an endless series of possible band names
Sunday, January 29 2023
On most days, I have a list of things I'd like to accomplish, though it's rare that I accomplish them all even when the list is a modest one. Today's was fairly ambitious, and yet I completed them all. And that was after getting up late and spending the Sunday morning in the customary unproductive manner (that is, drinking coffee and playing Spelling Bee). At that point, Nancy came over with Jack and Gretchen and they went for a walk. Our dogs (Ramona and Neville) almost never accompany Gretchen on walks anymore due to their arthritis (or whatever), but they didn't want to let Jack down, so they came along, overworking their joints and making them somewhat miserable for the rest of the day.
When Gretchen was done with her walk and Nancy and Jack had left, I took Ramona and Neville with me on a drive out to 9W, where I had a few errands accumulated after a couple weeks of not running any errands. I needed a half gallon of gin, I needed to return some deposit cans (though at the 9W Hannaford there was a guy in front of me with two massive trash bags of cans, so I just abandoned my few cans for someone else to redeem). I had some groceries I needed to get: diphenhydramine, taco shells, bananas, and cereal mostly. Then I drove to to Lowes and got some replacement chain blades for my 18 inch Kobalt battery-powered chainsaw (the old blade wasn't working well even after I'd sharpened it).
Back at the house, I amazed myself by how quickly I solved a programming problem (involving a self-join in Linq, a query language for C# data objects) that had been troubling me in the remote workplace on Friday. Then I went on a small jihad to clean up all the woody debris in the living room. I also neatened up the massive indoor woodpile (which, sprawling well beyond the wood rack, contains more wood than I have ever previously piled up in the living room). Part of this involved removing all the pieces of wood that I'd had drying on top of the woodstove because I didn't want to model something so dangerous. This was because the house sitter for when we will be away in Costa Rica would be coming over this evening.
The house sitter was an Australian named Fern who arrived a little after 5:00pm. She'd driven in a pickup truck to the East from the Pacific northwest after having spent time there working in the field as an anthropology graduate student studying mostly-leftist survivalist communities. Her plan for while we were away was to work on her dissertation (she is enrolled in a PhD program at Columbia University). Fern wouldn't begin housesitting for a few days, and in the meantime she's staying with friends in Stone Ridge. We gave her a fairly complete tour of the house and then we all piled into the Bolt to drive to Woodstock. Some of the staff at the Garden Café were alarmed to hear that Gretchen had selected a stranger from a website to housesit while we would be away (something we have done numerous times in the past, mostly successfully), and they wanted to meet her for what Fern would later describe as "light vetting." But Fern is obviously a lovely person, as they could immediately tell. Over dinner, we exchanged various stories (including a very abridged telling of our love story). When I mentioned that I'd grown up in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, she said she'd just passed through there on her way from the West Coast. She'd be spending the night in the back of her pickup, and one such night was spent near a dock on the Shenandoah River near Luray, Virginia. There she witnessed a most peculiar sight: a naked couple arguing in the cold for hours on the river bank, illuminated by each others' flashlights (which, being Australian, Fern initially referred to as "torches"). Fern was full of interesting takes on various things, though the best thing she said was a quote from a friend, which was "What is speech but an endless series of possible band names?"
As for the food, Fern got the shepherd's pie, I got the mushroom panini (which I hadn't had in years; it was better than I'd remembered) and a glass of Montepulciano red wine. I forget what Gretchen ordered. At the end of the meal, Gretchen and Fern both got decaf coffee and I got a double (though it looked more like a quadruple) shot of espresso. Gretchen and Fern also shared a "controversial" chocolate cake made with red wine and goat-cheese-flavored frosting (they agreed that it didn't quite work).
Back at our house, Fern retrieved her truck and drove back to Stone Ridge, leaving us amazed at how well we'd done getting her as our housesitter.
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