Home Appliances

It has been a while since my last post. I seem to have fallen into the habit of having too much to do and not enough time to get it done. These last three weeks, when I should have been writing one of these every few days, I was instead in some sort of major domestic undertaking. First, we had to gut the entire basement so that the home repair guys could install sump pumps and a de-humidifier. Then spring sprang and I had to get ahead of the yard before it got ahead of me. In between came a business trip – my first out-of-town foray in a year. Along the way I honed my little supply of power tools. It’s not much when compared to the arsenal your average golf course superintendent has. But then I’m tending only 2.36 acres, not 200. And our standards for grooming are a little slacker than at your average country club. My wife, Jane, prides herself on being an organic gardener. At home that means we have no turfgrass lawn and we avoid bug sprays, inorganic fertilizers or weed killer. We’re all for promoting bees and other pollinators along with bats, birds...Read more

Book Group

I always get a little nervous when it’s my month to pick the book. You’d think I would have gotten used to it. After all, the eight of us have been in our little book group for 13 years now. Whoever’s month it is gets to pick the next read. This time around I’ve assigned the least likely selection I would ever pick, the cyberpunk, sci-fi classic “Neuromancer” (1983) by William Gibson. Having just finished reading it I know I have reason to be worried how they’ll react. It’s a very strange novel, virtually impossible to follow through a delineated plot line – a hybrid that merges the film “Matrix” with William Burroughs’ “Naked Lunch.” At least I’ll be able to count on lively conversation about the book. And that all who attend will have read it. Among the many great things about our group is that we come prepared and stick to the topic. That’s been the most satisfying thing about the group – and the fact that we have basically held together, through the occasional illness, job loss and, lately, pandemic. We still meet eleven times a year, skipping only August. And folks show up on time, precisely...Read more
Life Returns

Life Returns

I had forgotten how good EGGO waffles taste for breakfast. That’s one of many losses endured over the last year. It took our first trip to the grocery store in 54 weeks the other day to be able to wander around the shelves and aisles; that’s when I fully realized how limited it is to be relying upon Instacart. The EGGO box caught my eye in the frozen food section. Thus began five idyllic mornings in a row of toasting, pouring real maple syrup and dabbing butter on the waffles and eating as slowly as possible while I lingered over a crossword puzzle. It’s been a very long year, and the excursion to the grocery was one of those newly regained freedoms that have been made possible by our being vaccinated. Of course, we donned masks but were otherwise let loose to gawk again at all the goods. The occasional impulse buy seemed like scant reward for having been incredibly fastidious the past year in isolating ourselves and adhering to protective measures. Of course, during the shopping excursion I could not help but look with alarm at all the packaging, processing and junk food that was on offer. Some things...Read more