Don Donsplains Ukraine
Saturday, March 5 2022
This morning after the usual coffee and Spelling Bee in the living room, Gretchen went over to the brick mansion on Downs Street to show the 1L apartment to a new prospective tenant, a man named Nathan who seemed really nice. He'd been having trouble getting a place because he has a pet gecko, which seems absurd. I also did a landlording task, driving over to the Brewster Street house to replace a flaky duplex outlet. There were actually two such outlets, but only one had a useful description attached to it. The other was described as being in "my room," but the tenant wasn't there, and I had no idea which of the three rooms belonged to whom. I looked in the two I could get into, and I couldn't really tell what precisely the genders of the people in those rooms were. Beyond that, trying to figure out which outlet is the "flaky" one is never an easy task, since, by definition, it works to some extent. And it might be hidden behind a large piece of furniture. So I immediately gave up and went off to do other things. This involved crossing the Hudson to drive to Red Hook, getting a twelver of Hazy Little Thing and peanuts at the Red Hook Hannaford, and then getting more spoils from the closing office at the office complex. Today I managed to get another 1920X1080 monitor (one with an HDMI input), a WiFi access point, some cables, and a red button that says "That was easy!" when you press it. I also got two more of those windowed panels, both of which managed to fit in the back of the Chevy Bolt if I put the front passenger seat down all the way.
On the drive back home, I stopped at the Tibetan Center thrift store and actually gave them a donation, my fifteen year old 1680 X 1050 ViewSonic monitor, which Gretchen had been using for many years but which I'd recently replaced with a 1920 X 1080 monitor salvaged from the Red Hook office. "Does it work?" the cranky woman at the counter asked. "Yes!" "Put it back there," she growled. While I was there, I didn't see anything I wanted to buy.
Back at the house, Gretchen was angry I hadn't stayed at the Brewster Street job to do the whole thing. She insisted that I could've had a text exchange with the tenant to determine which other outlet needed replacement. But I was sure that would've been impossible and that it was a mistake to have gone over there to begin with given the little information I'd had. It was, as I put it, a "wild goose chase." I should've required the tenant (our least favorite tenant, it bears mentioning) to take a picture of the outlet in question before I even set out. But he's our least favorite tenant, and the outlet in question is somewhere in his room. I'd fixed the outlet in public space where our less-despised tenants could benefit from it.
My brother Don called me this evening and asked if I knew why March 5th was an important day in history. "Is it Stalin's birthday?" I asked. No, Don said, it was not. It was the anniversary of Stalin's death. You have to admit I was pretty close. We spent much of the rest of the call talking not so much about Ukraine (with Don Donsplaining what's going on there, that certainly happened) but instead talking about Christine, our first cousin once-removed, whose husband is apparently divorcing her so he can live alone in what had been their single-wide trailer in a trailer park outside Oklahoma City. Christine lives on a fixed income of $1000/month disability (I'd been wondering what she "does") so her only option, as she sees it, is to move to a low-rent state and into a tiny house. The plan is to put a tiny house in her friend's yard in Kentucky.
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