June 12, 1999
Pearls and Wandering
From email before she arrived, we knew that Kathy wanted a lazy vacation, without all that much to do or have to do.
One thing both of us did the previous day and today was sit outside in the hammock chairs and read Connie Willis. She was reading To Say Nothing of the Dog and I was reading Bellwether and I was laughing my head off in a very, very good way. It's really, really obvious from the writing that she knows her science, which is a very rare thing for the majority of SF writers, and she really has this interesting handle on people, trends, and fads even scientific fads that I just loved. I'll recommend it for anyone looking for humor, knowledgable treatment of science and scientific discovery, and a really wacky way of looking at things. Things just happen and the story itself is a marvelous construction that could well be a great example of the butterfly affect in action.
I loved it.
Around lunch time we went off to Boulder, and went to Dot's to eat breakfast and then to the Pearl Street Mall to wander up and down there. John really wanted to go to the Boulder Bookstore, and knowing him, the moment I got in the door I headed in another direction and went to the SF section and bought all the Connie Willis they had in stock. I also picked up an odd, most of a donut pillow that goes around ones waist to support arms and a book at a useful level. I've been having minor problems with my hands when I try to get them to hold a book up for the hours and hours that I like to read them, so thought this might help.
Sure enough, by the time I got back down, John was done and looking for me. Kathy was tagging along behind and we met up at the register, where I signed up for their book club and made pretty much all my money back on the first purchase. That was cool, it's like 10% off everything I buy there, and only $10 to start. A hundred dollar buy of books is as to nothing, now. And now we get money off each time we go to this independent bookstore, so I feel pretty cool. They do both used and new books, so it seems to have a more interesting variety than I usually find.
So we wandered through much of the Mall with a whole armload of Stuff. Wandered into the Body Shop to find nut butter for Kathy, as I only had the mango stuff, which is oilier. And it started to rain harder. We ducked into a record shop, where I held all the Stuff and John went in and came out with a few CD's. Turns out, when we get home, that he's gotten Playstation CD's, not music CD's. One was a CD of really old arcade games, the other was Spyro, the dragon.
Oof. That game just makes me dizzy to watch while John's playing it, likely while anyone else is playing it.
So Kathy and I concentrated more on fixing the gold-pearl Vacuumatic. The bladder was definitely dead, and the feed seemed to be leaking a bit, and it was easy enough to take off, so we did. Pliers with rubber between the jaws to not mark up the section and pretty soon I had a hollow plastic tube and two bits of complex Stuff. One with the nib, the other with the whole feed thingy all kinda dangly with the completely rotted rubber sac bits hanging off. So lots of water, scrubbing, and much dried ink cleaned out of everywhere later, the tube was almost completely transparent, the nib wasn't leaking any more ink, and all the rotted rubber was cleaned out.
Kathy did most of the things that scared me, the stuff and bits and pieces that really felt like something might break or that I just didn't understand. It was kinda cool to see her working on it, but I wasn't as much into it. Now I can see, however, why she really loves doing all this and is learning all the most complex things because they're fun and interesting and it really is pretty keen and convoluted. Lots of pretty parts and improvements that are actually fairly simple if you know what you're doing. The trick is knowing what one is doing. She's learning it all the hard way, too, and doing really, really well at it and doing stuff I wouldn't even dream of doing.
It took more soaking to get all the last bits off, so we left it to soak and went out to the diner on I-25 to eat dinner because I didn't feel like cooking and Kathy said she wanted real chicken fried steak. She didn't get it, though, instead she got deep fried catfish but wished that she could get real hush puppies with it. I got the two-piece fried chicken dinner and John got the three-piece. It was really yummy, crisp and spicy and good.
When we were done we went home, watched John play a bit more and then went to sleep before 10 because we all knew we wanted to be up around 9 or 10 to get an early start on going up into the mountains in the morning