March 26, 2023

From Gerald R. Lucas


The last day of spring break, and I haven’t written anything on here in a while. As expected the break flew by bullet train. We didn’t go anywhere this year, as Autumn wants to stay close by in case Max decides to show up early. Her C-section is scheduled for April 17, but she’s pretty . . . ugh, pregnant, so Max could show up before that. He is pretty active in there, like he has a little drum kit or a kettlebell he’s throwing around.

Henry with the sledgehammer. Photo by Autumn.

My big accomplishment for spring break was demolishing our rotting wooden shed and pathetic carport in the back yard. We have a new metal shed ordered, so we needed to get the old junk down this week. We were supposed to get help from Cason, Autumn’s brother, but as I expected, he was a no-show. Instead, he offered to have one of his workers come up and do it for $1K. As tempting as that was, I decided to stick with the plan and do it myself. That was Friday. I had pretty much emptied the slowly rotting shed on Wednesday, my foot going through the floor a couple of times. I started knocking the siding off of the shed with the sledgehammer, getting about half-way around it. Anticipating the worst, I should have continued working on the demo Thursday, but I was distracted with some other issues. So, Friday came along—the last day for Cason and Robert to come and help, and I was pretty much let doing the entire demo by myself. Robert did show up late in the day, and I was already running on fumes.

Robert and I managed to finish by about sunset. I’m not sure how I made it: I hurt all over and took the longest shower-bath of my life. Even though the nearly twelve-hour day kicked my ass, I felt pretty accomplished. I had never demoed anything in my life, and here I did pretty damn well by myself. Now there’s an unfriendly patch of dirt and detritus where the shed was, but I’m already thinking about a wildflower square, as the new shed will not occupy the same ground. I’m probably going to have to clean it up a bit more. It’s been rained on all weekend.

On Thursday, Giles and I were going to take a ride, but the BMW R 1200 GS wouldn’t start. I’ve been having issues for a little while now, including the key fob’s battery. I changed the latter, but the bike was still not starting: the instrument cluster would light up as usual, but the starter only hiccuped. So, I went to Capitol Cycle and bought a battery tender/charger. And wouldn’t you know it: overnight, the GS started right up. I guess I need a new battery.

I finished Alastair ReynoldsHouse of Suns, and enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s a sequel to Thousandth Night and centers on two Gentian shatterlings, Campion and Purslane. It deals with deep time, Machine People, and an ancient conspiracy. If you’re new to Reynolds’ work, this novel would be a good one to start with. It’s a lean, expansive novel. I’m going to continue with my Reynolds reading, but I picked up a sf classic first: Alfred Bester’s The Stars My Destination. It’s pretty wild, seeming to attack the white, middle-class values in 1950s America. The protagonist Gully Foyle goes on a murderous rampage as he seeks revenge for being left to die in space. He’s a clever man and a thoroughly unlikable protagonist. Perhaps Foyle’s idée fixe represents the a very masculine work ethic of the 1950s and it’s consequences of that on the culture and women. Foyle is a man barely in control, and when he loses it, it’s mostly the women that suffer—and of course a woman is the chief antagonist. I’m not quite done with it, but I’m curious as to how it will end.

That’s about it, really, as we head into the summer. As busy and as stressed as I am, this time is probably the calm before the storm. Autumn is deep in nesting mode, and the house is way too small already. I know the new shed will help a bit, but I desperately need a room of my own. This will not happen anytime soon, so it’ll be interesting to see how I handle it. The summer will be austere, since I’m only teaching one class, and the equity card is maxed out. Even thinking about it stresses me out.