It’s been a while, and a bunch of stuff has happened since my last post. I know all of you have been wondering what’s up, all three of you, so here goes… The slightly svelte and totally delicious Mrs Chef has returned home. After 8 weeks of vacationing in the frozen north, she came to the conclusion that a firmer hand on the tiller, um, yeah, was needed to get me going, and get out of here.
About 15 minutes after she walked in the door, I handed her the wooden spoon and thereby transferred responsibility for the home and hearth, to her very competent hands. I had a beer to celebrate and she started cleaning. We have different ways to deal with stress, I guess. I thought I had run a pretty tight ship, but guys aren’t always aware of how to organize the silverware just so, so a bit of rejiggering went on, but I was more than happy to compromise on a whole host of issues.
While she was gone, I went and did something I had been wanting to do for quite some time. I had always been interested in photography and had muddled along with middle of the road cameras for many years. Back when I was still working for the school district, I took an interest in RC Aircraft and helped start an RC program at the middle school. Along the way, I made a big score at an auction of about a half dozen old-school RC Airplanes, which are great for hanging on the wall, but need a bit of work to get them in the air any time soon. Then the D word came into my life. Drones. Drones with high end cameras that made me think that it was time to up my game, as it were. And literally I did, up to 1800 feet. Got me a DJI Phantom 3 with a 2.7K HD Video camera, that can also take 12 Megapixel photos. It arrived, and after spending 4 frustrating hours fighting to get the controller and drone to talk to each other, I pulled a rabbit out of my hat at the end to complete the hand shake. After that, it was awesome. In fact, it turned into the classic tale of boy meets drone, boy loves drone, boy loses drone and is devastated. Boy then finds comfort in the propellers of another, better looking, but half priced drone. A modern love story, if there ever was one.
The day I took it up for the first time, we’d been having little thunderstorm cells popping up here and there. As I lifted off, a huge, horizon to horizon rainbow was strutting her stuff and I thought, man this is going to be a great video and, I, uh, forgot to push the record button and had to settle for a teeny little rainbow and had to skedaddle home before my new drone got rained on. The next few days were filled with prairie fires and sunsets. My inner 12 year old was having a grand old time, while I smiled indulgently and plotted my next flight. That got interrupted with a certain much missed female that came back home, and I told my inner 12 year old to take a hike while I reacquainted myself with my wife. Knowing him, he probably peaked.
Then came the day that you read about, but think will never happen to you. It was foggy at sunrise, with different layers of clouds breaking up and looking all dramatic and stuff. I thought I would just run the drone up and get a short video coming up through the cloud layers. There are horror stories of drones just flying away, but these were from sketchy characters, with tattoos and weird tastes in music. You can draw your own conclusions. I was a mature individual with more common sense than these guys could spell. What I didn’t reckon on was my inner 12 year old running the show, with predictable results. About the time it hit 400 feet in altitude, a very strong south wind took control of my little bitty drone and the last I had contact with it, it was 2 miles away and 2000 feet in altitude and rising. It was all over but the shouting, by that time. I won’t even mention me running down the road, pleading for my little drone to come home. The worst part was coming in the house and telling the wife “I’m an idiot.” Not a big surprise to her, I’m sure, but I was pretty bummed. They say the best lessons are the most painful ones. My take on that is, if you ain’t cheating you ain’t tryin’. I spent a few days moping around the house and then got ahold of the boys that sold me the drone. Told them my tale of “whoa!” dropped a few jokes on them, plus one or two pearls of wisdom, and made a deal for a better drone at half the price. My father would have been so proud. Didn’t tell the wife, because her idea of an idiot is someone that does the same stupid thing twice, thinking there will be different results.
The Fed Ex guy pulls into the driveway, I go out to meet him, the wife watches suspiciously from the window and the dog barks because that’s his job. Fed Ex guy asks if I am home in the mornings. I had seen him drive past our place about 10am, it was now 3 pm. I told him I am home all the time, being retired is like that. He gave me the guy look of “you lucky dog” and handed me my new drone. The reason he asked when I was home, is you have to sign for drones in a box. I signed my name, he said congratulations, I told him it’s not all beer and sports watching, I work for my wife now. He said there’s always a down side and drove off into the sunset. I walked into the house and explained how this time, I’m not gonna be an idiot. Uh huh, she said. I fetched my own beer that night. And spent another 2 stupid hours making the controller and drone say hi to each other.
The next day it rained all morning and Sweet Pea was moping around the house, because we gave him tick medicine and because he hates the rain. He finally starts to perk up around 1pm and I let him out and notice him sniffing something in the driveway. It looked like a dead squirrel at first, and I wondered why the wife hadn’t mentioned stepping over a dead squirrel when getting the mail. I looked again and saw that it’s a snapping turtle the dog is nosing. I run out and yell for him to get away from that thing. Luckily, the turtle had his head tucked in his shell and wasn’t the angry type. The dog decided he better listen to me and I hustled him into the house. We already have one big idiot living here, no need to add to that number with a dog playing Where’s Waldo with a snapping turtle and losing.