Pundit Speak

May you live in interesting times.

Never a curse for an editorial writer but nobody wants to read polemics today. Not even me.

I tried to get some personal interest going about the kerfuffle over the new Muppet movie. Yawn. Rufus chewed on the rugs about the increasing threshold for itemized medical expense deductions. Ho hum. Election news. Who cares?

2011 was an interesting year in Puffin Land.

The birth of my unexpected first great-granddaughter and my friend Bob’s expected second grandson added joy but we also experienced the death of Anne’s most-favorite cousin and Nancy’s father.

Bob beat back lymphoma.

Anne now has a removable cast.

I got back to North Puffin in January, just in time to shovel us out of a record snow year. We should get an average of 67.4 inches of snow each winter which means October through April or so. We about doubled that and most of it waited for me to get there. Great, white gobs of greasy, grimy, icicles, and me without a spoon — I did all the plowing with the bucket loader because my snowblower was buried behind the construction materiel in the barn.

The record snows led to record melts and record high water in Vermont’s lakes and rivers which led to record flood claims. Then Irene rampaged through the state and did it again. North Puffin was exceptionally lucky. The house is more than 20 feet above the new Lake Champlain flood stage so we merely lived on an island until the early flood waters receded. And the hurricane which devastated southern Vermont just watered our apple tree.

Anne and I did a bunch of telephone diagnosis on the pellet stove when she was next to the stove and I was next to the beach. The stove was recalcitrant in January and rebellious in November. There’s good news. The early estrangement turned out to be a cleaning issue and the Fall failure a broken brain. We were able to get the stove running both times, all thanks to the phone and pictures-by-email.

Technology helped Bob and me when I had to pack up his tons of gear down here and drive it home for him. That was my first use of Skype which meant he could see what I was describing and we got all the astronomy parts in the right boxes.

Anne and I will definitely use Skype the next time she has to disassemble the pellet stove.

Broke: I made the boat payments for our body shop when the Honda collapsed right in front of a very patient cop. Got to do it a second time when a steel pipe (the kind that supports a parking meter) jumped in front of the Camaro. Then Anne had the apple tree trip her and break her leg and we started making payments on the orthopod’s boat.

He has a bigger boat than the body shop guy.

A commercial client told me they “weren’t inclined to pay [our] bill” this fall. I’ve run both a small business and an arts council for more than 20 years and I’ve met plenty of slow payers — and some actual deadbeats — but I’ve not heard that one before. Looks like I’ll find out how collections work.

I suspect bill collectors have a bigger boat than I do, too.

My back porch project moved along nicely but slowly. I closed in the north wing and did most of the finish work. It looks good and breaks the worst of the winter winds coming off the lake.

An interesting year.

I had my toes in the ocean and my ass in the sand yesterday. It was a very quiet Christmas. The beach was overcast but the water was quite nice. A girl named Nola skipped through the waves and was part of about four generations there. A 2-1/2 year old, a young couple, their parents, and the parents’ parents.

Life goes on.

5 thoughts on “Pundit Speak

  1. Interesting that you mention “collection” as a memorable issue.

    In the years that I sold and shipped my nonfiction book across hemispheres, I only failed to collect from two clients. One was a very large and influencial education group in a Northern State, and the other was a small, Independent School District in Texas. Both past due amounts were individually less than $300.

    Out of almost a quarter million dollars in billing, the chickenshit IRS disallowed my $600 write-off.

    On the bright side, during those busy years I never hit a parking meter or broke a leg; and Mrs George’s elderly parents survived well into the new millenium — even if I can’t spell it.

    More currently, this past year saw my cat population decrease by 10% — even with the addition of two kittens, one with ringworm. We survived the 2011 drought and have made preparation for surviving the projected one of 2012.

    An up-and-down year.

    — George

  2. I need to figure out why US Airways is billing me an additional additional $150. My admin changed a flight and they charged $150. That was billed and paid. But there’s a mystery $150 that I am not inclined to pay. OTOH, me being a small fry and them being a bigger one means my disinclination will cause me a great deal of difficulty.

    I dislike calling these types of things because the oh-so-polite people they put on the other ends of the phones are obdurate and well-trained to block and obfuscate. How willing am I to be frustrated today, hmm?

  3. Gekko, please let me call them for you. Oh, I don’t think I would be any more effective at reconciliation than you, but I have not been obfuscated since I got on Medicare. It doesn’t cover that.

    — George

  4. I’m lucky not to be buying anyone’s boats, ‘cept maybe the estate attorney’s, but the trust of which I am trustee will cover that. I wonder if it would be out of bounds to write with interest of the estate attorney. She’s a demure little thing under forty in high heels and no ring and a name that suggests two older sisters named Faith and Hope. But no, however loving and understanding my audience, I Am A Professional and So Is She and that ends another pipe dream at its inception.

    I am a little awed, tbh, that g’s dad and mine died in the same season. Not that I ascribe meaning to coincidence. Religion, as they say, is a smile on a dog, after all.

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