2 a bite instead of the full width.  Ended up having to go back and clean up all the little stripes that got left behind.  But it beat having to actually shovel.

Our Syracuse kids are in town tonight with their crew, coming in for miss Winter Storm Avery’s birthday celebration.  So the spousal unit asks me if I could try to get home a little earlier than normal tonight. (Friday).  I’m supposed to wrap up work at 5, but often, since I have to travel across the city to get from work to home, I will wait and not leave work till after 5:30.  Gives traffic a change to clear out and makes my drive home less stressful.  I cannot tolerate slow drivers in the left lane – especially when they have 50 or more car lengths free in front of them and they absolutely refuse to move over to let the train of 5, 10, 20 cars stacked up behind them through.   I wait, and get a little extra work done and when I do leave, the traffic is considerable lighter, as are my spirits as I am driving.  Better for everybody.

So.  I was asked to get home a little earlier tonight.  There was a little urgency in the request, along with the “time with the kids” thrown in too.  (I get it, I’d like to spend more time with the kids too, but that’s not the point here)  Here’s a mildly frustrating email exchange I had with the spousal unit this morning about when to get home.  Boys in blue, girls in pink:

What time would you like me home tonight?  I can try for 5, but I’ll need to get in a few hours of work stuff over the weekend.  Sunday morning might be good for that.


Not a lot of help there.  Pick a number between 1 and 10.

Get home when you can.  It’s up to you.

Thanks for the suggestions.  See you whenever.

I only asked you to see if you can get home earlier than 6-6:15.

Thought you’d like to get to the kids earlier than that and was asking for a target.  Earlier than 6 I can do.  Would you like me to try for 5?


And even when I DO get an answer, it’s like, meh.  Personally, I think if I get home earlier it’ll rob her of the opportunity to pound a few cocktails before we head over to the local kids house.  By cocktail I mean 22 oz mug of CC and Ginger Ale that’s about 1/3 ice, 1/3 CC and topped off with Ginger Ale.  By getting home at 5 she’ll only have time for one.  Maybe.  I bet she tries for 2.

I’ll let you know come Monday.  I have that day off.  I’s the start of me burning off my vacation days before the end of the year.  I will not have another 5 day work week until Jan 7 – 11, 2019.  Really have to try and use more vacation time in the summer.  Winter vacation days kinda suck.

An Actual Polling Place This Time

Day 5,189

Look what I found this morning:

Actual polling place

Didn’t look like that last week, especially the bit with the signs.  Parking was at a premium, even as early as I got there.  Warmed my heart to see that.

Weather up here in my corner of the world was dark & rainy.  That has been a deterrent to people getting out to vote in the past.  Didn’t look like it this morning though.  The weather forecast for this afternoon is MUCH improved, so maybe even more folks will stop at the polls and voice their opinion by voting.

I won’t share how I voted as it shouldn’t impact anyone else’s decisions anyhow.  Just want to leave you with today’s Google doodle:


Go Vote

Just do it.



Consistently Inconsistent

Day 5182

Got up this morning with this sense that I needed to get moving sooner than normal and get my butt out the door.  Shaved, showered, dressed, headed downstairs and cranked up a cuppa coffee.  While doing that, I noticed my little meds container still had yesterdays batch of pills in it.  Hmm – so THAT’s why I hardly pee’d yesterday!  Didn’t take my blood pressure meds!  At least I got this mornings batch in me.

Made my lunch – left over smoked chicken, cup of rice, 1/2 cup of peas all mixed together with soy sauce, chili oil, sesame oil, garlic powder, habanero flakes and a shake or two of celery seed.  I call it my “fake chinese” lunch.  Uses up leftovers and really doesn’t taste too bad.  Also tossed in a Ginger Gold apple and I had some grapes left at the office from yesterday.

Gathered up my stuff, including the title for the now ex-camper (more on that later), headed out the door and got loaded up in the truck.  Headed out of my neighborhood, turned right, went down the road a piece and pulled into the firehouse parking lot.  Could NOT figure out why it was so empty.  Walked up to the building and opened the door to the vestibule.  Looked oddly quiet.  Tried the door to the firehouse meeting room and it was locked.

Now I’m wondering – did they make a change to my polling place and I missed that piece of mail?  Then I looked at my phone and saw the date – it’s still October bonehead!  I am so eager to “vote my conscience” (aka do what ever is necessary to neuter that fool occupying the Oval Office) that I showed up an entire week early.  Maybe we’ve been hearing too much about how important this midterm election is.  I know I’m ready for it to be over.  Clearly!

About that Camper title.  Finally got tired of the layout of our camper.  It has a 16 foot long box with fold down bunks at either end – queen in front, double in back.  Decent fridge for a camper, 3 burner stove, bathroom that had a shower but was functionally only a powder room.  But it was small – even for 2 people.  And?  getting in and out of bed was a hassle.  There was really only access to one side of the bed, so one person had to crawl over the other to get in and out.  Cindy got the side with easy access to make those middle of the night pee trips easier.  But – I generally went to bed after her and got up before her.   I’m not as spry as I used to be and making some of those maneuvers was getting rather risky.

Oh – I remember why Cindy really got the easy access side.  She tried to crawl over me once.  Put a knee in exactly the wrong place.  Helluva way to wake up.

There were trips when the weather was a little (or a lot) dicey and we decided to bail and go home early.  I am fully convinced that if the camper were more accommodating, we’d have hung in there.  The bunks were always the least fun thing to deal with for set up, tear down and even just sleeping.  And the canvas roof wasn’t the greatest for sleeping under when it was raining.  Not that it leaked, it was just noisier than one would expect.

So we’re going from a little 16 foot box to a camper with a 25 ft box.  Has an actual queen sized bed on the freakin floor with access from either side.  The shower in the bathroom might actually be big enough to use as other than a storage area.  There are also double bed bunks in one corner and a dinette area in a slide out section that makes the interior look like an actual room instead of the inside of a conversion van.  So we’re going from this:

Old camper floorplan

to this:

New floorplan

Memorial Day weekend trip is already booked.  Little place called Nicks Lake up near Old Forge, New York.  Snow should be gone by then, ought to be a good weekend.  No electric hookups.   Already know that solar is useless in a heavily wooded campsite, but I’m working on getting a small generator.  We’ll squeak by.  Already can’t wait for next spring and it’s only snowed once here so far.  That ain’t good.

The title?  Refers to my posting practices.  What can I say?


Missed an Anniversary!

Day 5123

Well, two anniversaries actually.  Way back on the 15th of August, the spousal unit & I marked 37 years of wedded bliss.  Or at least hard work towards that end.  No point in breaking it down into discrete levels of satisfaction, right?

The other anniversary was on the 22nd – my 14th consecutive year (now 5123 days!!) of being free of the evil weed (tobacco that is).  Now if I could just get my weight back to behaving again.  Thing is, I am not working out anywhere near as much as I used to.  This getting old nonsense is rough!  Ruptured tendons, arthritis, there’s a Morton’s Neuroma in there someplace, still.

Maybe I’ll break down and get the neuroma fixed, then I can at least get back to biking.  Right now it just feels like a giant dead spot on the ball of my foot and it isn’t comfortable at all.  Did find some treatment options other than cortisone shots that had a 2 day recovery period.  Now to find out if my foot guy can hook me up.

I keep promising pics of the grand kids.  Welp – here we go.  First, we have the oldest two, and their parents.  That bearded guy is our eldest.

Z J and kids

This was from a hot air balloon festival in Letchworth State Park here in upstate NY.  Behind and below (400 feet below!) them is the Genesee River, cruising through the gorge it’s cut out of the bedrock over the last  who knows how many years.  This is downstream from 3 sets of waterfalls that drop the river to the level you see here.

Logan up there is 3 (he’ll be 4 next week) and Avery is 6 going on 16 already.  She hits 1st grade next week.

This is the other two –

favorite red heads

My two favorite red heads.  Cecily is also 3, a whopping 4 days younger than Logan and little miss Corinne joined us March 1st.  No doubt she’ll also have red hair just like her mom.  Good thing we have some red heads in the family so our son could contribute too!

Anyhow, there’s the wee ones and a couple of the not so wee ones.  We’ve got us back to back birthday party weekends coming up, so there’ll be plenty of quality time spent with aaallll the kids.  Ought to be a blast.

Also getting closer and closer to the tipping point regarding getting back to Al Anon.  I know it’ll be a good thing.  I just have to suck it up, be a little selfish and not worry about the ripple effects of me admitting I need to go there again.  It’s kind of hard to hide the fact that one is headed out at 7:30 on a Tuesday evening.  Answering the question “where are you going?” is the pebble that starts the ripples.  To finish that metaphor, it’s time to decide when to toss the pebble.


Limited my ass!

Day 5100 (2 weeks to my 14 year smoking quitaversary)

Well that was an attention grabbing title, eh?  Learned something yesterday afternoon that upsets me a little bit.  Let me set it up for you.

It was a Wednesday during the summer.  Sweated out the entire day looking at weather forecasts, guessing if we were going to be golfing in the afternoon/evening or not.  Nasty storms blew through, weather cleared up about 2 – 3 hours before we were slated to start.  All was good.

Did the usual.  Slipped out of work, made the 45 minute drive to the course.  Found a spot in the parking lot close to our finishing hole.  Met up with Zach, went and got our cart and we each got a bag of balls to hit on the range.  Headed to the range and started warming up.  I like to start by hitting some wedge shots (short range stuff) then work my way through the clubs hitting longer and longer shots.  Finish up hitting the driver.  Always interested in seeing which way I might be curving the balls on any given day.

As I was wrapping up with my driver, I hear Zach say “Limited flight?  What kind of crap is this?”  So I pick up one of the range balls I’d been beating on and saw this:


Please excuse the fuzziness, but you can still almost plainly see the “Limited Flight” marking on that golf ball.  Been hitting these range balls all season and NEVER paid attention to the markings on the ball except to note the manufacturer (Srixon, if you’re curious).

Sheeee-yit.  That adds a wrinkle to things.  If you were trying to figure out how far you hit a club, maybe 7 iron, this would NOT be the ball to use.  Say you invested some time on the range and found out that you average 150 yards with your 7 iron (wimp) using these range balls.  Then you head out to the course, and find yourself needing to hit a 150 yard shot.  You pull out your newly calibrated 7 iron and proceed to smack the ball 170 yards using your not so “limited flight” ball.  What’s the problem?  Depends on what’s 20 yards behind the green.  Sand trap?  Water? Out of bounds?  Maybe just more green.  Maybe not.

In the long run, I have no one to be upset with but myself.  Shoulda noticed this earlier.  But I was curious why my shots on the range weren’t carrying as far as I thought they should.  Passed it off as not being warmed up enough, hitting into the wind or just plain getting old.  Now that I know, if I want to gauge my club distances on the range, I’ll have to use the better balls that I find while I’m tromping through the woods looking for my own stray shots.  As it turns out – I have two gallon freezer bags full of them.  Might just have to launch a few of those next week.

How’d the golfing go last night you ask?  Rough.  Actually shot ta little better than my average.  Unfortunately the guy I was playing against shot really, really well.  While my score was ok for me, it couldn’t stand up to what my opponent shot.  Might have squeaked out 3 points out of 9 total.  Overall a good night of golf.  Some good scores made, we just ended up on the short end of the stick this time.

This weekend is our Not Fathers Day outing.  Saturday morning we are headed half way to Syracuse to meet up with son #2 and his father in law for our annual outing.  We’ll be at Seneca Falls Country Club just south of Seneca Falls (very near the Women’s Rights National Historic Park)  if you want to come & be part of the gallery.  You’ll have to spring for your own cart.

Through out the course of this weekend we will get to see all 4 grandkiddies.  Don’t get to see the Syracuse clan often enough, so we gotta really soak them up this weekend.  I will try to make sure to get pics worthy of sharing for y’all.

Like a Pressure Cooker

Day 5091

5091 days without a smoke.  3 weeks short of 14 years.  And counting.

In other news, that visit to my old Al Anon meeting is getting closer & closer to happening.   The amount of anger I am harboring is alarming.  I don’t know if I’m getting overly sensitive about things or if seeing the same antics over and over again justify my anger and frustration.

Coming home to a spouse that’s drunk 4 – 5 nights a week should be upsetting, right?  I don’t mean drunk like she’s had a couple glasses of wine.  I mean drunk like she’s sucked down 2 or 3 mugs of whiskey & ginger ale.  About a 50/50 mix.  Probably the equivalent of 3 – 4 shots per mug.  Slurring her speech, walking and moving slowly because her inner gyros are struggling to maintain some semblance of balance.

Did I share about the evening she cracked her head open?  Hold on . . . .

Nope – I didn’t.  2 – 3 years ago, wintertime, maybe that cold ass February we had in 2016.  Anyhow, we were enjoying the hot tub.  I had a beer (Edmund Fitzgerald I’ll bet) and Cindy was at least 3 of her gigunda drinks into her evening.  After 1/2 hour plus, it was time to head in.  I was grilling something (yes – we grill all winter), the spousal unit was on the back porch having a smoke.  Came in, changed in to dry clothes.  Cindy goes back out for another smoke.  I was getting the rest of dinner ready when I hear a couple of loud thumps.  Look over to the (now open) sliders that go to the porch and see Cindy sitting there on the porch looking rather stunned holding a hand to her forehead.  Thump 1 was her head hitting the sliders door handle.  Thump 2 was her butt hitting the floor.  She managed to catch the edge of the door handle with her forehead above her left eye.  Opened up a lovely 2 – 3 inch gash.

Had 2 problems.  1-  getting her to even stand up.  2 – convincing her that we had to go to the ER and get her stitched up.   The really amazing part is that even with her on Warfarin AND having a sizable scale/head wound, the bleeding was remarkably light.

Turned off the grill, brought in what ever I was cooking.  Got Cindy into something more substantial than nightie and hauled her to the ER.  Passed the whole thing off as slipping on a patch of ice on the back porch, losing her balance and whacking the door handle.  I forget how many stitches it took, 10 or more I’m sure.  Luckily it healed nicely and left a barely visible scar.  Never did have dinner that night, and I am positive the ER doc was aware of Cindy’s drunkenness.  Not the way to spend a winter evening.

So yeah – THAT’s the kind of struggle she has regularly with her inner gyros. Five or more nights a week.  Then there’s making sure the couch doesn’t move all day Saturday and Sunday.  Her reason?  Either sinus headache or upset stomach.  The real reason?  Hangover.

Mostly I need to stop making the choices that keep from rocking the boat and start making the choices to better defend my own boundaries.

Next time I’m getting a bottle of wine to cook with?  No – I won’t pick up a bottle of your favorite whiskey.
You want to spend all day on the couch nursing your “sinus headache”?  Fine – I’ll mow the yard then go do something fun.  Golf, bowl, work on a project . . .
Don’t want to go out to dinner because you’re already drunk?  Stay home and eat.  I’m headed out.

Think I’ll also keep my Al Anon books where they are more accessible.  Sitting on a high shelf in the closet isn’t doing anyone any good.

For tonight?  Spencerport 12 & 12.  8pm, the White Church.  (No, not because it’s for white people.  It’s just a huge, old Presbyterian style church)  It’ll be good.