Merry Christmas – The Year That Sucked*

Well, let’s get the yucky part over first:  In mid-March, a day after returning to NYC, Babs announced that she had decided to quarantine herself down there because people up here – meaning me – were not ‘taking it seriously enough’.  True:  in the preceding days I had worked out at Gold’s gym, gone indoor climbing, eaten inside in a restaurant, and played poker at my local club.  Two days later both gyms and my poker club had closed.  In her apartment, without a roommate for the first time in decades, Babs could disinfect her groceries and shoes, and take every possible precaution.  Up here, with the Mohonk Preserve  closed for climbing, biking, and even hiking,  I was forced to create a gym in the basement.  Luckily I had a bunch of old dumbbells I hadn’t used in forever and a bench I used for construction projects.  The picture:  a couple pulleys and some old window counterweights for a pull-up assist device – basically a Gravitron.  (I can do a small number of pull-ups with my full body weight, but tendinitis would shortly put an end to that).  I alternated those days with running the loop around a local lake.   My ‘speed workout’ (he attempts to say with a straight face) was at the Wallkill H.S track.  In early June (after 83 days), Babs started coming back up.  Then indoor and outdoor climbing reopened in July, and Gold’s at the end of August.  Got some outdoor climbing in, but sure missed my tried and true partners, George and Tammy, who winter in AZ and couldn’t make it back all year.  As of mid-December, we still have not eaten inside a restaurant and I haven’t gone back to my local poker club.  (Their Covid accommodation:  only 8 people at a poker table instead of 10.  Major social distancing !!!)  One poker tournament in Jan and one in Feb.   No Vermont.  Had tickets to 2 Broadway shows – both canceled.  All my usual 5Ks also canceled.   Boo.  At least no dental work this year.

We have had people over for food, drinks, and chatting around our new Solo Stove – all in the back yard.  And when it got too cold for that, Babs created the ‘Garage Cafe’ – garage door open for airflow, sometimes adjourning to the stove outside after dessert.

Did some house projects that literally had been on the list for the 10 years since we moved in.  One was installing 13 LED overhead light fixtures, which replaced  13 bare incandescent bulbs !  (When you are   building a house, as soon as a light comes on when you flip a switch, the rest of that project goes to the complete bottom of the list).  Put 7 or 8 self adhesive soft plastic thingies on the walls where the doorknobs hit – replacing blocks of wood laying next to the baseboard !  One good project – another exterior concrete slab for the compost and mulch piles.  No more hated tarps on the ground.  Ever.

Sadly this:  I was forced into the 21st century.  Yes, for a month now, I have owned a smartphone, so let those texts with emojis rip.  In the summer, my GPS and IPod were stolen from my car, so by the time I looked into replacing those, I decided to just get a phone that does all that.  Verizon wanted to give me a smartphone for free, just to get me on a data plan, but I researched it and naturally, it sucked.  My eyes lit up when I found the winner:  A Samsung Galaxy A51.  It was fate:  Galaxy, Area 51, Android, and best of all:  when the OS updates, it displays an R2D2 with a spinning wheel in his abdomen !! 

Random stuff:  We got lucky and the sky was unexpectedly clear for the Geminids.  Babs brought out a blanket and we layed (lay/laid ?) on the driveway.  Cold, but we saw probably 20 meteors in 30 minutes (a little after midnight) – 3 or 4 were seriously bright.    Snow tires and plow are on the truck – we could get a foot and a half overnight tonight !     Oh: exactly one haircut since March – working on my bad-ass biker look.

Books:  Snowcrash (1992 !!!), Endurance (1959 !!), and American Gods (weird, but. . . .)

*Even decades from now, that title will need no explanation..