this 'n' that

Brakes, weather, shoes, holidays, etc.

Yesterday the UPS man delivered my new front brake pads, and today I installed them. It was a very easy job; most of the time was consumed by jacking up the car and removing the tires using hand tools. I had watched a 2-minute video on Youtube that showed how to change the pads, which gives you an idea of how quickly the job was done.

Rocko greeted the UPS man excitedly, because I had been telling him for hours that I was "waiting for a truck to stop here and bring me a box." Sure enough, a truck came and the guy gave me a box. Rocko sniffed it happily (and thoroughly) and pronounced it Good.

I had Thanksgiving dinner at my brother's house last week, and I wasn't even able to clean my plate. I simply do not eat that much at one sitting, so my gut wasn't able to take it all.  My usual "meals" consist of a sausage biscuit at work, usually at about 3:30 AM, five days a week; an occasional swallow of milk during the day; the odd handful of store-brand spoon-size shredded wheat, dry; once in a while, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, usually to make my stomach shut up so that I can get to sleep. And, of course, coffee at night and juice or Kool-Ade during the day. Once in a while I'll make some pasta and sauce, or heat up a can of stew, but then I have to wash pots and pans. Once the pots and pans are dirty, I'm done cooking for at least a week, not that I'd be cooking any sooner than that even if the pans were clean.

A couple of months ago, I cleaned out my freezer. Three-year-old chicken legs - probably three pounds or so of them; a two-year old bag of ice cubes, brought by Anna and Marina when they visited after Lisa died; three-year-old hamburgers that we probably brought from Florida. I left the two-year-old bags of frozen vegetables in there. Not sure why, I'll never eat them, but they could go on the compost pile.

I should really take multivitamins, but I generally cannot justify the price. This week I have many leftovers from that Thanksgiving meal, which I am eating a bite or two at a time, cold, right out of the containers. After three years without a microwave oven, I think I'm ready to have a small one again. With luck, I'll eat most of the leftovers before they go bad, but that's a stretch. Rocko is getting bits of the turkey but it's already getting funky. Even he probably won't finish it.

Dad and Velma bought me two pairs of shoes the day after our meal. I really needed them - the soles were coming off one old pair, and my toes were sticking out of the "good" pair that I wore to work - and I love both pairs. One is a set of New Balance "trail runners"; lightweight and airy, they are great for work and general walking around. The other is a set of Merrell hiking boots; waterproof yet adequately ventilated, not too hot on my feet, with nice gripping soles for rock-hopping and trail hiking. They serve me well every day when I walk around the homestead with Rocko. I'm glad we went directly to a store to get them, too, rather than buying them online; I was able to try on a number of different pairs and ended up with different sizes too. The running shoes are American size 9, the hikers are 9.5.

Ahh, the weather. I was expecting to wait until Wednesday to do the brakes, since today was supposed to be cold and rainy, but the forecast suddenly changed and it's in the 60's. On the first of November we had 3" of snow. Today, the second of December, I have houseplants out on the front porch. For the first time in a while I am sitting on the front porch playing my bass.

Ooh! The bass!

Back in October, Karl and Shannon and I flew down to Florida for my Dad's 80th birthday. (I promptly came down with a bad cold after we returned, and never got around to writing about it.) We brought along Karl's acoustic guitar and bass so we could play a tune or two at Dad's party. When we got back here, Karl told me that I could take it home (!) and I gladly did so.

I had been playing my friend Steve's bass, a truly enormous Dean acoustic with a long-scale neck. It's a nice instrument, but the only reason Steve let me bring it home was because he had a stroke a few months ago and didn't yet have the strength back in his left hand to fret the strings. So it was a temporary situation.

Karl's bass is a short-scale Fender acoustic, with an integrated pre-amplifier. It is considerably smaller than Steve's bass and is easier to play since I had only a guitar for years and got used to a short neck. My guitar is temporarily in its case, in the closet, since my house is quite small and I only have one guitar stand anyway.

I have a bass again, and it feels so very good.

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