Today tastes like raw chocolate-covered garlic. With bean sprouts. Crunchy, but ultimately disappointing and harsh.
Sheesh. It should have been a good weekend--Friday off work, a trip up to Aspendell in Greer, prepare the place for the semiannual Christmas party. Two of the tasks: Check the heating systems in the large and small cabin. No more arriving two days early in order to get the temp inside up above freezing! No more carrying water in 20 gallon jugs for drinking and washing dishes!! No more HOISTING 20 gallon jugs to flush the toilets twice a day whether they need it or not!!! Just flip a switch and start the fire for atmosphere. Ahhhh . . .
But no. Friday around lunch, my cell phone rang. My boss Hopalong was on the line, frantic. Where the hell was I?
Uhm . . . about four hours out of the city. Why?
Why didn't I TELL him I was gonna be gone?
But I did. Like two weeks ago, I told him I'd be out today. In fact, two weeks ago LAST MONDAY.
Nope, never happened. We'll talk about this Monday morning. Click.
Well, shit. I know I spoke to him, and my other two bosses (Atticus and Boo) and I could swear I talked to the other folks in the office because one of our buddies who was along to help prep the cabin had left his car in our parking lot. This should be no big deal--we're not big enough to be fussy about a car taking up a space, and he'd be taking up the same space my car would, so no problem, right?
So now, I'm concerned about the crucial conversation Hopalong and I are going to have come Monday, and I'm worried that no one else remembers my saying Shadowstalker is going to borrow my space for the weekend and thus, they'll have his car towed. So when he gets back to town on Sunday, he'll have no ride waiting for him, and no way to get to work Monday, and WTF???
Ick. Ick ick ick. Good thing there were plenty of seasoned rounds waiting outside to be split. I should take a photo of Hopalong some day, print out wallet-sized copies, and bring them to Aspendell for when I need a little more incentive to get out the axe and get going.
But it was lovely up in Greer, albeit somewhat breezy. The people we were for sure expecting all showed up in good time, and we got everything on the list done except for sharpening the kitchen knives. (Maybe an 8.5 x 11 headshot of Hopalong? Perhaps a picture of his shoulderblades?)
Then some folks we weren't expecting showed up. Gareth's cousin once removed and her husband showed up late Friday night. This isn't a bad thing, necessarily--they're easy to get along with, and hard workers to boot. The husband immediately set to work re-finishing the decks, and when we left on Sunday, he was replacing the downstairs toilet.
But I know a few of you will understand exactly what I mean when I say that it was just too many people. Neither Gareth nor I could unwind at all in the cabin.
So I took a walk.
This shrine is the place where we scattered Howard and David's ashes, and I understand there's a few other people memorialized here. I love this stump with its fan of roots around the saint. I think it's a perfect blend of pagan and Christian; an excellent marker for this family.
Sunday morning was uneventful; we were all leaving early save for Gareth's cousin and her family. And I'm glad they had some cabin time for themselves, since we had all of Friday. However, it has now become very clear that we need to shift the responsibility for the cabin calendar out of Most Excellent's hands; this is not the first time she's double-booked the cabin. It's a problem only because we call and check to see if there'll be company up there before making plans. It's a bit awkward to arrive and find others there, or be walked in on when you weren't expecting people.
So Sunday morning, we paked up and went off down through Whiteriver as we often do. It shaves about half an hour off the trip and doesn't send us through Phoenix and all the traffic to get to our home. Besides, the Salt River Canyon is really pretty as you wind your way down and down then back up and up.
And then it happened. 20 miles north of Globe, the engine revs went through the ceiling-vreeeeEEEEEE! Like when you have it in neutral and unthinkingly step on the gas. Except the truck was in gear. Uh-oh.
Took it out of gear, put it back in gear, step on the gas. VrrrrreeeeeeEEEEEEEE! Crap. At least we're headed downhill, let's milk this for a few more miles. So we coasted down the hill tapping the brakes, watching for a place to pull off the road before we start back up the hill on the way to Globe.
We were lucky, we found a pull-out that we could safely get to on the northbound side of the road, out of traffic. We were able to put the truck on a lovely level patch of utterly clear caliche to make life simpler for the tow truck driver. We had all our AAA info with us, no problem. Gareth's cell had just been pulled off the charger before we left the cabin, so he had power to spare.
Except we had no signal. None at all. Poot. Well, we're young and healthy, and it isn't summer, so we're not likely to die of dehydration before we can either walk 20 miles or get a ride. Off we go. (Yes, I could have claimed to be the frailer sex, and sat in the truck to wait for Gareth, but frankly, if it took him more then twenty minutes he would have returned to a bloody and frantic quivering heap of worry. Much simpler to walk and be there for whatever happened than to wait and imagine.)
So down the road we went, checking about every half-mile for signal, and high-fiving each other at every mile marker. Might as well celebrate, right? A little more than two miles along, a guy pulls off the road and asks if we'd like a ride to Globe.
Yes, please! we reply, and hop in. He explains he was visiting his brother on the San Carlos Rez, just east of Globe, and he lives up on the White Mountain Rez, which is up by Show Low. He was heading home, he saw us walking and thought we were taking pictures, but then he saw our truck. That's an awful long walk to take pictures, he thought, and turned around to see if we needed a hand. He told us the other week, he was making this drive and came across a fella walking with two kids, one 8 and one 12. The fella'd had two flat tires--one on the car AND the spare, so he'd given the guy a lift to get the spare fixed in Globe.
So once we'd been dropped off in Globe, we had signal, so we called AAA. We were thinking about getting a rental so we could take our stuff home, but the company we were connected to wasn't in the mood to try harder, despite their advertising. We were offered a car at the Phoenix airport. Gareth has more patience than I; he politely explained that if we could get to the airport, we would be able to get to our other car, and hence, would not need their services. The representative tried again, and offered us a car in Mesa. Gareth explained that this location was still about 120 miles from our current location. We needed someplace in Globe. Where we were. When she came back from putting him on hold for another fifteen minutes, he explained gently that we'd figure something else out, thank you, buh-bye.
This left us with some mighty unappealing options. We could call a friend to come and get us--120 miles out of town, one-way. We could call Gareth's mother and never hear the end of it. We could spend at least one night in Globe and call our respective employers to explain we were stuck and would be in as soon as possible, given that the truck was being worked on. Ewwww.
So we called one of the folks who had been with us on the trip and explained what was going on. We set up a provisional meeting place--the one McDonald's in Globe, which was just down the road from where the tow truck was supposed to be meeting us. Hey, it was gonna take her at least an hour and a half to get to Globe, might as well have a place to meet established. If she arrived and we weren't there, she was to call us. If we didn't answer, assume we were with the tow and would call as soon as we had signal to let her know where to go. Otherwise, we'd call when we returned with the truck and guide her to us.
Well, we got back to town with the truck before she arrived. We called, and sent her directions to the saloon nearest the Ford dealership because that was the nearest place where we could sit and wait. The dealership closes at 1:00 on Sundays; it was now almost 2:00.
So we went to have a beer. If the blue laws say we may, then who are we to argue? It was like being a kid again and tagging along to the pool halls with my father and grandfather. Check it out:
A pressed tin ceiling wayyyy up there, pool tables on the floor, and paintings of nekkid and semi-nekkid ladies on the walls. Too much fun. Established in 1902 and the only real changes have been the additions of two television sets.
So Mischief came and fetched us home again, and now we're dealing with the aftermath. Calling the towing company to get our keys over to the garage so they can get into the truck to fix the problem, and then next weekend we'll be back on the road for three hours fetching the truck back home from Globe (siiiiiigh). I have a blanket bee on Saturday that I've been anticipating since February, so that's not negotiable. That means Sunday will be eaten getting up and fetching the truck, so Saturday night's party will either be a quick show up, walk around once, then go home and to bed--or a no-go entirely.
After this weekend, I'm thinking the latter.