“I didn’t wash your underpants because you’ll just skid mark them again.”

We have a home that we AirBnB in North Carolina. We’ve gone through three cleaning services.

The last one, we needed to fire last week. We had them come clean, while we were here in town, because we’ve issued complaints in the past and we were hoping that we could finally see how much they want to work with us.

It was kind of a test.

Continue reading ““I didn’t wash your underpants because you’ll just skid mark them again.””

The psychoses of depravity

Yesterday was an interesting day.

We met my folks, sister and brother for breakfast. It was a lovely time, and I cherish every second of it.

I spent a lot of time yesterday with my thoughts about how fortunate I am. I look at my wife, my family, my life, and realize that where I am is exactly where I want to be. I’m surrounded by the best friends and family I’ve ever been surrounded by.

I cherish every bit of who I am, who I’m surrounded by and who loves me.

A friend of the family died about a week and a half ago. And my parents went to the funeral yesterday afternoon.

I called my mom after the service, because I thought about how emotional it is that people her age, people she’s known for most of her adult life are gone. They are dying off. She spent valuable time with this woman. And now she’s gone. My mom knows their kids, and their kids. And it’s the kind of relationship that survived the tests of time.

I remembered the woman as kind of mean. She was strict with her kids and when we played with her kids, she was strict with us.

But she was who she was. And I’m sure her personality was tested over time and that those tests rendered the woman she became and who she was when she died.


What a weird and inevitable demise.

The world existed without her before she was born and it will exist without her as she’s passed.

No amount of effort or determination can change that.

People in their lives do stupid and whimsical things. They hurt because of reasons that are inexplicable. They take aim at others because of psychoses of depravity and irrationalized ruminations of beguiled emotions.

People erect walls where none need erection.

Rather than forgive, they lash out, juvenilely and ignorantly.

Those people do not belong in your life. Definitely not in mine.

As I look out over the topography and tapestry of my world, I revel in the fact that I’ve surrounded myself with creative, fun, constructive people. People who support and love. People who live selflessly and profoundly.

And that, dear reader, is what means everything.

repost: Mending Wall

I needed a reread of this. So I decided to share.

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned!’
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.’ I could say ‘Elves’ to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well

He says again, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’

Maintaining a house is a full-time, delayed payment internship

This tweet and thread from one unlikely hero Daniel Feldman filled me with bitter happiness this morning. He writes, “Does anyone else feel like maintaining a house is an entire second, very expensive full-time job”

In one response, someone writes: “A house is in a constant state of decay, and you’re in a war to keep it standing.

In another, “a full time, unpaid internship. with no supervisor.

And with resounding confirmation, I can’t agree more. Maybe it goes without saying.

I’m in North Carolina and my list for house maintenance is 25 to 30 line items deep. And it’s not complete. It ranges from major work like, “Repaving the driveway” which is cracked to a gnarly mess. If it weren’t mine, I would see it as artistic. And it is, if you look at it sideways. To work like, reattaching gutters to the building. Or tearing them down, repairing the wood around them and replacing them. Regrouting some tile. Replacing a kitchen faucet that sucks and leaks water all over the wood countertops we installed that are in constant state of needing and absorbing a ton of oil.

While toting leaves to a pile at the street yesterday, I had a moment of clarity that I should repair a French drain that is broken at the southwest corner of our property. The water now is hurtled down an incline instead of dumping into a ravine 10 ft away and it’s eroding a small creek into the hill just beside the house. The erosion is clearly too close to the house and now another to-do on a growing list.

We don’t live here full time, but when we visit, it’s pretty much one of my full-time jobs. The other is our photography work and the other is my passion for cooking.

So far this trip (since December 28), I’ve logged at least 60 hours in yard work and house maintenance. Two weeks of that was dealing with Covid, Tina’s covid, and some other respiratory cold or flu that laid us up pretty well.

Fortunately, this is our only home at the moment. We live in an apartment in Chicago, and – when things happen – I can send texts like, “Hey landlord, we gotta leaky faucet,” or “Hey landlord, the heat’s out.”

Then I clap my hands like dusting chalk erasers and carry on.

But NC is constantly on the brain. When we bought the house, it was already in need of lots of maintenance but we sunk a chunk of money into renovations leaving us a little dry for other repairs.

The internship comment resonated the most. I don’t have anyone to tell me what to do. My dad gives me some advice here and there, and even acts as our paid-in-meals and kindness handyman contractor. There are times when I’m doing work in the yard or on the house and I’m thinking, “I’m either doing an amazing job and the next owner is going to revel in how amazing I did at X.” Or they are going to be cursing my name or the name they have given me in their heads for all the shit I fucked up while living here.

The exterior of this house always needs something. Paint cracks need repair. Wood pealing back. Water damage. Cracking in the bricks. The deck needs a coating. I constantly have to remove leaves, spiderwebs, bugs and debris from the house by walking around the perimeter with a broom.

We have a 1/2 acre that feels like 100 acres. Who knew that Rose of Sharon is really a weed. If I left the yard alone, we would have a forest of Rose of Sharon. Every year, a crop of new Rose of Sharon heads pop up all over the yard, front & back, almost as thick as daffodils.

Don’t get me wrong. My personality is artistic first. I work because I love it. Not for pay. My reward is process and completion. I love processes where the results can be seen. And depending on one’s perspective, it could be viewed as either great, okay or stupid.

I love when something as heart warming as a tweet about pain brings joy to my heart.

Define Indoctrination


You do it. They do it. He does it. She does it.

What is it exactly?

The dictionary definition is: “the process of teaching a person or group to accept a set of beliefs uncritically.”

Uncritically. Without criticism.

If you’re taught to criticise something without knowing first-hand what you’re criticizing, then, by definition, you’re indoctrinating.

This image of Ron Desantis behind a podium that reads “freedom from indoctrination” is by definition negating its message.

How does one go about learning critical thinking skills? Is it to demote/hide/shun/evade certain topics on the basis of, say, discomfort or comfort levels?

I was indoctrinated. My elementary to high school education was designed to only include religious teachings and to determine that any oppositional source of information should be considered off limits. We were limited in the books we were encouraged to read. Falling lock step with parents, teachers and Sunday school teachers was the way to a fulfilling life.

That, dear readers, is indoctrination.

When I got into the real world, I was educationally crippled. I was not equipped to have adult conversations, because I was taught that everything in the Bible is literally true and anyone or anything that says otherwise, should be avoided or cast away as demonic.

I was lucky. I got away from much of the indoctrination, because I let myself be free with what I read and watched. Once you read what was determined as evil, it’s like the fruit in the garden, once eaten, your eyes cannot be closed again.

The first “woke” people in the Christian history were awakened from ignorance, they became like God. But it’s perverse people who want to deny anyone of the riches of education.

By its very definition, the governor of Florida is imposing its citizens and its children to indoctrination by way of indoctrination.

Making books off limits to students is what my upbringing was like. It was a religious test. And now we have a world of antagonism toward learning in the state of Florida. Not just at a parochial school in North Carolina.

Everything that makes little weenie Ron DeSantis feel bad about his white privilege is now off limits to everyone who he deems more important than other people.

It’s a sad state. A sad sad state.

Kids should learn to read. Read trash. Read non trash. If it’s off limits, we should put those books in kids’ hands.

So they can avoid indoctrination.

Two quotes seen at swissmiss

I keep returning to these two posts seen at Swissmiss. One because I was literally the black sheep of my family. Adopted and Puerto Rican/French. I looked very little like my Dutch parents and siblings.

The other, because it’s the most important practice Tina and I give to each other and to our friends and family. It is, the sign of true and honest friendship. I wear my listening ear like a badge of courage.

“The so-called black sheep of the family are, in fact, hunters born of paths of liberation into the family tree. 

The members of a tree who do not conform to the norms or traditions of the family system, those who since childhood have constantly sought to revolutionise beliefs, going against the paths marked by family traditions, those criticised, judged and even rejected, these are usually called to free the tree of repetitive stories that frustrate entire generations.

The black sheep, those who do not adapt, those who cry rebelliously, play a basic role within each family system, they repair, pick up and create new and unfold branches in the family tree.”

– Bert Hellinger “Black Sheep of the Family”

Full text here.

“When people talk, listen completely. Don’t be thinking what you’re going to say. Most people never listen. Nor do they observe. You should be able to go into a room and when you come out, know everything that you saw there and not only that. If that room gave you any feeling you should know exactly what it was that gave you that feeling. Try that for practice.”
– Ernest Hemingway

How to change your life

Change Your Life – One Tiny Step at a Time Get your Habit Journal here: https://shop-us.kurzgesagt.org/collec…

Sources & further reading: https://sites.google.com/view/sources…

If you are like most people, there is a gap between the person you are and the person you wish to be. There are little things you think you should do and big things you ought to achieve. From working out regularly, eating healthy, learning a language, working on your novel, reading more or simply actually doing your hobby instead of browsing reddit. But it can seem that to achieve your goals, you have to become a different person. Someone who is consistent, puts in more effort, has discipline and willpower. Maybe you have tried your hardest to be like that. And it worked! For a while. Until you find yourself slipping back into your old ways. In the end, you always seem to fail. And with every failed attempt, you become more and more frustrated and annoyed with yourself. If you believe “success and hustle” internet, it is all your own fault: if you don’t succeed, you just didn’t want it enough and the failure is all you. But change is actually hard. But as with most things in life, understanding why makes things easier.

Seen at Kottke.

How Japanese manhole covers are made

I saw this over at Kottke. Super cool.

I giggled a little because when I first moved to Chicago back in 1999, I moved to Wrigleyville which neighbors Boys Town. Walking out our front door to the 100 yards to the west, put you right in Wrigleyville bars. Going east 100 yards, put you in Boys Town. On that very corner was a bar called “The Manhole.” For a country bumpkin from NC, that was novelty. Like, “Look at that bar,” tee hee tee.