Previous celebrations: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013,2014 and 2015. Unlike last year, this March comes in after a soft winter. Plenty of warm stretches and only one heavy dump of snow in mid-February. No viral plagues. In the furnace room, weights were lifted and planks were even planked. The season's seeds have been in hand for weeks with the package of parsnips showing up just yesterday, last year's crop a few weeks from harvest once the thaw comes. Maple soon.
"He's up by seven," he shouted to the kitchen through his mouthful of toast, the autumn morning light glinting on the plate and mug on the side table.
"Ketchup and what?"
"No - he's up by seven! The kid is up by seven points with Nanos, Ekos and all the other Greek gods!!!"
Nice? What's that supposed to mean. The Governing Party is back on track, at the front steps of kicking the dullards out and all she can muster up is "nice"? He rubbed his chin. Thought for a bit. The Kid's made a big move in the last few weeks. The commies have faded back just enough to provide the necessary support. Another sip of coffee. A leaf fell outside the bay window. Been a long time. Unfold the Globe. Fold it the other way. And all Hap pulls out of his bag of tricks is a stupid cash register clang. Cornered himself. He's cut so much he has nothing much left to cut to tempt the 905. Thought he was cornering the others. Folks are ready to spend. Could be. Could be they're just sick of Hap. Hap looks sick of Hap come to think of it. Toast. Chew.
"Sure thing. You splash some caff in the decaff today?"
"Not with your heart."
"Jeese. No kidding? Got a bit of zip going today."
The new Nanos numbers this morning were not good. Another small slide. When he had called a friend's office later he hadn't been in yet. The voice on the phone had used the words "death march" even with weeks to go. Weeks to go this time could mean weeks to go of this. Or, worse, an "anyone but the NDP" move to the Grits leaving us in the wilderness. Again. It had stung hard to have to listen to Elsie Wayne so often.
Limited upside. Great. And the boss let the message out that he's not perfect. What an interview with Joe Rockhead the other night! I am who I am and that's who I am. People want a Syrian grannie in every church... for God's sake. Somewhere they know they can drop off Timbits or a casserole or a blanket or something to feel good about themselves. Why is that too much to ask?
it's either a sign of a well organized life or one with not enough in it. The spring holiday to get the taxes done, straighten out the gardening, fix the step and have some naps. And opening week baseball. Maybe some first round playoff hockey, too. The one thing I am not doing is writing a book. This time last year I was in the middle of writing three books each of which has turned out to be, err, cult classics. Happy readers. Low sellers. Good reviews. Niche huggers. I should have known. Beer writers are either fat or thin. Both from the same cause - anxtity yips. Told a pal once his mistake was doing for a job what I do for a hobby. Beer may still pay for itself. It just doesn't take me all that far anymore when it does. That's fine. Been since 2010 that the prospect of a truly idle summer lay before me. I was reading about brainy books back then five years ago today. Probably gave me ideas. Planting some carrot and lettuce seeds will help with that. Tiny seeds in the cold early spring soil don't give you ideas. Just salad.
What to do with a weekend in the middle of February? 11 reps of various dumbbell things along with 30 minutes on the recumbent bike in the basement. I am pretty sure that the bike is good training to sit on a recumbent bike in a basement. Then, eleven or nine loads of laundry. Laundry is a good therapy. I am even ironing shirts once in a while. If I am going to wear a tie, the shirt is going to be seersucker even in winter. A portion of life is dedicated to ensuring you feel like you are in pajamas even if you look ready for business. Roasting. Made a pork roast with pear, ginger and Madeira sauce yesterday and then had it cold on a bun for breakfast. 325F oven turned down to 300F until an internal temp of 140F. Dijon mustard on the crisscrossed fatty side placed up. Looking out the window at the filling driveway is good fun. Three weeks to march and maybe six to peas in the ground. People make Glasgow. Peas may signal the spring but people make Glasgow.
It's one of my favorite things to do, sitting looking out the window of a pub. This was last Monday afternoon. The Bow Bar in Edinburgh. I was just getting used to the time zone and would fly out the next day. Two guys standing at the bar in the small one room space were providing the background track to the seat with a view. Apparently, the Bow Bar is packed on weekends but who sits in bar staring out the window on weekends? It's something to do when your colleagues are at work. When you could be writing a report. Making plans. Paying bills.
A busy Remembrance Day. Elementary school assembly hall at 9:15 am then right over to the main City of Kingston gathering. I say the main one as there is another which starts about 15 minutes earlier for the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery about 200 yards away, then one for the Burma Star after the main one, then one after that at the naval memorial. All are well attended. And well protected. A large police presence with other sorts of security moving around us. All well received. Except by that guy with the black back pack on the bike. Seriously. He went on his way after a good searching.
Lunched. Being off work while the kids are at school does wonders for the luncheon scene. Luncheon dates need a revival. Our first time at Carmelinda's. No avacado to be seen but a solid and surprisingly good chicken sandwich. Thence to Home Depot for stuff to further fix the fence. 12 gauge metal plate to screw in across a week spot. $3.39. It must be 45 weeks since the ice storm of last December. I have the fence 78% fixed and will have to get through another winter in that admittedly enhanced state even if the rot is in. It actually feels fairly solid even if it's all jury rigged. Cheap and jury rigged. Needs to be cheap seeing that the new in-the-wall oven is coming in two weeks. Why?
Oh me nerves. Convection oven fan motor fried right at the end of roasting the chicken for dinner. It made a funny noise and, when I looked in the oven, the fan at the back was glowing bright orange like the coals at the foot of the gates of hell. Race downstairs. Shout to the kids to get upstairs. Thinking of how to call the fire dept. Pull fuse for oven. No flames when I get back upstairs. Leave oven door open to let everything cool. Then find a really good bottle of port. Because the chicken was, in fact, done. Like the oven. And roasted chicken and roasted convection oven fan both good with good port.
That was Saturday night. Me on Facebook, Oh. Me. Nerves. So, a new oven is coming.
And then the beets. Maybe 15 pounds of them? A third of a bucket with a full bucket of greens. Chopped the greens, sauteed them in olive oil and garlic, added a little ham, a little mustard. Kids ate it with a 60% rate of enthusiasm. I've seen worse.