special election in the 19th
Tuesday, August 23 2022
location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY
Gretchen got up early so she could attend a WNBA game taking place today in a stadium in Brooklyn at noon. Ultimately the game would be post-poned to 9:00pm, and Gretchen wouldn't end up attending and all she could salvage of her daytrip to the City was meeting our friends Anna and her wife and having lunch at Champs, the fun greasy-spoon vegan diner.
Meanwhile I began my workweek on a much firmer footing than I would have had I begun it yesterday. At noon I drove down to the Hurley Townhall to vote, and turnout was light, as one expects for a non-November election day. The ballots I cast were for both the primary for whatever district we're now in after redistricting (I think it's the 19th, but our house is very close to the new dividing line) and for the special election to fill the House seat for the old 19th after it was vacated by Anthony Delgado, who recently became Lt. Governor. That second race was a widely-watched one even on a national level, since it was predicted to be close, with a slight lead for the Republican, Marc Molinaro over Democrat Pat Ryan. People were interested in seeing if the polling methodologies that had undercounted pro-abortion voters prior to the defeat of an abortion-prohibition-permitting amendment to the state constitution in Kansas were similarly undercounting such voters in this district. [Ultimately Pat Ryan did win, suggesting that voter sentiment is indeed more Democratic than pollsters have been able to measure.]
After I'd voted, I made a detour to the Tibetan Center thrift store on Route 28, where I hoped to buy a bread knife for the cabin (something I'd wished we had last weekend). I didn't find a true bread knife, but I found several large serrated knives which would work. And out in the back I found a couple treasures: a motorized "box robot" kit, which contained a worm-gear system I might find useful, and small billfold-size digital picture frame from back before touchscreens. (Such functionality now exists on even the cheapest of phones, so it would now be considered obsolete for its intended purpose of allowing grandparents to carry around and display pictures of their larval grandchildren.). I also found a retro stool-chair with a pullout set of steps that I thought I could find a use for. All this stuff came to less than $12.
Since we got our harmonium a couple months ago, Gretchen has been trying to sell or give away our upright piano, which we've had since before we got married back in May of 2003. It's out of tune and needs some felts reattached to its hammers, but otherwise it's in okay shape. After considerable effort, Gretchen finally found a taker, a former colleague in the Bard Prison Initiative who had taught calculus to prisoners. Gretchen was out this evening, so I had to handle the social interactions necessary to see the piano off. Gretchen warned me that the woman taking the piano is super annoying, and I immediately sensed what the problem was within the first sentence from her mouth. It was familiar constellation of problems, including hyper-nerdiness and narcisism. One of the things that the woman told me was that she'd invited Gretchen over to use her pool many times, and that Gretchen had never once taken her up on it. Talking to her, I was sure Gretchen never would, even if her pool were the last functional one in the Hudson Valley. The woman had brought a little boy with her who seemed excited about the piano, so thought I'd show him the harmonium, as it was unlikely he'd ever seen one before. It kind of blew his mind, and he tinkered with it for awhile, pulling and pushing the stops and playing various familiar riffs that I would have no idea how to play. Within a few minutes, a couple tall young men arrived with a truck and trailer. They successfully carried the piano out of the house and strapped it down to their trailer; happily, I didn't have to do anything at all.
This evening as I took a bath, I could hear someone shooting monotonously (and occasionally rapidly) far away to the northwest. It reminded me how nice it was that Gretchen had managed to use her political savvy to shut down the de facto gun range down at the bus turnaround.
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