Category Archives: Married life

TV shopping

Our TV just lays there twitching like a sarin casualty.   We need a new one.  Thank you, Samsung, for a product that only lasted six years of relatively light usage.  Of course, I wouldn’t do anything so cold as to post that fact on the Internet or anything.

We kind of have a choice between going to Worst Buy (always feel sort of sullied afterward, like having taken a dip in the Great Salt Lake, or picked up after the dog in the yard) or the local Old School Appliance/Electronics Store.  Normally that would be my top preference, but we live in the Tri-Cities, and experience has taught me that many old time local businesses really don’t earn their keeps here.  Like most of local government, they are more habits than going concerns.  This is one of the downsides of not living in a Seattle or Portland:  because consumers have fewer options, businesses can get by with greater mediocrity.  I keep telling myself that it’s better than living in constant worry of petty property crime, which is comparatively rare here.

Not sure what brand we’ll get, other than that if AT&T makes one, that’s out, and Samsung’s outside consideration.


Inexpressible joy

I call it ‘my wife is coming home from Alaska.’  She has been up there for two weeks.  It’s really good for her; she is Alaskan, and loves her home state like I do my own (Kansas).  It is also good for our relatives up there, who benefit a lot from seeing her (one niece has a new baby and is overwhelmed, and Deb rocks in those situations).  Meanwhile, I have been doing good things down here, not just writing and editing; one of the chiefest being the Cleansing of the Homestead, a polite term for ‘picking up all the crap my nephew and I just didn’t bother messing with, doing laundry, dishes, and otherwise covering up the evidence of two weeks of exclusively male habitation.’  Needless to say, the nephew Will Be Dragooned into doing his share, and being the nephew he will be assigned the tasks I like least.  But humanely.


Just a comical interlude today.  Deb came in from three days on the road, and once she had done all her usual routines to shed the trappings of work travel, came down to ask me something.

Now, Deb has varying tones for yelling at the dog.  Usually it’s Leonidas, the miniature Schnauzer, who is not a good dog.  He knows what he’s supposed to do; he just doesn’t care.  He’s figured out that no matter what he does, he’s not going to get tortured or killed, therefore, he’ll just screw up and take the consequences.

One of his favorite pranks is to take a dump in the house.  Once he did it right next to Deb while she was sorting out Christmas ornaments, unrepentant. Anyway, I can usually tell from the feminine yelling upstairs what the dog has done wrong.  And there’s a certain high note, an anguished shriek of the kind you’d normally associate with hearing of a death:  “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!”

I don’t hear real well in the lower pitched tones, but higher sounds penetrate all the way to the skull.

This time it wasn’t the dog.  Deb recently got a summons for Federal jury service in Yakima, but it hasn’t yet turned into any actual service.  So she’s about to head back upstairs, and I say the magic words to her:  “Don’t forget your jury summons.”  (It was from Benton County, not Federal.)

“I already dealt with that,” she said, annoyed at my lousy memory.

“Look behind you on the cornet case,” I replied.


You’d think Leo had just decorated the floor again.

I don’t blame her a bit.

Off to Walla Walla

Nephew’s first away game is at WWCC, so we’re going to go take in some of it after a swing past the antique show.  Hopefully my navigation isn’t as inept as last time I went there.  For those of you not familiar with Washington, our main state penitentiary (the one with the gallows and the gurney; in Washington, criminals can still hang) is at Wally, and it’s fairly out of the way.  Undeterred, I got sufficiently lost and confused by atrocious road construction that I pulled up right outside the slammer.  Fortunately, I didn’t get invited in.

With luck, JD will get to play.  He hasn’t seen the field yet this year, and it’s a new experience for him, pining it.  (For me in baseball, it was the commonplace norm, with my many athletic deficiencies.)  It’s that way for all of us in college, or at least most of us:  “Wow.  All my life I was the best player/(or smartest kid).  Good lord…so were all these people.  I’m going to have to pack my lunch.”

Wally’s a pretty nice town, though, so I don’t mind going over there.  Its primary industries, besides growing sweet onions, are educating the young (one university, one college and one CC) and incarcerating those who declined to be educated.  It has a religious background, based somewhat on the Whitman College heritage of Methodist education (their mascot is still the Missionaries).  The university, WWU, is an Adventist school.  The Whitties get a real good education, though one pays handsomely for it–it is a very highly regarded liberal arts college. Some of my tougher editing services competition probably comes from Whitman.

Less known is that Wally was at one point the primary city in Washington Territory, a contender for the state capital.  Not happening now.

My cold remedy

Most people think this is somewhat batso, but it seems to at least keep me from getting as acute a version of the annual pestilences.  Woke up this morning with my throat feeling like I had been belting out death metal love ballads all night after attending a Husky game.  When it became evident that I was going to get sick, I engaged my cold remedy.  Cold, flu, don’t know and don’t care which; if it produces congestion, this is what I do.

My first act is to pick up the telephone.  I call Round Table Pizza, and instruct them to send me immediately two extra large pepperoni pizzas with chopped garlic and jalapeños.  If I’m pretty nice to them, they may put on a little extra (yet another reason to tip pizza guys and gals).  When it arrives, I consume as much of the pizza as possible (I’ll heat it up and eat off it for two full days).

I also make green tea with lemon, and steam myself in the shower, and Nyquil myself to insensibility at night.  If I cough, just plain Robitussin, no antihistamines.

The pizza achieves several things.  For one thing, I’ve done it enough times that it’s sort of a conditioned signal to my system:  call out the reserves and mobilize for battle.  We aren’t taking this lying down. For another, it’s good for morale; the pizza is good, and it feels like I’m doing something about it, which is better for your attitude than ‘yuck, I’m sick, I’m so miserable, I hate my life right now.’  The jalapeños are just about sure to clear out my sinuses, and while garlic’s mild antibiotic properties aren’t really in play against a virus, it does generally boost your immune system and is quite healthful.  (It’s also good for others’ health, as no one will get within five feet of you after eating all that garlic.)  What is more, you just poured a remarkably noxious substance over the system invaders.  Gonna hang out here a while, eh, you little varmints? Okay, fine.  Have a drink on the house! I can almost picture the viruses saying to each other:  “You idiot!  Why did we ever let you book this trip? I’m never using that travel agent again!  We’ve died and gone to Naples!”  Yeah, enjoy.  Come back if you ever need another toxic sludge lesson chez moi.

What I don’t do is suppress symptoms, except to sleep at night (rest being essential), or unless there’s a severe fever.  As I reason it, the symptoms are your body’s way of fighting back.  Why hamstring your body? Hell, fuel it up for heavy fighting.  I go through a lot of handkerchiefs (I have about thirty, so it’s not like I have to reuse them, and they don’t chap my nose as much as dead trees).  I drink lots of milk, eat lots of cheese, everything that is supposed to make you have to blow your nose more.  My body’s playing bouncer and I certainly am not going to bar the door from the outside.

Does it cure it? Of course not.  Does it lessen the acuity? It certainly seems to.  Does it make it more bearable? Yes and no.  I might feel less lousy during the day if I suppressed the symptoms, but I think I’d stay sick longer.  I’d rather have three days of major suck than five days of medium suck.  I just seem to rebound quicker with less chemicals and more just fueling up my body and letting it do what it was designed to do.

My bride thinks I’m a lunatic.

She might be right, but the ability to do this is a luxury. Other times, it’s okay to just suppress the symptoms. I was marketing my editing efforts at Orycon one year, in company with Randy Hayes of House Chaos Games, when I got a miserable cold. It was either throw away all that preparation by both of us, or bull ahead and try not to be a mucous machine. Had it just been me (I wouldn’t have been doing it, probably, but besides that), I might not have done it, but I couldn’t let down an old friend of nearly forty years willing to drive three hours each way and donate his whole weekend to helping me and evaluating my marketing approach. So I dosed maximum doses and didn’t stick around for the evening room parties.

My wife happened to be out of town, but I suspect she also would have thought I was a lunatic in this case.