Patching the Patagonia, and some lakes

Took a little time today to perform some routine maintenance on the Patagonia. Remember how excited I was to finally bring home a Nano Puff and retire the 1980’s classic I’d been wearing for 25 years?

Well, as you could likely ascertain by how often that baby is donned in pictures here on the old blog, that coat has been loved. I wasn’t sure when I bought it if it would stand up to Wisconsin winters, but it hasn’t let me down yet. I love it more than I can say.

It does, however, have that one dark side, that one persistent Achille’s Heel. The Patagonia is lightweight. It is sleek and slick and sliced from synthetics so fine that most of us born before 2012 are naturally skeptical of its anti-abrading abilities. We who grew up in corduroy and 30# jackets know that it is impossible for something so entirely reminiscent of silk to survive in the rough and tumble outdoors. Our parachute pants were protected from the elements. Our nylon was precious.

Well, I can tell you that this jacket defies belief in the durability arena. Almost.

I haul wood in that baby all the time. I run roughshod through the woods. I stuff it here and throw it there, and honestly, nary a snag is to be found. There are all those threads that static out, making me believe the end is nigh, but none of them have gone anywhere. And there is that one spot on my shoulder where I stick the obligatory COVID screening sticker that you wear like a badge into every hospital in the world these days. For the record, those stickers, on the slickest of synthetic jackets for more than 30 seconds, meld materials, and we’re talking about a near-pine-sap situation here. I’ve been working on that goo for five months. But there are no snags about. (OK, I do admit that I leave a wide berth around the raspberry pickers, but c’mon… those things manage to pull snags on my canvas and denim.)

Where the Patagonia is precious, delicate, tender even, is around the fire. For it is 100% combustible, and attracts sparks like moths to flame. If you recall, this became apparent about 2.6 seconds after I purchased the jacket, still unsure if I’d be keeping it or upgrading to the hooded version.

Anyhoo, All those initial incendiary spacklings were patched up long ago, but as we frequent the fires, there were some new flare-ups to tend to.

Here are some of the first round.

As you can see, I was very creative with my patch shapes. Professional even. That right one was supposed to be a foot, but I couldn’t cut the teensy little Tenacious Tape toes. One might ask why I didn’t just scallop the top, for a connected toe rendition. The answer would be because I didn’t think of it. And if you’ve ever worked with Tenacious Tape, you know it’s a one shot kinda deal. There aren’t any re-dos. If the toe-less foot is problematic for you, go ahead and call it a lima bean.

I can’t explain the color thing. It’s a chameleon, this coat. The true color, the one Kodachrome has a hard time pinning down, is between the acorn picture and the blob picture. No, not the foot picture. The blob picture. Sheesh.

Here are the new burn-throughs:

The great thing about a burn hole is it’s kind of self-sealing… doesn’t grow much. Just inhibits the fabric’s basic functions of keeping the insulation in.

There are actually four of ’em there. Two are just itty bitty.

But don’t you worry… the Tenacious Tape is back in action. I was going for leaves. You can go with fish if you want. I don’t care.

Beloved Patagonia… ready for another season.


In other news, we took a little trip last week, with the hubs and the Last Kid Standing. Just a day trip; went up to visit Lake Superior. Because we love her.

First stop, out on Moccasin Mike Road, Last Kid Standing stepped through the ice in her brand new Patagonia pants. Right up to the hip. A little fancy backward diving kept us from having to fish her out entirely, but she was pretty wet there at the start of our big day.

We shouldn’t talk about it. She’d rather have me tell you how she got those Pata-pants for $17 because she sold her old raincoat back to Patagonia for $40, and then had some snazzy 96% off coupon or something. After all was said and done, $17 pants. It’s the little things.

So the kid was wet, but the ice was nice. At least for those of us that stayed topside.

Shockingly, those denim-heavy pants dried quite nicely, and we didn’t have to amputate or anything.

We wandered Duluth and made our way up to Gooseberry, of course we did.

Sarah and our old friend, CCC Worker.
And an attempt to further soak herself out on the flow.
The Goob Crew hiking up the Gooseberry River.
Check That Beard.

A little side-note…

Scott and I went on a date up there in January. We did it when Sarah wasn’t around, and boy did we get in trouble for that. It seems the word date can cover a multitude of parental shenanigans, but it cannot cover a trip to Lake Superior without the kid. Last week was our olive branch trip.

Anyway, the January version was quite the photogenic trip. For anyone who just can’t get enough pics of Lake Superior:


What else?

Well, this week Last Kid Standing and I went down to visit the Milwaukee kid in her native habitat for a couple of days. Because we love her too. Also because she’s as COVID-careful as we are.

We squeezed into her tiny little studio for the night, and I got to try out her Nectar bed in a box. Which was nice, because our mattress is about five years past it’s expiration date, and we really do need to take care of that. Before I can’t get out of it in the morning at all.

And now there are all these newfangled mattress options, beds that can arrive at your doorstep, waiting to explode their packaging and change your life forever! It’s a jungle and I am a mouse with a machete, completely ill-prepared to find myself a new bed. It’s a bit overwhelming.

And the Nectar verdict? Hmm… First impression was comfy, but I’m not convinced. I’m slow to commit on these things. Nectar does have that 365-day return window though, absolutely made for the likes of me, so that’s an intriguing prospect. The hunt has begun…

Hmm? Rattlesnake plant?

Aside from the sleeping/research arrangements, we had a nice time down in the big city.

Hiked around down by Michigan in the slush and ice.

Snagged an appointment to visit the Domes, where I haven’t been since I was wee. (They’re a bit smaller than I remember.)

Circumnavigated the kid’s stompin’ grounds on foot for hours, down Veteran’s Park, up the River Walk, and all around the beautiful day in the neighborhood.

And auto-toured the bulk of the East Side in search of the apartment I lived in for my 10th summer along with all the other rich and famous neighborhoods (anybody else just love driving around the rich neighborhoods vacillating wildly between wistful dreaming and straight-up judging?).

Good times.

More goobs. With wind.

Most of all, it was just nice to see her. They grow up so damned fast and they wander away to find their place and you just have to be grateful when you have a few moments with them to eat chips and laugh.

I’ll take it.

If you need me, I’ll be planning the next outing. Bring it, Spring!
KJ

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