The inevitable mess from progress

The dog had different ideas about where things should go.

My house is a mess, but I am not bothered by it the way I would have been in the recent past. Things got done. We just haven’t cleaned up the inevitable mess from progress.

Much of the mess is from the creatures that live with me. With increasing heat, my adult cats found the courage to face the big dog and the tiny kitten that had scared them into the garage and the yard beyond.

My Problem has returned

They have found their way inside, and established that they are bigger than the kitten – and do not want to play. Also, Pippa (the dog) mostly remembers she’s not supposed to chase cats in the house.

Problem is even here helping me xfutkdo right now.

A better photo of Rey’s damn dog

My humble residence has become the party spot for Rey’s gang of friends. Because it is an actual house with a working TV you can play games on, and an actual yard you can smoke in while you pretend to play with the dog.

That leaves the kind of mess you would expect.

Some of that mess is from creating things. Rey creates long,mutant attrocities from old Furbies and a stash of sewing supplies.

You can buy this from her.

No photo description available.
Not one of the pets.

Long time readers (meaning from the start of this year – or four posts ago) may recall that Cheryl and I were on the verge of running a vendor booth at the Las vegas Pirate fest and tpoints beyond. That would have been in April – so it didn’t happen.

But we still have inventory – all over both of our houses, and I hope to have a website to hype by the end of the month.

Verity and Rattletrap in their natural habitat.

Last week I wrote about the truck – which I have named Verity – and how I got what I paid for. I paid more – the radiator cracked in addition to the wonky brakes, but all is relatively right now. She is road worthy, unless you try to stop for fast food. Then you will learn that the windows will not go down.

I’ll care more about that when it stops being 106 at night. (that’s right – as I write this, at nearly 10pm, it remains 106 F outside.)

(Still better than snow, as we say in the valley – but I begin to have my doubts.)

It’s a mess now. Cheryl (my girlfriend) talked her mother into selling the house her mother no longer actually lives in, and the worst outcome came to pass: it sold nearly immediately. This meant a lot of trips to Congress, a lot of moving crumbling cardboard boxes in the heat, and hauling loads to Las vegas and Phoenix in verity and the ressurected trailer I liberated from Cheryl’s mom (who does not have the means or inclination to tow it).

I call the trailer Rattletrap.

A trailer can sit for 20 years and still work if you:

  • Grease the bearings (not complicated, but extremely messy)
  • Replace the tires
  • Replace the wiring and lights.
  • All told about $250 and a bottle of whiskey for the hero who helped me grease the bearings.

It is harder to teach yourself to tow it, especially an old one with a short tongue, but I got it from Congress to Las Vegas to Congress to Phoenix without undue disaster, and it now sits in my yard.

A scene from the last episode.

My game room is covered with Go Action Fun Time game materials and artwork, all being scattered by the dogs and cats. I am trying to get regular episodes going on Discord (that’s Zoom for 20-somethings, being both irreverent and free).

A few lessons from that first session:

  • It was suprisingly painless to make a fill-in PDF for charater sheets. Perhaps my Adobe subscription is worth something after all.
  • I need a table mic. My current system works for me facing my laptop, but that’s not how I run games, particularly with people also playing in person.
  • I might have to look into some dice-rolling bot.
  • It is possible to play You-Tube videos (or other sound sources) such as the unofficial GAFT Theme song (an acquired taste – you were warned!) through discord with the aid of some bot the kids hunted up for me.
  • Discord runs in the background unless you actually disconnect from the session, so your find can come on-line and haunt you for several minutes until you figure this out.
  • The Go Action Fun Time discord general sever can be found here: https://discord.gg/tQrW5a

I’d update the writing – but look at the time: It’s 10:48 pm, and the temperature outside has plummeted to 103.

Now we know.

The illusion of a secure perimeter

When one door won’t close and another door won’t open, it’s time to replace both of them, and that’s what happened. After 15 months on the property phase one of my renovation plan is complete. I have secured the perimeter.

This was supposed to take me four months. But the costs were higher than expected (which you’d know if you read the last entry) and my life is a balance of many things at once.

Because I can get away with it.

KIMG0777.JPG

New door in an old house. 

The fencing is fixed, the exterior doors have been replaced, the most troublesome windows have been summer-proofed and the swamp cooler has been brought back from the dead.

One of those doors is open now, because it is inexplicably 70 degrees in late May.

My grandfather, who built the Arizona room that comprises the rear portion of the house, saw fit to reinforce the bottom door jamb with galvanized fence tubing. Which is very innovative if you never want to replace the door. But if you do,  the door guy earns his fee by spending two hours cutting the thing away with a grinder.

Thanks Grandpa. (I say that a lot when working on the house – in that tone.)

My girlfriend was in town last weekend, so word count stopped at 3500, mostly Jack and writer’s group.

My Thursday night writer’s group no longer meets at the Armadillo Grill. The meeting space we have used since way back when I ran this group’s predecessor has been converted to the manager’s office.

So we have landed at the Duck and Decanter  at 1651 E Camelback – basically across the street.  That worked well last week. Sandwiches aren’t the same as fried calamari, and serving beer is not the same as being a bar, but we had a quiet table, good light, food and beer. I’ve been worse.

Of the many things that Cheryl and I did over the weekend, what was most interesting is what we did not manage to do. We drove north on Monday wit the intent to hike the fabled West Fork of Oak Creek. (Yes, this is in my book: Five Star Hikes Flagstaff and Sedona, along with every other relevant hiking guide ever printed.)

Wfork Wilson home.JPG

I took this for the book, but it looked just like this – only hailing.

 

We drove north, however into dark, gathering clouds and plummeting temperatures.

 

 

 

 

Consequently, I can report that the Colt Grill in downtown Cottonwood is an excellent place for a burger and beer and maybe a flight of whiskey samples, and, unlike the Oak Creek trail, we were not getting hailed upon while we enjoyed it.

colt-inside

Whiskey good. Hail bad. 

If I have a point here, it’s that success, or just getting away with it, is determined as much by how well you recover from mistakes as how well you avoid them.

Sure, I could’ve checked the weather first. But if I’m honest with myself, and by extension you, I would have gone anyway.

But Cheryl might have brought different shoes.

Now we know.

Weird facts about my Soul

KIMG0762

A few years ago, I traded in my Chevy Sonic for a 2013 Kia Soul. My children rejoiced, saying, “Look! Dad finally has a soul. I mean, it’s black inside and full of garbage, but he finally has a soul.”

Then, “Can we borrow your soul Dad?”

And so forth.

My 2011 Chevy Sonic, for context, was a panic buy to replace my beloved Equinox, which had a gas tank issue. Once your wife is envisioning your vehicle going up in a ball of flame, you have no choice but to sell it.

The Sonic is like a sports-car made by east European communists. It’s is surprisingly fast (because it uses the same engine block as the larger cars in Chevy’s fleet car line) and handles decently, because it is small. And everything in the interior feels cramped, just like a sports-car. But it is a fleet car, engineered to fall apart after 80k miles or so.

While I could drive it like a maniac, putting four adults inside felt like a clown car stunt, and things were starting to fall off. So we went to the dealership and came home with the Hyundai Veracruz, and my Soul.

Early on in my ownership of it, someone asked me about it, and I told them that it was the best MP3 player I had ever driven. They do seem to have put more thought into the media system than any other part. The speakers have LED rims that change color with the music. I never saw that as a selling point when I purchased it, but they have come to amuse me.

KIMG0760

Its is boxy, mediocre in both acceleration and climbing, and the fuses jiggle loose from time to time. It has no roof rack. You will feel every bump in the road – every one. Those are my complaints. All of them.

Four adults can fit within with some dignity. I can actually fit a lot of things in it – for boxy=roomy. When I moved 1000 feet north, most of the things made the journey in my Soul. My lawn furniture and gas grill came home in my Soul. But it’s not a truck, so people don’t ask me to move stuff for them all the time.

It has a tight turning radius and a relatively high ground clearance. It gets around 20 mph even when I drive it the way I do. I made it 80K miles before it needed any major service.

KIMG0761

This might be its best feature!

Of course, I need it to go another 60K miles at least. I have three years left on the $15k note secured by my Soul that is generously valued at about $5k. How the hell do you get $10k upside down on a car loan?

You wreck a car without the means to make a cash down payment, or even cover the insurance deductible. So you find yourself at the mercy of whatever scheme the dealership puts together. The Soul (and the Veracruz) were the fourth generation of cars coming off the lot with this debt still buried in the financing somehow.

When we bought it, this Kia Soul had a big rebate, so magically, this is the car they buried that debt inside.

I owe a lot more on my Soul than my Soul is worth. My Soul has been used to hide previous sins.

KIMG0759

I do not own my Soul.

Somehow the only name on either the title or the loan paperwork is that of my (soon-to-be-ex) wife. She does not know how that happened either.  She has a completely different car now. The Soul remains my primary vehicle, even though, after the divorce, I will have no legal ownership of it.

Sometimes, when I project the payments out over time, I daydream about saving up a down payment, and just leaving this thing in the parking lot of the credit union that actually owns it. But that would be Wrong.

After all, I’m the one who wrecked that car I have yet to finish paying off.

In a year at RC Lurie I put 20k miles on that car. That’s a fact that will shut a car salesman up about leasing options. Those are hard miles, city traffic, construction sites, lost on back roads. My Soul has already taken a beating.

I have become fond of the Soul I am driving to death without any real hope of ever paying off. Good thing, because I just dropped $800 on brake repairs and a long list of maintenance items.  (My local mechanic is a master of never fixing just one thing, and since I cannot abide multiple trips to the garage, I am his lawful prey here).

So I choose, for now, to keep my Soul, even if it isn’t legally mine. It works for me. And there is speculation that Kia cars can go 200k if treated right. So maybe I can get mine to 140? We shall see.

And I can always add a roof rack later.

Consumer Reports on the 2013 Soul. They even make a little joke about the interior.