Author: Leathers

What a nice surprise!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Came home from work today and was feeling a little blah. To perk me up a bit, I made some mac & cheese from a box, and while the macaroni was cooking, I came into the addition here and figured ‘what the heck’ and turned on my desktop. It’s been sitting for several weeks silent and unused since for some strange reason it wouldn’t boot way back when. In the interim, I’ve been using my old Thinkpad laptop, but have been missing the large 27″ monitor as well as my preferred Dell keyboard and the other peripherals that I’ve become accustomed to. After a little black screen, it booted. Holy crap, it booted!

Of course, I was fully expecting it to shut down after a few minutes, but even so, I grabbed a thumb drive intending to at least try to get a few files that I’ve been needing off the main drive before it powered off. At that point, I wasn’t even interested in getting into my email program to download three weeks of mail that has been sitting on various servers. First things first. Damage control. Triage. Jumping into the password program, I determined where the password file was located and went to the corresponding subdirectory. Of course, it wasn’t so simple, the thumb drive I chose was write-protected. Bugger! Thinking fast, I switched gears and uploaded the file to my Dropbox, so I could access it even if/when the computer were to fail. Once that was completed, I breathed a bit of relief.

On to other things, while my luck was holding out. My Jetpack had gone squirrely on this blog about a month ago, and I’ve been unable to access the server to remove the subdirectory in order to re-install it. Firing up my FTP program, I went to download the files in order to delete them later. Only, I ran into a snag. A couple of months ago, I added a level of security to the FTP connection and forgot the password. And naturally, stupid me, I didn’t add it into my password vault program to be reminded. I had to circumvent that oversight but was able to accomplish my goal with a minimum of angst or hair-pulling.

Finally, I started my email program and crossed my fingers. Several of the email accounts haven’t been cleared in about a month, so I was fully expecting there to be at least two to three thousand emails on at least one of them that needed to be moved off the server and deleted. With fingers crossed, I set Thunderbird to work and I can report that everything was successfully pulled from ALL of my accounts. During the largest pull, my backup program started. And was able to do a successful backup, even though the computer has not been used for over a month. I bought a 6 TB drive several months ago with the intention that it be my storage bay for computer backups, and it has been. Though I’ve been rather remiss as well as hesitant to junk the computer and get a new motherboard, chipset and all, due to the cost and pain in the arse that building a new computer entails. I figured at minimum a new system was going to cost me in the neighborhood of $600-700, and that’s without buying any storage. Just a case, memory, new chipset and a motherboard, as well as a new copy of Windows 10. If you have a new motherboard and chip, you have to get a new copy of the operating system. I’ve tried going the route of Linux before, but caveman that I am, I just prefer how Windows does things. And Apples are just too expensive. And next to impossible to repair.

Now that I have it running, I’m hesitant to shut it down. But I know I have to, if for not other reason than it has to update the software in several ways. Before I do though, there are some housekeeping things I need to accomplish in case it all goes down in flames. But at least for now, it works!

Hello, 54.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Another birthday, another year older.

My birthdays anymore are either ones when I work, or I have the day off and I don’t necessarily do much of anything. Certainly nothing like a party here at Casa Leathers, or any sort of organized celebration. Another milestone achieved really. I may get a present, I may not, it depends a lot on whether I mention there’s something I’ve desired, and just haven’t gotten around to purchasing for myself, and the wife gets it for me (except for a motorcycle….not going to get one of those. At least life-sized).

This year, we’ve been needing a new wheelbarrow and we’ve been off and on shopping for it both online and locally. It has needed to have certain aspects to make it good for both of us (not too big, not too small, dual wheels and so on) and not cost $500. Believe it or not, we’ve spent over two weeks looking at prospects and dismissing most of them as either being too expensive, too cheaply made too many bad reviews, or a combination of those. Home Depot, Lowes, Amazon, all have nice offerings, but none have really checked off all the correct aspects.

The wife suggested the local Tractor Supply as an option. I went there after work one day and scoured the store, but didn’t find any! How odd. I left without checking with a salesperson (should have known better) and came home to report my findings. Going to the online store presence, I discovered apparently in their ‘stock’ it was listed they had several. So we decided to go back on the ‘day’ of my birthday, to check it out further, instead of ordering one online and having it shipped specially to the store.

Parking outside, we headed towards the door, but my wife stopped us to look at something on the wall, and sure enough, there was the beastie that had eluded me so successfully yet days before. But it was HUUUUGE! Way too big for our purposes. Heading inside, I made my way to the Customer Service counter and spoke to the employee there, informing her that we were in the market, but the one she had outside was too big, and did they having anything similar, but slightly smaller? Looking through her computer terminal, she determined that indeed she did, and someone was in the back assembling them.

Horrors! An assembled ‘barrow won’t fit in the new Murano. Would be way too big. Is it possible to get one unassembled? Sure enough, it was. Although admittedly it surprised her that I asked, most of her customers wanted theirs in one piece, not forty. Up stepped the wife (once I corralled her from the far side of the store) and paid for my present. Transported it out to the vehicle, loaded it up and headed for the ice cream stand/greenhouse to celebrate our victory!

I managed a birthday present and ice cream on the same day! I’d say that was a pretty good score. And I had a project to complete when I got home. Which I did. The wheelbarrow is all together, and sitting in the backyard now…with no pieces missing!

I done good. Happy 54th, Leathers.

Not the anniversary I was aiming for

Reading Time: 1 minute

Well, it has been a year since I last saw her. Around 10-10:30am last year on this day, she got in her Explorer, I got in my Edge and she headed south, and I made my way back north. Tears were shed on both sides, as more than anything else I wanted to pile her into my vehicle and drive her home with me. But that wasn’t the reality, and even though I let her have my gray museum cap as a reminder, I fully expected to see her again in a few months, and she was going to bring it back to me.

I was going to hash it out all over again, but I’ve already written about this too much. This is not the anniversary I wanted to be having today.

Investing for the future

Reading Time: 5 minutes

My slave and I had a small conversation this afternoon, that sort of started when I arrived home from running errands with my wife.  It was a continuation of a conversation (after a fashion) she and I had been having over the last few days.  

She’s been having trouble getting used to using Spotify without the fancy doodads that are included with a paid membership.  I’ve been paying for her membership for the most part over the last year.  It ran out sometime in the last week or so, and the lack of the ability to fast forward as well as other expectations were getting to be a little much for her.  There was a veiled mention of the fact this week is National Nurse’s Aide Week, and generally, on those sorts of weeks, the professional or worker in question gets a gift.  Usually from their employer or a spouse, in recognition of the work that the person does and doesn’t necessarily get noticed or rewarded. 

I looked it up and yes it certainly is that particular week, and since none of her family were likely to be moved to give her anything, much less her employer (the CEO sent out a blanket statement to the workforce, thanking them for their hard work, their dedication and so on, basic boilerplate in lieu of anything more substantial, like money for instance) I was intending to extend her Spotify membership anyway, as a reward for all of her hard work and dedication and because sometimes its the right thing to do.  

Of course, I hadn’t done it right away, so there was a text message this afternoon for all intents and purposes pleading with me to re-up ASAP since she was really having a hard time without it.  My response in this instance was typically me “Oy”.   I also made reference to a saying that I have whenever someone says something is driving them crazy.  I would have thought after 3-4 years of knowing me, she would have known about it, and I even suggested she could earn brownie points for it, but no, she didn’t.  I had to clue her in about it.  Again.

Person #1:  I can’t stand it anymore, it’s driving me crazy!

Person #2: Y’know, it’s not so much a long drive, as a short putt.

Yes, I think it’s funny.  Honestly, I don’t care if you don’t.  If you do, woo woo and a ^5.

At this point, I made an off-hand comment about needing to make an Amazon shopping list, since there were several other things I knew she was out of, and with money being tight, unlikely she was going to be getting them anytime soon.  Naturally, once I put one thing in the cart (sunscreen) others started popping to mind that she was going to need in the near future.    At some point, I asked a question I hadn’t inquired about for many months.  Whether or not she had a decent pair of shoes for work.  As expected, the answer was no, she was still wearing ones she got from the dollar store, of all places.  So back to Amazon to seek out a sturdy pair of nurse’s shoes, that will last longer than however long dollar store shoes last.  Five minutes would be my off-handed guess on that one.  

Naturally, I found several possibles, but the designs on them were fairly hideous.  Does no one make shoes in plain white, or black anymore?  After more time than I thought I would spend on this mission, I finally came across a pair of Skechers that would do well.  Made certain of the sizing, and put them in the cart.  

Lastly, I asked about her medications.  In for a penny, in for a pound, right?  After some banter, and back and forth, she admitted that she was out of two important ones that are OTC, and could be ordered from Amazon.  Popped them into the cart, along with some generic Aleve and I was pretty much done.  I added in the Spotify gift card and called it complete.  During the final part of the conversation, we covered the one thing we always do, when she tells me “You don’t have to do this.”   Believe me, slave, I know I don’t have to.  But I also know no one else is going to help out.  You may not be blood, but in a very important manner, you’re my responsibility.   So I do what I can when I can.  If positions were reversed, you’d be doing this as well.  We’ve had that particular conversation more times than I can count.

I closed out the cart and put the shipping information in, my CC info and pressed the ‘Place the Order’ button.  It’s on its way to her and should arrive by Saturday.  I know she’s grateful, I know she’s also a bit melancholy that I had to bail her out again.  Should be a trifecta when she reads this and sees I posted about it.  

In for a penny, in for a pound.  I’m investing in our future.  At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Inhibitions

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As I started my college career in the fall of 1983, the drinking age was still 18. I remember vividly the drunken parties in the dorm that I was in, the freshman football players that managed to destroy a wall between two rooms in order to make a ‘double’ room (and their parents eventually being charged for the damage) while having a ‘load on’ and so on. Beer, being cheaper was usually the alcoholic beverage of choice and it flowed pretty freely at the college. Two years later when the drinking age was raised to 21 (still get a little steamed about that, since it was one day I was able to drink if I wished, the next I had to wait another 17 months) and things changed accordingly. There was still what became ‘illegal’ drinking, but for the most part (unless it was inescapably obvious) the college looked the other way and didn’t overly police the practice.

Naturally, that has almost nothing to do with the topic above. Just laying a little groundwork and background, if you will. I was talking to my slave the other night on the phone before bed, and during the course of the evening, she’d been drinking some wine, a little too much apparently. It managed to loosen her tongue and brain a bit and she became very talkative about a great many things. And of course, as I expected, come the morning and the next time I spoke to her, she didn’t have a recollection of what she said. But I do. Now, I know it was probably ‘the liquor talking‘ for the most part, but when one’s inhibitions are let down, or tamped down either by some force or another, what is said or expressed can sometimes be the whole truth, and it can give a pretty good idea of what that person is thinking and feeling under the surface, or under normal circumstances they would keep to themselves.

Of course, I’m not saying all of this to shame her, as evidenced by the fact that I’m not letting on what she said. That’s exclusively between her and me, and there’s no force on this planet (or any other) that will change it, so don’t ask. I’m merely making an observation here, and relating it for my own recollection, as well as it was interesting to me. Interesting, so I write about it.

And as a caveat. Be careful when you drink. What you say, may very well be to someone who is listening. And remembering.

Hello FB Jail, missed you (NOT)

Reading Time: 4 minutes

So, another stint in FB Jail starting Monday at lunchtime. I was perusing through my feed and came across someone’s post about a Moorish-type castle for sale somewhere either in Georgia, or Europe. The person (and others) were commenting that the price was actually pretty reasonable, except there are several rooms upstairs that don’t have access to water, ie there are no bathrooms. In the spirit of the conversation, I pecked out a comment that said “If Kink.com could find a way to make practical use of a ‘castle’ in the Moorish persuasion (referring to their purchase and upgrade of the old San Francisco Armory), then anyone purchasing this place shouldn’t have any trouble, the only limit would be their imagination.”

Unfortunately, I made the error of putting in the “.com” on Kink, so Facebook automatically linked to the website and that’s when the trouble began. I immediately saw that and went to edit out that part, but Facebook’s algorithm had already denoted the website as being ‘forbidden’ and censored it, the post and me all at the same time. I got a message on my phone that informed me that my comment violated their terms of decency (again) and I was banned from posting/commenting/participating in Facebook for the next 7 days, and to add insult to injury, that included Messenger as well. Nice touch. After having been dinged the last time, no matter how much stink I made about it, they were going to keep it enforced and not give me any proper recourse. Because me, being 53, am going to be treated like a 10-year-old.

Honestly, I’m about ready to deep six my FB account. I can see why so many others have taken that course. Zuckerberg and Co. have really gotten too big for their britches and this censorship crap has to go. I was talking to my slave last night about it and (while lamenting that we’re not going to be able to use Messenger until next Monday) she agrees with me. The other part about the whole FB fiasco to me is how they deal with their stockholders. It’s a publicly traded company, but anyone that buys stock in it has no say in how the company does business. There are two separate types of stock in Facebook. The voting version, the one with all the power, is owned by Zuckerberg and others that he considers being in his ‘inner circle’. IOW, people that will do as he suggests, tells, whatever. People that won’t do things, not in his best interest. Anyone else who buys stock gets the other type. The type with ZERO power. So if a bunch of stockholders got together and wanted to change things at FB at the stockholders meeting, they can’t. They don’t have any recourse if Zuckerberg et al decides to censor people based on a draconian algorithm that caters to not offending the lowest common denominator. Which is what we do anymore. There’s no ‘let’s teach our children not to do certain things so they can better participate in society’. No, we do it the opposite way. “Let’s enact laws that keep those children safe at the expense of anyone else with a shred of common sense.” Yeah, that’s much better. (Insert eye roll here)

It’s not to say that I don’t want some sort of control over what can be posted on social media, but it needs to make sense to someone that’s an ADULT. Treating everyone, in the same manner, is something that doesn’t make sense to me, and I’ve been online before there was an Internet. Too, when you say that you’re making a decision and there’s a method for pleading your case, be certain that the method doesn’t negate anything that the person who supposedly offended has to say, or impose the punishment regardless of what the other person has to say. That’s neither right nor fair. What Facebook is doing is just patently wrong. And since they tout themselves as being a ‘free’ service, they can go on doing what they do with little to no recourse.

Crossroads

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I look at the calendar.  Another day passed since I saw her last.  I can still remember what she looked like, what she smelled like when we parted.  I gave her the hat I purchased for myself at the museum so that she had something else of mine to keep close to her.  At the time, we had been planning to get together again in a couple of months.  But that didn’t happen.  Then more suggestions of when to get together.  Those didn’t happen either and winter set in.  

During winter, it was as if there was a wall set up around one of the state borders, and it was made of ice and snow.  Where she lives, it occasionally snows, not as it does in the Mid-Atlantic region where I reside.  Too, her vehicle isn’t completely reliable in many ways, so driving a good distance isn’t recommended.  Another roadblock of sorts, that keeps us apart.  Of course, at this point, we talk about the big bugaboo, money.  Working full-time when you’re living alone doesn’t afford you a lot of ‘mad money’, or funds for outside activities.  Especially when you’re in an industry that doesn’t pay all that well, even when one has the experience.  So saving money ends up being literally nickels and dimes, which doesn’t afford one the ability to be free to travel.  The last two times we got together, I either paid the lion’s share of the costs or accepted what she could at that time afford to contribute.  The first time I rented a car and drove 10 hours to see her.  The second time, we met approximately midway between the two of us.  That time I drove the family vehicle.  I have to admit, I was pretty shocked how much it cost to rent a vehicle for a week the first time.  Astronomical was the word I believed I used then.

As the days count down towards the one year mark for the time we’ve been apart, it makes me more and more melancholy.  Sure, we keep in touch via social media, phone calls, texts and the like, but it’s most definitely not the same thing as being there.  Spending time with her, even if it’s just sitting on the couch, watching television together, or her sliding down off the couch to rest her head on my knee while we’re doing whatever.  Having that physical contact is key, and it’s what we’re missing. I hear about her adventures with her poly family, and honestly, it bothers me that she gets to have adventures, and I don’t.  I’ve been sitting here spinning my wheels for 344 days.  Too, it reminds me of the collar fiasco.  I thought about getting her another one, but if I’m not there to see it, to enjoy seeing it on her, what’s the point?  And besides, it’s another outlay of my money for her benefit.  So it too got shelved.

Finally, I’ve given up shopping for toys.  I have so many here that have no purpose, no use, other than taking up space in the house.  My wife looks at them, then at me, and doesn’t ask the question we both know she’s thinking.  “what are you going to do with all this stuff??”  Honestly, right now….nothing.

Ugh, this is hard to write.  But its harder still to endure.  I have no idea what the solution is, but I am extremely tired of waiting.  And watching.  And observing.  And being left out.

Bedtime.  Good night.