Wednesday, September 30, 2009

National Parks

Ken Burns has hit another one....out of the park. I don't see how anyone with at least half a brain could see this show's content and execution as anything but great. I guess that it's proof of how low the expectations for TV have become and how doltishness permeates our society when terms like "sluggish" are used to describe documentaries about U.S. history.

Only in the United States of Amnesia......

There are historical bright spots in this show and one living star in the form of a Ranger. Shelton Johnson is great.

Monday, September 28, 2009

In-Laws and the Big Ditch

The LW's parents got here Thursday morning, we packed everything in the rented Tahoe, and stressed...uh...I mean...headed out. It was a pretty easy run up to the Flagstaff KOA and we found our spot after almost getting run over by one of the camp manager's rugrats on a scooter. CP had a grand time there on the playground with her mom and grandma.

We had a nice dinner at the Horseman's Lodge up the road, and were soon back for some sleep. Here's where the trip gets interesting. CP had missed her nap and gets all kinds of wonky when that happens. Well, we tried to let her sleep with grandma in the huge tent and that went well for 20 minutes or so. After all of the crying for mommy that the LW could stand, she went in, rescued CP, and brought her into our small 1.275 person Kelty tent. "Ahh...the tight knit family camping trip!", you say.....well, the weave in this particular knit was a little too tight, so I was soon off to sleep in the rented Tahoe. The seats in the truck wouldn't go all the way flat, so my lower back soon informed me that it was time to find a flat spot and find one I did - right beside the right front tire of the truck that happened to be about 7 feet from the road. Now, this wouldn't have been too bad except the only sleeping bag that was left for me to use was about 1.5 feet shorter than I am tall. It was a rough 3 hours of sleep that night.

The next morning was off the the big yellow M for some breakfast and on to Safeway for some water and stuff. We hit the road and found a gas station to fuel the thirsty beast we were in - only to find out that the card that we had planned to use for the trip was blocked. Well, I guess in all of the trip planning that I had attempted, I had forgotten to schedule the payment for said card. We pulled off of the road and I was able to recite the bank routing number and account number to the nice lady at the card company so we could use the card again. Now we were off.

The drive from Flag to Lee's Ferry is amazing if you've never really been to that part of the country. It's nice from there to the north rim as well. Amazing really...and you just have to see it. Parts of it are beyond description and it would take you close to, if not more than 1000 words just to try. We enjoyed the drive and it was nice to have the roadside geology book with us so we could interpret what we were seeing. At one point along Echo Cliffs, we stopped and CP got out to play in the fine red silt with her grandmother - she had fun. It was beautiful, and a little window into what's to come after the move. The next stop was Navajo Bridge, which was cool to see. Kinda scary though, seeing CP's head stuck through the railing...... (heart...skips)

We stopped in at Jacob Lake for some lunch and were treated to good stuff in what seemed like the middle of nowhere. If you're through there, it's a good place to stop. The bathrooms were pretty funny - as if someone had sandwiched three phone booths together - that's all the space there was. Still, the lunch and time out of the truck were great. Off to the north rim.

The campground was beautiful and getting there was nice. Again, you really just have to see it. Dykinga-like views at every turn. (google that name, you'll see) We set up camp in no time and then it was a scramble to get down to the lodge for dinner. The LW had finagled the best table in the place six weeks earlier, so we watched the sun set over the canyon at dinner through 10' tall windows. It's one of those things you look back on as just being unbelievable. Was I really there? What a day!

Well, after dinner we settled into the big tent this time with plenty of room and CP went to sleep easily after her full day. I settled down to sleep too, but only for a little while. I woke up feeling sick - nauseated and dizzy and scared of both. I stumbled over to the bathroom in the black dark to see if that would make me feel better, but it only got worse. I was panicked pretty badly and the wife helped some, but soon we were off to the EMT station nearby. The EMTs met us down at the lodge after the nice lodge ladies called them. I talked to Shelly the Ranger/EMT and it sounded like classic altitude sickness - she recommended descent and a trip to the Kanab, UT. I've had altitude sickness before at 6500'-9,000' and this was a little different because I was having trouble feeling like I was getting enough air and heart palpitations were regular and intense. Well, I declined a $5000 ambulance ride and the wife said that she'd drive me there.

Off we went through complete darkness on a twisty road littered with hundreds of mule deer. 20 deer/mile for most of the trip. My wife is tough, but she was crying through sections of it. Worried about me and worried about leaving the parents with the bebe. She's tough and it was hard to see. She's the best thing to ever happen to me. We made it into Kanab two hours later and I was feeling a little better since we were down below 5000' - still a little goofy and nauseated though. The staff at Kane County Hospital were all super nice and got me in right away. We were both treated well and soon the doc had looked at my EKG and chest xrays. He told me that it was probably a combination of stress, dehydration, (extreme- 3hrs out of 45) lack of sleep, and the 8000' altitude. He gave me some crazy pills (ativan) to calm down the panic that seems to come when I can't get enough air. I'm sure it'll be an expensive lesson as soon as the bills roll in, but it's good to know I'm not dying.

It was good to get checked out and after about 3 hours, we were off to find a hotel in town. We found what appeared to have been one of the last rooms in town and were down for our 3 hours of sleep before heading back to the rim to get the rest of our party. They were happy to see us and we were soon packed up and headed back toward Flagstaff. We stopped at Lee's Ferry to play around on the way and it was cool. CP got in the water, and as her mother had instructed her not to do, got her butt wet. After a nice view and a whole lot of stress, we piled into the truck and headed up to the Lee's Ferry Lodge for a really nice lunch. It was a pleasant rest with only one spanking needed.

We were headed to the Hotel Monte Vista in Flag, which was to be a surprise for the father-in-law since we were to stay in the John Wayne Suite. Getting there was really not half of the fun though. The LW had forgotten to pack her thyroid meds, so she was crashing because of this, stress, and the fact that she'd had less sleep than me. It would have been easier if I'd actually printed directions to the hotel, but she still was able to get us there and check in. It was a good surprise for her dad and we soon crashed out.....really hard.

Her mom took CP around town and we rested while the LW fought off a pseudo-migraine. It was nice to relinquish command of the little person and just float for a little while. I woke up and the LW was gone - she'd headed to Target for meds, was treated well, and came back happy. She was rested and doing well when I woke up. We didn't really do dinner anywhere since the evening, for us, was kinda wrecked. CP, the LW, and the grandparents just snacked a bit before we all hit the hay for the night. At this point, I'm feeling ok, but by the end of the day, I could tell that I'd slept 8 hours out of the past 60.

Once again after laying down, I found that I couldn't regulate my breathing very well and just decided to give in to the crazy pills and get through the night. The LW and I talked and I worked on breathing...soon the euphoria and fatigue combined with a crazy pill sent me out for the night.

Sunday morning was bright and beautiful. We all went downstairs for coffee and muffins. The streets were relatively quiet and nice. It was a good start to the day and we were fueled up and off for Sedona. Our friends Carie and Brian had been there just the week before and told us that the west fork of Oak Creek would be nice for walking with the little person and they were right. CP had a blast walking in the creek with the walking stick that her grandmother made for her. It was a nice quiet break and I enjoyed it. CP played in the water and entertained us all. She just doesn't get enough instruction though - just not enough people telling her what to do. She soon became moderately crabby, but we were back to the truck and she was sleeping on the way through town and on toward Sky Harbor.

Everyone settled down a bit for a good traveling-food lunch at Jason's Deli in Tempe before putting the folks back on a plane. It was an interesting trip and an uneventful drive back to T-town. I'm glad that we did it because who knows when we'll be able to do it again.

As I told my mother-in-law, "it's not a great vacation unless someone ends up in the ER!".

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

419 or "hence I'll be sending a check good friend"

I've been playing with a Nigerian 419 scammer this week. I figure that if I can waste some of this moron's time, he won't be able to bother at least one person for a while. It's pretty funny. He asked me where to send the check and I told him to send it to my summer home in Washington D.C. and address it to my 'uncle' J.E. Hoover who was tending the place for me. Evidently, he didn't really look up the address or the name. I hope that someone at the FBI gets a kick out of reading that note.

For fun on your own, google for these:

Igbo Insults

Monday, September 21, 2009

Some Interest..

We had a few folks through the house this past weekend, but still no offers. Everyone so far has noted that we have a "cute little house", but I think what they mean is that we have a little house and haven't hit the right price point to trigger an offer yet. We'll switch some things up after the grand canyon trip this weekend and see what happens.

I put my dirt bike up on craigslist this weekend too. I hate to get rid of it, but there's no way to license it in KS since it has an ATV title. The proceeds will pay for the moving truck. My good friend Pat from CA is giving me a KDX220 in a box in a week or two, so that'll be a $500 motorcycle after I get it in shape and it'll get me where I want to go.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mom, you didn't fail me... just didn't fully indoctrinate me...and for that I'm thankful.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Grover Norquist's Bathtub

I think that Ol' Super Grover should have to swim in this kid's bathtub for a bit and consider what it's like to see your kids basically drown in it because the EPA's been dismantled by greed.

If he doesn't get enough here to change his mind, maybe he could then travel to Canon City, CO and see what a leaking tailing pond or two can do to a town.

Costco Car Rental

Yesterday I called the local "we'll pick you up" rental car company and spoke with a nice chap about how much renting a Yukon for our upcoming trip was going to cost. The website tells you to call for availability when you look for large SUVs, so I did. I was told that the rental was going to be $501 and some change. I knew that I remembered finding something cheaper, and was reminded by a voice in the back of the house that I had used the Costco membership stuff to search the last time. In a few clicks, I had the Yukon reserved for a day more than the outlet person had set up (to cover the 1200 miles we'll need) for $381. That's almost three years of membership costs made up on one purchase.

I'm not really a fan of big box things, but this company treats employees pretty well, especially when their competition is considered. We have a neighbor who has worked for Costco for over a decade and has a painful and potentially debilitating disease ....and they've stuck with him.

Mmmm Vancouver.....

Thursday, September 03, 2009


The LW and I caught the latter part of the American Masters show last night on Dalton Trumbo. It was an interesting show and I especially liked the letter to his daughter's school that he penned.

I wonder, as a non-believer in what soon will be a sea of sky-fairy flotsam, how my daughter will fare at school. She came home last week from preschool with the folded hands/god is great/early indoctrination stuff at the lunch table and was advised that she didn't have to do that. We'll see. I sometimes wonder how long religions would prosper if children weren't immersed in pick-and-choose religious stories before their ability to employ reliable critical thought were developed. It takes some a lifetime to shake off the early childhood things that our parents tell us are true.....sadly, most never make it. Victims of comfort.