Category: Journal Entries

Mothballs

Reading Time: 3 minutes

After my rather upbeat tome about upgrading my playspace, I received some rather sobering news. My new playmate has had some recurring issues with close family members afflicted with life-threatening illnesses and has made the decision that she (at least for the foreseeable future) will not be available for further play. So, bang goes that opportunity.

Too, my slave has discovered that it may very well be until the end of 2020 before she can make it this far for a visit, though I have to admit she has been making leaps and bounds into the process of finding a way up here. It’s not simple when you have limited funds, oodles of bills and such and you’re in a depressed area to begin with. Consequently, it seems a waste of time and resources to update or upgrade a playspace that’s going to be covered in dust (again) by the time anyone is available to be using it.  Quite honestly, I find that to be incredibly sad.  Though not really unexpected, given how often I’m ever able to express my kink in the physical sense.

There are times when I’m tempted to chuck the whole thing and just ‘retire’ like the wife did several years ago.  She increasingly became despondent about finding someone with whom she could express her kink, play for lack of a better term and just said ‘enough’.  Her toy collection was folded into mine, although every time I drag out the toy bags she laments about this toy or that being the ones that she brought into our house/relationship and I always say that she can have them back whenever she says the word, but she never does.

Within the last several days my slave received a message on Fetlife from someone in my area, who thought it a good idea to interject himself into our relationship, merely because he was having an impossible time finding someone to interact with on a kink level.  Basically he was saying “hi, you don’t know me, but I think I know you from somewhere.  IF you and Leathers were interested in using me as a practice toy for your play in the future, I’d greatly appreciate it, since it’s been 30 years since I’ve been in the scene, and I haven’t found anyone to play with.”  She brought it to my attention and I had to write him, telling him that while I understand it can be a bitch problem with finding someone compatible, oftentimes it’s better not to put yourself (uninvited) in someone else’s relationship merely because you’re feeling desperate.  As of this writing he’s not deigned to reply.  Not sure he ever will.

So, for the time being the playspace will be relegated to darkness and dust.  Again.  At least I was able to get some padding for the floor in case there’s a need for it to be used.  And the heater works again.  I suppose it’s probably for the best I didn’t do too much work in that area, as more than likely there are going to be furnace installers in the basement in the coming months, switching out and probably upgrading our furnace, and who needs questions about all the equipment there?

Used Cars

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Since 2000 my wife and I have been leasing vehicles.  Before that, we each had our own respective vehicle that we brought into the marriage.  She had a 1987 white Chrysler LeBaron convertible and I had a 1987 brown Ford Bronco II that I had purchased used.  I practically drove it into the ground, even though it had better than 87,000 miles on it when I bought it in 1990.  Somewhere around 1999 I sold it as a junker, someone had seen it parked by the side of the road and offered me (as I recall) about $1200 for the hulk.  Since it had been sitting for the better part of 4-5 months I figured ‘what the hell’  and accepted the offer.  The guy showed up the next day with a trailer, hauled it up, paid the money, I gave him the signed registration card and the deal was done.  At that point we went from 2 vehicles to 1.  And it’s been that way for the last 20 years.

Over the last year or so, I’ve been pondering getting a used car for travel to see my girl.  As it stands right now, in order to get down to where she lives, I have to either drive the family vehicle or rent one for the time needed to see her.  The last time I rented, it cost me close to $800 for the 4 days I needed the car.  The last time I saw her in 2018, I drove the Edge that we had.  Of course, if I have the vehicle, then the wife is left stranded without one, and in case of emergency, that’s not a good thing in a semi-rural area.  Sure there are taxis and other forms of transportation available in extreme circumstances (Uber and Lyft don’t exist in my area for the time being) but I’d feel better if she needed a vehicle, she’d have one at her disposal.

The other thing that has gotten me thinking about used cars is the fact that the vehicle my girl has right now is a hole in the road.  It seems every week there’s something else wrong with it that’s going to take $$ to fix, and she just doesn’t have the available, necessary funds to keep pouring into it.  She got the vehicle from her sister, who sold it to her on a payment plan, and now the vehicle is paid for.  Too, it has four almost new tires, the suspension in the front has almost been entirely replaced, as well as new shocks and other items that have been related to me over the many months.  I’m beginning to wonder if by the time I see her again it will be an updated version of the Johnny Cash song ‘One Piece At A Time‘.  But in this case, it will have cost way more “than a dime”.

This is going to be an ongoing thing, but right now, I’m looking at used cars.

Gripes my bottom, or MYOFB

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Earlier this week, something happened over on Fetlife that still has me mentally fuming a bit. My girl had posted a picture on her profile of some rope bondage she’d done on herself several months ago, and someone local to her had commented on it. Nothing wrong with that, people comment on pictures they find, and this person was complementary on it. What ensued next was the problem, however. This person privately messaged her to indicate that he might be interested in assisting her with some rope tie practice, and she mentioned (as she’s required to) that any sort of contact has to include me, or at the very least make me aware of it, because after all, we have a relationship, she’s my de facto (agreed upon) ‘property’ etc. consequently, she’s not going to keep this information from me.

Now this person decides to go to my profile on the site and check me out. It’s a public profile, has a synopsis of sorts about me, my viewpoints on certain things, sort of an introduction to anyone that wishes to read it. For the most part, people don’t bother to read male profiles, they read the female ones (and ignore them when emailing them, propositioning them, etc). The same thing happens on personal sites the world over. Instagram, Facebook, CollarMe, OkCupid, even ChristianMingle I expect. What happened next is the thing that rubbed me the wrong way.

He messages her back to say that he’s no longer interested in ANY contact that might involve me, because in his words, “she can do better” than me, and he doesn’t like what he reads on my profile. The latter part I could care less about. He doesn’t know me from Adam, what’s written on my profile isn’t a listing or even a detailed synopsis of me, my life, even my outlook on many aspects of the BDSM lifestyle. If anything, part of it is tongue in cheek, the rest of it is a light overview of my girl’s and my journey over the last year or so. Certainly, nothing that someone could make an accurate understanding of who and what someone is about. Yet, here we are. At the end of his message, he has the utmost nerve to suggest they can still ‘be friends’ and ‘meet up’ at some point in time like that’s the most likely thing that will transpire.

My girl had messaged me at lunch to ask my opinion about the conversation she was having with this joker guy. Her main concern was not upsetting him, setting off some sort of negative impact in her local community, with this fellow being the ‘offended party’. At this point, the only ones offended are me, and my girl. He’s not even in the equation. I logged into her account, read the back and forth, and gave her a basic overview of how I wanted her to reply. Something non-threatening, but to the point of, if he’s uninterested in having me in the conversation as being aware of what’s happening between him and her, then I’m very uninterested in him having any contact with her whatsoever. Bottom line: my toy, my rules. Moreover, there’s a protocol that we have in place that’s laid out very distinctly in her profile, which says basically if you want to converse with her beyond a ‘hello’, then you get in contact with me. If one can’t follow a simple courtesy, then we’re not really interested in associating with them. We’re all supposed to be adults here. Might as well act like it as much as we can.

Appropos of nothing, he never responded to her message, so there’s no way of knowing what he’s going to say or do going forward. If it’s something nefarious, then I can play hardball as well. Honestly, this is not what I wanted to be doing coming up to the Christmas holiday. But sometimes it’s something that needs to be dealt with.

Collar 2.0

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I remember talking to myself about this when the first one was lost so soon after it was presented.  I remember at the time promising myself the next one (though there should never have beennext one) was going to be more permanent, or at the very least harder to get off, so it wouldn’t be laid aside, and possibly be lost.  But after a year and a half, here we go again.  However, unlike the last one, the clasp is a bit more sturdy and less likely to come loose at a moment’s notice.  Still, the links are made out of aluminum, not steel, so it’s not impermeable either.  It’s going to have to be cared for, to be sure it’s around for the long haul.

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to present it to her personally, I’m forced into mailing it to her, which admittedly is a bit impersonal, and I’d rather not have to do it this way.  Our next meeting isn’t going to be until the spring however, so this is going to be the best that we can accomplish.

We’ll see how it goes.  If this one gets lost or broken, I’m going with Ring of Steel, or Eternity.

Arts & Crafts

Reading Time: 7 minutes

I don’t watch a good deal of commercial television anymore. We do have a cable connection through Spectrum (the old Time Warner) on one of the boxes in the house, but the 42″ in the den isn’t connected to the system. On that television, I have a ROKU stick and use it to connect through YouTube, Amazon, Netflix, Hulu and a host of other services that cater to that particular streaming option. Since we do still have the Spectrum account, I can even use the logon for the online service to connect to commercial stations like FoxSports, ESPN and even MLB to watch baseball occasionally. So I don’t need to spend the extra $60/month for another cable box.

Lately, I’ve been watching YouTube more than anything else, and my videos have been a collection of wrestling recaps (I may not be watching the WWE in Mondays & Tuesdays anymore, but I’m still keeping up with the gossip and random inanity they generate), how-to videos, and other accumulated pap just to keep myself entertained after working all day. About two weeks ago, I happened upon a video where this fellow from Utah was making a wallet from scratch, from leather. It was pretty fascinating. And intriguing. And I’ll admit, it looked pretty simple the way he was doing it. The caveat is that he’s been doing it for about 8 years now, so his movements are fairly practiced, still precise and he makes it look easy, although something of that quality rarely is. If I were standing next to him at his drafting table, making one right alongside (without coaching or tips) I can imagine my wallet would look very different from his. After watching the first video, I watched another. And then another. I didn’t subscribe to his channel, but I did start looking at other crafters videos, trying to get a handle on my interest. Was it just fleeting, or might there be something here for me? I’ve been looking for something to bring in a little extra money, and a bespoke business, even if it just sells a few somethings might be an interesting side gig. Of course, the initial outlay would be a slight impediment, since leather is a pricey commodity to be working in. The tools, for the most part, aren’t extremely expensive, but if you choose to do your stitching with a machine rather than using needles, nylon thread, and a saddle stitch, then you’re talking something in the thousands of dollars. Certainly way out of the budget of a hobbyist or sometimes crafter.

Unless you already have something on hand that would do the work in the meantime.

As it just so happened, my mother-in-law owned a Singer sewing machine.  As did my own mother, but hers is a 221 Featherweight, which I still have.  It’s definitely not designed for leather work, just mending, or making clothes.   In fabric.  It has a belt drive and the motor is very under-powered, on purpose, because of what it is, and what it was designed for.

My mother-in-law’s on the other hand, is a larger machine, with what’s called a a gear drive.  The wheel on the right side is turned by a gear on the inside, and it’s directly driven by the motor that’s attached (people have coined it the ‘potted motor’ because the housing on the motor looks like a small pot) giving it more torque and the ability to sew through heavier materials like denim, canvas or leather.  It took me a little time to figure out what model it was, as there was nothing on the machine that told me that directly.  Fortunately it still had the serial number plate, and with that I determined that the machine is a Singer 15-91 made in 1941.

Quizzing my wife about the machine, she informed me that her mother bought it new, and used it for all sorts of repairs on clothes, much as anyone that had purchased that model would have done.  It was colloquially referred to as the ‘Farmer’s Wife’ in that it was essentially ‘over-built’ in that it could do just about any repairs or duties that a rural wife would need done on a farm.  No Wal-Marts in those days.

It’s enclosed in what Singer called a #40 cabinet, where it would be attached to a plate and could be dropped down and the work surface folded up and over, making it into a small cabinet when it wasn’t being used.  My mother had one like it for her Singers, but her main ‘go-to’ machine when I was growing up was a little bigger than the 221, and it was partially computerized, in that it had stitches in memory, that could be produced on demand.  Even so, my Mom never got rid of her Featherweight, she’d had it since she had gone to college, and I was glad she kept it, as she taught me how to sew with it, and I still remember her lessons.

Getting back to the 15-91, my wife informed me that her mother kept it in good condition, but it really hasn’t seen any action in the last 30 years.  I’d actually completely forgotten that we had it, since it’s been in its ‘storage’ mode ever since we’ve been in this house.  Over the ensuing years, we’ve used the top of the cabinet for that purpose, and a lot of stuff had been piled on and the contents underneath left to the spiders.  It was pretty cobwebby when I finally pulled it up a couple weeks ago.  Even so, 30 years of inactivity hasn’t been unkind to the old girl.  I wiped it down, and did a little inspection on what it might need to be workable again.  Asking my wife again, she informed me that we apparently didn’t move her mothers’ sewing supplies, so all of that was lost to the auction when her parent’s house was sold back around 1999.  A loss to be sure, but not a completely insurmountable one.  The manual I found online, and there are a wealth of websites and videos that talk about this model, and since it is a rather popular model, there are a lot of places where one can get original as well as quality replacement parts.  Even motors, if it came to that.

My initial investigation and inspection informed me that it’s in pretty good shape for being set aside for as long as it’s been.  Its lacking in oil for lubrication and in order to do leather sewing it’s going to require a little assistance in moving the material.  An industrial specific machine would employ what’s colloquially known as a ‘walking foot‘ mechanism, but Singer never made such a thing for their domestic machines.  Fortunately, there’s an aftermarket walking foot available for about $20, and I found a website that caters to the 15-91 (as well as other models) and I can get not only that but the thread spindle that’s missing from the top of the machine.  While I’m at it I went ahead and got some leather specific needles, just to have on hand.

In the intervening week since I started this entry I received the items I ordered, installed the new presser foot, put in the thread spindle and was able to successfully wind a bobbin and thread the machine.  I even put in a leather specific needle and tried sewing on a scrap of old leather from an old restraint that I had laying about.  It worked pretty well overall.  About five minutes into my test the machine started to squeal a bit under load, so it definitely needs a shot of oil in certain spots.  But it was able to sew the leather adequately, and it didn’t shirk when asked to do so, even though I was using cotton thread instead of the nylon that’s recommended for leather work.  I made a side trip to Joann Fabrics last weekend and was able to get the specific oil for Singer machines and will be making use of it in the near future.

Needless to say, unless I lost interest in the near future, I might have something to keep me busy in the interim.

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.