On suburban splendor

I just mowed our front lawn, for what I suspect will be the last time this year (note for the record, that’s not our house up there) and after finishing the job I texted my wife to come outside and look at it.

“We have lived in this house for ten years,” I said, “and this is the best the lawn has ever looked. Right now at this exact second.”

Y’all know this about me if you’ve been around here for a minute; I hate yard work. I hate it. When we bought this house there was a foot of snow on the lawn and on the roof and had we looked at it in the summer when I’d have had a moment to realize what I was getting us into I would have argued against buying the place. The couple that owned the house before us were elderly and retired and they clearly had channeled all of their leisure time into the landscaping and the lawn, much like one of our neighbors still does (our other neighbors keep their front lawn putting-green short, which is a whole different, slightly weird vibe) and we are clearly the No Fucks to Give house in the neighborhood.

Anyway, this year– and not for the first time!– we shelled out some money for a lawn company to handle things like fertilization and reseeding for us. We have done this in the past with another company to no real result, and figured it was worth one more shot with another company this year, and … man. I gotta admit it, as much as I hate this shit it’s nice to look at a lawn after it’s been mowed and you can see the lines and everything is nice and clean and even. And there aren’t any super-thin patches and that damn fairy ring is gone and no weeds. Hell, there weren’t even any leaves, since raking happened this weekend(*) and I mowed up everything that fell since then.

Anyway, if you’re local, and you don’t have the patience to deal with your lawn’s bullshit yourself, you could do a lot worse than hiring Lawn Doctor.

(*) by which I mean my wife raked the front lawn. Isn’t passive voice awesome? I bet you thought I had something to do with it.

In which I am sweaty

I did not ride the bike today. I got back on yesterday, going a different direction that (I hoped) would not force me into a heart attack, only to be stopped dead by a truck doing a 180 degree, three-point turn in the middle of the damn road on the one part of the trek that was mildly uphill. Getting the bike moving again from a complete stop while going uphill was probably responsible for 80% of my pulse spike for the trip, but at least I didn’t fall or have to walk the damn thing this time. I’ll take it.

Today, I mowed the back yard, cut down what I think was a sapling but could have been some species of aggressive bush, and removed the ancient, rotting free-standing basketball hoop that our neighbors donated to us several years ago. It was old when they gave it to us and since then one of the support rods has completely rusted through, so it’s moved from “infrequently used eyesore” to “infrequently used, moderately dangerous eyesore” and it was time for it to go. I have moved it to the center of the cul-de-sac, which is where my entire neighborhood puts things that they want to go away. And it will! It is ridiculously heavy and large, but someone will take it away before the garbage truck needs to be called. It’s virtually guaranteed.

In addition to occasionally trying to get exercise on purpose I have also sort of started Weight Watchers this week. I am, so far, at least partially convinced that Weight Watchers is expensive voodoo; my wife and I have discovered that certain foods vary in points when she eats them versus when I do, and I discovered to my chagrin today that a single fucking can of Pepsi was ten goddamned points. A bottle of Gatorade is nine, and thank God I already like unsweetened tea because I’m sure sweet tea is a mess too. I get 60 points for a day and I am given to believe that that is a pretty high number. I am sure there is some sort of at least attempt at science behind it, and sooner or later I’ll do some reading and figure out what that is, but right now? There’s seven more cans of Pepsi in my beverage fridge and I’m drinking each and every one of them before switching over to Coke Zero or whateverthefuck. I’m happy to cut out/down sugar but you gotta let me burn through my stores first.

(Sidenote: this has been true for basically my entire life, but I’ve never really thought about it in these terms until recently: I drink all of my sugar. I almost never eat sweet snacks. I’ll get a craving for ice cream maybe once every couple of months, but a pint of ice cream can last me a week.)

Unrelated, but: I really need to cultivate at least a group of people on Twitter or something who are into video games, because I need to talk to someone about The Last of Us 2. Right now I feel like I don’t want to play it, which is a damn shame considering how amazing I thought the original was, but a couple of the reviews I’ve seen feel like they’ve got how I’ll react dialed in pretty well. Unfortunately, a bunch of other reviews are calling this the best game of this entire console generation. Now, I’m over 200 hours into Nioh 2, so I may have some things to say about that idea, but that’s still pretty fucking high praise. I just don’t need game stress right now on top of everything else, y’know?

7:58 PM, Saturday June 13: 2,071,782 confirmed cases and 115,347 Americans dead. Meanwhile, the WaPo has the number of reported cases today as the highest single-day total since May 14, and passing that date and becoming the highest single-day reported cases since May 8 is not impossible. This is getting worse again, folks.

In which we’re gonna need a bigger boat

I’ll get to the graphic in a minute; this is gonna be another grab-baggy sort of post. Bear with me.

I just finished mowing the back yard, just in time for it to start pouring outside, so I’m sure all the grass will be regrown in a day or two. I have shared my distaste for lawn work many times before; in fact, bitching about my lawn was one of my first posts around here. My wife, who is more fond of working outdoors than I am, generally handles it; my job is to remove snow, and we collaborate on leaves. You may recall that she broke her foot a couple of weeks ago, which coincided with the weather being nice enough that the grass came back to life; to her credit, she waited for me to figure it out myself that I was going to have to mow the fucking yard and didn’t bring it up until I’d ruined my own day. Having mowed the full mess over the last two days, I have realized something: I feel basically the same way about yard work as I do about writing fiction. I absolutely hate doing it, but the feeling of being done with it is absolutely stellar. I love looking at a freshly-mowed yard. I just don’t want to have to create the conditions to be able to do that. If I ever figure out how to enjoy writing as much as I enjoy being done with writing I will be at Seanan McGuire levels of productivity in six months.

Speaking of mowing: I don’t wear headphones all that often, so it was already kind of weird that I shelled out so much money for the AirPods Pro that I bought a bit ago– but holy shit, am I impressed by how good noise cancelling works. I wasn’t even listening to music for a good part of mowing the yard; I just had the headphones in with the noise cancelling on and I could barely hear anything. Cue someone hopping into comments to tell me that’s going to kill my ears, of course.

Regarding yesterday’s addendum to yesterday’s first post: I think, based on comments, that it is clear that 1) I don’t know anything about Great Britain or their money; and 2) It is absolutely the way people write about their money that is bullshit, thus Option Two wins. I don’t feel like it is unreasonable to suggest that if you are going to spend a fair amount of your time in a book talking about people’s income levels and how much things cost, and the people you are talking about use a monetary system that is no longer in use and is not exactly intuitive, maybe put a chart somewhere explaining how it works? I’m willing to be accused of shocking ignorance on this, that’s fine, there are lots of things I don’t know, but part of the reason I was able to not realize that the shilling got phased out however many years ago was that nobody ever explains what the fuck a shilling is in history books. They just assume you know there are 3.2 shillings in a Cumberbatch and move the fuck on with the narrative. Put a damn chart in there somewhere!

The feasibility study has been returned, and it turns out I’m not actually able to watch the Snowpiercer TV series without spending additional money. I had heard it was showing up on Hulu, but apparently that’s only true if you pony up for some sort of “Live TV” add-on, and … nah.

I will, nonetheless, bow to the will of the interwebs and watch this program as soon as I can do so without spending money for it. That may take a while, however. In the meantime, Avatar: the Last Airbender is on Netflix and I somehow haven’t finished Season 5 of She-Ra yet so I need to up my TV-watching time as a percentage of my day.

I have seen a couple of different variations of the graphic at the top of this post floating around on the internet recently, as well as a couple of different NO NO THIS IS THE INTERNET BEING STUPID types of counter-posts. Folks, the official CDC “considerations” are right here; feel free to look at them yourself and compare them to whatever version of the graphic you’ve seen recently. The paraphrasing is essentially accurate, and the fact that the CDC, whether they’re calling them “guidelines” or “considerations”, doesn’t actually have the power to make their thoughts law doesn’t really matter. The point is, the fucking Center for Disease Control has effectively said that there is no way to safely open schools. Because these “guidelines” or “considerations” or whatever the fuck you want to call them are impossible, and every teacher and other adult who has ever spent any time in schools knows that. I am done for the year, effectively, and my son’s last day was yesterday (I still have some PD stuff over the next couple of weeks, and grades have to be finalized, but there is no further e-learning this year) and there is a lot of time for things to change one way or another between now and August, but the way things stand right now we are not going to be able to reopen schools this fall. Not safely, at least. I know the person in the White House doesn’t give a damn; that’s perfectly clear, but so far the governors have been more reasonable.

Speaking of governors, I had this conversation with my wife earlier:

For context, Woody Whoever’s last name is not Whoever and he is running for Governor as a Democrat, and he is running such a low-key, bullshit campaign that I literally didn’t know that there even was a gubernatorial race this year until seeing his name on my primary ballot. I do not at this time remember his last name and I’m not about to look it up. I did some quick research before I marked his name on the primary ballot (not that it would have mattered, as he was the only candidate) and he seems basically competent, but Gov. Holcomb is one of the few Republicans I’m aware of who I would also describe as “basically competent.” He’s shit on education, but so is everyone else in the damn world. Obama was shit on education. I’ve voted for one candidate who was good on education policy in the last fifteen years or so and she turned out to be a shitty politician and got voted right out again after her first term. It just doesn’t happen that damn often.

Regarding the headline to this post: when I initially wrote it I had plans to tie it into one of the parts of the post, and it was going to make sense and be at least moderately funny in the way my post titles occasionally are, and I have completely forgotten what the hell I was going to tie it into or how– something about classroom size, maybe?– but I’m not going to change it. “I am an idiot” is definitely a theme of this post so we may as well run that shit straight into the ground while we still can.

3:24 PM, Friday, May 22: 1,590,349 confirmed cases and 95,490 Americans dead.

In which let’s go to bed and start over

Lots of overgrowth, plus a goddamn tree fell down onto our fence.

Nothing today has gone quite right, y’all. My wife and I went out to clear some overgrowth along our back fence (a task that has to be done every year, at least, and which we do every two years, at most) this morning and I managed to whip myself in the eye with a tree branch somehow. Damn thing went perfectly under my glasses. Do we own safety glasses? Yes, we do, and my wife is an honest-to-God safety professional. Was I wearing them? Hell no, they get foggy and my glasses were supposed to be enough.

Hah. Dumbass.

It doesn’t hurt anymore but there is a visible scrape on the white of my eye and I spent a good several hours this morning and afternoon with the deeply weird feeling that I couldn’t see out of that eye when, in fact, I could. I don’t recommend that. People on Twitter were literally telling me to go to the ER. It was alarming.

Yes, I hurt myself, and then told Twitter about it and didn’t go see a doctor. Shut up.

Also our chainsaw is electrical and my wife managed to nearly cut the power cord in half at one point. It is possible that we shouldn’t be trusted around power tools any longer.

We tried to go to the zoo, but it was The First Nice Saturday of the Year, and holy shit was the zoo crowded. Like, “can’t get into the parking lot, the line to get in the door is a block long, don’t even bother looking for a parking spot” bad. So instead we ended up at the 4-H Fair’s Ag Days thing. The boy may officially be too old for this; I’m not sure. I was still weirded out by the whole eye thing and it’s possible that I wasn’t in a properly receptive mood to be surrounded by obese white Republicans with shitty tattoos.

My GOD, the shitty tattoos you see at Ag Days. Lord, y’all. I’m not usually the type to stealth photos of people in public to make fun of them on social media, but Ag Days makes that difficult.

Anyway. Cows, pigs, bunnies, alpacas. Never trust an alpaca. They’re all assholes, every last one of them. He didn’t really want to pet anything this year and was more interested in crawling around on the farm machinery that was scattered around. I took great pleasure in preventing him from crawling into the cargo end of a manure spreader by telling him what it was. Y’know. Family stuff.

Point is, today really hasn’t quite gone like I wanted it to, and I started a book on Monday or so that I’ve been saving for Spring Break because it’s long and I knew it was gonna be a tough read, and I finally gave up on it and put it down today because it’s just bad, and … bleh. I need to go to bed early tonight and find a way to do something fun with my last day of spring break, because I know my tendency is going to be to spend all day tomorrow in a bad mood and I don’t want to inflict that on my family.

So. Yeah.

In which it’s all good

It was an excessively pleasant day today, with October-perfect weather.  We went out and bought pumpkins (the boy picked all three of them out) and the boy is so enamored with his personal pumpkin that he insisted on it staying in his bedroom with him tonight.  We got the yard raked and I enjoyed it (it is so rare as to border on impossible for me to enjoy doing yard work) and acquired most of the rest of his Halloween costume.  We also figured out what I was doing about my Halloween costume, which I didn’t actually realize I was wearing until the idea popped into my head.

And now we’re gonna watch the season premiere of Constantine.  So, yeah, good day.

(Not “good blog post,” I admit that.  I’ll try and be interesting tomorrow.)