Last Saturday . . .

The most recent last Saturday, while I was sleeping, my wife was (as is her usual routine) running around town doing her grocery shopping.  When she got home, she started bringing in the groceries, only to find a potentially dangerous spider perched on the inner door handle of the back porch.  After some online research, she thought she’d identified it as a Brown Recluse.

So, she brought the groceries in through the front door.  I was still asleep, and never heard the scream she said she delivered when she saw the spider.  However, I’ve never had any reason to doubt her, so if she says she screamed, I believe she did.

Somewhere around 6 hours later, I woke up, and heard her tale about meeting the spider.  Since an exhaustive search didn’t locate it, I continued about my normal routine.  At around midnight, I noticed a need to take out the trash, and in the process of doing that, I had a very short but adrenaline fueled adventure!

You see, my wife saw the spider on the outside door handle of the inner door of our back porch.  When I was taking out the trash, I went (as is my normal habit) through the back door.  It’s the most direct route to the trash dumpster.  Only after I’d already opened the back door, and walked through it and closed it, did I remember her story to me about the spider.

Spiders are one of the very few life forms on this planet that I have anything approaching a phobia about.  To suddenly find myself halfway between safety and a potentially deadly spider, without having realized I was putting myself in the cross hairs before I got there, caused about 3 seconds of INTENSE panic.

The end result was, I finished taking the trash to the outside dumpster, and returned to the interior of our home, without having any problems of an arachnid nature..  However, it took six hours and several glasses of vodka before I could relax enough to try to sleep.

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Saturday Posts . . .

As only one example of how this may be true, I’d like to remind everyone about the story of how my current wife and I met.  I had moved into my mother’s home in Pratt, Kansas, because I fled St. Louis, Missouri after my 8 month engagement to a woman I passionately loved fell apart.  It collapsed because I caught her cheating on me, and then she chose the other guy over me.  I was heartbroken, and struggling to get my feet back on solid ground. My current wife was a librarian at the local community college, where I’d enrolled in a few arts classes.

We became friends, and hung out frequently.  But, until she made it clear that she wanted more out of our relationship, I had not even considered the possibility.  Her actions made me take a hard look at the situation.  I realized that I had 2 choices – the first being that I could ignore her interest and continue to harbor my wounded pride over the loss of the prior engagement.  The second choice was to take a chance on possibly being happy with someone who obviously wanted to be with me, despite the baggage I brought to the relationship.  I had to spend several days considering those options.

In the end, I took a chance on being happy with her.  It has proved to be one of the smartest decisions of my life.

2 must-watch documentaries . . .

My wife and I have recently watched 2 documentaries that, IMHO, everyone needs to see.  They are both currently available on Netflix streaming video.

The first one is “Challenger: The Final Flight” – obviously about the final flight of the Challenger space shuttle, and all of the bureaucratic failures that led to the disaster.

Just as disturbing, and much more currently relevant, is the second documentary.  It is called “/the social dilemma” – and yes, that backslash at the front IS part of the title.  No spoilers, but I guarantee you’ll want to reevaluate your use of social media after watching this.

Saturday Posts . . .

Today is the birthday one of my best friend’s.  Her name is Eibhlin (pronounced like Eliene)  – and she is an artist who’s mother was one of the original Disney animation artists.  She and I share several areas of intellectual. interests, not the least of which are interests in the paranormal and fine arts.

I truly hope that she has a wonderful birthday, and that she’s achieving everything she hopes to make of her life.

Happy Birthday,  Eibhlin.

Contractors . . .

I have no idea if what we have experienced lately is a part of a greater phenomena, but we’ve had a lot of trouble with local contractors in the last six months.

For example, the guy who installed, and has maintained, our house guttering for the last 6 years, was also the guy who was doing our mowing.  In the last 6 months, he’s been increasingly undependable, and has not cleaned our gutters since October, even though we paid in advance to have it done back that far.

We also just finished getting our house repainted, and even though we asked that the front door be painted to match the trim paint we selected, it did not happen.

I fully realize that Covid-19 has changed a lot of the rules of how contractors do jobs for private individuals, I am upset that we are having trouble getting contractors on the phone to discuss these problems.

We greatly prefer to give our business to local, even independent, contractors, for the specific reason of supporting local, self-employed businessmen.  Not only do they usually care more about doing a good job, but they also are people it is easy to develop a personal long-standing relationship with.

Except that the rules seem to have changed, since the genesis of Covid-19.  Since then, even the contractors we already had good relationships with have become difficult to get in touch with. They don’t answer their phones, and sometimes don’t even have voice-mail set up on their phones.  Several of the ones we’ve worked with for years are now distracted by jobs they took on that have nothing to do with the businesses they were building, but that they needed to keep their bills paid.

It breaks my heart to do so, but I feel that I have no choice but to replace the contractors that have become unreliable with other contractors who will respond when we call them.

As a foot-note, we had our house painted last week.  Our all-brick house is now a very light tan color with brick-red accents.  That cost us $2000 US plus the cost of the paint, but we’re already seeing a return on the investment.  Our HVAC system isn’t having to work as hard as before, in the job of keeping our home cool for the summer.