Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Not The Best Of Days

Genghis has got some kind of vile chest infection thing; a cough which is ramping up his asthma. It isn't really slowing him down or anything. (I'm not sure what would do that.) But it does tend to make him cough horribly at night.

Horribly. As in: parent lies awake upstairs, cringing and anticipating the next bark. To top it off, he's given a version of it to me, so I'm kind of wheezy and unwell too. Not good. So, last night -- no sleep until about 0300. Awake again by 0630 in anticipation of getting kids on track for the day. And I recall waking up and seeing the clock at 0430, so it was pretty shitty sleep. All three and a half hours of it.

The clothesdryer has died, too. Not a simple, repairable death. What we have here is not a mere worn belt, or a broken heating element. Nope: the drum is literally off its rails. Normally, that central drum kind of 'floats', on some sort of shock absorbers, and spins fairly freely. Lately, I've noticed a tendency to get stuck, but I could get it going if I just reached in and gave it a spin.

Today? Nope. Dead. The drum is sitting low, and I can barely get it to turn. I think the mounts or the bearings or whatever have given up. You can hear the motor hum in frustration, and you can feel the heat from the element, but the drum steadfastly does not turn. Most irritating, since we've drifted into that phase of winter in which it's pretty much cloudy and showery every goddam day.

So tomorrow, I shall pull out the old dryer, and put it in the top shed. Genghis can take it apart over the weekend. He'll enjoy that. I shall then hitch up the trailer, head down to Scottsdale, and pay off the new dryer I've already picked out. The last one did its work for something like seven or eight years. Hopefully the new one will manage at least as much, once I bring it back up the hill and wrangle it into place. Yay.

Hitching up the trailer will serve a double purpose. I'm currently building a nice fire-pit with a stone retaining wall. To do that, you dig a Flogging Great Hole, and then level the bottom with a good, thick layer of gravel. You lay an inner cylinder of heat-resistant brick to the requisite height, and then for cosmetic purposes, you build a nice outer cylinder of fieldstone and mortar, and finally you level the top with some slates, or the like. (Not a good idea just to build the structure out of fieldstone. Repeated heating and cooling can lead not just to cracking, but with some kinds of stone, random exploding. We don't want that. No. Hence the inner cylinder.)

I dug the hole. I got myself some gravel. I placed it in the hole and levelled it. Then I lay my first ring of heat-resistant brick... and realised there wasn't quite enough room between the brick and the walls of the hole to build my fieldstone cylinder.

No sense fighting it. I pulled out my first layer of brick, and then I widened the entire goddam hole, and dug out all the gravel. So tomorrow I have to take the trailer to some gravel-supply folks, get a decent load aboard, then come back so I can re-gravel and re-level my pit. Then I can at least get through laying the heat-resistant stuff down, I hope.

Genghis. That kid kills me. We came back from ju-jitsu class, picked up the Mau-mau from the Viking Neighbour Clan, and went home. I threw some marinated diced lamb under the grill, made a quick salad, and served up flatbread with a nice yoghurt/mint sauce, plus the salad and the lamb. Healthy, tasty, and quick.

So I'm sitting there, enjoying a bit of well-deserved dinner. The Mau-mau is staring at hers fearfully, as though it's going to attack her. This is her standard approach to dinner. Food seems to frighten and dismay her, unless it's spaghetti, pizza or chocolate. Those she understands.

Anyway, I'm trying to encourage her to eat, when I hear an almighty racket from Genghis. He's stuffing salad into his mouth, but he's shrieking "Nooooo! Noooo!".

I'm not stupid. I didn't ask. I just watched him.

Apparently, he'd decided that he was a fiercenormous gigantic monster, and the salad was a crowd of innocent little creatures he was devouring. The shrieks of "No! NOOOOO! Look out! Don't eat us! Aaaarrghhmmmkmffmfgrmgrmgrrmmchomp!" were... kind of disturbing.

But I figured he was eating, at least. Shovelling it away by the handful, even as it screamed for mercy... if only I could convince the Mau-mau to do something similar.

Wow. I am sooooo tired.