9-04 10-04 11-04 12-04 1-05 2-05 3-05 4-05 5-05 6-05 7-05 8-05 9-05 10-05 11-05 12-05 1-06 2-06 3-06
4-06 5-06 6-06 7-06 8-06 9-06 10-06 11-06 12-06 1-07 2/07 3-07 4-07 5-07 6-07 7-07 8-07 9-07 10-07 11-07 12-07 1-08 2-08 3-08 4-08 5-08 6-08 7-08 8-08 9-08 10-08 11-08 12-08 1-09 2-09 3-09 4-09 5-09 6-09 7-09 8-09 9-09 10-09 11-09 12-09 1-10 2-10
3-10 4-10 5-10 6-10 7-10 8-10 9-10 10-10 11-10 12-10 1-11 2-11 3-11 4-11 5-11 6-11 7-11 8-11 9-11 10-11 11-11 12-11 1-12 2-12 3-12 4-12 5-12 6-12 7-12 8-12 9-12 10-12 11-12 12-12 1-13 2-13 3-13 4-13 5-13 6-13 7-13 8-13 9-13 10-13 11-13 12-13 1-14 2-14 3-14 4-14 5-14 6-14 7-14 8-14 9-14 10-14 11-14 12-14 1-15 2-15 3-15 4-15 5-15 6-15 7-15 8-15 9-15 10-15 11-15 12-15 1-16 2-16 3-16 4-16 5-16 6-16 7-16 8-16 9-16 10-16 11-16 12-16 1-17 2-17 3-17 4-17 5-17 6-17 7-17

"Did you get rained on when you were working on your deck?" -Me
"I don't know I was inside."
"Wait but weren't you building a deck?" -Me
"Yeah." -Gavin


Tuesday, 8-29-17: My first gig as a DJ, aerapas, and flooding in Texas.
I'm watching the Today Show headlines on NBC, and the top story for the 4th or 5th consecutive day is all the flooding in the gulf coast region in Texas. Friday night a category IV hurricane hit down there, and it stalled out so places like Houston have already gotten over 3 FEET of rain with more still falling. OMG. What a bunch of crap! Flooding down there is being called the worst in our known history. 800-year flooding, etc. We get 3 or 4 inches of rain here out of one storm and we get road flooding so getting 3 or 4 FEET of rain is hard to fathom. Most of downtown Houston is submerged right now.

^All bad.

I was a wedding DJ Saturday afternoon and evening in Machias, and my review already came in. I got 4 out of 5 stars, and that is the exact rating I told Kat that I deserved. According to the review I did an "excellent job" but the bride was a little nervous when I was there because she was expecting Kat to be the DJ and not Kat's husband. Overall I think I did a decent job, but my one glaring flaw was not having my microphone turned up high enough near the beginning so some people could not hear the announcements. What a bunch of crap! I did adjust the mic volume, but not until enough people took notice including the bride so that is why I don't deserve a 5-star rating. As far as the music goes I think I hit the mark on that all day. Their special songs all played on queue, and I had plenty of people dancing during the "party" part of the reception. Every wedding always has a couple phases from the DJ side. First is the mellow music of the pre-ceremony, the after-ceremony, and the meal. Later comes the upbeat music, dance lights, and the time when at a lot of weddings people are boozed up and want to shake a leg on the dance floor.

I really had the perfect gig for my first ever solo DJ act. It was not a huge wedding, there were no unusual requests or really unique circumstances, and the people were all nice. The bride's dad and her grandparents were especially awesome to work with, and they treated me well. Her grandfather gave a really nice impromptu little speech after the anniversary dance when I asked him if he had any advice for the newlyweds. He and his wife were the ones in the room who had been married the longest so they "won" the anniversary dance.

Kat had her own wedding to DJ in North Anson Saturday, and she took the "harder" of the two weddings. She had a larger wedding, and her bride had her mix a bunch of songs into one mega-song for their wedding party intros. They didn't even have a dance floor for her, and there was no room for her dance lights either. What a bunch of crap! We both got home after midnight Saturday night and by the time we unloaded and wound down to bivouac it was well after 0100 before we went to sleep.

Sunday was the last day of the Folk Festival so we walked a couple miles to downtown to check it out. We didn't care too much about the music, but we loaded up on food and enjoyed what was a perfect weather day. I decided to try something called an aerapa, and in hindsight that was unwise because I now plan to never eat another one of those things again, ever. I had a corn and mozerealla aerapa, and it was bad. It was a bunch of crap! I thought I would be eating something akin to a corn muffin but with the added benefit of cheese, but I ended up eating some soggy muffin not-quite-pancake-thing.

^Looks fucking awesome, but is not fucking awesome at all. Plus the one I got was smaller than the one in the photo, and it cost 6 fucking dollars. Ouch! I only ate part of mine before I did the almost unthinkable and threw the rest of it right into the nearest trash can. Aerapa = HAULED ON because it was a bunch of crap. Then I went to the Whoopie Pie Cafe tent and bought a blueberry cheesecake whoopie pie and the world was right again.*

*I haven't even been spelling aerapa right. What a bunch of crap! I think it is spelled arepa. However, I am not going to rewind and fix it because I don't even care... whether or not I care. That piece of shit pathetic excuse for a food does not even deserve to be spelled right. Ever. The end.



Friday, 8-25-17: Will I succeed or will I fail?
In about 24 hours I will be finishing my first ever solo gig as a representative of Mad Kat DJ Services. Tomorrow Kat does a wedding in North Anson, and I do a wedding in Machias. Each of us has to drive roughly 1.5 hours, but in opposite directions. Kat already has all the gear prepped for us both including backups.

Hang on, Def Leppard's Armageddon It on channel 1928. Come on Steve, get it. Cause the best is yet to come. Great song from the greatest album, ever. 1987 Hysteria when I die you can bury me with a photo of my hot wife, with The Goonies DVD, with my blueberry rake, and with Def Leppard's Hysteria either on cassette for nostalgia or CD again, for nostalgia because I guess CDs are already obsolete now. What a bunch of crap! However, when I check out I don't want to be buried because that takes up precious... precious space on this Earth. Just turn me into Soylent Green or throw my dead ass into the furnace.

I spent a fair amount of time this week practicing in Kat's new studio so I feel cautiously confident that I will do ok tomorrow. I'm sure I will screw something up, but as long as I don't make any major mistakes then it will be a win. Part of me is actually looking forward to it because it will be a new challenge in my life, and challenges seem to keep me moving forward in various ways. However, part of me is nervous because if I do screw it all up then it makes my awesome wife look bad. It also would make me look bad to F it up, but I can handle that a lot better than I can handle making her look bad. A bad review would be very detrimental to her business; she has never had one bad review and that is why she is ELITE on Thumbtack. She did not have to do bribes or pay people off for that either. She got a lot of 5-star reviews and it happened on its own. Awesome!

^Several days ago Kat finally got her studio set up. I had it done 1.5 years ago, but Dillon and Debbie ended up living there. We didn't mind them living there because they are family, but now they are upstairs in a nice space all their own and finally having the studio for Kat to use is very nice. It was a huge help having that space to practice in all week, too.

The studio is about 13x16, maybe 13x17, so there is plenty of room for shelves, her desk, loads of gear, and of course SNOOPY memoribilia.

The Red Sox got demolished tonight at Fenway. What a bunch of crap! However, they are still comfortably in first place after a great August so far. The Patriots won a preseason game in Detriot, but that does not matter too much. Katherine jsut got home from Walmart, and she bought a few things for her bathroom downstairs. That bathroom was a bootleg bunch of crap until I spent the last week or so doing a remodel. I installed a new vanity and mirror/medicine cabinet, but I did not replace the shitter. Instead I bought some $20 kit that included all new guts for the hopper, and I put on a new seat. I also had to scrape and paint the walls because this is what happened in the old bathroom:

^You can see the peeling paint. What a bunch of crap! In hindsight maybe I should have just replaced the toilet, but I did not want to have to replace the floor and those two were a package deal since that linoleum floor was installed around the toilet. That bathroom was very bootleg, worse that I even knew, so I am glad I spent the time to make it nicer.

^The bathroom also had this weird boxed-in thing that I thought was for the exhuast fan, but that was really for a 3" forced hot air vent that has been obsolete ever since I bought the house. This place used to have a forced hot air furnace, but when I bought it the previous owners had installed a radiant floor heat system with a new boiler furnace. Unfortunately, the radiant floor heat was a giant bunch of crap so last year I had Bruce install baseboards and now we are much more comfy in the dead of winter.

I hauled on that boxed-in bunch of crap so the head room is more generous and the space looks bigger.

^Above the shower more peeling paint. Daniel lived down there for the past couple years, and I feel so badly that it was so ghetto down there. I was so busy remodeling other areas of the house that I left the downstairs kind-of a mess. What a bunch of crap!

^Photo taken earlier today. I still need to touch up a few spots with paint and the tub needs a bit more scrubbing, but overall I'd call it a success. A lot of it was a pain in the arse that took me longer than expected to finish. Now most of the downstairs is done, but we still need to rearrange all this stuff down there:

^What a bunch of crap!



Wednesday, 8-23-17: This is the meteorological best time of the year.
It is sad seeing summer wane away, but it is awesome seeing the extended forecast:

^Low humidity, hardly any precip, and nice daytime high temps. Just about perfect! Especially after a few hot and humid days. We are in a marginal drought, we could use the rain, but oh well this works for me because I don't have to mow lawns as much, and we can just water the garden to keep that pumping out veggies. So far we've gotten one squash and several cucumbers from the garden. There are A LOT of green tomatoes, and a few peppers that look about ready to harvest.

^Precious... precious tomatos that need to hurry the hell up and start turning red. All I wanna know is why? Why do we have so many green ones and no red ones yet? That photo is a week or two old so the green ones are a tad bigger. I'm guessing once they start turning red we will start getting a lot of them. I'll use them every day in sandwiches (NOT PB&J that would be a bunch of crap) and in salads. I'll squeeze them into ketchup bottles for homemade ketchup, but not really because I think you need other ingredients like vinegar and salt to make ketchup. I'll leave that to the experts and pay a couple bucks for a bottle of ketchup at the store.

This next week would be a great time to tackle a bunch of outdoor projects, but first and foremost will be finishing the downstairs and training to DJ a wedding on Saturday so I won't spend a ton of time outdoors until next week at the soonest. So far the training is coming along nicely. By no means will my DJ skills match Kat's DJ skills ever, but I'll settle for being damn close. I'm not afraid to be on the microphone in front of a crowd, but the software organization, etc are all things I can practice and improve upon. Kat is a wizard on her system, and right now I am just okay at best. In the next two days we'll spend a few more hours getting ready for the big day Saturday.



Tuesday, 8-22-17: To sell or not to sell?
I have tried and failed to haul on my Bangor duplex two times in the past few years. However, I have not tried as hard as I could have tried because I am building equity at a nice rate on that place. Would a third attempt be a charm for me? Each month I make a $717.87 mortgage payment builds a tad over $500 in principal on the 15-year, 4.875% loan. I did a 90k refinance loan on that building in April of 2009 so I still have close to 6.5 years left on that note.

Last year I had the property listed for sale with Jody for about 1.5 months before I pulled the sign, got a tenant for the front apartment, and just kept the building. I wanted about $105k for it, I would have taken closer to $100k, but I had no serious offers so obviously I was too high on my asking price. I paid $103,500 for the duplex in May of 2004 so that sucks I can't even get my purchase price back if I do sell. What a bunch of crap! Not like I've slumlorded over there either. There's a newer furnace, newer roof, newer bathrooms, kitchens, windows, better landscaping, etc. The place just sucks I guess because oh well it happens you live and you learn.

^A new kitchen in the front apartment over there last year did not entice any potential buyers. What a bunch of crap!

The tenant in the back apartment gave me her notice on Saturday. She's out like a fat kid in dodge ball at the end of September, and the people in the front apartment will have an expiring lease so it would be a great time to test the market again in October. However, I am not 100% sure that is what I want to do. I still owe $48k on the place so if I list it for $98k and actually sell it for closer to $95k then I'll end up with around $90k after closing, realtor fee, etc. That would be a $15k LOSS over what I paid back in 2004 when closing costs are considered. OMG THAT IS TERRIBLE. WHAT A BUNCH OF CRAP! A $15k capital loss would be capped at $3000 per year for the next 5 years on my income taxes, but because I have 13.5 years of depreciation that is added back in as profit. The math on that equates to roughly $42,000 (building value only land does not depreciate on taxes) so at 25% tax rate that is killer. Like, ouch. I can use the 15k to offset that depreciation so that takes me down to a taxable amount of closer to $27k. 25% of that is $6750 and then Maine hoses me some more so bye bye roughly $8000 in income taxes if I do sell the place this fall for $95k before realtor and closing costs.

I texted Jody and asked him what price point he thought my Bangor duplex would actually sell at, and he replied with $94,900. Pretty low, but also realistic. At that price and assuming I did not F up any of the math above too much then after the dust settles on everything we would end up with $34,000. A nice sum of money, but not really because 13.5 years ago my down payment was about that. OMG What a bunch of crap! However, I did do that refinance so I have made a small profit overall. I think? Maybe not because of all my work and time invested. Maybe I would have been better off flipping burgers somewhere in the end vs. buying that building.

I'll think it over a bit more in the coming days, and I will likely finalize a decision no later than the end of this month. What the tenant does in the front apartment will play into my decision in a big way. If she pays all her damn rent on time then I might keep her around, but if not then I'll have her leave and list the place FOR SALE in early October.



Monday, 8-21-17: Solar eclipse coming today.
I just had to renew this bootleg turd-heap that helps keep me sane despite the fact that it is a horrible bunch of crap. September 20th was my deadline to renew, but I got sick of the emails and reminders so I just did it now. I guess I need to update part of my header because renewal ain't no $8.42 anymore, and I figure it has not been that price for a number of years. "If you want to know who the hell I am and why I spent my hard-earned $8.42 to register this domain and to share my thoughts with the world then you can click here to find out. I have no update schedule so if you don't like it then you can ggggggggggeeeeeeeeeeetttttttttttt oooooooouuuuuuuuttttttttttttttt!" I just spent $30.34 to renew this bootleg site for two more years. $14.99 per year plus 36 cents in taxes. What a bunch of crap! All I wanna know is why? Why did I still list the annual price of $8.42? I probably have not paid that price for a decade. Shows how much I pay attention to the little things around here...

A solar eclipse is coming today. A 70-mile-wide stripe across the nation from Oregon near where Uncle Kevin lives through South Carolina will experience a 100% total eclipse. Here we will "only" get to 53%, but hey cool works for me. It is forecast to be a hot humid 87 degrees so anything that chips out some of the sun for a bit is a win today. We do not have any eclipse-viewing glasses so maybe I can scrounge up a welding mask from my shed. I do not know how to weld, but we have some welding gear that Kat brought with her when we combined forces and started living together a few years ago. The forecast is good, mostly sunny, so bonus for us. I think when I was in the 3rd grade there was an eclipse, but I don't really know for certain if I saw that one or if it even happened at all.

This eclipse is a huge news story. They've spent more time talking about the eclipse lately than they have spent talking about the North Korea threat, president Trump's incompetence, and ISIS. Now there is a story on about Big Ben in the UK. It is going silent for the majority of the next 4 years, and some people are mad about it. However, renovations are scheduled and they can't have that thing ringing when workers are right next to the giant bell. I don't even care... whether or not I care. Talk about the eclipse more gods damned youz!

Okay Al Roker is back on and he is interviewing some chick who says the speed of the eclipse will vary some due to science reasons. Starts at 2400MPH then hits city traffic around Denver and has to wait for a school bus in Georgia. That last sentence was obviously a false bunch of crap, but I stopped listening and I don't know the real reason. What a bunch of crap!

I need to start training today for a wedding coming this weekend. On Saturday Kat is doing a wedding in North Anson and I am doing a wedding in Machias. I am not a DJ, but on Saturday night I will be! I have helped Kat with tons of gigs so I don't think it will be too hard to fly solo on one of my own. I just need more work on the software end of things. Looking up songs, plugging them into the playlists, etc. I also need to learn how to set everything up 100%, but I know most of that already and I will get there super-early so I'll have plenty of time for all of that. Keeping the dance floor going during the reception when I have drunk guests coming up to make requests will be the most challenging part of the day for me.

I suppose I should get off this bootleg turd-heap and start doing productive things. I'm working on my half-can of Monster Energy before I head over to my bootleg gym for some arm and leg exercises. After that I need to spot-mow a little (nothing is growing much since it has been a very dry summer.), chase a tenant for rent, look at a freezer door that is not closing properly at one of the apartments, and swing by Lowe's for some supplies. When I am not training for this wedding gig with my awesome wife this week I'll be working on some things here at the house. The downstairs bathroom needs some paint, a new vanity, etc.



Sunday, 8-20-17: Ninja Turtles not found.
On Friday I wrote this in my bootleg update before I went down to Jester's: "I am on my 4th coffee brandy and milk, and I will have one more of these at the bar before I either make a good decision and have a water or make a bad decision and have a PBR. I do not want to be hungover tomorrow because I have things I want to do so hopefully I decide to get the water and not the PBR." I did not get the PBR, but I also did not get the water after Joel made my ass a very stiff Allens and milk. He made that drink like a boss, 75% coffee brandy. Normally at home I go 1/3 booze and 2/3 milk so I essentially got a double to start once I got to Jester's. After I finished my one drink and after I bought some other people beers (and ran up a $26 tab in the end what a bunch of crap) I decided to have a Fireball shot. A bad decision? I would not call it a terrible decision because I did not wake up hungover yesterday, but I did get pretty friggin' drunk. Then I ended up outside in the parking lot, and that was the highlight of the night.

I don't know how it all went down exactly, but at some point Debbie, Travis, "Pokemon Guy" and I ended up over by a sewer grate that is blocked off by orange cones because it is sinking into the parking lot. One of us (all of us?) removed the grate and that is when I looked in and decided I wanted to go in and check it out. I wanted to go hang out with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and learn martial arts from Splinter and eat cheese pizza with all of the turtles. However, since I was boozed up and since I have not seen the Turtles in a long time (FU Michael Bay movie I don't want to watch that one.) I accidentally said i wanted to go hang out with Shredder, and everyone knows Shredder is the bad guy.

^I guess the turtles preferred pepperoni pizza? My Google image search shows them with pepperoni pizzas in most of the photos...

That sewer did look pretty inviting. It was raining some so water was flowing into it. I did not see any turds so I assume it was only a drainage for rainwater runoff. Maybe? It was several feet down to the bottom, and there was no ladder so I knew I could not just jump in. I went back inside and asked Joel for a ladder, but by then Kat rightfully shut that shit down. I was pretty determined to get into that sewer so Kat was worried my drunk ass was going to take off and go get a ladder. I was very tempted to do just that, but I was too drunk and it was a bad idea anyway. After Kat brought my dumb ass back inside that bar I went back out again, I moved that grate aside, and I looked for Ninja Turtles. Kat had to come get me again, and by then she did not think it was so funny. What a bunch of crap!

Yesterday Phil came up for an evening visit and we had a fire while Kat started her karaoke gig. Phil and I did end up at the bar later, but neither one of us went looking for Ninja Turtles. We had a good laugh about it, though. Shawn sang Led Zepplin's Kashmir, and Phil was excited because he and I both love that song. Unfortunately, after 8 minutes and 45 seconds of Shawn's butchering of the song I think Kat was 100% ready to call it a night. Phil and I tried to convince Shawn to sing more Led Zepplin, but he ain't no Robert Plant so Kat rightfully shut that shit down.

Kat is in her studio now playing music and setting some more things up. Snoopy is on the wall, and it is looking fabulous. I've helped her some, and when I am not helping her I have been doing some smaller stuff around the house. It is early afternoon now and I am about to head over to my bootleg gym with the dogs. After I lift some weights I'll stop by the park with them and then I'll check out some of the Sox-Yankees game before chow. Maybe I'll go for a jog, too.

^Photo taken Friday PM after I installed and painted those shelves (with Travis helping.) The shelves had to dry so that is why we had the fan aimed that way. Kat told me what the height of that bottom shelf needed to be twice, but I still screwed it up. What a bunch of crap!

^Also taken Friday PM. Since then all that gear is stowed nicely, and next time maybe I can post a photo of how it looks now.



Friday, 8-18-17: Update #2 of the day.
I'm heading down to Jester's after I update this piece of crap site that no one ever reads. I am watching the Sox vs. the Yankees at Fenway, and I have been watching the Sox blow a 3-2 lead in the 7th inning as their borderline incompetent manager, John Farrell, brings in reliever after reliever. 4 runs for the Yankees, 6-3 Yankees right now. What a bunch of crap! Bye bye Red Sox tonight at this rate, especially with the bases loaded and one out for the Yanks. I think in a minute I will put on channel 1928 and just listen to 80s music because this game is over. Game over, man. Game over. A kitten is trying to eat my granola bar wrapper, but it gave up. We have to nearly identical twin kittens named Toothless and Isabelle. They are siblings from the same litter, and I can only tell them apart because their noses look different.

Poor Kat, on Tuesday she had to put Elisa down. Elisa was her oldest cat at 16 years old, and she was a rescue. Kat had Elisa since she was only a kitten; Elisa came from a drug house where bad people did bad things to her when she was a tiny little kitten. I wish with all my heart that those people all died of horrible, painful, slow-burning diseases and maybe as an added bonus they went to a hell that does not really exist (but that should for scumbags like that) and were slowly digested by the Sarlaac Pit from Return of the Jedi.

^For all people who abuse animals. Get digested over the course of 1000 years. YOU DIE MUDDA FUCKAS. Animal abusers = reason # 456,349 why I hate almost everyone.

Hey the Sox have already used 7 pitchers tonight. Way to fail, Farrell. I liked Bobby Valentine when he was the manager a few years ago, but I guess no one else liked him because he only lasted one year. The team lost badly that year. What a bunch of crap! Lately the Sox either contend in a big way or they come in last place. Epic fail. Thankfully so far this season the Sox are in first place by a few games. Unfortunately, the score is 6-3 Yankees in the 7th inning so it seems likely the Sox will give up a game in the standings tonight. What a bunch of crap!

I really want to play Metriod. I'd love to play the original NES Metroid and then the SNES Metriod, but I do not possess that technology so nevermind. I did have a SNES Super Mario World game going on the Wii, but somehow half of the Wii components disappeared so I guess that ain't happening tonight or anytime soon. Hopefully when I stop doing so much carpentry and stuff here at the house I can make time to play video games more, but I am old now and old people don't like video games so maybe instead I will sit in a lawn chair out front and yell "You kids get off my lawn!" on the off 1% chance that a kid actually steps off the sidewalk and onto my lawn. I can also sit there with my Remington model 870 shotgun, just in case. I think I would end up in jail, and there is most likely no Metroid in jail, ever. Plus my wife would have to bail me out and that would be an embarassing bunch of crap.

^I just want to play Metroid gods damn it. I even remember where most of the energy tanks are, too. I want to get to the Mother Brain so I can waste that usurping beotch.

^See the big reveal. Samus is actually a chick. If you win the game you can play as Samus in a pixelated swimsuit. Does it make any sense at all? Nope! However, that is why old-school NES was the best. I think 30 missles kills the Mother Brain, but then the entire world goes into "oh shit!" mode and you have to motivate your ass before you die so killing that brain is not really the winning point of the game. If you don't escape then everything explodes and you are pwned.

It is 2230, and I want to go to the bar to see my awesome DJ wife. I am half in the bag so good thing the bar is only 1/3 of a mile away. If we lived far away it would be a taxi for my liquored-up ass. I am on my 4th coffee brandy and milk, and I will have one more of these at the bar before I either make a good decision and have a water or make a bad decision and have a PBR. I do not want to be hungover tomorrow because I have things I want to do so hopefully I decide to get the water and not the PBR. Kat has a lot of singers so thankfully I should not have to sing tonight. If I do have to sing I would choose a Def Leppard song. Obviously.

Oh, the Red Sox are "only" down 6-5 now and Predator is at bat. He has a 3-2 count with runners on 1st and 2nd so if he crushes it the Sox take a lead. Go Sox! Ok I have to stop this shit a kitten is purring and climbing on me and looking at my fatass in a glass like it is delicious. No drink for you, kitten! I don't even like cats, but these kittens are very cute. That is Toothless because he has an all-black nose. Toothless has plenty of teeth, but he is named after a dragon I think so that is all I have to say. I am done talking now because I am crawled on. I am fine with getting crawled on as long as I never ever get hauled on. Hey, I know poetry. I win!



Friday, 8-18-17: I finished a lot of the downstairs, and we played musical rooms.
The downstairs area of our precious... precious house is now occupied. Again. This time by someone who knows that space all too well. It looks great down there now.

Kat helped me put the finishing touches on the two rooms downstairs Wednesday, and we moved some stuff down there that very same day. I am pleased with how things came out. the ceiling is only 80" and I can't do anything to change that short of major, costly remodeling. However, I did replace the old ceiling, I installed some very nice recessed lights, I removed some old half-closet, half-bench-thing, and I installed a new floor. Many other little things also needed doing in order to clear pipes, wires, etc. Here is the end result:

^Katherine put that dragon sticker on the wall. It's from a show she likes that I know nothing about. Dragonball-Z or Game of Thrones I suppose. The new ceiling looks very nice, and the floor looks even better. I used the same flooring that I've been using for the past 1.5 years or so, a Hope Depot Allure Trafficmaster vinyl time plank system that looks a lot like wood. the stuff glues together with overlapping glue edges, and it is very easy to work with. At $1.79 a square foot it's not the cheapest stuff out there, but I think it is a fair price considering some flooring goes for much more than that.

I also installed a 6-foot baseboard that I plan to have Bruce tie into the existing heating system for the cellar loop. We never had heat in that space before so in the winter it was electric space heaters or freeze for whomever was living down there. Being freezing cold and having to use a space heater = what a bunch of crap! Hopefully this baseboard heats that entire area well enough. I got the higher output baseboard and the room is 14x11, give or take. I guess if it doesn't work well enough then I can add another one. Keeping it nice and warm down there will help us heat the upstairs, too.

I also painted the trim a white semigloss, and I had to hide all the pipes and wires that feed the new addition. Hiding those was a pain in the arse, but Kat did the hardest part of it by neatly using white fabric and white tacks on the underside to cover all those pipes. I would have boxed them in, but it would have been nearly impossible because of the angles needed so fabric was a good solution that actually looks nice thanks to my awesome wife. I had to taper it from left to right to account for that window and to allow headroom for getting down the stairs.

The stairs were carpeted, and so was all the floor down there, but I hauled on it all. Removing the carpet from the stairs was a HUGE pain in the ass because they used 10000000000000 staples to attach the carpet. What a bunch of crap! It took a LONG time to remove it all. Thankfully both Dillon and Kat helped with that.

I was going to leave the carpet in the bedroom, but the right thing to do was to rip that all out and do new flooring so Kat and I hit up Home Depot with a $25 off coupon and bye bye another few hundred bucks for the new flooring, the baseboard, and a couple other things. The bedroom now also looks a lot nicer and there is zero carpet down there so bonus for us. Carpet in a basement = what a bunch of crap! Carpet just about anywhere sucks because it holds so much dander and debris. Now the only room left in this house with any carpet is our bedroom, and I plan to haul on that later this year as well.

^The bedroom is about 14x8, but there are two closets and a nook perfect for a bureau so the space does not feel so cramped. The other room is maybe 14x11, and that also has a closet. It's pretty nice down there now. I still need to replace some lights in the back section and put some work into the bathroom down there, but that won't be as demanding as what I just finished. It was a lot of work downstairs getting those two rooms looking better. I actually didn't realize hit dumpy it was down there until I started doing the remodel. Poor Daniel was stuck living down there for two years. In hindsight I would have made him move upstairs for a couple weeks while I redid things down there for him. I did offer to redo it down there for him, but I didn't push the issue because I always had other projects cooking. Hell, this house feels like it is still one giant project that is always simmering. The work is paying off for us, but holy Jesus it takes a long time and costs a lot of money to do it all.

Debbie and Dillon were supposed to move down to the basement when I finished the remodel, but Katherine saw it and she really liked it so she ended up taking it. I gotta say I never saw that coming! She lived down there before Daniel moved in, and I don't think she liked it too much. However, now that it is nicer I can see why she would want it. There is more space than her bedroom upstairs, and I think the upstairs is a better fit for Debbie and Dillon anyway. Yesterday morning I helped Katherine move downstairs, and yesterday afternoon we helped Dillon move the rest of his stuff upstairs. Then that evening Kat and I moved a bunch of her stuff into the studio that had been occupied by Dillon and Debbie for the past 1.5 years. My wife finally has her studio. AWESOME! It was epic moving day yesterday playing musical rooms here in this house. The work was all worth it, though.

This morning I installed some shelves in Kat's studio. Right now the paint is drying on those shelves, and hopefully on my next bootleg update I can post photos of that area of the house. However, right now I am going to get off this bootleg thing and bivouac for a bit. Both Kat and I got up way too early this morning, and tonight we will be up late at Jester's. Kat was up around 0445. OMG! I slept in compared to her, but I still got up at 0545, shovelled in some chow, and then got right to work helping her get her studio moving along. Hopefully tomorrow we can finish setting it all up.


Saturday, 8-12-17: A hilarious wedding photo from last week. Oh, a garden and the downstairs.
I just taked to Mom on the phone for 73 minutes. OMG wtf?! She was talking a lot about the wedding and about her trip to Cape Cod. Some of what she had to say was fascinating, especially the part about how they went to Osterville and saw Grammy and Papa's old place on 19 Second Ave. That house, wow what a trasure-trove of memories. I am afraid to go back and see that house in case it got the Beetlejuice treatment (aka total renovation and barely recognizable.) However, based on what Mom had to say the house looks pretty much the same and is currently vacant and for sale. Jason found a way inside so they had a real good look. I'm pretty sure they committed a breaking and entering crime, but oh well. Mom said there are still notes in the closet from Grammy and wow. That is awesome. So many memories there...

While I was talking to Mom I painted some of the downstairs. Here is what it looked like as of a couple hours ago:

^I got 3 of the 4 recessed lights installed last night like a boss. That was after two or three drinks, too. I have not done recessed lighting before so it was a new challenge. I did not get electrocuted either so bonus for me. 110v is not that bad, but I try to avoid the tingle whenever possible. I've been electrocuted too many times to count in the past by 110. What a bunch of crap!

Tonight I painted the trim while, and I painted that hideous red wall area my standard bootleg properties light tan. Oh, three cats got down there. What a bunch of crap! I recovered 2 of the 3, but Mittens will not come out so fuck her she can bivouac down there for now. That can can seriously eat the peanuts out of my sheeeeeeeeiiiiiiiitttttt I did try to get her back but she ran away and hid. I hate her. A lot. If all goes as planned then tomorrow I can finish the painting and start the floor. That room might be done Monday, but then I will have a few other things to do so it might be midweek next week before it is ready for Dillon and Debbie to move into. I want it to be nice down there. Not perfect, but decent.

Kat is at Jester's, and I am heading there shortly. First I am listening to The Sweetest Victory but Touch. Rocky IV soundtrack like a boss. Great song! I sang it to myself last night when I went for a jog, but I don't think it helped my time. 24:44. Fair enough for the first post-raking jog. I also played racquetball earlier against Gav and neither of us played great. It was still a good workout, though. I lost 2 games to 1 because Gavin is better than me.

Mom talked a lot about the wedding from last week. Like, a lot. I wish I had more photos to share, but all I have is this one:

Manktown = hilarious guy and the definite life of the party! (In the middle wearing the wedding decorations.) I think it is awesome that Jason had a Marine Corps dress theme for himself and for his former Marine pals. Jason's friend, Mike, did the best-man speech that was way long but so epic that it made up for its borderline obnixious length. I've seen a lot of weddings thanks to my hot wife being a DJ, and by far Mike's speech was the best one I've ever seen at any wedding.

Poor Kat, she came down to the wedding looking like a million bucks but she could only stay for a couple hours. Then, to add insult to injury, she was not in any of the photos. What a bunch of crap! Doug kinda moped around seeming like a sad panda, and I guess he can't drink anymore due to health reasons. He is huge because he lifts weights a lot, but he does not seem happy. He moved to KY from Tuscon like 3 days before the wedding so I don't think that plane ticket change was cheap. Hopefully he likes being Kentucky Fried more than he liked living in AZ. With him hard to tell.

Our garden is pumping out food now. Oh Jesus, hell ya! Look at this thing:

^I took that photo and then I stepped in dog shit. What a bunch of crap!

The tomato plants are really growing. We've harvested one squash and two cucumbers so far. The tomatos are going to really pump 'em out soon. Check this out:

They are green now, but soon they will be red. They have already outgrown those metal round cage-things that we put them in. Beefeaters I think? they get big and are good for burgers and sandwiches.

The Red Sox beat the Yankees tonight and have a 4.5-game lead over the "evil empire" for first place in the division. I did not watch much of the game because it was on several hours ago when I was doing other things. So far this month the Sox have been playing well and I hope they save their best play for late September and for the postseason so they can win another World Series. The team is flawed but is better than the other AL teams right now so overall no complaints from this guy here.

I guess I am done. Fin. Time to go to Jester's and to hang out. Maybe I can get that fuckface cat back upstairs before I leave, but if not oh well. I don't even like cats that much but I married one. Where's my psychologist gods damn it?



Friday, 8-11-17: Back to the Friday night routine...
After two consecutive weekends of blueberry raking and doing family shit like attending a long-overdue wedding I am not back to my usual Friday night routine. Kat is at Jester's hosting karaoke, and I am at the house and am about ready to head on down to the bar to hang out for the second and best half of the show. I have had some coffee brandy and milk, and I was working on the downstairs until I realized it was time to shut that shit down. I had the Red Sox-Yankees on 620AM WZON and the Sox had a 3-0 lead, but then in the 8th they blew it so now they are losing. What a bunch of crap!

I only worked on the downstairs for a little over an hour, but in that time I installed 3 out of 4 recessed lights and they work like a boss. It is brighter than daylight in that muther with the three installed, and after a 4th goes in Dillon and Debbie will need SPF-50 just to exist in that formerly weird room that is now a room that is not-so-weird. I bought recessed LED lights, but I did not realize that I needed the housing-thingies for the lights so I had to go to Lowe's today to buy them. Bye bye $63 for 4 of those. What a bunch of crap! Oh well, the new lights are LED and the old ones were the KWH-sucking ones so in the end we will win. I hope.

I bought 4 of those lights for about $15 each and thought I was a king, but it turns out you need a $15 each housing-thing for each one so nevermind it is really $30 per light. However, the lights are dimmable as long as my half-chad ass I can figure out how to install a dimmer switch like a boss. I think I can. Maybe? Hopefully. I want to get that downstairs renovated ASAP so Kat can have her studio up here. The sooner she has her studio the better because that will free up a lot of precious... precious space in the house. Plus we can set up all the DJ gear and I can train for a wedding that I have to DJ on the 26th. That's only 2 weeks away and I need a lot of training. Two weeks...

I rocked that ceiling like a gods damned boss tonight so tomorrow in the day I can finish it and then tomorrow night when Kat is at work I can start the floor. If I can finish that space by Sunday or Monday then bonus Dillon and Debbie can move down there and it will be nice and Kat can have her precious... precious studio and then the dream of the blue turtles will be fulfilled. That last sentence makes no sense unless you are a Sting fan, which I am. Not a die-hard fan, but I like him well enough. Hell, I don't even own that album and I don't know what it is about. What a bunch of crap!

^All I wanna konw is why? Why are there no blue turtles on that album cover? I don't understand and it is weird so I am going to find a blue turtle gods damn it.

It does not make sense that Sting would dream about blue turtles unless he used heavy narcotics. Was that his Heacy Fuel that Dire Straits sang about in 1991? I do not know, but that song rocks and I want to hear it right now. I have not heard it since about 1700 when I was on Wilson Street heading to Lowe's. I should karaoke that song tonight. J/K I should not karaoke anything because I have a medical condiion called NFT (No friggin' talent.) Hehehehe. It's not really funny I don't know why I just did "hehehehe." What a bunch of crap!

I am out of coffee brandy so I just did a shot of Fireball. In hindsight that might have been unwise, but I will take my chances. Fireball is pretty good, and thankfully I am a lover night a fighter so whiskey does not make me want to beat the shit out of people.

Last week at this time I was bivouaced, but before that I went over to Mom and Dad's to visit with Uncle Kevin, Uncle Jimmy, and Uncle Greg. Then Aunt Susie showed up so bonus for that. I have not seen Uncle Jimmy and Uncle Kev in 20+ years so seeing them was awesome. Plus Greg and Susie are great. All of Mom's siblings except for Uncle Brian came back east not only for Jason and Holly's wedding but also for the scattering of Grandma and Grandpa's ashes on Cape Cod. Part of me thinks I should have gone to the Cape with them to be a part of the ashes-ceremony, but then I realized that the right thing to do was to stay in Warren with Dad while Mom and family was on Cape Cod. Dad's health has been poor so it meant a lot to Mom that someone could stay with Dad... just in case. Poor Dad, he seems like an old man now and he is "only" 68 so I hope he bounces back. He worked so hard in his life that he deserves a few golden years before he truly becomes an old man. All the years of lead exposure running the firearms program, and whatever the hell happened to him (ALL BAD) in 'nam = bad set of circumstances. being eaten by ticks because he is a hardcore hunter does not help either. I hope Pop's health improves because we all need him around for a long time to come.

I was gonna write about Jason and Holly's wedding from 6 days ago, but F that I have places to be and people to see (MY HOT WIFE.) I am out of here, chumps. Drop and give me 25 you scum-sucking maggots!



Thursday, 8-10-17: My raking 2017 is over. Oh, a wedding.
The 2017 blueberry raking season, my 14th consecutive season raking for Cliff and camping out and raking with Gavin, has come to a successful conclusion. I raked my 579th and final box of the season in Cliff's Palermo field on Tuesday early afternoon before I collected my $1881.75 and headed home for good. For about 78 total hours of work it was a great hourly pay rate. Even better it was a tremendous workout.

It was a good raking season, but it was not a perfect season. We raked in three different fields. First was Payson's field, a field we have done many times and a field that is usually at least decent. Unfortunately, this year Payson's was a shit-show of a field with a sparse blueberry crop. We spent four of my twelve raking days in that garbage field, too. What a bunch of crap! I still made money, but not nearly enough for the effort spent on those days. The price of blueberries from chemically treated fields (non-organic) has plummeted in the past couple years so the owners had no incentive to do important things like spray fungicide and make other investments that lead to a better crop. It seemed they didn't even care... whether or not they cared. What a bunch of crap!

Thankfully Cliff scored us a great field in Union not far from where we camped at Mic Mac. We were skeptical when we heard of the 7-acre lot because it is an organic field. In our minds organic = a bunch of crap because without pesticides, fungicides, etc the weeds can take over and can make the raking shitty. Thankfully the owner, a guy who went to high school with Cliff decades ago, put money into the field so it was actually a great field to rake. We were supposed to rake it all in three days so we worked extra hard, but it actually took us five days to rake the whole thing. Cliff has a very small crew, and Glen was too injured to rake much so that set us back a bit. Glen is a good raker, but he is 58 so we aren't sure if he will ever be able to rake again. However, Cliff is 67 and he raked over 500 boxes this year. OMG. (Cliff raked the second most of anyone!)

^Cliff loading his truck in that great organic field. He usually wears headphones so he can listen to music as he works. There's Phil way in the background probably taking a drink since it was HOT every day we worked that field. I seemingly burned 10000000000 calories there. (slight exaggeration.) Phil told me he has raked for Cliff for around 30 years. He is 46 years old now so do the math on that. Wow!

^The very corner of my truck and Gavin's Toyota parked in the great field with a view facing the part of the field that we already raked clean.

After the crap field and the awesome field it was time to finish the season at Cliff's own Palermo field. Cliff has owned that field for a number of years, but he has always hired it out to Mexican work crews. He did not have good things to say about his Palermo field so we expected it to be a toilet, but it was actually not bad at all. He has 16 acres there, and he only had 3 days to rake it all so thankfully Cliff had us only rake in the "gravy." The best parts. However, it is not in my nature to gravy a field so I raked a lot of stuff that other people would have skipped. So did Gavin on his last day on Sunday. Nevertheless I still made a good wage rate in the Palermo field so overall I'd call it a success. The only drawback of his Palermo field is the distance. 18 miles from Mic Mac, 28 miles from Mom and Dad's, and 52 miles from home. 18 miles is not bad on a highway, but on those bumpy and winding back roads it takes a while. 45 minutes from the field to Mom and Dad's each trip Sunday PM, Monday, and Tuesday AM.

Gavin and I have this raking thing pretty much locked down. We've learned from many past mistakes such as letting raccoons and other animals haul off half of our food, not having cover at camp for when it rains, etc. Every year for the past few years Gavin brings a bunch of burgers, a large tub of tuna, and many other supplies. I bring sides, most of the booze, condiments, hot dogs, and we take my truck most of the time to commute to the fields so it is a fairly even split. The cost of the campsite is 50/50 so that makes it much more affordable as well.

The tuna lasted almost a week, and we had just enough left for two sandwiches on its final day. I made my sandwich and passed the last of the tuna to Gavin. Here we are with Joey at lunch in that organic field last Thursday:

^Shade... precious shade. The sun really beat on us in that field, especially for the first three days.

If you look close you can see that plastic container on the ground with the last of the tuna in it, and by then the tuna was no longer edible. When Gav was making his sandwich he used his leg as a table for the bread. He spread the tuna on the bread, and when he reached over to grab the top bread piece his open-faced tuna mostly-made sandwich fell off and face-down into the road there. It was hilarious to see the look on his face because there was no saving most of it. He tried, though. Then he scooped up the ruined tuna that by then looked like this:

^What a bunch of crap! It was totally covered in dirt, leaves, and grime. Man we laughed so hard at that.

Camping was interesting but mostly enjoyable. The first weekend there the campground was 100% full and we were crammed right in like sardines Friday and Saturday nights. The site next to ours was way too close, but our neighbors were cool. Their kids and their dog were quiet. Helps I slept with earplugs in most of the time, just in case. By Sunday the place emptied out, but on Tuesday night our Mexican migrant blueberry raking neighbors partied until around 0400. They were LOUD. they had a mini-fridge that I think they turned into a pinata late-night. It was their last night there before they moved downeast or something so they made the most of it. It had earplugs in and I still heard them. What a bunch of crap!

It was a very dry season with no rain until the final night of our camping Saturday night. We got deluged on by heavy thunderstorms when I got back to camp from Jason and Holly's wedding. We even got a little wet under our canopy because it rained so hard. Sucked having to pack up camp the next morning with everything being soaking wet, but oh well a small price to pay for what was another overall great raking season. Payson's sucked ass, but the final two fields made up for it in a big way.

During raking season the apartment business was easy. I had no major issues come up, and as an added bonus I didn't even have to mow any lawns. I came home for an overnight last Wednesday PM thinking I would have to mow a couple lawns on Gilmore, but they are not really growing so score one for me. I was able to collect some rents, do my banking, and spend time with my Sweet Pea before heading back to rake.

Also during raking season was a major family milestone. Jason and Holly finally got married! It was a nice wedding; I got to see family whom I've not seen in 20+ years. I'll write about that next time because now I have things to do so am out like a fat kid in dodge ball. Goonies never say die!

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