Saturday, March 24, 2012

Not What I Planned...But...

I've been walking quite a bit during the last couple of weeks. A couple of miles or more most mornings and the occasional midday walk have been good for me. I awoke this morning with the intent that I'd go for a long walk, but sloth and the desire for coffee, coupled with bad knees and the knowledge that I'll spend a good bit of the day mowing the yard and doing other yard-work conspired against my good intentions.

So, instead I am spending my time futzing around on the internet and otherwise being unproductive. Speaking of coffee, I had been enjoying my new Keurig coffee maker immensely since buying it a couple of weeks ago, but then something went awry. I loved the fact that I could drop in a K-cup and have a fresh, hot cup of coffee in just a minute. But then after only a week, it stopped working correctly. It insisted it needed to be "primed" in order to produce a cup. I followed the troubleshooting directions, then called Keurig. The customer service tech walked me through the process of getting it operable again, but I was concerned that it was giving me grief so early in the process. The next morning, it happened again. Again I called Keurig. Instead of the usual insistence that I go through a lengthy process of troubleshooting again, the tech apologized for my inconvenience and said a new machine would be shipped to me in short order. The old machine obviously is defective, she said, so I need not return it; just discard it. But she asked me to mail in the K-cup holder from the old machine as evidence that the machine had been taken out of service. I hate that I have to delay my coffee gratification, but love the actual customer service Keurig delivered! This will provide fodder for my languishing customer service blog.

My wife returned home earlier this week from visiting her sister, whose husband died unexpectedly about five weeks ago. We'll be making another trip to Boston soon, though, to accompany my sister-in-law when she takes her husband's ashes to Illinois for burial in his family's plot. His 94-year-old mother lives there and wants him buried with his other siblings and his father. We will accompany her on the trip, which probably will be via Amtrak from Boston to Chicago and then on to Aurora. I'm not sure yet how we'll get to Boston; we may drive, as my intent to go on long road-trips during my year-long sabbatical has, thus far, been derailed by one thing and another. I had hoped to drive from Boston to Aurora, but my SIL would rather take Amtrak, so that's what we'll do unless she changes her mind. It's a 26-hour trip to Chicago from Boston via Amtrak. I look forward to the train trip; I enjoy travel by train.

For the past couple of days, I've had a guy working on replacing the soffits all around my house. The existing soffits had been painted several years ago by incompetent painters who had done virtually no surface preparation, resulting in bad blistering of the paint. The cheap masonite material, coupled with the difficulty of removing the old paint, argued for replacement instead of repainting, so that's what we're having done. It's an expensive proposition, but one that's been desperately needed for some time. After that job's done, he'll fix the rotting bases of the columns on the front of the house and will replace the front door and the door leading from the house into the garage. There are a few other odds and ends he'll do; these are things that are not apt to be highly visible "fixes," but they are badly needed and obscenely expensive. I sometimes wish we could sell this house and build a new one from the ground up. At least that would give me several years' freedom from expensive repairs.

But expensive repairs on the house are only part of the equation. If the weather cooperates and the contractor shows on Monday and Tuesday next week, we'll have our driveway and front walkway jackhammered and removed, then replaced with fresh new concrete. The sidewalk is tilted badly and cannot be righted. The driveway is cracked in pieces and heaves and swells with every season. New concrete, I hope, will improve both the appearance and the utility of both of them.

Enough of this. It will be time, soon, to begin the yardwork.

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