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A Monday ramble

Actually, not so much rambling as sitting indoors under a tornado warning. The current twister probably won’t come near my neighborhood, but we have about 30 more hours of unsettled weather, so who knows what we might eventually see?

And here I thought The Wandering Monk was joking when he said if a tornado struck the NW corner of the screen porch would be the safest place in the house. I may have to find out.


Quite to my surprise, we are in the midst of National Unmarried and Singles Week. I had no idea, did you? How did we manage to swing an entire week when dear old Mom gets only a day?

It seems no one else knows about this Momentous Occasion, either. After learning this morning that I’d already missed a full day of this Glorious Celebration, I DuckDuckGoed it and found that even its official site doesn’t appear to have been updated in the last three years. Practically the only article suggesting ways to celebrate it is from 2011.

USA Today did print an article this morning about how it’s still more expensive to be single. But not a particularly good article. And gads, that actress broad they quoted seems a math-challenged narcissist.

Nevertheless, should you be single (as so many of us are these days), it’s your obligation to get out and party hearty. Our special week started yesterday and ends on Saturday the 23rd. Which coincidentally — or perhaps not so coincidentally — is the most recent day on which the world’s supposed to end.


Here’s another of those articles I’ve been saving to write a longish meditation on. But not having gotten to that, here you go: how to embrace getting older.


Fact check, Bernie. Americans are not clamoring for single-payer medicine. Certainly not when the question of who pays for it is raised.

And after fleeing single-payer, Vermont tries a new experiment in wellness medicine. Which might be a good idea if not done by a government.


Did you know that the man who prevented WWIII died this year, unnoticed by the world? He was a Soviet soldier, and not a particularly high-ranking one.

Funny, isn’t it, how sometimes “big” people make only small differences and “little” people can make big ones.


National Unmarried and Singles Week may be an underwhelming occasion. But I’ve got one that’s earth-shattering.

Well, for me.

You OTOH are likely to care less about this one than you do about an event whose own sponsors can’t keep it up to date. But for me, it’s YUGE.

The Monk showed up unexpectedly this morning (between raindrops) and sawed up half a wall — the last of the remaining construction rubble — and carted it away for firewood. Tomorrow he’ll return to take away a few miscellaneous items, including tools he left onsite and the one of his three redneck earth-moving contraptions that exploded under stress.

And here’s the occasion for celebration: This fall and winter, for the first time since I bought Ye Olde Wreck, there will be no construction rubble, no tarp-covered piles of materials, no random junk, no spare plumbing fixtures, no salvaged doors, no unsightly this-and-thats heaped behind the house. Or in the dog yard. Or leaning against the outside walls. Or piled in the driveway.

Oh, there will be Useful Stuff. We ended up with quite a lot of materials left over from this year’s projects (including enough unused foundation lumber to construct most of a deck next year — yay!). I’ve still got a few spare windows and doors. But everything will either be tucked neatly in a corner of my very large lot and well-covered against weather or stashed in the back of my neighbor’s garage.

After all this time, I will have a yard. A yard that looks like a yard. Rather than a salvage yard.

This is really important now that I plan to spend so much time on the screen porch or patio looking out on this wonderment.

My neighbors should love me. But who cares about them? I’m going to love looking out on grass and ferns and gravel and trees and retaining-wall block without viewing rotted remnants of the house that was or bits and pieces of the house to be.

Alas, inside the house is another matter. But that, too, shall pass.


  1. larryarnold
    larryarnold September 19, 2017 12:24 am

    When you get bummed again about being in the NorthWet, remember, that’s where the grass and ferns and trees come from.

    Getting old is when you learn to trust doctors who aren’t old enough to be your children.

  2. AG
    AG September 19, 2017 1:29 am

    “My superiors were getting the blame and they did not want to recognize that anyone did any good, but instead chose to spread the blame,” Petrov said.

    Seems as though stupid is universal.

    Do hierarchies castrate men as they climb up or do beta males float turdlike to the top?

    Probably a combination of both.

  3. AG
    AG September 19, 2017 1:48 am

    Dr. Devi said a patient who died at 101 had told her to try to have a friend “from every decade of life.” He had befriended an array of people, including Dr. Devi’s daughter, who was 12 at the time.

    Having friends from multiple generations can help head off the loneliness that can come when others move, die, get sick or are no longer mobile.


    Good idea. We finally lost Grandma Tillie (My Fairly Jewish Godmother) a couple of years back at 101. She had known Ayn in the day, and her wholly politically incorrect/Traditionalist worldview made her advice timeless.

    I was in my late 20’s when we first met, and am a wiser man for it.

  4. rochester_veteran
    rochester_veteran September 19, 2017 2:16 am

    I have absolutely nothing to celebrate about being single…

  5. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty September 19, 2017 4:31 am

    Guess I’m an exception to the usual. 🙂 I’m old: 71 next week. I’ve been a widow, living alone since 1986. And I’m mostly happy with that. The devil is in the details, of course, but I fear neither life nor death, so I’m at a pretty good place overall.

  6. Jim B.
    Jim B. September 19, 2017 4:36 am

    “when dear old Mom gets only a day?”

    At least no one is trying to get rid of the day, there are movements afoot by those trying to demolish Father’s Day.

  7. Frank Longtine
    Frank Longtine September 19, 2017 7:36 am

    I’ve been single for YEARS, happily, and recently I was asked to dinner by my cardiologist’s nurse practitioner.
    I’m cynical enough to think to myself ‘that I’m wasting her time and mine”, but hopeful enough to put my all into it. We’ll see how it goes.

  8. jed
    jed September 19, 2017 8:52 am

    > 4. Wear something sexy

    Yeah, I’ll get right on that. Which pair of carpenter jeans best shows off my … uh … physique? Considering that Tuesday is Talk Like a Pirate Day, maybe I’ll just show off my booty.

    Claire, congrats on the milestone. Yeah, it’s quite satisfying to get everything all cleaned up after a project. Hmmm, maybe I should clean up my workbench.

    @Frank: Hope that goes well for you. It’ll be good for your heart.

  9. larryarnold
    larryarnold September 19, 2017 8:55 am

    At least no one is trying to get rid of the day,

    If Hallmark doesn’t have a card for it, it isn’t real.

  10. MJR
    MJR September 19, 2017 9:16 am

    I would not worry too much about the tornado warning. The warning covers a large area and a tornado’s foot print is a very narrow one.

    Nice to see the never ending project is coming to an end for the summer. Just think how it will all look this time next year when the yard will hopefully be done and you will be able to sit in the sun room when it’s too wet to work outside and read a book while relaxing. One thing you could think about is getting a used smaller hot tub to put out there if there’s room for it. I’m not talking the kind with all the fancy jets and such just one that lets you have a good long hot soak. All you have to do is remember the floor load and the fact water is heavy.

    As for days (weeks) to celebrate… Today be national natter like a pirate day so thar’s another thin’ ye can celebrate. (Today is national talk like a pirate day so there’s another thing you can celebrate.)

  11. Comrade X
    Comrade X September 19, 2017 10:45 am

    Being old is only for people who have the time to get old.

  12. Claire
    Claire September 19, 2017 11:35 am

    “Nice to see the never ending project is coming to an end for the summer. Just think how it will all look this time next year when the yard will hopefully be done and you will be able to sit in the sun room when it’s too wet to work outside and read a book while relaxing.”

    You are such a nice optimist, MJR. No yard work next year. Next year is finishing the house exterior + two small decks. Maybe the year after that we’ll begin on the yard. But the yard will be a lifelong project (or however long I choose to work on it). It’ll never be finished. Then there’s several years more of interior finishing work.

    Four years from now you can talk to me about sitting, relaxing, and enjoying it all. (Though yes, I do get to do bits of that now and I love every moment of it.)

  13. Claire
    Claire September 19, 2017 11:37 am

    I’m sorry that’s so true, RV. Even the founders of this silly “occasion” had to sense not to make it about being unmarried, single, or widowed.

    It’s wonderful to see you continuing to live your life with spirit (and the support of your family). But it must be harder than most of us can imagine.

  14. Claire
    Claire September 19, 2017 11:47 am

    “We finally lost Grandma Tillie (My Fairly Jewish Godmother) a couple of years back at 101. She had known Ayn in the day, and her wholly politically incorrect/Traditionalist worldview made her advice timeless.

    I was in my late 20’s when we first met, and am a wiser man for it.”

    Wows and kudos, AG. I already knew you had an accomplished and adventurous family. Grandma Tillie sounds as if she fit right in. And she knew Ayn Rand? That could have been a mixed blessing, I suppose; but certainly not boring.

  15. Shel
    Shel September 19, 2017 3:14 pm

    The house is obviously fantastic.

    There was a study some time back rating happiness by sex and marital status. Unmarried women were rated the happiest, while married women were rated the most unhappy. Men were in between, being happier married. One of the likely factors was that women are more adept at the activities of daily living.

    Me, I’m happy right now because I got power back last night (after eight days). I can look down, push a lever, and watch a bowl empty. Modern sanitation is a miracle, I tell you. Just a miracle.

  16. Claire
    Claire September 19, 2017 3:32 pm

    Thank you, Shel. I’ve seen that study, too. And I believe the rankings for exactly the reason you state.

    But … eight days? OMG. That’s a heck of a long time to be without power (and flush toilets!) in the Florida heat.

    Are all our Commentariat Floridians accounted for now? DeLaune came back pretty quickly — though I expect it didn’t seem so quick to him. Chad had 6.5 days of cold showers. I think you’ve set the record at eight days. Anybody else out there?

  17. Pat
    Pat September 19, 2017 4:11 pm

    I haven’t heard from my friend yet. I wrote a letter asking her to contact me ASAP. I looked up her County yesterday, and parts of it were still without power along with 4 other counties in the center of FL.

  18. Shel
    Shel September 19, 2017 6:18 pm

    Pat, you wrote a letter? Doesn’t she do phone or email or text?

    Actually, I went to a friend’s house once and to my workplace (empty at the time) three times for showers. And before I left my friend’s house or work, I tried to do whatever business I could. The hot nights definitely were unpleasant. I own a generator but it wasn’t in Florida. It will be soon, though. The mosquitoes are bad right now, and they’re usually no problem where I live. The two days before Irma were really pleasant. Almost as soon as the eye passed it was over and very pleasant and cool for a couple more days.

  19. larryarnold
    larryarnold September 19, 2017 8:25 pm

    Everybody worries about power and water. In town, losing sewer service is a much bigger problem.

  20. Pat
    Pat September 19, 2017 10:10 pm

    “Pat, you wrote a letter? Doesn’t she do phone or email or text?”

    Both her and her husband’s cell phones are unreachable, they have no landline, and apparently electricity is still out. I don’t know what’s going on.

  21. Pat
    Pat September 20, 2017 4:47 pm

    My friend in Ocala has checked in, just had a long talk with her. She had wind damage and some flooding on porches and in garage, but everyone is OK. Cell phone is still not working, but it’s apparently caused by another problem.

    Shel, I thank you for your concern, and offer to help; it’s greatly appreciated.

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