Dec 19

Running out of 2019

Last day of the year, last run of the year, last, last, last. It was a dank and chilly run, a 10K, and it all felt pretty good, shockingly. The splits weren’t good, the times weren’t amazing, but the spirit was good and I was pleased with the effort.

For the month, then, that’s a little over 76 miles.

Poseidon is not impressed.

Phoebe is always polite enough to at least play the part.

Well, I’m pleased. I suppose the comeback is complete. Now we just have to figure out what’s next. More miles? Faster miles? More faster miles? Holding serve? Staying inside and holding a hot chocolate?

That’s something to figure out next year.

Dec 19

Christmas Eve

How many of you got to wear short sleeves on Christmas Eve? How many of you got to run on the beach on Christmas Eve?

Some day for it, really. Some day for all of it.

The Yankee’s uncle came up to join us, as he always does. He brought the ravioli, which he always does. It is the traditional Christmas Eve meal here. (They know about good food for Christmas, my in-laws.) This is a new ravioli, because the old place closed.

It’s third generation pasta from Italy, according to the website. It could be fourth-generation. Maybe the site is out-of-date. Maybe the grandson’s kids are working the holidays. Who can say? We can only know what we know. What we know: that was good ravioli.

This was my placemat this evening, and it is apropos:

Hope you have a good visit from Santa, and that he goes back up the chimney — or out the keyhole — a lot lighter than when he came in.

Dec 19

Plastic spatulas are the key to faster paces

I had the great good fortune to visit with my grandfather today. We’re trying to talk him into going to dinner with us tomorrow night. I’m sure he will, but we just have to work on him a bit more. We are determined and persuasive.

We also stopped by to see my aunt and uncle, who married us in 2009. (And I officiated his daughter’s wedding in 2016, but that’s a different story, I suppose.) Sat with them for a bit and then strolled into town to do town things. There are the regular provisions to procure. And then, of course, there are three or four items we can’t find at our own local, inferior grocery store. Each trip we return with cans of this and boxes of that.

It’s never cans of that and boxes of this. Have you ever wondered why that is?

I think it is because the this would run right out of the boxes. Leak right through the paperboard, right onto the shelves and floors.

I stood on a ladder for a good long while yesterday. It was time for the annual light bulb changing event above my mother’s television. It requires a great climb and I am still agile enough for the work. The hardest part is moving a giant ladder in from the garage and into the living room.

Since I brought the ladder in for that, there was no reason to take the ladder out the back and get onto that gutter my mother asked me to look into. There was a slow drip, for days, she said, after a big rain. And could I see what was going on?

What was going on was that the gutter needed to be cleaned. The backyard of the house sees great sun, but that gutter does not, and the asphalt runoff from the shingles was just sliding down into the gutter, never drying, always accumulating and now, in spots, had started growing moss.

Grab yourself a spatula and some bags and start removing the gunk. If you can find the right size spatula or spoon, or garden hoe, you can make shorter work of it. Because it is a long gutter, I filled up most of a garbage can.

It was also a very tall ladder. And it might have impacted my run today, which was a picturesque and slow 3.69-mile experience.

I discovered a road running alongside the nearby high school. The map tells me it runs all the way to the water. I didn’t grow up here, and I didn’t run all the way down the road, so the road was new to me and I’m taking the map’s word for it.

But that first little bit of that new road:

It turns out, you can miss the pines. This morning I realized I miss the pines.

I ran about six-tenths of a mile down the road. It sounds like nothing, a thousand yards, but it felt like a lot. Anyway, the road apparently branches off three different times before they all drop down to the river and a little creek inlet. I didn’t go that far because life has taught me that if you get to the water you’re going downhill. Which means you have to go uphill.

And none of that for me, thanks. I just ran through pastures and by one little house. There are more down by the water. I know they are there because several cars passed me by. Several nice cars.

I always wonder what that’s like. In my neighborhood there are a lot of sidewalks and walking paths. And of course there are a lot of young people running around. You begin to see the same people if you are out there enough. But, here, where we are running just now, it’s just roads and houses and businesses. There are broad shoulders on the highway, but I can’t recall having ever seen a lot of people running around these parts.

I bet the local folks don’t see a lot of people running around here, either. And I bet these last two days cars going by have been wondering what that crazy fool is doing out there.

I wonder that every time, too. But at least I am wondering in slightly warmer temperatures this week.

(Spatulas are good for cleaning gutters. If you have an old plastic one you can cut it to the proper width. A good spatula speeds up the process, then, hopefully reducing the time you spend on a ladder.)

Dec 19

And now, two quick television stories

When I got here smilin’ Joe Canter was a freshman. He was probably born good at this, but he’s gotten better at it. And someone here, no one seems to remember who now, has given him a franchise he can carry for years: Banter With Canter.

This was the last Banter With Canter on the last show of his college career. He’s graduating in a few days. It’s been a pleasure to work with him, to watch him grow and develop a very steady confidence. Plus, he’s just an all around pleasant guy. Some newsroom is going to get a good one with him.

And of course we took the “So I can say I knew him when” photo.

He told us tonight — it is a bit of a tradition now, I guess, sharing this news with the crew at our last productions — the stations he’s been interviewing with recently. It is exciting to see the notice our crew gets right out of the gate. I’m eager to see where he lands. Of course you can follow people pretty closely these days, but there will come a day, in two or four years, when he will make a market change. And maybe then, or in the year or two after that, he’ll make a big market change. And I’m excited to see what that’s like for him.

Speaking of sports, which is what Joe does, my old be-ready-at-every-moment anecdote around here used to be about sports, but now it is about weather. The old story was that the sports guy didn’t turn up one night. He’d taken ill, apparently, and we only realized this at the last minute. So a producer stepped in. And she’s was, and remains, one of these people that does everything well. She wasn’t a close follower of sports, she said, but you wouldn’t know it by how she just did the job that night. And they chose her to fill-in because she was awesome anyway, but also because she was camera-ready. It’s a good story. (And today, she is a producer in a top 35-market, which is a nice place to land in your second job still freshly out of school.)

Well now I can update that story to weather. My friend Charlee is a pop culture show host, but when the student who is actually training to be a meteorologist couldn’t make it this evening, Charlee stepped in. And, being another one of these people that does everything well, she also drilled it.

She won’t be a meteorologist anytime soon — that takes some science and know how — but if she isn’t updating her LinkedIn account this week and figuring out how to parlay that into a job interview anecdote then I didn’t sell her hard enough on how she should be updating her LinkedIn account and figuring out how to parlay that into a job interview anecdote.

And with that, the calendar year and another semester of television wraps. A tweet-sized summary:

More details fleshing out the numbers at some later date.

More on Twitter and please check me out on Instagram as well.

Dec 19

On plastic (700 words)

We have wooden blinds in part of the house. We have plastic blinds elsewhere in the house and I have installed or replaced almost all of them, because no one, no thing and no circumstance appreciates the fine molecular structure that holds those things together. Do not stare at the blinds, because if you sneeze while you are considering them I’ll have paid for the juco classes for the blinds salesman’s grandkids.

The wooden ones are made of something more sturdy. The cheapest balsa wood, most probably. They are nice, attractive. They have about 14 strings descending from the top of the window, and cats love that. So we’ve tried to neatly coil and stow those away, like sailors. Because that’s what cats do to you, they make you put everything away. They make you improve your sleight-of-hand game, because they’re always around when you have to hide things.

A lot like kids, you might say. Yes, but children grow up.

On the front of the wood blinds, hiding the lightweight metal frame which hides the inner workings, is a nice molded plastic valance. It looks like an attractive routed, wooden molding. If I didn’t have these on the windows, you would never notice. If you noticed they weren’t there, you’d just think I was a bachelor. I’m not a bachelor. So the downstairs windows, where the 93 strings responsible for tacking to the window and driving the clipper ship across the water, have wooden blinds and valances.

A little piece of plastic which comes from some back-alley plastic manufacturer in some faraway land holds the valances in place. Two valances per blind. Except for the one on the left-most blinds in the living room, the ones nearest the TV, the ones directly across from my customary seat. See, that little piece of plastic had broken off. We assume it was either a cleaning accident or a micro-nuclear explosion at the nanoparticle level. Well. This evening I got tired of the ineffective temporary solution (tape) and resolved to create an effective temporary solution (anything else).

This requires removing the blinds — haven’t I paid enough into the karma bank for the year? — to implement my solution. I didn’t have to go with the fake fix, though, because I found the broken part of the old valance clip, inside the blinds casing.

Still with me?

I went to the super glue drawer. (You don’t have a super glue drawer? I have three different brands in my super glue drawer, each operating with varying levels of ineffectiveness.) I glued up the broken piece.

This is the plastic I’m working with. When the glue cures, the blinds must come out of their holding pieces once more. I removed the one valance clip from the frame of the blinds, allowing me to run the nice molded plastic valance that looks like an attractive routed, wooden molding, through both of the clips, and then re-attached it all. I fixed the glued one. I broke the other one. (Fourth thing I’ve broken in a week!)

I glued that one back together … and that didn’t work.

Super glue is a con, but you can trust the Internet. A quick search showed me the same pieces of cheap plastic on Amazon. I ordered it from my miracle device, sitting comfortably in the living room. They’ll arrive next week, as I have chosen the slowest possible delivery method and these delightful pieces of plastic will take the scenic route through Canada (or Oklahoma, the Internet isn’t clear on this point) before they take on their arduous job of holding plastic up all the live-long day.

You know how you’re never supposed to read the comments? Sometimes you shouldn’t read the reviews. The third one on Amazon says, and I quote directly and in its entirety, “is ok.”

Who needs flying cars? This is the world we live and work and play in! I ordered more of the thing that breaks easily without interacting with another soul! They gave me an option for free returns too. So, if they aren’t coming from Canada (or Oklahoma), but rather from space, they’ll have a nice trajectory into orbit. Maybe they’ll hold something together up there.