Sorry to be so late today and not to have written a post yesterday.  Yes, I was still doing home improvement work, and we didn’t even get to the tiling, though we’re hoping to do it this evening.  By the time it was time to do it, we were so tired we were a danger to ourselves and others.

When I finish this post, I’ll go downstairs to finish the cabinet work, so only the tile remains tonight.

A bitter cold has set in, so cutting the tiles outside is going to be “fun.”

We’ll warm up a little in the next week, but right now it reminds me of the ionic autumn of my childhood, what I think of when people say “November” (which accounting for differences in altitude is about the same as October in CO.)

When you say “November” I think of tendrils of cold fog, of wood smoke, of grandma in her patio, breaking wood for winter.

I think I’d been very ill, when I saw her do that, because I was surprised at how cold and dark it was, and took great comfort in knowing grandma was preparing wood for the Franklin stove in winter.

I think she was sixty three, so seven years older than I’m now, which is weird, because in my mind I’m still that little three year old standing in the doorway, watching her break wood.  I’m still startled she’s gone, every time, and she’s been gone 26 years.

Our minds don’t age with your bodies, or not the same way.  I mean, I hope I know more and am more mature than I was at three…  At least on the good days.

But I keep forgetting I don’t have the energy and the strength of my twenties.  I’m so completely not in touch with my body, that I’ve been very worried all through September by my inability to write.  I thought there must be a psychological reason for it.

That is, until I got up early on Friday to do some work for PJ and found I couldn’t, and realized it’s not block, just bone-deep weariness.

I swear I’ve not been doing that much, just a little work around the house, stuff that would have taken me a few days 20 years ago.

TWENTY years ago seems a lifetime away.

And part of the problem is that I’m now feeling better, which feels like I woke up after a 20 year long slumber.  And I’m not as young as I used to be.

It’s nothing serious… yet.  It’s just getting tired a little earlier, running a little slower, not having as much upper body strength.

If I can figure it out, I’ll be fine.  Hopefully by May younger son will be off the payroll (he already lives elsewhere.)  And older son should be fully independent by the end of the year and married early next year.

That’s not so hard to get used to.  I’m ready to stop being mommy (though I’ll always want to see them) and pay more attention to my writing, my career, and, most of all, my husband.

I can see glimmers ahead of a new phase in life.  Grandma lived to 88 and was clear and able to the last week of life.  I’m hoping (at least) for the same.  And I’m looking forward to it, in a way: to a time when we’re just responsible for the two of us, and can come and go as we please, and be spontaneous if we wish.

The natural preserve behind the house is full of gold and red as the leaves turn.

Yes, Autumn was always my favorite season, and as my life is about to enter it, I’m trying to figure out how to make it very good indeed.

But now I have some cabinetry to finish.  Before the snow comes.


129 thoughts on “Autumn

  1. Maybe cabinetry, come the snows for me. Roof above all, first (oh, stop that groaning in the back), then I need to fix the front driver of my truck so it can be a 4×4 again. Then once it gets to cold, I do things in the house, though my other motorcycle needs that alternator swap finished, and I should …. um, yeah

      1. We got two inches here in north-central MN Thursday night. A bit early, but it comes when it comes.

      1. got more done today, after work, in between raindrops. not roofing, just the scaffolding but it all needs doing, so, any is good. was able to work longer than I expected.

  2. +15°F. (-9°C.) this morning up here on top of the world.

    Alas, with four score years under my belt I quite understand what you’re talking about Sarah. My project now is replacing a leaking pipe to the downstairs bathroom sink. Sixty years ago I’d have it done in a few hours, forty years ago in a day or maybe two. Alas and alack, I’m now a week in to the project and need to run to town to exchange a mislabelled line I’d just purchased for the job. Oh well, hopefully we’re learning to work smarter, even if we are a wee bit slower. 😉

    & oh, a bit of unsolicited sage information based on my own experience, that I thoroughly enjoy sharing with “young parents” such as yourself; The first fifty years of raising them is the hardest, it gets easier after that. -grin-

    1. Nah. Never gets ‘easier’, we just quit telling you stuff.

      2001. Getting ready to send my barely 12 year old off with 120 other scouts & leaders for national jamboree. Grandma & grandpa were over & she mentioned “remember the buddy rule” (which, yea had been mentioned more than once.) Of coarse the kid says “I’m 12, not 2.” Grandma just laughed.

      Grandma turned to me, now in “mom” mode & says “And you be careful. You aren’t traveling with anyone when you go.” I was going to staff … Me: “Mom, I’m OVER 40!”

      Mom: “Well, yes. But you know your dad’s & my trip down south last month? My mother told us to ‘pay attention, stay together’, and We’re Over 60!!!!”

      Parents never stop being parents, even when the “Kids have grandkids” … and in some cases “great-grandkids” …

      1. When you’ve got a really bad memory, it’s easier to forgive those reminders – sometimes they are needful, because you forgot what it was they are reminding you of!

        1. It’s not those little things- I remember those. It’s the names. I can remember faces. I can remember general facts, like how to rebuild my old radio set. Names? Unlikely.

          And where I put my tools. I have a good toolbag that’s on it’s last legs, patched with duct tape and stitched back together with nylon enough it’s more patch than bag these days. Every tool back in it’s place and I’m good. Checking it is a habit.

          I’m good with forgetting what the latest faux-outrage of the day is. Temper tantrums bore me. Moreso when enacted by children who should by rights be responsible adults, with jobs, and actually *doing* them instead of annoying other folks who are… actually doing their own jobs. In a week or so it’ll be something old that’s new again.

          Forgetting the point of what I was about to say, now that’s gotten old already. Where was I again? *chuckle*

      2. Except when your parents are dead. Mom’s been dead for 40 years. Dad’s been dead for almost 30 years.

        1. Yes. Left off the “until parents are gone” part explicitly. We redid this (kid started it) for 2005 national jamboree, when he was 16, mom was now over 70, me at the 50 mark, grandma & grandpa were 92. We lost grandma & grandpa in 2006, just 8 months later, 3 weeks apart. Mom is still going strong, she’ll be 84, this November. Lost dad in 2009.

  3. Autumn? So far it hasn’t shown up in the Piedmont of NC — yet.

    I am beginning to fear that we will have the least attractive of the local variations: two weeks of chill rain, the leaves all turning a dull yellowish brown or brownish yellow and gone.

      1. Oh, I am so sorry.

        I live at the intersection of several determining factors of the east coast weather systems, so our weather can be all over the place, with many sub-seasons. One of our more peculiar ones is ‘coconut season’, a brief period of very warm weather in winter where the college girls come out in scant clothes to ‘get some’ sun. It is named for the pervading smell of the sunscreen they use to baste themselves.

        1. Our current weather is usually “If you don’t like it, wait a bit. It’ll change.”

          Time was, when the weatherman said chance of rain 90% or greater, you’d get wet. Around 70 or less, clear skies or cloudy with nary a drop. Any chance of rain in the teens was pretty much a guaranteed deluge. Had snow in May the oncet. Also had a near 70 degree day in February, as I recall.

          When the storm clouds come, they either hit the mountain wall and skip right over (and we miss out on the wet part), or they sit a spell until they shed enough water to lumber over. It’s how we got the snow the coast was supposed to have got the one year back in the nineties, when there was snow clear down through Tennessee and the Carolinas measured in feet even down in the vallies that lasted a month or more.

          A good wet autumn usually brings the leaves out a treat. There’s several folks I know who make a few pennies taking pictures of the roads I roll down every day, and selling them to folks far away that might ought to know better. *chuckle*

          Appalachia may well have a rare kind of beauty to it. Hard for me to say. It’s home. Home is comfortable. It has that everyday kind of art to it that fits, both in memory and in current perception, the way things should be. It is neither the big, wide sky of the plains nor the sandy coast, not the swampy bottoms nor the snow capped mountains, it’s not old the way Europe is old, nor ancient the way the few intact ruins in Mesopotamia are, just old the way an ax worn down to the last hard sliver of steel is. There are patches of wildflowers and blackberry bushes likely older than some states around here, and caves that were hollowed out long before mankind got around to poking his nose into new continents.

          Of course, you can’t *really* wrap your brain around such things. We still measure things, at a gut level, around ourselves. How far we can reach, how much we can carry, that sort of thing. Time and timelessness are rather more slippery. They tend to pass when one’s not paying attention, I think.

          1. “it’s not old the way Europe is old, nor ancient the way the few intact ruins in Mesopotamia are, just old the way an ax worn down to the last hard sliver of steel is. ”
            That was lovely.

        1. Been very wet here in Dallas. I think we have a Mediterranean climate: Hot and dry in the summer, and cold and wet in the winter with sometimes a little snow.

            1. I’m off to work in Darwin NT with muggy clear 90s. My wife says they’re blowing snow at Mt. Rose our local ski area. I’ll miss fall altogether. I’m getting paid to avoid raking leaves.

      2. It’s still Almost-Winter, Winter, Still-Winter and Fire for our four seasons. (In good years, substitute Construction for Fire.)

        We’re edging out of Fire and nearing Almost-Winter. We’ve had several hard freezes (26F), so the fire trailer needs to go into the somewhat heated barn. No snow yet, but the month is young.

        The contractor doing the ground mount for our solar system finally got free, and is writing up the quote. Not sure how expensive his part will be; lots of concrete to deal with the specified (and real) wind loads. I just picked up the solar panels–the ones I speced for the design analysis in April are now on clearance. Saved money, but that was cutting it too close.

        The county building gnomes want to treat this as an integrated project, so I have to get the electric permit along with the structural. This probably means I’ll be installing panels as soon as the footings are cured. I’m also running into requirements that start 1/1/2019. They do make sense, though it’s several hundred more dollars. Sigh.

        I’ve run into that state of exhaustion–I’ll call it being “stupid tired”. After not doing much for several months, I’m working harder, and the threshold of tiredness is a lot easier to get to.

        1. I’m also running into requirements that start 1/1/2019. They do make sense, though it’s several hundred more dollars.  Sigh.

          New requirements, however sensible, rarely if ever cost less.

  4. In contrast at close to the same latitude as the Beautiful but Evil Space Princess Palacial Keep, albeit closer to the Pacific: Today’s forecast from the NWS has Silicon Valley at a high of 83F and sunny all day as the jetstream pitches storms originating in the Gulf of Alaska along a path far North of California before they dive down along the Rockies.
    This explains why so many of the servicemen who went through here on their way to the Pacific ended up moving their families to Northern California after WWII.
    The trees have the rapid reduction in length of daylight to trigger things, so some are turning color and dropping leaves, but nothing like back east where it gets colder.
    And there are several new wildfires burning – the smoke from one hung thick across the Bay Area yesterday, hiding the hills from view to either side of the valley and spreading the strong, unique smell of wildfire smoke everywhere.
    And the apples on the tree in my backyard have been shouting at me to be picked.
    Even here in warmer climes, there is work to complete before winter comes.

  5. as long as you’re not so weary because you’re putting too much on your plate at once…

  6. We’re waterlogged (yeah!) and 60 F down here. The trees started turning two weeks ago. The hawthorn haws turned brilliant orange a few weeks ago as well. We’re seeing watertory migrafowl, as a tired air-traffic-controller called them late one evening, and the plants are starting to settle in for fall and winter.

    The average high should be mid 60s and lows in the 40s. I’m quite ready for them.

    1. Rain started Friday. Came down pretty good last night. But, checked the local Cascade fires (ones around Detroit Lake & off Hwy 126). Closures still in effect. Guessing snow, or enough rain, they’ll finally declare them out … Too soon to do so now.

      OTOH, smoke cleared out of the valley.

      1. We’re getting highs in the ’50s and ’60s, with lows in the 20s. The fire west of Crater Lake is now in the restoration phase, and we’ve only had one day of smoke in the past couple of weeks.

        Klondike (largely in wilderness) will be an issue until it gets wetter, but we’re starting to see moisture. October has been wetter than most of the summer combined (there was one really good storm a few weeks ago).

        The aspens are going yellow, and the Ponderosas have dropped most of the fall crop of pine needles. Not sure if we’re done with cones.

    2. We’re in the 80s for highs this week. I think it got to 87 today. Rain has been sporadic. Two weeks ago, we were in the 60s to low 70s for highs. Summer went too long without rain, so leaves aren’t getting as much color as they sometimes do, often turning straight to brown instead.

      1. We had a high of 80 on Sunday. Got comments on what on earth happened — the rest is decidedly autumnal.

  7. The Never Ending To Do List
    – Finish splitting the pile of firewood.
    – Build 16×8 foot leanto woodshed.
    — Finish cutting marked trees for the woodshed.
    — Strip the trees and cut to the rough lengths (or vice versa). Stack to dry.
    — Place and level the concrete footers for the posts.
    — Wait til spring.
    — Dry assemble front, back and sides.
    — Measure for cuts.
    — Measure for cuts again.
    — Make the major cuts.
    — Measure again.
    — Gross assembly of all the sides.
    — Measure and mark the notches.
    — Cut the notches.
    — Drill the wood pin holes.
    — Pin and nail it.
    — Complete assembly of all the sides.
    — Raise everything, brace it, and finish pinning and nailing.
    — Install the rafters.
    — Roof.
    — Shingle.
    — Siding.
    — Pallet the floor.
    – Stack all that split wood & cove with tarps.
    – Get load of gravel delivered for driveway.
    – Clean chimney.
    – Winterize the AC.
    – Clean out the garage.
    – Lube, Oil, Filter the tractor.
    – Take the window screens down for the winter.
    – Put the lawn furniture, garden tools, and mower away.
    – Sight in the rifles and shotgun.
    – Finish cleaning out the basement
    – Wire the basement for the shop equipment & get electrician to sign off on it.
    – Finish walling the basement.
    – Move the shop equipment out of the other garage stall into the basement.

    ad infinitum

    1. Sure, when you could jump in the leaf pile.

      Now you have to rake them. Can’t jump in them. And the town even won’t let you burn ’em.


  8. Autumn. My favorite part of the year. With luck we’ll get a few of those crisp clear days when the leaves have decayed just enough for the air to smell like tea..

    Our minds may not FEEL like they are aging, but they become more powerful and complex as we grow older, if we let them (And are lucky.). Since hitting my late teens I have felt that there was an element of horror to PETER PAN. To be stuck as a child, with a child’s simplistic daydreams, forever?


    Children dream of Pirates and Indians. Adults dream of bridges and canals and then go out and build them. Children dream Mary Sue stories. Adults write novels with real conflict and triumph.

    1. That’s how I feel about immortality. Never to go to heaven and rejoin relatives and friends gone before? For me to live to be 80 in good health, with enough money to cover needs and wants, with your love beside you in a peaceful time.. That’s plenty for me.

  9. In some ways, I’m already missing the warmth of Summer…yet I’m also looking forward to the snow of Fall/Winter.

    Of the seasons I prefer, I think I like Fall and Spring the most. There’s usually a period of good balance between hot and cold, and there’s something nice about the variety that comes from the transitions.

    Above all, I like having seasons. I have the suspicion that living in a place that is always warm or always cold would drive me nuts!

    1. One evening in grad school, a fellow sufferer observed that you can find places that are always summer and always winter, and a few that seem to always be spring. But nowhere can a perpetual autumn be found. The rest of us agreed that this was a definate flaw in Creation.

      1. My favorite season is late spring/early summer. High summer is just too damn hot! Nice that we’ve only had a few 100+ degree days.

          1. Late summer/early autumn much better. Temps are about as good but less whirling dervishes of wind death. Not none, but less

        1. I sympathize with you entirely about High Summer; I have an irrational prejudice. If my clothes are going to be soaked through, I prefer that the wet start at the outer layer of clothing.

  10. Age has slowed me down quite a lot.
    Not so much the work itself, but from stupid lingering injuries afterward. I gave myself tennis elbow replastering a room, and bursitis at the achilles ripping out and putting in a floor.

    My family has a history of being extremely long lived.
    With an incidence rate of Alzheimer’s that approaches 100%.
    Doctors don’t like it when they fix you with the gimlet stare, ask you if you want to die before your time, and you emphatically respond to the affirmative.
    (They also don’t like the response “that’s none of your damned business.)

    1. For some tears now I have taken the multipage questionairs that you are given on visiting a new doctor and filled out what looked like legitimate questions, scrawling “what earthly business is this of yours?” over the rest. Nobody has dared call me on it, so far.

      1. Heheheh, I like.

        More than one HS teacher ‘saved time’ by having one class score another’s quizzes/tests (multiple choice). I made a point of having a crayon handy just for those occasions. If I’d been thinking on it, I’d have had a few and swapped colors a couple times per sheet.

        1. That reminds me of a tale my Father told of his years as a junior instructor. A student asked if it was ok to quote foreign languages in his papers, and proceeded to write one that was mostly in French, German, Latin, and Greek.


          So the Professor sent the paper around to be corrected by collegues who were fluent in those languages,mand to top it off had his comments translated into Sandskrit.

          Wisenheimer kept his head down thereafter.

      2. > Nobody has dared call me on it, so far.

        Judging by how many times a doctor has asked me the same (answered!) question as on the form in his hand, I’d guess nobody called you on it because they never looked at the stupid questionnaire.

    2. “ask you if you want to die before your time, and you emphatically respond to the affirmative.”

      Might want to be careful about that. In states with “red flag” laws, at some point you might hear a knock on the door looking to confiscate any firearms you have because your doctor, someone on his staff, etc. has filed a GVRO because of documented “suicidal thoughts indicating danger to self or others”. That will include anyone living with you because “access”. Oh, and a report to the NICS database so you can’t buy any more. Your chance to dispute that will come only after the confiscation has happened.

  11. Ah, the “But I’m better now! Why am I not able to do everything I use to– AND get caught back up right away!?” effect.

    Hits me every time we have a new baby– I slow down the last couple of months of pregnancy, at least as far as not lifting heavy stuff, then the baby is here and I run to catch up with everything else. While being a pillow. 😀

    1. Yeah, that’s another reason I’m glad we decided to stop at three kids. Recovery has taken longer each time and I’m not back to where I want to be. (Except for my biceps. Mommy Guns is a real thing and a nice one.)

      If you’ve been sick for nigh-on twenty years, then it’s going to take a while to build up the stamina again. It’s possible, and it’s going to take longer than you like, but my mom walked the Camino de Santiago all the way from France around her 71st birthday*, so you can build up stamina even when you’re older.

      *Basically spending the whole time posting “why did I choose to do this again?” The only reasonable answer is, of course, “bragging rights.”

  12. I worry a bit, having married a twelve-years-older older man when I myself was about to turn thirty, that we won’t be able to have the post-kids time. He’s about to turn forty-four and I’m three months into the second pregnancy. And there’s a raft of health issues to look forward to, to gauge by his father.

    …but his father is still going strong at 73 or so, bypasses from a decade ago notwithstanding. (Having a grandchild took a decade off, it’s weird.) My mother never got out from it anyway, now raising my 10 year old niece. And… well, I just went to a funeral for a girl barely old enough to drink whose crime was walking home from work past midnight in a town (rumor has it) that hasn’t seen a murder in 35 years.

    (Not that they’ve seen it now, my backbrain adds bitterly. Last I checked they still hadn’t termed it a murder investigation, despite the body being found in a bush miles away, in a wooded area not near to roadways. Hope I’m wrong on that, cause it’d be a shitty way to manage your statistics.)

    …so I guess where my head is going is that there aren’t any guarantees anyway.

    Sorry for being maudlin. I think the everything’s just got me a little bent up.

    1. A thing to remember at all times is that statistics kept by anyone are likely kept for their benefit, or to forward an agenda.

      The statistics kept on defensive use of firearms are a case in point. Even a cursory examination shows that they are seriously undercounted, especially in areas run by Democrats.

  13. We’re having heavy mist alternating with dense grey fog where I am.

    What the pluperfect hell goes through the mind of someone who owns a grey can and doesn’t turn on their headlights on a day like this? I was out briefly, and saw (or almost didn’t see) maybe a dozen examples of this kind of idiot today.

    1. Almost all the Saturn cars sold in my area were white, gray, or silver. Just right to fade into the mist.

      They also had the high beams about two feet apart, and they burned all the time. You’d see them driving around in complete darkness, no taillights or running lights, just the high beams on.

      So you’d look up in the fog or in the dark, see lights a sufficient distance away, pull out, and find the idiot was right on top of you.

      Yes, there is a Federal standard for headlight spacing, going back to 1968. For exactly that reason. No, the Saturns did not meet the spec. How they got away with that… who knows.

      1. The design balls-up that annoys me most is tail light clusters that are so complex that it’s hard to tell if the turn signal is going, especially if the sun is in the wrong place.

        It was really bad a couple of years ago…seems to have passed a bit now. One time when I won’t complain about the compusion many people seem to have to get a new car every three years.

        1. Ancient beast is ancient… and so is ancient beast’s car. 20+ year old… and apt to remain in service at least another 10 years. Even if I get a used car someday, it will be “new.” But DAY-YAMN I love boring reliability.

          1. I can see accumulating cars, if you’re an enthusiast. If I was handy or rich I might be tempted myself. But turning in a three year old car for a new one (unless the three year old one is a wreck) baffles me. What? You don’t have something else you’d rather do with $30,000+?

            1. I do know a fellow who trades off for a new car every two years, but it’s also the only hobby/expense (beyond the utilities and such that most everyone has) he has, and he’s done well over the years.

                1. I remember a car we bought in the middle ’90’s where the dealer simply COULD NOT seem to grasp that for somebody who intended to keep the cat ten years, a lease simply didn’t make sense. The idea was completely alien to him. I finally told him that if he kept arguing, we would reluctantly go elsewhere.

                  We got the car, paid cash, and kept it for ten years. Replaced it with our first Subaru.

                  1. Salesman: A lease means getting a NEW CAR every two years.
                    Orvan: A lease means the payments NEVER END.
                    Repeat several times as endless payments are a feature to him but a bug to me.
                    Finally, Orvan: See that car out there? It’s over ten years old, has been to Canada, to $DISTANT_STATE, TWICE, and and has NO reputation for quality. And you’re telling me your car NEEDS to be swapped out every two years? What’s wrong with it?
                    ***stunned silence***

                    1. The other one is calling a new car an “investment”.

                      “If I drive a new car off the lot, it immediately drops in value and average of $500. If your investments perform like that, no wonder you still have to work for a living.”

                    2. Conversely, my roomate’s Honda needed what would have been $1500+ in work done to it (complete carpet replacement) from a AC condenser tray leaking into the passenger compartment. It was covered under warranty.

          2. When my ’03 Chevy pickup went sideways, I’d already been looking at a Honda Ridgeline. My shop guy (who bought the old Chevy; fixed, it’s now the shop truck) told me the Ridgelines seem to be really reliable. I don’t have the huge bed space that the Chevy did, but it’s suitable for anything I’m willing to tow.

            We now have vehicles ranging from 2012 to brand new, but expect to keep them a really long time. We normally keep vehicles 10-15 years. Only traded a nearly new Focus because it was unsuitable for rural southern Oregon, and it was the trading bit for the Chevy.

            1. “We now have vehicles ranging from 2012 to brand new, but expect to keep them a really long time. We normally keep vehicles 10-15 years. Only traded a nearly new Focus because it was unsuitable for rural southern Oregon, and it was the trading bit for the Chevy.”

              Ours are 2004 (kid’s car), 2010, & 2015. We too keep them 10+ years before we start looking to replace. Exceptions have occurred. Tacoma Pickup was one, only had it 4 years. Liked that truck, but the trailer we got, although small, was just “barely” (500#s) under the Tacoma’s overall tow rating when everything was loaded; that & the truck you could almost hear it whine “do I have to?” to “uhhh no …”, when towing & you stepped on the gas … Too slim of a margin for my husband. So we “upgraded” to the 1500 Chevy, which over quadrupled our margin; plus when you tow & ask for more power, it “says” “Yes, sir.”

        2. I drive in other countries a lot, so every time I’m back in the US, I want to hit American car manufacturers over the head yelling, “The turn signals should be a DIFFERENT COLOR than the taillights, you idiots!”

          1. Different colors might be nice, but the same color doesn’t bother memnearly as much as simply not being able to SEE a turn signal. Few enough people use the damn things as it is…

            Ok, I realize there are places, like Manhattan, where using a trun signal is viewed as a sign of weakness. But elsewhere it provides the poor bastards who share the road with you with vital information about what the f*ck you think you are doing.

              1. One of the Destroyer novels (yes, I read a lot of trash) had the hero, Remo, living in the Boston area. When he got tired of being cut off by the Boston drivers he demanded an Armored Personnel Carrier….and found it didn’t make any difference.

                BYW, anybody know what’s happaned with the Big Dig? Last I read about it, the tunnel was dropping bits on people and there was one hell of a scandal brewing over substandard materials.

                  1. Thanks. I knew ‘Big Dig’ was a nickname for the project and for some reason didn’t think Wikipedia would reference it as such.

                    Hope somebody high up got canned over the mess, but knowing the Peoples’ Republic of Boston, it ain’t likely.

              2. I always wonder how I missed that box making them optional equipment. No one else did.

                1. “Optional equipment”

                  I know right? My take is “Hey, I told you I needed to come over; I’m coming over!”

                  The ONLY ticket I’ve ever gotten was “failure to signal” Right turn, in a Right Turn only lane … my response was “Uhhh, Okay. Seriously?” It was the last day of the month. Sent a letter with the ticket & the check. Got a refund for part of it …

            1. I’ve always considered turn signals as a polite warning. Get out of my way or else! Otherwise you’re merely a rude reckless driver.

              1. I learned to drive in Atlanta, which has its own cheerfully homicidal traffic. I’m STILL amused by the guy I saw one day who swapped lanes at 60+ mph, into a gap with maybe six feet on either side…and THEN turned on his blinker.

          2. I knew of an Aussie who considered USA turn signals to be “insanely dangerous” both for the same color and, to him, using the same light. Not sure he realized there was a separate filament (at the time, it was filament).

            I like the amber during the day and the red at night. A few times the amber at night was almost blinding. The biggest improvement in turn signalling that I’ve seen is to have lights on the mirrors as well – I presume this means the driver SEE *BLINK* *BLINK* *BLINK* and doesn’t keep signalling a left turn for several miles. Well, I can dream, can’t I?

          3. Doesn’t bother me any; I can’t see any difference between the “different color” Euro taillights anyway.

            It’s the newer cars with brake and turn lights SO FREAKING BRIGHT I cringe and shield my eyes that are the problem.

            Yes, I see you, you flaming idiot! Blowing away my night vision isn’t helping your personal safety one damned bit…

            1. Break lights that flash.

              I was stuck on a freeway at night for more than half an hour inching along behind a truck that flash*flash*flash every time they tapped the breaks. I seriously thought I was going to have a medical emergency, no lie.

              1. I saw brake lights once that were concentric circles in rotation, so it looked like the lights were expanding.

    2. Truck’s grey. Doesn’t matter. When several states decided that motorcycles needed to have their headlights on all the time for better visibility; I decided that it makes just as much sense for cars to have them on all the time too.

      1. I had been a licensed motorcycle rider for a while before the Fed enacted the “headlight always on” law. As far as I can tell it didn’t make one damned bit of difference.

        When they started urging car manufacturers to do the same, I wondered how long it would be before they started pushing for telephone poles, bridge abutments, and pedestrians to have lights, too. Because the flip side of training idiots to notice lights is to make them ignore anything that doesn’t have a light.

        1. Stationary lights often get ignored. But humans, like many other animals, pick up on movement very well.

  14. Your thyroid dosage probably needs to be raised. We use about 25% more in cold weather, but doctors very seldom compensate for that (and it won’t be reflected by TSH)..

  15. Had the grandkids down from Yankee land this past weekend which was unseasonably warm even for Bama, highs around 90 and a low overnight of 70. A front is due to sweep in midweek which should give us some rain and drop both those numbers by 20 degrees each. Guess I need to check on my flannel shirt supply and dig out a light jacket.
    Kids and their parents had a great time, took them to a greasy spoon diner for the best cheeseburgers in town followed by an expedition to the county shooting range. Hot, but covered shooting benches, so not intolerable. Burned much ammo on paper targets and chasing old golf balls up the earthen berm backstop.
    Quick side trip for everyone to wipe off and change clothes then dinner at another local favorite, this one a BBQ joint. Pulled pork, fried catfish, vinegary slaw, and endless hush puppies. All with North Alabama white BBQ sauce.

    1. You’ve inspired me – a brisket sandwich with slaw, green beans, and cornbread, is now in my immediate future. I just with my favorite local BBQ joints hadn’t closed, but there’s still a lot of good ones around – it just takes a bit longer to get to them.

  16. Still in low 90’s here with a slightly lower evening temperature sometimes (not much of a fall yet). And now a hurricane heading up the Panhandle. Living in Florida can be very interesting.

  17. It’s been a weird weekend, much warmer than usual. I participated in the North-South Skirmish Association’s Fall National Matches last weekend, and it was in the mid-80s. Hot, about 10-15 degrees hotter than normal. I’ve been to some where you were bundled up in greatcoats. But it wasn’t pouring rain (like the Spring Nationals).

    I share the feelings of age. The reflexes aren’t quite there. The eyes…well, I had cataract surgery on one earlier this year, probably the other in the next 12 months or less. And my knee is hurting…but at least it still works.

    The big issue for me is that I’m now eligible to retire (through the marvel of working for the Navy since two weeks after my 17th birthday). I can either stay with the Government another four years and increase the pension…or pull the plug, take my current pension, and go to work as either a contractor or consultant. Which would be a lot of work…but potentially quite lucrative.

    1. Had a friend whose father got a nice surprise when he went in to register for his Social (in)Security.

      “Oh, you’re the Mr. Blank we’ve been trying to find! You’ve had a government pension rolling over for a long time!”

      But I only worked for the government for sixteen years. It takes twenty years to get a pension, doesn’t it?”

      “Yes, Sir, but then the government invited you to five years worth of World War II. That counts.”

      1. My Uncle who was an American Baptist Minister found out when he retired that he also had a small pension from the Southern Baptists.

        It seems that Uncle Walter preached during Seminary as a substitute Minister in a Southern Baptist church.

        It wasn’t for an extended period but the Southern Baptist thought that he earned.

        Oh, not being an idiot, Uncle Walter accepted it. 😉

      2. Yeah, my dad bought his military time, and with that and his saved sick leave and vacation, he retired with 30 years retirement after working 28 years and one month.

  18. It still startles me to realize that so much time has passed in my own life. Usually when my children stand next to me. Then the song ‘Sunrise, Sunset’ comes to mind, and ‘when did he get to be so tall?’ becomes particularly relevant in those instants.

    1. I am one connection from WWII (Grandpa Carl, Uncles). One connection from Korea and Vietnam. Two steps from WWI. My students are three and four links from WWII. I still think of the Cold War as yesterday. They never heard the term. I feel old at those moments.

  19. A couple of years ago, I was trimming a tree, fell and shattered a heel. The paramedic said,”Sir, at your age (I knew I was going to hate him) it is cheaper to have this done than to pay for the ambulance ride”. I expressed my thoughts about his words in exact and somewhat profane detail. Now that I’m almost 70, my brain still thinks I should be 27! Still, Autumn and Spring are my wanderlust times. Had I not married my bride 491/2 years ago, I might have gone to the Air Force Academy (I had the appointment) instead went into the Army, went to college as I could, had 3 GREAT kids and now 14 fabulous grand-kids. Had some heavy knocks but wouldn’t change a thing; I would not give up one, single day with my bride or my kids or my grand-kids. I’ve already outlived every male in my linage so I don’t know how much longer I have but in May (Spring=wanderlust) the entire family is meeting in Yellowstone for our 50th anniversary. The sense of wonder, of amazement, of seer awe at the life I’ve lived makes me happy my daddy taught me how to be a man, a husband, and a father. He’s been gone for 33 years, 3 months, 29 days and I’ve missed him each day. I am glad I told him what a great dad he was when I had the chance.
    I don’t know where all the time went; I was too busy living to worry about how old I was getting. Still, I’ve been around the world, been on 5 of the 7 continents, been an army combat pilot, worked on the shuttle and space station …. it short, it has been a real E-ticket ride.
    Thank you for your writing and for presenting others with similar mindsets. I am a hardcore SF fan, not so much on the fantasy side, an astrophysicist (retired from NASA) and I find you and your friends work very thought provoking and entertaining.

    1. Hello, Bart! (waves)

      It seems like every other person that wanders into this (and associated) science fiction spheres is a physicist. I’m sure the actual numbers aren’t “every other” but it’s enough that I find it remarkable.

      1. Actually we get them in waves: truckers, doctors, physicists. Almost like it’s word of mouth 😀
        And I too much prefer sf to fantasy. I write fantasy, but I think I do it wrong.

        1. If by “do it wrong” you mean “how fantasy would be if I really liked it a whole lot”, then I suppose you do. 😉

          But ask me again (okay, so you didn’t ask me this time) after we get the space opera/fantasy that I can never remember the name of. I’m looking forward to that one.

  20. I wish I could remember who it was who said, “I don’t feel like an old man. I feel like a young man who has something wrong with him.” Ah, yes. Another quote eluding my memory is possibly from a novel,when a mother tells her offspring, “You’re making me a grandmother! How could you?” And I think that’s in the offing from your offspring. Temps here have been in the upper eighties for days now, so maybe we should swap residences. In the meantime, your life and health are more important than a kitchen counter, so don’t stay out in the cold any longer than absolutely necessary.

      1. I started going silver in my early teens. Have had orthopedic problems since I was 17. I’m at the point where if I wake up and the usual aches don’t ache, I get mildly concerned. 🙂

    1. No one I know feels “old” at being made a grandmother. They’re all, “Grandbabies, please, and why haven’t you yet?”

      1. My mother said she reserved the right to start nagging when I turned 30. I presented her with the Announcement at 29 years, 10 months.

      2. You’re around a good quality of folks.

        When I was a kid, I got to see a mom rip into her (married) son for them expecting a child in their late 20s.

        1. That’s just all kinds of messed up.

          My mom’s mom always expressed concern when anyone was going to have a baby, so maybe she’d have done the same. I never heard her do so. But she was always on about all the negatives. My dad was always on about *her* because he thought that was horrible.

      1. I was talking about this with my son and he said… “Like cats. They live 6 years outdoors and up to 20 years in the house. Can we really say that the trade off of being in the house isn’t worth it?”

  21. Belated comment, but posts like these are why I fell in love with Mrs. Hoyt’s prose. If I had even half her skill I could explain why, but I don’t so this will have to suffice.

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