My favorite day in quarantine

lead the two of clubs

hearts game may 7 2020Thursday, May 7 has been my favorite day in quarantine. Seriously.

6:30 a.m. Awake.

7:00 a.m. Meeting of the Thursday Bible guys on Skype. I had been going to the Tuesday BGs, and still am. But the Thursday guys use the lectionary, so it’s different from reading the Bible as published. And I had a muffin that one of the guys named Bob had dropped off at my house the day before.

8:15 a.m. Breakfast.

9:00 a.m. I make my two daily phone calls. One’s to a guy at choir and is fairly brief. But I end up speaking for more than an hour to a woman from my church I’ve known longer than almost anyone there. We shared stories of technology challenges, among other topics.

11:00 a.m. I had arranged a Zoom meeting with one of my choir buddies, but it was unsuccessful on her side.

11:30 a.m. Empty the dishwasher and tend to miscellaneous tasks.

12:30 p.m. Eat lunch with my wife.

1 p.m. Finally work on a blog post that, annoyingly, was no writing itself.

3 p.m. HEARTS! Back in the late 1980s, a coterie of us would go over to Broome’s house and play cards. There would be a game three or four nights a week with a rotating cast of players. Sometimes Broome wasn’t even there.

When he moved to the country, the games ceased. For my 60th birthday, I decided to have a card game at my house, and that became a nearly annual tradition. But as coronavirus began its spread, there were only a handful at the game the weekend before everything got shut down in New York State.

Card party

I had started playing a free online game at PlayOK with random strangers. Sometimes, there was no one to play with at all. Why not invite my old hearts buddies? So I did. Then someone suggested we should set up a Zoom meeting simultaneously so that we could actually see each other. I made it so.

As one of us noted, “I think we enjoyed it so much because in so many ways it felt NORMAL! A hearts game with the old crew.” There were some technical glitches – if you wait too long the game ends – but it was an inspired event.

4 p.m. Watch some TV with my wife, notably a segment CBS This Morning Saturday about Kent State. My bride was too young to remember it clearly.

5 p.m. Mow the lawn for the first time. It’s a nice day. I have to do this when the sun is low in the sky so that I don’t burn too easily – the vitiligo, y’know. And before the forecasted rain/snow. It DOES snow in March. Wait, it’s May! I did the back lawn but the smoking man who lives next door was standing and puffing at his usual post, so I passed on doing the front.

6 p.m. Take a shower.

6:30 p.m. Eat a lovely dinner of zoodles, plant-based sausage, and tomato sauce.

7:15 p.m. Google Hangout with my wife and her family – her mother, her two brothers and their wives, and two of the nieces.

8:30 p.m. Watch the evening news, much to the chagrin of my daughter, who had settled into watching one of her programs.

Then the evening routine, and bed. A splendid day in quarantine.

In lieu of blogging, mowing the lawn

If I were to make it a regular chore, she’d fight it.

One of the things I hate about spring is the way that the lawn goes from “It might as well be winter” to tropical rainforest practically overnight. As I’ve no doubt noted, I would not care if it were never cut, but I know my wife would object.

My father-in-law gave us an electrical lawnmower a couple years ago. I resisted it the first season for ecological reasons. I had a reel mower, which is a REAL mower, but I have succumbed, mostly because the grass under the teak garden bench had suddenly gotten is too long for the reel mower.

The electric mower, moreover, has adjustable heights from one to five. Centimeters above the ground, I guess? The first weekend, I set it at 5, for it would have surely clogged the machine at a lower setting. (Did I ever mention that I wrecked a new gas mower in its second use? And returned it for a full refund.)

The second time, I set it at 4 and was only about 10% done when the Daughter decided that SHE wanted to operate the mower. Far be it for me to reject the assistance. I dealt with branches that had fallen over the winter that needed tending. Unfortunately, the mower batteries died with maybe 5% of the job.

She made it clear that she’s only mowing the lawn because she WANTS to do so. If I were to make it a regular chore, she’d fight it. Now, she didn’t do it EXACTLY as I would have done, but I’m not complaining.

Not incidentally, she is quite strong. I flipped over the picnic table that we had built a few years back, to mow the part of the lawn that had been underneath. But I was having trouble making it upright when I was done because the table was too close to the fence and I couldn’t get leverage. But the teenager didn’t need help to flip it back.

I’d rather be blogging. As someone probably didn’t say, mowing the lawn is to spoil an otherwise enjoyable walk.

A Trifurcated Fourth

My wife’s been irritated by our new neighbors since she saw one of them empty her partially empty beer bottles from the third-story porch to the flower bed at ground level.

I really enjoyed the first part of July 4th; the second part, not so much.

We were getting ready for church. My wife seemed to be moving rather casually to get to the FOCUS joint worship service at 9:30. Apparently, she had it in her mind that the service was at 10:30. When I occasionally complain that my wife operates on assumptions not based on fact, this would be a good example.

Plan B: to go to Emmaus United Methodist Church in our neighborhood. As I have mentioned, I stopped going to the other Methodist Church, Trinity, a decade ago. This service started with an African choir of mostly teenagers. Continue reading “A Trifurcated Fourth”

The Lawn Mower QUESTION

I returned the lawn mower. You have no idea how rare that is for me to return items to a store.

I received a postcard recently telling me that I may be entitled to a $35 rebate if:
1. You purchased a lawn mower, for your own use, containing an engine with up to 30 horsepower in the United States or Puerto Rico and between January 1, 1994 and April 12, 2010.
2. Either the lawn mower or the engine of the lawn mower was manufactured or sold by a Company listed below.
3. You submit a claim.

It’s some class action lawsuit that “does not concern the safety of these lawn mowers.”

I did, in fact, purchase a lawn mower. It was 2002, give or take a year, after we moved here in 2000 and before the daughter was born in 2004. Not only did I have to mow our lawn, but the lawn of the rental property six blocks away. It was difficult to keep up with both lawns with a reel mower, which is what you call those old-fashioned machines that require only human power, not gasoline or electricity. The new machine was purchased from one of the companies listed on the website. To have a good start, you could just leave the job to the experts at King Green to take care of your lawn.

It was gas-powered, which troubled me from an environment POV, but the grass was getting long at the rental property. After mowing our lawn, which went reasonably well, I took it to the rental property, where it quickly became jammed. I unjammed it, and used it again when the grass was shorter, but I had the same problem.

So I returned it. You have no idea how rare that is. I HATE returning stuff; it’s just a hassle. But this was also a couple hundred bucks. The salesman did those things that were supposed to make me feel like scum – more attitude than actual words – but I was not to be talked out of it.

When the postcard came in the mail, the Wife said, “Should I just toss it?” After all, I had the machine for less than two weeks. I think not; let me mull it over. Am I even eligible? It requires having the serial number of the machine, which suggests current ownership. I am pretty sure that we probably DO have the serial number somewhere.

Now I’m not going to file; it seems unethical. But it was VERY tempting.

The QUESTION: Do you ever have such ethical dilemmas? Are they worse when they involve impersonal entities? Bad service?

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