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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Per the post below, Ol’ Robbo finds himself loitering about awaiting the garage door repair guy this cold Saturday morning.  So let’s get to it.

♦  Even as I type, I’m watching the wisteria on the porch stairs dropping its leaves, as we had our first really hard freeze this week.  Guess who forgot to pull the ferns off the porch before this happened.  **Whistles, shifts eyes hither and yon**

♦  Another thing I haven’t got round to yet is putting the back seat side panels back on La Wrangler.  I suppose I ought to do so, especially as there’s actually a chance of snow Tuesday, but cold canvas is such a pain to deal with.  Also, the increasing darkness reminds me that half my dashboard lights are out.  I can’t read my speedometer at all without them.  No, officer, I don’t know how fast I was going…..

♦  I had forgot, until I saw it again last evening, that Sally Kellerman was in one of the very first episodes of Star Trek: TOS.  I had to laugh, because I can only ever think of her in one other acting role, and the line, “G_d dammit, Hotlips! Resign your G_d-damned commission!” kept going through my head.  (Yes, Ol’ Robbo is easily amused.)

♦  Youngest has been in charge of closing at her kawfee shop the last day or two.  I asked her how that was.  She says that after working the kitchen crew at Bible-thumper camp and having to clean up the dining hall three times a day after a couple hundred campers go through, it’s a piece of cake.  Heh. (Oh, and she loves her that sweet, sweet paycheck.)

♦  Speaking of working yoots, last weekend when I dropped in our local hardware store, a voice said, “Hi, Mr. Robbo!” I looked up and saw that it was one of the cashiers.  She was a tall gel of about Youngest’s age.  I couldn’t place her at all.  Ol’ Robbo isn’t used to being called out like that and I was so flustered that I just managed to hem and haw enough for politeness sake.  It wasn’t until I got home that I remembered who she was: the pitcher on several little league softball teams I helped coach back in the day.  But she’s about twice as tall as she was the last time I talked to her, so I reckon I’m entitled to a bit of slack here.  Next time, I’ll be prepared.

Well, looking back out the window, I see that buzzards seem to be circling the yard.  I suppose I’d better go see what that’s all about.

And on that note, Epstein didn’t kill himself.

UPDATE:  Door fixed.  Whatever the buzzards were after was just inside the wood line behind the back fence.  That area is so covered with bramble and briar that I couldn’t get back in to it, so I can neither confirm nor deny that it’s Hunter Biden.



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo was scheduled to have his tufts of hair cut back this afternoon, but at the last minute couldn’t make the appointment.  And why?  Because one of the Port Swiller Manor garage door torsion springs chose today to commit suicide, thus trapping La Wrangler inside.  (I actually heard the thing snap earlier but couldn’t figure out the noise.  It was only when I tried to get out that I discovered the problem.)

I confess that I did NOT see that one coming.  And thank Heaven I was not counting on doing a supply run to the store and Total Bev today, or it could have got ugly.

(Repairman is coming tomorrow.  For those friends of the decanter in the immediate Dee Cee area, we use Academy Door & Control and have always had a very good experience with them.)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Middle Gel went back to school this morning.  If I actually sat down and did the math of what time she left Port Swiller Manor and what time she got back to campus, I think I’d be appalled.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

This weekend’s big – and long anticipated – activity was a trip by Mrs. R and Self down to Sweet Briar College, there to see a staging of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream“.  Eldest Gel is playing Robin Starveling, the tailor, one of the rude mechanicals bent on putting on a hapless “play-within-the-play” to celebrate the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta.   It isn’t a lot of lines, but there’s a good deal of physical humor involved among the bumbling dopes, and Eldest also got to do a good bit of stage biznay when she represented “moonlight” via a lantern, some thorns, and a small toy dog.   She got a number of laughs with her antics, and overall a good time was had by all.

This was the second time this professor had put on MSND in his long tenure at SBC and the first time he has ever repeated a show.  The last time he produced it was in October, 1990.  The part of Starveling the tailor in that production?  None other than Mrs. Robbo.  (And I myself played Lysander.)  We were all able to get together with the director after the show, catch up on things, and have a nice chin-wag about how things work out sometimes.  We were also joined by Eldest and by her friend who played Lysander this time.  The latter apparently had been quite nervous about performing in front of me, but I was able to assure her (truthfully) that she did a great job and brought back many pleasant memories.   As I say, a good time.

UPDATE:  No, Ol’ Robbo doesn’t really see how his beloved Nats are going to manage to take two off the ‘Stros in Houston again.  But you never know…….

UPDATE DEUX:  Ol’ Robbo didn’t actually watch the game last evening because I was too worn out from our lightning trip to SBC and back.  I gather from reading up on it that the Trump family went to the game and were booed by the crowd, most of whom of course were not regular Nats fans but instead the preening elites who can afford World Series tickets.   This may have played well amongst other preening elites, but it seems to have pretty much destroyed any goodwill the Nats had among genuine baseball fans across the country.  Nice going, Sparky.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Maybe six months ago, our neighbors got a dog, some kind of little collie/mutt.

Last weekend, while laboring in the Port Swiller vineyards, Ol’ Robbo noticed the family lining up in procession in their backyard and solemnly, sadly, walking toward the woods behind our houses, headed by Dad carrying a suspiciously pet-sized bundle in his arms.

I speculated to Mrs. Robbo at the time that it looked like something might have happened to the dog.  Well, it turns out I was right.

Our neighbor’s yard is not fenced in, and I had noticed in the past that they sometimes let the dog out on its own to take care of biznay.**  Apparently, they had done so for his late evening call of duty the night before I saw them.  He flushed something out of the bushes and then chased it out into the street where he got hit by a car.  (We live on a busy road.)

I found all this out today because they’re now planning to fence in their back and wanted to know if they could anchor their fence to ours and save themselves having to put in a redundant fourth side.  (Of course we said yes.  I think this actually violates a county ordinance but I don’t care.)

The worst part of it all is that they have three small children who were evidently quite fond of the pooch.  Of course death is an unavoidable aspect of pet ownership, and in fact can be a useful thing to help youngsters to grasp the concept and learn how to deal with loss.  But like this?  Sheesh.

St. Francis, ora pro nobis.


** This always bugged me a bit, but we don’t know them well enough for me to have shoved my oar in.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Back in the day when Ol’ Robbo’s daughters were little, he had no compunction about putting up posts about their trials, tribulations, growth, and development.

These days? Well, regular friends of the decanter will know that all three of them are pretty much grown up.  Ol’ Robbo finds himself confronted with real ethical issues about posting on anything that might impinge on their privacy.  Which is a pity, since the Gels’ Progress is the chief focus of my interest these days.

So I have to pick and choose very carefully.

With all that in mind, I feel it’s safe enough to note that Youngest (the high school senior) started her part-time gig as a Starbucks barista this week.  Ol’ Robbo was a bit surprised.  Apparently, newbie employee training lasts a good three weeks, and includes all kinds of courses on coffee appreciation, as well as technical proficiency, and the usual H.R. bumf.  I had had a vague notion, based on my own entry-level service jobs back in the day, that she’d just have been thrown into the mix and told to learn on the fly.  Apparently not.

Go figure.

Anyhoo, the gel has never been a coffee drinker herself.  Be interesting to see if this experience reinforces that, or if as a result she comes over to join me on the Dark Side.  (Coffee is the alpha of my day.  Who here can guess at the omega? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?)

Also, as far as her employer goes, let me reiterate that although I avoid giving them money whenever I can, I’ve no problem taking money from them in these circumstances.

And while on the subject, how about a little Bach?  Never mind the text of this bit, which has to do with metaphors about cats and mice, the bottom line of this cantata is “Coffee is Da Bomb”:



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo has been hesitant to say anything about his beloved Nats going up against the Dodgers in the NLDS series.

But now that it goes to Game 5, I will say this:  From here on out, however far we get or we don’t get, my Nats have nailed the flag to the mast.  If they go down Wednesday, or at any point thereafter, they go down with pride and honor.

What else is there to say, except

GO, NATS!!!!


**Which I hate. Bad on the liver. Bad on the marriage.


Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2019 Washington Nationals.  Going to the NLCS for the first time in modern history after a season Ol’ Robbo thought early on to be DOA.  What can one possibly say?

But for all that?  I actually missed the game.  In my defense, lemme explain.  First, Ol’ Robbo was unusually tired last evening.  Second, on days like today when I go into the office, I have to be up by about 5:15 ack emma.  Third, when I checked the score before going to bed, it was the middle innings with the Dodgers up 3-0, and I reckoned I was seeing our doom fast approaching.   So yes, I said “bag it” and toddled off.

My first indication that Something might have happened came when I got up in the wee hours this morning.  Looking at my phone, I saw that Middle Gel – who I knew was going to watch the game – had tried to call me around Midnight.  Summoning up the innertoobs, I quickly got the Glad News.  I’ve been re-watching Howie’s blast off and on all day.

So on we go into uncharted waters.  What might happen I can’t possibly guess.  I will say this:  I’m happier that we’re facing the Cards than I would have been had we gone up against the Braves, who got under our skin toward the end of the regular season.

Anyhoo, Game One tomorrow night, and forget about anything else for the next week or so.  I asked above what can one possibly say? Just this:

GO, NATS!!!!!!





Greetings, my fellow port swillers1

I don’t know about where you are, but fall has definitely arrived at Port Swiller Manor.  45 degrees this morning and in the low 60’s this afternoon.  It’s so nice, I even persuaded Decanter Dog to go for a walk.  (She’s got to the age where she doesn’t want to in hotter weather.)  Since Ol’ Robbo’s beloved Nats don’t play again until tomorrow night, an evening loitering in front of the fire pit may be very much in order.

Enough leaves are down already that I added a raking session to my morning mow and trim.  Also, I noticed quite a heavy acorn drop from our oak out front.

I didn’t use the “D” work to describe the recent lack of rain ’round here last Saturday, but I’ll go ahead and use it now Dodecahedron.  No, wait, I mean Drought.  The ground is now bone-hard and some of the less hearty foundation plants are beginning to wilt.  Fortunately, we have a rainy week forecast ahead, so hopefully the situation will take care of itself.  No doubt it’s still all my own fault somehow.

On a completely different note, Port Swiller Manor is experiencing a sudden infestation of fruit flies.  Ol’ Robbo detests fruit flies, in part because they’re so annoying, in part because they remind him of the lab work for the genetics class he bombed so badly in college, thus finally putting paid to any notion of med school.  So this morning I took myself over to the hardware store and picked up a couple fruit fly traps.  They’re shaped like large strawberries, and their bait works like a charm.  Further, the designers were thoughtful enough to put little windows in the base so you can see the drowned corpses floating about in the bait reservoir.  What a nice touch!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Pity Robbo’s Youngest, my friends:  She had her wisdom teeth yanked yesterday.  Four of them, all impacted, and one pretty deep and requiring advanced excavation.

She came home in somewhat elevated spirits from the anesthesia, but today her face is so swollen up that she looks, in her own words, like a cartoon of herself.

She’d had plans this weekend to go with her friends to one of those haunted cornfield things, but that’s all off.  “My mouth hurts so much right now, I can’t even think about the idea of trying to scream,” she said.

I think I’m off the hook of having to cook her anything solid for dinner this weekend, too.

Poor kid.

Now that Ol’ Robbo thinks about it, I simply cannot recall whether I had any of my own wisdom teeth out.  (On the other hand, I recall vividly having my upper bicuspids yanked when I was in middle school so that my braces had room to rumble.)  I know I started life with only three to begin with.  I have a dim recollection that one of them may be impacted, but then I draw a blank.  Perhaps we reached the conclusion, finally, that it wasn’t worth messing about with them unless and until they started causing problems.

I sure hope they don’t now, because I’m getting too old for the sort of thing the gel is going through.




Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Youngest recently informed me that she has a crush on Christian Slater.


Is this just another manifestation of her eccentricity, or are there others in this camp, too?  As the Mothe used to say, I don’t have the genes to appreciate this sort of thing myself.

(I will admit that I enjoy watching “Broken Arrow” every now and again.  Travolta’s psycho is very entertaining.)



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