Into Dependents Day

Video Flag, Nam June Paik, 1996

In lieu of fireworks tonight, I offer you this animated GIF. Think of it as a Zoom version of the real thing. Only this teleconference comes complete with 70 CRTs instead of just one or two. Speaking of Zoom, we have a big multi-state, multi-time zone call that is on for tonight. The top topic of discussion is rodent control at the cabin or at least that is the excuse for convening. Though I think that the real reason is for some family conversation in honor of the fourth. It will be fun.

David and Maren left the cabin today and are headed back to Boston, where they have jobs to Zoom and a new apartment to move into and a wedding to plan too. Meanwhile, Dan and Britt plan on extending their cabin stay for a few days, before returning to NYC. We are now planning on heading up to the cabin a few days earlier than we had originally planned to arrive. This will give us about three full weeks up there, which by recent year’s standards doesn’t seem all that grand, but for this year it is sounding pretty good round about now.

Today is our nation’s birthday, which gives an opportunity to celebrate. 2020 has been a rough year and we are only about halfway through it and some are saying that the second half will be tougher than the first. The scourge of the virus looks like it will be worse and since most of the stimulus money is spent, people will be feeling the resulting economic pain much more acutely than before. The march for racial justice won’t be subsiding anytime soon. Not until there are big fundamental changes made in this country. America’s original sin needs to be atoned for and I can’t think of a better way to start fixing all of these problems than with a change in government this fall. Our country is not on the right track now, but with new leadership, maybe by the next 4th of July we can all see some improvements being made and make America great again. It will only take four more years than it was originally promised by the soon to be previous president.

I’m on a Boat

Dan’s New Prindle 16 Catamaran

I’m on a boat, I’m on a boat
Everybody look at me
‘Cause I’m sailing on a boat
I’m on a boat, I’m on a boat
Take a good hard look at my MF-ing boat!
— T-Pain

Whoopie! Finally something to write about, something besides the virus anyway. After way too many years, Dan now owns a sailboat at the cabin. He found this boat on Craig’s List, but we didn’t hear much after that except to ask if his Prius could tow it. Anyway, the Prius managed, they put the boat in at Brimley State Park’s boat launch and sailed it to back to the cabin. Well almost, Mr. Bill had to motorboat Dan into shore after he had become becalmed. Dan has been pining for a sailboat, ever since the dingy lost its sail. Now he has a beauty all his own.

I applied for my Social Security benefit today. I received a letter from them stating that at least in their eyes, as of this month, I have attained the ripe old age of full retirement. I should get my first check sometime this month. I still need to convince Anne that she needs to do the same, because can you believe it, she is even older than I am. Maybe now that I’ve done it, she will follow my example. Then we can kick back and wait for the checks to begin rolling in each month.

In other news, yesterday, Saint Louis city and county announced that on Friday, masks must be worn in public. Just in time for the 4th of July weekend. Also this weekend, the musical Hamilton drops on Disney+. We would have seen the live version of Hamilton for the second time, this spring if not for this virus thingy. Anyway, in honor of both events, I offer for your viewing pleasure this video:

Snark Attack

Come Here Little Fishy-Fishy

Imagine my surprise this morning, when I found that “MARK 🥺” was trending on Twitter. Investigating, it was not immediately apparent what this was all about or even which Mark they were tweeting on. I eventually ascertained that it was some sort of K-Pop thing and didn’t really reference me, as if. I’m sure that if I ever did actually began trending on Twitter that would not be a good thing. I figured out that the emoji is the “pleading face” emoji, but have no idea why that one was being used, but then there is a lot of things on Twitter that I don’t know or understand. I guess, this mystery is part of its allure.

This morning’s Twitter surprise was nothing compared to yesterday morning’s wakeup call. It is never good when Anne gets a text from her sister first thing in the morning that begins, “Don’t worry…” Jane was texting her sisters that Harry had taken the tip off of one of his fingers with his table saw and that she had taken him to the ER. She later added that after check-in she left the hospital to go home for coffee and a shower, which sounded snarky, until we figured out that the hospital probably doesn’t appreciate a bunch of people loitering around the waiting room these days. Digesting this we figured that they had taken Jane’s car and if so, had she made Harry wear a plastic bag around his bloody hand, so that it wouldn’t bleed on her nice new car or simply asked him to hold it out the window? After it became apparent that this accident was not that serious, the other snark sisters came out to play. Jay mentioned in passing that she needed to drink (fluids), because she was giving blood that day. To wit Anne asked, “Bloody Mary’s?” and Jay replied, “No, Bloody Harry’s.” Harry is doing fine, home without much pain and no stitches. Although he was perturbed with the amount of road construction traffic on the way home.

Years ago, in high school, I had a similar accident, except I used an electric table plane instead of a saw to tip my middle finger. I can still remember the look of anguish on my shop teacher’s face, when he realized what I had done. That accident only resulted in a band-aid and his watchful glances for the rest of the semester. Much later though, I was helping the boys build their pinewood derby cars and for some reason, I got distracted and started messing with the furnace. I had propped up the furnace’s galvanized exhaust pipe, which came down on my hand, leaving a deep cut. I called Anne at work and told her to come home, and then I drove myself to the ER. Some Lidocaine and a few stitches later, I was on my way home. I must say that Lidocaine is way more soothing than snark.

Dave and Maren—Engaged!

Dave and Maren—Engaged!

On Saturday, Dave and Maren Facetimed us, with their announcement that they are now officially engaged. Sunday, they arranged a Zoom meeting with us and Maren’s parents, Bruce and Kim. On the Zoom call, each set of parents recounted the events of their wedding day. Theirs like ours involved less than optimal weather conditions for the big day. Kim noted that we had both planned outdoor weddings. Moving on, our meeting turned to the discussion of Dave and Maren’s nuptials, which at this point are still TBD.

Our discussion touched upon a few wedding topics, like food (Dave), location like at a winery (probably around the Finger Lakes—that’s my guess.), length of the guest list and 2021. There is a lot yet to plan, but as Maren said on the call, “I like to plan these things.” If the last few months have taught us anything, plan for the unexpected, that way you won’t be so surprised when it happens.

Anne has been engaged in a quilting project since we began our Coronavirus quarantine. Originally, it was going to be a memory quilt for her mother, but with her passing, it morphed into a remembrance quilt. Since then this project has taken on a life of its own. One side of the quilt is a recreation of the family’s tartan and the other side is a collection of family photos. She has special fabric that can be printed on. For weeks now, she has been rooting through the many boxes of old family photos that we have accumulated over the years. I was reminded of this project with a recent New Yorker cartoon. In this cartoon the wife is kneeling in the middle of a pile of old photos. Her husband is standing nearby and in answer to what he must have said, she says, “You’re wrong, Ted, this is absolutely the right time to organize four decades of photos.”

As Anne organizes her four decades of photos, she likes to show me the really good ones. In these old photos, we see our former selves and many others, as they once were. Prominently featured throughout this portfolio are pictures of the boys. While we were so much younger then, our boys were even younger. It is hard to telescope these images of them, some of them in diapers, and think of once little Dave, who is now a man and not so little anymore. It is even harder to imagine that our baby is now ready to take a wife. The feelings that I have over this prospect, have become one of the unexpected benefits of growing old and I look forward to more surprises in the future. Congratulations, Maren and Dave!