10 May 2015


to those folks on my blogroll that I used to visit frequently and haven't done so lately.

In my defense I've had things to distract me lately, which is nice.

But still, there have been things that happened that I wish I had seen.

I'll try to get better in the future.

05 May 2015

Customer Dis-service

Today is National Teacher Appreciation Day. It is actually Teacher Appreciation Week, but according to my favorite teacher (and the National Day Calendar) today is the day for the week to exist.

In order to commemorate the day I arranged for flowers to be delivered through an on-line service. Their website offers a 4 hour same-day delivery service, so I figured they would arrive in plenty of time before school was out.

The order went in at 9:30 AM and was processed and sent to the local florist at 10:15 AM. Plus 4 hours indicates a delivery time at or before 2:15 PM, plenty of time. I took myself off to dreamland secure in the knowledge that my teacher would be appreciated on Teacher Appreciation Day.

Sadly, no.

I got the notification at 5:07 PM that the order was out for delivery. School gets out at 3:10.

If you need flowers delivered today, I would highly recommend against using Flower Delivery Express.

UPDATE: They were delivered at 2:45 yesterday, 30 hours and 15 minutes after the order went in. So much for same day/4 hour delivery. I'm glad she liked them, even though they were late.

03 May 2015


April is done and May has begun, April showers will bring May flowers...and hopefully a bit more warm and a bit less rain. The forecast looks good here at the Refuge for the next week, lots of sun and temperatures in the high 70's to low 80's, at least until Saturday when the rain reappears. This assumes, of course, that the weather-guessers have guessed right this week.

And since the weather is giving promises of summer, here is the Redhead of the Month for May:

Here's hoping she is dressed appropriately for the month.

27 April 2015

This Lack of Posting Brought To You By Real Life

You may have been wondering (or not) what I've been up to lately since I've obviously not been blogging.

This past weekend I finished cleaning up the master bedroom and got it re-arranged. Ditto with the master bedroom closet, to include the hanging of new shelves (take note, if you want them done right you don't want me to do them). The new arrangement has opened the room up and I like it a lot better than it was before. M is now making curtains for it, she's been a great help.

To facilitate cleaning the master bedroom I've started an office where I've moved the computer I am currently banging the keyboard on as well as my bookshelves and all of my books. Damn, I have a lot of books. But I digress. The office was M's suggestion as well, it was something I was considering anyway but she had a lot of good ideas about how to get it done.

I've had to become completely ruthless as I've gone about my cleaning, at first I was putting everything into boxes thinking "the girls might want this" but as I've come along I've adopted the attitude that if they wanted it they've had five years to come and claim it. I'm tossing about everything but pictures now. There certainly is a lot of it, and I'm sure the trash man will hate me.

Next on the agenda is the train room (bonus room off the master bedroom) and then on to the living room, dining room and family room. It really needs to get done, I've got dust bunnies the size of house cats, but the rest of the house shouldn't be as bad as the master suite. The dining room will be extra interesting because on the dining room table is this great honking dollhouse that I've been trying to complete for Grand-daughter.

The dollhouse was a project that Laura and I started, I did the building/assembling and she was to do the decorating. It's a huge Victorian, complete with corner turret, three stories and thirteen rooms all together. Laura decided she wanted Grand-daughter to have it when she got sick, but the decorating never got done (although the assembling is mostly done). I think I'll have Grand-daughter up for the summer to do the decorating and then maybe we can get the project completed.

Maybe she will let M help her. It's been tough on her, accepting M's presence, since she was her grandmother's heart and soul, so maybe she won't...but maybe she will. She was absolutely crushed when Laura died and she was distant when M and I were there at the beginning of the month. I hope that she will accept M's help, and in doing so perhaps be able to do some healing of her own.

At times it's been tough, but I've got proper motivation to keep me going.

13 April 2015

All Good Things

Monday morning. Everyone back to work and school.

2000 miles, two different cars and seven states, we still like each other and no one had to thumb a ride home.

It's been a good week.

09 April 2015

Catching Up

The Florida part of our trip went very well, the liquid sunshine took a break and the girls loved M, as I knew they would. Or more to the point, the girls loved how happy I am since M came into my life, which amounts to the same thing. We got in some beach walking and touristing as well, so all in all it was a good trip.

But wait, there's more. The later part of the week is being spent in Pennsylvania, where M is from, at her parent's house. Her mother is deeply appreciative of how I treat M so already I've made a good impression on her, and her dad isn't quite the curmudgeon that M says he is (either that or he's on his best behavior).

For the next couple of days we will be wandering to and fro about the Pennsylvania/West VA countryside as M and her mom enjoy each others company. My job is to fetch and carry and generally show her parents that I will be good to their daughter. I can handle that.

On the way up we passed by Pilot Mountain, which is near Mount Airy NC. Youngest Son saw it and immediately announced that it looks like a nipple.*

He's right, you know. It does. And now that I've seen it, I cannot un-see it.

At any rate, this brings us to the final but by no means least important item on the agenda, the Redhead of the Month:

April's ROTM is brought to you by Europe. It has to be good for something after all.

And with the necessities out of the way, I'm back on vacation. See you next week!

*I'm shrouding myself in the illusion that Youngest Son recognizes the nipple from TV or the internet, and have instructed him to leave my illusions intact.

08 April 2015

Due To Circumstances

beyond my control this month's ROTM will regretfully be delayed.

Sorry Guffaw, I'll try to make up for it later.

Off to the Pennsylvania mountains now.

05 April 2015

Some Beach

Somewhere...in this case Mayport, FL.

31 March 2015

Two More Days

Workdays, that is, and after they are done I'll be on vacation for the week.

The plans are to take M to Florida to meet the girls and walk the beaches for the weekend, then back to rest up for a day and repack, then off to Pennsylvania to meet her folks.

She's been buying new togs for the trip. She hasn't had the need for a "girly" wardrobe for a while so didn't have anything to take along. She has also been complaining all the while about the coin she's putting out, but it appears as if she has everything she needs now.

Sunday morning I was folding my laundry and putting everything in the bag I'm taking on the trip and she was telling me it was too early to pack (accentuating her point by taking my socks out of my bag and throwing them - like a girl - at me). After I went to work she went back to her apartment...and packed for the trip.

All told we will travel a bit over 2000 miles, half in my car and half in hers, the two of us and Boy. I figure if I don't end the week standing on the side of the road with my thumb in the air it will be a successful trip.

30 March 2015

One Of These Days

I'll post some content. I promise.

Not today though. Work day today.

18 March 2015


Damn Lies, and Statistics.

You are entitled to your own opinion, but sometimes the facts can be pretty annoying.

16 March 2015

A Few Simple Repairs

The past weather has not been kind to my poor convertible top. Yesterday when I put it back up I found this:

Yep, that's the rear glass un-bonded from the canvas outer top almost all the way around. The bottom still has a strip that is barely holding on, but the top and sides are completely unattached. The glass is still attached to the inner liner so there aren't any leaks, but it's only a matter of time before I have problems with water between the layers.

The convertible top people I've contacted seem to think that four years is a bit soon for this car to be having this problem, but for a nominal fee ($1800-$2000) they will be glad to install a lifetime warranty top that should fix it right up.

Or I could opt for the $200-300 re-glue job instead, which isn't guaranteed at all but just might buy me a couple more years.

I'm thinking I might explore that option to begin with and see how that works out for me. If I save my nickels and dimes I might have a couple of grand to put down on a new top in another year or so, but right now I'm just not seeing it.

Oh the joys of convertible ownership. You take the good with the bad I guess.

12 March 2015

Darkness Falls

across the face of the Discworld.

Thank you Sir Terry Pratchett, for this and for all the other things that you wrote. Rest in peace.

The EBS Project: Revisited

Remember when I said it was done?

Well...I may have been a bit hasty...

It would require a re-barrel since I have the 8 shot magazine and the 20" barrel, but it would be totally worth it. Of course I would have more into the gun in accessories at that point than I had in the actual purchase price, but if I start adding things up I may have already passed that point anyway.

Drum magazine fed evil black shotgun? I can hear Nanny Nancy screaming from here...

Couldn't Help Myself

I just had to tell her.

The nice thing is...she said it right back.

10 March 2015

Ain't Skeert

Ain't runnin'.

I know you've had it rough up to now, and I know that talk is cheap, so I'll just be right here wrapped around you until you can believe it on your own.

On The Mend

Weak and dizzy like I've been on a 3 day bender but it looks like I'm getting better.

Just don't ask how many attempts it took to type these two sentences.

08 March 2015


I've been cleaning house quite a bit lately and stirring up a lot of dust.

Wednesday when the weather was nice I changed out the central air filters, stirring up even more dust.

Wednesday night I had a sore throat. It only got worse from there.

All weekend I've been unwell, something that is not normal for me.

I don't like it a bit.

05 March 2015


As predicted the rain and cold are back today after a very brief hiatus. It was 60 and damp when I left work this morning, 55 and misting when I got home 45 minutes later, and at 1:30PM the temperature has dropped over 20 degrees and the rain is steady.

This afternoon the rain is expected to become freezing rain just in time for rush hour and whatever is on the ground by midnight will turn to ice as the temperature plunges to 19 overnight. It will stay that way through the morning hours since the temperatures tomorrow aren't expected to climb above the mid 30's.

In other words, winter is BACK, beyotches!

It was nice while it lasted.

04 March 2015

It's About Time

Seventy glorious degrees and despite the fell warnings of the prognosticators the sun is shining brightly.

Betcha can't guess what I'm driving to work tonight...

03 March 2015

For Range Partner

It ain't much, but it's what I got.

02 March 2015

Heat Wave

The temperature is up high enough today (55 Fahrenheit) to have completely melted the snow off the car. The snow is also gone from the bushes and they are starting to stand back up, a good sign that they will recover from the snowpocalypse. There is still a nice unbroken expanse of snow through the front yard which is shaded by the pine trees out front and along the back in the shadow of the house, but everywhere else it is gone except for fringes.

Dog and I were able to walk all around the house for the first time in a long time.The back yard is pretty wet, but except for some low-lying spots and the aforementioned expanse in the shadow of the trees the ground in the front of the house has dried up pretty well. Tomorrow is supposed to be quite a bit cooler (39) with rain but Wednesday the forecast is for 70 degrees or better, depending on who you listen to. Of course it will be raining.

Thursday is calling for more snow and freezing rain.

I love living in the South.

It could be worse, though. Tam has been Scooby-less due to clutch issues that have thankfully been resolved and she's had to pilot the Nazi roller skate around in way worse weather than I've had to endure for quite some time now. In my world the Baja has soldiered on without a hiccup and the Mustang hasn't moved in over two weeks (although I did fire it up the other day to dry it out and hear it run). I'm going to take it out a bit today though while the temperature allows and the sun shines.

01 March 2015

That's Nice

She left her shirt here this morning.

That means she will be back to get it.

This pleases me in ways I can't begin to describe.


It has come in, if not like a lion then at least like an icy little lamb with freezing rain and ice hanging off of the trees. It's warm enough now that it has mostly melted away, but when it gets cold tonight it's going to be a real fun time driving home.

But, ice storms notwithstanding it is a new month, and even though my own situation has changed for the better there still must be a ROTM, oh yes there must.

And so, without further ado, I give you your morning coffee.

Love those socks. Hey, I have a table almost exactly like that one...

Good morning everyone!

27 February 2015

Oh Yeah (note to God),

about that weather...

You can feel free to knock this off at any time.

Eight inches in Raleigh on Wednesday night into Thursday morning. This is the most snow we've had in a short period of time in a very very long time.


Youngest Son was, as may be expected, very attached to Laura and took her death extremely hard.

One of the big worries is that he will resent M's presence. She's not trying to be Mom, but she is going to be around a lot so she wants to be accepted. The older kids are not just fine with it but are happy to see that Dad isn't going to be alone for the rest of his life (Dad agrees), but with Youngest it was a concern.

To that end she suggested Game Night last night, so we played Monopoly (note to Aggie Sith, it was the Star Wars edition) till late in the evening. It was a good idea, seemed to have the desired results, and is something that will likely become a regular thing. We're going out today to pick out a few more games for the variety.

As a side note, and without going into details, there are some sights that are extremely satisfying. I got to see it today for the first time in a very long time.

26 February 2015

Oh Hell

She's already on me about not drinking enough water.

Before you know it she'll have me exercising and eating vegetables.

It's just pathetic that a man of my stature is reduced to such a thing. Vegetables, FFS.

She intends me to live forever, an intention that Middle Daughter is in complete agreement with.

She does, however, reserve the right to kill me herself.

(personal note...spiders are not funny)

25 February 2015


Some things I had forgotten about are so nice.

Other things I had forgotten about are...so much better...

I'm too tense about it though, I want everything to be as perfect for her as she is for me and it's affecting my actions. She tells me I need to relax and let it flow.

She's right, of course.

I get the feeling I'm going to be admitting that a lot.

24 February 2015


After finally digging out from under the Icepocalypse...Snowpalooza 15!!!

I'm wondering just when I moved from North Carolina back to Iowa. It's been a rough February this year, although it's been a pretty good one for me.

The bad thing is there was no snow in the forecast for Raleigh today, but the good thing is, time and a half tonight because it is officially a weather event.

And...Teacher is home from school today because of the weather...maybe I can go over there and let her make me late for work.

I think I'm going to go do the things I need to so that I can do the things I want to.

22 February 2015

Hitting The "Resume" Button

Back to work today, she goes back to work tomorrow, so late nights are out for a few days at least. She says she needs to get back to work because she needs the rest. The next chance we will get to see each other is Wednesday since I'm off, but once again no late nights on a school night.

So now we find out what life will be like in a quasi-normal state. It's been going pretty well so far.

I think we will end up doing just fine.

21 February 2015

Dear Laura

I can't help but think that you had a hand in the events of the past two weeks.

Perhaps it is just superstitious foolishness, perhaps we do fool ourselves in believing these things in order to make our lives easier to live; if that is so then it hurts no one, but I believe it to be true.

You knew me better than anyone else in the world has ever known me, and you loved me in spite of it. You knew all my faults and foibles, all my weaknesses and all my strengths. You knew the worst of me, and you were the best of me. Who else, then, would have found someone so perfect for me?

You told me not to be alone. I was angry at the time, I said things I wish I had never said, but you forgave me. It didn't mean as much then as it means now, but now...it means everything. Sis told me that I should let you go, that I should release you to your rest, but I selfishly hung on because you were the best of me and I did not want to lose that.

She wants me to love her the way that I loved you, but what she does not know is I will love her better because of the lessons I learned with you. Because I learned the value of time.

I wasted a lot of time with you doing other things when I should have been loving you as hard as I could every waking moment of every day. When you are young you think you have all the time in the world, but when you are older you realize that ALL you have is all the time in the world. I learned the true meaning of that during those last desperate hours with you.

It was a mistake, and I won't make it again.

She wants to take the time to savor the moment; in that she is wiser than I because I want to start forever right now. She needs this as much as I do, but she needs the time just as much. She deserves the time, and so do I.

We have all the time in the world.

And now it is time for me to let you go to your rest. Thank you for all the lessons I learned with you, you will always have a piece of my heart...and of course my soul, that goes without saying...but I will move on now the way you wanted me to. I can do that now. Come what may, I can do that now.

Goodbye my love. I will see you when I get there.

20 February 2015


Something that Sis said yesterday when I told her about M, just before she ordered me to leave Boy with her for the night, has stuck with me all day.

Laura gave me her blessing; she released me to live my life. It was past time, according to Sis, for me to release her as well; to let her have her rest.

And so it is.

Last night went extremely well, or at least well enough that M has agreed to grace me with her presence at least once more.

We started with dinner out and ended with a movie at her place. She ended up having to go in to work the next day so the evening ended at ten.

I called to tell her I made it home safely and wish her a good night and we ended up talking on the phone for quite a while. I'm not much of a phone talker, but I like to think I held up my end of the conversation. We spoke until the wee hours of the morning, something that I haven't done in quite some time.

Before we hung up I invited her here, and she accepted.

The house is cleaner than it has been in a very long time. There are still 3 guys and a dog here, so the place isn't spotless, but at least the clutter isn't completely covered in dust.

The dog has been washed (quite against his will) and the lasagna is in the oven.

She will be here in an hour. Tonight I feel no trepidation.

18 February 2015

Filling The Gaps

OK, it was unnecessarily cruel of me and I apologize. Sort of.

She's a teacher at a local school, so for obvious reasons and in full accordance with standard Refuge practice identities will be kept intentionally vague to protect the innocent. It just wouldn't do for the new boyfriend to get you fired before the first date, after all. Might put a damper on any possibilities of follow-on interactions. Until further notice she will be referred to as Banana.

or not...let's just continue to call her M.

Anyhoo, we've been having a text storm for the past couple of days since she's not at work due to weather and I'm under employed due to no operators due to the same reason. As a result we're learning a lot about each other, and the more I learn the more I like.

To begin with, she is in fact from PA, in the part that James Carville referred to as Alabama in between. This means that fortuitously we agree more on politics and things of that nature than disagree, although as she says she doesn't pay as much attention to politics as she knows she should.

She likes country music, a fact which should agree with Range Partner who I think (although he has never said so) is somewhat less than fond of my musical tastes sometimes. She knits, which gives her something in common with my mother who is a famous knitter. She likes minions and considers Monty Python to be works of genius. She likes to read and is fond of sci-fi, as am I.

She has no problem with the fact that I carry, and in fact has voiced some interest in getting a CCW of her own although she has reservations. If she's not gung-ho pro at least she's not rabidly anti. I can work with that.

We're going out Friday Thursday (couldn't wait), it will be the first time since last Saturday afternoon that we have actually seen each other. It's funny when I think that all of this has occurred since then, the last time I actually put eyes on her none of this was certain. Of all the things I expected when I went out to hear the music, this was the least one of them.

It feels pretty good.

Life In The Details

OK Erin, you asked for it.

Friday my TV blew up and I had to buy another one. Also Friday my check was short because I had some vacation time, which kills all overtime when you take it. I usually get between 4-6 hours of overtime a pay period, so that's like losing 3 hours of regular time. It makes a noticeable dent.

Good thing I used my tax money to pay down some of my credit card bills because I've been using them to fill the gap.

Saturday we get snow for Valentines Day and I get to stay home alone. Again.

Sunday I have to go back to work.

Monday we get more snow dumped on us in a day than we usually get all week.

Tuesday is colder than a well diggers ass so the snow doesn't go away as it usually does.

Today my brother in law called begging for money that I don't have (see Friday above).

I've had the best week I can remember having in a very long time.

When Laura knew the end was in sight she didn't tell me of course, but what she did say was "don't be alone."

I did not react well. I was in denial, and I accused her of giving up.

I wish I could take back what I said. I know I was forgiven the moment the words left me, but if I could have never spoken them it would have been better. I have had years to regret it.

But enough about that. I wasn't really all that anxious to jump back in the shark tank, but for the past few months I've been leaving the house more. I joined an online group of local singles and one of the things we do is listen to live music at a local dive called the Korner Pocket.

So the 8th of February I show up at the Pocket. One of the gals from the group, T, is there, I know her from previous meetups but there's nothing special there. We get to chatting and she mentions she has some friends showing up to join us.

A little while later this girl comes in. Girl in the sense of female human person, that is, cause she's all growed up. She's cute and funny and she smiles and laughs a lot, and when she smiles the whole room lights up. As an added bonus she seems to acknowledge and appreciate the fact that I am there.

Her name is M.

So, small talk, music, a few more people show up and I try to be discreet as I observe the new girl. At the end of the evening we all get in our cars, she likes mine (I drove the Mustang), and we go our separate ways. Except her separate way seems to be in the path of my separate way and I find myself following her...in a totally non-creepy, non-stalkerish sort of way...for miles and miles.

Finally, about five miles from where I would turn off her signal comes on. I go on around her and get a high-beam "Hello" flash, which I answer with a quick round of emergency flashers. I think that it's been a good night, I'm pleased that she noticed that I was there, and I hope she comes to a few more events so I can see her again. Maybe, I think, I'll even learn to shuffle my feet so I can ask her to dance with me.

Imagine my surprise when, through the group messaging system, I get a message from her. She liked my car so much, she says, that she had to go out and get a new one of her own.

We message back and forth a few times and I look at the group events calendar and see her name on one of the events that I had no intention at all of attending. But she's going to be there, so what the hell, I sign up, too. It's for Valentines Day, even better, so maybe I can get her to dance with me, and maybe I won't step on her while we dance, and maybe I can find a quiet corner where we can talk a bit sometime in course of the evening.

Friday night and Boy drags me off to skating rink hell. I mention this in a message and she tells me she likes to skate (light bulb!) and she and T are going out to grab a bite since neither of them want to see 50 Shades of Ghey, which is what the group is doing that evening.

At this point it's beginning to sink through my Neanderthal thick skull that maybe...just maybe...she is being more than just casually polite. I've been out of the game for a while and I was never very good at it, so I am no good at all at reading signals, and really never was. But there is a light dawning in my feeble brain, so I decide to make the most of it. The rum bottle gets emptied as I contemplate this decision.

Saturday dawns bright and early and I notice that I have missed a message from her. I send her a message back, she sends me a message back...and in this message is a phone number that I haven't yet worked up the nerve to ask for. The light brightens.

I go help Range Partner move his gun safe (note, gun safes are big and heavy) but I say nothing except that I have an event that day that I'm hoping to attend. I don't want to jinx it, Range Partner has had enough of his own troubles lately without me burdening him with mine..but I console myself with the fact that I know where I can find a drink later if I need one so there is that.

There are actually two events that day, one in the late morning and early afternoon and then the one that evening that I signed up for just because I saw her name on it. I did make it to the first event just in time for everyone to split and head their separate ways, but I do get to see that smile again, and it is every bit as much as I remembered. I go back home and inform the boys that I would not be available for the night, and when Eldest Boy asks where we're going I tell him.

"Oh" he says, "that's a gay bar."

"STFU! Is it?" I look it up. It is.

(A note about the event coordinator for this little soiree, he's the same guy that set up the Friday movie event that M and T skipped out on.)

So I use that new phone number that I just got and say WTF, did you know? She didn't, but we agree that we will stick together, and if nothing else we can point and laugh. (I'm thinking more along the lines of seeing if I can convince her to make an exit with me, but all in good time.) Into the shower I go, and when I emerge Boy is standing at the door watching the snow. But you've heard this story before, haven't you? Anyway, I give her the link to this blog and await my fate.

I will take her out for the first time on Friday.

17 February 2015

Fast n' Furious 15: Snow Drift

Last night winter descended on the Piedmont with a vengeance, coating any surface it could reach with a layer of snow followed by a misting of ice.

The Baja didn't want to start this morning to go home, it had to be kicked over three times before it finally conceded to stay running. Once it had agreed to the task, however, it handled the snowy roads with a Subaru sure-footedness typical of the breed.

This is the kind of weather I would expect in a late Iowa December, not a mid February North Carolina...or any other time in North Carolina either for that matter.

If I should ever meet Al Gore I'm going to junk-punch him until his eyes bleed. That Mann jackass is going down as well, and should that Hansen asshole from NASA open his festering suckhole in my presence I may just become homicidal.

On a more pleasant note, though, since Teacher didn't have to go to school today she stayed up most the night trading texts with me. Somewhere around 4:30 I stopped getting answers, so I'm guessing that's about the time she hit the wall.

Things seem to be working out pretty well in this regard.

(You can't tell me you didn't see that one coming. Shut it MSgt B.)