Look busy

They were laying pipe along the edge of the woods and some big fields I drive past on my way to work yesterday. It looked like they were putting in a big sewer line. They had these serious backhoes with extra-wide scoops that dug a trench about four feet across.
They almost looked like cranes.
And the woods, yeah, and the fields. Fallow, I guess.
Just sitting there being fields and woods.
Not doing anything useful.
That’s what happens. They catch you doing that and next thing, you’re rezoned commercial or residential or some shit.
Always have a spreadsheet open on your monitor, man.
Keep moving. I learned that on one of my first jobs, doing stuff at the cannery. Stay in motion. Broom in hand, or squeegee. The high-pressure hose was pretty good too.
Same thing walking down the street, my dad told me once, walk like you’re going somewhere.
Even if you’re not.

Trivia Specialist

A colleague at work called me in my office yesterday and asked what is the only human construction visible from space with the naked eye. I told her, she said thanks and we hung up.
My job would be perfect, I think, if I got my vacation back and they stopped monitoring our online behavior and, of late, blocking much of it.
What do you do at work dad?
Trivia specialist, honey.
Our tortoise just took a pee, which I was ignoring. Then she took a large shit, which was unignorable. We were out of paper towels so I used half a box of Kleenex.
Kleenexes. Kleeni. Whatever.
Now she’s running laps.
I would too.
Gamma is sitting here counting the days until Easter.
Mmm. Eggs.
Now she wants me to get her a writing utensil so she can write something into the calendar.
I told her to get it herself because I am not, quote, her slave.
Now the tortoise is noisily eating lettuce.
She must be starved.
I practiced the Grieg last night. It sounded awful. I hadn’t practiced it for three weeks.
The Breval is getting better, though.

I dreamt I was tired

I had a dream you were supposed to take a test and had no pants. I won’t tell you what sort of test, so you’ll still be surprised if the dream comes true.
I don’t want to spoil anything.
Somebody was talking about their dreams.
I haven’t remembered a dream in so long.
I put Gamma to bed, tell her a story, then I also go to bed. Then I wake up rarin’ to go.
That’s the theory anyway.
I stopped taking the pain killers. They were making me fart, even though I was taking this other pill first to “protect my stomach”.
I won’t go in to the details, man.
So now I just take the muscle relaxant, which is weaker than the other muscle relaxant that made me so terribly depressed last time. This one has “lud” in its name, but it just makes me tired.
Mainly I take it for an excuse not to have to drive anywhere at night. Like yesterday, Alpha had to drive Gamma and me to the running sushi place.
I called and reserved a table by the running sushi thing, which is usually a good idea because it sucks to have to sit in the buffet seating part of the restaurant and lean over people, ‘scuse me! to get sushi.
That seems so rude.
Last night there was a guy with a very nasty-looking skin condition, purplishly disfiguring, sitting upstream from us.
We ate our fill anyway. Gamma and Alpha had their backs to him and I didn’t point him out.
Alpha kept remarking on the sushi going past. She would point and say, “shrimp!”
Or she would say, “crab!”
It was not clear whether she was showing off her knowledge of sea animals or did she want me to grab her sushi. Cause Gamma had, once again, taken a good seat right by the conveyor belt. I had a good seat too, this time, because Alpha had stayed outside the restaurant for a minute while we went in, because she had to finish talking on her phone.
“Fruit salad!”
I’m going to stop taking the muscle relaxants and see if 1. my back spasms return, and 2. if I suddenly have a big rush of dreams. I’m hoping for 1 and doubting 2.

Orchestra rehearsal coming up this weekend. Grieg and Mozart again. Conductor chewed us out last time for being so slack on those two, and told us to practice before the big rehearsal this weekend. And did we practice? Not me. I practiced whatshisface, some other non-orchestra piece. Then my back went out, but the two events are not connected.

And, hey, it looks as if the piece I composed might actually get performed. Ideally, it will be played by ten harps, one cello and two cell phones. That’s what I wrote it for. Eight harps would work. If this takes off, you’re all invited to the concert.

Research report

Cleaning up a big tortoise excrement mess (because dad has a sore back and can’t bend over like that) in the kitchen dramatically increases a young girl’s motivation to take a shower.

You take what you can get

It’s after midnight. I thought I would sleep through the night because I’m taking some muscle relaxant for my sore back, but something woke me up and I got up and took a pee and then was wide awake so I came down to the kitchen and ate some sour milk product with blue berry and vanilla flavor and turned on the iBook.
Somewhere in the house, a tortoise sleeps.
My wife called me at work the other day. She said the tortoise was humping her Birkenstock. It was warm enough recently to put the tortoise outside so we did, for a few hours. Tomorrow it’s supposed to snow. Tomorrow or Monday.
They wanted me to come in and work this weekend but that would be impossible, I told them, with my sore back.
I hope I don’t get fired.
I don’t think I can remember ever being fired, except back when I was seventeen when I was released from my job as a boxboy at a supermarket after I declined to join the union because the dues would have, I thought at the time, taken too big a bite out of my wages.
Something like half, I think.
Now, I would tell my self then to go ahead and pay the dues.
Oh well.
Actually, I would tell myself to go ahead and quit of my own accord, because, sheesh. That was a really stupid job. And I would have enough stupid jobs in my life.
My jobs haven’t been all that bad, though, when I think about it. Retired guys bag groceries now, don’t they? That would be worse, i imagine, although I guess they like the extra income and having someone to talk to.
You bag your own groceries here in Austria.
When I visit the States, it feels invasive when someone bags my groceries for me. I always feel like, it’s okay, dude, I’ll get that.
I am typing this at my kitchen table.
We have WIFI now. Our neighbors are probably all going, Yay.
Gamma was just downstairs saying she can’t sleep. I let her sit for a couple minutes then ran her back upstairs and put something relaxing on the CD player. She’ll be back in a few more minutes.
I just lost about ten minutes of typing because the router shuts off the internet connection after five minutes of inactivity. You either have to remain active or go unplug it to make it start back up. That kind of defeats the purpose of a wireless network, if you have to keep going back to the device to manually unplug it.
Maybe I can build something that unplugs it and plugs it back in every five minutes.
I would make it look like a toy monkey. It would be mounted on the wall by where the router power plug is.
Otherwise the new wifi works fine except that we are going to have to upgrade our account. I get the feeling this is going to bump us into a different class, bandwidth wise.
Setting it up was a lot easier than I had feared. The trick is fearing it will be really horrible, then when what the box says will “Take at least 20 minutes” takes two hours it seems painless.
I selected the setup wizard for dummies. The idea there is, it scans everything and sets it all up for you, you just keep clicking on the “okay” button. or the “accept” button or whatever.
In the middle of that process, it logged onto the internet all by itself and asked me for a user name and password. That was kind of a surprise. I had to find the manual, print it out and discover a username and password.
That was the only real surprise. There was some configuration that was kind of a pain in the ass, but it was better than I had feared and as i said, it seems to work.
Ten after one in the morning. I hear lights clicking on and off upstairs, I guess Gamma is wandering about.
Beta is still not home from celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Vienna. I just called her a few minutes ago. She was in good spirits. She tried to make a girlfriend talk to me on the phone. She wanted her to say, Buta wa buuu-buuu to nakimasu. I guess Beta is teaching her friends Japanese. She was wearing her Dropkick Murphy’s t-shirt, green striped socks and green Doc Martens when she left. And her fingernails were painted green. She painted them green this afternoon while I was kicking her ass at Sorry. That was after I had kicked Gamma’s ass at Sorry. And before I kicked Gamma’s ass again at Sorry, only Gamma said, before our rematch, that she was playing on behalf of Beta this time.
One fifteen now. Beta is still out.

I guess, I guess these retired guys who bag groceries tell themselves, the extra income is good and it’s a nice way to be among people and get a little conversation. I suppose it is. I suppose as a kid I would have been dismayed to learn that I would be doing what I am doing at my age now. In a way it is dismaying. In a way it is not. There are pros and cons to it. The life I lead, overall, is worth living.

There is new growth on the hydrangeas. Last night the cat jumped up onto the bed. I rolled over onto my stomach and he jumped onto my back and gave me a catupuncture treatment. Daffodils are blooming out front, and the plum tree is getting ready too. As soon as Monday’s snow is finished.

I could go on and on.

This morning, at breakfast

…Alpha and Gamma were reading the newspaper.

    Alpha: Oh, I can’t go running today. There’s an 3xhib1ti0nist fL4shing women and m4sturb4t1ng by the creek.
    Gamma: That the police sketch?
    Alpha: Yep. 1.75 tall, heavy build. Between 43 and 48 years old.
    Gamma: Can’t be dad, dad’s taller.
    Gamma: And not as fat.
    Alpha: And he doesn’t have a moustache.
    Gamma: Right.

Sheep number three

It’s all here: this is the last blog post you’ll ever want to read. Maybe even the last one I’ll ever need to write.

Continue reading