The continuing saga

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Two more plumbing issues. First, a small leak on the hot water, just past the tub (washer feed) that can be turned off with the water heater valve. Second, the kitchen drain is clogged and needs to be rebuilt, as the old metal pieces are rotting. I did a cling wrap and clear duct tape wrap of the leaking joiner pipe on the right sink. I need to manually unclog the drain.

Laundry has been done, at least those I’m not wearing. Haven’t taken a bath yet. Maybe in a bit. 66°F outside, sunny. Most of the afternoons this week will be about the same. No rain in the forecast.

FedEx not showing a shipment yet on the brake caliper, though the order page does. Can’t plan on getting it done like this. End of the week is what it looks like. In the meantime, I hope to get the shifter rebuilt.

Greg Abbott opened the state and dropped the mask requirement. No more COVID restrictions. Idiot.

Clean again. *sigh*

March hair

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I just used a no rinse shampoo. Better than nothing after three weeks. The perfume makes me smell like old people.

No running water yet. I think the problem now is no PVC parts are available at the hardware stores.

No indication that the brake caliper has shipped yet.

Been in the 50s all day. Rain for a fair part of it, some of it heavy. A stay at home, restless sort of day.

Plenty of money after payday, no idea what to buy with it.


Water heater just got turned on. Hubba hubba hubba! Hoorah hoorah!

Bankety bank

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The bank cleared my paycheck this morning, two days early. Sigh. I lost the mad money race by $21.

Still no running water. But other than being a little funky from not washing my hair, and having a pile of laundry, things are going smoothly enough. Getting ready to fill ice trays.

The back scratchers arrived this morning. It helps to drop the suspenders. They work quite well. I guess they were worth the 15 day delivery wait.

Another open house day. Barely got below 70°F last night, and it’s forecast to be up around 80°F this afternoon and tomorrow too. No sleeves. Feels very nice. Rain tomorrow and Monday, cooling temps to 60s/40s, bouncing back mid-week.

Amazing how slowly the days pass since getting vaccinated. Music practice has picked up. I feel a certain angst at Moderna for not determining efficacy before 14 days.

Sun starting to peek through the clouds.

Ordered the brake caliper from Autozone. FedEx to deliver, looks like Tuesday.

Plumber due Monday. The camping adventure continues.

Still leaking

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Still no running water. But I’m still managing, plenty of filled pots, jugs, and pails, with potable and utility water. I won’t remark on everything involved. It wouldn’t assist the effort to return to normalcy.

I just prepped (diced) a marinated sirloin, a wedge of ham, a marinated half pork tenderloin, and a turkey thigh. All were thawed this afternoon. Now they are ready for recipes, tacos, Myka nibbles Less than one quart of water and five short paper towels were used for clean up. And that included my hands.

I found the proper caliper for the truck brake. I’ll be ordering soon, maybe tomorrow. Paid the internet bill, it went up $3 this month. That leaves me with $21 mad money, which will get used for the caliper. Payday clears Monday morning, maybe sooner. ($26 + core + tax, around $45, plus DOT 3 and a bleeder kit, maybe a c-clamp. About $65 with a $15 refund.) I already have the kit for the shifter.

Practicing guitar and singing, building some stamina of pads and cords. Getting ready for a return to public performances. It’s been fun getting into song mode.

The phone has been free for the last week and change. It’s been nice calling people when I feel like it. And it’s been nice to delete voice mail when I see one, rather than ignoring it. But that grace period goes away tonight. Not sure what happens to the balance when mandatory 5G kicks in next year, and I’m not using up the balance enough to reduce it.

Washed out

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Water got turned back on today, only to find that the feed to the washing machine was broken and leaking. But before it got shut down, I filled the tub (will slowly leak, but it’s there for a couple of days), filled over 50 quarts of pots and jugs, used the toilet, washed a few dishes, etc. So while I may not be capable of doing laundry or bathing, I at least have a full water reset for camping.

Word is that the plumber will be here tomorrow to fix the washer feed. No time specified or known.

Temperature hung around 80°F all afternoon, a delightful day, no sleeves, open windows. Most enjoyable weather.

A slight bit of side effect from the Moderna. Not anything in particular, more like a nanobot invasion, rebuilding me at the cellular level. It also feels a little like some hypertension drugs (ACE2 inhibitors). They work on the same thing, denying access to ACE2 cell wall patches, just different receptors. But there is a distinct similarity in side effect sensations, not enough to slow me down.

Had the avocado on a bacon cheese spud for lunch. It worked for me.

Looking at literature online, the Moderna has a two week first injection response, 90% efficiency. That would be March 9. I could be talked into performing outdoors.

Look out.


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Got my first dose of Moderna at 11:22 am. Took an hour and a half of waiting to get in the moving line, ten minutes of snaking around with checkpoints, less than two minutes in the metallic barn getting nailed, then eighteen minutes waiting to see if there was a reaction. 9:40 – 11:40 at the fairgrounds.

A quick store run while I had wheels. Short list. Haven’t been in a store that busy in over a year. Spud and avocado for dinner tonight.

Took a nap when I got home, but I probably would have napped anyway after lunch. No discernible side effects to mention. Maybe a trace of headache if I think about it real hard.

Plumber was under the house when I got home, but alas no running water yet. I stayed out of the way. Myka was a little taken aback when I got home, huddled down on the desk at the far side of the house, staring at the very noisy floor.

Been looking at what it would take for me to replace the brake caliper on the truck, as opposed to me taking it in to a shop. The part is not available in town, but is probably available for shipping from Houston. An extra day. I need to look at the wheel before I make a decision.

78°F for much of the afternoon. Aaaaahhh. A couple of days this week in the 60s, but the rest is forecast in the 70s on into March.


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72°F and the windows are open. Snow is gone.

Dorothy, I think we’re back in Texas.


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Lost the front driver brake on the truck. So I’m not mobile. I can afford to get it fixed, but it will take a few days and arrangements to be made. I have plenty of food and drink in the meantime.

Mid 50s so far today, extending the melt. It won’t all be gone today, but the majority of it, only remaining in pockets where it concentrated in the shadows. I went out and filled up the bucket with ice so that I can flush, once it melts.

Got in a store run last night before the brakes croaked. Got replacement power speakers for the laptops. Not top dollar, but sufficient. And I have good headphones for critical recording/editing. A new set after the new laptop, if I can still afford that.

What a week…
Snow and sleet
Rolling black outs
Back stairs tier collapsed (me on it)
Pipe breaking cold
Iced over bathtub
Water rationing
Frozen truck
Lost the computer audio, Harmon/Kardon
Lost the brakes on the truck

Registered for vaccination at the hub, 5000 doses (Tuesday?)
Lots of good stuff to eat
New speakers
Folding table in the office
Found isopropyl alcohol for sale
It’s melting…

Vax #1, Tuesday 2/23/21 10 am CDT.


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The melt is starting today, 45°F and sunny at noon. It will take until tomorrow before it’s all gone, but a good start is in progress. The roads are mostly clear and passable. Still some ice on the truck to melt before I start driving. I will try starting it in a bit, to make sure everything made it through the freeze. Fortunately, I have enough supplies to hold me over. Water would be nice, but it can wait. I think there is water in the water heater tank that can be tapped.

Otherwise, I’m in good shape. Plenty of food. Power has been constant. The house is warm. Getting plenty of sleep. I’m hanging in.

Myka is sitting on the aluminum table, hesitant at first, but when she discovered what all she could smell and explore, she settled down and is hanging as my right arm. And my knee is a handy bridge to the desk and window. And my knee is doing better, not as sore as it was yesterday.

I’m using plastic forks to cut down on washing needs. Lots of wiping utensils down to conserve water resources. Whatever it takes to get through to the far side of the snap.

No water in the hot water tank. It was the hot water feed outside that broke, drained the tank. Oh well, truck can be driven, but I’d prefer ice from the cab and shell roofs to melt first. Besides, the stores are swamped according to Google maps.

Half a deck

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Looks like it stopped with 26 blackouts. I can’t personally verify, having slept the last four hours, but it seems there was six and a half hours of uninterrupted power. (Modem boot record verifies it.) Tada! Midnight into Thursday was the magic touch. I’m hoping that it holds.

Maybe I can get the sirloins broiled now. And make ice in the freezer. And… I have a few things that need my attention. But now I can not have to put uncertain breaks into my schedule. My schedule, not ERCOT’s.

My knee is a little sore from the top tier of the back steps collapsing underneath my weight. But it’s not that bad. Ibuprofen and sleep help the swelling.

That ugly white stuff is still outside. Bleeech!

Pulled the Harmon/Kardon assist audio system, since all it does is squeal. Haven’t decided on a replacement yet. I’ll be using the Blackweb Bluetooth in the meantime.

Cleanup where the woofer used to sit to be performed soon. For what it’s worth, the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet became available. I’ll be using one of the folding aluminum tables as a platform for food, etc.

Sirloins just came out of the broiler, 140°F.

Prime sirloin

More frozed

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There was ice in the bathtub this morning. It was iced over, almost half an inch thick. The bathtub is exposed to the outside on the underside, so with as cold as it’s been, it’s not surprising. It’s the reason I got a bath pillow, so I can lean back while soaking during the cold months. No bathing now. Best I can do is a wash rag with water heated on the stove.

Fourteen blackouts thus far. The alpaca blanket was a very wise investment. I am hoping that there aren’t any more. Here is to the eternal. I am getting tired of cocooning.

I’m gad that I made soup and fried rice. They fit the bill quite nicely.


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The first night was bad enough, 6 rolling power outages, and add another in the afternoon. Water got cut off because of the outside faucets, and it will mean that I get to sleep. However, the tub isn’t holding water. So it will be rationed (about 12 gallons) until it’s warm enough to resume flow.

One more night to go, the coldest. But the snow and sleet is done. I’ll be glad when it’s over.

White is not my favorite color.

On ice

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The sleet and freezing rain has started. The steps are icy, and it only looks to get worse. In fact, the old rear door concrete steps have cracked on the top riser. Alas, but at least the bugs are getting zapped. The house is pretty much ready for the cold, or as much as it will be.

Soup is in the fridge, another good batch. Pork fried rice gets made today. A couple of sirloin halves were thawed, they will start marinating tonight.

Not stirring much. But conditions don’t call for stirring much. So things are right with the world. I guess. At least the bugs are getting zapped.

Myka managed to get to the oats twice before I got the barriers in place and denied her a landing pad atop the fridge. Time will tell if it’s sufficient. She didn’t do too much damage thus far.

So it’s St. Valentine’s Day.


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Cold spell on the way, freezing from Sunday evening through Wednesday noon, with single digits Monday night. There is also a strong chance of snow and sleet on Monday and Tuesday. My main concern is the plumbing. I have ample alpaca and long johns for me.

Forecast lows Monday night.

Made a store run last night. Only a handful of shoppers were there. Got bread and other replacements, as well as dinner rolls, coconut creme pie, German chocolate cake, and gourmet tamales on impulse. I plan on making chicken/veggie/rotini soup and pork tenderloin fried rice. I might marinate a sirloin for tacos. Just because it will be cold doesn’t mean my tastebuds have to suffer.

Prescriptions are ready, so one more run today. I didn’t want to risk two stores during pharmacy hours, so I split the run. I’m dropping the extraneous items that will wait a week or more to minimize store range and time to strictly in and out.

It’s been rather cool, wet, and windy, not weather that encourages unnecessary outside activity. Bringing in the oat grass is a project in preventative access. Custom cardboard barriers vs. crazed cat.

I have holes to the crawl space that need covering, as well as pipe. There is a little work to get done in the next couple of days to protect the plumbing. I will be at it when conditions are best for it.

Got the prescriptions this morning. In and out, though there was a wait for the pharmacist to arrive, 12 minutes late.

Found the December storage payment challenge denied on my bank account. I called in and let Donna know that if it showed up, consider that my February payment. She agreed, so the fluke ended up quite timely.

Since I didn’t shop today, other than vitamins, I ordered a pair of bamboo back scratchers. I expect them to be here in a week.

I arranged for the skirt gaps to be covered, tomorrow perhaps. So I’m ready.

Soup will commence tonight, at least the thaw. The chili cheese spud was coma producing. The bag of gold potatoes are exceptionally large ones for golds.


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The doctor appointment was pretty uneventful. Got a couple of new scripts to augment the valsartan, which haven’t been filled yet. No blood draw, the fast was for naught. Pretty quick and simple, except for the wait.

Had trouble with the truck battery terminal again. I gave the posts a good scrubbing with a battery brush. I hope that holds it.

Finished off the chili cheese dogs. Still have half of the guacamole and half of the chili, but they’re the only things open in the fridge. Chili cheese spuds w/ guacamole tonight.

The warm days with open windows gave way to the cool front, which will last over a week, about ten days according to the forecast. Potential for multi-night hard freezes in the mix. I will appreciate my alpaca.

Got notice that I was mentioned in Sarah Wrightson’s will. I have no idea what to expect.

All in all, the weekend was uneventful. Minimally SOP. Usual chores, a few movies, mostly passing time.


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poeticus daffodil: narcissus actaea

The starting stage of making guacamole.


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Having problems getting the truck to start. The battery charges okay. There is brief contact, then the electrical goes dead. All symptoms point to a corroded battery terminal at the wire connection. Diagnostics/repairs cut short by an unexpected shower. I have ample baking soda.

50°F outside, not bad, but not the 83°F it was yesterday afternoon. With the truck not starting, the store run has been delayed. Not in any dire need. The avocados should be on sale for another 5 days.

The tables arrived yesterday. The Amazon shipment is currently out for delivery. The bacon tray hasn’t shipped yet.

Chores are done, sitting easy. Myka bugging me, but that’s about all the demands on my time.

Fixed the truck. It was a heat film on the positive terminal, a socket driver and knife cured the problem. Took it for gas, only had three gallons left in the tank. I should have filled up on the way out of town. Makes me want to drain the rear tank.

So I’m ready for the store run tonight or tomorrow morning. The Amazon shipment arrived. I’m glad that I boxed up the excess packaging in the kitchen. It gave me room for the overflow of the multi-packs.

I need to rebuild the shifter before inspection next month.


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Made the run to Bryan yesterday. Weather was nice, sunny, 70s, good day for hitting the highway. Cashed the check, saw Doug and Ellen, picked up a 12 box of Popeye’s spicy. Got everything on the list done. The list was shortened by internet orders. The folding tables are scheduled for delivery tomorrow. The cupboard stuffings from Amazon due Friday. A little late, a lot less risk.

The masks arrived while I was spinning tires. With those and the kn95s and surgical masks, I should be well stocked for any circumstance. One unsettling bit of news showed that the county had grossly underreported the number of cases, and the active cases jumped from the low 100s to mid 800s.

The return home was adjusting to keep the sun out of my eyes. Sun glasses and visors made driving into the sun possible. I may have crossed the old SH 105 bridge across the Brazos for the final time. That bridge is older than I am, and I’d have a hard time counting up the times I’ve crossed it. That skinny ribbon above the Brazos was scary at night, but I made it across every time. Chalk up the nostalgia of a lifetime, but I’ll be gad to see the new bridge open for traffic.

Back home, getting resettled, no effort after getting things squared away. I had a small carry bag, minimal. Biggest bulk was bones and spoons. I got to show off a bit. Putting the Popeye’s away was probably the biggest chore. Easy tote. Easy landing.

Large avocados are on sale again. Good thing I have plenty of lime juice on hand. Plenty of soup and mac left.

The weekend will be a quiet one, like usual. Upper 70s tomorrow, maybe 80s. Windows will be open today, but the wind shifts Friday, then back Sunday. Wednesday starts the freeze series, a bug killer.

Febbed up

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It’s February. Month of truck insurance payment (like internet, in the final days of the month). That means mad money will be easy this month, if the bills shows up before payday. A couple of minor orders made, masks and cupboard stuffers that the local stores don’t carry any longer. Just ordered two folding aluminum tables, which are now available via 2 day delivery. No idea what else in this range could be justified at this point, other than local groceries and sundries.

I made an appointment for my annual physical in a week (9th). Blood draw, fasting the night before… BP has been running high, a sign that the valsartan is not working as it should. Again. I saw that my primary physician can arrange a vaccination appointment for me, when supplies become available.

Making a run to Bryan tomorrow. A number of stops involved, including bank. The tables and Amazon order cut the shopping need down a bit. Popeye’s chicken.

It hit 70°F outside, time to open the windows. Getting ready to make the potato soup. Pretty afternoon.

February starting off okay. No complaints.

Financial disconnect

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Got the internet bill paid, $6 under limit. Made a store run this morning. Got more kn95s. I am in financial limbo for the weekend, no spending money, looking good and ready for the first of the month to begin a new cycle.

Got four small avocados to make more guacamole. Large ones were no longer on sale, but hey, the small ones are cheap enough. Got fresh spuds for the soup. Old bag was growing eyes. Cabinets are stocked. Fridge is more than adequate. I am sitting pretty.

I don’t think I’m going to get vaccinated this cycle. 40 first doses left in the county as of yesterday morning, and I haven’t been notified. I’ll deal with it. It’s just more hanging loose till it comes around.

I went through a minor rough spell yesterday. Bend over head aches, waking from a nap on the dizzy side, high BP. No fever or other sign of infection. Seems to be a metabolic processing issue. Didn’t slow me down too much. I slept well last night, and that helped a great deal.

72° outside, sunny, windows open. Myka is on sensory patrol. Avocados on the counter, ready for mashing, as soon as I have risotto for lunch. Had a long nap, and I’m feeling better for it.


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Well, start with the storage rent for January. It just hit the bank. Whew! I was worried that I’d have to drop the account that much and double up next month. Also, no sign of the paycheck yet, which probably excludes Friday as an early payday. It looks like Monday. That gives time for the internet bill to show online before payday. Mad money is handled. A trip to the bank tomorrow has been postponed.

Chicken penne alfredo is in the fridge. Cheese risotto is on the stove cooling. The guacamole I made is gone (fajita chicken tacos and chips did it in). Plenty of alternatives in the fridge. Rest of the milk will go toward baked potato soup w/ ham, which is thawing. Maybe tuna Mac. Myka would like the tuna water.

All deliveries are in, nothing out there with my name on it. I cleaned the beeswax from the purpleheart bones, so I’m ready to strip the oxidized layer, polish, and apply the CrabCoat. Not in any hurry.

I got to sleep in the new poncho. It was nice, but not as conforming as the grey one. It will be a nice public poncho. Glad to have it.

Decluttered the kitchen, removing a lot of the reusable product packages to boxes in the staging room. I’ll sift through them over the next couple of months and send what I won’t need to the curb. The lack of parties in the last year really made them pile up.

The windows have now closed for a few days, cooling down. Maybe Saturday will see them open, but not much after that for a while. But it has been nice to have them open this much. It makes winter bearable.

Not sure if I’ll make the vaccination list. They’re down to 70 doses, and I haven’t heard from them yet. If not, oh well, I can wait.

Poncho and Crab

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The 3rd alpaca poncho arrived today, and it’s hanging to let the packing folds relax. It’s similar to the charcoal poncho, but the woven pattern is not there, shaggier and felted. I have a feeling that it will snag less, which is good. I am favorably impressed without having worn it yet.

The CrabCoat also arrived, and it remains sealed. It’s a little larger than I expected, which means plenty to go around. I look forward to using it on the purpleheart bones.

Still no January storage rent on my bank account. I think that I’ll head to Bryan this week and stop by the bank to cash the check and withdraw enough funds to get under limit, just to be sure.

Finished chores, so I’ll be cooking cheese risotto and chicken penne alfredo, once I prep the chicken. I got milk, bread, brats, and poundcake on a store run last night, and they had large avocados on sale, unadvertised. Must be a glut of avocados this year. I got two bright green ones and plan on making guacamole, which will last longer.

Windows have been open quite a bit the last few days. They stayed open all last night, and then got closed when a line of showers passed through about 10 am without raining here. An hour later, the windows were open again. Nice and sunny, and the humidity is much lower. Myka is enjoying it.

The burn from washing the truck is almost gone. I have been using ibuprofen as needed, but only a little stiffness remains now. I played bones and bodhran yesterday for some time to loosen things up.

Purple Rain meets Purple Power

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The cherry laurel berries that the robins processed have been removed from the truck. About $4 in quarters and $1.50 worth of Purple Power were put to use on the truck at the car wash around noon. The biggest effort was stripping the layer of environmental grunge that had accumulated over a number of years, on the roof of the camper shell. From ground level, it wasn’t visible, but looking down from a multi-story building, it was rather funky.

Squeezing the spray bottle, scrubbing with the brush, and handling the power wash nozzle, some 40 steady minutes worth, did a number on my hands and arms. (No playing music now.) Even ibuprofen doesn’t fully block it. But the roof went from 0% to 97% visible, and from any distance, it looks clean now. I may go back another day and finish the job, but the primary purpose, removing the purple rain and gunk, was achieved. Clean enough for a Texas truck.

Polished off the eggs ackley this morning. It was about 6 tacos worth, but it had been in the fridge long enough. I cleaned the plate. The sausage gravy and chicken/broccoli rice got finished off yesterday. Chicken penne alfredo and cheese risotto coming up before long. Ample items to apply to bread in the fridge. Smoked turkey/bacon/provolone sandwiches, brats, boudin, chili cheese dogs, plus pork tamales. No hurry to light a fire.

Windows are open. 74°F. Chance of rain tomorrow. It will be mild this week, not quite warm enough for windows after Sunday, but not harsh.

Deliveries are all slow. Called storage today, let them know only one payment went through. A pokey January. Still waiting on word from Brookshire’s on the vaccine.


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The waiting is finally over.

Made a light store run. Forgot to get cheddar on the last one. Also got cookies. Now I am in good shape for the month, as long as the storage rent for January shows up on my account.

Chores are done for the day. Still need to treat the bodhran skin. Otherwise, a slow afternoon. Windows are shut, 60°F outside. Holding off on washing the truck.

Myka loves the indoor pate with greens in it. It vanishes, and she wants more before the end of the day.

The bodhran has been treated with all three applications. It just needs time to soak in and a rub down to remove the excess.

Having a quiet evening, mostly going over the news. That it’s pretty boring is a relief.


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Mad money is handled for the month, provided that the storage rental goes through and the internet bill shows on time. Yesterday was MLK, a bank holiday, so everything is hanging as pending. Today should hopefully tell. It’s been an odd month financially. Not difficult, just odd.

Got a step stool, new bins for Myka’s kibbles, 9V batteries for the Egee, LED bulbs, a TP hanger, a third thermometer, etc. I also ordered a USB-C to 4 USB hub for the coming MBP. The fridge is well stocked. I won’t need to shop until next month, except maybe for perishables. Four deliveries outstanding, strings, poncho, CrabCoat, and hub.

It’s a relatively warm evening, low 60s. Chance of rain and mid-70s today. I may not need to wash the truck, if there’s enough rain. Tomorrow will be cooler, then warm again on Thursday. The ping pong game is in progress.

I think the bodhran will be treated today. Seems like a good day for it, warm and humid to relax the skin. My hand is ready for it.