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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Sat with Eldest Gel as she registered on line to vote this evening.  She wanted to get in early enough to participate in the Ol’ Virginny primaries next month.

Yeeks.

“Dad”, she said, “I’m confused.  I’ve read a lot recently by some sensible people calling themselves “classical liberals”, but they don’t sound very much like the other “liberals” I read about. What gives?”

“Oh,” I replied, “You’re absolutely right.  The two are completely different.  In fact, I consider myself to be a “classical liberal”.  I’m not much of a teacher, but read Adam Smith.  Read Edmund Burke.  Read Friedrich Hayek.  They will tell you what it means.”

“Yeah,” she said, “maybe.”

I hope she does, although I doubt it (at least in the immediate future).  Sad, this may be.  On the other hand, given her proclivities, had she been an avid reader at this age, she would by now have stumbled across and embraced Ayn Rand.  I’m really rayther happy that this hasn’t happened.

Kitteh and Rose

Kitteh and Rose

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo finds himself standing around and kicking his heels today while waiting for the construction guy to show up.  For those of you who have followed the saga of the Port Swiller Manor renovations, the basement (specifically, the Eldest’s bedroom) is flooding again owing to the melt from Snowzilla, so once more the fellah needs to come out and find the leak.  This is his third or fourth attempt.  So far, he’s tried to fix it from the outside but I think he’s probably going to have to face the fact this time that he’s got to re-excavate part of the inside wall.  I know he’s trying to save himself labor and supply costs (I have no intention of paying for this repair), but enough is enough.

Anyhoo, I noticed this rayther aesthetically pleasing scene of kitteh and rose so I thought I would share it over the decanter.  The kitteh is Fiona, a very quiet and self-contained animal but quite friendly in her own way and capable of some very crazy fits.  The rose is the double-knockout that usually lives at the top of the porch stairs out back.  That’s probably the sunniest window in the house during winter, but as you can see, the plant has got quite gangly trying to soak up the rays.  Better than freezing to death outside like the last one, however.

By the way, who do you guys like for “L”?  Personally, I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of watching Manning miss it by thaaaat much over the years, but as this is his last game and I kinda like the Broncs anyway, I’m going with them.  Anyway, my brother in North Carolina would rightly tag me as a band-wagoner if I suddenly started rooting for the Panthers, plus that Cam Newton guy, undoubtedly a very gifted young QB, has been making jackass comments lately.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

As hinted in the post below, ol’ Robbo started to feel what a former secretary of his used to described as “henky” last week.  Friday afternoon, I left the shop early, came home and basically stayed in bed until this morning.  Flu, don’t you know.  The kind that makes every joint in your body ache and all your muscles turn to jello.  However, I went back to work today, albeit feeling flayed and with that gravely voice that proclaims, “Yeah, I been sick”, but otherwise under my own steam.

My time out got me ruminating on a question that I’ve long considered regarding the relationship between everyday personality and bedridden same.  Well, not so much a question as an observation.

You see, Mrs. R, who is  a very outgoing type, on the very rare occasions in which she is confined to the sick-bed, loves to be pampered.  Tea, crackers, meds, fluffed pillows, companionship – she appreciates all of these, and the more the merrier.

Me? Well, friends of the decanter will already know that I am somewhat misanthropic, generally avoiding human contact whenever I politely and diplomatically can.  But when I’m sick?  Get the hell out and leave me alone!  All I require is peace, quiet, and, when I want them, tea and a good book.

As I say, just an observation on the exaggeration of general personality in weakened condition and probably not much of one.  On the other hand, are there examples of outgoing people who crave privacy when ill? Misanthropes who wish for lavish bedside attention?  I simply don’t know.

Port Swiller Manor after the  Initial Driveway Cleanup

Port Swiller Manor after the Initial Driveway Cleanup

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Yes, the Family Robbo survived Snowzilla intact.  Indeed, we didn’t even lose power this time around, owing to the lightness and dryness of the snow. Deo gratias.

Dulles recorded 29″ while they got 22″ downtown.  I think we probably split the baby here.

In any case, I’ve spent the last three days heaving snow off the Port Swiller driveway and my arms and shoulders ache something fierce as a result. (I also think I pulled something in my abs today.)  But the real story of the cleanup was the Eldest Gel.  I had mentioned casually to her a couple days before the storm that I expected her to help shovel out, given that her own car was involved in the matter.  Nonetheless, I had envisioned that when push came to shove she would balk, finding some excuse for weaseling out and leaving the whole job to ol’ Robbo (who, quite frankly, is getting a bit old to deal with this sort of thing all by his lonesome.)

Well, was I pleasantly surprised.  Both yesterday and today, the gel was actually on station and shoveling away even before I even got out of bed.  Plus, not a single word of complaint the entire time, indeed, the closest she came was to say, “I hate this, but I know it needs to be done.”  Instead, we chatted and listened to her iThingy playlist of classic rock.

Musick to ol’ Robbo’s ears.  That the gel is thinking like a responsible adult is something I’ve been praying for, for a very long time indeed.  Also, although I suppose we could have hired somebody to come and dig us out, ol’ Robbo was brought up with the idea that hard work (including manual labor) is important to character development.  The gel felt damned proud of herself for pitching in, and so she should have.  (And get this: She also asked if she could borrow my copy of C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity, as she has felt the need recently to shore up the underpinnings of her faith in the face of all the hostility she gets about it from some of the kids at her school.)

Oh, speaking of musick, at one point I was at the top of the drive while she was working closer to the garage.  “Bohemian Rhapsody” turned up on her phone, and even though I was some distance from her, at the appropriate point I went into “Wayne’s World” head-banger mode.  The gel laughed and laughed.

Good times.  Good times.

 

 

Image filched from the Capital Weather Gang (which see link)

Image filched from the Capital Weather Gang (which see link)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers, from the midst of Snowzilla!

Yes, it set in around 1:45 pm yesterday and has been snowing like dammit ever since.  Tough to eyeball accurately, but I’d say we’re already well north of a foot at Port Swiller Manor, with a forecast of continued white stuff well into tonight.

Ol’ Robbo was actually surprised to wake up this morning and find that the power had not gone out overnight.  That means at least one more hot pot of coffee for me, so for the moment all is well.  The wind hasn’t really been an issue yet and I think, I think, we might just dodge that particular bullet.

Of course, I could be mis-

No, no.  Just kidding.

If the power holds up today, I plan to watch a 1981 production of Othello that I stumbled across in the Netflix library.  Bob Hoskins plays Iago, so it has some potential.  I’ll let you know what I think.

If not, I’ve started in again on Anthony Powell’s A Dance To The Music Of Time.  I’m not sure if this is my second or third reading but I’m already getting much more out of it than last time.  How I could have missed a line like “He’s so wet you could shoot snipe off of him” previously is beyond me.

The Big Dig starts tomorrow.  Despite the fact that the Bishop has already granted dispensation to stay home, I would like to have gone to Mass.  Unfortunately, I just don’t think I’ll be able to get the driveway cleared in time to make it.  Oh, well.  At least I’m guaranteed some good exercise.

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Whelp, here she comes – they’re still calling for a total of a couple feet starting this afternoon, together with howling winds and whiteout conditions.

If you don’t hear from me in the next few days, it’ll be because the power is out.  (Yeah, it seems I should have bought that generator now, but this is still too rare an event to quite justify it to me.)

Picking up on the comments below, we’ve lost power before in the winter, of course, but I don’t recall the outages lasting more than a day or so.  The longest blackouts that I remember at Port Swiller Manor came in the wake of Hurricane Isabel in ’03 and the big Derecho in 2012, each one lasting four or five days.  Those were miserable times.  In winter, if you have enough firewood, blankets, and adult beverages, all you have to do is snuggle in.  But in summah?  The house gets progressively hotter and more disgusting and there’s not much relief other than to hide in the basement.

Or, as Mrs. R is wont to do, flee to a hotel.

Anyhoo, we’ll see what happens.

I’ll catch up with you all on the other side, perhaps with pictures.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Whelp, the local weather wallahs are becoming increasingly convinced that the area around Port Swiller Manor is about to be clocked by a serious blizzard.

Eh.  Although we face the real likelihood of a power outage as a result of this storm, Port Swiller Manor is adequately packed with wine, firewood, gas-range cookables. T.P., and birdfood** to tough it out.  Plus, ol’ Robbo’s order of 40 pounds of driveway melt arrived on schedule this evening, and his garage now boasts not one but two snow shovels.

We’ll do fine.

What the experts like to call this latest “snow event” brings to the fore again a perpetual question: Should ol’ Robbo plunk for a generator?

On the one hand, power outages around here tend to be fairly rare, brief, and hardly life-threatening.   Plus, said generators ain’t exactly cheap. (As I explain to the gels, one does not “get” a generator, one “buys” one.  Yuuuge difference.)

On the other…well, I frankly can’t see any arguments myself.  My family, OTOH, are vociferous in their argument that we need one in order to maintain collective body and soul.  Because comfort.

Somehow, I doubt John Wayne would have thought much of such self-indulgence, so I guess I’ll stick with the Duke on that one.

Anyhoo, the next couple days should prove interesting.  If you don’t hear from ol’ Robbo during that time, you’ll know in advance why.

 

* I mentioned this name to the Eldest and she laughed heartily.  We have a whole, complex protocol for naming storms ’round here that has nothing to do with Jim “Mimbo” Cantore and those self-aggrandizing bozos as the Weather Channel.

** Ol’ Robbo has long been a keen bird watcher and keeps two (three during the humming bird season) feeders going off his back porch for the locals’ benefit.  This said, I feel a heightened obligation toward the local fowl when extreme weather strikes.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Snow finally arrived in the neighborhood of Port Swiller Manor yesterday:  A gentle dusting that lasted a couple hours across midday.  It didn’t stick but it was very pretty to watch.

Next up, it seems that a major storm is now shaping to hit the Mid-Atlantic some time toward the end of the week.  Depending on which forecaster/models you follow, we’re either going to get some freezing rain or else a major Snowmageddon-like blizzard.

Oddly enough, ol’ Robbo would be happy if this one misses.  Eldest Gel and Mrs. R are supposed to travel down to her college for an overnight orientation thing Sunday night and I really want her to go.

Also, after many bitter years of disappointment, I’ve finally learned not to buy into the pre-storm hype, but simply to wait and see what happens.  As Carol Burnett said in one of her bag lady skits, “I been hurt a lot.”

UPDATE:  Okay, nooz of the impending weather did finally compel me to order up a 40 pound bucket o’ driveway melt, but I’d meant to do that anyway.  Also, I mentioned to Eldest Gel the other day that since she’s now driving and parking in my driveway, she can help me shovel it out as needed.  Look on her face was priceless.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, I warned in the post below that New Year’s additions might be sparse, but it turned out more complicated than I had thought.  You see, one of Mrs. R’s aunts died – suddenly but not unexpectedly – over the weekend, so there was more knee-bent running around advancing behavior than even I had anticipated.

Anyhoo, the upshot was that while Mrs. R went up to Lon Guyland to see to her aunt’s remembrances, teh Gels and I traveled to the vast but secure land holdings of the Former Llama Military Correspondent, there to participate in our joint families’ twenty-first Noo Year celebration together.

Because ol’ Robbo’s Wrangler won’t hold four adults and luggage, we took teh Eldest Gel’s Honda CRV.  Because it was her ride, I respected her choice of musick and asked no questions about the 180-odd tunes she synched up on her iWhatever for the trip.

Teh Eldest is, shall we say, eccentric.  As I’ve said before, she believes Freddy Mercury was the greatest musickal genius ever to have lived.  Thus, her playlist was chockabloc with Queen.  What I hadn’t realized is that she has been pushing out in her taste for Classic Rock.  As we cruised down the highway, I got a hefty sampling of ’60’s, 70’s and 80’s icons:  Aerosmith, Rush, Huey Lewis, Elton John, the Beatles, the guys who sang “Sister Christian”,  Rockwell.  She also threw in some Sinatra.

One of teh Gel’s tunes was “Tainted Love”, the Soft Cell cover.  Foolishly, ol’ Robbo noted that he actually bought that album back in the day in the hope of impressing the “cool” kids with which he was trying to hang out.

Teh Gel nearly put the car into the ditch laughing over that one.

“Wait, wait, ” she gasped, “Were you trying to get in with the band geeks?”

“Well…..yes,” I admitted.

“Oh, ha ha haaah.  I knew it! ” she said.

Shut up.  And get off my lawn.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

As we prepared to dig into Christmas din-dins the other day, the Eldest Gel started to get up from the table.

“Where are you going?” I asked.

“To get some barbeque sauce for my roast beef,” she answered.  (She’s a confirmed BBQ sauce addict.)

What?” I exclaimed.  “You can’t do that to such a noble piece of meat, especially on Christmas Day, not in my house!  Besides, I made some gravy from the drippings.”

Somewhat abashed, she sat back down.

Well, now that we’re on the fourth day of attacking the same roast and into the Sammich Zone, I’m going to go ahead and allow extracurricular condiments now.  (In fact, I’m rayther partial to French’s mustard on roast beef sammiches myself.)

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