Monday, March 30, 2020

I only played them cos they were suited

Those were the words that my opponent uttered when he flipped over a turned flush, beating my flopped set of Kings. Idiot. I'd raised to 5x preflop from UTG and he'd called from the button with 8-2 suited, flopped middle pair with a flush draw and we'd got it all in on the flop. What a fucking clown. I guess that's just poker but I still want to berate him for being so daft.

But I can't bring myself to do it - I just shake my head, reach into my pocket to rebuy and casually ask him if he's old enough to be playing as he looks like he should still be in school. "You know how old I am Dad" is his reply. He's just won about 85 pence ($1) from me and he's not even going to give me the chance to win it back as he announces that he's leaving with a profit and wants to watch a movie. 

It's the 1st weekend of lockdown and we are having a home poker session just for something different to do - I've only just recently taught Mrs AC to play whilst the boys have been learning for a couple of years so every once in a while we have a game. I never seem to win though - as bad as I think I run in casino games I can probably double that at our home games but at least my losses are only small plus I'm closer to the beer in the fridge. 

So rewind to the previous weekend and when I picked up the boys they couldn't have been in more differing moods - my eldest opened the door looking morose and declared sadly that his school would be shut for the foreseeable future. My younger son was virtually skipping through the house and told me the same news but with a level of glee in his voice that only an 11 year old can have - he was so excited that I thought he was going to explode. I don't have the heart to tell him that the majority of the next few weeks is going to be spent cooped up inside with his brother and mother. 

There's no official lockdown announced at this point in time but social distancing has been recommended. But given most people have read this as "cram yourself into the busiest train possible and go to the pub as usual in the evening" a full lockdown was announced on Monday after I'd taken the boys home on Sunday evening.

The 1st week of lockdown hasn't been too bad as I've actually been quite busy but the next couple of weeks will be much quieter work-wise so I'm not sure how they will go. Mrs AC had run out of meaningful work to do by Thursday so has binge watched an 80s British comedy called Only Fools and Horses - luckily there's another 5 series left to watch so that should fill some time. If you've never seen it I highly recommend it - it's one of the best loved British comedy series and here are a couple of classic scenes and She's also tried to tempt me with daytime drinking but given I've had work to do I've resisted so far - next week will probably see my resolve tested. 

There's a park near my house so we've at least had a touch of exercise most days but I really can't see this subsiding for a couple of months at the minimum - even when this is over I think it will take the rest of the year for the world to feel anywhere close to normal again. 

If we get to the end of April it will be the longest that I've not travelled on a long haul flight in about 6 years but there's a good chance that a large portion of the world's airlines will have gone bust by then so maybe my next trip to the US will be by ship - a couple of days spent crossing the Atlantic seems quite relaxing but I'm not sure how practical it will be for getting back home for the weekend. 

How is everyone else coping with lockdown? 

Sunday, March 22, 2020

It’ll feel just like being in Vegas

This was the sight that greeted me down the beer aisle when I'd fought off the zombie hordes at the supermarket on my return to London - screw getting a lifetime's supply of toilet paper or enough hand sanitiser to clean up even the most germ ridden of children. I wanted booze - Lots of it. I'm certainly not stock-piling or panic buying but the only thing that's going to make an enforced extended stay at home slightly bearable is the thought of getting a few beers in me every evening (something I actually rarely do at home but given I effectively can't travel for at least a month I need something to keep my spirits up). I've also got a cell mate - Mrs AC who decided against travelling back to NY and will probably be here for the duration as well. So booze is going to be the thing that keeps up both sane.

So back to the supermarket - the only large packs of beer they had left was Corona. It seems that the UK has reached peak stupidity as well given everything else has been cleaned out so I filled my trolley with that - I did ask the manager if I could get a bulk buying discount given no one else was touching the stuff but I just got laughed at. Now I rarely even drink Corona in the UK, let alone at home, but it's usually my go-to drink at the poker table - every place has it so I don't have to waste a waitress's time asking what beers they have plus it's not overly strong so I can drink quite a few and still be able to see straight enough at the cards.

So after the kids have gone back to their mum's I'm going to play the video poker app I've got on my phone, tell Mrs AC to put on something skimpy and tip her a buck every time she brings me a beer - it'll feel just like being in Vegas!

I haven't told Mrs AC yet that she's going to role play as a Vegas cocktail waitress for the evening - I might need to ply her with something much stronger in order for her to agree. It's a good job the spirits aisle was well stocked on my shopping trip!

What are everyone's plans for getting through this?

Friday, March 13, 2020

Zombie apocalypse

I don't know if they did it deliberately but a British TV channel aired the movie 28 days later the other evening - quite apt I thought and I ended up watching that plus the sequel 28 weeks later with Mrs AC whilst we were up in Scotland pet and house sitting for my mother.

We then watched Shaun of the dead which I thought was the much more realistic way that the world is going to end - more so given the hero's major plan is to sit in the pub and wait for all the nonsense to blow over.

But given the current state of affairs I'm in a quandary as to what to do - I need to be in the US over the next few months and Mrs AC needs to head back home as well.

I have narrowed my choices down to these options:

A - Stay in Scotland with Mrs AC. Pros: More time with Mrs AC, lowest amount of human contact. Cons: my mother will be home next week, won't see the cost centres, my mother will be home next week.

B - send Mrs AC home to NY but remain in Scotland. Pros: Hmm, not sure but still remains a minimal amount of human contact. Cons: see point A, did I mention that my mother will be back?

C - travel to New York as if nothing is happening. Pros: I'm not sat in Scotland being wittered at by my mother. Cons: 8.6 million potential zombies within 25 miles, not seeing the cost centres, potentially getting trapped when the military blow up the bridges and tunnels and ending up going as mad as Will Smith in I am Legend

D - head back to London and cancel any further travel plans. Pros: I'm not sat in Scotland being wittered at by my mother, see the cost centres, ex Mrs AC might become a zombie and I get to be the one who takes her out. Cons: 8.9 million potential zombies within 25 miles, I'm not sure how much toilet paper I have at home.

Please let me know what you'd do in my situation.

Edited to add the below:

What an absolute clusterfuck. The day after I wrote this they announced that the UK was going to be part of the travel ban - oh fucking joy. Double fucking joy considering it’s a Saturday and neither I nor Mrs AC can get hold of anyone work related to discuss travel and work plans.

The original plan was for Mrs AC and me to fly to NY on Wednesday but this wasn’t possible for me since the ban came into effect for non US residents after Monday’s flights - Mrs AC would have been ok flying back to NY without me but would have been made to self isolate (no idea how this is going to work or even be policed but that’s an entirely separate matter).

So my options were then limited to travelling to NY on Monday or not at all for at least the next 30 days, knowing that if I left the US I wouldn’t be able to return for the same period. We debated a few options but my mind was made up on Sunday after seeing how flights from mainland Europe were being treated to a 6-8 hour wait at CBP and customs. There’s no way I’m getting on a 7 hour flight if there’s going to be that long a wait at the other end.

As Mrs AC would have had to work from home for 2 weeks if she went back to NY she’s opted to stay in the UK for the foreseeable future and we are both flying back to London on Wednesday as anything more than 2 hours with my mother in Scotland would have me going mad, or killing her.

Fuck knows when I’m going to get back over to the US but I’ve got a few stories of poker and drunken idiocy I need to write up so hopefully this will give me the time to get those done. In the meantime stay safe kids - if the world really does go to ratshit the attackers can be stopped by removing the head or destroying the brain. And if you get hungry there’s a Breville out the back and John will do you a toastie.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Inane or insane

I'm a fully functioning adult. I think I am anyway. I might be far too partial to adult beverages and bouts of idiocy following those adult beverages but I'm pretty sure I still qualify as a functioning adult. But there's one person who thinks I'm not - my mother. I swear she thinks I'm 12 - well that is my mental age so maybe she's got one thing right.

Now if you're a regular reader of my ramblings you'll know one thing about her - she's as mad as a box of frogs. Every time she tells me about anything in her life it usually breaks the dial on my insaneometer. Or it will be inane. She'll regale anyone who listens with the most banal story of everyday life as if any trip out of the house is the search for the holy grail. The other day she actually rang me up and wittered about going to the local grocery store with the highlight being that they'd run out of the yogurts she usually buys and she'd bought a different brand.

But despite her obvious insanity she's actually very self sufficient - she lives in the middle of nowhere but has a wide circle of friends and often travels down to London to see my cost centres and abroad to visit family - which is why I'm now writing this up. One of my brothers lives abroad and every year or so my mother travels over to annoy see him and visit friends she's made. This obviously involves booking a flight - which can take her forever as she procrastinates the merits of each individual flight option and regularly rings me up to ask various details about aircraft types, seating options and meals. My usual response is "how the fuck would I know?" because she's asking what meal they will be serving on a 6 hour flight. Now when I travel I'm usually in the pointy end but my mother will only ever book economy (coach) so asking me anything about seats is a waste of time but I'm sure some people manage to survive in the cramped seats without starving to death or resorting to cannibalism. I'm imagining meal times involve some sort of communal trough but that's about the height of my knowledge.

It's taken her 5 weeks of dithering but she's actually worked out what flights she wants and is just about to book it but there's a problem. Her neighbour, who usually looks after her cat and dog when she's away, is away at the same time. Can I go up to Scotland to look after them? I'd already told her that I'd probably be in the UK and I can work from virtually anywhere so fine - I may need to take a day trip or two down to London for meetings but I can work around it.

Normally what I'd do in this situation is fly up to Scotland, coinciding with her southbound flight so I get the absolute minimum of interaction with her and pick up her car before reversing the process on the way back. But this time it's different. She's got some jobs for me around the house plus she needs to show me (in her words) "how things work as I'd have no idea how to work things around her house". This is despite me having been there numerous times over the last 5 years since she moved there, including at least once every year whilst she's been away. Oh fucking joy. Not only is she going to witter at me for 2 days, I've got to do manual labour around the house (come the year zero agrarian revolution I'm the first to get shot as apart from some kitchen burn and knife scars I've got soft hands that refuse to do manual labour).

But it doesn't end there - I've then got to drive her to the airport whilst she witters at me, the last time I did this one of her topics included whether her dog would remember living in the town we were driving through. Fuck knows what actually goes on in her head to have these thoughts but the 1 hour journey feels a lot longer. Hopefully a fuel tanker will crash into us, putting me out of my misery. I feel sorry for the poor sod who has to sit next to her on the plane though - that 6 hour flight is going to feel like days as she doesn't use the excuse of only having met someone as a reason not to witter constantly at them.

I'll at least get a day of drinking under my belt - at the airport, on the flight plus a couple of beers at the station waiting for the train. Then it's a day or so listening to her wittering before I get to do some of her household jobs - hopefully one of them will involve a chainsaw and I can arrange a little accident!

On a more positive note there was quite a lot of booze leftover from our stay at Christmas (which I secreted in her garage) which is probably near its expiry date so at least I'll have something fun to do when I'm up there!

I actually wrote the above earlier this week whilst travelling to the airport but forgot to post it - once I arrived these are the instructions my mother needed 2 days to give me:

How to use the oven - ignoring the fact I cooked Christmas lunch for us all

How to use the tv - it's a fucking tv how complicated can it be? Completely ignoring the fact it used to be mine and I gave it to her when I upgraded mine a few years ago

Tidy up her garage because she keeps falling over things - apparently it's easier to do this than wait for the light to switch on so she can see anything that she might fall over. I did manage to tidy up the beer I'd left in there at Christmas but my enthusiasm for anything more productive waned as soon as I'd found it.

Jet wash the patio and path - this is fine and I've written a message in her path to welcome visitors. I did write a ruder one but didn't think she'd appreciate that - I forgot to take a photo before erasing it so you'll have to make do with the politer version.

Go to speak to someone down the road about their gate letting their dogs out - they probably already know as their dogs go missing

Thank her friend for the piece of cake she sent me - her friend who came to Christmas sent me a piece of her birthday cake. Her birthday was 6 weeks ago and my mother ate the cake. So I have to thank her for a piece of 6 week old cake which I didn't actually see? Fuck right off

Be careful driving her new car because it has a turbo - she has no idea what a turbo is or does but is convinced it makes it faster than an F1 car. Me pointing out it's only a 3 cylinder 1.1 litre with about 100hp apparently made no difference. I don't think I've ever owned a car with less power. I did clean it though - she's had this car for less than a month and it was a health hazard with hair and drool everywhere as she often has the dog in there - I hope the drool was from the dog anyway.

Water various plants - even this was made more complicated by her writing a list of everything in the house and detailing watering frequency. But instead of writing obvious notes such as "blue flower in the conservatory" she's detailed their botanical names as if I'd know what a hydrangea is - she might as well have called them Steve, Frank or Dave for all the help it made.

I've barely had any human interaction since Tuesday but luckily Mrs AC (who I haven't seen since Super Bowl weekend) is arriving from NY on Friday so I'll need to pop down to London to pick her and the boys up - then I'm likely going to be over in LA & Vegas towards the end of the month.