Mud, mud…glorious mud

Truck-in-ditch is now truck-out-of-ditch. Four hours of mudslinging and chainsawing and Sal and I got the truck out. Drove it out. Mostly, kinda….

To be fair, Chris (a neighbour) was going by just as we were plucking up the courage to TRY driving it out and he slung a tow rope on, too. So, he drove, we drove and we all drove out and onto the road together very nicely. Would we have made it without Chris? I think so but, if I was wrong, we’d be back in mud-hole #1 again. Stuck like pigs.

Basically, the ditch was deep, gluey and the mudder of all muds. Every time I got in, I could not get out. I just kept sinking. So Sal ended up doing the jacking (Tinkerbelle does not sink like Shrek does) and I was doing the other stuff…chainsawing, dragging boards, rounds…you know….manly stuff.

But, again to be fair, ol’ Sal was lying in the mud and squeezing under the car to find the jack-points (or a strong part) under which to place the jacks. I’d bring her wood for the jack to have a ‘footing’ but every jacking slipped slowly down into the mud so we had to jack and jam (with planks and stuff) and then jack and jam further along…..repeat until you have a wooden road that is about 8″ higher than the mud in the ditch. Took awhile.

But by 3:00 pm (we started at 11:00 am) we were cleaning up, packing tools, ropes, chains, and wood planks home (by boat) and generally feeling a sense of accomplishment. The truck was parked in the community lot, no one got hurt. Everyone got muddy. And this is being written with a glass of plonk in one hand with a strong anticipation of dinner in the air.

Does it get any better?

Into every life a little rain must fall…or….

….Sal’s car goes into a ditch. Same thing. Really. Kinda. The rain part, for sure…

NIce sunny day yesterday, tho. Sal is at the wheel in the ‘island car’. It is full of book clubbers and casseroles. Maybe some of that Quinoa-stuff if I know them. The car is not really running properly but no one’s car runs properly on the island and, anyway, this is book club day! So, off they go. Merrily chatting away. About a block or so into it (we do not have blocks but a similar distance) the car somehow, mysteriously, inexplicably moves to the left and comes to rest in a ditch. Quel surprise!

Oh, well…’s off to book club NOW (another truck came along) and ‘We’ll deal with the old Previa later.”

Today was ‘later’. And today it rained. And ‘we‘ meant me and Sal and a couple of kind hearted neighbours. And the ditch was filling with water. And the van was ‘a hangin’ on the road edge with two of the wheels in the ditch, the belly of the vehicle grounded and the other two wheels a little light in the slippers. Meaning: they slipped.

All wheels slipped. It is an all-wheel drive. But it is not a self-driving vehicle.

So, we all tied ropes and slung chains, used winches and little Japanese Kei-truck 4×4’s. We looked it over, we talked it over, and we interrupted our thoughts every 30 seconds with trying to discipline everyone’s dogs. All dogs were naughty and rambunctious. Lots of canine fun. Nothing got done. Car is still in the ditch. I ‘fired’ the neighbours but promised future work.

Tomorrow I try again. And then I will try some more. It will eventually get out. I really hope it gets out in time for next month’s book club.

“So, what’s the big deal, Dave? Cars go in ditches. That’s life.”

You are right, of course. Dogs, ditches, cars, rain….it’s all a part of life. If there is a difference worthy of a blog, it is simply this: in the city, you call a tow truck, pay some money and complain later that evening to some friends over cocktails and the most scrumptious new pate’ from the local artisan’s cheese shop…you know the one? Luigi is the owner? Out here there are no shops, no pate’ and no tow trucks. Instead I have a chainsaw, a shovel, a come-a-long and some planks. I have knowledge of leverage and first aid. It’s not the same thing.

I’ll get back to you……

The Basics

Yep. Back to the basics again. The water system again. It needs some attention or, better put, we need some water.

Well, that is NOT QUITE true – we have water. The water is currently trickling into the tanks at a rate that keeps us clean and hydrated but it is not really enough to fill a swimming pool, ya know? Our cisterns do not runneth over. I figure the flow rate at about 5 – 10 gallons per hour. That’s much reduced from something usually around 30 or 40 or more.

It could just be the system in general. It’s old. It is almost twenty years old and consists primarily of a kilometer of one-inch pipe running by just gravity from an upper source to our cistern. It’s black plastic 100 foot lengths joined with barb joiners or valves. And it just lays on the ground (over the years it has kind of buried itself). Animals occasionally chew it, a tree sometimes falls on it, one time a loose boulder crushed a section. It is NOT a robust system. But it works. Mostly. Thanks to Sal.

Of course it also freezes now and again. Typically, just at a ball valve or a barb-joiner. We likely replace and refit a dozen pieces a year. The rest of the pipe seems to weather the cold better but once in a while, we’ll discover a slit-crack in the pipe that gave up so the whole of the system is vulnerable. Just the ‘hardware’ is a bit more so.

We’d been out of water for almost a month during the cold snap but our cisterns were full so we ‘let it go’. The other day, the tanks were low and Sal and the dogs went for a reconnoitre. It was not all good news. Quite a few leaks. Different kinds. Cracked valves, broken joiners, some pipe splits and even a few random holes. Sal got on ’em right away. After three short work days, she still has a few to chase down but the main culprit seems to be a large fir tree that fell in an awkward spot and on top of the pipe. The pipe could be half-crushed. I’m gonna have to go up the creek and buck it up. January. Creek. Bucking in the rain. Damn.

But that’s the basics, for ya.

And then ya got yer gasoline for the genset. We have pounded through the fuel this winter. Probably 100 gallons and still pounding. Gotta get us some more of that stuff in. But that’s OK. It’s only money and the slow killing of the planet. We can do that.

Food is good. Kinda. We got some, anyway. Should be fine. But, damn, the food ordering delivery system is just not working out like I want it to. Well, actually the system is…it is the food that is not. The produce we get is so bad that dumpster produce is better. Last bag of potatoes, the bottom half was rotten. Lettuce is limp. Always something rotten amongst the greens. They are always ‘shorting us’ on something, too. Basics are not A+ right now.

“Geez, Dave! Y’all complaining about the basics!?”

Yes and no. I got to thinking about all the basics and what that means…to us it is basically what I just wrote about, food, water, fuel. But the ‘basics’ for most folks is a bit more complicated. Schools, roads, health care, police, insurance, communications, job, income stream. Housing! I mean the modern person has a lot of ‘basics’ to take care of. We don’t. Which is good because water is enough for us to deal with right now….

But then you got your airline system crashing, insurrectionists copy-catting in Brazil, 100% lying dogs getting elected (Santos), Bomb cyclones, floods and droughts at the same time! The war in Ukraine…good ol’ Covid and relatives gathering up steam…the dissipating Health Care system, the educational system for your kids, the cost of living….not a lot is going well these days.

The basics are getting pretty big, pretty complicated and pretty out of hand these days. Hard to take care of basics when they are all basically falling apart. Water and lettuce seem like the least of the things to worry about… we’re good.

Bonus blog (very little written content) because one literally cannot make this crap up…..

Pertaining to: the PRESIDENT of the United States!!!! A now anachronistic term no longer demanding the respect it once did. Same category as: White House, first lady, stable genius, great, patriot, trusted, GOP and lately, Democracy.

On the heels of Trump’s NFT launch (non-fungible tokens) following his treasonous insurrection, his theft of government top secrets and constant criminal and public wrong-doing throughout his lifetime comes the perfect family legacy follow-up. Those tokens …which are digital trading cards being offered to the public…..(there are hundreds of images of Trump in fantasy costume looking heroic and less obese) – like the one below, we are now gobsmacked extra silly by his first-born son, Donald John Trump Junior who has now additionally blessed us all in the family tradition of grifting and cheating. This time the Trump name is unashamedly associated with over-priced biblical schlock and drek…….

….you really have to see the website to believe it.

SHOP BLASPHEMY..………………………..’git yer red hot bibles and t-shirts while stock lasts!’

Meanwhile, the madness continues at the House of Representatives currently being held hostage for over three days by Lauren Bobert and Matt Gaetz plus 18 other Trumpist/disruptors all of whom are certifiably insane…..(that fiasco just ended on the 15th ballot)

…..including that over-the-top Newbie Rascal of the GOP, George Santos, the Brazilian fugitive who lied about everything (family, income, religion, education, resume, etc) and still got elected to the House (rep. for Long Island/Queens, New York). He gets a salary of $175,000 plus expenses plus other benefits for the successful grift. He will begin representing the ‘Merican people as soon as Lauren, Matt and friends finish up…..

The real madness of all this grotesque cartoon? Irony writ so large it is UNBELIEVABLE!!? Mr. Lying, cheating, fake Santos turns out to truly, actually, and perfectly represent at least 50% of ‘Mericans.

Weird Economics

Basically, economics is about human behaviour, especially as it pertains to the marketplace. It gets more complicated with all the other myriad influences we include or attach such as money supply, production limits, trends, interest rates and all the assorted detritus humans attach to getting their needs filled. But, it is all basically just a simple fulfillment issue run amok, if you think about it.

I mean: a bear gets hungry, walks through the woods to the river and catches a fish. Eats the fish. Then the bear poops in the forest on the way back home to his/her cave. Feedback supply chain writ simple. In effect, that is what we do when we buy a car or a house or even a salmon. We just complicate the hell out of it….even the pooping.

And I might have just about done the same. Almost…..(I like to think that I am just a smidge smarter than the average bear…..we’ll see)

I awoke from my cave one day and wondered if I needed a different car. And here goes the new ‘economic thinking’ on THAT process: My current vehicle is a sound, well-running, 2004 Nissan Pathfinder that serves our limited needs rather well. We drive little but we drive over bad, hardscrabble roads, in snow, always fully laden and with virtually no support services in case of problems. Reliability has been our key requirement and it has been rather well met now going on for twenty years (the last eight of which have been with us).

The next requirement we have of our vehicle is carrying ability. The more space the better. But we have dogs and they are still growing – and our sturdy little mid-sized SUV is not. Should I move up and out? Should I get a full-size?

Looking at say, a 2015 Nissan Armada (bigger brother to the Pathfinder and eight years old), most of the vehicles advertised already have 200,000 kms on the odometer or more. My 2004 only has 197,000 kms. So, there appears to be no advantage on an actual wear and tear comparison, largely speaking. My car ain’t worth a Tinker’s dam but the 2015 Armada example is in the $20K range so there is a lot of cost associated with a few extra cubic feet of cargo space.

Then there is the longevity factor….not the car’s so much as mine. We drive less than 5000 kms a year. The old Pathy is not even at it’s half-life. It will go another 200,000 kms rather uneventfully (with regular maintenance and a few repairs). In other words, if the car doesn’t dissolve, I could drive it for more than 40 more years! Mind you, when you are 115 it is likely one has cut back a bit on their driving so I might be able to drive it for as much as 50 more years.

Put more succinctly, my current car will outlast me. In fact, actuarially speaking, if I live to a reasonably expected age of 85...oh, hell…make it 90…..that is only 15 years or 75,000 kms! My car, at 275,000 kms is just middle-aged by that number. Me? I am compost.

So, the conclusion is that it is just bad economics to get a different car at this stage of my life. Even better, the old Pathy will likely even see Sally out a further 15 years down the line when she is 100.

The dogs are just gonna have to squeeze up a little…..

Real economic consideration factors in depreciation. The revelation for me was that, in this case (changed perspective), the depreciation is not applied to the car, it is applied to me!

‘Stralia’s tree changing

It seems there is a noticeable and growing domestic migration happening in Australia in which urbanites are relocating to smaller rural and distant communities. This phenomena is referred to as ‘tree-changing’. Typically Aus, ‘tree changing’ is a modified form of the better known phrase, a ‘sea change’ but, because everyone is moving inland from the urbanized coast, they made it a ‘tree change’.

Nomenclature aside, demographers have reported that this ‘movement’ started before Covid but definitely accelerated after the epidemic took hold. It seems the movement was originally started by degrading liveability, the high cost of living in the cities and, in particular, the high cost of housing.

They didn’t say it but I will…I think that the aging of the baby boomers added to the mix as well. We stereotypically see the city as the place for the young to grow their careers and get into the gene pool. And many of us also see spending our latter years at the cottage. So, to my way of thinking, the exodus was further spurred on by aging boomers seeking cottages. Or, to those like me, hating the same ol, same ol’ rat race. Regardless of how you put it, hitting your senior years is, for many, a catalyst for making a change.

Personally, I was a bit surprised it took so long…….I am referring to a smaller, weaker form of tree changing happening to the more desirable locations in Canada, too. New Brunswick is growing. Alberta is growing. And BC and Nova Scotia are in a continuing expansion not in the least restricted to the urban centres.

But there is a marked and measurable counter-movement to the exodus that accounts for some of that surprise. And that is the cost of living coupled with the lesser skilled labour force following behind the boomers. It seems a lot of folks who planned on retiring not only can’t afford to stop working but they are being courted and wooed to stay at their jobs longer!

I read the other day of a guy working in Walmart at the ripe old age of 82 who was finally released from bondage by a Go Fund Me contribution of $175,000. And there is another 82 year old working at another Walmart now the subject of another Go Fund Me effort.

“So, Dave, what is the point?”

…..umh….I dunno…..maybe that the rural exodus will continue, housing prices will rise in small towns and level off in cities? Or, maybe that there will be a mini-boom in rural entrepreneurship as spoiled urbanites demand their special coffees and better restaurants even in Spuzzum?

I suppose – if I had to take a guess – I would venture that this ‘sea change/tree-change’ will have major repercussions since it is bucking a long standing, historical march to urbanization that started way back with Industrialization and the Enclosure Acts of Britain in the 1700’s and has continued and accelerated in so-called developing countries like China to this day. We have been living increasingly ‘URBAN for centuries and now, now that urban has become less livable and surpassed rural in population numbers, that trend is reversing…..somewhat…..

….couple that with climate change awareness, technology, environmentalism and population abatement, could we finally, possibly be unconsciously setting one step forward on a long path to sustainability and better living?

Too much of a stretch? Well, it is January first. New Years Day. And I am looking for some good news to share. So sue me! But, before you do, have a better year in 2023. I hope we all do.

Winter, Xmas and all that OTG sort of thing….

We went down island to Victoria for Xmas. We left our OTG island on the 22nd. Turns out that was the last reasonably safe day for travel. Or, so they said. Our trip out started early and first required the assistance of a friend who picked us up in his boat on our island and who then dropped us on the other island (the communal dock there is too small for boats to stay there for more than 48 hours so our boats stay home). We had pre-packed the car the day before. It was a bitterly cold morning going out and, of course, the old logging road was covered in snow and the traction was iffy. But, no trees were down and the old Pathfinder really performs well in snow. It is a very well balanced 4×4 SUV and we have really good tires. No problem.

I bought some lumber in Campbell River to do a small repair on Grandma’s house, filled the liquor request and, after gassing up, headed off. There was one more chore a few miles down the road – take the dogs into a DIY dog wash and clean em up. And so, an hour later, we all headed South somewhat damp. It all went well until the very southern part of the island and, in particular, Grandma’s neighbourhood not far from Langford. There the snow was pretty deep. Cars had spun out. Littered in ditches. Roads slippery, icy, treacherous. But, again, we lucked out and made it safe and sound.

I won’t bore you with the whole itinerary but suffice it to say, we are always dependable in the foolish department. We pack whatever time we intend to be there with so much activity it is ridiculous. And the older we get, the more ridiculous we are. We never plan a nap-time for instance. Rarely plan for traffic. We were there for four days (plus two travel days) and, of course, we planned enough events to fill out a week. And we seem to overdo it that way every time!

Anyway, a Xmas of chaos ensued and kids, dogs, babies and grandparents were hugged and kissed, a turkey was devoured, a bunch of presents were exchanged and there was the obligatory dog-on-beach walk (Sal’s family is British, after all) and, of course, we stocked up at Costco for our run home.

The run home back up island is more daunting than the trip down because we have to catch a ferry, cross an island and travel by boat at the end of the day when it is getting dark. And we have a ton of stuff. Catching the ferry and maybe a storm on our home waters and the goal becomes a bit more stressful as the time marches on. Plus we need another pick-up at the dock. However, despite all the warings to “STAY OFF THE ROADS”, we made it and got home just as dusk settled into evening. BUT………………………

…………….and this is the tiny, non-story that makes the point of the blog. When we got home late in the day, the house batteries were dead. That means the funicular won’t work. If the funicular won’t work, everything we are bringing back has to stay in the boat. We, of course, can get into the house and get it warm but the water system won’t work because the pump needs juice, too. Clearly we have to address the electrical requirement first by getting the genset up and going. The genset has to run for about an hour and half to get the batteries up enough that they can operate the funicular. So, in theory, we have an hour or two to kill before we finish the final packing and unpacking to actually make our return home complete. BUT………….

…… turns out we also had a so-called ‘KING’ tide during the time we were away. Our typical ‘really high tide’ might be as much as 17 feet (rarely). Usually 16 feet is the highest. But this ‘KING tide came in at least two feet higher and, worse, there was a storm out of the Southeast at the same time. Storm surge. That made the King at least a 20-footer. I built our lower deck at the 20’ 6″ level. The dock at our neighbour’s (where we tie the boats) is set to adjust right up to 19 feet. The anchors we used (being a bit tight) held the dock under water a smidge and the storm surge swamped over the docks. Our neighbours down the way have a similar height ramp-and-dock and the docks floated two feet higher than the ramp leading to them. And, behind the head of the ramp, is a large half acre area of land used to for storing materials and ATVs and such. It had two feet of water over it. This King tide was higher and wetter than anything previous. This one was a record.

Turns out we have three or four more in store but each successive one is a few inches lower and no storm surge is expected. That minor crisis seems over. Amazingly, there seems to be no damage. The neighbours dock needs some adjustment and there are trees all jammed up in it but we can handle that today. My electrical winch on the lower funicular must have gotten wet but it was still working. The genset put the juice back in the batteries. We’ll get pressure water today. And the house is now warm. Not an unusual homecoming all in all.

The dogs are ecstatic, Sal and I are happy and all is good in our world right now. But…….

……who knows what 2023 will bring…..?

Foot in mouth (platonically speaking, of course, old chap)

My mother always told me (the first time I recall, I was eight years old!) that there are only three topics of interest in any kind of real conversation; “Sex, religion and politics!” Coming from my mom, I took that statement as a universal truth despite not really knowing anything about any of the three subjects. It was total gospel to me. I took it to heart.

I also grew up (my teenage formative years) with “Tell it like it is!” , “Be real!” and “Lay it on me, man!” as popular dictates of my culture. Despite my own tendency to embellish, exaggerate and occasionally mislead and manipulate, I came to admire the blunt, straight-forward approach in others. I even invested in it somewhat myself. I kept a side account of tact, diplomacy and well-crafted sentence structure but the truth ingredient was always the most important part said out loud…. (if anything had to be said at all).

I am sure you can imagine how many times that approach DID NOT SERVE ME WELL!

I am gonna tell you about one of them.

Sal and I were in our 50’s – already together over thirty years – and we were visiting Sal’s parents. Roz and Pete were well into their 70’s and had been together 50 plus years. They had, as they say, standing in the marriage longevity department. And there were things I wanted to know about getting old. And getting old together.

One night over gins and tonics (maybe the third round), I asked, “So, guys…..I am honestly NOT asking anything personal here. Seriously. Honest. I am just looking forward and want to know how my life will likely turn out……..”

Peter said instantly, “Your life will be fine. Don’t start….” (He had a sense of me….)

“Ha, ha. Seriously. Here’s the question… septuagenarians still have sex? I am not prying into your personal life, honest, I just wanna know about your cohort.”

“Our what!?”

“You know…the demographic group you belong to? You must know about how life is amongst your silver-haired peers, right? Seniors talk. You know…right?”

“We’re British. We do not talk about that sort of thing. Nor will we. Ever. Why do you want to know, anyway?”

“To see if there is a reason to live?”

Sal gasped. Her father looked stern. Her mother’s eyes bugged out. “Hey! I’m only kidding (I wasn’t). It is just a question. You guys are our role models in a few, very limited and rapidly diminishing ways. But I do not need personal stats here, Pete. I just wanna know if old people still couple.”

“Go ask some old people!”

Later that night when we were in bed, Sal asked, “How could you ask my parents that?”

“Well, I wanted to know. They are old. They must know. Sex is a normal, healthy aspect of life….so long as you are still living of course. I made it clear I was not prying into their personal lives but, rather, asking about their peers, their overall life experience. Can’t we even talk about sex, say, to parents? What about religion? Or even politics?”

“Oh, my God, no! We’re British. Mom and dad do not even know how each other votes! They do not believe in God. I think. I am not sure, actually. I don’t know. We can’t talk about that sort of thing. We talk about the weather, fer Gawd’s sake. Gardens. Maybe dogs. You know that!”

“Well, I did kinda notice that over the years and I have even cracked a few jokes about it but no one acknowledged the jokes. I kinda thought that they were still a bit leery of me.”

“Well, of course they are. That’s true. Who wouldn’t be? But I must admit, it has been thirty years. Mind you, I am still a bit leery of you myself. Look at tonight!”

“OK, fine. I’ll just talk dogs and weather while pouring G’s and T’s. But, between you and me, what’s your opinion on sex into your seventies?”

“Not a chance. You can kiss off your sixties, too, Bub. In fact, the jury is still out on the rest of your fifties!”

Merry Xmas, guys and gals. 2023 will be better. If we make it……

An anecdote rather than a story….the title should be: For the want of a tug the boat might have been lost.

To tell this non-story, I have to first set the scene. It was (and still is) very cold outside. Yesterday it was -4C and, with the windchill, much lower. The wind was blowing down out of the North from Bute Inlet at about 22mph and gusting over 25 now and then. The seas were nasty little frothy bumps with a bit of spindrift. Short, close and choppy, they got meaner as the seas marched in tight little lines heading south. North of us, the channel was in the lee of an island and the seas were a bit calmer. There was no boat traffic on the channel. Sane people stayed home.

But it was bookclub day.

Sal headed out in her little 17′ boat and bobbed and ploughed her way over to the other island to pick up three more septuagenarians joining her in this casserole and eggnog enhanced December deathwish. She did not go quickly but the five or so knots of forward progress just added to the windchill. The bow of her little boat was a sheet of ice.

Their destination was another home 400 feet up a goat-track back on our island and so Sal’s path was a two km rough-ride zig followed by another jouncy 2.5 km zag. Once arrived, other old Lemmings joined them in two separate 4×4’s and they headed up the cliff to the party house (to all leap off the cliff in unison?). Scrambling and clawing speed up that hill is about 7 to 10 kmh and takes another twenty five minutes. Overall distance: about 10 kms. Time required under adverse conditions, about one hour and 15 minutes. Room for error? Zero.

They all chatted and had a fine time and then, after a few hours in the hostess’ home without ever taking off their coats, they piled into the trucks and crawled back to our island’s community dock and Sal’s boat. The island-side ladies, granted a new lease on life, headed back up the main road to their homes. Our intrepid four, headed out once again to tempt fate.

The wind was just as bad. The cold was just as cold and the seas were, perhaps, a smidge worse but at least they were going with the waves instead of against them. I watched through binoculars the small speck that was Sal and fiends (the ‘r’ purposefully left off) disappear into the other-island shadows of the late day but she was close to the other dock and I was sure she made it that far. A few minutes later, and 3 passengers lighter, she was slowly surfing along the tops of south-heading waves heading home. It looked horrific but not beyond doable. It was on the wrong side of the edge-of-reason but not by too much.

As I was speaking to Sal on the walkie-talkie the dogs were eavesdropping and, as soon as we stopped talking, they wanted out. They know that my talking on the radio is an indicator of Sal getting home and they wanted to run over the peninsula and greet her.

A few minutes later I got a call. “Unh, Sweetie? This is Sally. The controls on the boat have frozen and I was about to crash into the dock so I headed back out and killed the engine. I am now drifting down channel and fending off the rocks. Can you come get me?”

I dressed up and ran over to the neighbour’s dock. The dogs were staring out to sea when they saw me and came to communicate something was wrong. I continued to the dock but they must have thought I was daft and so they headed south along the peninsula because they saw Sally drifting that way.

My boat is covered tightly in tarps. It would take forever to get the tarps off and, as it was, it took awhile to untie the frozen lines. I got the boat running, left the tarps in place and looked for Sally through a small porthole-sized opening at the front and by hanging my head out the side. I found her, she took the bow line and tied it to her bow. I then went astern for about two hundred yards towing Sal back to the dock. Elapsed time from meeting dogs to returning to the dock ….maybe 35 minutes. That part was difficult because the tarps made it impossible to see backwards unless I left the helm and stuck my head out. A few peeks and a strong familiarity with the locale made it doable.

We got back. We had a short discussion while tying up about discretion being the better part of valour and the importance of knowing limitations. And then I fixed her controls.

When anyone reaches seventy or beyond, some of their previous abilities are lessened. And Sal has always suffered from cold hands. She cannot feel her hands in the winter and especially when it is as cold as it is now. And that is true despite wearing heated gloves! She was doing what she was doing with virtually dead hands. “How much force did you use to try the controls?”

“Twice what I normally do.”

We took each other’s hand and she pulled on mine to demonstrate the amount of force. Chihuahuas that fit in women’s handbags pull harder. I had used a bit more force and used my bare hand on the release button. I could feel the release. I know that she could not. That was the difference. I gave her hand the same tug and it was about the pull of a non-purse toy Poodle. “Oh! I didn’t want to break it so I didn’t pull that hard.”

For the want of a tug……..

This morning it is just as cold but not quite as windy. Sal was scheduled to work the post office. Normally, I do not try and tell her what to do. Waste of time. She makes up her own mind. This morning was different. “Unh, Sal? Yesterday showed that there is little room for error in these conditions. I suggest you NOT go.” She made a few calls. Explained the situation. Another worker closer and already on the island wanted the work. Sal employed the required discretion this time.

I kinda hafta…but I really don’ wanna…..

….talk about Trump. I am so sick of him and his crap….like most people, I guess. But, like a circus clown trainwreck that just keeps happening over and over and over in the centre ring, he has just outdone himself in absurdity. It really is mind-blowing. Monks that set themselves on fire in protest of something look sane and logical compared to this mindless carrot of a person (I know, it should be ‘caricature‘ but he’s still so orange, ya know?).

Trump supposedly released a series of Non-fungible Tokens or NFT’s for sale yesterday. They featured him (of course) dressed in all the costumes of the Village People and a few extra ‘looks’ just to add a touch of vomit to the collection. Each digital edition token cost $99.00. They were available for one day. Forty five thousand of them were offered. Today, Trump announced that all 45,000 have been sold. That amounts to a one-day internet sales event that grossed (how appropriate) $4,455,000.00.

Which is, of course, complete and total BS. A total lie. Another fabrication to add to the virtual metropolis of fabrications that has marked his time in the public eye. The only way that many transactions could take place in that short a time is if some Russian oligarch, a Panama account of Trump’s, a month of pre-sales to GOP idiots and/or a combination of the above were used to make the purchases and, knowing the great dissembler and con-man, that assumes the NFTs were ever even made available at all.

It is good marketing 101 and so much easier to hawk your wares and then say to the first customer, “Sorry, all those sales-priced units are gone. Try again next week. We are getting in a new shipment but they will be regularly priced at $299.00. Sign here if you want to be notified.”

This is such a blatant, kindergarten-level con, it’s embarrassing just to watch it play out. Some of those convicted and going to jail for the January 6th debacle have been quoted as embarrassed by it and even Steve ‘Mr. Brazen’ Bannon announced, “OK, This has gone too far!.” If Roger Stone distances himself, you’ll know the bottom has just been breached.

Trump was the President of the United States. Potus. He held the most powerful position in the world. And he’s an idiot. He played the American people for fools and, despite the overwhelming proof of that, he is still doing it. How can as many as 30M ‘Mericans NOT see that?

That Trump can still make the news instead of a suspect line-up is shocking and embarrassing for the country. That I cannot resist mentioning it embarrases me, too. But what it says about the world we live in is just plain frightening. We are all affected by this and we continue to be.

We need a superhero.