Note 40: Errands and catching up

I need a vacation from me.

So apologies in advance for not making up last week’s newsletter. I had hoped to write something while in Hot Springs, Arkansas a week ago, but as a childless adult, I underestimated the attention drain having kids in the immediate area can be. This is not a knock on kids - I was so obviously engaged teaching how to play Mafia, building castles and desserts out of sand, and learning the intricacies of “The Floor is Lava” that I didn’t push out the promised newsletter.

And my backup plan of writing it on the train didn’t fly either. On Monday night, I boarded the eastbound Texas Eagle from the Malvern, Arkansas Amtrak station (in reality, an un-staffed covered outdoor area where locals passed along cute, but filthy, well-wishes using the cement slab as their medium). I had no problem going to sleep in my coach seat (unfortunately, no roomette upgrade for me this leg), but I did have problems waking up. I would wake up, feel a bit peckish, eat some Wheat Thins, and then nod off again. It wreaked havok on my reading schedule, but I did have some strangely-intense dreams on the rails through Missouri and Illinois on my way back to Chicago.

And once back in Chicago on Tuesday afternoon, I headed home to ditch my stuff, wash the smell of train off of me, and head back downtown for sailing class, where we attempted to use the spinnaker (unsuccessfully) as Chicago opted to keep it’s vaunted windiness to itself and leave us adrift on a very calm Lake Michigan. After that, I came home, slept in my own bed for the first time since the week before, and attempted to cram in a full week and a half’s worth of meetings into the final three days of the week.

So, if you’re wondering why I was unable to send something out last week - the simple answer is that my brain was basically over-extended Silly Putty that deserved to be tossed out for a replacement fresh egg that can copy newspaper comics again and/or serve as a deadly rubber projectile as you try to throw it hard enough against the wall to see when it will stop bouncing, and end up giving your sibling a gusher of a bloody nose, as you learn that your top throwing speed is not up to that particular challenge.

Weekend report

Given the week leading up to this weekend, the plan was to spend the weekend playing catch-up with my domestic chores, take care of some HOA business, and generally get my affairs in order. I opted to skip out on this weekend’s one-design regatta in favor of catching my breath, but failed(?) on that as well.

It turns out that my saboteur was Baby Grass.

As I mentioned in an earlier Note, after more than five years without proper irrigation, we finally got the water turned on to our sprinkler system and had the entire system inspected and repaired. It’s been doing well keeping the existing grass healthy, but I was only starting to see some of the seed I planted germinate when I left for Arkansas.

When I returned, previously-desolate areas were carpeted with a green peach fuzz as the grass decided to grow while I was away. (Thus proving the equivalence of “Watched Grass Doesn’t Grow” to the “Watched Paint Doesn’t Dry”.) Furthermore, we’ve been on pause with our landscaping company as we decide what we want to outsource and what we want to do ourselves, so I also had several weeks of Legacy Grass that was starting to get out of hand. So, on Friday evening - not wanting to fall into my normal vegetative weekend routine, I decided to break out our manual old-fashioned push mower and see how it compared to my weed-wacker-with-a-wheeled-base kit, and it ended up with me up around 7:30am this (Sunday) morning raking up the dead grass I’d cut over the past 48 hours and seeding approximately thirty pounds of Kentucky Tall Fescue into our parkway. In between all that, I’d given our sprinkler system another test and inspection, calibrated the heads to water the intended areas, and chat with a variety of neighbors who mistakenly think my Real Job is that of Property Manager.

So, given that I’ve basically exhausted the grass-related tasks I can do at this point, all I can do no is sit back and watch what happens.

After my final work this morning on the grass, I did enjoy a breakfast with a good friend, make it downtown to my favorite English-style barbershop to cut off the unruly mane I’d been growing since before Christmas, and do some clothes shopping. I also picked up a couple months’ worth of comic books I’m collecting for a couple of young readers and will be bagging and sending them out this week.

So, apologies again if you were expecting Big Thoughts on Important Matters. I’ll circle back to those as soon as I start getting used to my daily life again, but you might be holding that bag until next month.

Because I get to repeat last week this week with a trip to Tampa, Florida (flying out on Thursday) for the first post-COVID wedding of the season.

Pray for me.

Interesting watches and reads

Hell Yes, We're Going to Venus (Gizmodo)

Hell Yeah, Another Venus Mission Just Got the Green Light (Gizmodo)

The internet is flat. (Galaxy Brain)

Johnny Knoxville’s Last Rodeo (GQ)

Relativity has a bold plan to take on SpaceX, and investors are buying it (Ars Technica)

This Amtrak Rail Pass Lets You Tour the U.S. for Just $299 (Condé Nast Traveler)

Chuck E. Cheese was the fever dream of one Bay Area tech executive (SFGATE)

Chicago to Pedestrianize Three Major Downtown Streets for Summer Outdoor Dining (Chicago Eater)

We've Been Telling the Alamo Story Wrong for Nearly 200 Years. Now It's Time to Correct the Record (Time)


Let me know what the over/under is on me hanging up my mobile devices and compilers and striking out as a member of a landscaping crew, CMDRs.