Like a boss

I was buying yarn, no wait, I had finished buying yarn (oh, you’re a busy knitter, said the yarn lady, I like to see that) and was paying the lady at the dry cleaners… no wait, I was at the dry cleaners, but had not yet been to the yarn store, after which I returned to the dry cleaners to pay because I forgot the first time, nor had I been to the bank yet — so this was the first visit to the dry cleaners, before I went to the bank and to the yarn store, and before I returned to the dry cleaners to pay, my phone rang and I answered it and my mother in law said, hi mig, we have a big problem (invoking images in my mind of things leaking and smoldering etc.), the nurse’s outside door won’t close.
At this point let me interject for clarity that it’s one of those doors I first encountered in Austria, which you can open normally, in a door-like way, or if you turn (a) different handle(s) just tilt in, like if you want to air out the room.
Ah, I said, did she tilt and open at the same time?
I think so, said my mother in law.
So I finished my errands, going to the bank and the yarn store and the catfood store (because I got them food the day before yesterday, when I was at the hardware store getting light bulbs for my inlaws and super glue to fix a camera filter I had dropped, causing it to pop out of its mount but not break, but the hardware store didn’t have the food they like and they hated the food the hardware store did have so much that only one ate it and another ignored it and the third meowed at me plantively), where it took me forever to find cat milk, then went home and unloaded and gathered tools I thought might help (screwdrivers, a length of pipe to use as a fulcrum, and a big rubber hammer as comic relief) and drove over to fix their door.
But first I had to fix my car engine, which made a funny noise when I started it. I fixed it by turning my car off and back on again.
Noise was gone. Success!
Yeah so I drove over with my mask on and my mother in law and the nurse (who was cooking lunch, because my mother in law treats her more as someone to help with everything than someone to look after her husband) were both happy to see me. My father in law, a former mechanic who built the house, was watching TV and I sort of snuck around because I didn’t need him helping. I looked at the door, and my mother in law looked at me looking at the door, while the nurse made lunch, and then I looked at a healthy door to figure out how it was supposed to work, and went back and forth a couple times.
Then I went downstairs where we quietly got another tool (big chisel, to use as a lever because the door was too heavy for my screwdrivers) out of the furnace room, quietly because father in law thinks they lost the key to that room because we don’t want him in there fixing anything. Then I went back up and mother in law, father in law and nurse watched me trying to fix the door. We figured out what had to be done (metal hinge thing had to go back into metal hinge thing receptacle) so I asked the nurse to stick it back in when I lifted the door, which I did by sort of grabbing the door with one hand on the inside and one hand on the outside because my original lever/fulcrum idea wasn’t working, and manhandled it up and she stuck it in and boom, fixed, like a boss.
They were all happy, and I explained to the nurse, tilt or open but never both at the same time and drove home and took cardboard to the dump. Leaving the dump again, a guy with an SUV pulling a horse trailer (full of garbage I assume) couldn’t get in the in gate as I was getting out the out gate, I suppose because he had forgotten his key card, and got out of his truck and walked back to the car behind him, totally in my way and not even checking to see if, like, there was an oncoming car he might be blocking, and finally turned around and saw me and gave me a dirty look and I gave him a dirty look back, then he walked over to the other car, I suppose to ask to borrow that person’s key card (good thing for him he didn’t ask to borrow mine, I would have said no and felt good about it) and as soon as there was space I drove past, thinking, use the right tool for the job, moron who takes garbage to the dump in a horse trailer, ignoring my attempt to fix a door (like a boss, let me reiterate) with a chisel, a pipe and two screwdrivers.
Now if you’ll excuse me gotta bake some bread (which has been rising way too long cause of unexpected errands).

Rainy day

It’s raining. The light outside is remarkable. Dark sky, with brighter spots lighting various deciduous trees turning gold at various rates. A glossy wet crow stands on the balcony railing outside my office. I go outside and place dog treats along the railing. Before I’m even done, I glance over my shoulder and there’s another crow 2 feet away with a beakful of dog treats hurrying me up.
Hang on a sec, I have to go back out and refill the dog treats.
Ok.
The problem with life is eventually the crows shit all over your balcony and someone says, hey Mig stop feeding the crows they’re shitting all over the balcony.
Hang on, they’re cawing at me for more treats. BRB
Thing is, though, it’s also nice to tell yourself you know the crows know they can count on you.
Maybe the rain will wash the shit away.

I vaguely remember flowers

I pinched my penis in the woods yesterday, by accident, climbing through a wooden fence to look at a grave.
The fence was made of horizontal slats attached to wooden fence posts. Normally there would have been plenty of space for me to squeeze through, but I was wearing a pack that made it a tighter fit.
I groaned, and my wife asked what the matter was, and I told her.
My pack held a few apples, a thermos full of cold water, and a rain jacket I bought last summer (2019) at REI.
I started out with three apples, then ate one, then fed another to some goats.
The grave stone seemed to be granite. There was a bronze (?) plaque on it with five names, two with one surname, the other three with another. There was a space in front of it the size of a couple shoeboxes, covered with a flat rectangle of metal or stone (I forget), so I assumed they were putting urns in there and not whole bodies.
There was a bench beside the stone where you could sit and look into the distance.
I vaguely remember flowers.

Tinnitus hack

My tinnitus sounded like screaming mice yesterday.
My wife and I went for a hike in the woods before it rained and only got a little lost.
I ate a slice of bread when we got home.
Hey, that’s moldy, said my wife.
I spit it out but had already swallowed some.
It was whole-grain bread I had baked; it was sort of grayish anyway so the mold didn’t stand out.
I had a bad stomach ache. I don’t know if it was bc of the mold, but that’s my guess. It felt like all the other times I’ve poisoned myself.
I slept on the sofa in case it was not the mold but rather something contagious.
The cats liked that.
Today I feel better.
My wife cooked borscht, with a beet from our garden. It was good.
It’s a gray old day outside.

On bread

Chances are, you have already been the recipient of fallout from my current Bread Phase.
I have been posting pics of nearly every loaf I bake to Instagram, and find myself unable to STFU about my bread efforts while talking to friends. Or when corresponding via WhatsApp.
A friend told me, “I have to admit, I didn’t finish reading your bread story because I am just not interested in baking” so she gets extra bread updates now. I think of it as a meta-apology for unwanted bread stories.
I asked my wife, “did I tell you about (private bread story involving a dream)?” to which she replied, “yeah about ten times a day.”
Yesterday I started telling my therapist about my bread story phase, but my enthusiasm took over and I ultimately just told her a bunch of bread stories instead. While talking, i was thinking, god this isn’t going where I intended…
(Currently, I have 3 reliable recipes that i alternate and modify – rye sourdough, wheat sourdough (SanFrancisco sourdough style), and rye/wheat mix non-sourdough, which is a good one when you’re in a “hurry” because it takes only 3-4 hours instead of 24+ hours.)
Good old bread.

The spider Gamma warned me about

I was watering the back yard at dusk. Right when my face hit the invisible web, I thought, ah, this is that big fat spider Gamma was going on about.
The neighbors probably thought I was having an LSD flashback. I danced and clawed at my face and hair with one hand, and squirted everything with the hose I held in the other.
I finished watering (front too, and the stuff in pots) and went inside and opened a kitchen drawer to sort flours when a big goddamned bumblebee flew out!!!

  1. A big black bee flew out of the kitchen drawer!
  2. What was a big black bee doing in the drawer?
  3. Why is the big black bee flying so funny?
  4. And why is it following me everywhere I go?
  5. Why is it still following me?
  6. That is not bee-like behavior.
  7. Oh, it’s the spider!
  8. Mother!
  9. fucker!
  10. Get it off me!

Yeah so I got it off. I clawed at my leg and stuff trying to find the web it was still hanging on and that i was sort of towing it around with and eventually found it and was sort of dangling it there when it looked up at me and said the following:

That’s the problem with you Americans.

It went on: “Not only, but especially you Americans. Never have I seen a bunch of people more brainwashed than you. You are, as a group, people who need a little perspective. You need to get out more.”
“Well, I did emigrate to Austria,” I said.
“I said, ‘as a group’,” said the spider.
“You pledge allegiance to a fucking flag,” said the spider. “And no one knows your Pledge of Allegiance started out as publicity for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Most of you still think Europeans discovered America. You think Democrats are leftists. Democrats today are to the right of Nixon.”
“Ok,” I said. “But I agree with everything you said.”
“Of course you do, I’m a figment of your imagination. You made me up. Spiders don’t really talk.”
“Actually you really did scare the shit out of me hanging off me like that.”
“How the fuck do you think I felt? No but listen, one of the most dangerous things you’ve been brainwashed to believe? That history is made by the Great Man (or the Great Woman).”
“Ok.”
“Americans are always looking for a savior. Other people too, but Americans are especially noxious about it. Kennedy! Obama! (We shall ignore for the purposes of our argument their emphasis on organizing and collective action). Greta Thunberg is here, we can all relax, she’ll save the environment,” said the spider.
“And now everyone is losing their shit about RBG passing away.”
“Well…” I said.
“It is sad. It is sad when a person dies, I get that. Even I, a spider who deals death to countless insects caught in my web every day get that. And Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a great woman. But she wasn’t a Great Woman. How can anyone be so blind to think a zillion year old lady was going to protect us from You-Know-Who, that other “Great Man” (to his cultists) like some kind of kajira battle?”
“Ok.”
“No Great Person has ever done shit. You morons don’t get that. Stuff gets done when the guillotines come out. The torches and pitchforks. I am speaking somewhat hyperbolically. Somewhat.”
“Well, it’s not like there are no protests,” I said.
“It’s not enough.”
The spider looked at me, and I looked at the spider.
“General strike,” I said.
The spider nodded. “Now take me back outside. To the hydrangea, if you don’t mind.”

Rowr rowr

Woman on subway platform, through mask: Rmpf rmf mm grmf.
Man on subway platform, in a big hurry to get on the train that is stopping because he has to ride it a lot of stops to catch another train he doesn’t want to miss and trying to remember whether he knows the woman or if she is confusing him with someone else: I beg your pardon? (but because he is wearing a mask it is also unclear.)
Woman: Rmpf rowr rowr grmf!!!
(Train doors open)
Man: I’m really sorry, I can’t understand you, masks huh, I have to…
Woman: (grabs man’s sleeve)
Man: …get on this train.
Man: (Pulls loose, gets on train, followed by woman, who he is increasingly certain he does not know)
Woman: Rowr rowr grmf rmpf!!! Rowr!!!
Man: (quickly walks length of train away from woman, until she is no longer audible)
Man: (looks at phone, watching reflection of train interior behind him, can’t see anyone rushing him with intent murderous or otherwise).
Man: (switches trains at appointed station)
Man: (finds empty seat, opens book, reads)