Monday, May 08, 2006

So Many Stories

So little of any account.

It's been a long time since I put anything up here. I've had to re-evaluate my priorities in life, and since the ad revenue has dried up here, it's hard to justify the 2-3 hours I used to spend each day pondering stories, working on just the right phrasing, typing and retyping. Time I could be spending with The Fambly being a loving Husbands and Fathers.

Yeah. Right. Did I have you going there? I didn't think so.

The real reason I haven't posted since Wednesday (I believe my longest dry spell - 4 days in a row) is that I have actually been spending time with the fambly. Not happy time, or quality time, but time nonetheless. And I was a Fat Camp on Thursday. Which brings me to my first stories.

As I noted in my last post, El Campo Gordo was shaping up to be a big event, what with all of one person besides me expected to be going. In fact, not only did TommyO not cancel, but he showed up exactly on time, pulling in about 60 seconds behind me. Of all the additions made to Fat Camp over the years, TommyO is the most dependable. Spanky may be the most entertaining, at times in an unintentional way, but TommyO can actually be counted on to show up when he says he will.

I gotta assume that this is because his wife has trained the living hell out of him, and he's lost the ability to slip on commitments. If you look at the Fat Camp crowd, the dependibility roughly runs opposite the, ummm, presistence of the wife.

I'm the second most dependable.

After that, it drops off most precipitously.

Now, the nice thing about TommyO showing up is that I can feel good about my aerobic conditioning. Despite have approximately zero exercise since the end of fat camp last season (which would have been then last week before the end of daylight savings time - or a little over 6 months ago), I was sure to be able to outdistance old TommyO. If AndyP had shown up, there would be no such luck, as that guy seems to be more machine than human. If BrainkyP had been there, it would have been even odds, though I think he's put on quite a layer of fat since his kid was born, so I may have gotten the best of him.

Then again, his wife is pregnant, so he probably has a lot of pent up frustration and anger that may have pushed him over the top. Alas, we shall never know, as it was just TommyO. So I went in quite confident of being able to relax on all the uphills and still getting in quite a bit of rest time waiting for Mr. O to catch up.

TommyO did not disappoint. I got to use some of my favorite lines. Like, "Are you enjoying your hike today?" and "Does that bike push as well this year as it did when it was new, or do you need to take it in for a tuneup?" If he were in better shape, he probably would have had the energy to smack me.

But he didn't.

Not much of note happened during the ride. I managed to make the climb up Knob Hill (the one in Fremont Older, not the one in SF) without stopping, which made me happy. It's not a particularly difficult climb, but it's the most challenging of the day (since the southern end of Toyon is closed due to a mud slide). The Seven Springs loops was fun. When we got to the bottom of the valley, a bunch of coyotes started howling back and forth. It was obvious fairly quickly that we were surrounded. So, thinking over everything I knew about coyotes, I took decisive action.

I left TommyO in the dust to be eaten and high tailed it the hell out of there.

Fortunately, it later turned out that coyotes don't generally attack full-sized humans, and if there's one thing you can say about TommyO, it's that he's full sized. Though, truth be told, I have never seen him with his pants off (thank god), so I can't comment about whether that's true everywhere.

TommyO made it out of the valley alive, with his biggest complaint being that we counted nine springs evern though the name of the trail was Seven Springs. Of course, we were counting mostly drainage ditches and not springs.

And so went Thursday.

Friday is day for which I have little to no memory. I remember making the wife a Black Russian and then having an argument about something or other later, but not much else.

On Saturday, we went out to OSH in the morning to get some vegetables for the garden. We split up, the wife and I. Not in the happy, been-nice-but-I-can't-stand-the-sight-of-your-face-anymore way, but in the you-take-one-baby and I'll-take-the-other kind of way.

This is always trouble when The Mrs. is heading to the garden department. Saturday was no different. I had MaxieC, and we got nothing but the essentials: a new hand saw, some more epoxy glue, some super glue, a mini-mag flashlight, and ome bird netting, and The Mrs. got a cherry tomato plant, and early girl tomato plant, a red pepper plant, and a lemon cucumber plant.

Now, personally I am not a big fan of the lemon cucumber. We had some last year. They grow fine, but they don't really taste very good (despite what that link may say). But HannieC still gets great joy out of a cucumber that looks like a lemon, and she insisted.

Then, the wife picked out a whole mess of flowers that were not supposed to go in the garden. She did not get the seeds for the planter boxes that I had spent week upon week building. Just the four plants for the garden, and then a bunch of unrelated stuff. Then, she promptly dumped HannieC on me as well and went to look at even more non-garden plants while I watched both kids.

The is a problem with The Mrs. She can never stay on task, but is constantly flitting from one thing to another. Especially with home improvement kinds of thing, where you can never ever go out and just buy stuff for one project at a time, but have to buy stuff for the next project, too. And then she makes it sound so innocent with something like, "Well, we were going to be planting anyways, so I figured I get stuff for the garden, the flower bed, and the pot garden, too." And not the good kind of pot garden.

We finally got home and started planting stuff. It went fairly well. I hooked up the bird netting to the lid frames for the planting boxes, and now the birds (and squirrels) can't get in. The bird netting is nice cuz it's a thin black platic and thus cannot be seen from too far away. Hardware cloth is a bit unsightly. If the squirrels chew through it, I'll have to change to the hardware cloth. Nothing has chewed through the netting on the strawberries since I put it up year before last, so I am hopeful.

After everything was planted except for the pot garden stuff (which remains unplanted to this day), I hooked up all the watering and tested it out. The garden watered fine, but the left flower bed seemd to be having a water pressure issue. The microsprayers were barely spraying, and the stuff at the top of the berm wasn't going at all. So I went to investigate. As I walked up there, I heard a gushing sound and noticed a small river running down the berm along the fenceline. Ugh. Broken pipe.

I stuck my hand underground in the geyser hole and felt around to discover that the pipe was broken off at a riser. I wasn't that the riser was broken, which is a lot more common. The pipe was broken. So I dug the whole thing out and noted that it was actually the riser T joint that was broken. The 3/4" pvc pipe had snapped out the side of the T on the outgoing side. Now, this is technically not possible if the joint is properly glued. So, upon inspection, I noted that there appeard to be glue on only about 1/5 of the joint, and that was the part that had broken out. The remainder of the circumference was not glued, allowing the stress to all build up on the one little section that was glues. And no primer had been used. Totally not up to code.

That's what you get when you hire unlicenced Mexicans to do your landscaping.

Luckily, I had all the replacement parts I needed, since having hired unlicenced Mexicans to landscape the back yard, I end up doing a lot of repairs. I cut out the old, broekn joint. Got two couplers plus a new riser T, cut replacement schedule 40 3/4" PVC and dry fit it. Then I purple primed the first joint, opened up the blue glue, and it was solid as a rock. Damn. Had everything I needed except non-dired-up glue. A quick trip to Home Depot, and the job was done.

Wait until you hear about Sunday. No time right now though.

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