Where Was I?

Believe it or not, my silence the last three weeks has been more about real life than a lack of wanting to blog. At best these days, I try to post something every weekend, but real life has been a bit on the busy side. Let me see if I can sum everything up.

Three weeks ago, I sat down after doing some chores and checked in on Twitter only to discover someone I’ve talked to over the years was not only visiting the Portland area, but was stuck at a Gorge rest stop with a flat tire and in need of some local assistance (due to Covid, if you get your car towed, you can’t ride with the truck any more, meaning you need some way of following). That’s where I entered the picture. Although my friend did end up getting his tire replaced and was able to drive away for more chaos on his trip to Oregon, that was the start of some busy times.

The following weekend was Rose City Comic Con, where my wife had a table and I had a slew of photo ops I had signed up for.

The con was a lot of fun. Helping us brave that many people was the convention center’s rule that all attendees had to either be vaccinated or submit to a COVID screening. This year’s photo ops, including (second) breakfast with Billy Boyd (which I may talk about in a later post), Adam Savage and the amazing baby tauntaun that was in line ahead of me, and George Takei (I won’t lie, I was thrilled that he did the Vulcan greeting but only after the fact realized I failed to give him my impression of “Oh, my!”), were as follows:

This is the part of the recounting where I start to feel extra old. The following weekend (last week as I write this), the kid in that photo with me and Adam Savage left for college. The weekend was largely about helping them get moved into their dorm, set up, and on their own as an adult. As a parent I found it both heart wrenching and proud to see them leave for school.

That’s a lot to distill into a short blog post, but that’s what’s been keeping me on my toes lately. How have you all been? If you have a blog I follow, you’ve no doubt seen me leaving comments or likes as I catch up. And if you have a blog and I’m not following it, leave me a line! I’m always on the look out for fresh ideas and content 🙂

My Next Reading Experiment: Project TBR

I have a book problem: I have a lot of them. I have a healthy amount of bookcases (one tall 5 shelf plus top, four 3 shelf plus tops), all of them filled, some with multiple rows. Yes, at least one bookcase (a Wayfair bookcase that was trouble when I got it and hasn’t improved any) is buckling under the weight, the joints pulling apart because apparently books and gravity exert their own forces that defy the laws of physics and incur penalties in this reality.

No, wait, I realize this isn’t a problem like “I think my leg is going to fall off, it’s kinda purple and green on one side” or “payday is a week away and my cat needs a liver transplant by Tuesday.” But I do have quite a few books, which in itself isn’t so bad, excepting I haven’t read all of them. I’m not even sure if I’ve read half the books I own. I think I have. Maybe?

I didn’t mean to get myself in this position. Sometimes, especially with ebooks, it’s because I spy a book I want to read on sale. I know I’m going to read it eventually, so I go ahead and buy it when it’s down to a buck or two. Other times, I find myself being a completist and buying the rest of a series I enjoy so that I can just continue reading [side bar: this habit has bitten me badly a few times, and saved me others. Not all book series continue as good as they start.]. There’s a third case, but I’d rather not go there. Let’s just say it ends with me and books. Not helping is learning that if I wait to buy a book, it might not be available any more. Too many of the books I enjoy go out of print, making copies of them harder and harder to find (and more and more expensive, begging the question of whether it’s worth having the physical copy).

Which leads me to my next reading experiment: Project TBR (To Be Read) (my last one was the Penguin Summer, which is still ongoing, never mind the actual season outside). I’ve got it in my mind that I want to tackle this mountain of TBR I’ve accumulated. It’s a rather large pile of books, both physical and virtual. Enough books, in fact, that I think I could have something to read every day without gaps.

The first part of my attack plan is to read two books at once (normal). One book will be from my “classics to read” list, the other a book from my mountain. If a new book comes to my attention, I will put it in a list I’m maintaining, with the idea that at the end of my experiment I will go through the list, re-evaluate what I’ve marked, and make a batch of purchases.

Obstacles? Oh, there’s plenty. The biggest is that I tend to read by mood. It hardly matters if I have a complete book case of unread epic fantasy (I might) if I’m in the mood for something a little more modern and horrific, or if I’m really ready to get a good space opera on. In fact, it is mood that is largely to blame for my TBR being the way it is.

In order to combat that mood issue, I am going to let myself get books from the library (“let myself.” Hah. Hold your mockery for now, please.). Although library books don’t entirely fall under the TBR moniker, they also don’t increase the clutter of books that is my life. I also can’t say no books that are gifted to me at the holidays, can I?

How long will I be trying this? I gave that question a lot of thought, and have decided to start with a three month trial, beginning September 1st (yes, days ago as I write this) and ending December 1st. If I haven’t completely abandoned the experiment and am still able, I will extend another three months to March 1st. At that point my birthday is only a few weeks away, and no amount of self inflicted control will be able to stay me from wanting to get a few books to celebrate.

And yes, I have the TBR to support this attempt for more than six months if I am good about it, have no fear. What about you? Have you ever tried to tackle your TBR? I’m of course assuming that if you’ve read this far, you’re either judging me horribly (fair), or you too suffer from an addiction to good reads.

Yesterday Was The Last Day Of A Long Summer

Today is the first day back to school for two of our children. It’s significant for two reasons:

  1. One of our children is starting their Freshman year of High School while the other is beginning their Senior year
  2. It is the first time they have been back to school in person in 18 months

Internally, I’m a bit emotional. After a year and a half, I got used to working with them in the house. Sure, they’re typical teens, spending a lot of time in their room with the door shut, but they were there. I’d see them during breaks, meals, random bits of day. Maybe the older of the two would make a bag of popcorn for an afternoon snack and casually drop off a bowl at my desk. And then there’s our oldest, who is moving to college in a few weeks.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, because if the middle child is a Senior today, that means we have less than a year before they moved off to college too. How did they go from being the little people that you made giggle until their faces turned red, rolling in sheets decorated with flowers and fairies, to young adults preparing to leave for school? I’m barely reconciled with the oldest leaving to even begin contemplating the next kid.

And I feel guilty, because there’s a small part of me looking forward to the freedom and silence of having no children at home. But I think I want that freedom for just a few hours at a time. I’m not ready to be the father of children that have left home. This is the part of parenthood that you know is coming from day one, but when it gets here is a mad rush of chaos that happens too fast.

So yesterday was our last day of summer with all three guaranteed to be in the house. It was a quiet day. We spent some time spent together, just being us. It was nice.