Another cool morning here in Portlandia. Smoke bellows from the sausage factory chimney next door as I look out over blue skies mixed with transparent white clouds. Leaves are turning color and the homes on the hill in the distance are no longer shrouded in a forest fire haze. I’ve made it to another Friday with little to report. If times were different, we might have been riding a camel in Egypt today, but instead we’re grounded in our downtown apartment. Our only hope is that we’re able to get out of here in December for a family trip to Kauai, otherwise all plans are on hold. Two Viking cruises are booked for next year, but the likeliness of them actually happening is minimal. My wife is watching episodes of The Amazing Race to quench her thirst for travel. Playoff Baseball continues to keep me mildly entertained. 

What’s for dinner tonight is the big question? Last Friday, we drove out of the neighborhood for carry out. Since that time, I’ve had major repairs done to the car following a flat tire incident. When I think of all the inconvenient to dangerous moments when that could have happened, we were so lucky. The blowout thankfully occurred on an exit ramp at reduced speeds within a half-hour of our home. In the past few months, we’ve driven it to Glacier National Park and to the Oregon Coast several times, so the circumstances could have been much worse. It’s now ready to go someplace, but we aren’t, strapped with family and dog responsibilities while struggling with cash flow. A short drive for food this evening would be a welcome relief from another long, boring week. 

We started on the early episodes of Fargo last night; a repeat performance for me, but featuring the always entertaining Billy Bob Thornton. I’m already in Season Four, as they release each episode weekly, while she needs to catch up. We go to our separate rooms during the day, but enjoy joint viewing after dinner each night. I’m watching baseball and The Sinner, often at the same time, in my office, while she and Tally control the living room TV. Every day is pretty much the same routine, with the exception of trips to her daughter’s home, grocery shopping, my cooking night, separate dog walks, and an occasional lunch with friends. 

There will be no “Leadership Meeting” today, as once was a standing Friday tradition before the pandemic. We did get together this week for a couple of beers before crushing this year’s disappointing grape crop. We only got about 23 gallons of juice out of our efforts that will eventually be bottled. It’s about a third of a traditional good harvest, but certainly better than last year’s mold disaster that yielded nothing. This year’s lack of output also meant a change in procedure. (See Post #1478). We did not use the big stainless tank for storage and will have to blend the 2020 with the 2017 vintage to effectively utilize the wooden cask. Sadly, with all the work and costs relative to overall production, it will be the last year of growing grapes. The wrath of nature has taken another victim. No whining or wining!