Life is much better now that my non-circadian adventure has ended and Amethyst has been a while without emotionally transmitted diseases contracted at the Soylent Green factory which she no longer frequents. I’ve had a fairly productive week and a half, even.
It helps that one of my gigs is a full pop supporting role — I’m not really invested in the outcome at all. I wrote some software a while back that accomplishes an impressive amount of work and in so doing consumes pretty much all of the resources of the machine and/or network it’s running on, whichever is weaker. The client enlisted my aid in moving the stuff from the server it broke to a new system in another data center… where it promptly broke the network. And is now breaking the virtual machine environment that I suggested at the start would prove itself not up to the task. So now I’m getting paid to help the network engineers as they try to figure out how to make their network stronger than the program and the virtual machine gurus as they strive to understand the limitations of their favorite technology. It’s great good fun. They’re almost giggly when they ask me to start running the thing by saying, “okay, let’s go break some shit”. One of them is a middle aged Italian guy in Boston, and sounds it. When he says, “Okay, let’s go break some shit”, I get visions of movie gangsters in excellent suits with baseball bats and machine guns getting into black Lincolns.
Amethyst was in need of a workbench at which to make jewelry, and with things being so up in the air it seemed to make the most sense to just whip out something quick ‘n’ dirty that can be left at the curb when we blow down the road. Also, Dinkytown isn’t a place where the hardware stores stock dimensional lumber any better than grade 2, the kind of stuff you most often see tied up against bales of hay or cotton to secure them during transport, or holding up the plywood that keeps the weather out until the glass man arrives or the hurricane passes. It’s rarely straight, most often splintery as hell, has dimensional tolerances that would be unacceptable in even stud grade lumber, and is often cracked. It’s not intended for building things. So the plan was to whip something out that she could use for a few weeks, then drag it to the curb and never think about it again. If nothing else the firebug across the street would haul it into his back yard and burn it.
In the end, the silly thing came out square and straight everywhere it matters, level and plumb, rigid and lightweight, and massaging the many imperfections in the lumber with my palm sander gave the thing a unique charm. Amethyst wants to keep it, with a new top, one stout enough that she can hammer metal on a steel block without bouncing everything on the bench, and retaining the frame beneath. I planned for that possibility when I made it, so replacing the top will be easy. I’m glad she’s pleased by it.
What I like most about the thing is what’s in it. It was made with lumber judged inferior, and it’s actually perfectly suitable for Amethyst’s purposes. It’s got character to it. Once the top is replaced it’ll be sturdy enough that small children could jump on it without damaging it — the current top is splatterboard (as I call it; the stores call it OSB, “Oriented Strand Board”) with a rubberized fabric drop cloth cover. It’s not as shitty as it sounds. And it helps to slow those little gemstone beads when they get away, too, so maybe they don’t make it all the way to the floor.
Where Snooginator might eat them. I don’t suppose it would do her any harm, but they’re more expensive and less nutritious than dog food. Miss Awesome, well, she’s a cat, and the beads are small and round, so to her they’re toys. Cats prefer small toys that have been beneath appliances to those that have not. So, since the critter/two-leg bondings have worked out that the cat is mine and the dog is hers, I’ll do my part to retrieve from under the stove and/or refrigerator any lost beads that Autumn might discover and it’s up to Amethyst how she handles those found by Starr. Seems a naturally selected division of labor to me.
And perhaps a naturally selected bit of inferior lumber too, I think. In a strange and unexplainable way, it’s fitting. Perfect. The ultimately superior choice even though it’s impossible to explain precisely why. I look forward to experimenting some more with unconventional uses of lumber judged inferior.
Amethyst’s got her stuff in a boutique downtown now, and we’re going to take road trips to get it into boutiques in other downtowns soon. Eventually we’ll cover pretty much everywhere interesting within our extended home range, I imagine. I expect that to be major good fun. I like bumbling around mountain towns. We’ll have to hit ski resort towns, too, but I don’t really like those. They may be in the mountains, of necessity, but they are not mountain towns. Which is okay, because they’re not supposed to be. I just don’t like places that are too self-conscious. Unless we become the colorful mountain folk who come to trade with the greatly more sophisticated and worldly town merchants, it’ll be okay. I hope.
Amethyst does tend to get a mite uppity from time to time…
A kid who works at the burger joint in town thinks I’m a genius because I knew how to get a balky countertop pump-type ketchup dispenser to perform its function — by banging it flatly down upon the counter to dislodge air from around the pump inlet. He asked if I’d ever worked in fast food, to know something like that. The guy in the kitchen said that he’d never heard of anything like that before and that he, too, wanted to know how I knew it. I nearly wept in despair. Of the three of us, I was the only one capable, without prior experience or present assistance, of outsmarting an air bubble. Sometimes it’s good being in a minority.
So life is good and the future looks bright.