Category Archives: it’s not an adventure if all goes as planned

It’s not an adventure if everything goes as planned

The tools I have can’t help me if I don’t use them.

My friend Tarina (Somethingina, as Frank calls her) came in from Texas last weekend, and we had a good, if short, visit. She arrived Thursday night, two days after returning from a week in Paris. A little palate cleansing before going back to work, if you will. After a quick tour of the house, she hit the sack pretty much right away on Thursday, jet-lagged as she was.

Friday morning I made bacon and eggs–with Falls Brand bacon, which we feed all of our guests, because yum. Then Tarina and I headed to Shoshone Falls, just east of Twin Falls. It’s a two hour drive, and we had six or seven hours before we had to be back to pick Frank up and head to Horseshoe Bend to catch the Thunder Mountain Railroad at seven p.m. We were in no rush, as we had plenty of time, so we had lunch at Chili’s in Twin Falls, and when we left there, we checked the clock. We had about an hour and a half to enjoy the falls.

Now.

When we’d exited the highway, there was a big brown tourist sign that said Shoshone Falls 8 (miles). And we’d gone about three when we’d stopped at Chili’s. So we got back on the main drag and kept going, watching out for more of the brown tourist signs. There was a big intersection with forks heading off in several directions, and I chose to turn left. I immediately decided that was a wrong turn and turned back around so I would have been going straight had I not turned. Okay, fine. But we started to get away from town, and I just had a feeling that we were still going in the wrong direction. So we stopped to ask for directions to Shoshone Falls.

Do not stop in Twin Falls and ask for directions.

So we walked into this grocery store, and there was a guy getting a DVD from the Red Box. I asked him for directions to the falls, and he gave us vague directions and basically told us to go in the exact opposite direction of where we needed to go. I was okay with following his directions for a little while, as he had put us on a road that would take us east of town, and I remembered that the falls were three miles east. But then we passed the three-mile point. Tarina pulled a map out of the map pocket and tried to figure out where we were, but the map of Twin Falls did not go as far out as we had. When the road turned south, I decided to call shenanigans on this guy’s fabulous instructions and turned around.

On the way back to Twin, we saw a sign–Twin Falls 12. Seriously, twelve miles? So we noted the odometer, and nine miles later we were looking for any sign of Falls Lane or Boulevard or whatever it’s called, because that’s the street we’d been hunting for. No sign. Then we were back in town. We headed back north, and I pulled over at a Walgreens. I was going to ask for better directions this time, but I went ahead and checked our map of Twin Falls. I was now completely oriented and could see where we needed to go, which was basically the exact opposite of where our beneficent directions-giver had told us to go.

So we continued to go north, counting down the number of minutes we would have for looking at the falls, because we really needed to be gone by four o’clock to make it back for our train trip. We finally found Falls Lane (ahem, barely south of Chili’s) and headed east, and oh, by the way, it was now rush hour, and school was letting out, so we had school zones and all that.

We finally got to Shoshone Falls at three-fifty-three, which gave us a grand seven minutes to check out the falls. Oh, and I’d forgotten my camera. Tarina had hers, but I don’t have copies of her pictures yet, so all I can tell you is that everyone says that it’s prettiest in the spring, but we were both wowed by what it looks like in the fall. Absolutely stunning. There was a rainbow where one of the falls splashed into the river and everything, and I’ve never seen water as green as the river is there. I’m serious, the river at the bottom of Shoshone Falls is as green as the Caribbean is blue.

When we got out of the car at the falls, there was a couple standing next to their car, and the guy asked us, “Are you getting married today?”

I cocked my head. “Um, no. Not to each other.” After we walked off, we passed what was obviously a setup for a wedding, and we finally got why he was asking.

We stayed about fifteen minutes at the falls and then decided we needed to boogie out of there. We’d seen everything, so it’s really all the time we needed, but it would have been nice to have that hour and a half of cushion.

We raced home, trying to pick Frank up at six-twenty so we could be to Horseshoe Bend by seven. We got there at six-thirty, and when Frank jumped into the car, which was already racing out of the driveway (okay, not really, but close), we started telling him the story of our day.

After we told him the part about finally getting to the falls, he said, “The GPS wasn’t working?”

Blink.

I’d totally forgotten we had that.

To be concluded…

I’m back, peeps

Recovering. Here’s the list of what we did:

Watched the Boise State Broncos beat the Oregon Ducks. Messy yet extremely satisfying.
Whitewater rafted the Main Payette. Water was low, this stretch of the river sucks, won’t do it again.
Drove to the Gorge for the Dave Matthews Band concert.
Camped with hippies who really like to set off fireworks at 4 a.m.
Drove to Olympic National Park via Seattle, Port Angeles, and Forks.
Arrived in the Hoh Rainforest during a downpour around 11 p.m.
Camped in the rainforest 2 nights on the banks of the Hoh River.
Hiked in the rainforest.
Shopping and sightseeing in Forks and La Push.
Drove home, got home at 6 a.m.
Slept 3 hours, got up and took my sister to the airport.
Now I get to unpack.

More later.

Splish splash, baby

Saturday evening, we went whitewater rafting on the Lower South Fork of the Payette River. First, let me give you some advice if you’re ever going whitewater rafting on a hot August day: go in the evening. It was beautiful on the river. The water was cold, but not too cold because of the time of day, there was a nice warm breeze between rapids, and the sun hid behind the mountains most of the time, so no sunburn.

We went with Cascade Raft and Kayak again. Last summer when we went, we did a full day, where most of the day is spent lazily floating the river with rapids spread out throughout the day, they feed you lunch, and you have a lot of time to sit and look at the scenery. That was fun. This time we did the half-day trip, which is three hours, and most of that is spent in rapids. I can only remember two or three spots where we had a lot of time for conversation and checking out the scenery.

We went with Laura (aka Elle) and her husband Jesse. The drive on the bus from Cascade was fun, because once we made the turn at Banks (a turn I missed, once upon a time, and will never miss again), we could see the whitewater we would soon be navigating. And, uhm, it was really white. Also funny, because there was a group of ten Asians going on this trip, and we all got up to look at the whitewater, and while my eyes were going huge with the knowledge of my impending doom, I suddenly heard a LOT of very high-pitched oohs, ahs, and things I didn’t understand. The Asians were very excited and also could not believe they were about to do something so intense. They were cute, because the guys were even louder with the scared noises than the girls.

We parked and got the big safety talk. What to do in a number of situations–it’s one of those talks that makes you want to crawl under the bus and cry for mommy. During the talk we learned that our safety kayaker (the kayak that stays with the rafts to help people who’ve gone overboard) was a guy named Andrew. I say guy, but what I mean is kid. He looked twelve. We later learned that he’s sixteen and an expert kayaker and can be your bestest friend if you’re the man overboard. A little scary to know that your life could very well be held in the hands of someone who can’t even buy cigarettes yet, but we watched him do his thing, and he knew what he was doing.

The four of us got our life jackets, helmets (!!!), and paddles, and then we got a guide and raft to ourselves, which was cool. We were the first raft to put in. The water was coooooold on our feet when we walked the raft in, and Kevin was like, “Don’t be shy, you’ll be getting a lot more than your feet wet.”

We had one or two Class II rapids first, if I recall correctly, and then we did the Class III Bronco Billy.

We’re making great faces in this picture.

I think between Bronco Billy and our next big rapid, Staircase, was when I did something I will never tell our theoretical children about. I rode the bull. It’s not kinky like it sounds. I got up on the front of the raft, threw my legs over the front, and held on for dear life while we went through a rapid. I think Class II, but maybe Class I. I held onto a carabiner (attached to the front by our guide, Kevin) and one of the ropes on the side of the boat. It was exhilarating and scary and had me in scream-giggles until I snarfed water. Even after that, it was fun fun fun. Sadly, no pictures of this event are available.

Our next big rapid was the Class IV Staircase, the signature rapid for the Lower South Fork of the Payette River. It’s a third of a mile long, and avid rafters from all over the states have either traveled to do this rapid or heard of the rapid at one time or another. And it lives up to the hype. When we saw it, before we were in it, Elle and I gave each other looks that said everything from, “Oh, crap. We’re all gonna die,” to “Who’s gonna take care of my cats when I’m gone?”

I love this picture of Frank and Jesse. I don’t know what happened to Elle, but you can see my paddle and my helmet there behind Jesse. Kevin’s gone, too.

I love this next picture for one reason: Seeing Frank take a wall of water right in the face.

Staircase was so. much. fun. When we were done, we had a big hi-paddle-five, whooped, hollered, all that. It was AWESOME.

After Staircase, we did Fake Slalom, which I think is a Class II or III–I think II, and then Slalom, which is a Class III or IV, I can’t remember which–I think IV. It has two big drops, and the rest is easy. But the drops are insane, and Jesse and I almost flew out of the raft at the same time, and I was grabbing for the rope across the middle of the raft. It’s crazy when you feel your butt come several inches off the raft, and your whole body starts to lurch. If you don’t have your feet set right and one wedged in the raft, you’re going for a swim. We all managed to stay in the raft.

One of us got caught on film not paddling! Shame shame!

Again with the faces. Elle’s kills me. She’s just so happy to be there, not working. Haha. And Frank is so determined to beat that rapid into submission. Either that, or he’s reaaaaally concentrating, looking for Aquaman.

We had one more rapid, right at the end where the South Fork meets the North Fork. The water is about twenty-five degrees warmer where they meet, and as soon as you go into the rapid, you feel like your feet are in a warm bath. This is where Elle decided she would ride the not-kinky bull. She enjoyed it, but instead of snarfing water like I did, she got slammed back into the boat by a rather rowdy wave. The guys were no-shows on the bull riding, because they’re sissies. ;-)

We had a great time. I’m in love with whitewater rafting and can’t wait to do it again when my sister’s here next week!

Yet another near-death experience, part 5

Part 1.
Part 2.
Part 3.
Part 4.

Dead end. What a fitting thing to see at this moment, when I’m about to meet one.

I looked around. To my right, a ravine. Man, it was so far down. To my left, a glimmer of hope. There was a small indent where the mountain gave way a little. It was overgrown with weeds, but it had definite shape, and if I went an inch at a time, I might just be able to turn around without falling off the side of the mountain. But first, I needed to cry some more. I put the car in park and cried like a big baby. Prayed some more, laughed a little, realized that if I made it out alive, I would at least have some blogfodder — every interesting scenario I’ve found myself in over the last five years has brought with it the same comfort of being potential material.

I decided to just be done with it and started to turn the car around. Back, forward left, back right, forward left, back right, forward left… After about a hundred switches between drive and reverse, I was turned around and still intact. I gave myself a high-five and told myself how awesome I am. I gave God His own credit, too. Then I got scared again, because I now had to backtrack down the same mountain that almost killed me on the way up. I was terrified because going over the giant bumps was awful on the way up, and going downhill I assumed they would be worse. They certainly weren’t any better. I still had daylight, and if it didn’t take me any longer to get back to that blasted Packer John Road than it took me to get to the dead end, I would be out of the woodsy mountains before dusk.

Back through the ditches and over the bumps I went. I cried, because it was scarier on the way down. At one point I even reminded myself (as it was September 12) that seven years ago yesterday people had to choose between death by fire or death by jumping out of windows, so I should just suck it up and drive. I was in the shade, watching the day leave, and I wasn’t ready for it to be gone. Again I reminded myself that if it was dark before I was down the mountain, I would pull over as close to the mountain as I could, turn off the car, eat the lasagna, curl up under my green blanket, rest my head on my pillow, and wait to be devoured by an angry bear. I would drive out in the morning. I had no hope of being rescued, as all Frank knew was that I had bad directions, had missed the turn at Banks, and was on a podunk road when I lost cell service.

I was only driving down the mountain for twenty minutes or so, but it felt like twenty hours. I watched the sunlight move away from me as I cringed over each bump, praying to make it to the next one.

I made it back to Packer John Road and picked up my cell phone. Had I been smart (and I have demonstrated that this was a day of nothing but cutie-head moments, as Frank likes to call my blonde moments), I would have turned it off as soon as I lost service to preserve the battery. As soon as I had service, I called Frank. I told him I’d been lost in the mountains and was going to have another twenty minute drive before I would even get to the turn that I had missed on my way up. I got back on the highway and headed south. He told me that the church ladies had called and said they would stand near the intersection where everyone was getting lost. I said to Frank, “I’m thinking about just coming back home. I don’t know if I can go socialize now. I may just come home.” I lost cell service again.

To be concluded.

Yet another near-death experience, part 4

Part 1.
Part 2.
Part 3.

As I said, I was in an all-out panic. The giant bumps got worse — there were two or three I knew for certain were unpassable. I started bawling after the first one. Every now and then, I would check my cell phone, just to see if a cell tower had magically appeared atop a giant ponderosa pine, only to be disappointed. And then, just to make things worse, I started imagining all the ways I could possibly die in the mountains.

I’m going to careen off the road, and the car is going to tumble into the ravine. No big, dramatic explosions, just some crunching metal and shattering glass. They won’t find me for weeks… It’s going to get dark, and when it does, I’ll just have to pull over as close to the mountain as I can and hope a bear doesn’t eat me, because I am *NOT* driving out of here in the dark. OH HELL! BEARS! AND ALL I HAVE WITH ME IS A .38 SPECIAL! WHY NOT A .45 WITH HOLLOWPOINTS!? Or the .44 Magnum? Ok, that one’s because it’s too heavy. What if the bear smells my lasagna? I mean, it smells awesome back there. Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me. My last meal could be lasagna?! Really? I’d always hoped for chicken tikka masala and garlic na’an. Dangit. Lasagna. There are so many better last meals than lasagna! I’m going to die a brunette. Why couldn’t I die a blonde? Why did I color my hair? It’s a good thing I’ve asked to be cremated so no one has to see me like this at a funeral. I don’t think this could be worse. I’ll die a brunette after eating my last meal of freaking lasagna. I’ll die fat! The crazy militia mountain people are in the northern part of the state, right? RIGHT? The crazy mountain people are going to kill me and serve me to their enormous hounds as a snack. I think the ravine thing is most likely, and I suppose that’s good, because I’ll just break my neck and it’ll be done. But what if there’s a river way down there where I can’t see? I know there is a river here somewhere. And what if my car bounces nicely through the trees, not killing me, and then I just go right into the river?! Oh, wait. The Mythbusters told me how to handle the car going in the water. If it happens, Sarah, open the car door right away. Don’t wait. If you can’t open it in time, relax, don’t struggle, just be one with the car and the lasagna until the pressure equalizes and you can open the door. Of course, roll down the windows before you get to the water. Expletive! The river is all Class V rapids around here. I’ll just drown. I hear it’s a peaceful way to go, but probably not if you’re being slammed into jagged rocks.

Yeah. All of those things rushed through my head, exacerbating my panic and engorging the tears. When you’re alone in a precarious situation, your brain is your worst enemy.

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that there was a lot of praying, too. A lot of begging (no bargaining, surprisingly), a lot of apologies for the expletives, a lot of thanking God for the life I did have. A lot of wishing I’d done more, been a light to more people, all that stuff.

Suddenly I passed a mowed lawn. What the? Yeah. There was a mowed lawn to my left, no driveway or anything, just a lawn with a mosquito-netted gazebo, a chair, and maybe a tractor, I can’t remember. I do remember the No Trespassing sign, and since I imagined this crazy mountain man had a much bigger gun, and I was in no frame of mind to aim properly anyway, I kept going. But this also gave me hope, because that mowed lawn meant civilization was near! Twelve miles to go. I must be coming upon a big mountain community!

A few twists and bends later, I came upon a dead end. The barricades that they have at freeway exits and onramps and entrances to mountain roads so they can close the roads in the winter and keep the stupid people safe? I came face to face with one. It was closed and had not been opened in a long time. I knew this because it was overgrown with weeds. And yeah, the road was still one skinny lane.

To be continued…

Yet another near-death experience, part 3

Part 1.
Part 2.

As soon as the road started ascending, I was ready to turn around. As soon as I was ready to turn around, the road had narrowed, and I was stuck. In retrospect, I should have stopped the car and backed up all the way down Packer John Road until I hit that one-lane bridge, which was about a half mile away by now. But at the time, I knew I had no choice but to keep moving forward. The GPS was showing me a distinct route, still knew where I was, and still told me how far I had until I reached my destination. So I kept going. The road was so thin, and the ravine on the non-mountain side was so steep, but hey. I have driven the Vermillion Cliffs near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon several times at night, so this couldn’t be as bad as that. It was around 7 p.m., so I still had a good hour and a half of daylight left. I’d be in that cabin by 7:30, happily eating my lasagna and playing games with the church ladies, so I was okay.

I glanced up at the GPS. Fourteen miles to go. Making progress, I thought. Man, that lasagna smells so good.

I kept driving upward, confused but sane, and then I came to a fork in the road. The GPS said to go right at the fork, and again I ignored my instinct to turn around, a very stupid thing considering that I actually had room to turn around at this point. I went right. The road started to slope downward, and I felt a giant whoosh of relief. Then I rounded a bend and saw that the road was going up again. And then… things got bumpy. Every hundred feet or so, there were these giant bumps in the road. No, seriously. We’re talking two feet high. And I was going about ten miles an hour here, because the gravel was a little slippery and the road was becoming skinnier every minute. The best thing about these bumps? They were all preceded by little ditches that were themselves about a foot deep. So I would jolt down and then will the car to get itself and me over the giant hump. If I had been in the Explorer, I wouldn’t have made it. Too much car, too much weight, and too many times that the road tilted toward the ravine at the precise moment I was rocking over the enormous humps.

After about three of these humps, I was in all-out panic mode, quite sure I was going to die in the mountains.

I wasn’t crying yet — don’t worry, I eventually got there — but I was scared and smelling garlic and balsamic vinegar and imagining every possible way I could die in these mountains. I turned a corner after a particularly harsh bump in the road, and I saw a red Jeep coming the opposite direction. In the Jeep were four college boys, and I looked at them, obviously distressed, looking for any clue from them as to what was ahead for me. And they looked at me and kept going. Which is fine. Except that they gave me no inkling of what I was in for next. They didn’t wave or mouth “Don’t go that way!” or anything. Just looked at me and kept driving. It will take me a long time to stop hating them.

To be continued…

Yet another near-death experience, part 2

Part 1.

I finally found a turnout, three or so miles north of Banks, and pulled out. At this point I made a most egregious error in judgment. I had directions, and I knew I was north of where I needed to be, but I decided to plug in the GPS and let it lead me. I know that the GPS can’t find our house, and I know that it couldn’t find Rowdi’s daycare place, but I decided that it would be able to get me to the log cabin in the mountains. Of course, had I plugged in the GPS when I left home, it would have told me exactly where the forest road in question was, and I would not have ended up on my little death-defying mountain adventure.

I put in the address of the cabin, and the GPS told me to go north on 55. I knew — KNEW — that it was wrong, because Banks was south, and I had missed a turn at Banks, but I figured, eh. It knows what it’s doing. Never trust a computer over your gut, peeps.

I drove another sixteen or seventeen miles north, almost turning around at several pullouts, and I reached a spot I recognized. I spotted the inn that sits off the highway where we exited the river on our white water rafting trip. It felt good to recognize a place after putting my body into stress overdrive. The GPS directed me across a one-lane bridge, and I thought, “Huh. It seems like I should be farther south of here, but it’s taking me into the mountains, and I know I’m going to a cabin in the mountains… so this must just be an alternate route, and I’ll come at it from the north. That’s fine, as long as I get there.” I could see the route the GPS was plotting — a big, curvy route that went up and around and then back south. By this point, I knew that I most definitely should have turned around at the pullout, because the GPS was taking me so far out of the way. Still, the little piece of crap told me that I had sixteen miles to my destination, and I figured it would be twenty on the highway if I turned around, so this would be faster.

After the one-lane bridge, the GPS had me turn right onto Packer John Road. Let me tell you: If you are ever in Idaho, and your GPS tells you to drive on Packer John Road, throw that little punk out the window (after you smash it with a baseball bat). I happily drove onto the dirt road and decided to call Frank on my cell.

SARAHK: Hey, sweetie.
FRANK: Hey, how’s it going?
SARAHK: Well, the directions were bad, so I’m using the GPS. I’m on a tiny dirt road in the middle of nowhere, and I still have phone service!

Click. I promptly lost phone service. Immediately after that, I noticed that the road was ascending and had become much more narrow. One side mountain, the other side river / ravine. Awesome.

To be continued…

Yet another near-death experience, part 1

September 12 (a Friday), I took the day off from work so I could prepare for and go to a retreat with the ladies from church. I was very excited to get to know them all better and almost as excited that the retreat was in a log cabin in the mountains.

In the morning, I baked a batch of cookies and then left for my hair appointment — my hair lady was able to work me in at 10. I was out of the salon by about 12:30 and went straight to the grocery store to pick up some last minute ingredients for the lasagna I was making. (This was the point at which I tumbled into despair about my new choice of hair color — catching my reflection in the freezer section doors — but don’t worry, I’m all better about it now.) When I got home, I made a lasagna, and I have to say, I was pretty proud of myself considering I’d never made a homemade lasagna before (I did make a “Mexican” lasagna once, but it wasn’t my finest cooking). I was excited that I’d get to walk into that retreat and eat the same thing the other ladies would be eating, only better. I would offer the lasagna to the other ladies, so they could stop feeling sorry for my food situation and realize I do not suffer one little bit (except that yes, I would suffer for eating so much cheese, but whatevs, it was a special occasion).

It took me longer to get packed and get the lasagna finished and leave the house than expected. I had planned to leave by 1 or 2, but I ended up leaving at 5:45, right as Frank was getting home from work. Later I would be very thankful that I got to kiss him goodbye one last time before I died a scary death, never to be found, alive or dead — at least for many, many years.

I got on the road, put on my iPod, and enjoyed my drive through the foothills and the mountains. The retreat was in Crouch, just outside Garden Valley. I was driving the Santa Fe, thank goodness, because I’m not sure how Pinky would have fared. Not well, I think. The directions were on the seat next to me, and I consulted them every few minutes, even though I knew that I was supposed to turn at Banks on FR-24.

Now. We had just gotten new cell phones, and this is important later. As you know, phones generally don’t come with the necessary cell phone accessories like car chargers and memory cards, and we had not yet ordered those for our new phones. And I’m trying to let my battery run all the way down and die before I plug it in — I’m hoping that will make the battery last longer. That day, I should have just charged the thing all the way. But I didn’t, because I thought, “Oh, I’ll be there in an hour and a half. I have my charger with me; I’ll just charge the phone when I get to the cabin.”

When I passed Cascade Raft & Kayak, I started watching for Banks, because I knew it was north of the rafting place, as we had passed it on the way to our drop point. I got to Banks, and I saw one sign pointing toward Garden Valley and Crouch, but the road was called something else, no indication of it being a forest road. I looked everywhere for signs and didn’t see any. I’d been past Banks one time before, and I wasn’t even driving, so I had no idea if this was the only turn or not. I thought it might be, but I just wasn’t sure. So I didn’t turn at the first street.

That ended up being the only street off the highway in Banks. After about two miles of highway (with no exits or turnaround points, as this part of 55 runs right along the Payette River), I finally got to a turnout. I pulled over there and stopped the car so I could get my bearings and figure out what to do next.

To be continued…

um… i won’t post this

I was a little humored at first that Rambo Symbiot’s girlfriend showed up in a YouTube video… but it’s very pr0n-y. Like I’m one of the few clothed girls in the video. It’s skeezy enough I didn’t finish watching it. It’s also in Swedish, so I have no idea what the people are saying… I hope it’s not, “We want to see the t-shirt girl naked.” Blerg.

for the record, I am not his girlfriend

Some guy over in the GameSpot forums is claiming to be my boyfriend. Frank just said, “I’m pretty sure he’s not.” Me too!

And what’s even funnier is that RamboSymbiot (apparently Canadian) got caught by jt222_us.

Um…. two questions. Is that pic of her and the gun 3 years old and do the two links listed below create any suspicions as to the credibility of this posting? Are the two links of the same lady? Just wondering? Because according to the ‘about me’ section of the 2nd link, the lady says she’s married and doesn’t go off rambling about guns???

Hahahaha! I do love me some guns, though.

And it’s an S&W .357 magnum, if you must know. It’s not mine, it was just for the pics. I prefer my Walther P99 and Mr. Shiny, the 1911 that sleeps next to me. And my little carry revolver (Taurus SS Ultra-lite snub-nosed .38 special) is pretty great too.

I just can’t tell y’all how amused I am by this.

Thanks for stopping by, fellas!

UPDATE: Welcome, GameSpot peeps (sorry, don’t know if you have a special name)! I’ve been following the thread over there, and I will answer your questions.

*That is a real picture, not fake. The gun is real, not fake. There are many more pictures of me modeling my husband’s tshirts over here.
*You can buy the t-shirt here (no oogling my sister!). And this is why Nuking the Moon is a realistic plan for world peace.
*I have pretty decent aim. I am, after all, a girl. :-D
*I do have a concealed weapons permit, and I do carry. Because self-defense is logical.
*My husband (not Rambo) buys me guns for Christmas. Ok, one he bought me, the other one he gave me (in a most harrowing way).

honeymoon cruise – Costa Maya

Eventually I want to get around to doing a day by day account of our Caribbean cruise (the Nightfly had posted his within a week of his honeymoon, but hey, it’s only been just under two years since ours). That will probably be a long endeavor, so for now I’ll give you another piece. For our second stop, we were supposed to go to Cozumel; however, Cozumel had a couple of months earlier been ravaged by Hurricane Wilma, so our cruise ship (along with the Carnival cruise ship that had been following us since Key West) got diverted to Costa Maya. And our mere half-day in Costa Maya kept Frank from donating blood for a year.

Costa Maya from our veranda

The weather, which had been perfect everywhere else, was a little gloomy in Costa Maya, but we didn’t care, and neither did any of the other tourists. We were underdressed in shorts and short sleeves, because it got a little chilly when the wind picked up. We hadn’t chosen any excursions for this locale, so we spent the day doing our Caribbean shopping (we had refrained from shopping until Mexico) and eating bad food (something I didn’t expect in Mexico, actually).

we goofed while we ate bad food
The guy behind Frank’s left shoulder apparently thought I was taking a picture of him, so he mugged for the camera.

This is the day Frank bought his man-with-no-name poncho and I bought my Mexican vase. While we shopped, we were delighted by the Mexican folk dancers.

Mexican folk dancers

Frank was also happy to see the Cuban cigars (shudder), and I was excited about the jewelry, until I saw that it was not as cheap as I would expect cheap Mexican jewelry to be. I was a little worried by the insane number of women going into a tequila store (I really hoped they were on the Carnival ship) — until I saw that they were all just going in to buy pure Mexican vanilla. Giant bottles of it.

On our way back to the boat, we stopped by the beach to check out the fossils and the fishies.

Costa Maya beach

fossils

Then we went back to our stateroom so Frank could give his new poncho a whirl.

the man with no shame

stankeh

Ew. I went to the landfill yesterday. That’s where you have to go for hazardous waste disposal, and I had a ton of household cleaners, degreasers, sprays, all of this junk that moved with me from Texas that we have never used. We don’t want to move it again, I don’t know which of them I can pour down the drain and which I cannot, and I don’t even know what of it was good anymore, so I just took it to the dump.

When you first come onto the premises, there’s a scale house. I had to wait to drive up the scales, which confused me, because I’m not a dumptruck. The scale house lady told me where to go for hazardous waste disposal. Ok, fine. Note: the scale house area is not that far from mounds and mounds of landfill trash, but I couldn’t smell anything out of order.

Then I got to the hazardous waste guys. I had to let them take the boxes from the car, and they sorted through it. When I told them that I wasn’t even sure what was toxic and what was not, they said they would handle sorting through it, and that people come up there and “shop” through the items they keep all the time. Oh, and this area smells like rotten eggs. So I breathed through my mouth while I filled out the form. I noticed on the form that there’s a check box for automotive battery disposal. It just so happens that I needed to dispose of the battery that the Hyundai dealership stuck in the back floorboard of the car after they replaced it (who does that? car dealerships don’t dispose of their own batteries?). But battery disposal is a different area, so they gave me directions to the battery disposal area of the landfill.

I drove around all the curves, looking for the battery area, and I figured I must have made a wrong turn when I ended up at another guard shack. Surrounded by mounds of trash. This area smelled like a worldwide fart. The smells were progressing in significant fashion. I told the guard I was pretty sure I was in the wrong place. Because all around me were dumptrucks. Me in my little SUV on the edge of a giant malodorous trashcan. The guard told me I’d passed the pallet of batteries and where it would be. I had looked in the general area and had seen nothing.

So I turned around and went back down the hill to find the battery place so I could get my poor molested nasal passages out of there. I found the place (there was a total of one battery on the pallet), and there was a man standing there with a walkie-talkie. He had not been there before, or I probably would have noticed the lone battery. I got out of the car and was promptly slammed in the face with the smell of vomit. We’re talking about a stronger puke smell than that of a hundred Six Flags trash cans. Serious staaaank, yo. The battery man came and got the battery for me. Thank you, Mr. Battery Man, I hope they pay you at least fifty bucks an hour to stand here with the batteries. Seriously, he deserves it, I’m so not joking.

I’ve just been assuming that walking the dog in the heat of the day is the absolute worst thing you can do in this humidity. I was wrong. Working in the landfill has to have it beat.

I didn’t piddle around getting out of there. And then I realized that once my car is fixed (yes, it’s still broken), I’ll have to go back with another battery. Oh. Nose.

adjusting the assets

The Sizzle just loved taking between-poses pictures of me. She was especially fond of taking pictures of me adjusting assets. In this one, I happen to have my eyes closed and a goofy look on my face. What am I doing? Singing? Who knows.
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I considered using this one

as my t-shirt babe contest photo.
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fake smiley SarahK

Outtake #2 from the t-shirt babe contest photo shoot. It’s just bad. Bad.
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i should not be allowed in civilized society

So. Today I’ve been going through all of our floppy disks (we have so many!), looking to see if there was anything on them that we need. As it so happens, when my computer crashed a couple of years ago or last year, whenever, I lost a lot of digital pictures that I was dumb enough not to have backed up. Well, my sister’s old digital camera (we’re talking really old) saved images to floppy disk. I’m not joking. And today I found the pictures from the initial photo shoot for the t-shirt babe contest. I’m not just talking about the ones I posted a long time ago on my typepad blog. I’m talking the goofy ones, too. I also found pictures from my mom’s BFF’s daughter’s wedding — including the infamous Bonnie Hunt photo (wow, those were some glasses I wore).

So I’m gonna show y’all the pictures that would have ensured my never becoming the IMAO t-shirt babe (and of course, the completely natural result of Frank and Sarah sittin’ in a tree).

I present to you the very first… Goofy SarahK picture of the day.
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full day — friends, food, film, grocery store (ok, i tried to alliterate the whole thing)

Hey, guess what happened today? We were on time somewhere! Nine minutes early to the Piera house, actually. We went for food, movie, and grocery shopping with the Pieras and D (is he semi-anonymous too?). Hey, it’s way funner than it sounds. We told them we would be there at 2 p.m., and we arrived at 1:51 (for you mathematically inept, I did the math; I’m nice, right?). We were so proud. They were so shocked. “First time for everything.” Whatever, Snidey McSniderson.

We took a quick trip inside to see the water closet that wRitErsbLock recently remodeled. She’s right, the interweb pictures don’t do it justice. I finally told her this after I saw it in person. I thought it looked like a crypt online; it looks much friendlier in person — not at all like someone might shove you in it and nail it shut!

So first things second, we went to Chipotle (because first we stopped for actual first things — gasoline). Oh, wait. At the gas station, Frank said he would get out and pump the gas, and I said I would go ask wRitErsbLock where Chipotle was (still is). We quickly got sidetracked.

WRITERSBLOCK: How did this happen?
SARAHK: What?
WB [motioning wildly toward Frank]: How did you get him to do that? You were driving, and he is pumping the gas! [Sherlock] never pumps the gas!
SHERLOCK: I pump gas. Into my own car.
SARAHK: Oh. Frank always does that. It’s the man’s job. I didn’t even have to ask.
WB: She didn’t even have to ask!
SHERLOCK [examining wb's hands]: Yep. She’s got two.
SARAHK: So have I. But Frank’s got manners. And chivalry. Some things are just the man’s job. He opens my doors, too. [WB looking at sherlock in disdain, sherlock looking all snobbish about that.]
SHERLOCK: Nope. She’s perfectly capable.
D: You get mad at me if I do that for you.
WB: Yes, but [sherlock] is my husband!

Ok, so we went onto Chipotle. WB apparently took exception at the fact that I don’t drive like the crazy Florida drivers; I actually leave four or five cars’ lengths between the car in front of me and my own car. Call the Insanity Wagon, y’all! I forgot to ask if she also took exception to my pulling over for the emergency vehicle that wanted by. Picky, picky.

So here’s how stupid I am. I know that Chipotle is a safe place to eat, and we don’t have them here, and I can eat everything except the tortillas. So I was happily set to order my burrito bol. And I was being all smart. They wear gloves, right? I know that I’m sensitive to cross-contamination, so I asked the girl making the bol if she would please change her gloves before making my bol. She agreed right away, and I quickly added that I’m allergic to the tortillas, and she gave me a funny look, and I didn’t pursue or explain, I just moved on, carefully watching as she almost dredged the new gloves across the tortillas as she reached for my bol. I would have asked for even newer gloves, but she missed the tortillas by *that much*. Did I mention my stupidity? Ok, so girl #1 got my bol started, and after the rice and beans, she passed my bol along to girl #2. I blindly told girl #2 which salsas I would like, and please give me cheese and guacamole. Did I ask girl #2 to change her gloves? No. Didn’t even think about it until after grocery shopping several hours later when my stomach was rumbling full-steam, I had a migraine going, and I was having seizures. Then I thought back and realized that duh, I forgot about girl #2, and what does she do? She actually folds everyone’s burritos with her gloved fingers and gets the gloves all over those tortillas, and yes, she grabbed all my little cheeses with those same fingers. And another thing? I shouldn’t have even had the cheese, because I’m off cheese for another week. Good job, me. Everyone must change gloves, except the lady who only touches the bottom of my cup and my debit card. Duh. I was even really careful that when I washed my hands, I accidentally opened the bathroom door after without using a paper towel to open it, so I washed my hands again, not so much because I was freaked about the germs this time — my freaking about the gluten has far overpowered my freaking about the germs. I was worried someone didn’t wash their hands and had gluten on them and touched the door handle.

Brain. Fried.

When we were done eating, it was time to roll to the movies, in the same parking lot. Thank goodness, because parking was a beast. Probably because we were going to see Transformers, and there were a bunch of Deceptacons or Autobots there in disguise. I have no idea if I spelled those correctly, don’t care. On the way across the parking lot, or maybe this was at Chipotle when D got up to go get a drink or something. Don’t remember. Brain addled from gluten.

Alright. One time, a long time ago, I teased writersblock in an email or something. I don’t even remember the context, all I remember is that it was one sentence. “You know, you could invite us to do something with just y’all sometime.”

WRITERSBLOCK: So are you offended that D came with us?
SARAHK: What? No. Why would I be? [Note that when we made plans the other day to go to the movie, I always knew that D was going.]
WRITERSBLOCK: Well, you lectured me that one time about how we never invite youse guys to do anything with just us, how there are always other people.
SARAHK: What? When did I lecture you?
WRITERSBLOCK: You said that one time, “You could invite us to do something with just y’all sometime.”
SARAHK: Wait, wait, wait. So one sentence… one measly little sentence… that’s lecturing?
WB [laughing at her inane self]: Yes.
SARAHK: Ohhhhh. So much is becoming clear now!

Oh, believe you me, I let her have it, then and throughout the day. Verily, as she would say.

SARAHK: My, [writersblock], you’re looking thin. “SarahK is always lecturing me about my weight!”
WB: Yep, just another way for her to lecture me about gluten.
SARAHK: And when I asked the girl at Chipotle to change her gloves? I guess I was lecturing the poor girl about gluten!
WB: I had to listen to SarahK give a ten-minute lecture to the Chipotle girl about the evils of gluten!
SARAHK: Hey, those are cool shoes! “SarahK is always lecturing me about the shoes I wear.”
SARAHK: Hey, in college you must have had it really easy. You could get through a two-hour lecture in like two minutes!

Poor WB, she’s probably feeling lectured through the interwebz right now.

So then we went to see Transformers. It was more than meets the eye! For reals. I felt so dragged to the movie. Every time Frank has mentioned it, I’ve been thinking, yeah, whatever, it’ll get me a couple of chick flicks. Don’t get me wrong. You know how I love my dumb action flicks. But I wasn’t looking forward to a movie based on a cartoon robot show that I barely remember at all and am not sure I ever watched. I only even knew who Optimus Prime was because J.D. and Turk painted him on the Turks’ nursery wall in Scrubs. Anyway, I loved the movie. It was funny, I liked the plot, I liked the characters. It was PG-13, and I didn’t notice the language being too bad. I did notice a few words and was really surprised when I got home and looked it up that I missed a few (I’m not complaining that I missed them, I’m annoyed with myself). But for a three-hour movie to be as clean as it was is pretty rare these days. Actually, my biggest complaints? The cheesy Michael Bay scene at the end (was somewhat inevitable and which actually was a lot less cheesy than I would have expected had I remembered going in that this was a Michael Bay film) and… the action! I mean, the military action was great, the shooting was good, the driving was fun, but the robot cage matches were too hard to follow. With all the cinema tricks where you’re supposed to feel like you’re at the Chevy Show, and the part of the bot that just got torn off has rolled right over your head, OH NO! IS IT GONNA HIT YOU?! and closeups of the gigantic robot fists banging into each other… Well, I never could tell which battle I was watching, who was fighting whom, and which robot just got smashed. So the dumb action part of the dumb action flick wasn’t the best part. But overall, great movie, I’d pay another $9.50 to see it again in the theater. Yes. It was $9.50 for a matinee.

After the movie, we went to the Kwik-E-Mart. To turn left into the K-E-M, WB crossed a solid white line (illegal in Texas, I assume it’s also illegal here) with a Sheriff’s deputy in the next lane. I was not about to break the law right in front of the deputy, so I continued past the light and went past the Kwik-E-Mart and made a U-ey. I explained this to WB, the whole illegal activities in front of law officers thing. Not a big fan of illegal activities to begin with, mind you. But a single white line? I’m not gonna lie, I’ve crossed them before. Inside and outside the Kwik-E-Mart, WB and I ran around taking pictures of everything while sherlock, Frank, and D found their Homer supplies. Frank got a Squishee and a couple cans of Buzz Cola.

After the Kwik-E-Mart, we trekked waaaaay up to Winter Park to Whole Foods Market, because I had looked up online today whether Orlando has one, and Orlando has one. And I was determined. On the way there, WB crossed a single white line, and I moved over into the new lane behind her, but I waited until the line was dashed, however briefly, before I made my move. My phone rang, and Frank answered and put it on speaker.

WRITERSBLOCK: So you won’t cross a white line to turn left, but on I-4, you have no problem doing it?
SARAHK: First of all, I crossed when the line was dashed, not solid. It was solid, then dashed, then solid again. Second of all, there’s no Sheriff’s deputy sitting right next to me on I-4.
WB: Is this Park? [PROFANITY] This isn’t where I want to exit. I’m distracted by the pho–! *click* [this is where she hung up on me]
SARAHK: I don’t know why she doesn’t get the concept of dashed lines versus dotted and officer sitting there versus no officer sitting there.

She called me back again to tell me when we were approaching Whole Foods, and…
WRITERSBLOCK: [PROFANITY]
SARAHK: HEY! YO! JUST BECAUSE I’M NOT IN YOUR CAR DOESN’T MEAN I CAN’T HEAR YOU THROUGH THE PHONE!
WB: Sorry. See you in a minute.

I wouldn’t even bring it up, because she did apologize, but I thought my line was decent enough to blog that part of the conversation.

We shopped. Frank yawned a lot. We shopped. WB, sherlock, and D looked bored. I was in gluten-free heaven. We spent over $100. I got so many different flours and gluten-free mixes that you either can’t get at Wild Oats here or is at least a dollar cheaper there. Plus more terra chips, a few other things, some organic pears and avocados. A couple of Larabars, which are the same price there as on Amazon, and a case is cheaper than Amazon. WB and I were impressed that they have a whole fridge of gluten-free baked goods. Oh! Also, I got 365-brand all-natural black cherry coke (and by coke, I mean caffeine free, color-free soda made with pure cane sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup) and the same brand, same yada yada ginger ale. Frank pointed at the giant wall-art wheat hanging near the ceiling on the high walls and asked if I’m offended by that. Well, if wheat weren’t so in the Bible or I were a liberal, yeah, I suppose I would be.

We finally left after long hugs and I miss yous and came home to a very bad dog who got a faceful of cat claws right away for her bad behavior. And yay me. I put away groceries and wrote this super-long post just for y’all… all with my mild migraine, regrowing nerve pain, annoying seizures, and NOT mild bloating.

Dudes. I’m not even proofreading this, though. Sorry.

worst idea ever

Getting out of the house

Yeah, so I’m not exactly known for my great ideas. But what else were we to do? We can’t exactly pawn Rowdi or the cats off on any neighbor, considering that any one of them could have a flea on them at any one period in time (plus the cats are fully clawed, and Rowdi is a sixty-pound high-energy dog). And because Rowdi has been kicked out of the dog spa at the most inopportune time, and we needed to get everything ready to spray super-fast, and the house was an absolute grade A disaster area, there was no time for interviewing new dog spas. Cleaning, moving things, laundry, etc. No time. And while the spray is wet, it is toxic to pets and humans (and hopefully fleas!), so the little furry children couldn’t stay home.

After days of cleaning and laundry, we finally left the house with the pack of wild animals around 4 p.m. yesterday. And after having sprayed a couple of rooms, closing them off, ventilating them, whatnot earlier this week, I knew that it takes about four hours for the spray to dry, especially on the windowsills and tile. Oh yes, before we went, I went to the Florida State Parks website and searched for parks within 100 miles of us, then went to each result’s page, compared the map of each result’s location against writersblock‘s link to the map of all the Florida fires, and then we just decided to go south on A1A and maybe hit Sebastian Inlet. I’ve not really been impressed with Sebastian Inlet, but we figured if we got bored, we could keep going south toward Ft. Pierce.

Ok, so first stop was Petsmart. Wait, back up. First we put the kitties in the carriers, and we couldn’t remember which goes in which carrier. We soon found out. So we put Minerva in the Sherpa (wrong choice), and Sydney went into the hard carrier. That was mainly because Sydney was hardest to catch, and the Sherpa was open first. Many scrapes and scuffles later, the cats were in the carriers, Frank was in the back seat with Sydney, and Minerva was in the front seat. I got Rowdi’s canteen filled and grabbed the backpack, which I had packed with snacks, a frozen 2-liter of ginger ale, books (took those back out, because yeah, right), the video camera (this was sure to be an instant classic–too bad the video camera’s battery was dead and I didn’t think to charge it). Then I took the puppy to the car–she wore the Gentle Leader, just in case she got a little too excited about being in such close quarters with the kitties. I put her in the back seat on the other side of Frank from Sydney, and I went back in to spray the house. I sprayed the garage and the perimeter of the yard and porch last and finally got in the car.

Everyone’s hatin’ on Rowdi at Petsmart

Alright. Frank took Rowdi on a very long walk before we went anywhere. Good parents. Rowdi was great in the car. Poor thing couldn’t get comfortable, because she needs two seats for herself, and Daddy was just infringing on that territory. Sydney squeaked a little but then just got comfortable and decided that she was happy that whatever the cats were going to endure, the dog was going to endure as well. Minerva was completely quiet until I got into the car. Then she started calling for me. “Maaaaaaaaaaaa!” And Rowdi just needed to check it out. How are things in the front seat? What is going on? I told her three or four times, No, get back, back up, sit, but she was completely fixated, because by this time, Minerva was fully clawing the sides of the Sherpa (oh yeah, that’s why Sydney always goes in the Sherpa, and Minerva goes in the hard carrier) trying to escape. I couldn’t reach Rowdi’s hip (squeezing her hip always gets her attention, and tapping the side of her neck does nothing), and Frank had run back inside the sprayed house for something (I told him to hold his breath). So finally I popped her on the nose, and she did not try to stick it in the front seat again. She was utterly disinterested in Sydney. Probably because Syd was making no noise.

Now, Minerva wouldn’t shut up unless I was petting her. So I opened the top flap of the Sherpa just the slightest bit and had my hand stuffed in there, petting the kitty. I moved my hand just a little at one point, and Minerva seized her chance. She jammed her head out of that Sherpa opening so fast. And once the head is out, well. She’s a cat. So I was driving, and Frank was leaning forward from the back seat trying to help me shove Minerva back into the Sherpa. Finally, we tag-teamed it, with me shouting instructions, driving, watching the road, not the Sherpa, and coming out injured in the process. It went something like this.

SARAHK: Ok, you unzip the flap, I’ll grab her scruff and shove her in, and then you zip it. [unzip] No, NO Minerva! [Entire upper body was now out, because she is a cat, as I have previously mentioned.] Ok, you’re gonna have to unlatch her paws from the sides of the Sherpa now.
FRANK J.: Got it. Minerva, you’re BAD!
SARAHK: Watch out for the dog. Rowdi, get back! Frank!
FRANK J.: I was taking care of Minerva! I can’t do both!
SARAHK: I’m driving!
FRANK J.: Ok, I have Minerva’s claws out.
SARAHK: Ok, she’s in! Zip it! [zips] OUCH! You zipped my arm!
FRANK J.: Sorry!
SARAHK: It’s ok.
FRANK J.: You’re right. We really should be videotaping this.

At Petsmart, I took Rowdi in with me. She was Miss Perfect. I had the cart in one hand, the leash in another, was barely holding the leash with the left hand (I had my right wrist through the loop as a safety and was holding the other end with my right hand, as always), and she didn’t even try to wander off. She tried to sniff a lot of things, but I would say no, and she would stop. She never tried to walk in front of me. When I stopped, she stopped. When I said sit, she sat and looked up hopefully, because she did doggie class at Petsmart, so she probably thought she was getting a cookie for doing a super-fast sit in the doggie class place. Poor good dog. Occasionally, she got really interested in something that smelled good, but as soon as I gave a slight tug on the Gentle Leader, she moved right to my side. Good dog.

I found mice and jingle balls for Sydney, since I had accidentally sprayed all of Sydney’s cat toys, including her shredded monkey, picked up a frisbee for Rowdi, and treats for the kitties (we’d brought a bone for Rowdi to chew on). Oh, and Rowdi was perfect walking by all the other dogs in the store. All the little Mitzi moms with their matching powder puff Mitzi dogs looked all scared, but I was just like whatever, let me just maneuver my cart by you, because that’s the hardest part of getting around in this store, they make the carts so stinking huge. My dog will just follow nicely. Will your powder puff? I just smiled all nice-like. I’m so tired of people hatin’ on Rowdi.

At checkout, I pulled my cart up behind another couple, and I stayed with the front of my cart a good two feet behind them (so Rowdi was at least three or four feet behind them), because Rowdi is so aggressive- or exotic-looking. After I told Rowdi to sit (she did), the woman of the couple turned around and saw the vicious beast. She scooted forward another foot, at least. I was good and ignored her. I wanted to move my cart off to the side and walk Rowdi right up behind the woman and let Rowdi sniff her senseless. They left, and I had just finished telling the cashier how Rowdi hadn’t been in Petsmart in almost a year and this was the most perfect she’d ever been there when… Another dog about Rowdi’s size walked in the door. I knew this, because Rowdi turned, sat nicely, and watched said dog. I turned and watched while I waited for my transaction to go through. The other dog turned and tried to dart toward Rowdi. Rowdi started to spring toward the darting dog, but I had her and turned her away. She tried to jerk back to look at the other dog, and the other dog was still trying to come at Rowdi and was now growling. So Rowdi started her high-pitched bark (the same bark she barked at the feather-duster), and I quickly put an end to that one. “No, we do not act like that.” And I turned her, again, toward me and away from the dog. The other owners were walking off, still trying to get their dog under control. Rowdi gave a couple more glances but calmed down right away.

And as soon as Rowdi had barked at the aggressor, even though I already had her under control, the man behind us in line had decided that he needed to switch lines. I ignored him, too. I mean, he was already standing about five feet behind Rowdi, it’s not like he was gonna get caught up in the non-fray. Whatever.

Back in the car, Frank put the harness/seatbelt on Rowdi, and she actually got comfy very quickly and finally lay down and went to sleep.

Harnessing cats… it’s like trying to bottle air!

We got to Sebastian Inlet and paid $5, and they told us we could go anywhere except near water with our animals. Ok, so the picnic areas and parking lots. Frank got out with Rowdi and Rowdi’s bone and took her over to a picnic area. I got out harness #1 and held it right at the flap of the Sherpa. I opened the flap, and Minerva stuck her head right into the loop of the harness. I’m so smart. I put her in my lap and worked the rest of the harness onto her. Ok, one thing that ticks me off about these harness thingies? They’re all measured by your pet’s girth size. Like I walk into Petsmart just knowing my cat’s or dog’s girth off the top of my head. Same with Rowdi’s seatbelt thing. That thing was in girth. I just guessed and got a large. With the cats I was like, well… I guess they’re large… Who knows? All I know is that they both easily wriggle out of collars, so harnesses are the best thing I can think of for taking them outside and also for when we move to Texas so I can put their tags on them. Uh-huh.

So I tightened Minerva’s harness as tightly as possible, and it was still a tad loose, but not loose enough that she can get out of it. I think. Next came Sydney. That was a little harder, but since she was kinda taking in the new surroundings outside the windows, she was distracted enough that I didn’t get injured. Finally I had the leashes on both kitties.

Oh how I wish I could have found our camera yesterday. Y’all just don’t know.

I opened the door and held the cats in my arms. There was a surfer dude a few yards away. “Are y’all, like, gonna walk your cats on the beach on leashes?” “Well, not on the beach, but we’re going to try. This will be the first time.” “That’s awwwesome. Good luck with that.” “Yeah, thanks. We need it.”

I put the kitties on the ground. Both looked petrified and immediately backed under the car. Sydney started wriggling out of her harness. Oh no no no. Apparently that’s not the right girth size. I quickly grabbed both cats by the scruff and put them back in the car. Then I noticed that Sydney had one leg out of the harness. Oh, so that’s the problem! Let me just fix that… and let’s try again. So I put them back on the ground outside. Funny, they did not want to be outside! These kitties who always try to escape the house just did not want to be outside (on a leash in a harness). Sydney was trying to wriggle again, and they were both under the car, so I grabbed them both and put them in the front passenger seat.

I called out to Frank at the picnic area, “It’s not gonna work!”

Fluffy kitty pillows don’t make good driving tools

Frank and Rowdi came back to the car, and as soon as Sydney saw Rowdi, she volunteered to crawl into the Sherpa. “Yes, I would like to ride in here now, please, Mommy, and if you will just zip the flap up behind me so the big dog can’t get to me, I’d be most pleased, thank you very much.”

Minerva planted herself squarely on my lap. “And I’ll ride here. It’ll make it easier for you to reach me for petting while you’re driving. I’m helping you out. You may commence the petting now.”

Rowdi was just like “Whatever. I’m going to sleep.”

So after our five minutes at Sebastian Inlet, we left and went farther south. I’m not sure where we turned around. But at some point, Minerva decided that she would like to sleep behind my shoulder blades, between my back and the seat. So I was leaning forward, and Frank was trying to figure out how to negotiate Minerva’s removal with the least amount of damage to me, the cloth seat, and Rowdi, who was directly behind my seat. It’s a good thing Rowdi was harnessed in, because if she had decided to lean forward and sniff the kitty, Minerva would have decided to swipe either me, the cloth seat, or Rowdi. Finally Minerva was removed, but since she had been riding in my lap, the hard carrier was now inaccessible in the back of the SUV; Sydney occupied the Sherpa; and Minerva was doing her best to make it back to either the comfort of my lap or the weirdness of my shoulder blades. Many squabbles and arguments between Frank and Minerva later, Minerva finally decided she could perch upon the center console, but only if she could perch facing the back seat; this way she could keep an eye on that evil, sleeping dog, who was just over all of it. Eventually, Minerva tried to get to my lap again, and I was too exhausted for it. And then…

FRANK J.: Rowdi’s just trying to sleep, and Minerva’s scaring her for no reason! She’s just moving towards her and then hissing and swatting and spitting!
SARAHK: Just keep her. You handle the children, I’ll handle the driving. And by the way, we’re never having children.
FRANK J.: Well, maybe our children won’t try to attack each other.
SARAHK: Are you kidding? Have you ever seen children? They’re monsters! And we have our hands too full with animals!

We got home at 7:46, and Frank said that was good enough. I wanted to make sure. So I decided to walk Minerva to the door on her leash, and then I would pick her up and carry her when we got inside. I put her on the ground outside, and she just started walking. Like, “Oh, I love harnesses and leashes.” Until I started walking too, and then she was like, “No. You don’t get to lead.” And then she would do this thing where she’d lay on her side and act like I was going to have to drag her. And I would say, “Come on, bebe. Let’s go.” Like she’s a dog or something. And I’d just keep walking, and then she would realize that she doesn’t have a choice, and she’d kind of pull against me, but she walked. But probably only because she kinda wanted to go inside the house too. She only let me lead her where she already wanted to go. We got inside, and I saw that the tile was dry. I put Minerva down on the floor, and she started acting, again, like I would have to drag her, and she did make me drag her a little. It was funny. Then Frank and Rowdi showed up at the door, and as soon as Minerva saw the dog, she was out of that harness lightning fast.

Our bedroom wasn’t quite dry, so I just closed that off and opened the windows and turned the fan up until it was done. We were too worn out to get actual work done. The entire way home, we talked about how excited we were about the work we would be able to do when we got home. Yah. We were so done for the day.

progress

Ok, I’ve worked hard in the garage all week. I found my ‘NSYNC bobbleheads yesterday in the garage. I had to throw out the boxes in which they came, because the boxes were infested with the nasty, detestible silverfish. Yuck. But I’m going to give the boys a good washing with the power nozzle on the garden hose to make sure any future silverfish babies do not reside in their bobblebodies. I simply can’t throw out the boys. The memories. El Paso concert with Cindy! Texas Stadium concert–there were eight of us. Reunion Arena–five of us? Or six? Five. I coordinated all events. Every word of every song, except Digital Getdown, that hideous gimmick. Yes, I can’t give up the bobbleheads. You know they were on my bookshelf at work at the CPA firm I worked for in Fort Worth? Shamelessly. I was so proud, did not care. The partners shook their heads, looked away, but no clients came into my office, so they didn’t ask me to remove them. The bobbleheads I keep. Next house they get a prominent spot on a bookshelf next to the Kellie Pickler CD clock that the evil fake sarahk sent me, lest they become infested with silverfish again.

I can probably finish the garage by the end of the weekend. Once it is clean, we can cut the plywood that we already have and lay it in the attic so we’ll have some storage space and won’t have to rent any for things like Christmas decorations and anything else that can bear heat for a couple of months. And maybe we can paint the garage walls and floor on Monday or Tuesday. First the floor needs a good cleaning. Once the garage is painted and dry, we can start neatly stacking anything we pack from closets and the house in the garage and start painting the house. I’d like to start painting the house and installing the new blinds by midweek or the end of next week.

I’ve already packed some of the kitchen and given away so much of the kitchen stuff to Kisha. Am on the good advice of Teresa moving everything on the countertops into the cabinets unless I can bear to pack it. I already have a ton of cabinet space cleared out. For me, that is a huge accomplishment. The laundry room, which is in the kitchen, is already straight and cleaned out. I did that a few weeks ago. Just got tired of it being a mess and cleaned it in a whirlwind of Sarah.

I have a million boxes started, none finished, several almost finished. And lists started.

Check out my lists:
I have a list that I’m making as I pack things that says how my house is laid out now so that when we get to our new house, I don’t even have to think of where to put things. For example, my bookshelves in the den. I have listed what category of books goes on each shelf. What type of decorations goes on the top shelf of which bookshelf. In the livingroom, I have down that all the electronics cables go in a certain decorative trunk, and all the Nintendo extras such as bongos and microphones go in another decorative trunk. So. The most thinking when we get to the new place is if we have two living areas instead of one, I have to decide which living area the decorative trunks go in. My lists are awesome.

Another list is the list of boxes. The boxes are numbered by room. Livingroom boxes are LR1, LR2, etc. Kitchen boxes are K1, K2, etc. And each box says (on the top of the box and the side of the box) exactly what is in the box. I mean exactly. My friend Shelley taught me this when I moved from my Fort Worth house. List exactly what is in each box, and you always know where everything is. If you need to find something right away, you know where to find it. And the list is the same. Each box number, and exactly what is in each box. That way we can check off the boxes when we get there and we’ll know if we lose something and exactly what we lost. I’ll also number and list all of my storage bins. No need to repack those into boxes, I’ll just stuff newsprint into those to make them move-ready.

I also have a list of everything we need to do. That list is HUGE.

Speaking of that. I should get to work.

i can’t wait to post about this

unfortunately, life gets in the way. but Tammi and i had a fantastic 3-hour lunch (not to mention awesome banana ice cream in waffle cone, thank you, gluten challenge) on Tuesday. we both most definitely needed a little escape from… well, all of it.

i made Tammi blush. i did. i just came right out and said something, and she was not expecting me to be so bold, and she blushed, right there at the table. i didn’t know she could be made to blush. it can be done! i did it. i won’t say what i said to bring out the red in her cheeks, but ahhhhhh, yeeeeeeaaaaaah, i will say whatever i’m thinking, and i did, and it was so hilarious, the blushing and my wide eyes and dropped-jaw-reaction to the blushing. that’s all i’m saying. i might post a picture of the blushing Tammi later, though.

i’ll have y’all know, i was 20 minutes late and feeling like a heel. i was most pleased to learn that i was the early one. :-D Tammi’s navigation issues are way worse than my time-to-destination estimation issues.

later i will blog our conversation, me at Chipotle (which Tammi had for the first time ever), Tammi in her car, in which i tried to navigate her in to the restaurant. unfortunately, i lacked all the information and thought she was coming from the west rather than from the south, and i tried to steer her in from the wrong direction. cue comedy of errors! i wrote the conversation down while sitting at Chipotle. it’s in my purse, i’ll blog it later. anyway, so when she actually got to the restaurant? yeah, i was surprised to learn that she was coming from way down by Disney (south), rather than by the Chipotle of the west by the convention center (notice that all of my Orlando navigation skills involve knowing where Chipotle restaurants are).

i’m so glad we had a chance to meet up.

we’re moving to Texas

Austin, to be exact.

Frank and I are working hard to get the house ready to sell. We know of people in the neighborhood who want to buy a house on the golf course, and we have gotten the word out that we are putting the house on the market no later than April 15 and also the price of the house. And Frank’s resume will be in Austin no later than April 7.

Oh, and Frank’s going to be a writer now. :-) I’m soooo excited about this. He’s going to take contract engineering jobs as he wants them, and we’ll squirrel away money while he’s engineering, and then he’ll take time off between jobs to focus on the writing. If we need extra money now and then, I’ll take a little bit of temp accounting work (not much, because we both love me being a homemaker).

I’m so excited to be leaving Florida. We’re excited about moving on and settling down and having a yard with a fence for Rowdi. And it’s really happening. Things are in the works, we have dates, I’m looking at houses in Austin, we’re looking at jobs out there… The moving boxes were delivered yesterday, and I’ve already packed several.

The food. Oh, the food. I love the food in Austin.

Oh yeah, and I’ll be within a few hours of cousins, dear friends, lots of bloggers. Within 3.5 hours of Spidade, Sizzle, brother, and essay! And in the same state as Bikermommy and Pappy!

Yeah, so we plan to be out of Florida before summer hits. We’ll miss our Florida blogger friends and our church congregation and Mickey and the Space Center, but I won’t miss the humidity or the miles and miles of flat nothing and ugly cabbage palms. We’re moving to the Hill Country! That means I’ll have hills for jogging. Hills! Yes, I know it’s humid in Austin, but it’s not quite as humid as here, and it actually gets cold for a few days in the winter. And if I recall correctly from my auditing days (I had clients there–that’s how I know the food, the food, oh, the food), they actually get autumn in Austin.

And go me, I’ve kept a secret for a whole week!

So… that’s the news.

because i figured it’s not your business, officer

So yesterday afternoon, I was driving home from Wal-Mart with my groceries. Went looking for lingerie, came home with groceries instead. Typical. Note to self: Target for lingerie, Wal-Mart for groceries.

Driving down a road that should have a 50 mph speed limit, I was going somewhere around 40-ish. I wasn’t really paying attention to my speed until I saw a police car parked next to a canal bridge, the nose of the car pointing right out to the street, which meant the officer must be lying in wait for speeders. I tapped my brakes slightly and then looked down at my speedometer. 37-ish. Which means I was probably going faster than that since I hit my brakes and then looked at the speedometer, duh, but that fact didn’t register with me until I was on my way home later. But 37-ish. Then I looked up for speed limit signs. THIRTY? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? IT’S A FOUR-WIDE-LANES ROAD! By this time I was passing the police car, so I didn’t hit my brakes any more, I just took my foot off the gas pedal until I got down to 35. I’m not one of those dufuses who sees a cop and starts going at or under the speed limit. I’ve had too many cops pass me for going too slow, so I stopped that madness long ago. I’ll go 5mph over if I’m being stalked by the brass. (I love calling it that. The brass. I got that from CSI. And y’all nodded your heads, because you watch CSI, too.) So I slowed and kept eating my Doritos (I was hungry and had eaten only two Larabars for lunch, so the Fiery Habanero Doritos didn’t make it out of the Wal-Mart parking lot), watching in the rearview mirror for the police stalker.

Aaaaaaand the police car turned onto the street from its parking spot next to the bridge and started following me. Fantastic. I kept looking at my speedometer, still hovering at 35-ish, and I was still not going to slow to 30, because any cop who will pull you over for going 35 will also pull you over for going 30 and is a complete jerkface. And I kept watching the rearview mirror. And the lights went on, and I pulled over onto a side street. Lovely.

I put the Doritos in the passenger floorboard so I wouldn’t look like a total pig. Who eats Doritos in the car? Out of the big bag? Or for breakfast at 8:30, for that matter? Not that I did that today. Ahem. I also took a look around to make sure everything was in order. Straightened my water bottle in the water bottle holder. Put the car in park. Turned off the car. Thought about how a ticket is not in our budget. But whatever, I like cops, they’re not paid enough, insert usual pleasantries here.

I was watching in the rearview mirror when the officer got out of her car. Ah lousy luck, she’s a girl. I say that, but the two previous times I’ve been pulled over by girl cops, I’ve not gotten tickets.

She got to the door and knocked on my window. From this point forward, my thoughts that were only in my head will be in italics. If it’s not in italics, I actually said it out loud.

SARAHK: I have to open the door.
GIRL COP: Ok. Your window doesn’t work?
SARAHK: No.
GIRL COP: Well, I pulled you over for going 41 in a 30.
SARAHK: Nuh-uh! Oh. My thing said 37, but that’s still speeding, so… ok. I was speeding. If you’re being technical.
GIRL COP [looking at me a little askance, not sure if I'm being ornery, which I'm not -- out loud]: I… probably clocked you before you saw me.
SARAHK [looking straight ahead, mouth closed]: I’m just gonna shut up now.
GIRL COP [glancing into the back seat]: Just coming home from the grocery store?
SARAHK: Oh. Yes. Would you like a bag of Doritos, officer? A nice red pear? Why is she asking about my groceries? Maybe she’s letting me know that she realizes I don’t want to sit with my frozen food for too long? It’s a friendly gesture? What? Or she notices I can’t afford to fix my car window and I shop at Wal-Mart for groceries? So I can’t afford a ticket? I hope she’s focused on that, because a ticket is not in the budget. Colonoscopy Friday has taken all the padding out of the budget this week.
GIRL COP: Can I see your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance?
SARAHK: Sure. Ok, purse. Opening driver’s license pocket. No gun there. Here’s my driver’s license. Glove box, no gun there, ok to open that. Here’s my registration. Opening driver’s license pocket of purse again… looking for insurance card… I know my insurance card is in here somewhere.
GIRL COP: Do you also have a cracked windshield? How long have you had that?
SARAHK [looking at the windshield, then her, then grinning]: Um… well… a rock hit it quite some time ago and it’s just been…
GIRL COP: You know, if you have insurance, full coverage, the insurance company will pay twice a year to replace your windshield.
SARAHK:Yes, well I dropped the comp coverage on my car a few months back… Oh, um, is it… illegal to drive with a cracked windshield?
GIRL COP [grinning!]: Yes. Plus it’s unsafe. If something hit you, then…
SARAHK: Yeah. [I made the motion of my head getting chopped off and thought about the big black semi that almost hit me on 2/26/2007.]
GIRL COP: Exactly.
SARAHK: Oh! Here’s the insurance card. [I handed her the card and then realized it was the one that starts in a few weeks right after I handed it to her.] Oh. I think I gave you the wrong card. [Looking for the current card...]
GIRL COP: Yes, this one isn’t effective yet and is for a Hyundai.
SARAHK: It doesn’t have both cars? I thought all the cards had both cars on there. [Now frantically looking for the current card.] Oh. Maybe the current card is in the other pocket. With my gun. Eek!
GIRL COP: I’ll tell you what I’m gonna do. I’m not going to give you a ticket for the speeding.
SARAHK: Thank you.
GIRL COP: But the insurance…
SARAHK: Actually, I might have the current card in this pocket of my purse. But there’s a gun in there.
GIRL COP: Okay…
SARAHK: So… I just didn’t want you to think I was pulling a gun on you if I open the pocket.
GIRL COP: Yeah, that would be good information to have. You probably should have told me you had that.
SARAHK: Well, it’s not your business, officer. I’m a law abiding citizen, I have a permit for it, I’m not going to use it on you, and unless there’s a chance you’re going to see it and think I’m possibly attacking you, I have no reason nor requirement to tell you about it. Oh. Well, I know I’m not required to tell you about it, so… [Note: I said this very politely and sheepishly. But my thoughts were not polite and sheepish.]
GIRL COP: Uh… Ok, well, go ahead and open the pocket, but don’t pull the gun out, ok? Is this the only gun you have in the car?
SARAHK: Ok. Yes, it is.
GIRL COP: I’m going to take the gun out and away, and then you can find your card. And then when we’re all done, I’ll give it back to you. Ok?
SARAHK: As long as you use proper gun safety, officer. Mmmhmm.

BTW, she looked nervous now. Like I was a shifty criminal. I mean, I did tell her about the gun. Maybe she thought it was booby-trapped. But it’s a revolver, a double-action one that was not cocked if she looked at the hammer. She was still friendly, though. I find that the girl cops in our town are (that’s twice I’ve been pulled over by girl cops in our town, and twice they’ve been very friendly, so statistically that’s 100%). She took the gun out of my purse and held onto it, pointing it down at the pavement.

SARAHK: I have a permit for that, by the way. Why is she not asking for my permit? The gun isn’t just in my car. It’s in my purse. I guess technically it’s in my car, I wasn’t carrying it outside the car, but it’s not in a separate, locked compartment in the car. It’s in a purse. I’m pretty sure I need a permit to have it like that. Why doesn’t she want my permit? Do you want to see it? Why am I volunteering stuff? Sarah, just shut up. She’ll ask for whatever she wants. Yep, here’s the insurance card. I thought there was a chance it might be in this pocket, but I didn’t want to open it, because I didn’t want you to think I was pulling a gun on you or something. Oh, just stop with the nervous talking thing, SarahK.

I handed her the insurance card, she said yes to the permit.

GIRL COP: Ok, I’m going to go back to my car, run your license and the serial number on the gun, and I’ll be back in a minute.
SARAHK: Ok. Where are you taking my precious Pop-Pop? I gave it to you so I wasn’t holding it while I was digging around it in my purse. I didn’t say you could have it.
GIRL COP: None of the windows roll down?
SARAHK: The passenger windows do, just the driver side window is broken.
GIRL COP: Ok, you can roll down the passenger window and I’ll come back on that side. That way you don’t have to sit here with your door open.
SARAHK: Ok, thanks. Especially since we’re on this unknown street in a semi-sketchy neighborhood, and you just took my gun away.

Girl Cop went away for a while, and I sat, sat, sat… Girl Cop finally came back, passenger side.

GIRL COP: Ok, here’s your license, registration, insurance back.
SARAHK: Thanks. Where’s my Pop-Pop? There it is. I see it. The finish had better not be marred! ;-)
GIRL COP: Ok, I’m going to put this on the floorboard here, and after I clear you, you can pick it up and put it back in your purse. Are you law enforcement?
SARAHK: No.

Am I law enforcement? Don’t you think I would have mentioned that? I guess not if I was undercover or something, but why the question? I wonder if she asked that because I didn’t volunteer the fact that I had a weapon? Before I took my concealed carry class, I had always heard from my Texas carrying friends that if you’re pulled over, you present your driver’s license and your concealed weapons permit to the officer. But when I took my class, the instructor, who was excellent, told us that it is not a requirement to tell an officer in a routine traffic stop if you have a weapon. And the Florida Statutes just state that you have to present your license to the officer if the officer demands to see it (so I was being nice when I volunteered my permit):

The licensee must carry the license, together with valid identification, at all times in which the licensee is in actual possession of a concealed weapon or firearm and must display both the license and proper identification upon demand by a law enforcement officer.

– F.S. 790.06 (1)

GIRL COP: Ok, well in the future, we need to know. Because if we’re sitting there with someone with a loaded firearm, that’s information we need to have. [Still friendly.]
SARAHK: Yes, you’re right. I’m sorry, I should have told you up front. Not your business. You only need to know that I have a gun if I’m planning to use it on you or have a mental condition that would cause me to snap and start waving it in your face for no reason, such as having PMS. ;-) So what’s the problem. If I were a criminal, my telling you about the gun wouldn’t help you anyway, because I would probably tell you about it when I was about to try to use it on you. I only told you just now for my own protection, not yours. My telling you only helps you to know that a law-abiding citizen who is not planning to harm you is carrying a weapon. I just didn’t think about it until I was looking for the insurance card. Which is true.
GIRL COP: No problem. Take care. Slow down driving home.
SARAHK: Ok. Sorry about that. The fast driving, not the concealing of the gun. It’s not your business. I shouldn’t even be required to have a permit to carry one. But that’s another blog post about inalienable rights.

She was nice, though, so when I was thinking in italics in my head, I wasn’t thinking with my acidic sarcastic tone. I was using my polite sarcastic debate tone. So if y’all read that in the acid tone, you need to go back and read it again.

When I called Frank on the way home, driving 35-ish, I told him I can’t wait for him to draw a comic of the incident. :-D

let’s go back

just some bribery for my sweetie.

cliffs of insanity
looking up at the bright angel cliffs under the coconino overlook.

just past camp near ribbon falls
just past camp cottonwood near ribbon falls close to sunset.

the most beautiful powerlines in the world
the most beautiful powerlines in the world are at the bottom of The Canyon.

ribbon falls
ribbon falls. and this is before we had a good camera.

at sunset at the bottom of the canyon
at sunset at the bottom of The Canyon.

yes you have to go back up
a bit of a daunting vista, especially on day two, when you realize that yes, you have to go back up. but oh yes, it is sooo worth it.

when can we go back?

y’all will never believe where we are

I’m dancin’ on a pony keg. Of course, we’re in Jackson, TN, and I don’t know if Johnny and June are talking about the one in TN or the one in MS (and there are others for that matter).

We’re tired. It’s been a loooooong week. As of earlier today (approximately around the exact location of Checotah, OK), I would have said that the Js will never ever again take a road trip together. As of right now, I’ll get back to you on that. Incidentally, if anyone has a clear, non-blurry, non-sped-by picture of the road sign announcing that Checotah is the home of Carrie Underwood… well, you figure it out.

Much to talk about, but of course, it’s past 2 a.m., and we still have another day of driving tomorrow, and Frank works Tuesday. I’m taking Tuesday off for sleep.

A quick list so I don’t forget what I have to blog about:

*How the Cowboys so soundly trounced Tammi’s Bucs, and how many times I thought about Tammi during the game and could just picture her stomping and yelling and saying, “That’s ok, only 5 touchdowns to catch up!” throughout the game.
*What Spidade really thinks the Happy Feet movie is about.
*Puppies with antlers plus curly-headed children gets you sympathy Christmas presents from Grandma.
*We went golfing!
*My Grampa watching Tyra Banks on TV.
*Lots of pictures
*We had french fries and limeades at Braums with Kris!
*There is so much more I’m forgetting, but now it’s 2:30! Come on!

*For now, let me leave you with a little story. We stopped just past Memphis for gas and restrooms. After I peed, I waited in the car for Frank to finish, and suddenly, there was a barrage of people coming into the convenience store for snacks and drinks and whatnot. This one character caught my attention because, well, if he were my child, I would have slapped him upside the head and told him to take off those swaddling clothes and pull up his pants. Ok, picture with me. This was a black kid (I tell you only so you can see exactly what I see in my mind’s eye and have this image forever seared in your brain), and by kid, I mean that he looked about 16, and since black men generally look anywhere from 10 to 33 years younger than actual, he was anywhere from 26 to 49. He was wearing a faded red-and-black striped shirt that hung to somewhere around his thighs, which was about where his pants were pulled up to. No, that’s not true. His pants were pulled up all the way to the spot where butt meets thigh. And I know this, because he gave me a look-see. More on that later. DroopyPants also wore a bright red scarf tied around his head – now this he took great pride in. You could just tell. It was tied just right, hung just right, and hugged his head in just the right way. I didn’t actually notice what he wore on his feet. I was too engrossed in what was going on three feet above ground.

#Gross Alert#
About that look-see. DroopyPants was standing in the checkout line behind three other people, and he decided that he was a bit discomforted or something. I’ve gotta tell you, what he did next took some sort of talent. He managed to pull his pants down even further with one hand (closer to his knees now), and with the other hand, Droopy 1) pulled his shirt up, 2) pulled his tighty-whiteys outward, and 3) scratched his butt. Not just his butt. Down in the valley, folks. I wouldn’t be so specific here, but that’s not the worst part. After DP scratched his buttcrack, he reached out and picked up the Sunday paper off the rack, flipped through it with both hands, and dropped it back on the rack.

A little extra extra in somebody’s Sunday paper.

Nighty night.

conversational internet

We made it to my mom’s house in Amarillo at 4:30-ish this morning. I don’t know why a 24 hour drive took us something like 35, but anyway, we’re here. We dragged ourselves out of Oklahoma (the sleepiest part of our journey) in the wee hours of the morning by playing 20 Questions. Mostly Frank coming up with the Who (by that time, I had requested that he be only real people or fictional characters) and me doing the guessing.

The highlight of the last leg of our road trip went like this. Good thing I was driving and not Frank, because I’m not sure I could have contained my excitement. See, I’m a gasper when I see something that really interests or excites me. Bass Shoes outlet store? Gasp, almost caused Frank to wreck once. First Braum’s we saw when we got back to my neck of the woods? Gasp.

SARAHK: OH LOOK! CHECOTAH! IT’S CHECOTAH, OKLAHOMA! THAT’S WHERE CARRIE UNDERWOOD’S FROM!
FRANK: Oh yeah, it sure is. I wonder if there will be a sign.
SARAHK: OH LOOK! CHECOTAH OKLAHOMA! HOME OF CARRIE UNDERWOOD! AMERICAN IDOL 2005!

Then a couple hundred yards down the road, I spontaneously began to clap and say, “Yay! Carrie Underwood! Yaaaaaay!”

Anyway. We’re here. Frank saw my mom nekkid. Poor hubby.

choo! choo!

Hi y’all!

Where to start… Ok, we got a late start yesterday, because it took me forever to pack, because my back and legs were killing me, and then I refused to leave the house before all 2 weeks’ worth of dishes were done, the kitchen and bathrooms were clean, and I could come home to a relatively straightened house (if something happens to us, I don’t want the person taking care of our affairs walking into the house and going, “O… k… let’s just burn it down and never speak of it again.” This scares me a little, because it means I’m becoming more like my mother every day.)

We made really good time and ate excellent pit barbecue (in Rowdi’s honor) somewhere in north Florida.

I did not plan ahead, because I was so frazzled and out of it and running on about 10 hours of sleep since Tuesday, so I hadn’t mapped out where all the churches of Christ between Melbourne and Nashville are so we’d be able to find one no matter where we were around church time. Of course, we didn’t even get on the road until 11:30, which is after church at home starts, so we had even missed church at home. So we were keeping an eye out for a church that just happened to be along the side of the highway around 6 p.m. (sometimes you get lucky – we didn’t).

Once we hit Atlanta, traffic got slow, and the people in traffic got even dumb-stupider than they’d been all day long. We stopped to find a grocery store after we were north of Atlanta for some Matzo(h) crackers and grape juice. Wow. It had to be in the 40s in Atlanta, and I was not prepared for that with my thin jacket, un-stocking-ed legs, and ungloved fingers. Anyway, we got Frank’s Bible out of the suitcase and had our own worship service in the parking lot of an Ingles grocery store somewhere north of Atlanta. I hate to say, we’ve been having to do this for me several times lately, because I’ve missed church a lot lately with being so sick and being in so much pain that I wear myself out with the doctor appointments and chiro appointments and then have nothing left or and am in too much pain. Funny, in the church hymnals, there are so many songs written by so many people who were in pain or dying or on their deathbeds. There are entire books written about the origins of the church songs, and so many were written when the person was in a place of pain and pulled closer to the Lord and wrote what they were feeling and shared it with the world. I hope I get to that point. I’m not there right now.

When we got to Chattanooga, my leg was hurting enough that I needed to call it a night. I had napped before Atlanta, so I probably could have gone 3 or 4 more hours (it was only 11:30!), so we decided that if we saw a Best Western (always clean, always free wireless internet), we would go ahead and stop for the night.

Wouldn’t you know, there was a church of Christ that just happened to be right along the side of the highway. Ha, if only we’d gotten started at 5 a.m. like we were supposed to!

We found the Best Western right away, and the nice desk clerk (we are definitely in the south) said that the only king bed available was in the Jacuzzi Room, but she had a room with 2 double beds available. Frank asked the price on the Jacuzzi Room, and it was an extra $25. He asked me if that was ok, and I was looking at him like, um… ok… I’m in a lot of pain, and we’re both really tired, and we have to get up so early, so I know you’re not thinking we’re gonna go to splashy town in the Jacuzzi together. And I said, “Really? You wanna get the Jacuzzi?”

And the most wonderful husband in the world said, “I was thinking it might help your back.”

And I turned to the clerk and said, “Yes, we’d like that, please.”

And it really was nice and made me feel a lot better. He’s the sweetest, and the cutest, and I love him the best.

pow pow pow! angry shooting!

This morning Frank’s old man made us breakfast, then took Joe and Denise and Frankie and me to Cabela’s. We looked at guns and the aquarium and bought lots of ammo and headed off to the range. Only Frank, Joe, and I wanted to shoot.

I was so happy to shoot my P99 again, it’s been a couple of months at least. I did well two-handed. Pretty dismal right-handed, had a couple outside of the target area. Left-handed, I had at least 4 outside of the target area, which was completely backward. I’m usually much better lefty.

Frank made his

Frank was excited to shoot his 30-30 over/under rifle that’s 75 years old or something like that. I was going to shoot it too. Frank loaded it for me. I cocked the lever action, which was really neat-o, and got it all ready and up against my shoulder… got the sights lined up… but then I chickened out. I know. Bwock bwock. I’ve never fired a rifle or a shotgun. I was so afraid the butt of the rifle was going to hit me in the face when I fired it. So I put it down and gave it back to Frank and immediately had a seizure. I’ve been having an electrical storm in my face ever since, no lie.

After the rifle debacle, I fired Old Faithful and was terrible with it. So terrible that I needed to angry shoot my P99. Oh yeah. Angry shooting is good. Angry shooting is accurate.

I have pictures of the targets, but I can’t get the dumb photo gallery thingy to work. Plus, it’s 2 a.m. and we’re getting up at 7.

And after the angry shooting, we went back to the parental household. Old Man (Man Comma Old) made baby back ribs. They were so good, and the meat fell off the ribs. Frankie’s mom made baked potatoes and salad and bread, and we had a lovely meal with the whole family, and Grammy came over for the dinner too.

In the Trivial Pursuit rematch, the men won. Joe & Denise left, and Team Sarah played Frankie and his mom. Old Man played Rover. Team Sarah won.

Then Frank and I came back to the room. He surfed while I packed. Goodnight.

snippets

* Frank’s Grammy says the funniest things. Talking about Frank’s Aunt Crystal, who doesn’t like to dance, she says, “Then what the heck are you supposed to do for fun if you don’t dance??”

* Frank wanted to show Grammy his carry pistol, which is tiny and fits in an over-sized wallet-sized holster. He was sitting a few feet away from her and holding it up, and she didn’t know what it was, but he is clueless and thought she heard him say it was his gun. She motioned for him to bring it over, so he brought it over and handed it to her. She jumped in surprise and said, “Oh, you rascal, it’s a darn gun. You J’s and your guns,” and confiscated the gun for a minute. “Gimme my gun back!” So she shoved it back in his hands.

* I have seen the neckid baby picture of the Frankie. What a cute fat baby he was.

* The current track of Ernesto has him landing an hour north of our house Thursday at 2 a.m.somewhere around Ft. Lauderdale and maybe east of our house out in the ocean, but barely east of our house, so we’ll still get a lot of wind and rain, but I’m not sure why they’re expecting Ernesto to remain a hurricane all the way from Miami to Daytona on land without downgrading into a tropical storm. We’re still not sure what we’re going to do. We’re still hoping it fizzles, but if it doesn’t, we may beg Frank’s friend Eric to put up the shutters in exchange for me preparing their next 10 Thanksgiving meals for them (Frank doesn’t think he can be bribed with money). Frank’s going to call our neighbors who are taking care of the cats today to see what their plans are as far as their own shutters. They’re supposed to travel Friday. We may have to cut things short and fly back early to prepare, but that’s only if there is no one to bribe. Our poor kitties, though.

* My new endocrinologist’s office is a little disorganized. They first set me up at the wrong imaging center for my ultrasound, because all imaging for my insurance has to go through one center, apparently, and all the doctors in town know it. They called just now to tell me the time of my new appointment at the correct imaging center, and after checking my calendar I see that it directly conflicts with my next endocrinologist appointment… but at least this guy’s not a quack, right?

* The Office should not have won best comedy at the Emmys. Yes, we laugh our heads off at that show. But Arrested Development and Scrubs were the funniest shows on TV last year, followed by The Office. Arrested should have won. And how the President and First Lady from 24 didn’t win supporting actor and actress is beyond me. There should be a Federal investigation. But who cares about Hollywood? They parodied a plane crash yesterday. Bad taste. Yay for 24 winning, anyway. And Calista Flockhart should eat something. Anything.

* The weather here is fantastic. Cool in the shade, cool in the evening, warm but not too hot in the sun, and it’s dry. Dry. I love it.

* Yesterday after church we drove to Idaho City and hiked in the mountains. Hiked! In the mountains! And so far, I can move today! After we were done hiking, Frank, Silly Sarah, and I were sure we’d gone for ages. Joe Foo’, Denise, and Kayla (their dog) were ready to go for more. I said, “We hiked 20 miles!” The Marine said, “It was 3 kilometers.” Whatevs, man. We could have died exercising as vigorously for as long as we did. And then on the way back, there were dirt bikes coming up our way, so some genius (Denise) had the idea to go down this super steep slope instead as a short cut to avoid the bikes. Yeah, I’d have sprained an ankle, so I just slid down on my butt instead and dumped dirt and pebbles from the cuffs of my jeans onto everything I touched for the rest of the day (Frank’s mom’s nice rug, her nice leather chair, our suitcases, our hotel room floor, the car, etc.). Denise said it was my choice, but I ensured her that there’s never a choice with peer pressure.

* Saturday we picnicked in one of Boise’s parks and had lovely weather. I can’t imagine picnicking in Florida until January. In August? Yah. Uh huh. Eating a sandwich under an umbrella on the beach with my sister was only out of the necessity to eat.

* These oatmeal raisin cookies are yummy.

* Frank thinks I’m still supposed to fix his plate for him on vacation. Ha. I keep telling him, get up and fix your own plate, I’m on vacation. “But I’m tired.” “Yeah, and I’m on vacation.” “Well, then, my mama can fix my plate.” “It’s not her job, either, you get up and fix it yourself, you big baby.” The man is 27 years old. But he really is cute.

Orlando to Houston – UPDATED: SEE TATTOO

Ok, so… where was I?

I was edgy. I was on 1.5 hours sleep. And there were 7 incidents on airplanes on Friday, not to mention that one of them was a Continental flight out of Houston where a student’s luggage contained dynamite. We were flying Continental. On Friday. Into Houston. Then out of Houston. Faaaaaanntastic.

Back up. When we got to the airport, we checked our suitcases, showed the ticketing agent that our guns were unloaded, and took our bags over to the TSA agents. We told them which bag had guns and which had ammo and waited to see if they needed us to unlock the suitcases for them but they were fine after X-ray.

I have to say, there’s something very funny about a TSA agent scanning your suitcase that contains guns and then the one that contains ammo and then giving you the double thumbs up and saying in a chipper voice, “They’re both okay!”

We ate at Chili’s, and I was already profiling, and I’ve completely taken a screw’em attitude on the profiling. I’m looking everyone in the eye, and if they look like they don’t have anything to live for, or they’re on a mission, or they look like they have a fifth cousin whose step sister once removed might have in a previous life been part-Arab, I’m keeping an eye on that guy. And until the government gets it right and profiles every Muslim and also rigorously psychologically screens any person who wants to get on an airplane, I’m just going to have to offend a bunch of people and I’m not sorry. BTW, blood shoots out of my eyes every time I hear about suspicious activity on a plane (like say dynamite, or guys passing around a cell phone and absolutely refusing to stop and give it up to the flight attendant) and then hear the Feds come out and say “there was no terrorist activity involved”. Yes, Uncle Sam, I am a moron and would love to take a big healthy dose of that bologna soup you’re dishing out. Can you serve it in a big crock of bull? Thanks.

So at Chili’s I stared at this one guy eating with his mama, because he hadn’t smiled through all of his dinner, and he looked foreign. Then he caught my eye and stared back and gave me horrible murderous looks like I’m an infidel, so of course, I wasn’t backing down in the staring contest. He did. Later, though, he and Mommy started laughing and he actually was nice to his girl American waitress so I decided to leave him alone. However, I told Frank that if he was on our flight, we weren’t going.

We jumped on the wrong tram to the gate, so after we got everything straightened out, we arrived at our gate and were probably the next to the last people onto the plane. Of course, I was doing risk assessment, so we passed up our row before I realized we were way too far down the plane.

UPDATE: TATTOO. Right before getting on the plane, we were queued behind a person in a wheelchair, and those airplane people who wear the orange vests on the skywalks out to the planes were helping the person out of the wheelchair. I was praying praying praying, and I saw that the orange vest people had darker skin that could kinda sorta pass for Middle Eastern but more likely not. But you know, I should profile anyway, because I’m not stupid. So I was eyeballing these guys to see if they were handing off any boxcutters to the wheelchair people, and did grama and grampa have beady little eyes? Then I noticed the tattoo on the leg of one of the orange vest people. I studied it to make out the detail, because I was too far to see all of it, and when I got closer, I could see that what covered the entire shin area was a pair of praying hands with rosary beads wrapped around the hands, and a cross dangling from the beads. Ok, that guy’s not a Muslim terrorist. And then I heard him speak Spanish to grama and grampa wheelchair, so yeah. Twice Catholic to the second power. I felt a little better.

We got settled into our seats, and as soon as the engines started revving up, I smelled paint fumes or some kind of chemicals. So I, on 1.5 hours of sleep and in no mood to be trifled with, started making noise. “I smell paint. Do you smell paint? Anyone else smell paint? Chemicals? What is the smell?” And I was looking around for confirmation from other passengers, who were all looking at me like I was a cuckoo nutjob. Ask me if I cared. So when a flight attendant walked by, I asked her a stupid question to get my point across. “Has the cabin recently been painted, because I smell paint?” which means, someone’s putting together a chemical bomb and no one else even notices, what is wrong with all the rest of you complacent people. She very calmly said, “What that is, ma’am, that’s jet fuel.”

Yes, we were sitting just atop one of the engines. Didn’t keep me from crying the first 20 minutes of the flight, but whatever.

Of course, I’d been praying and praying and praying. I saw the sign in front of me: Life vest under your seat. That’s where my Bible happened to be, hmm, I took great comfort in that.

I wanted to sleep so badly. I knew I was too tired to concentrate on the Bible, so I tried reading Harry Potter to put me to sleep. But there was a child 3 rows in front of us whose parents and grandparents apparently thought that instead of having a cranky, mildly whiny baby, it’s better to tickle the baby over and over and make the baby do the BLOOD-CURDLING SCREAM GIGGLE at the top of her LUNGS for the discomfort of the entire packed-to-the-hilt 757 so that every time Jesus and Harry Potter have finally comforted my edgy, terrified, 7 diverted-planes-today brain enough that I’m just about to drift off to sleep, I am stopped suddenly by the sound of what I am sure is a woman screaming for help.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that the man sitting next to us took his laptop out and turned it on before the captain said we were allowed to use our approved electronic devices, so he was under my suspicion for the entire flight.

I’ve already told Frank that we’re not flying any more after this trip until our Feds get a clue and stop being PC and adopt the El Al model. We don’t need to improve it. We just need to copy it. Until we do it, I’m not flying. I used to be a great flyer before 9/11, but not now.

And I used to tell myself that I’m not going to let the terrorists win by letting them keep me from flying. But it’s not them. They’re not keeping me from flying. Our stupid, coddling, whiny, PC government is keeping me from flying. The politicians who sit around and read polls all day instead of actually ever doing anything are keeping me from flying. The Feds who refuse to face reality and refuse to fix the problems rather than the symptoms are keeping me from flying. Our activist, terrorist-loving judges are keeping me from flying. The immigration and customs agents who hand out visas to young Middle Eastern men like they’re candy are keeping me from flying.

happy fun places!

I just want y’all to know that I haven’t gone completely mad! Here are some happy fun pictures from our happy fun honeymoon. I have a bazillion of them but I haven’t done the whole lot in photo album stizzyle. I have 9 for you, though! 9! Yay! Rejoice!


Here we are in Key West just after we went on a nature kayak thingy around some little mangrove outgrowths where we could perhaps spot exotic ocean creatures. We saw fish. But the kayaking was fun.


These chickens were just randomly crossing the road in Key West. Why? I didn’t ask. But in the future when I run around like a chicken with my head cut off, I’ll know what that looks like.


Here we were having dinner at the Animator’s Palate on the cruise ship.


We actually got up for the character breakfast one morning, because we promised Martha and Hank and Will and Ashley that we would. And one of the Chipmunks came around for a picture. I brought out my chipmunk cheeks for the occasion. Y’all like my shirt? In case you can’t tell, it’s two computers connected by love. Awww.


Here I am when we were standing in line to get pictures taken before the captain’s reception, I think.


I posted this before, but he’s so cute.


Here’s our wonderful dinner table. Martha, Ashley, Will, Frank, me, Hank.


Here the ship was anchored out in the ocean a little way out from Grand Cayman. We had to take a boat over to the island from the ship and then another boat out to the sandbar to snorkel with the stingrays.


And this is how beautiful it is in the Bahamas. All the hype is for a reason.

1 year

though Frank and i were supposed to meet August 19, 2004, he stood me up that day. so we met August 20 instead. that was one of the best days i can remember.

and i can remember it. too well, according to Frank. a few minutes ago, i was reliving the day we met, and i talked about the day he stood me up.

SARAHK: and then you said, “finally! you answer your phone!” you were mean to me.
FRANK J.: you keep bringing up all the bad stuff. don’t you remember anything good?
SARAHK: i remember the tarantula at the Navajo Bridge, the moth that slammed into my windshield, you standing me up, you telling me that i should have a reason to want to someday be a geologist, that i couldn’t just like rocks…
FRANK J.: and you ran away and never spoke to me again.
SARAHK: yep.

anyway, it’s been a great year. i’m the luckiest girl.