letting her digestive system sort it out
Friday, December 6 2019
Ramona joined me for an unusual Friday daughter-dog workday. On the drive in, I went out of the way to stop by the brick mansion on Downs Street to see if I could fix the pinprick leak in the boiler plumbing. I brought a five gallon bucket in addition to the usual soldering supplies so I could dump out all the water in the pipes that would need to be drained. Though only supplied by three-quarter-inch copper pipes, some of the older iron pipes going to the various apartment-specific zones are massive, perhaps because they had once carried steam. This meant that there was a great deal of water to drain, as there weren't valves sufficient to tightly isolate the fitting requiring resoldering. After dumping out twenty or twenty-five gallons of hot boiler water, there wasn't much indication that the pressure behind the leak was decreasing. Ramona was with me in the basement, and she was nearly as bored and fidgety as my bowels, which were communicating their impatience through the kind of cramps that precede explosive diarrhea. So after about twenty minutes of useless pipe-draining, I gave up, opening back up all the valves I'd closed and hoping water would flow back into the system. When I sat down in the car, eager to get the fuck out of there, the Prius told me that no key was detected. So I went back to the basement to look for it, but it wasn't there. With increasing despair, I searched the car, the basement again, and the path between them. It was 8:00am, and a little early to be calling Gretchen, but I had no other choice. At the first ring, I looked down on the ground behind the Prius and there the keys were! I let the phone ring a couple more times before hanging up; Gretchen probably wouldn't've answered it until I started leaving a message.
The snow is still over a foot deep on the ground, so I brought my rubber boots with me to work so as to better provide Ramona with the walks she needs. But Ramona wasn't particularly interested in a real walk until our last walk of the day. For that one, we cut down the slope to the grassy lowlands that lead to the new solar farm. A patch of the lowlands had been plowed out for use as a parking area for the solar installers, and we took advantage of that to avoid trudging throught the snow. But we were forced to cross the snow again when we came upon some Central Hudson employees blocking the way with a big pole-erecting truck, which had a massive drill bit hanging from a boom. The electricity from all those solar panels has to get onto the grid somewhere.
Ramona had a fairly uneventful day, though Alex had brought in a bunch of baked goods from a bakery in Tivoli, and Ramona kept sneaking over to the table where they were arrayed "just to smell" them. Ramona did eventually get to eat a baked good, but it was one she found that someone had thrown into the snow. When Ramona couldn't separate it from its plastic fast enough, she ate both together with the hopes of letting her digestive system sort it out.
All today it ate at me that I'd probably forgotten to open up one the valves I'd closed on the Downs Street boiler system. So on the drive home this evening, I stopped at the brick mansion to make sure that valve was open. At the time, the boiler didn't seem to be heating any of the zones, which seemed a bit wrong. So I rebooted everything (the boiler is computer-controlled and even has an iPhone-like touchscreen), and only then did heat start flowing to a zone, the one heating the building's water (arguably the most important one).
Back at the house, Gretchen had been toiling all day making a four course meal for tonight's dinner party. It was to be an odd mix of couple: my boss Alex and his wife Celia from Tivoli, another Bard professor named Phil from Phœnecia and his wife Carol, and Juliana and Lee from Woodstock (who didn't know the other two couples). The main course would be handmade manicotti (that is, pasta Gretchen had made from semolina flour), though there would also be a chestnut & mushroom soup and a kind of vegan ceviche made mostly from cauliflower. As always for our dinner parties, we started with cheese, crackers, and wine in the living room in front of a supercharged fire in the woodstove.
At dinner, Juliana regaled us with tales from her time as an actress and director in Hollywood. Later, we had a fairly long talk about politics, with Alex telling us his theory that Trump is the last gasp of the Republican party. Without him, he argued, it would go the way of the Whigs. He thought the center of the Right would then shift to libertarianism, though I disagreed. There are never more than a trace number of libertarians in the country, influential though they may be. In my opinion, the center of the Right would always be fanatical Christians, a group that will take generations to assimilate the reality that we're all just animals on a lucky mote of dust in the vastness of the Universe.
There was a surprising amount of drug talk given that the average age of those present was about 54. Two of the people there, and not the youngest either, were microdosing at the time on psilocybin mushrooms.
Depending on the changing topics of conversation, I inevitably get bored or otherwise find periods where I have nothing to contribute. I took advantage of these circumstances to wash nearly all the dishes (and there were a lot of them) well before people left, which they did promptly at 11:00pm. They had to do that together because they were arranged in a line in our driveway.
Ramona on the grassy lowlands behind the complex where I work. This is somewhat northeast of where a makeshift parking area had been plowed out. No humans (and almost no animals) had walked in this snow since it had fallen.
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