Monday, August 22, 2016

Status Report

Mood: Onshore, gusting westerly with light showers and thunderstorms overnight.

What I'm Listening To Now: High Pitched Whistling, Insults and Complaining.

What I'm Reading: This blog post. What the hell else would I be reading for Azathoth's sake?

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Now That's A Pretty Song

Baby, Now That I've Found You by Alison Krauss, from the album Now That I've Found You: A Collection.

A stripped-down acoustic version of the old Foundations hit1 from '67, I first heard it while traveling along the Beltway one spring evening at a time when I was living in Greenbelt, Maryland during the week and watching my young daughter become a stranger in New York every weekend.

Although the song is about a very creepy response to a girl giving the singer the brush-off, it had a peculiar resonance when I mentally subbed in my daughter's name instead of "baby" in the hook. The chorus fitted the situation I was in with respect to her - I had been initially scared at the idea of being responsible for a child, had been lost in her eyes the minute I had looked into them and had lost my heart completely to the many people she had been in the time since. I was missing her dreadfully and was in a very bad place, as I drove aimlessly around the freeway listening to NPR on the radio to use up otherwise empty hours.

And then this song was played and I was entranced.

The song is robbed of its original ornamentation, stripped back that the words become the center rather than the wall of sound arrangement. Those words are sung so poignantly that it will make you weep if there is an ounce of soul in your ... er ... soul, and the guitar accompaniment is nothing short of genius in its simplicity and beauty.

The rest of the album is pretty good too, but this is the standout track that makes it worth the price of the CD.

  1. A personal favorite at the time

And The Leaving's Gonna Get Me Down

So it's been a while, during which more annoying stuff happened at me; I will speak here of The Florida Relocation Annoyance.

The Stevieling has decamped for Florida, leaving Chateau Stevie an empty husk. When I say "empty", I'm speaking a bit euphemistically since she in fact left the vast majority of her crap behind for us to clean up. So the total Chateau Stevie deductions amount to a suitcase of clothes and a small human being.

This is surprising on many levels, not least because she roped everyone she knew into packing a storage locker full of stuff into a Penske truck. It looked like she had everything she owned in there. First stop after assembling a dozen friends as free labor was the church where she ordered everyone to load two enormous shelving units onto the truck while she did something vitally important somewhere else1.

The shelving units proved to be made of a rare lead/depleted uranium impregnated chipboard, so it was lucky I had assembled the makings of a block and tackle that would enable someone to help drag stuff up the ramp into the truck by trading three times as much time for three times as much pulling power. It took six of us to get each unit on a two-wheel sack-truck2 and wheel it to the truck, but only one person could work the truck while ascending the ramp on account of the narrowness of said ramp. I rigged the block and tackle and one of the other helpers grabbed the rope. I volunteered to be the truck puller and steerer and everyone else decided to argue about how the truck needed to be steered to avoid falling of the said ramp. I needed the advice because I couldn't see the wheels of the truck on account of having a faceful of shelving unit.

It was all very tiresome, and after the second unit had been dragged into the truck and lugged up against the compartment side so it could be secured I had a small moment of white-out vision and falling over, followed by about five minutes of wheezing and death expectation3.

Best I can figure I lost so much sweat in such a short period of time my electrolytes crashed4. It took me about five minutes and a pint of Gatorade before I could walk again.

On the upside I was able to dodge further loading duties as everyone who had witnessed the event was even more shaken than I was. All I had to do was groan a bit and do some more collapsing, shaking and speaking in tongues and they all thought I was about to have a stroke5 and begged me to go home and watch TV.

I did end up buying everyone lunch because by then all the heaving and shoving had resulted in a spot of "too many hunchbacks, not enough scientists" syndrome and everyone was annoyed with each other. Mrs Stevie and The Stevieling hadn't noticed because that is the normal state of affairs about ten minutes after more than one person is awake in Chateau Stevie.

Besides, they are all great kids and adults are supposed to be good to kids of all ages and make sure they get enough to eat.

The day ended with a skirmish of the sort familiar to everyone with a kid, the kind in which each side is trying to make the other crazy6. It starts with everyone tired, grumpy and one side staggering toward his/her bed almost blind with exhaustion.

Mrs Stevie: Do you have your GPS ready to go?

Stevieling: Yes.

Mrs Stevie: Do you have your license?

Stevieling: Yes.

Mrs Stevie: Do you have your registration?

Stevieling: Yes.

Mrs Stevie: Do you have your insurance card?

Stevieling: Yes!

Mrs Stevie: Do you have your EZ-Pass?

Stevieling: YES!

Mrs Stevie (announcing a winning move): I'll thank you to have less of that attitude when you speak to me (twelve minutes of pure annoyance redacted on humane grounds)

And thus was set the stage for fiasco.

A word about The Plan.

The idea was that Mrs Stevie would drive the big yellow truck down to Florida with The Stevieling and her boyfriend taking The Stevieling's car. They had originally been going to rotate driving duties, but we both felt The Stevieling's driving was not up to the challenge of 1700 miles in a three ton truck on Interstate 95 in the high winds of summer.

In order to keep the vehicles in convoy they would need to breeze through the umptytump toll booths on I-95. Mrs Stevie would use her EZ-Pass, a radio-linked toll paying device, and we would get another EZ-Pass for the Stevieling.

We went out one Saturday about three weeks before Operation Stroke Induction and got the device from the AAA. All that remained was for The Stevieling to set it up via the official website and drop some e-funds into it to cover the trip. The last time I saw the device was about an hour after we picked it up, when The Stevieling carried it up to her room in the plastic bag it had been packed in by the AAA person.

That was The Plan.

I announced I was off to bed, and Mrs Stevie - who was going to indulge her usual practice of stomping around the house for another three hours to prevent anyone from getting any sleep prior to a hard day's driving - asked if I wanted to get up to see her and the Stevieling off in the morning. They were going to rise at five. I, of course, answered in the affirmative and went to bed.

At about 4:20 am I was shaken violently out of a sound sleep by Mrs Stevie, wet and naked after her shower. I blearily opened my eyes and screamed. Mrs Stevie used harsh words. I pointed out that I still had forty minutes of sleep owing to me, but she insisted she had said they were leaving at five7 and I had to get up now. I staggered up and into the shower where I slumped against the wall trying desperately to wake up. A few minutes before five I heard the phone ringing, and then Mrs Stevie's voice raised in anger.

The Stevieling couldn't find the EZ-Pass.

As far as I can figure out she never actually took it out of the bag. She had no recollection of ever registering the device on the website either. Solid own-goal by The Stevieling.

She spent 45 minutes looking fruitlessly for it, and a new plan was made in which Mrs Stevie would breeze through each toll and The Stevieling would join the long slow crawl through the "cash only" lane. Fortunately, I had dug out my Motorola two-way radios and insisted that both Mrs Stevie and The Stevieling become conversant enough with their fiendishly over-complex, over-converged controls to find each other on the air in the event there was no cell coverage when one of them got a flat or needed to get gas.

This turned out to be a stroke of genius that saved the day (and the two that followed), though The Stevieling's brilliant Missing EZ-Pass Ploy drove Mrs Stevie to new heights of apoplexy and lent an air of rage to the leaving of New York.

I went to work very tired.

  1. Thus proving that the acorn didn't fall far from the tree
  2. The sort people load beer on
  3. Not hyperbole. I actually thought I was about to croak
  4. The last time a crash of this magnitude was seen it involved an iceberg and a big ship
  5. And who's to say I wasn't. It was scary
  6. My father is a master of the form
  7. Lies