May 21

Results: Still happily negative

Here’s a new thing. I’m running a new campaign that aspires to highlight our scholars in the building. We’ve been mulling this over for a while, but we’re here now. I’m basically in a soft launch, because everything feels like a soft launch right now. So it’s a little social media showing off the thoughtful and important work of people. The idea is that they’ve done the hard part, let us help show it off just a smidge more.

So here’s Jess Tompkins, who has just completed her doctoral work, talking about the research. Kinda neat.

All summer I’ll tinker with settings and styles and, one day, I’ll get it just right. Perhaps, by the time the fall rolls around and we’re back to the new normal — har, har — this will be a part of something larger that really brags on people.

It’s a thing to do.

Walked over to the IU Auditorium for a mitigation test today. They’ve been running spit tests on campus all year, and since November or so, they’ve been doing the lab work here, too. All a part of the work the university has put into keeping students and employees safe. It hasn’t been perfect, what could be? But it has been beyond substantial. It has been thoughtful. It has been effective. It’s gratifying to know that the people that are making the really big decisions are handling things like this conscientiously, and are taking the best advice of the science — from their own experts and points beyond — and applying it as best they can. It’s been the best part of the year.

They did all of this testing with some thought, and some randomization. So it might be that you lived in a place where it would have been difficult to control spread, so maybe you got called in a lot. You might have had some exposure, so you got called in. Or it could be, like me, you got something akin to a jury duty lottery. Sometimes it is just your turn. But, soon after the vaccines rolled out — get your shot — the university decided that once you were fully vaccinated you didn’t need to do mitigation testing anymore.

But you can still schedule your own, even if you’re vaccinated. Looking after people. Anyway, on the walk over:

Anyway, that was one bit of the walk. I enjoy that little stand of trees. Usually a photograph is about timing, but if there’s any sun in the sky it’s the right time to take some kind of picture right there.

Walk in, scan your ID card, get a little vial, spit in it a bunch, and then wipe it down and put it in a little tray. Later they’ll send you an email letting you know how it went. The turnaround today was just over six hours.

Still happily negative.

This is the week where I begin to rediscover free time. During the regular school year I am on campus until all hours of the evening on two or three nights a week, getting done just in time for a late dinner and dishes and trying to stay awake so it feels like I have some free time to read or watch TV or maybe accomplish some minor task around the house. (I usually don’t.) The other days of the week I get to the house just in time to go ride a bike or do something like that. It fills the schedule six days a week, somehow.

But now I can go back to being done at 5 p.m., or thereabouts, and have full, consecutive, evenings to myself. There’s still bikes to be ridden and stuff to do around the house from time-to-time, but it feels different. It’s a part of it, rather than an obstacle to it, somehow.

Monday we went for a bike ride. Yesterday I didn’t know what to do with myself, so I mostly did nothing. Today we were supposed to go for a bike ride, but I got a late start back and so we postponed it and the timing was such that I couldn’t start in on something before dinner. So, again, I didn’t know what to do with myself.

But we had dinner earlier, and at a reasonable hour. A nice change of pace.

Some nights during the school year it’s 9 or later before dinnertime.

All of that wears on you a bit, is all, and when the summer comes I am happy to finally work my way toward something a little less clock-driven.

It’s always nice to see how the other half live.

Apr 21

Moving fast

Some days feel like they take forever. Others have the grace to seem to fly right by. And wouldn’t you like to have a few more of those in the middle of your week?

Today seemed to last about 45 minutes. People came into the studio to shoot a quick thing. It’s a blip for a commercial they’ll use at football games next fall. Took longer for everyone to get set up than for them to shoot the small portion they needed today.

We were simultaneously setting up some other big final project program. It went off without a hitch because smart people made it happen. I know, because I watched them do it.

And, after it was over, and after we tore it all down, it was almost time to call it a day. There was just enough time to sit down and catch your breath.

Oh, here’s a brief video from Monday:

And here are the shows the students produced last night.

The anchors of Hoosier News Source are graduating seniors. They’ve been a part of this since their very first day on campus.

There’s still time to flunk them in some class or another, so they have to stick around.

These things come to mind from time-to-time, that’s all I’m saying.

The young woman on the left is also graduating. She’ll be working on air in Green Bay in a few weeks.

Green Bay, market number 67, is a second-job market, traditionally. We’ve put three graduates there fresh out of school in the last year. We’re cultivating a lot of talent around here. Don’t think we don’t brag about this sort of thing frequently.

And, tomorrow, we’ll shoot the last sports shows of the year.

Apr 21

Just … why?

Woke up to this site this morning.

It gets better.

And if I double-check the calendar …

Yep, April 21st. We’re all fools.

It melted off by afternoon and, hey, it’ll help make things greener. Which would be a nice thing to see at this date in the year.

At least the heartier wild flowers are making an appearance.

These were covered in snow just a few hours ago.

If you stay there long enough, and it is quiet enough, and you are still and listen enough, it’s obvious they are as bemused as we are.

Next week it’ll be … who knows what it’ll be.

Apr 21

To put the sun at your back and the wind in your face

It was a lovely afternoon for a bike ride. I did not dawdle, and so we set out for an hour, with the slightest chill in the shade and the perfect amount of warmth in the sun.

It could be that the wind whisked it all away. Wind is the thing that demands the most of us. It’s a cycling thing — some 30 percent of your energy, says the almost-science/sorta-old-wives-tale, is devoted to overcoming wind resistance. It’s also a regional thing. Nothing moves the seasons here like the wind. And today things were moving.

So was she. I looked down and looked up, that’s all it took, and she’d put that gap in between us. My lovely wife is up there, powering her way through some ridiculous gear. If you peer into the picture you can just make her out, small dots in the middle-distance. Sometimes you can’t blink and she’ll be gone. When she does that I have to use all the tricks I know to pull my way back up.

I can never tell her all the tricks or she’ll be up the road and it’ll just be me back here with my shadow.

Or, if you prefer the video version …

That might have actually been on the same road. This one was a different road.

Shows I should show you, include this show, which I told you about last night. There’s a comedienne interview in here, among some other fun stuff.

And you can get all of the news and then some right here.

And this, which I neglected from Monday … I don’t know what you do at a distillery, it’s not my scene, but doing it in the morning seems like a tough assignment.

I have a full day tomorrow, and an even more full day on Friday, if that’s possible, so we’ll leave it here for now. If you have some more time to kill right now, however, there’s always more on Twitter and check me out on Instagram, too.

Apr 21

And some two hours later … the job was done

Drip, drip, drip into the sink. And so I replaced the little bit of rubber inside the kitchen faucet. And then, later, drip, drip, drip again. I replaced that little washer. And again. Now, the first time it seemed like user error. And then, after that, maybe just bad water. Or bad water and user error. I suppose it could be a faulty bit of rubber. But when the dripping started for a fourth time I knew it was definitely anything but user error.

Which was when I stripped the little screw that holds the whole faucet together. And, after a day of trying to overcome that difficulty, decided to hang the whole thing and start anew.

So my lovely bride bought a new faucet this week, which she’s been hoping to do for some time.

Home ownership, by the way, is just an exercise in doing something you are asked, and learning some skill that gives you a bit of confidence, but really genuinely sincerely hope you never have to use again.

This is where I was this evening, going through the stages of self-confidence and doubt. And, honestly, I figured it out because of sheer spite for people handier than I am.

She picked up the faucet on Monday. We did outdoors work that day. Last night I didn’t get in until late. All of this, and the paragraphs above, have left me plenty of time to psyche myself up for the chore. And so, this evening, when I got to the house at a regular hour, I was ready to take on the task.

Super excited! Pep rally ready! Let’s rip out the old! Drop in the new! Make it appear as if nothing ever happened here!

That’s the self-confidence part.

Getting the old faucet out was the hard part. Well, maybe just reaching it. This is the kind of space I’m working in.

Oh that’s pretty standard, you say. Two sinks, sure, one larger than the other and both a fair size. Sure. Nothing but the best, right? And also the garbage disposal, who’s inner workings are in no way inconvenient to the cause. To say nothing of that random PVC vent in the center, which is precisely where I need to go.

And if you think I pondering trying to remove one of the sink tubs or uncoupling the disposal, you’re right.

The thing about the countertop is that the hole cut out of it is precisely as large as it needs to be and not a micron wider. The thing about the old faucet is that there are some copper components to it. And the thing about that vent in the back is that it took some considerable and destructive ingenuity to get out the old stuff. And the old equipment
is starting to get a bit of rust to it.

And somewhere in there, in that already tiny and almost unworkable space, is where the doubt part starts crowding in.

Well, it was all going away anyway, so things got destroyed. That was the point of no return, really, but it was the old stuff. The new stuff was just fine. So long as it worked when it got installed.

And if you’ve ever worked on more than any one thing on a house before you’ve come to realize that there is nothing standard about standard sizes or techniques or anything. I mean, this plumber could have been having a bad day the day he was in this house. And seeing some of the other stuff in here, it wouldn’t surprise.

Well, the old stuff got out, and once you get into the cabinet, under the sink and immediately beneath the not-at-all obstructive disposal unit and reminded yourself that you don’t have claustrophobia issues, it looks like this.

Seriously, what’s up with that vent. Does anyone here know what that does?

That bit of orange is from the new faucet install. It dropped in without a problem because the new sink uses rubber components and not copper. Once it was in place there was just the matter of reaching two hands, a screwdriver and a custom spanner into a space big enough for precisely one hand to tighten it down to the counter. And then you connect the supply lines, and pet the cat.

Poseidon was an excellent helper. And we are a safety first house.

Here he is looking over the tools and instructions.

Connect the faucet head. Imagine in your head the part of the instructions that Moen just got too lazy to write and figure out the final parts with some trial and error.

And congratulate the cat on being very helpful.

Now, because of the difficulty of removing the old one, and the time that took, both cats were interested in the box and the plastic inside. But it took so long they both lost interest in the plastic and the box. They went somewhere else. And then Poseidon remembered it anew.

Really, looking back on it even now I’m not sure why it took so long. It’s a fairly simple procedure, a faucet installation. A faucet extraction, however, might be its own specialty.

Anyway, we have a new faucet:

And it works and everything! Water comes out of it! Hot and cold! And it stops coming out when you ask it to stop! We better love this faucet for a long time.

Most importantly, no injuries, save the wrench I dropped on my face. No wicked oaths utter under my breath. Times I had to move a cat out of the way, uncountable. A successful new skill learned. Basic plumber 101 skill achieved. Hopefully I won’t have to do this again for a good long while.