Jen took Friday afternoon to rearrange the living room to where four people can sit comfortably and chat with each other, which is a huge difference; it’s really refreshing to have some feng in our shui, at least where that room is concerned. It would be great to make major structural changes in there, but just about everything we want to do will cost major cash, which we don’t have on hand right now.
Saturday we hit the Home Despot and spent a little cash on supplies for the house. The yard here at the Lockardugan estate has been the bastard stepchild since autumn of last year; after the elm in the backyard was felled and all the rest of the trees dropped their leaves, I’ve ignored it completely. Meanwhile, the neighbors in back have a little senior citizen dude they hire in who shambles around with a rake and a broom, and over a few weeks’ time he got their yard cleaned up to where it made us look like trailer trash. (He mowed their lawn in January. They’re fucking with us deliberately, I know it.)
The first order of business was to rake the leaves, which were slowly oozing into (and killing off) our already anemic back lawn. In about fifteen minutes I put a mulch enclosure in, and got the majority of the leaves off the lawn. Next, Jen and I started pulling up some of the English ivy that’s overtaking the southwest corner of the lawn. English ivy is sort of how I imagine kudzu would be—pulling armfuls of it off the lawn only reveals more armfuls underneath. Apparently the Doctor was all kinds of hot for English ivy, because that shit is all up this be-yatch—there’s ivy hanging twenty feet off our trees. We cleared a section measuring 15’x30′ out (five bagfuls, total) and moved the existing logpile to the back corner. Next, we got the debris from the felled tree that was still spread across the lawn up, and stacked it in line with the rest of the wood, leaving the huge crosswise cuts that can’t be lifted for a date with a chainsaw. I’d imagine we have at least two cords stacked right now and another two cords in unmoveable wood to go. Then, I stopped over at the Cauzzis’ to help push the Galaxie back into the garage. That car is too damn fine (and rare on the east coast) to wind up looking like my Scout. Despite a low front tire, little battery power, and a soggy trunk, we were able to push, pull, wiggle, and coax it into the garage, where it should stay dry. When little Callie decided her Uncle Bill was just too scary to deal with, I packed up the Saturn and headed west for dinner: Potato-leek soup, which was mouth-wateringly good the first time Jen made it and better this time. I even sprung for a six-pack of Harp, which went down very well after the day’s activity.
I also picked up a pair of cheap Hi-8 cassettes for the Thrift Store Camera and within five minutes had tape rolling of our cats wandering aimlessly around the living room. Sears carries a no-name battery for $17 that I have to go back for this week that the engrish website claims will work on this camera. If I had a video card with RCA-out, I could rip it digitally, or use the camera as a webcam (hot geek webcam action!) but for now, I’ll keep it plugged into the wall.
Sunday we took a fistful of gift certificates to various home-decor stores in the mall and browsed through all kinds of expensive stuff we can’t afford. Who pays $350 for a set of bedsheets besides Liberace? I mean, really, what’s so different from a $40 set Martha Stewart hawks at the K-Mart? It ain’t the thread count. Maybe the Restoration Hardware kind is woven with golden silk or some other bourgeoisie thing that sounds good on the little cards they use to rationalize the 700% markup. “Handmade by a blind Nepalese monk with genuine free-range mountain yak assfur—as everybody knows, mountain yak is the smoothest, gentlest assfur known to Man, and worth more than its weight in gold.” In the evening we decided to make a dish Jen found called Scallops Charleston, which cost us all of about $10 and tasted wonderful, even though I didn’t broil it as well as I should have. Feeling pious after our day’s work in the yard, we busted into our remaining bottle of red wine—Mmmmm, red wine—and ate like grownups at our dining room table. Then, we enjoyed a glass of port on our couch in front of a blazing fire.
Meanwhile, the sore throat I woke up with on Saturday morphed into post-nasal drip and a rocking good head cold for Monday morning. Swell. I felt awful about infecting my consulting clients this morning (and considered rescheduling), but as it turned out, the wife of the pair has the same cold. They watched me do battle with Verizon and Quicken 2006 for a few hours, and fed me homemade chicken soup for lunch. Verizon won (their DSL modem is hosed) so I’ll return Thursday to fight the good fight. Also, Quicken 2006 for the Mac seems to be a big bag of shit, so I’d recommend staying with the 2005 version until Intuit gets they’ head out they’ ass.