Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Mindless Entertainment

One of the few things I subscribe to is a Kindle Unlimited membership. This allows me to queue up a bunch of books in my reader. Normally I knock out at least 3 or 4 books a week. However, when I was sick I was consuming over a book a day. 

That might sound impressive but they weren’t quality books. Since I was feeling stupid I was looking for mindless entertainment. There was an awful lot of Space Opera in my reading list. It passed the time. 

One of the indications I was feeling better is the day I noticed the books I’d been reading really were pretty bad. That day my Kindle got a good cleaning out. The mindless entertainment was replaced with books that actually require a couple of functioning brain cells. They had things like a plot and character development. 

However, for a while, there were a lot of bad writers who got more in royalties while I was recovering.


Monday, January 29, 2024

The Keeping of Cars

One of my personal measurements of life satisfaction is how often I have to work on my own cars. It’s not that I hate working on them in general. It’s all the other stuff involved. Perhaps if I had a roomy heated garage it wouldn’t be so bad. Maybe add a lift and an air tools to that garage. Anyway, I can dream.

More often than not I’m dealing with either bugs or bad weather. 

One thing about late January in the mountains of New Hampshire -bugs are down to a bare minimum. Then there’s the weather to deal with. However, we just had a couple of days where it got into the mid thirties. Pleasant enough. 

When digging out the last of the ice from under the wipers I noticed the plastic vent cover was loose. Cars these days are snapped together like Lego blocks. The little plastic tabs had broken free. They really are not made to be reused -in spite of what car manuals may say. Instead self tapping screws covered in Locktite did the job. It should stay in place now.

That was a pleasant enough job. What I’m not going to do is fix an exhaust leak, lying on my back in the slush. Nope. Not interested in that at all. The garage was supposed to do the job today but it’s been put off a week. The owner called me and begged to reschedule as two of his techs are out with the latest C-variant. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. 


Saturday, January 27, 2024

The Long Haul

I spent over half of last year dealing with recurring leg infections. Eventually the doctors got around to prescribing strong enough antibiotics for long enough to do the job. With the infection finally gone the pain is finally gone. 

That part’s great. Now I’m dealing with the rest of the recovery. For quite some time my lower legs looked like zombie skin. My legs are starting to look a lot more normal. 

With the legs healed up regular exercise is possible again. I’m a big fat guy and really need to exercise to stay healthy. However, in spite of everything, my blood pressure and blood work never got too bad. That was just luck of the genetic draw. With exercise some weight loss should be a lot easier. 

Last summer there were a lot things I was unable to do. The doctors wanted me to stay out of the water. That’s hard for a water guy who lives on a lake. Good thing I could still ride my motor scooter as it kept me from going crazy from boredom. This summer should be different and I’m looking forward to it. 

As I get older it takes effort to stay functional. On the bright side, I’m still doing better than I was when I first got injured at work when I was 24. Then there’s the time I almost died at 35. Being 65 is almost a surprise and not to be taken for granted.


Friday, January 26, 2024

Hunkering Down

Our winters are not like they used to be. When I was a kid the big thing to watch out for was blizzards. Snow accumulations were measured in feet, not inches. 

In more recent years the big threat isn’t blizzards, but ice storms. Once again we are going through a spell of rain, freezing rain, sleet, and snow. Our storms don’t produce just one weather event but various events, often switching back and forth. Micro climates make a big difference. It can be snowing at my house but raining just a mile away. Even a few hundred feet in elevation make a big difference. 

Fortunately, I rarely have to go anywhere during those events. There’s a good feeling being prepared to hunker down. My house batteries are topped off, there’s fuel for the woodstove, and plenty of food in the pantry. If the Internet and phone go down there’s cell service which usually lasts longer. Worse come to worse I can send text messages with a Garmin InReach. It connects directly to satellites. 

We have cards, board games, books, and arts and crafts to keep us occupied. 

If I really get bored I suppose I could make sure the mailbox is shoveled out. Our rural carrier will deliver the mail in just about any condition. She’s a wonder. The least I can do is make sure the mailbox is accessible. 


Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Getting Through the Winter

We are well into winter here in the Great North Woods. There’s enough snow on the ground for people to roar off on their snowmobiles. A couple days ago we had three significant snowmobile crashes. Fortunately everyone is expected to recover. It’s been decades since I owned a snowmobile and I really don’t miss it. 

I’ve mostly been running the woodstove during the day and letting the oil furnace take over at night. That’s working for me. Our woodstove is a cookstove and I really enjoy cooking and baking with wood. The furnace is getting on in years, but it’s still running fine. There were quite a few winters when it didn’t run at all. We either burned only wood or had shut down the house and went south for the winter. That reduced wear and tear quite a bit. 

Heat pumps interest me, but they are not quite ready for prime time -at least for where I live. It gets too cold for most of them to run efficiently. There are models coming out that do better in subzero temperatures, but prices are high still. Then there’s the issue that New Hampshire has fairly expensive electric rates. 

Last year we made alterations where we could close off the whole upstairs and only heat the first floor. Then our niece moved in with us and we reopened the upstairs. That’s fine as she’s contributing financially. It’s all good. 

All and all we are enjoying winter. A warm fire and good coffee make all the difference.


Tuesday, January 23, 2024

NH Election Day

Well it’s election day in New Hampshire. Sorta. New Hampshire state law requires that New Hampshire is the first primary state. Unfortunately, the National Democratic Party says otherwise. So now we have a Democratic primary that won’t produce any delegates. Biden isn’t even on the ballot, but he’s been pushing hard for a write in campaign. I don’t know how that’s going to work for him as a lot of Democrats feel disenfranchised -being disenfranchised and all. 

The interesting stuff is happening on the Republican side where it’s still a real primary. New Hampshire has a weird quirk where Independents can declare for a party on election day. There are a lot of Independents. My guess is that we’ll have a better idea how the candidates could do in the general election. The winner won’t necessarily be determined by the party faithful. 

All I know for sure is that the polls, as usual, will probably be wrong.


Monday, January 22, 2024

Still Here

I’m still standing. Yep, it’s been a minute. 

The holidays were . . . meh. Even my very low keys plans did not happen. My lovely wife was all the way down to Texas for Christmas while I was up here in New Hampshire. Her parents in Texas are having some medical issues so she felt the visit was a good idea. It was kinda a last minute trip.  Fortunately she did not get stuck down there and was back before New Years. 

The household just got over being sick. Tis the season. That’s what we get for trying to connect in person with people. I thought I’d share my experience with the anti-viral Paxlovid. My infection experience was a pretty rough one but I started on Paxlovid on day 2. By day 3 there was some improvement -which made a big difference in my comfort level. After that the symptoms were greatly reduced. The side effect was a nasty sour taste in my mouth that could linger for hours. The best way to describe the taste was like bad hangover mouth from too much overly sweet booze. Still worth it. 

Your results may vary. A good friend got infected a couple days before me. We had not been in physical contact so I didn’t get it from him. He also got good results from Paxlovid but had a rebound infection. 

The rebound was mild, but he tested positive for another week after having had two negative tests. 

It’s really winter up in the Great White North. There’s a couple of feet of snow on the ground and temperatures have been below zero. It’s supposed to warm up some for the next week or so. In spite of the cold I’ve been playing around in the snow. It’s darn pretty out there.