backwards

I can neither confirm not deny that I heard the non-orchestral version of this song while waiting for food and then downloaded Wax Tailor’s entire œuvre.

The first time I ever drove was when I was in elementary school. An extremely hungover Theresa ordered food from the seafood restaurant around the corner. It was simple enough: A left, a right, a right, a right a right, a right and the park. Only three instances of oncoming traffic, one of which at a traffic light. Technically not even out of our neighborhood. I made it down our street well. I stopped at the stop sign. I tried to turn left and careened into a ditch because I did not realize how far one needed to turn the wheel to make a car make a 90-degree turn. Years passed before I got behind the wheel again.

Fast forward to Maryland when I was an early teen. My brother-in-law at the time knew I was going to learn to drive soon and figured he would give me some pointers.

“Driving backward is hard,” he said (or something like that). “If you learn that first, going forward is easy.”

Well, he had an early 1980s two-door Oldsmobile Delta 88. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s 218 inches long. That’s comparable in size to the Chevrolet Suburban. I shit you not.

So, here I am — 14 years old — having my second driving experience ever wheeling a vehicle in one larger than a goddamned Chrysler Pacifica minivan backwards. But I did it. I was mortified, but I did it.

But I typically avoid going in reverse. Back into a space? No. Back down a  long driveway? Watch me lose my nerve and run off to the side. Get out of a tight space? Witness this 10,000-point turn to turn my car around first.

That all changed recently.

I’m chalking it up to how I learned to parallel park when I moved to Richmond. (If you don’t know how to fit a 190-inch car in a 200-inch space, you aren’t parking in that city.) I now park in a parking garage every day at work. Occasionally, parking there is pure garbage, and the best and only way to get into a spot is to back in. The alternative is to go up a level or two. I never take the elevator, but I’ll gripe about having to take the stairs all the way to the top, so I’ve started backing into spaces to make them work.

I have been backing in like a dream. I’ve even been backing in at home lately.

Once you go backwards with a 18-foot, two-door car, throwing anything else in reverse when you don’t overthink it is a piece of cake.

But don’t ask me to back down a long driveway just yet.

redesign

This EP is giving me life right now.

I blame my job for this. We got a new website a few days ago, and I wondered how long it had been since I’d tweaked this site. It’s looked the same since March 2013. Well, I changed the header image twice since then, and changed the fonts, but the overall look of the pages was the same for more than five years.

I snagged a new free template. Until such a time that I constantly update this site, consistently say things of value and have exponentially more readers, I’m not shelling out money to pay for a premium one or get one custom made. But I’m beta testing the new text editor, hence the drop caps and the fancy subheds in the Voyage XX entries. I haven’t had drop caps since I had to hard code them in LiveJournal in ye olde days. Everything still is in reverse type because I like black backgrounds. Not since the blog was called The Springhouse has there not been a header or background image. Back when this blog was called Langley Park, this was the background image:

This took a few tries because I didn't know what I was doing.
The crappiness of that digital camera turned this flame green.

Also absent in this new look is my favorite shade of green. I could have made the background that color, but I can’t figure out how to override the color for the headers. (Probably because this is a free template.) But the green resembles the mint green of my new phone’s power button, so it works.

This is what I’ve done instead of gearing up for the City Council meeting that starts in about 18 hours.

it’s not that bad, pt. 2

I completely forgot there was a new Muse album. It was a pleasant surprise.

Saturday

For obvious reasons, it was extremely slow going Saturday morning. For a chunk of it, we watched Bill and Karen’s kid play and closely scrutinized children’s songs and the videos accompanying them. Eventually, we felt up for the task and Bill, Brandon and I got ready for our day out. It was the day of the Kansas-Kansas State game, and we couldn’t get tickets. It was cold, so I’m a little glad we didn’t. 

We took an Uber into Aggieville. I deleted my Uber back when it was fashionable, so I would have gotten a Lyft. But, if I was in charge of hailing a ride, we would have missed out on our delightful driver. A native Texan, she immediately told us not to be alarmed because she needed to take her knife out of her boot because it was uncomfortable. She then went on to regale us of her verbally abusive childhood. But, seriously, she was a hoot.

Our first stop was Kite’s Bar and Grill. It was crowded, as was every other place in Aggieville, so we spent the entire duration of the football game standing or leaning against the bar. I had nothing but water, for obvious reasons, and some of the surprisingly delicious nachos they served.

The most disappointing thing about this entire trip was that I didn’t really experience a lot of local food. I was warned that this would happen.

After a football’s game worth of water, I recovered enough to head to Keltic Star Public House, where the hair of the dog, a lamb slider and rebel drumsticks rejuvenated me. From there, we called Karen to pick us up and went to So Long Saloon to some more drinks and its chipotle raspberry and black bean dip. Bill and Karen did not tell us there were raspberries in it before we tried it because it sounded a tad odd. I would have tried it anyway, though. (It was spectacular, by the way.)

Back at Bill’s house, we analyzed the absurdity of children’s programming once more before I drove us back into Aggieville and we headed to The Varsity Truck.

I keep forgetting to do Alt Text. Butts.
One of its slogans is “The Varsity Truck for some late night back alley fun!” Oh, college towns.

The Varsity Truck is the back half of Varsity Donuts. Legend has it that the historic building housing the doughnut shop lacked a kitchen and the shopkeepers were not allowed to install one. The solution was to permanently park a food truck in the alley to cook.

As this is a college town, drunk students were lured into the alley by the smell of doughnuts cooking in the moonlight and began asking for food. This led to the truck becoming a late-night food spot. Its wares include corn dogs (I love corn dogs, so of course I got one) and grilled macaroni and cheese sandwiches. (I love the occasional gross, fattening food, so of course I got one.) We ate them in the alley as The Walking Dead played on mute and a grossly inappropriate song — I think it was Andy Gibb’s An Everlasting Love — played.

We ended the night with ranting at Tiny House Hunters, which might be my new thing, and the house was asleep by 11:30. Because we’re in our 30s, and multiple days of rallying all night long are out of the question.

Sunday

After waking up at about 8 a.m. and subjecting ourselves to more children’s programming, Brandon and I decided against breaking our ride back into two parts (I initially planned to stop somewhere in Kentucky). When then dedicated the day to Karen. She’s been as much as a integral part of our college experience as Bill. And before Bill and Karen were dating, our road trips began to include her (which led to me realizing Bill liked Karen before Bill knew he liked Karen).

Karen gave us a driving tour of the city that included all of the places that weren’t Aggieville. Although we went to Aggieville. I needed to get a magnet for Renée, and I also got a key chain. Because why not?

As the tour began winding up, Karen mentioned that there was a winery. So we went.

I didn’t take a lot of photos, and this was the only one I enjoyed.

The winery was called Liquid Art. We each did a flight and briefly sat outside. It took a while for us to figure out the fire pit, and then the wind picked up.

Back inside, I decided that the winery’s boldest, reddest wine was pretty good. But I decided against buying a bottle.  On the way to Kansas, we brought in Virginia beer and cider and Kentucky bourbon. There was a brief mishap with the bourbon in transit from St. Louis to Manhattan, so I decided against carrying any other quantity of booze over state lines. 

Unless the ghost of Burt Reynolds could be my blocker.

We could have been East Bound and Down, though.

Afterward, we went to Little Apple Brewing Co., where the featured meal was Memphis loaded sweet potato fries. I ordered supplemental food, because I wanted soup and it somehow didn’t register that a flatbread was a small pizza, 

While we were eating, Mandy visited because I hadn’t seen her in seven years and just getting a cup of coffee just didn’t seem right for the only other person who know as much as — if not more — about me than Bill.

FINALLY, A LOCAL RESTAURANT.

 After Mandy left, we decided it was time for dessert, so we headed to Vista.

If I hadn’t had entirely too much food that day, I would have gotten a Vistaburger. Although it’s a hamburger, I at least would have been able to say I ate something unequivocally local. Instead, I got a hot chocolate float. I’d never heard of one before, so I guess that counts.

We wrapped up the night with more Tiny House Hunters, two shots and a beer and an early bedtime so Brandon and I could hit the road at 6 a.m.

Monday (and about 40 minutes into Tuesday)

Brandon and I woke up at 5 a.m. so we could leave by 6 a.m. Brandon had to get to work on Tuesday, so we had to get going early. If we only stopped for gas, we could have made it back to Charlottesville by midnight. I was shooting for 12:30 a.m. (and I probably would have made it too, if I noticed like all the locals that there was a cop up ahead, as I mentioned in the first part).

Once we got to the St. Louis Metro area, I drove the portion that I missed while passed out in my backseat and completed driving the entire length of Interstate 64. I stopped short of doing the entire Hampton Roads Beltway earlier this month, so I can’t say I did the entire thing in less than a month. But I did it. I’ve wanted to do it ever since the early ’90s, when I found out where 64 ended.

We made a few stops in Missouri to get gas and then for me to get a Mountain Dew. I was still a little sleepy when we started, and nothing perks me up lie doing the Dew. I rarely drink it because a 20 ounce bottle keeps me moving for about 18 hours.

Oh, I forgot to mention that it snowed from Kansas to the Mississippi River. It wasn’t sticking to the pavement, but that was awful. It was also interesting to go from scraping ice and snow off my car to effectively driving into a sunny fall day.

We didn’t make another real stop until we grabbed food in Mount Vernon, Illinois. It was an arbitrary stop, but we went from Manhattan to Times Square.

Yes, it’s at Broadway and 42nd.

Seriously.

Again, we did not plan this at all.

A few hours later, after stopping for gas in Kentucky, it began to rain. A lot. A whole lot.

And it was foggy in West Virginia, too.

But I soldiered on.

“Years of playing driving simulation video games with a steering wheel and gas pedal prepared me for this,” I said to Brandon, who sometimes woke up to me more or less navigating by dead reckoning along some higher elevations.

We got back at 12:40 a.m. The rain still was coming down in buckets. The Mountain Dew kept me up till nearly 3 a.m. I slept until nearly noon Tuesday.

I’m grateful that tomorrow is Friday.

All in all, I greatly enjoyed this trip. Again, it was great to see people I’ve known for between about 13 years, in Karen’s case, and as much as about 25 years, in Mandy’s case. (Mandy and I knew of each other since fourth grade but didn’t truly become friends until 10th grade.)

That saying about being able to pick up where you left off with good friends is true. If stepped into night out with Pete and our banter felt like my favorite, most comfortable pair of shoes. Both coming and going from Kansas, Brandon and I went a good four hours before the conversation tapered off. Bill, Karen and I have have quiet and raucous times in equal measure so mostly sitting on the couch as their child played seemed like a natural progression. I talk to Mandy so much, there wasn’t exactly much to catch up on. Unfortunately, we’ve drifted away from some of our mutual high school and college friends to the point that there isn’t as much gossip as there used to be.

Since I’ll still have three weeks of vacation to Renée’s two, I might split those days into weekend trips to St. Louis and then another trip to Manhattan.

Although I want to explore St. Louis, I’m looking forward to returning to Manhattan more.

This is the key chain I bought.

If you didn’t see this coming, I’m disappointed in you.

it’s not that bad, pt. 1

This song really is unrelated. I just happened to hear it a few minutes ago.
I didn’t grasp why everyone ahead of me slammed on their brakes until it was too late.

Thank you, Sgt. Wooten. I was absolutely going well over the speed limit on Monday when you pulled me over on Interstate 64. Everyone else with Indiana plates was doing it, so I figured, when in Rome, do as the Romans do.  I guess that only counts when you have Indiana plates.

When I pulled over, my first thought was, “Well, he’s got me dead to rights. It kinda sucks because I’m certain a lot of people were going faster than me.”

That was true. Those faster people weren’t stupid enough to continue driving slowly so he could catch up. But I’m 35 years old. Fifteen years ago, I probably would have punched it, and I would you be telling you the funny story of how the home stretch of my trip went disastrously wrong.

Thursday, Nov. 7

It was sleeting in Kansas when Brandon and I left. I was told that it wasn’t likely to stick to the roads, but it was a little disconcerting. Either way, Kansas is good at clearing roads, Bill said, so there shouldn’t be a problem by the time I arrived on Friday. Bill called me at 9 a.m., 8 a.m. his time, to tell me this news. My alarm had just gone off. I was set to leave at 10. This definitely was going to be a TauDelt adventure.

Bill, my best friend and best man, currently is stationed in Fort Riley, Kansas. He plans on leaving the Army soon, which is why he bought a house. His current plan is to finish his masters and become a history teacher. He and his wife — Karen, a friend from college who also is a great friend — decided they were fine with settling in Kansas because they were surprised that they were OK with living in Manhattan, Kansas.

My reasons to visit Bill and Karen a week ago are varied: I’d been meaning to visit Bill since he finished basic training. I wanted someone to go with me so it could become a grand adventure. I wanted to take a road trip with fraternity brothers like in the old days. Due to where they lived, I could fulfill a childhood dream of driving the entire length of Interstate 64.

Everything finally came together.

The plan was simple, and it managed to stay simple. Brandon and I were going to power through Thursday morning and arrive in St. Louis in time for another brother, Pete, to get home from work. On Friday, we would go the rest of the way to Kansas and see Mandy, my friend since Hampton City Schools, on our way to Bill and Karen’s house. On Saturday, we would spend all day out with Bill. On Sunday, we would start the first leg of our trip. Monday would be the remainder of the drive home. On Tuesday, I would sleep.

Pete partially threw a kink on those plans. We expected to stay at his place Thursday night. I only wanted to buy a hotel room for the ride back because, again, I wanted to have the whole crashing on couches or whatever experience. At the same time, I also did not want to be stuck in horrible conditions, so I figured we’d have to get rooms both coming and going to Kansas. Pete on Wednesday night said we couldn’t stay at his place. Old Pete wouldn’t have given us that much notice. It wasn’t too bad — I would have liked to have locked in a lower hotel price — but we were at the Hotel Avyan, which wasn’t that far from his place.

In West Virginia, we stopped at a Wendy’s. The cashier called me Eleot. That’s a new one. Also, that sandwich wasn’t as awesome as the name states.

The drive there was pretty uneventful. The weather was great, and when we stopped for gas in Louisville, we also found this curious fellow.

Stop giggling at the name of the tutoring place next door.

“Is that? …” Brandon said.

“That’s a Kroger-brand liquor store,” I said.

I had seen a Kroger that sold hard liquor the first time I was in Indiana. This was the first time I’d ever laid eyes on a standalone Kroger liquor store.

Since we were in Kentucky, we had to get bourbon. I decided that that I was going to get something that I’d never had before. One charming little bottle caught my eye because it made a bold statement. I like bourbon, so I decided that I would be the judge of that statement.

It was called Old Bardstown. It said it was ruled the finest bourbon in Kentucky. I took a photo of it, and I could have sworn I downloaded it with the other photos from the trip, but I did not. I could just hop on the app and do it from there, but I’m testing out the new CMS for this entry, and I don’t know if I can do that without undoing everything I’ve done thus far.

Anyway, it was very smooth and delicious. As far as I can tell, it isn’t sold in Virginia. Bill said he really likes Four Roses, and that’s sold in Virginia, so I’ll settle for that for now.

But enough about the bourbon.

After we were settled in St. Louis, where it was sleeting, we met up with Pete and his girlfriend. We barhopped, but I only remember one of them because I had a tab at two, Mission Taco and The Beale on Broadway. The night was a bit of a blur. Because it was a good night.

Friday

Technically, we did not check out on time. I set an alarm before we went out, and that two hours wasn’t enough. As I was having an extremely tough go a things, I told Brandon to go downstairs and check out for me. He got down there right before the buzzer. I crept out about a half an hour later. I’ll say I was about at 70 percent at that point. It didn’t help that we were up for a very long time, too.

We then met up with Pete to get lunch. We headed to Southern, which touted Nashville hot chicken. It wasn’t melt-your-face-off hot like Prince’s, but no one can compare to Prince’s. 

Spicy foods are my hangover cure. This wasn’t spicy enough, so I passed out in the backseat while Brandon drove across most of Missouri. 

I woke up about when we needed to stop for gas. While Brandon pumped, ran over to Sonic. What I should have done is gotten this vaguely racist pizza.

You eyes deceive you not.

Really? Really? Trap Haus Pizza?

If you can’t read it, the slogan is, “It tastes so good, you’re trapped for life!” It’s probably good, but it’s also attached to a gas station. But that’s probably what makes it good.

I was back at 100 percent, so I got back in the driver’s seat.

As we neared Kansas, I found that Mandy’s husband had been transferred from Leavenworth, so I was meeting her in Manhattan. We got coffee at Bluestem Bistro in Aggieville. We didn’t have an awful lot to catch up on because there are times when we talk as much as we did in person. But I haven’t seen her in about seven years.

When I wrecked Nicole back in January, I lost my dad’s commemorative plate for when he was stationed outside of Savannah, Georgia. My mom found it a while back and gave it to me. I had all intentions of putting it on my desk at work but I kept forgetting. In the wreck, I was in a spot I couldn’t readily see when I was cleaning the car out and I didn’t realize it was there until I turned over the keys.

I recently posted on Facebook about how I wish I had it still, and people suggested that I contact the 260th Quartermaster Battalion and tell my story. I hadn’t gotten around to it yet, but Mandy’s husband, Mike, saw it.

While we were in Bluestem, Mandy told me that Mike obtained a challenge coin for me. I quickly looked at it and pocketed it because I knew if I acknowledged its existence any longer, I’d make like a Carrie Underwood song and not cry pretty. 

That night, after we got to Bill and Karen’s and drank in the basement, I went the room I claimed and held that coin for a long time. It’s now in my wallet. After I measure its diameter, I might buy a holder so I can wear it as a necklace.

That singular event was worth the entire trip.

the pears of mary lee’s corner

A few minutes ago, I ate a fresh pear. My mom bought some and forced me to go home with them when I packed up from visiting over the weekend.

I can’t remember the last time I had a pear. Although I eat vegetables for fun, I rarely buy fruit.  And when I do, it’s almost always a grapefruit. There was a time when I ate more fruit, sometimes for free. Especially pears.

Some of the homes on my block were the second or third generation from after the farm that once was there was subdivided. Several of the lots with newer homes featured fruit trees. A few doors down was a peach tree. We had a cherry tree. On the corner were several pear trees. It was an older building, so it either was the inspiration or a coincidence.

That corner lot housed a corner store, some small apartments and the home of the proprietor. The portion of the large, rectangular building that was Mary Lee’s home was a maze. Before I knew that it was Dickensian, I knew that home felt Dickensian. The troubled boy she adopted briefly was my friend. Before he compelled me to sever our friendship, fell into more trouble than someone our age should, wound up in Florida and received a life sentence there, we tried to get pears before they fully ripened and began to rot on the ground.

We’d throw rocks or the ball we were playing with or any other object to rattle the branches enough to send some down.  When Mary Lee caught us, she’d yell and I had to go home. When she didn’t, we’d run off with our unripe bounty, ignorant of stony and bland not being the flavors associated with them.

I was expecting this pear to be a challenge to bite, be flavorless and remind me of relatively innocent times.

It was soft, had a taste close to the chunks in heavy syrup and did no such thing.

dreams

My suspension of disbelief is terrible.

I blame it on horror films.

My mom loves horror movies, so I was exposed to them at a young age. To spare me from going insane, my mom went through great pains to explain that they were only a movie, people liked them because they either liked being scared or saw them (and myriad other reasons), it would be all over the news if it happened in real life and it was all special effects.

I stopped watching them because I picked up on each one ending with the opportunity for a sequel, and I wanted something with a definitive end.

This inability to fully enjoy something fantastic has bled into my subconscious.

If I dream about being able to fly, I say, “Wait a minute. This is impossible!” and I wake up. A talking animal or inanimate object? Ice cream grows on trees? Something that traditionally is a nightmare? A little voice announces that it isn’t real and wakes me up. Back in college because I didn’t actually pass a class or something? Completely rejected and sent to the waking world.

Unless I have a lucid dream and play around in the space or a dream is framed in being a film, I dream about going to the grocery store, having conversations with friends, driving somewhere, going to work, so on and so forth. It’s a little bothersome because I’m afraid that I’ll reach a point in my life when I’m not certain whether something actually happened. I sometimes remind myself that a married couple I once worked with being in a ’70s folk rock band and this information not coming out until another former coworker who also is a DJ noticed them on an album cover when he was digging in the crates did not happen.

The worst was when I was in high school. I went to bed on a Monday night and dreamed about getting up on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The dream included getting ready, riding the bus, going to class, going home doing homework and going to bed. When my alarm went off and morning news program mentioned it was Tuesday, I had to explain to the rest of the house why I was shouting, “TUESDAY? TODAY IS TUESDAY?”

This even comes into play when I have routine dreams with deceased people.

Except for one exception.

Last night, I dreamed of going home. I took my niece and one of my nephews on a college tour. Their mother went with us.

My brain doesn’t cancel dreams with Theresa in them. It definitely has tried, though.

I’ve had the realization that a dream was impossible because my sister is dead. It didn’t end the dream.

I don’t even get the reminder anymore.

In a way, they make me appreciate the plausible slice of life dreams. I like having the occasional conjuring of doing the normal, boring things with my sister I never got the chance to do.

Thank you for at least let me have this, brain.

300 miles for carbs

I didn’t intend to go to Maryland yesterday, but there I was with my wife and dog, on a hill near where the Atlantic Coastal Plain transitions into the Piedmont in Anne Arundel County.

We were at a Chick-fil-A in Crofton.

IMG_20181027_184353_2

For some reason, retail establishments on hills that tower over the neighboring commercial landscape are amusing to me.

A few days ago, Mandy (I feel that enough time has gone by in this blog that I should start reintroducing people. Along with Bill, I consider Mandy to be my best friend. We have known of each other since elementary school and have been close friends since high school.) alerted me to Chick-fil-A testing out macaroni and cheese at select locations. The story about it listed some faraway places and, vaguely, Maryland.

I don’t eat a lot of carbs, but I love mac and cheese, mostly because it involves one of my favorite foods, cheese. Since moving away from home, Wawa has been my go-to for it because I can get it fast and it is a tolerable approximation. I wondered where it would rank in my “eh, this isn’t like from home, but this is fine” list.

I immediately told my wife, and Renée searched for locations in the state. I figured it would be in a well-populated area but just far away to not say it was in a large city.

I was spot on.

We joked about going.

Then, on Saturday, I didn’t have anything pressing to do.

“Wanna go to Maryland to get Chick-fil-A mac and cheese?”

So we did.

MVIMG_20181027_184840

It’s real.

Nearly three hours later (there was a wreck on Interstate 66, so we had to cut through Fairfax County on Braddock Road), we were there. I got a large, because one simply does not travel across state lines for food just to get a small.

It’s good.

Really good.

Surprisingly good.

Lately, I’ve been trying hard to not eat out that much. I fell back into the habit when we moved and didn’t buy groceries for about a week. But, if this gets expanded, I don’t feel like cooking and I don’t want to wait for a full-service home-style restaurant to serve it up, I’m there.

Being that this is a Georgia restaurant chain, it was very Southern. The cheese sauce had a rich creaminess that doesn’t come out of a box. There were bits of crust mixed in because it was finished in an oven either in-house or from wherever it was trucked in. (Proper mac and cheese goes in the oven for that crust. It didn’t have bread crumbs because that is venturing into full-on casserole territory. I would have been annoyed by that.)

I’m saying it: It tasted homemade. If someone brought it to a potluck, they could totally pass it off as their great-aunt’s recipe. Sure, you could get the same taste if you just pull out your great-aunt’s recipe or find a locally owned southern/soul food restaurant, but a place with a drive-through window pulled it off. That was the point of this trip: to see if a fast-food place can pull off what takes at least 40 minutes to prepare properly.

Also, it was an exercise in reminding ourselves that I almost always have weekends off now and the Baltimore-Washington metro area isn’t that far away.

By the way, The Lord’s Chicken did not pay for any of this. But, if you would like to give me money for eating things, I might consider it.

of a sofa and things

IMG_20181017_201725_01.jpg

Despite protestations from friends, I got the one that matched our dining room chairs.

I need to get back in the habit of posting more often.

So, I bought my first adult couch. It makes everything seem so weird now. I mean, we’ve had furniture before, but this makes it feel real. A friend donated our dining table and we bought chairs on a whim one day. The TV was a Christmas gift. Replacing the mattress didn’t feel like a milestone. But when the delivery men struggled to put this thing through my oddly shaped foyer, I said to myself, “Holy crap, I’m an adult.”

And then I inadvertently had caffeine that night and planned out all the other furniture I want to get.

It goes without saying that we are not moving out of this apartment anytime soon.

Anyway, we then had a staycation of sorts.

It wasn’t our intent. I need to burn 10 vacation days, and for some reason, we tried to plan out our vacation dates through texts and screwed up a little. I had plans to take my nephew on a college tour that Saturday and Renée thought she had an event to attend on Sunday. Instead, both things were canceled.

We got bored.

We drove to Washington, D.C.

The only thing we did there was let Missy out to pee on the National Mall.

The following day, we went to Winchester because, like me, Renée has a goal of seeing all of the regions of Virginia. I’ve been to 36 of the 38 current ones, and I’ll hit 37 next month. I’ll end this one day with Norton.

I’ll hit Covington because I intend on taking a road trip to Kansas to see my best friends, Mandy and Bill. Bill and Mandy’s husband, Mike, are stationed there, so I’m killing two birds with one stone. I’ve promised to visit both for years and never got around to it.

At the least, one of my fraternity brothers is going with me. I’m hoping for two. It’ll be Voyage XX, my 20th blog-worthy trip. I’ll hit 28 states. I’ll see the entire length of Interstate 64. I’ve been wanting to do that nearly my entire life.

I need to get around to getting my oil changed, brakes checked and making certain I won’t have a mechanical surprise in an exurb of Evansville, Illinois.

BUT,

Before we get to that, I’m seeing Death Cab for Cutie live tomorrow. I won’t wax poetic about it again.

ALSO,

I am officiating a wedding on Saturday. A friend’s officiant was unable to officiate, so I petitioned the courts one more time so I could do my second. I have about 1½ pages of things to say, because I am a good friend. I wind up editing it every time I look at it because it’s what I do. And because I’m a good friend.

A good friend who is coming to grips that, at some point he became an adult.

so long, sofa

So, I discovered that there’s a nearly six-minute version of the revamped Bob Newhart Show theme song, and it has been giving me life this week.

Especially in light of a death in my household.

20181004_014950

October 2015-October 2018

Our living room never grew up.

The living room at my first apartment in Richmond was a little tight, so a real couch would have been a bit much. Also, there was the whole question of getting it into the apartment.

Since I didn’t want to bother my friends with the whole “can you help me move my couch?” thing (again), we snagged this futon from Walmart one October night in 2015. It was comfy and had no real problems, so we never considered upgrading.

Well, once we got more space, I wanted an armchair, a new TV and a proper stand for it all, but there’s nothing truly wrong with what we have, so I never got around to it.

Well, now there’s something majorly wrong with the couch.

It was one of those things that you buy with the understanding that it’s going to fall apart in the stupidest way in a few years. I half-seriously said we had two moves before it broke.

We made it to two.

When I put it back together in March, I discovered that I was a little overzealous when I put it back together in the 2016 move, so the plywood that the screw went into came out with it when I disassembled it for the most recent move. Eventually, a brick partially supported the middle section.

And then some springs gave way on the left side.

And, tonight, total failure.

The two middle supports were the only things keeping the couch in one piece. The rear one failed, and I don’t have a second brick to prop it up. Additionally, it really needs more than two bricks to salvage it. So it shan’t be.

In the next 72 hours or so, I’m buying my first grownup couch (never mind the living room set I was given in 2006). I’m a little excited.

Except for the whole getting the couch into the apartment thing.

 

 

apartment ‘d’

This is perhaps the first time in the 14-year history of the viaduct that I’ve actively censored something. It’s because a situation like this never happened before, so I never set a policy.

So, my policy is this: I’ll censor images, because you can easily hide swear words if you’re reading this in mixed company.

That said, here’s what happened today:

I woke up to take Missy for her morning walk. and when I got to the landing, I noticed an object roughly between my door and the neighbors. What is was didn’t register for a second. I said to myself, “Is that a package?” I shit you not.

It was a package, all right.

It was … well … a martial aid.

Excuse me, sir, but are you lost?

And by “marital aid,” I mean “big, black dildo with a suction cup.”

My guesses are that he was not properly secured in a bag and fell out, someone thought it would be funny to put him anywhere in the complex or both.

I also got a suggestion that the only and most logical explanation is that it’s fraternity rush season. I don’t think any undergrads live this far away from Grounds, but if you’ve followed my life for any length of time, you know that stranger things have happened.

It could be a variation of the vintage TVs being left on Henrico County doorsteps. I am not making this up, and I hope this link is stable for a very long time.

After texting the uncensored photo to a lot of my friends (sorry, not sorry), I punted it down to the next landing.

Needless to say, I haven’t been able to take anything seriously today.

As of 7 p.m., he was still out there. It was getting dark then. I hope his owner finds him and gets him out of the cold and damp.