Sunday, December 7, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Our first impression of Michigan was to be a Shell Station bathroom just over the state line (If you’ve been following this blog, that really won't come as a surprise). Now I know that it’s pretty lame to form a first impression of an entire state from a gas station bathroom, but we had a lot riding on this move, so this bathroom really had to nail it.
Yes, I’m kidding…sort of.
My only visual exposure to this area was entirely virtual. During the past three months I had closed out of an 8 ½ year job, and we had sold the first home my husband and I had ever owned. Yes, arriving in Michigan was the culmination of a long journey, but we weren’t coming home – we had just left it.
As we got closer and closer, it became more and more important to me to actually see something likable in the state where I was going to hang my coat for the next half decade. I kept saying to myself over and over, “Please don’t let it be a disappointment.”
My husband and I held hands as we crossed the state line.
The “Welcome to Michigan” sign is nestled into a heavily forested area. The dryad in me does a dance, the wife and mother in me wonders what the actual city will be like, the navigator in me notes that the next exit has a bathroom. Our final destination was still well over an hour away and, as my husband says, never miss an opportunity to eat, sleep, or relieve yourself. So our first official introduction to our new state would be the Shell Station at exit two. I have to say that I have never seen a cleaner or nicer bathroom.
While I felt a palpable sense of relief (no pun intended), we weren't really at our destination, not just yet. We got back on the road and for the rest of the drive we were treated to the sight of trees, deciduous and evergreen, lining the interstate, guiding us in.
That was really my first impression of Michigan, tall green trees and blue skies
As I thought about it, perhaps we were coming home.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
- Little (and Big) Lithehedren Wash (New Mexico)
- Prague, Oklahoma
- Albatross, Missouri (I wonder if they are Monty Python fans?)
- Rio Puerco
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
"Drive friendly, the Texas way" puzzled us.
Just how friendly were we supposed to be? Did this imply cozying up to the cars around you or were we talking more of a give-folks-their-space kind of driving? If we are giving folks their space, isn't that more stand-offish than friendly? Isolationist even? I guess they mean simply not being a rude driver, but if I followed the first sign about not messing with Texas, then I would hardly consider being rude.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Miles traveled: 150
Fingernails bitten: 10
Those who know me know that when I'm planning anything I make lists. I even make lists of lists. As I'm planning a drive through the California/Arizona desert, my lists included items that can only be chalked up to paranoid worry:
"What if we run out of gas?"
"What if we get four flat tires?"
"What if a dust storm comes up and buries our car?"
I know... tThese worries completely ignore reality. But without them I wouldn't be the Angie you know and, if not love, at least tolerate. Still and all, I really am a belt and suspenders kind of gal, which is why we are traveling with OnStar, AAA, GEICO roadside assistance, cash, traveler's checks, credit cards, and cell phones.
To thine own self be true.
After weeks of planning and, of course, fretting, the day of the trip finally arrives and I take on a striking resemblance to a racehorse in the shoot: stamping, snorting, and ready to run.
So with a 2360-mile car trip ahead of us, why am I so freaked out about this first segment?
Two words: desert heat.
I'm what you would call "climate-challenged." If it's over 75, I'm too hot and if it's under 72, I'm too cold. My kind and wise husband endearingly calls me his "Little Hot-House Flower."
You have to admit that's far more flattering than simply calling me "High Maintenance."
I hear you ask, "How is Miss High Maintenance Hot-House Flower" planning to survive the Cold-Hot-Humid Midwest?"
Two words: climate control.
Which brings me back to my chief worry about the first leg of our trip - the strip of arid wasteland between Victorville, CA and Flagstaff, AZ:
"What if we loose our AC?"
Now our car is almost two years old, has never had an issue with the AC, and is very well maintained - what me worry?
Damn straight. There go 10 fingernails.
The drive is smooth out of LA and through Barstow. We get on to Interstate 40 and, as expected, the outside temperature rises (all captured in glorious real-time thanks to the thermometer in the rear view mirror). That's when I notice our AC doesn't feel as cold nor does the airflow feel as strong.
OK, not panicked yet.
I figure it's getting hotter outside, so let's just turn up the fan. Suddenly, our vents belch out a plume of ice crystals and now the Hot-House Flower is about to look like Munch's The Scream.
My husband remains as cool as can be. "No worries" he says. "We'll stop for lunch in Needles and if we need to wait out the heat of the day, we will." Like any other distressed plant, I sit back and conserve energy, hoping relief will come before I wither on the vine. Luckily, the AC has regained some of its cooling ability as we roll into Needles, California.
I have always thought "Needles" was a fairly apt name for this city. After all, "Barren Patch of Hell" would probably be too long and "Hell" was already taken by a city in Michigan. We see the Golden Arches looming off the interstate like an oasis and pull in for lunch and climate-controlled air.
After lunch we got back in the car and, with a sense of dread, kick on the AC.
It works just fine.
It blows cold, no restricted airflow, no plumes of ice. It's just like the hiccup before had never happened.
At this point I figure my car simply has a sick sense of humor (either that or two secular humanists has just received Divine Intervention). It was then my husband remembered a similar problem with the AC in his office. The diagnosis was a frozen condenser. If that was the case here, he reasoned, then the 111 degree furnace of Needles seemed to have thawed it out.
OK, maybe Hell's Little Half-Mile has it use.
In climate-controlled comfort the Little Hot-House Flower bloomed and we continued on our journey...
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
When moving it always amazes me how unique trinkets, favorite books, and colorful shirts all loose their special light and become just a part of the morass waiting to be moved from one location to another. I always reach a point in the moving process where I look around at all of my beloved things and utter in a deep breathy voice eerily like something from an Omen movie, "Throw it ouuut. Throw it aaaaalllll out!"
No, I'm not ranting on the wanton display of capitalism inherent in the collection of things, and yes, I am thankful to have things to move. I would just like to point out that the late great George Carlin was accurate was in describing unpacked items as "stuff" and packed items as "sh!t" I mean seriously, look at this mess below stuffed into our car. Is it not a proverbial pile of it?
The kick in the butt is that I no longer have any memory where anything has been packed. After packing to sell the house, packing to move the household, and packing to get across country, I have absolutely no idea. In fact a sure way to send me into a irritated snit is to ask "where is …?" Truth be told, I'm really irritated at myself. As an organized person (I am a true Virgo that way) my total amnesia simply floors me. After all, it's my stuff, I packed it, I should know where it. My poor husband, an eternally patient and wise man, has simply stopped asking.
So now packed to the gills with our pile of "I have no idea" we are ready to set out on our cross-country trek to Michigan.
Just don't ask me where anything is.