prophet_marcus: (marc)
Today I gave the yard one last mowing, put away all of the summer furniture and toys and tools and brought out the snowblower. Hopefully I won't need that for another two months and probably not for at least one. But better to have it ready. My outdoor cellar access can get buried being almost flat. And those stairs are awfully steep.

Anyway, I guess the yard is ready. I'll probably winterize the windows next weekend. I want to keep ventilation as long as I can, but it's been pretty chilly at night lately. And my gas bill is high enough as it is.

Birthday

Sep. 26th, 2015 08:19 am
prophet_marcus: (marc)
Next Wednesday is my granddaughter Elizabeth's first birthday. Wednesday being a poor choice for a birthday party, it's being held today instead. My almost daughter in law Jen has been driving herself (and everyone around her) crazy for the last week or so making preparations. Seems a bit much to me for a 1st birthday party. Jen herself admits that Elizabeth would be happy with whatever they did so long as she got snacks and lots of attention.

Ah, well. Errands to run this morning before the party.
prophet_marcus: (marc)
So if some states want to make it okay for public officials to refuse to grant marriage licenses to gay couples on personal religious grounds, would it be possible for other public officials to, say, refuse to grant gun permits on similar religious grounds - for example, Quakers? Just a thought. Wondering how that would fly.
prophet_marcus: (marc)
Remember to avoid Durham, NH if at all possible tomorrow. UNH Graduation. The tiny town will be having its second craziest day of the year. First being freshman move-in day of course.

And I am on vacation for a week. Yippee. Not long enough to take a trip, but also not long enough to get bored. Yard work or maybe house projects, depending on weather and energy levels.
prophet_marcus: (marc)
Hi folks. In a few weeks, my sweetheart is going on a pilgrimage in France and Spain. She speaks essentially nothing of the languages in these places. I was wondering if anyone knew of a good, handheld translator. One which does not require an internet connection. And one with good enough voice recognition that it can translate what strangers are saying fairly reliably. (most of the ones I've looked at online are intended to translate the user's words into a foreign language and need to adapt to the user's voice first.)

Catching Up

Mar. 7th, 2015 08:24 am
prophet_marcus: (marc)
Howdy folks.
I've been sick for the past couple of weeks. Some unspecified virus making me tired and weak. That's on top of the lower back muscle strain I've been dealing with since maybe last October. So I woke up in the middle of the night about two weeks ago with a quick stabbing pain in my chest. Thought it might be the early sign of a heart attack which ruined my sleep for the rest of the night. Worried myself sick. So sick that a couple of days later I ended up taking my first ambulance ride to the hospital where they could find nothing wrong with my heart. But they scheduled a stress test just to be sure.
Visited my doctor this past Tuesday where I got the 'viral syndrome' diagnosis. The stress test was Wednesday and was uncertain enough that they want to do a nuclear stress test to get better information.
Yeah, that news apparently stressed me out enough that I ended up back in the emergency department Thursday. Again, my EKG and blood work showed no sign of heart trouble. This time they sent me home with a prescription for Ativan. I stayed home yesterday and tested it out. No bad reaction, it didn't turn me into a zombie. I could tell when it started wearing off. But all in all I got through the day. I just have to build my strength and endurance back up without overexerting myself. And not start about every little ache and twinge. They are a part of my job. Hopefully I won't have too many bad episodes because they only gave me ten pills.
Anyway, that's what's going on in my life.
prophet_marcus: (marc)
I'm sure most of you already know this, but for many people it's because all of the credit card bills from Christmas come due. On top of winter considerations like heating fuel, higher electric bills due to shorter days and so forth.

My birthday is in January. Which means car registration and inspection. And my car just barely failed inspection yesterday because of rust through on the rocker panels. So I need some body work on the car before I get my sticker.

I also need some work done on the heating for the house. The furnace is fine, but the system isn't turning on for the upstairs. My room has it's own heating zone and is newer construction than the rest of the house. So I'm as toasty warm as can be in there. The main part of the downstairs - the kitchen/living room is one large, open area with lots of windows and three doors to the outside. The heat works, but not very well. Upstairs is two bedrooms and a bathroom, plus the small connecting hall area. They've got electric heaters right now to supplement what leaks up from downstairs. No one told me until day before yesterday that the heat actually wasn't working. Sheesh!
So the professionals are coming by today to look at the system. My prime suspect is the solenoid, since I put a brand new thermostat in upstairs and that didn't help. We'll see. Meanwhile, repair bill plus extra electric bill plus car repair and inspection... it's a good thing I'm going back to work tomorrow.
prophet_marcus: (marc)
What else is there to say? I hope this year improves on last year. I hope the new congress doesn't turn out to be a bunch of useless asshats. I hope love and happiness fill your days.

On a personal note, I hope I can cope when the kids all move out. I hope I can get this house in good enough shape to sell. I hope I don't do anything unforgivably stupid this year.

Part Two

Dec. 21st, 2014 09:35 am
prophet_marcus: (marc)
(I suppose I should finish this thing up. Here goes folks.)

The Night Larry Downs Went Home (conclusion)

Larry reached out and tapped on my shoulder. "Check it out, man. Looks like trouble."
He nodded toward a corner table where an inebriated guy in a rumpled suit was looming over a tired looking thirty-something woman. As I looked, he was raising his voice over the band.
"Bitch! You slut! Get your hussy ass up outa here and come home."
I couldn't hear her reply, but her drooping head shook from side to side. Too tired to deal with the jerk. The rest of the patrons were keeping a half eye on the scene. Folks come here to kick back and don't take kindly to trouble makers.
"I said you're coming home with me! And right now!" The guy reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a small pistol. The whole place went quiet and still. The woman's eyes were wide, more in surprise than fear. I suspect she'd seen the gun brought out before, but only in more private arguments.
Larry leaned over my shoulder. "You know," he whispered, "it says in the Bible that there's no greater gift than to give one's life for one's friends."
"Really? Sorry, I'm not up on the Bible."
"And you a prophet? Yeah, Gospel of John, chapter 15. So what do you think?"
"I don't do prophecy for the big guys. They've got their own prophets. And I don't do scriptures. I get my word straight from the source. As for what I think... is she a friend of yours?"
"Details, details. Never saw her before in my life. Principle should still hold, right?"
I thought about this while dealing with the immediate problem. As soon as people saw the gun wouldn't fire, they would deal with the jerk.
"Well, you're supposed to do good because it's right, not to gain celestial brownie points. But then, Christian theology has never been my strong point. Hell, of of the People's of the Book are opaque to me."
Larry pondered this for a moment as the guy's gestures became more intent. With a shrug, he got up and started over, mumbling "Well, I can probably take him down safely anyway. He's not that big."
Since I knew Larry had a good bit of judo under his belt, I wasn't worried. Gunpowder to talcum powder may not be as impressive as bread and wine to flesh and blood, but it's a lot funnier and more useful under the circumstances. Larry reached the guy and tapped him on the shoulder. Drunk jerk spins around, yells "Fuck off!" and pulls the trigger.
Nada. Drunk looks down at the gun, having pulled the trigger by reflex more than intent but still - it should have fired.
Larry takes the gun away from the guy, looking at it with a frown, and then drops it and puts the guy into an arm bar hold of some kind while someone calls the police. Ten minutes later, it was all a topic of conversation instead of a crisis. Once the woman had finished talking to the police, she came over to thank Larry.
He bought her a beer, had one himself, they talked for a while and eventually, Larry went home with her. His view on virtue having shifted somewhat over the evening.
I just had another beer and wondered what the cops would make of the bullets filled with talcum powder.
prophet_marcus: (marc)
I know I will never be a writer. I lack the skills and the patience to develop them. Plot development is a particular weakness. And polishing/rewriting/editing. Too much like work.

But now and then I do get ideas that I would like to put into a story. I think I'll inflict the first part on you, my dear friends. Just for kicks.

"The Night Larry Downs Went Home"

The band was called 'Cookies For Tuesday'. Sort of progressive rock, sort of bluesy. They wanted to be the Greatful Dead for the 21st century. The closest they came was being the favorite local band of the local stoner crowd. Not that they were bad, just not destined for greatness.
I never asked them where they got the name of their band from. Probably some story, but also probably a dull one. One of those "you had to be there' things. Of course, I never asked them about their collective dream either. And they never told me, or anyone else. But I knew about it anyway. It just came into my awareness one night. Things like that happen when you're a prophet.
Other things just happen when you're a prophet. Random miracles. Not always convenient. Just ask Larry Downs. He was perched a couple of seats away from me at the bar of the adult side of The Barn Grill. (Yeah, folks around here tend to silly names for businesses. This one was excusable since it was a bar and grill built in what was once a working barn. Much better than the ex cop's landscaping outfit called Lawn Order.)
But back to Larry. He was half listening to the band and nursing a glass of juice. I always covered his tab at the bar out of a sense of guilt and he tried hard not to resent me because resentment might be a sin. He drank fruit juice, water and milk because alcohol or even carbonated, caffeinated beverages might be a sin. He tried very hard to live a normal life and avoid sin because he wanted to get to Heaven.
More to the point, he wanted to get back to Heaven.
It started a few months ago. I was wandering in the local woods. It's pretty hard to get lost in less than a square mile of woods, but you can certainly get off the clear trails and into the tangled underbrush. So while I was fighting with the brambles and branches, I stumbled over Larry. I literally stumbled, though more precisely over his body. He'd gone missing during a blizzard back in mid winter and apparently frozen to death half under a fallen tree. So I tripped over his feet and landed more or less face to face with a dead body.
And then it happened. My powers as a prophet sent the breath of life from my mouth into Larry's and he woke up. His body was restored to health and his soul returned to occupy it.
And he screamed!
Seems good old Larry had spent the time between his death and his resurrection in Heaven. He says he can't describe it or even think about it or remember it clearly. The human brain isn't equipped to deal with that level of reality. But his soul remembered and knew very well that there is a much better place than here. He wanted to go back more than anything, but taking direct action by committing suicide would be a sin and get him sent someplace else.

So Larry waits.

(More later. Perhaps. I do have an ending in mind.)
prophet_marcus: (marc)
Every weekday morning, I get up, shower, get dressed, have breakfast and then head off to work. I try to get to work about half an hour early because this gives me time to compose a morning greeting email to my sweetheart, Lynette. Yes, I could do this at home before driving off to work, but the I risk losing track of time and ending up being late or running into traffic troubles which slow me down and cause me to be late.
And then, a couple of hours later, during my morning coffee break, I will usually have a reply from her. Because while I start work at 6 AM, she starts work at 9. This is why I email instead of sending a text. Lynette would not appreciate being woken up at, say 5 AM or 5:30, or even 6 just for me to say good morning.
Today, however, when I sat down to read her morning reply, it turned out she was worried because she had not gotten a morning email and she had also sent me a text. (I don't compulsively check my phone for texts in the morning and rarely hear the alert tones over the sounds of background music, assorted kitchen machines, coworkers or, if down on the loading dock, the sounds of trucks and pallet jacks.)
So I sent her a text assuring her that I was just fine and tried to resend my morning email. Not sure why it didn't get to her the first time. But you know, it's nice to know that someone out there is that concerned about me. Which is why I try to send her morning greetings every morning and good night wishes at bedtime.
prophet_marcus: (marc)
Tonight is the night of the big holiday dinner at UNH. Prime rib, seafood stuffed cod and rotisserie duck head up the entrees. Assorted sides, appetizers, yadda yadda. And Frozen themed decorations of course because what else would you do this year?

Getting all of this ready was a major endeavor of course. Five hundred forty pounds of prime rib has been sitting in my freezer for several weeks - taking up space desperately needed by stuff we use on a daily basis. But then so is the funnel cake left over from a special event two months ago. The funnel cake remains, but I also got to bring out the 230 loaves of french bread that got ordered because someone didn't know they came in units of 10 so he ordered 40. Lots of garlic bread. And bread for steak subs. And then whatever else the cooks can think of to use it up. That releases two and a half shelves of space intended for various chicken products.

I actually finished all of my usual duties early enough to spend some time filling balloons for the decorating. And tomorrow I need to see if they ended up using those branches they dragged onto my loading dock last week saying they were for decorations. Odds are good I'll end up having to dispose of those.

Yes, the aftermath. Clearing away the debris, dealing with the leftovers. I hope we get huge crowds of famished people who eat everything in sight. We've only got until next Thursday before we close for winter break. Not a lot of time to use up stuff.

I'm so looking forward to a few weeks off. Let my back and hands recover. They've been taking quite a beating lately.
prophet_marcus: (marc)
Tree has been set up. And decorated. Even as artificial trees go, this one isn't great, but it's not too bad. I wish I could dial down the LED lights a bit. They are just a tad on the bright side.

Yesterday, I went walking in the rain. My upstairs toilet had gotten clogged and I didn't have a snake. My car was blocked in by my youngest son's car and being on a second shift schedule, he tends to sleep until noon. So I put on my winter boots, coat and hat and walked down to Home Depot. It's only a little over a mile and a half. 1.7 according to Google Maps. Yes, it was drizzling, but it's a nice walk anyway. And with the temperature just above freezing, I was actually hot by the time I got there. But of course, with the rain, I couldn't start peeling off layers.
Anyway, got there, got my snake, got home, only to find that youngest son had spent a half hour with a plunger getting the clog cleared. After all, this is the bathroom next to his room. He was more motivated than I was.

Such is life. It was a good walk.
prophet_marcus: (marc)
Here's hoping everyone has a great day today. I'm gathering my strength before going out to dig out the cars. Youngest son Alexander and I are heading down to Massachusetts to my daughter's for Thanksgiving Dinner. Elder son Eric, and his almost-wife and daughter are going to her parents' place for the meal - and so is my ex.

I spent yesterday afternoon baking a couple of apple pies. One to eat here at home and one to bring down to my daughter's. Luckily, my sweetheart Lynette loaned me an apple peeler-corer-slicer. Cut way down on the preparation time.

And folks like the apple pie. That makes me happy.
prophet_marcus: (marc)
Happy Veterans' Day to all the veterans, and their families. Yesterday was also the US Marine Corps birthday. I celebrated by taking my favorite Marine out to dinner. She also got to meet my granddaughter for the first time.

I forgot

Oct. 2nd, 2014 03:07 pm
prophet_marcus: (marc)
I forgot to tell you folks - except for those of you I see on FaceBook. I'm a grandpa now. Elizabeth Faythe Iris Allain was born September 30, 7 PM, to Jennifer Luna and my son, Eric. Finally, I get to use the rocking chair which was the entire reason I stayed at UNH for 25 years. (Now, I stay because I'm too lazy to go job hunting.)
prophet_marcus: (marc)
My audience here is small and select. And not likely to gossip when I talk about things I feel the need to talk about but not to spread around. Facebook is a little too social sometimes.

Tomorrow, someone is coming by to appraise the house for loan purposes. I hope it goes well. I want that loan. I'm kind of angry that I need it, and definitely upset about some of the fallout from that situation, but resolution will feel...

...probably anticlimactic. I expect that rather than "Yay! It's over!" I'll be "Well, that's done with."

At least I have a grandchild to look forward to. Pretty much any day now. And I'm wondering if I'm up to the challenge of going to Japan next August. It would have to be August because that's the only time they let people climb Fuji. Which sort of works out because August is when I can take paid vacation.

Fly to Tokyo. Overnight there then a train to Fuji. Overnight on the mountain then the next night at some country inn. Then maybe a train up to Hokkaido and spend a day or two there. Back to Tokyo and fly home. 8 to 10 days. Time to start saving up.
prophet_marcus: (marc)
I do wonder, though, why there is a Royal Bank of Scotland when Scotland does not have it's own monarch. Unless it's a really, really old bank.

Of course, my bank is Citizen's Bank, RBS. They bought out the people who bought out Granite State Bank, but I've essentially been banking with the same people for almost my entire adult life. God help you if you overdraw and don't have one of their overdraft plans, but other than that, I've been happy with them.

So now I'm trying to take out a loan and they are quite nice and helpful. And if I get the loan, I will pay off my ex-wife and be free of our last direct entanglement. There are, of course, still our kids, but outside of that, I won't have to deal with her at all. Funny, we used to be good friends. She's worn that away, but by bit over the years.
prophet_marcus: (marc)
So as of last night I am apparently no longer in a relationship. Luckily, I never did that relationship status thing on FaceBook or I'd have to change it and then I'd have some 'splainin to do.

It's all so horribly complicated, having to do with my ex-wife saying she needs money because she has no income and she's got no money for food and she's diabetic, oh and this conversation started while she was in a crisis center. And by the way, by the terms of our divorce decree the house was supposed to be sold when our youngest turned 18 and she gets half of the money (after selling expenses), so could she have some money against the overdue but eventual sale of the house?

There follow hard words over the sudden and complicating manner of this completely legal request and conversations with lawyers, but of course, I do have to comply. The only questions being "how much constitutes half?" and "lump sum or monthly payments?"

Now due to various issues having to do with the manner in which my ex left the family and her relations with various family members since then, the general feeling has been that she deserves nothing since she never contributed in any way once she left. Not to paying off the house, not to supporting the kids, nothing.

So within the provisions of the decree, I have a little bit of wiggle room. But not a lot. And I have no interest in paying a lawyer to fight the issue if she's ready to permit me some of that wiggle.

My significant other, however, feels that 1: I am too close to my ex and not really "over her", 2: that I am letting the ex walk all over me and 3: that if I valued SO's opinion as I have claimed, I would have discussed it with her before reaching an agreement with the Ex.

So there is my last three weeks in a nutshell. After almost fourteen months of going from strangers to lovers to planning (vaguely) a life together and countless wonderful times together with lots of plans for ways to fill our lives, I'm alone again.

Well, not completely alone. I have family and friends to love and support me. But no one to share myself with. I had missed it before I met her, and now I miss it already. Retirement looks a lot less attractive today.

One year

Jul. 8th, 2014 07:04 am
prophet_marcus: (marc)
Yesterday was the first anniversary of when Lynette and I met for the first time in person. After a few weeks of exchanging messages on eHarmony and email, we got together for dinner at an Applebee's in Epping, NH. It's about half way between us and was some place we could both find, being right near where NH 125 and 101 meet. One year, and going strong. She makes me happy. I make her happy. We have fun, we walk a lot, we talk, we go places and do things. Never too old for love.

And she makes me a little braver, a little more adventurous, a lot more open to new possibilities. I just hope I give her half as much.

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