I shoulda said “Neptune”….

As I write this it’s 4 degrees outside.

4 degrees is stupid cold. Almost surface of Uranus cold. And you know how cold Uranus is.

(NewWifey(tm), looking over my shoulder as I typed that, said “Will you stop with that stupid Uranus joke already? Nobody thinks it’s funny any more.” Tough. I do.)

Anyway, it’s 4 degrees out.

Of course as I write this it’s also 4:30am, the coldest part of the day. Yesterday during the day it was a relatively balmy 7.

Which is why NewWifey(tm) and I decided to see the holiday display at the Orange County Arboretum then.

Let me qualify that: as usual, when I say “we decided” I actually mean “she decided”. I almost always write “we” though, so I don’t feel quite so emasculated.

So, yes. “We” decided when I got home exhausted from work yesterday that we would drive an hour up Rt. 207, past Goshen, all the way to Montgomery, New York to see a bunch of trees strung with lights. Just like the ones we have in our yard. Less than 5 seconds away.

I did put up some token resistance when the idea was first floated, but as usual it booted nothing.

“Honey, I -”

I can’t wait to see the new additions this year! Hurry up, I wanna get there before they run out of hot cocoa!

(One of the arboretum’s big selling points is that every year they add a new bug, flower, or cartoon character display to the pile. It’s always a Big! Surprise! that everyone for miles around drives in to see. They also have a corner table with paper cups, a kettle of hot water, and a basket of Walmart imitation Swiss Miss brand instant cocoa flavored beverage for revelers to enjoy. Along with a donation basket. “Suggested Gift: $5 Adults, $4.50 Kids Under 10“).

“Honey, I -”

I said, hurry up!

Did I mention it was 7 degrees out? When we got in the Nissan we (or rather, I) had to sit and let it idle long enough for the steering fluid to warm to the point where I could turn the wheel again. Then I beeped and NewWifey(tm) joined me. She was carrying the camera case.

I want you to take pictures” she said. “My wussy friends think it’s too cold to go, and I want to show them what they missed.”

NewWifey(tm), forged from generations of hearty midwestern stock who regularly trudged out to the north forty in the middle of a South Dakota (ie: Uranus) blizzard to patch that barbed wire fence “because the cows ain’t gonna do it themselves now, are they“,ย  will without hesitation venture out into conditions that would stop an Emperor Penguin in order to Get Shit Done. Ten years ago I posted this pic, and nothing has changed since. Witness this past November’s storm:

Snow Blowing '16

I’m telling you, she would hands-down win the Hunger Games if it were held at the Casey Station. It wouldn’t even be close.

Going to a local park to look at Christmas lights strung in the shape of insects and orchids when it was 7 degrees out was nothing, therefor. That’s practically thong and flip-flop weather for her.

So off we went in 7 degree weather to take pictures of holiday bug displays and drink envelopes of imitation hot cocoa. Again.

Speaking of taking pictures….

You know how in my previous post I mentioned that I got NewWifey(tm) an Epilady (with upper lip wand!) for Christmas? Well, er, I may have neglected to add that I also got her a speedlight and a zoom lens for her new camera, too. Both used, but…she doesn’t have to know that. Ok?

Another Christmas present I neglected to mention was the cloth face shields. These are small tube tops that you pull over your head and are supposed to keep everything between your eyebrows and your sternum warm while you struggle to find your way back to the cabin in a blinding snow storm.

NewWifey(tm) got us each one, and in true NewWifey(tm) fashion they each had a funny pattern. Mine was some monster with gaping maw and teeth dripping with blood.


Behold the Abominable Wifey!

Abominable Wifey

Hmmm. An improvement. In fact, one might say one of her 2017 favorite looks.

Hideous artificial visages in place, we set out on the icy paths to gawk at –

a chipmunk:

A chipmunk

a grasshopper:

A grasshopper

who’s about to be eaten by this bird with the bleeding legs:

A robin

Audrey II from “Little Shop of Horrors”:

A green flower

a bee:

A bee

a beehive:

A beehive

a beehive hairdo:

A beehive wife

a racoon that swallowed a dancing sunflower:

A racoon

a frozen spider:

A frozen spider

and a small intestine:

An intestine

BTW, all of the above shots were taken in my camera’s “Program” mode. I set it to what I hoped was an appropriate ISO (12,000) and let its little computer brainย  figure the rest. Not because I’m too stupid to do it myself (*cough*), but because…7 degrees, remember? I couldn’t feel my fingers, let alone the tiny knobs they were supposed to manipulate. I fired the shutter button half the time by mashing a fist down onto the camera and hoping it was in the right general area.

I really needed to warm up.

But when I suggested to NewWifey(tm) that thawing out for an hour in the arboretum’s public hall might be in order, or maybe even calling it a day and retiring back to Dangerhouse, I got this:

A wifey glares

Uh-oh. I know that look.

We forged ahead.

And saw…

two fish:

A Fish

being stalked by two herons:

A heron

a rat:

A hedgehog

It’s a hedgehog!” said NewWifey(tm). Uh-huh. Sure it is, honey.

a pink tree:

A pink tree

a Vegas showgirl:

A peacock

and a family of soon-to-be venison:

Deer lights

Finally, finally, NewWifey(tm) had her fill and we started back. There were a ton of other displays along the way, but honestly my hands were just too cold to work the camera. I did grab one or two on the loop back though, like this hot underage sprite:

A sprite

I woulda made a move on her, but this whole sexual harassment hysteria has really crimped my style lately. Plus, a pat on her ass would probably result in a 30,000-volt response. I’ll stick to harassing NewWifey(tm)’s unplugged ass.

Nearby that electric Lolita we also spotted:

A kingfisher and goblin

Uh…a kingfisher attacking an orc? A winged Martian asking a bunny and his feathered headpiece to take him to their leader? Not sure.

One last thing. As we came around a curve at the far end of the grounds there was a statue of Pan, unlit, that you could barely see in the dark. I snapped a pic with a few lights in the back just to see how the Nikon’s 24 megapixels decided to balance it. This is it, no flash, just program mode. Waddaya think:

A statue and lights

I’m pretty sure I could have done better on my own…but not by much. I mean, depth of field obviously. But it’s good to know at least that when I’m sporting 10 Good Humor Bomb Pops at the end of each paw instead of fingers, the Nikon will at least give me something serviceable.

And with that, we turned and made for the clubhouse:

A look back

I’ve never been so happy to gulp down a paper cup of Walmart brand imitation hot cocoa flavored drink in my life. I had two.

When I could finally feel my feet again, and after peeing out two cups of Walmart brand imitation hot cocoa flavored drink, we made for the Nissan. Another 5 minutes of warming up was needed again before the wheel would turn, and then we were off.

An hour later we were back at Dangerhouse, for some real hot cocoa (the recipe on the back of the Hershey’s cocoa powder box is actually really good) and an assortment of liquors to enhance the proceedings. We popped a Perry Como Christmas album in the Wollensak, hooked the Nikon up to the TV, and kicked back in the recliner to watch a slideshow of the pics I took.

NewWifey(tm) was really impressed. “I can’t believe how much better that Nikon is than your Nintendo DSi!” She snuggled closer, and I poured more cocoa. She spiked hers with Amaretto, I went with Cointreau. Then we had another. She snuggled closer.

When we finally got the the end of the shoot she sighed. “That was really nice. Thanks for bringing me out there. I know cold really isn’t your thing. But maybe I can make it up to you” and she reached up a hand to pull me towards her.

“You know, a nice view of Uranus really would warm me up” I said.

The hand reaching up turned into a fist, and she clocked me right above the ear with it. “I told you I hated that stupid joke!” And she stormed off to the bedroom.

Dammit. Overplayed my hand again. I pressed my cup of cocoa to the lump that was forming on the side of my head.

Oh well, at least not all was lost. That electric Lolita is still set up at least through the New Year….

Speaking of, I wish all of you much happiness, real cocoa, and warm companionship in 2018.

And please, this coming year let’s all try to be a little nicer to the environment, shall we?

A Brace

Thank you.

39 thoughts on “I shoulda said “Neptune”….

  1. Ha.. a wonderful commentary and great photos. I love your sense of humor and writing style. Where in South Dakota is Newwifey from? I’m a South Dakota girl–from Murdo, on Interstate 90 (formerly Hwy 16) 50 miles east of Wall Drug. If Wifey doesn’t know what Wall Drug is, she’s been lying to you. You need to figure out where she was really born and bred!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Judy – I’m so thrilled my silly story gave you a smile!

      NewWifey(tm)’s family was from Lead, and her great-grandfather was for a while the sheriff of Sturgis, in Mead County. Her grandparents were swindled by hustlers who sold them land they promised had a silver vein, and they lost everything. So they moved from the Black Hills down to the Ozarks at the top of Arkansas (near Mountain Home). NewWifey(tm) says Wall Drug actually was built sometime around when they left, so although she’s familiar with it she’s never been. Maybe I’ll rectify that sometime in the future….

      Thanks again, and Happy New Year to you and yours! ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. I loved this. These light sculptures, I dunno. I am with your wife on cold temps. Down here, (usually) winters are South Dakota cold. Not this year (its in the low 50s now?). In normal times, I figure if the temps get up to 2 digits positive (+9 is OK), the dogs and I take a walk. 7 is pretty nice for a January morning. I also never get tired of the Uranus joke because I figure it probably is… ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

        1. Ok, in all seriousness – and I’m not joking here – from your blog writings and the opus you sent me (which I’m almost done with, now that the distracting holiday mayhem is simmering down), this is what impresses me:

          I write silly little stories, 2 – 3 thousand words perhaps apiece. My cast of characters never changes, my writing style basically never changes.

          YOU write book length works that sustain a reader’s interest over tens of thousands of words. Your plots build, vary, and stay fresh. You develop multiple characters each with a distinct personality. Your use of words is adroit. Even your cover art is awesome. (Ok, that last one was a bit of a reach. But they are pretty cool.)

          So what I get from all that is actually more a sense of inferiority that I’ll never rise to your level, but rather be stuck making what are basically pamphlet length poop jokes coupled with the odd recipe that nobody will ever make.

          Therefor, a word of praise from you is praise indeed, in my book. No kidding.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. And I get incentive from you (and Jim) and others who like to play with words and characterisations and who live life with humour and panache. So, my thanks to you.
            Yes, my artwork sucks – can’t cook, can’t draw, can’t take pics (shaking hand syndrome doesn’t go down well with camera-like things), I can tell a story (good fibber all through my childhood). So you get two of the four, which leaves this one: draw? You have an artistic eye, and so does your partner – but can you make a meaningful picture from a pencil, paint, or crayons?

            Liked by 1 person

              1. No, this is it. It started just as a means of keeping me awake when I was working overnights, and then just kinda became habit. It’s a nice release for when my professional life constrains my use of words so severely, so there’s that aspect as well. And I was once offered a job writing for a tv sit-com by a producer who somehow found my old blog, but I didn’t want to move to the west coast. So…just this.

                Liked by 1 person

              1. Ok. *deep breath* I guess since you said such nice things about me too, I don’t mind it so much now that you’re cheating on me. But dammit, I better get flowers on Valentine’s Day still.

                Liked by 1 person

              2. I don’t do flowers unless I get [ wait for it ] a specially prepared meal first, followed by a super-duper dessert [ fresh fruit involved ] and then, and only maybe, will I consider flowers. Of course, the flowers come from my garden, so it will consist of frangipani, hibiscus (yellow and orange) and canna (wild and hot colours to warm you up). And don’t tell your wife or my husband about any of it!

                Liked by 1 person

  3. Another LoL from this end … Happy New Year to you and yours. The Chinese New Year is the Red Earth Dog, and that’s me, digging in the dirt for the little treasures from the year to come (and getting a bit dirty in the process!).

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve tracked down and plan to start reading the works of cagedunn. You haven’t steered me wrong yet. However, I’ve got writer’s envy. Lately my muse has been too drunk and lazy to be of any help. Worse yet, she’s not sharing the hootch. I’m sure working full time and launching two businesses simultaneously has nothing to do with it, and positive the physical issues aren’t factors, right?

        For the record, I grew up in NE Iowa near Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois. I remember -50ยบF on the thermostat. Nowadays my idea of “freezing” is the low 40’s (that’s ABOVE zero) or – God forbid – the 30’s. Ironically, I’ve lived in Phoenix when we had snow. It’s rare, but it does happen. I’ve been in Phoenix when our overnight low was into the ‘teens. It’s been a few decades, but it’s happened. This week we’re in the 40’s overnight but daytime in the 70’s. So it’s all worth the trade-off.

        One bit of advice: it’s still technically the holiday season, so a shot of peppermint schnapps is perfectly appropriate. I’d forgotten about it, but a colleague lost her voice and was battling the mighty and unforgiving bug. Yesterday she sounded and looked like death warmed over. A couple of shots of 90-proof schnapps and she was back at work today, voice in place. She said she has a little scritch left in her throat, but wasn’t sure if it was remnants of the virus or the last of the scars from the schnapps. But she wasn’t complaining about it. She’s convinced that stuff literally burned out whatever bug she had.

        She might have a point. 90 proof must be a hell of an antiseptic.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Your muse isn’t sharing her booze? Well why the hell did you choose an Irish muse anyway?? Jesus. Amateurs.

          *sigh* Will you adopt me? I want to consider 30’s to be unimaginably cold, too.

          Yes! Another reason to drink schnapps! Thank you, thank you, thank you babe!


          Liked by 1 person

          1. Ha! You think I CHOSE my muse? That bitch tracked me down and dug her claws into me all on her own, thankyouverymuch.

            And I’m game for adopting you and Wifey whenever, as long as you can deal with my pack rat spousal unit. He’s not quite to the Hoarders television show level. Yet. But he’s trying super hard to get there. And my style is spartan. Urg.

            At least he and Wifey can talk tools, and I can teach you how to work electronics which don’t pertain to on-air radio.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. It is with a lot of trepidation that I say… you are a saint. There, I said it.
    A saint.
    the idea of facing that type of temperature, going outside a heated vehicle to snap pictures is enough to make a Brazilian have a coronary and drop dead. We do not like to have anything to do with Uranus. Trust me on that.


    Happy New Year!!!!! Stay warm…

    (and I really wanted to see your mask… hers was pretty awesome!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well of course you’re gonna freeze if you’ve had a Brazilian! For godsake Sally, you evolved to have fur there for a reason – to keep warm. Waxing it off leaves you vulnerable to the cold! Jeez, kids today.

      Oh wait…you said you ARE Brazilian.

      Never mind.

      (Although I’ve seen “Carnaval do Brasil”. and it sure seems like a LOT of those girls – and some guys – focus an awful lot on Uranus. Am I wrong?)

      Ha! There’s no way I could become a saint. You have to go through a process of canonization first, right? Well let me tell you, I’ve fallen off motorcycles before and it was awful. Can you imagine how much worse it would be being shot out of a canon?! No thank you. (Although as Saint Danger, my feast day would last for WEEKS if I had any say in it.)

      Maybe next year I’ll have more luck teaching NewWifey(tm) how to use her own camera, and we’ll get that shot of my face mask. But don’t count on it any time soon. She’s a woman, remember, and this is technology we’re talking about. But I’ll do my best to mansplain it to her anyway ๐Ÿ™‚

      Happy New Year to you, your own NewHubby(tm), and all the fur machines you’re currently harboring, Sally!!

      Liked by 1 person

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