This morning we awoke reasonably early to take my car for yet another visit to the automobile repair shop. Our backyard mechanic did his noblest to remedy its problems at essentially no cost, getting it back on its feet again, but Texas' new inspection regime actually tests things other than "is your windshield cracked?" and "does the turn signal work?" these days, and the test turned up an exhaust problem that needs repair. We price shopped a bit, but now it looks as though we must bite the bullet and get the "real" repairs done. We took the car to a "real, live" mechanic, and then headed to Java and Cha. My wife is a coffee drinker, while I am essentially not. Java and Cha is a local chain, and the outlet near the car dealer used to be a place she visited a lot when we lived in Plano the first year back. Although I have been prodigious on my return to healthy eating, I did permit myself a hot chocolate, which was quite tasty. She, of course, knew the clerk's wife, and sent salutations. She's much better at people than I am.
I went to the office and got some things done, although I have much more to do. Then I had to make a post office run to get things I accomplished in the certified mail. On the way, I saw a wonderful sign--"Yard Sale (aquariums, baby supplies)". Although, as discussed in detail, I have little current need for baby supplies,
I had just this very day placed a yard sale aquarium on my wish list. Sure enough, a nice little ten gallon number, apparently recently used as rodent habitat, was on sale for five dollars. I am back in fish business! After I got the things mailed off, I went to the Roach Feed and Seed, a Garland institution for some many dozen years, to see if I could find a pump and filter and perhaps a feeder guppy source (for some reason, Dallas is much bigger on feeder goldfish than feeder guppies). The feed and seed had instead feed, and also seed. I heard birds singing, and I seem to recall an ad about fish, so I know more pets were someplace, but all I could see was feed, seed and a hay barn. I hate to ask questions sometimes, so I just left without really knowing.
This has been our weekend to see movies everyone else has already seen. We watched the first eighty minutes of Office Space last night, and were amused to see that it was filmed in substantial part in Texas, and reminds me of the high tech suburbs in which we live. We will finish it later this weekend. Tonight we had dinner with my brother, his wife and their sons. The younger son, age 11, played me in a game of chess. He is not quite up to my level, and his effort to steer my Alekhine's Defense reply to his e4 opening into a King's Indian Attack foundered when he did not know the relevant Closed Sicilian type strategies, but he has improved so much in three months since the last time we played. Kids are so malleable and soak up new information so quickly. He showed me his trophy from winning his "chess ladder" at school. I finally re-upped my Internet Chess Club membership when they sent me an e mail threatening to purge my rating and file. Beat me, hit me, hate me, but don't purge my rating. Now I need to start playing again. I need a bit more non-relative human contact these days, so perhaps a live chess tournament would be the ticket. Then I can practice on the 'net at the Internet Chess Club, where the "censor" function prevents any interchange from becoming unpleasant.
Tonight after dinner at Two Rows (I had a wonderful trout almandine), we went to my brother's house. They owned Princess Mononoke, which my wife and I had not seen, so we all settled in.
The forest visuals remind me of the Oregon falls or of the peat moss lowlands near Whistler, Canada, so I had this odd sensation of familiarity from the whole thing. As I type that, though, I remember how loudly one of the kids in my church youth choir ensemble in high school snorted when I said I really related to Charley Brown, because, after all, who doesn't?
We did not finish Princess Mononoke, but we borrowed the DVD,and we'll knock it off tomorrow, too. I have some more work to do tomorrow, but I want to have some fun, too. I did get a short walk in today, but I feel the need for a long walk or perhaps a brief walk and a little catch and release fishing. The weather is in the 70s, but the rapid changes seem to be bringing on a cough for me.
I want to thrive outside, but I don't want to overdo it. I tried to go to my "home trail", the Trinity Trail, today, but it was still too muddy for proper hiking.
I picked up a great sci fi for a dollar at the Dollar General today.
it's called "The Children Star" by Joan Slonczewski. I've been needing a good read for weeks. Today it was nice driving my car to the shop, though, as my cassette of Neil Young's Decade album (bought for a dollar at a yard sale) rolled up to "Cortez the Killer", and the intro and guitar work on that song just transports me. I have a long work to do list, and a few hobby mailings I wish to do as well. I plan to be one busy guy tomorrow, but that's okay.
I feel ready!