Observations of a brief period of Bachelor-hood

My wife is away dealing with some family issues, so I have been home alone for almost 2 weeks (and will probably be home alone for another week and a half.)

I don’t mind doing household chores. I lived alone or with roommates long enough to not quibble about dishes or laundry. But, being in a house alone (with two dogs) is a lifestyle change.

Getting critical
Getting critical

Fact: Men use less toilet paper than women. So, we in general don’t need to restock the bathrooms. My wife kids me about it that I will go to the last square to avoid having to go to the pantry and grab a package. 2 weeks, and I am out. It is critical. I need my wife back.

I don’t feel the need to wash sheets every week. They were a week “used” when she left, so they are now three weeks old. Today, I felt it was time. Washing the sheets. Probably time to ditch the comforter since it will be in the upper 80’s this weekend…

My wife is a master of not doing dishes during the day. She will let them all accumulate until I get home from work. Here is where I am more diligent. I load the breakfast dishes before I head to work, and the dinner dishes before I go to bed. (She will hate me for this though).

I can go 2 full weeks without doing whites. Good to know.

The Dishwasher. My wife will spend hours re-arranging it to get one more meal in before running it. It is like an adult, real-life Tetris game to her. Funny thing is, I need to run them every three days, about 1/3 empty. I find that I run out of spoons in three days.

I use a lot less milk. The gallon we had when she left is still 2/3rds full, and it is spoiling. Oh well.

Grocery shopping is a lot easier (and cheaper). Of course I do several smaller trips, but in total it is a lot less expensive for one person.

Having a dog that requires medicine 4x a day is tough. It means I have to go home at lunch time (I can do the 5:00AM, the 5:00PM, and the 9:00PM fine, but the interruption of the work day sucks.) Just having Barb around at lunch time to handle that mid day pills is a huge thing.

A lot of little errands get delayed. I need to pick up prescriptions. I need to pick up my dry cleaning. I need to hit costco (as our TP is wiped out).

I am ready for her to get home.

Back in the Saddle – New Shoes too!

Today I got back out cycling. First time since the Christmas shutdown. I had three weeks of travel, and then came back with a gnarly chest cold. that kept me down for more than two weeks.

I know, I know, lots of excuses.

Today, I felt pretty good. Not much expectoration, and I have not needed any cold medicine for two days.

I also took the opportunity to mount the cleats on my new shoes. Back in December, I splurged on a new pair of riding shoes. Since I have wide feet, there are limited choices that fit. Pretty much the Sidi’s or the um, Sidi’s. (gulp, they are also about $200) My old shoes I bought with my bike, back in 2002, so they were 11+ years old, and were really not very supportive anymore.

I also bought new cleats. I have been a long time Look pedal and cleat user. But the cleats I bought are a little different They are designed to float a bit (several degrees). There are some that are more rigid, so you can tune your ride.

The new cleats mounted up easily, and the shoes fit well (still need to break in a bit).

The new cleats are a bit strange. It is much easier to get into the pedals with these cleats. Big bonus. But the floating feels weird. It almost feels like you are not clipped in. But you are, and you can stand up and pump the pedals.

I am going to have to get used to them, but I think I am going to like them.

The ride was an easy 15 miles. I felt pretty good, I didn’t push too hard. I probably could have stretched it to 20 miles or more, but I thought that caution was in store.

I can hardly wait to get out again.

Bad TV – Columbo

To be fair, this isn’t really bad TV.

Lieutenant ColumboI love Netflix streaming. It is a great way to while away the hours. I have enjoyed many classic TV series, from Rockford Files, Hawaii 50, and the early Twilight Zones. I get great enjoyment watching these.

I watched all the original Hawaii 50 episodes. I think it was the 8th season when they finally showed it raining in Hawaii (but, ironically, every time McGarrett (Jack Lord) when to the mainland, it was raining there.

Lately, I have been watching the old Columbo episodes. It ran from 1971 and had 7 seasons. The episodes are 1:15 long (so it was a 90 minute show).

What I love:

  • Peter Falk – man, he was a character. Always disheveled, waving that nasty green cigar around. Driving that wreck of a car. An amazing character. In the 3rd season when he picked up the dog (with no name), a bassett hound, I loved it.
  • Interesting plot twists. Of course, they telegraphed the twist up front, so you got to see Columbo work it out.
  • Well shot. For the time period, it was really good cinematography.
  • “There’s one more thing …” – gotta love that line…

What I hate:

  • The criminals are idiots. They all make really basic, stupid mistakes. Of course, you expect criminals to be less than brain surgeons, but they do so many things right, but then do completely bone headed things that trip them up.
  • It all unravels with one pull of the thread. Invariably, there is one piece of incongruent evidence. And bang, Columbo gets them.

Still, I enjoy watching these.  I just started the 4th season, so I will probably keep watching them.

If you haven’t seen it, the movie that makes Peter Falk’s career is “The Inlaws” with Alan Arkin. Totally worth the watch.

I am saddened that Peter Falk passed in 2011, apparently in an advanced stage of Alzheimers. A shame.

Ewww – The gross things I stumble across

Walking or cycling I come across a lot of things on the side of the road that gross me out. Of course, there are different levels of gross-ness, but some are worse than others.

The grand prize of gross is the used condom on the sidewalk. This morning, walking my dog, I found one of these. Yuck.

I guess I should be happy that young people who park in our neighborhood for a quick snog are using protection. But for f*cks’ sake, don’t just toss the used rubber out the window.


Out of State Drivers (Californians in Arizona)

Living in Arizona we are exposed to plenty of home grown insanity on the roads. I have come to expect that people will often do dumb, dangerous maneuvers at will. Speeding excessively, unsafe left turns (often to deliver their spawn to school), and even some running of red lights that are more than just blushing.

But in the last few days, I have seen some of the worst driving by people with out of state plates. While the locals will whinge about the New Mexico transplants, the trophy goes to California drivers.

There are plenty of examples but a few that I have seen are:

  • Going under the speed limit on the freeway. I suspect this is due to concern that they are targeted by the po-po for extra enforcement. Alas, this is Arizona, where the only state that people driver faster in is Texas. If you are not doing 5 – 10 MPH over the posted speed, even in the slow lane, you are likely to be run over by a big rig. Seriously, keep up with the flow of traffic.
  • Using the HOV lane as a single occupant. I know that in California, your Prius entitles you to a sticker that allows you to use the HOV lanes without being a carpool (2 or more occupants), but here that don’t mean shit. I see lots of driver only, California plate, hybrids risking the HOV lane, and jumping out when they see a cop. Just don’t risk it.
  • Slowing down to merge. One of the things that drove me nuts about living in California was the fact that people accelerate on the on-ramps, and then jam on their brakes before merging. Here is a clue: use the on ramp to match your speed with the traffic, then merge into the traffic smoothly. Yet, yesterday, coming back from the airport, I was behind a pickup with California plates that accelerated up the on-ramp, and then slowed to 20 mph below the traffic speed. Argh, asshole, just f*cking merge dammit.
  • Running red light for left turns. I know in California that intersections plan for there to be 2 – 3 cars to turn left after a left turn light goes red. But here, that just doesn’t work. Us redneck hillbillies like to jackrabbit start and we don’t have patience for idiots blocking the intersection trying to not have to wait a full cycle. Of course, the Californian believes they can just “make it through” and all will be OK. Yet I see lots of gnarly accidents on my way to work, often caused by this practice.

The key to driving with out of state plates in a foreign state is to blend in, and not do dumb things. While most of the rules of the road are shared among the states, there are enough formal differences, as well as enough cultural differences to trip up even the most savvy driver.

Learn to blend. If you are used to being aggressive, stop being aggressive. If you are used to some “slack” by the local authorities, don’t expect that courtesy.

And most importantly, don’t be an asshole driver.