Saturday, April 30, 2011

Apocalypse Now -- and Then

This migration was a tough trip.

Some of it, you know. We endured oral surgery, trips to the emergency room, several veterinarians, power steering outage, expensive auto repairs, a fire in the next pasture, a snippy waiter, plus rain and snow which prompted a route change. But this wasn’t the worst of it.

This could have been – a phone call from Texas was all about the scalding water pouring out the front of the condo we had locked up for the season a few days earlier.

This was close to being the worst -- an earthquake. Seriously, a 2.5 earthquake hit outside Minneapolis when we arrived. But, nope, this wasn’t the worst of it either.

Nothing prepared me for the final insult. Both Minneapolis and St. Paul should be in lock-down. The pot holes are vicious and dangerous and there are lots and lots of them. However, this was still not the worst.

Here’s the worst: When we left Texas, I had five ballpoint pens. When we arrived in Minnesota, I had none.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Wait -- there's more

Return with me to yesterday – or the day before – when I wrote a post about all the bad luck dogging us on our northward migration: stuff like writing checks for the oral surgery, the emergency room, the veterinarian, the auto mechanic, etc.

Fortunately, we found sanctuary at my daughter’s ranch in Durango where we could rest, apply new band aids and sip.

Our plan is/was to leave here for Wolf Creek Pass and points north. It’s the “points north” where the trouble begins.

We just heard the local weather dude say we are under a winter storm warning and they are expecting snows of 10 to 20 inches north of Durango.

Stay tuned.

I think I got Steve Jobs mixed up with that guy in the bible.

Texas is burning

Here’s a dramatic site with current info and pictures.

Some of it will tear your heart out as the fires terrorize people and animals. The big blazes hang life or death for every living thing in the path of the fireline.

As bad as the fires are, the long term effects could be even worse. Wildfires are burning the fences that have help ranchers manage their herds decades.

Insurance rarely covers fences, if ever.

The farmers and ranchers were already struggling because of the drought. For several years, they haven't known where their next raindrop was coming from. Much less, their next dollar.

Now this.

Without fencing, many ranchers will be forced to walk away. The economy of the region will suffer as the families pull up stakes on their past – and our future.

Low-interest loans are needed. Fast. Expand existing ag subsidies to cover fences. Do something. Fast. This is a big job even for big government. So get moving. Fast.

Even before the fires are out and the embers turn cold.

This is a fight for survival.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Adventure just around the bend

We are safe at my daughter’s house in Colorado, but it's been a rough trip as we work our way toward Minnesota.

TRAVEL LOG

MONDAY--I had unexpected oral surgery and lost three teeth.
TUESDAY--our little dog began to scream as we loaded her into the van, likely a disc problem. Five hours late leaving. Complicated meds schedule.
WEDNESDAY—yesterday’s late start meant we altered travel plans.
THURSDAY-- 55 mph winds in Lubbock brought a sandstorm like the good old days. Memory Lane.
FRIDAY—the Mystery Woman developed bad internal problems.
SATURDAY--power steering started going out while on the mountain highway.
SUNDAY--I don't remember.
MONDAY—the Mystery Woman’s problems are no better, home remedies not working. Ditto with car which is on the rack in the shop.
TUESDAY--had to take Mystery Woman to the emergency room. Five hours later, lots of tests, no diagnosis. Home, finally.
TUESDAY ADD—We picked up the van only to have steering lock up again. Mountain road again. Returned vehicle, exchanged pleasantries

I’ve taken to drink. And will return later.

UPDATE:

The Mystery Woman is on the rack.
The dog has the runs.
The van won't run.

No, that's not right.

This is a lot of character-building and I'm as tall as I care to be.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

That was then, this is now

Raise your hand if you have some bumpy memories of high school. Most of us do. Some year’s back, I toured Lubbock all alone and managed to make peace with some hot spots in my memory. These days, I actually enjoy the city.

We are in Lubbock for two days visiting old friends. This is the time of year we migrate north to Minnesota to escape the Texas heat that scorches my bald spots. And I thought the Mystery Woman might benefit from a little character development as I had. Turns out, catharsis is not a family trait. She is a reluctant time traveler and doesn’t find much solace up here on the High Plains, thank you very much.

So far, not much has gone right. Just before we left Austin, I had oral surgery. The dog got diagnosed with a disc problem. And the right rear window in the van began to rattle.

What else can go wrong?

Ring. Ring. As we checked in, it was my brother with the cheery news that winds of 55 miles per hour are forecast this afternoon. Flatlanders know that means SANDSTORM.

I think I’ll go buy her flowers.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Talking dirty

Periodontist is the longest four-letter word in the dictionary. Actually, mine is a skilled guy -- for a Navy Seal.

But I’m not as tough as I used to be. Dental work, any kind of dental work, gives me the rigors. Over the years, my gag reflex has become legend. Dentists weep when they discover me in the waiting room.

Yesterday the adventure began as we were getting ready for the Mystery Woman to drive me to the oral surgeon. I was already prepped via a tranquilizer dart. Silly smile.

Just as my mood was getting groovy, our little Dachshund began to yelp when touched. Sympathy, I thought. Not so, countered the Mystery Woman as she dialed the veterinarian and set up an immediate appointment.

The dog’s appointment was the exact same time I was supposed to be at the dentist getting three teeth pulled, bone scraped and stitches. Different parts of town, naturally. And the rigors. Remember, I get the rigors.

There was no hesitation. She held the little doggy and looked me in the eye.

Did you know a cab ride is only fifteen bucks from our condo to the dentist?

PS – the dog is fine; she has a disc problem. I’m fine, too. But we disagree about whether the Mystery Woman was nicer yesterday or the day before.

PPS – if I told you she dropped me off first, the story would suffer. So I won’t.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tea Party sends in the clowns

What is it with the right wing?

First it was Sarah Palin. Then Michele Bachmann. Now Donald Trump is the Tea Party favorite in the latest polls.

Donald Trump?

What this country needs is not a narcissist-in-chief, although each of those Tea Party candidates would make a good one.

Even if I wanted to give some serious thought to some Tea Party suggestions, there’s no way I can slog past these goofy candidates. Just can’t. No matter how much perfume they squirt.

Slide to where Glenn Beck slithers. It’s his own fault that he got fired. Like Icarus, he flew too close to the sun and burned his own bootie. Besides, that man can piss off a freight train.

Sarah Palin is next. Her own Alaskan reality show did her in. Too much, too thin TV. Over-exposed. Revealed to be mean spirited after the tragic Arizona shootings.

Michele Bachmann may actually last a little longer. But eventually, her gaffs will do her in. Faster than in the past, thanks to the Internet.

Of the three, Trump is arguably the smartest. Palin may be catching him on wealth but that’s only money – not smarts. And he is one media savvy dude who has rebounded time and again from bankruptcy and multiple divorces (from foreign wives). Dare I say -- Phoenix-like.

Sure. Politics is another form of show business.

But there are clowns enough already. And their pony needs to learn another trick.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A new roll of quarters

It was like getting a report card again.

As I was leaving the doctor’s office after my annual physical, the nurse handed me a printout with the results. In eleven categories, they list me as “chronic.”

Now I know how the pinball machine feels when I slap the flippers too hard and the machine dings up “TILT.” Except I got no flashing lights, bells, nor whistles.

They could have let me down easy with a simple positive phrase. I would be satisfied with: “plays well with others.”

I will admit to being a chronic pain in the ass. That should cover it.

Chronic. Put another quarter in the machine.

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