The tomatoes in the greenhouse made it through our week away with little damage; this was in spite of the failure of my automatic timer the morning we left. I made the mistake of hanging it below the level of the hose instead of above, so the water running back down the hose soaked the electronics inside and jammed the valve open. I’m glad I checked on it one last time, or we’d have come home to a swamp in the greenhouse, drowned tomatoes, and a sky-high water bill. Thankfully I was able to get our sister to stop by and water everything through the week.
I’d picked as much ripe fruit as possible that we packed on the trip with us—a bowl full of cherry tomatoes and a handful of Romas and heirlooms. The latter were delicious in guacamole.
Everything looks OK right now. The second wave of cherry tomatoes are coming in, and there are a few heirloom plants that are making a late-season rally: both of the Cherokee Purples, the second Roma, and one of the Beefsteaks have produced a ton of new fruit that looks healthy. I’d pruned everything way back before I left but there are new shoots everywhere that need some major attention, some of which have fruit and some that don’t. And I keep spraying the shit out of everything with Rot-Stop.
The other concern is that of varmints. Several of the ripening heirlooms have been lost to nibbling, which enrages me. I’d left a bunch of traps out over the vacation and caught one rat which was getting ripe under the table. I put six traps out last night and got a mouse this morning; obviously something is going to need to be done about the larger problem. In the meantime, I’m going to keep setting traps to see what I can kill off.
The word from the transmission shop is that the problem is not actually the transmission: it’s the rear driveshaft/U joint. Apparently it was in such bad shape the U joint had almost disintegrated and the driveshaft is out of balance. So the shop is rebuilding the joint, sending the driveshaft out for service, and putting everything back together. It’s going to be expensive to fix, but when compared to the cost of rebuilding the transmission, it’s a fraction of the cost I was expecting I’d have to pay.
As an amateur horologist, I’m always looking at watches. My collection is small but I have dreams of expanding it carefully over the years; I’m especially interested in field watches of different makes and types, and I have a few that I’d like to own someday.
Meanwhile, I’ve looked askance at the Apple Watch for years, thinking it would be a nice toy to have but nothing I needed to run out and buy. Part of this was the price, and part of it was the watch itself: I enjoy having a ticking, mechanical device on my wrist. I appreciate the craftsmanship of real watches, especially the kind with little dials on them that spin around and make me work to tell time.
After Christmas, I came home from my Mom’s house with a FitBit originally intended for my Dad, and I have to admit, the base functions on that watch changed my opinion on digital watches: knowing what kind of sleep I was getting was hugely valuable for making positive changes to my circadian rhythms, knowing how much exercise I got on a daily basis was helpful, and being able to see texts on my wrist was gimmicky but admittedly pretty cool.
A few weeks ago, my neighbor and I were working in the bathroom (he’s the electrician) and I noticed he was answering a call on his Apple watch. We got to talking about it and his review was effusive. He had it for a year and he loved it. His one complaint was that the screen was too small for him to read—it’s comforting to see middle age is hitting other folks as hard as it is me—and then he abruptly asked if I wanted to buy his, because he was looking at buying a Series 4 in a larger size. I impulsively took him up on it, as the price was excellent and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
It’s a Series 3 in a 42mm case, which is as large as I’d ever want to go with a watch of any kind. On my wrist it’s fatter and larger than any of the other watches I own, but it doesn’t feel too big, which was the gamble I made on it when I said yes. It came with an nylon sport band, a black neoprene sport band, and all the packaging. It’s in great shape with only a few nicks on the face of the glass—but I, uh, tend to like things with a little character.
It’s also a GPS+Cellular model, and from the small amount of research I’ve done it looks like I can add it to our main cell plan for $10/mo. It will share the same number as my iPhone but once it’s set up, I’ll be able to make calls with the watch on my wrist. That’s some serious Dick Tracy shit right there.
While Baltimore has its share of rats and mess, I’d say Washington is about 100% worse. The President can go fuck himself. Rep. Cummings is the delegate for my district. He seems to be doing a great job of getting under Trump’s skin, which is exactly why I keep re-electing him.
I’m sitting out on the deck of the beach house in 80˚ weather pretending the sun on my crispy face doesn’t sting too badly. The air is blowing in from the water and the waves are gently beating the shoreline about 300 yards from here. It’s Friday and we’re all settled comfortably into a lazy beach schedule: rise when we feel like it, stumble around the house and make some coffee, lay about in our PJ’s until we’ve rustled up some breakfast, and then slowly make preparations for the beach. By about noon or so we’re packed and ready, and we head out to the warm sand.
We got here at the tail end of the brutal heatwave that gripped the East Coast, so our first two days on the beach were a challenge. The heat was intense and the air wasn’t moving so we baked on the sand and were assaulted by clouds of horseflies; the only saving grace was that the ocean was warm and horseflies can’t bite underwater. On Tuesday the storm blew through and cooled everything down, so the rest of the week has been idyllic: temperatures in the high 80’s, a 5-10mph wind blowing from the south, and cool ocean water with 2′ waves to jump around in.
This year we’ve scaled way back on our culinary requirements; in years past we’ve gone the extra mile to source and prepare wonderful dinners. This year we’re all in EASY mode and not stressing ourselves out by spending two hours on a gourmet meal. Lunch is sandwiches in the cooler and bags of cheesy-poofs (we brought seven bags between two families), a spiked iced tea/lemonade mix for the ladies and cold Coronas for me, and various snacks we’d never allow the kids to eat on a regular day. By 3PM we’re lit and the day rolls smoothly on from there.
The house itself is comfortable and appointed well. While nothing is ever laid out how I’d arrange it, this one has everything we need and has enough room for us all to come together and separate when we need space. The kitchen is large and easy to use. And the outdoor shower is large enough to fit three sandy bodies at once.
Few things in life relax me more than a house at the beach; I love the rhythm of the days here and the sounds and smells. I love the giggles of my girl jumping the swells, a manhattan on the deck under the stars, throwing my nephew into the waves until my arms are sore, the scent of salt air on the back of my wife’s neck, the feel of sand between my toes, and going to bed tired and sore and slightly drunk and very happy we are all together.
Sunny weather, 80˚ and a 5mph wind blowing in from the bay. No horseflies, warm water (when we were out of the wind) and perfect gusts for flying kites. A perfect day at the beach followed by dinner in Lewes and some ice cream for dessert.
Five years ago I read The Rook, an excellent science-fiction-fantasy-comedy-thriller by Daniel O’Malley, and I was captivated. Starz has made it into a series, and I think it looks pretty good. But I can’t watch the whole thing unless I sign up for a 30-day trial or buy a yearly Starz account. I think I miss the days of overpriced cable TV…