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Posts Tagged ‘wife’

Posted by Dirck on 11 October, 2018

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 8 October
  • 9 October
  • 10 October
  • 11 October
  • First draft of “Johnson’s Folly.”
  • 17 manuscript pages.

Contrary to usual policy, I’m being specific about what was done on the holiday Monday, which was Thanksgiving here in Canada and thus an actual lounging-around type of day. It’s… possible… that the installment of the writing was done on Sunday, while sitting in the stands at son’s gymnastics class (which, now that I think on it, is where the initial work of my “serious phase” of writing began).

Alas, I lost a day this week to a variety of family health issues– running the cat into the vet, and taking over as the Collector of Son from School office which my mother-in-law has been filling while we wait for my wife’s leg to be see to… because my father-in-law was told to come to a neighbouring city to get a new kidney. Alas, kidney proved non-viable when it and he got into the same place, so it was an excursion to no benefit.

The cat, because I know everyone is vitally interested, has been experiencing Horner’s Syndrome thanks to an ear infection. The ear infection is cleared up, but the eye is still somewhat occluded (doesn’t worry the vet) and his balance is off (worries the vet); we may, if we’re interested, spend half a month’s income on having his head scanned. I’m hoping he’ll improve without imagine, so this decision is being extemporized. We’ve already spent vast sums this month on plumbing and other unexpected unavoidables.

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The Curse of George Bailey

Posted by Dirck on 25 September, 2018

Yes, I know it’s only Tuesday. All will be explained presently.

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 24 September
  • 25 September
  • Second draft of “Kick a Cat…”
  • This thing you’re reading now.
  • 702 typed words.
  • Also roughly 700 words.

Before I explain, I will mention that the Pelikan Hub was a gas, for those who dig on fountain pens, and I strongly plan to attend next year; this means I will also be yelling at people from this pulpit and others to sign up in about ten months. I now have a lot of Pelikans with ink in them, but happily I really like Pelikans.

Now, on with the heart of the matter. On 9 September, while having the regular Sunday dinner with my parents, they asked if I would like to accompany my father to a reunion of his siblings; my mother usually rides shotgun for him, but some minor side-effects of the aging process disincline her to face the demands of travel.

I was slightly hesitant because apart from The Regular Job’s current state…

Yes, I do indeed like this GIF, and will use it too much. It’s evocative.

…I’m the only driver in the house; my wife doesn’t, by choice, and my son is still too young to be legally allowed in the front seat. But wife agreed, having her parents and my mother to rely on for transport and food deliveries, so I explained the situation to my masters at Regular Job, and was granted the necessary week’s leave.

Part of the reason I got asked to attend is because my brother has been to… a couple… of these family get-togethers in the current millenium, while I have not done such a thing since 1996. Why? Because there’s always some damn thing that crops up to prevent me going. It’s usually been work related (not so much a tyrannical denial as fearing starvation for lack of pay upon return), but not always. I have said aloud that I feel somewhat like George Bailey, the put-upon protagonist of It’s a Wonderful Life, who is forever being thwarted in his plans to have travel anywhere for any reason.

In so much as this thought even occurred to me at the time, I put it aside on the grounds that it’s not really a vacation. I saw my role as assistant and chauffeur as well as companion, and that’s sort of like work.

Apparently this view was not shared by the mysterious powers that run the universe.

I got home from work on 10 September to find that my wife was in gasping agony, she thought from an unusually pernicious cramp in her leg. This persisted the way a cramp does not, for days, and she got off to the doctor to get some insight. Consultation, x-rays, and eventually we get the news– through arthritic changes, my wife no longer has any cartilage in her knee, and her hip is looking rather suspect too. We await contact from the rheumatologist her doctor is calling in to advise (while not as bad as US politicians make out, there are some delays in the functioning of Canadian health-care; since I pay naught for it but a small yearly income tax, this inconvenience is balanced out).

So now I’m pinched between duties. I may be departing for thriving, populous Ontario tomorrow morning at about 5:00am, if my wife feels she will be able to look after our son and cats without my assistance in the evenings, and I will spend the following week in mild fit of worry.  The alternative is a week of sick guilt while my father is on his tod in a distant province full of traffic and maple trees, plus the lasting sensation of having caused the waste of money in the form of unused air fare. Unless my father decides he’s not going for want of a companion, in which case the guilt will derive more from knowing that he’s one of the youngest of his siblings, and he may be missing a last encounter with at least one of them.

We do not have any bridges I can offer to pitch myself off of, hopeful of inducing a cherubim in a hobo disguise to intervene.  Even if we did, Clarence’s assistance was more in the line of a feverish acid trip than a proper miracle, and to be honest a miraculous cure of my wife’s ailment is exactly what’s needed.

In any event, I’m incommunicado for the next week; either very far away and busy, or using that time off of work to attend to my wife as fully as I wish I had been doing the past two weeks. I’ll let you know how it came out at the regular progress report time in the first week of October.

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Midway… almost

Posted by Dirck on 27 July, 2018

We’re not quite at the central point between Valentine’s Day and Hallowe’en, but I think today’s film inclines slightly more toward the latter anyway.

For amateur profilers– this is the sort of thing I consider “whimsically charming.”  I should share it with my wife, although I suspect she’ll find the fight scenes a little protracted.

Today’s pen: Faber-Castell e-motion
Today’s ink: Herbin Pousièrre de Lune

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A Bowling Ball Named Homer

Posted by Dirck on 25 October, 2017

A quick story about today’s pen:

A recent windfall put me in a position to buy a new pen… and by windfall, I mean I had $50 I could part with without feeling I was stealing food out of my son’s mouth.  The very day this happened, Goulet Pens announced a restocking of the this-year-only colour of the TWSBI Classic.

A cheap pen of which I don’t have one.

However, my wife’s birthday is impending (it is, in fact, the very next Saturday we encounter).  And she rather likes the colour chosen as the one specific to this year.

And suddenly I feel like Homer Simpson, proudly producing for Marge a bowling ball with his name on it.  So she would always remember who gave it to her.  You may not recall it; it’s from the first season.

There are a couple of important differences between me and Homer, aside from skin tone and lifetime radiation exposure.  I learn from the bad example of others, and I learn from my own mistakes.  I also pay attention to stuff my wife says.  Something which has come up more than once in the nearly-twenty years that we have been a couple is that she does not like surprises.  Even when the outcome is good (“Here’s a cheque for twenty million dollars!”) she is put out of countenance by the unexpected.  She admits that this is a bit of a failing, a want of flexibility in the face of an inherently unpredictable world… but it’s certainly a foible I can make adjustments for.

So, when the pen arrived a few weeks ago, I showed it to her, explained that I thought she might like it and that it was hers if she wanted it, only if she actually wanted it, and that she could ponder the matter until her birthday.

She declined, preferring to stick to her swarm of NoNonsenses.  So I now have a new bowling ball pen, although I have also made clear that she can have it back at a word.  I’m trying not to get too attached to it on account of this; how can she resist the retro yumminess of this?

Say hello to little Homer.

This does not mean, by the way, that she gets nothing for her birthday. While I still have a lot of credit to ride on thanks to one surprise she has enjoyed, I’m not riding on that– I listen to stuff she says, and have bought a couple of things based upon this skill.  And I’m not going to say here what they are.  It would ruin the surprise.

Today’s pen: TWSBI Classic
Today’s ink: Diamine Oxford Blue

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And Now For Something Only Slightly Different…

Posted by Dirck on 21 July, 2017

I’m not posting a film here this week because, after a couple of weeks of utter silence, I want to put the final nail in the edifice of boredom I’ve been erecting here.  Yes, it’s pictures of the vacation.  Those who are still coming here for the pens will want to stick around for a little bit of flesh-creeping horror, too.

This year’s vacation was an unusual extravaganza, funded by a long-service award handed out by Regular Job (I complain, but I know I could be in a much worse place).  The same sort of thing ran to a trip to Disney World the last time I got one, but politics and inflation took that destination off the menu.  What we did, then, was travel to exotic… Edmonton, Alberta.

OK, it’s not much more than my own home town writ large, but it has a couple of things which rendered it attractive.  There are the Alberta Railway Museum and Edmonton Radial Railway Society to pander to my son’s love of such things, which persists undiminished, and in the same vein there is Fort Edmonton Park, in which previous centuries’ modes of transit run all day long and you can ride them for free after entering the park. Another feature of the park is a hotel which costs no more than any other decent hotel in the city, and booking a room includes park admission.  Thus, we essentially spent our vacation in a very comfortable bit of 1922 (with free wifi, even if there isn’t a TV in the room).

My wife and I got, perhaps, less out of it than the lad.  What we got, though, was freedom from housework, the spectacle of a very happy son, and a trip to Stylus (where a Pilot Elite 95S was almost able to convince me that the profligate spending of a vacation could be expanded to encompass its cost; alas, reason prevailed); so, relaxation, happiness and a couple of bottles of ink.  That’s pretty good, really.

Here’s a quick tour of the trip, with a hair-raising conclusion:

The start of the trip, in which I attempt to bring a degree of civilization to the modern air-travel experience. It worked pretty well, too.

 

A brief spatiotemporal anomaly saw us taking in the sights of Melbourne in 1958. This only lasted about a half-hour (subjectively).

Our hotel. Since I wasn’t paying, so we got the extravagant top corner suite.

 

He For Whom All Was Done, surveying the view out the window, because…

 

…the view out it regularly included a trolley.

 

There’s part of the reason for the trip.

 

And here’s the PRIMARY reason for the trip. Son also enjoyed the Ferris wheel, and was less disappointed by the ride operator’s refusal to let him toot the whistle.

 

This sort of reaction was gratifyingly frequent. Son loves his rail-borne transportation systems.

 

I have a sneaking suspicion that this is not an advert one would have seen in a trolley in 1922.

 

Son contemplating the departed spirits of those who travelled across our vast nation in a sleeper Pullman, at the Railway Museum.

 

A little way down the street from our hotel was the Capitol theatre. The building was shared by a jeweler’s, who bafflingly carried no pens whatsoever.

 

Not shown within; the shop-girls who cannot possibly be paid enough to dish out ice cream to hordes of tourists in a building which was, the day we visited, the same temperature as a healthy human liver.

 

Next to the confectionery… say, I got my first fountain pen in a drug store. Let’s have a look in there!

 

AH-HAH! There’s stationery in the drug store!

 

A close-up of the packaging, for those who enjoy that sort of thing.

 

There you go, pen-lovers. Your quiver of dismay.

Dismay? Well, apart from the missing lever in one of those pens and the amazing degree of tarnish on the pencil at the right, they’re all just sitting there in the light of day, slowly discolouring and not getting used for their true purpose. Sic transit gloria mundi, alas!

To end on a high note, I think I should plug Fort Edmonton again.  It’s delightful, one of the better living history parks I’ve been in; my wife said of the people who populate it in period outfits, “It’s like Disney World niceness, with a frosting of Canadian polite.”  I can hardly improve on that.

Todays pen: Parker Senior Duofold
Today’s ink: Waterman blue (vintage, but a little newer than that seen above)

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The Wages of Immortality

Posted by Dirck on 1 May, 2017

I don’t believe I’m being original when I say that we are effectively immortal in the eyes of our pets, so long as we stick to relatively pedestrian companions.  A household Galapagos tortoise or even an African Grey parrot will have a different perspective.  As immortals, we change only slowly while the pet passes from one end of life to the other.  They experience continuity, barring horrible accidents.  We experience grief.

This is Cleopatra Harris, named because we are silly about connecting ancient Egypt and cats, and because her hair was reminiscent of Ron Glass’s in Firefly but Cleopatra Book didn’t have the right flow.  This morning she ceased to be, having passed from a kittenhood of nicotine addiction (not her choice, and not ours; she joined her litter mates at our house after a brief stay with someone else who had a SERIOUSLY rough patch in their life which eventually developed to “I can’t look after this poor cat, please take her”) to a seniority of incontinence and eventual diabetes.

Actually, the incontinence was a long-term thing.  This is the cat who, if you read back through the years when interesting things happened on this blog, I frequently swore at.  Part of the expense of owning her for the past couple of years has been buying puppy training pads in job lots, because she decided litter boxes should occupy half the floor-space of the house, and we had to very nearly carpet the place and largely upholster all our furniture with disposable absorbents… which she mostly didn’t miss.  She is the cat who, if I may be frank, was making a very good case for “let’s not have any more cats in the house” in the head of a guy who has loved cats since age 5.

Over the weekend, it became clear that her life had at last become even more a burden to her than it was to me.  This estimation was made by my wife, who was not as oppressed by the cat-based squalor as I, finding in her heart an adamantine core of affection which the misbehavior could not damage or even discolour (it’s not like the cat was actively trying to kill our son, after all), and her decision was based on that affection.  We thus prepared son for the impending loss as well as we could, gave Cleo one last taste of the great outdoors during which the above picture was taken, and committed the act of medically-assisted euthanasia this morning.  She may not look ill in the picture, but she was essentially nothing but a lot of hair around a collection of extremely sore joints.

And yes, I wept throughout the time in the vet’s office.  She was a filthy destroyer of the fabric of our house, a vast and constant drain on our scant finances, and occasionally bite-y.  But she was also beautiful, extremely willing to let son practice the humane treatment of animals upon her, and (when not actively ruining a carpet) a cuddly, loving beast who sought the affection her infirmities did so much to alienate.  I will not miss the messes, but I will miss the cat, because we all contain multitudes and there was good in her even I can appreciate, and what was bad was bad without intent.

We are, once a thorough cleaning has been undertaken, likely get yet another young cat that we can outlive and mourn.  If classical mythology teaches us anything, it’s that immortals are gluttons for self-inflicted punishment.  It’s the patches of delight between the bouts of grief that keep us going.

Today’s pen: Waterman Carène
Today’s ink: Quink washable blue (vintage)

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Posted by Dirck on 23 March, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 17 manuscript pages†

†I took Monday off work so my wife and I could have a nice St. Valentine’s Day lunch at one of our favourite local restaurants.  If the lateness of that observation troubles you (external forces at work; if we could have swung it, it would have been on or near the right date), then take it was our celebration of the arrival of the vernal equinox.  The part of the day I would have been writing in was otherwise engaged.

Also, today’s output was seven pages, despite yesterday afternoon’s tacit admission by the provincial government that they have indeed mismanaged the economy into a dark, glowing sulfurous hole, and thus will be eliminating as much as they can in the new budget of things that make life here tolerable (seriously; 100% reduction of funding for urban libraries).  That I didn’t just spend my whole lunch hour shrieking obscenities in the direction of the Legislature is a testament to my work ethic.

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Posted by Dirck on 20 October, 2016

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 17 October
  • 18 October
  • 19 October
  • 20 October
  • First draft of “Discoveries in the Wake of the Last Crusade.”
  • First draft plods along.
  • I’m gettin’ my Clarke on with it.
  • But not today; a task needed doing for my wife.*
  • Seven manuscript pages
  • Five pages
  • Six pages
  • Roughly 6 km driven
  • 50 min.
  • 40 min.
  • 40 min.
  • Enough to be a problem

* Lest you think nothing in the writing line transpired today: a story I sold has been published by they who bought it!  I expound upon this on the other front, but I am… rather pleased.

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Posted by Dirck on 13 October, 2016

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 10 October
  • 11 October
  • 12 October
  • 13 October
  • Flan de Café for Thanksgiving* at the wife’s parents.
  • Second draft of “Tale of the One-Handed Engineer.”
  • The exciting climax of “One-Handed Engineer.”
  • And the conclusion.  Done!
  • One recipe makes eight serving
  • 921 words typed.
  • 601 words.
  • Somewhat above 700 words, for a total of 3,240.
  • All day, if one includes presentation
  • 45 min.
  • 40 min.
  • 50 min.

* Yes, we celebrate that in early October here.  Remember that it’s a harvest festival, not a saint’s day.

** The reason we use pens before selling them on– this one has needed several little tweaks to get the tine alignment just so, which little bits of scribbling hadn’t revealed.  Prolonged writing, however… well, I’d have been embarrassed to have sold it earlier.

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The End of the Growing Season

Posted by Dirck on 19 August, 2016

I believe I’ve mentioned that there is a fairly rural bent to the rhythms of my home province, which is generally a good way of remembering where food comes from, although there is a price to be paid in pick-up trucks and country music.  We hear much of crop projections (good year for wheat, you market speculators), and how well things have grown.

All of which is very, very tangential in its connection to this:

Happily, my wife is in favour of a fuzzy fella.

Today’s impeccably groomed pen: Jinhao 159
Today’s fur-free ink: Herbin Éclat de Saphir

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