Monday, October 5, 2009

Chronicles of A Left Turn at Albuquerque, continued

As I had unpacked some of my things (I left the coffee maker I had promised to bring and the heavy cast iron) from the van, I had noted that Sweetie had not, as promised, put more tape over the tail light assembly. Great, I thought, another leak waiting to happen. I noted to Grace's husband that it was a good thing it had not rained that day, and that I was sorry my vehicle looked so scraggly from the back with the tape that was there peeling off

Grace had told me their area had received two solid weeks of rain after a drought, and that she hoped my drive in wouldn't prove slippery. I had only had one light sprinkling of rain, although the skies had been overcast and the gray gloom looming overhead threatened the whole drive.

I had also thought of this part of Texas, and New Mexico where we were heading, as hot desert, so I was unprepared for how cool it was. The last part of the drive, I had used only the fan and no a/c in the van.

It was now dawning on me that, yes, this time of year, desert = cool to cold in the evening.

Her husband, as kind and gracious as she was, said he had some tape and, since I would be leaving my keys with him in case he needed to move my vehicle, he would take a moment to tape the assembly, although the rain was no longer in the forecast for the next couple of days. Later, Grace also lent me a couple of light jackets, since I only had the one denim shirt I keep in the car for going into meat I mean, stores and restaurants. She said her husband never got rid of a jacket, and when I mentioned, as he talked about looking up the temps where we were going (another thing I had forgotten to do, but he is as smart as he is good looking, typical!), that she had done this, he commented that he remembered the one from Disney World.

When she and I sat down to eat that evening, not in the more formal dining area, but at the small table in the kitchen for family meals, I found out she is ovo-lacto vegetarian, and she had some questions about being a vegan. I mixed some green powder I had bought to substitute for my usual fresh greens in the blender (no, I was not going to haul the Vita-Mix also, although I do on family vacations to the condo) with some coconut water I was using instead of the fresh juice I usually had, while she warmed up something for herself. I also ate some of my raw nuts and low temp dried fruit, and a banana.

We sat at the table and discussed protein, and eating choices, and she mentioned her concerns about her teen daughter choosing to be vegan. I told her about how greens, when you break open the cell walls with something like a Vita-Mix or K-Tec, have more bio-available protein than steak, and that if she was very serious she should get one and use it. I told her about mixing the greens with banana and making green smoothies, and as I prepared my substitute for my usual smoothie, it hit me that I had forgotten my new bottle of kelp that I consume for the iodine.

I rolled my eyes at myself and mentioned my forgetfulness, and Grace wisely suggested that we go to a local healthy supermarket, and a major chain one, and see if we could find more. That way, she could also buy healthy snacks on the road. Then it hit me that yes, I should drive her around San Antonio, so she could see that I was not going to be a crazy and wreck her car if she let me team drive with her. I told her that I should have thought of that to begin with, and said I would be glad to drive her around, and see what we could scratch up. By this time, we had talked enough, and I guess I had shown myself harmless enough, that she agreed to get in my van and direct me around those loops.

I put my groceries out of the reach of her dogs, since I did have tempting-but-bad-for-a-canine-goodies like raisins and raw cacao nibs, and we left to go first to the local healthy grocery store. It was a nice place, I would have enjoyed looking around more had I been staying in the area longer, and saw the kelp pills I had used in a pinch before when I couldn't get the sun dried flakes. She then directed me to the chain healthy store, further away. There, they were out of the flakes, so I bought the substitute, she got something healthy to nibble on the road, and I drove back to her house.

She must have trusted my driving after that, as we talked about the differences in drivers where I came from, and how following too closely was a recipe for disaster that so many people ignore. Later in the trip, she did let me drive their hybrid vehicle, which was an amazing car.

It was during this trip, though, that she really got to know what she was in for. In the parking lot of the chain grocery, I got a call from the family, the second she had witnessed (the first had been while we were talking in her tv/sitting area, and was Sweetie telling me he had gotten Bigger Girl and Neighbor Boy from school, and they were on their way home). This call was about how #2 Son had overcooked the fish sticks, and had boiled the Velveeta shells and cheese noodles until they were about double the size they should have been, and way too soft. As I told Grace, the kid can BBQ, and bake, and cook lots of things, but 13 year boy has his interests elsewhere, sometimes, and had cooked in a very distracted manner, ready to bolt to go play with friends at the first opportunity.

By now, I think she truly realized that I am just generally nuts, not clinically so, and have a whacky family that has to tell me everything that happens. I told her about #2 Son coming home from his cruise with his stories, and how he held none of them back. I had freely offered descriptions of my slob housekeeping everywhere except the kitchen and bathrooms, and how kids, neighbors, and friends cheerfully stop by despite my chaos. I also got a text message, which is rare for me as I only have one friend who sends me those. She knows I pay for each one, so she only sends them when she has lots of people to tell something to, and it is always medical updates on her family. I told Grace what the text was about, and it was the good news from this friend that her father was out of surgery and recovering well.

She, for her part, remained for the whole trip exactly what her name implied -- gracious. She put up with my foolishness and shenanigans and calls from the family with unflappable equanimity.

When we arrived back at her house, she and her husband accompanied me back up to the room I would use. He retrieved his laptop from the room, and she showed me the duvet I could use if I needed it. I noted that it was probably best to leave it out of the closet and that I was always cold, and would use it. So, they put it under the bedspread, and left me to take a quick shower and turn in early. We had agreed to leave quickly the next morning, so I didn't want to take up any more of their evening.

I did make it a very, very fast shower, using as little water as possible. This is not the swamp, I reminded myself, this is a desert that is trying to recover from drought. I made a mental note to find out in the morning, before we left, where to put the washcloth and towel I had used (no way was I going to leave them for someone else to clean, or worse, to just sit the whole time we were gone).

I set my alarm on my phone, got in the bed, read and prayed as usual, turned off the light. Both had expressed concern that their wireless network device, with its flashing lights high up on a shelf and facing away from the bed, would keep me awake. I told them that it would not bother me, and found that indeed it didn't. I ended up having about the same amount of light in the room as I would have had at home, and slept very soundly. I didn't even wake to use the facilities in the middle of the night like I usually do. I was probably more tired that usual, and I know I had consumed less water than I normally would. I was not planning to dehydrate myself, of course, but I know when I have to drive long distances, if I drink the same amount as I usually do at home, I prove a very poor traveling companion to those determined to go a long distance as quickly as possible.

Today is:

Autumn Leaf Festival

Buccaneer Days, California

Big "C" Attus Day

Child Health Day

Day of Bansko, Bansko, Bulgaria

Dionysiad -- Husi -- Romania

Do Something Nice Day

Feast of the Empire of Lies

Festival of the Five Toes -- Fairy Calendar

Improve Your Office Day

Independence Day, Bulgaria

Indian Day, Oklahoma

Mania Mundus (Festival to remember departed ancestors.)

National Apple Betty Day

National Storytelling Festival

Sea Serpent Day

St. Placid's Day

Unicorn Questing Season begins

Wild Turkey Calling Tournament

World Habitat Day

World Teacher's Day

Birthdays Today:

Maya Ying Lin, 1959
Bernie Mac, 1957
Bob Geldof, 1954
Karen Allen, 1951
Glynis Johns, 1923
Donald Pleasence, 1919
Allen Ludden, 1917
Larry Fine, 1902
Chester A. Arthur, 1829
Denis Diderot, 1713
Jonathan Edwards, 1703

Today in History:

Heraclius' fleet takes Constantinople, 810
Founding of the city of Concepcion, Chile, 1550
The Gregorian calendar is introduced in Italy and other Catholic countries, 1582
March on Versailles by the women of Paris, 1789
Spain declares war on Britain, 1796
Shawnee Chief Tecumseh killed in the battle of the Thames, 1813
Founding of the City of Anaheim, 1857
Destruction of most of Calcutta by cyclone, approximately 60,000 die, 1864
Surrender of Chief Joseph, after the 1,700 mile retreat, marks the end of the Nez Pierce War, 1877
First appearance of the Little Orphan Annie comic strip in the NYC Daily News, 1924

1 comment:

  1. Unicorn Questing Season? Well, I'm going to get right after that. Sounds like just what I need.


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