Friday, October 23, 2009

35-60: End of the Road

So they caught us. All red-eyed and bleary, they caught us. Being good sports, we did the only kind thing we could: we cleared out of the room and let them borrow our beds for a couple hours till checkout time.

What to do? What to do? Stuck in West Yellowstone for several hours. There must be something we could do. Say.............we could go to Yellowstone! Good idea!

There were no buffalo. I will just tell you now before you can ask. All the flashing buffalo signs were for the elk. (The buffalo warning signs were flashing, not the buffalo themselves. Just to be clear.) In that area, the Madison elk herd takes advantage of the valley's special characteristics to increase their species. It is one of the last places to get snowed in and lose all the luscious grass, and one of the first to thaw come spring. The thick forests along the sides of the valley, until the '88 fire, provided shelter for the new calves when they were born. Already the new growth from the replanted trees looks pretty thick and lush, but apparently no one is quite sure what the elk will ultimately decide to do. I don't know - they looked pretty comfy to me.

Steam vents rose from the river as we drove along, doubtless making some of the fly fishermen very happy on such a cold, cold day. I mean, we saw snowflakes at breakfast, and here are all these men (I didn't see any women, whether there were any or not) standing up to their hips in frigid water, whipping their poles around as if they didn't have a care in the world. I'm sure it was pretty near the ultimate in fly fishing, if you're into that sort of thing.

There wasn't time to go all the way to Old Faithful, so we contented ourselves with taking a winding little side road and walking down to a steam vent that was so close to the bank it had been fenced off. It was so odd to stand there shivering at the edge of a boiling turquoise pool. It was even odder to hobble back to the car, looking around furtively to make sure no tourists were looking, when I'm used to leaping like a gazelle. Soon, very soon, I will leap again.

Anyhoo! Arriving back at the motel, we quickly tossed the last couple things in the car and took off, following Dad. Mom was already chafing at the slow pace long before we got to the first uphill stretch, and our speed dropped from 60 on down and down and down, until we were dashing along the highway at a breathtaking 35 mph.

Going through the town of Big Sky, which is still undergoing all sorts of road construction, we saw the craziest thing. This house had been shingled with all sorts of loops and whorls. Mom and I are still arguing about whether or not it was on purpose. We did agree that it was unlike any other roof either of us had ever seen.

Fast forward through a couple hundred miles of 35-60, and Mom was getting really eager to pick up speed. At last, reluctantly (on my part) we sped (on her part) off, leaving the boys to follow at their own speed. At about 11 pm we arrived home and tucked ourselves in.

Slowly but steadily, the menfolks joined us several hours later, and all grew quiet under the Big Sky.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Still Plugging Along

By sleeping in then working really hard, we managed to leave our cozy motel more than a half-hour before Dad and the boys left home, Day 1 for them.

Most people, I think, don't associate the desert with much precipitation of any sort, but Nevada has enough high desert mountains along the way, that we drove much of the time through a corridor of white-capped mountains. Right there in the desert.

Idaho went by pretty fast, though in full fall glory. Yep, we went by the Army Surplus Warehouse again, with Mom muttering something about why we needed to stop every single time to look at the pink camouflage. Although they do have a fine line of ladies' pink cammo, that isn't the main reason I always want to stop. First, it's a really cool place, and second, they have cases of hash browns for under $12. And third, it's a really cool place.

Pizza for supper, and an eclectic radio station passed the time till West Yellowstone. It was early enough we could have gone farther, but we were all tired. A rotating wifi sign caught us in its tractor beam. Damon called as we were getting tucked in to let us know they were in Elko, NV. Not bad for some fellas pulling a whole buncha stuff in a trailer and who didn't leave till 10 am. I know they couldn't go very fast up the mountains.

Then, at last, ah sweet peace and blissful slumber. Right up until the boys caught up to us while we were still in our pajamas.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

We're Just Plain Off

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

1510 Dad said a blessing, and we started off.

1511 Got partway down the driveway and stopped. Went back for money for the trip.

1512 Still waiting.

1514 Started again. Ah, Montana at last!

1514 Nope, nope, stopped again.

1517 Finally homeward bound! Nope, stopped toward the end of the driveway. False alarm, decided to keep going this time. (Mom says she was teasing, but I remain suspicious.)

1519 Choked, had to drink a whole bunch of water before I stopped coughing. This is going to be a great trip.

1520 Stopped at Burson Market. Hey, we needed the ice for our food, ok?

1523 Left market.

1524 Stopped at the Post Office.

1526 Without further ado, we left. I was comfortably reclined in front, perhaps because I was lying on a comforter. A matching flowery pillow padded my stomach. Fortunately, as it turned out, since I immediately dropped Mom's large wallet on myself. It still stung a little.

1527 Still driving - amazing!

It was rush hour when we got to Sacramento, so it really didn't take any longer to stop by the bookstore than it would have to park on the freeway. Tina called up shortly after we got back on the road, finding traffic much better than before. "You can hate me now," I told her. Of course she wanted to know why. "Because I just left our favorite bookstore, and am riding down the road munching on veggie teriyaki jerky, and holding the newest book in the series about David."

She tried to control her envy so I couldn't gloat, but I knew it was there.

Mom talked to somebody on the phone, explaining that the other group, consisting of Dad, Damon, and Devon, might be camping, but the "motel sissies" were NOT going to do any such thing. In the back, I could hear Tiggy chanting, "Gimme an M! Gimme an O!"

So we didn't get very far, but look how late we left. And left. And left. About 10:30 pm we stopped in Winnemucca and got a room with wifi. Three cheers for the internet! Now we're ready to take off again, so I'll bring this to a close before Mom pries the computer out of my protesting little fingers.

A close.

Tiggy, may I have some ice in my cup?
Great. Thanks.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Very Quick Update

After such a long time since posting, I only have time for a pathetic little update. though I have been working on a longer post.

Important highlights:

Last post - October 8 lunchtime: Frantic, boring activity trying to get everything packed and cleaned.
October 8 afternoon: All finished, turn keys over to new owner.
October 9: My surgery for adenomyosis, as it turned out to be. (They weren't entirely sure what my diagnosis was before the surgery, just Really Bad Lady Stuff.)
October 13: Released from hospital.
October 13 - present: Patient, boring recovery from surgery. I miss being able to carry stuff.

More to follow, but that's the most important part. A VERY interesting trip awaits. Good-bye California, hello Frozen Northland.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Trying to Be Patient...or just a trying patient!

October 14, 2009

A month and a day since I posted, but not too much of a surprise considering how much I've gotten done during that time. Even then, I would never have finished without all the help of my loyal family. This is starting to sound like an Emmy speech.

October 31, 2009

Two weeks and four days since I started this post, but not too surprising considering everything that's happened during that time. Even then, I would not be where I am without all the help of my loyal family. This is starting to sound repetitive.

November 9, 2009

What's another 9 days at this point?

My surgery was one month ago today, having just barely vacated our house the day before. It was getting a little frantic by that point, and even in the hospital I kept having dreams that I wasn't moved out yet, the people were coming to get the keys in a couple hours, and there was JUNK EVERYWHERE!!!!!!!!!! I would wake up there in the hospital, in lots of pain but so relieved it was all just a dream.

Unlike previous surgeries, I didn't crack any anestheticky jokes when I first woke up, or even for a couple days after. Abdominal surgery isn't such a picnic, as it turns out. The post-surgery diagnosis was adenomyosis, if you were curious.

Unlike my mom, and any of her fellow nurses when they are hospitalized, I was a model patient. Mostly. There was that one incident that was hardly worth mentioning.

See, when you have a surgery like that, they want you to get up and walk around as soon as possible, and then as much as you can stand after that. Let me assure you that if you've just been sliced open, you do not feel like walking around. At all. But it is the only way to alleviate certain difficulties that crop up after surgery. This blog is far too delicate a place to discuss them in detail, so let me just say that in the same way the big problem with sIn is the "I", the big problem with GI is also the "I". And I'm not talking about soldiers, either.

By Sunday morning, I was getting to be an old hand at that walking stuff, painful though it was. I woke up bright and early, walked myself to the lavatory without calling the nurse, and then decided I would get my walk out of the way next.

As usual, I took a left out of my room, crossed in front of the nurses' station, and made another left down the hallway leading to OB, where Mom used to work. Before even reaching the NICU, I began to feel dizzy. Hmmm. Maybe I wasn't going to make it all the way this time. I turned to go back. Suddenly, I felt a lot dizzy.

Stopping right where I was, I put my head down on the rail and tried to breathe slowly. The last thing I remembered for a while was a lady asking, "Are you ok?" and me, grudgingly shaking my head no.

Through the buzzing, I heard them all around me, pressing in. My arms made swimming motions, trying to escape the awful smell? Where was I? What kind of weird dream was this? The smell grew stronger, though I pushed it away as hard as I could. My eyes fluttered open, and lo I was indeed surrounded by a crowd. Heh. Heh. Hello, everyone. see all of you here. On the floor.

Since I was already sitting up, propped by several pairs of arms, it wasn't too hard for them to help me into a wheelchair. Luckily for them, I was immediately able to tell them where I had escaped from, and they returned me to my horrified nurse. Later I would learn that the ammonia-wielding amazon had, in fact, been one of my mom's best friends, not to mention very petite. (She had even been the nursery nurse for at least one of my kids - Devon, I think. ) Let me tell you though, looming over me, vial in hand, she had a very commanding presence. And I knew if I was bad and got out of bed when I wasn't supposed to, she and her smelling salts would find me.

Tuesday morning I was finally ready to go to my temporary home at Mom's, having already disposed of any other home in CA. The only flaw in the housing arrangements were the owls who had already taken up residence in the attic directly above my bed. Scritch, scratch, hoot, scratch, scratch, hoot, scritch. Day after day. Night after night. How privileged I was - not everyone has owls in the belfry.

Until the next adventure,
Noni Beth