Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Survivor: Urban City Edition

I've been sleeping somewhat better but I still have patches of sleeplessness in the mornings. What do I think about during these times? Intensely productive thoughts like what would it be like if the show Survivor was a bit more realistic? Like, if you had to survive in your current house but without water or heat or power. And then I thought how survival would be different depending on what city you lived in, which led to these great thoughts. Forgive me in advance.

Survivor New York City: You're set down in NYC with a gun, a knife and a billfold full of cash but when you go to take the subway, you see it's been replaced by a monorail. Then you notice that the metrocard machine only takes Disneyland tokens. Your challenge: To reach the Magic Kingdom in less time than it takes to wait on the Space Mountain line.

Survivor Detroit: Opposite scenario. You have neither gun nor knife nor billfold, just a pocketful of Disneyland tokens. Challenge: To find a "revitalized" part of the city and keep it vital by sheer wit and will alone. Oh wait, that's what most Detroiters do every day.

Survivor Portland: You're set down on the Hawthorne Bridge in Portland without black-rimmed glasses, secondhand dress, or a bicycle. Challenge: To prove to Portland police that it is in fact legal for you to walk eastward into the coolie part of town.

Survivor Austin: You're set down in Austin but you've been stripped of your love for tacos, music, or margaritas. Your challenge: To explain to yourself the purpose of the city without those loves.

Survivor Cleveland: You're set down on a street in Cleveland where every house is for sale. Challenge: To find a house where the seller still holds the deed and offer to pay them what they paid for their house 10 years ago.

Survivor L.A.: Same scenario as Cleveland but with more hope toward profit. Challenge: Find a house for sale and wait and wait and think, is this the bottom of the market yet? Is this the bottom of the market yet? Purchase house and pray the house appraises for more next year.

Survivor Salt Lake: You're set down on a Saturday night after 10 p.m. of a holiday weekend. You've planned a big barbecue for Monday but have forgotten the liquor stores are closed until Tuesday. Challenge: Find a way to make/keep your guests appropriately inebriated. (This did not happen to me but it's one of the nightmares that wakes me up at 3:00 a.m.)

Survivor Flagstaff: You find yourself in downtown Flagstaff. You're starving for dinner and there's outdoor seating available at an OK restaurant. Challenge: To keep yourself warm and awake after 5:00 on a summer evening now that the sun's gone down and you realize why the patio is open.

Please feel free to add your own. As you can see, stereotype and Yahoo news headlines are sufficient to make judgments about the city. Fair is fair in the surviving game.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Travelodge, Desert Mountain Town

My brain does not adjust to drastic change very well. It punishes me by not letting me sleep. I also have many requirements for sleep like dark, quiet, clean sheets. So when I called out to outdoor-chair sitting Egg from the furniture-free floor in GR and asked in what hotel he would like to stay while we looked for houses in Desert Mountain Town, he said Little America. His family is related to the owners. This does not get us a discount. It doesn't even get us a room--everything in town was booked for graduation. As was everything except the Travelodge. Also: one could stay at the Travelodge for 5 days for what one could stay at Little America for 2. And I'm feeling the budgetary pinch of moving and buying and summer. So the Travelodge it is. I booked a suite--it came with a fireplace and a fridge. What else could I need?

When we got to the hotel (motel?), Egg groaned a little. I said that we'd stayed in worse places--in Kemmerer, WY (fossil fish capital of the world) on our way to the Wind Rivers for our honeymoon, all those motels on the Olympic Peninsula the October we first started dating, and the Chelsea Hotel--the famous hotel that writers and other bohemian types used to stay and write(and apparently go to die). The Travelodge could not be worse than the Chelsea where there was at least three inches between the floor and the outer door so you could watch the 70 year old's high heels click up and down the hallway all night and where sleeping with the light on kept a few of the cockroaches at bay.

And it wasn't as bad as the Chelsea. We were put into a regular two bed room so I had to go back and ask for the suite. Suite might be an overstatement. It meant: fridge and microwave. This particular suite came without the fireplace but it did have wireless so what else did I need?

Apparently I needed a train running through the room at night. The Travelodge sits (as do many of the other hotels, including Little America) near the train tracks. The Travelodge is a little closer than the others in that it sits on the tracks, but trains are romantic, no? Part of the charm of the west and mountain towns and route 66?
Not at midnight. And 1. and 1:30. And 2, 3, 3:45, 4, 4:15, 4:30, 4:58. They don't just drive through either. They honk their horns both with safety and pleasure in mind. Some trains honk only twice per intersection. Some honk all the way from LA to Chicago.
So it wasn't that quiet.
And apparently Arizona thinks daylight savings is for democrats or something. The sun started to peek through the not so sun-blocking curtains by quarter to five. It was full bright by 5:30. It felt like about 9 a.m. Except I didn't have the I-slept-in-so-long feeling. I had the, I-didn't-sleep- at-all feeling. One night, I woke up at 2 and never went back to sleep.

It wasn't just the Travelodge contributing to my lack of sleep. The exorbitant housing prices, the lack of friends there, the fact that it was 80 degrees already (although it snowed the next day), the concern that this new job may not be better than the old one (or what if it's worse?), and the fact that somewhere in Wyoming I realized I wasn't exactly moving home. As the Wind River range passed on my left, the craggy, I remembered that the snow-covered Rockies are not the softer, Ponderosa-filled mountains of the desert.

Other sleep issues include:
When I got to Salt Lake, a dump truck rammed the back of my car. Z was in the back in her carseat but she was OK. I was sore and suddenly busy with more paperwork.
Egg's mom's house is the opposite of the Travelodge: clean, quiet, and except for one night, cool. And yet, the 2 in the morning thing happened. As did the 3, 4, 5.....I blame it on the fluctuating interest rate, the fluctuating temperature (94 one day! 44 the next), the fluctuating time zone, and the fluctuating certainty that change is necessarily good.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Drama, Trauma, and Obama

Oy, never move, never move, never move.
That is my advice unto thee.
We packed up our house. We sent our stuff on the ABF truck toward Arizona, we put Z on the plane with her grandparents, and Egg got in the 4 Runner with Cleo and I got in the Jetta with the cat and we drove across Michigan, Illinois, Iowa and through Nebraska. We stayed the night in North Platte and made it to SLC by dark on Thursday. By Friday, we were dog and cat free and in one car and headed the 7.5 hour drive to Arid Mountain Town.
We looked at a lot of houses.
We seem to have purchased one.
We are heaving under the heavy mortgage. Unlike everywhere else in the country, Arid Mountain Town's prices have held pretty much steady. Still, I think we got an OK deal.
We drove home on Wednesday--made it in 8 hours.
The next day, driving toward my mom's house where my cat is living (although without my mom who is in Yosemite), I was rear-ended by a gigantic dump truck. My car is hurt and I'm sore and Z, who was with me, is absolutely OK. But it sucks and my mom isn't back even though she's supposed to return and the lender wants w-2's which are packed in the truck and Egg's step-dad and sister are in a fight and I want to make fish tacos right now and have a margarita but Egg and Thirty-One's husband just went to play disc golf (it is 3:52 right now Mountain Time. None of my clocks are on the right time) and it gets light in AZ at 4:30 in the morning because they refuse god's greatest gift to mankind--daylight savings, and this past ten days since I've left GR have left me twisted, sore and a bit parched.
But I think next week is going to be a lot more mellow. Especially if my mom gets home....
P.S. This blog has nothing to do with Obama but since Thirty-One blogged twice recently and once about Obama (although more about Hillary) I thought I'd highlight her efforts.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Last Day

I promised to keep a tally of the things I would miss but the list was getting too long and my organizational skills have been pressed into packing duty so whatever lists I did make were not properly demarcated in proper categories. So now all I've got is a long soupy mess of things that will be missed, categorically:
The tree out of my back porch that blooms some magenta colored flower--Erik thinks it's a blossoming plum. Perhaps.
The white magnolia-like tree that last winter the freeze got the minute the flowers bloomed but this year, we got to appreciate the thick-with-cellulose almost-southern flower.
The snow drops that were the first flower this year--bent over white noses kissing snow.
The hyacinths that perfumed my runs.
The tulips although I missed the Holland tulip festival yet again.
The morels that I never found.
The rhododendron, the dianthus, the hydrangea, the butterfly bush and the lavender we planted last year.
The weird Dr. Seuss like trees that keep their purple blossoms tight to their many-direction pointing branches.
The other deciduous trees whose names I know--larch, ash, birch, oak, maple but which I'm not 100% certain I'm applying to the proper tree. I come from the mountains where the trees are mostly pointy firred ones, aspens, or ones imported to the desert for their usefulness like honey locusts for their shade-giving or cherries for their fruit-bearing.
The blueberries. Michigan is the highest producer of blueberries.
The carrots.
They also have an apple called Honeycrisp. Do you have these? They are the best apples in all the land.
The asparagus.
The hawks.
The owls.
The cardinals.
Those little yellow flitting birds.
The gigantic bumblebees.
The fireflies.
The water, the water, the water.
The nights where it's light until almost eleven and because it's a little humid, it's still 75 degrees outside and our friends stay late and we sit on the back patio in the wrought iron chairs and wait for the raccoons and bats to show up.

I'm going on one last run through the college where I hope to see the owls but know I will see at least the geese and their goslings. I might see the frog and the turtle. And I'll definitely see some squirrels. Cleo will miss the squirrels.

Goodbye Michigan! I wish I'd stayed just a little bit longer. I'll try to come visit. Preferably in the spring.