Archive Page 2

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bob.JPGThis The following is an unschedualed alert to inform readers of an insideous new plot by the PS3 Playstions all over the world to take over the minds of young players every where.   Bob Gentry was last seen over one week ago when he first got his new “TOY”.  Since interfacing with this device he has gradually lost all contact with the real world and his station has been replying on his blog for him!   Mothers all over the world must act now before it is too late.  I fear all is lost for Bob but mothers must unite now and go cut the power to your homes at the breaker box! Do it now before all is lost. Do NOT fail to heed my warning.

GOING BUGGY!

It was getting  close to my time.  I was having numerous contractions.  We were getting very nervous.   Also we lived about a two hour drive from the hospital.

The car we inherited was a 1963 green Volkswagen bug that only ran when it felt like it.  Let’s just say that the gas mileage was even better when we had to push.  Being so far away from the hospital was nerve wracking  but this was my second child so my man figured I knew what I was doing.  So did I.

Our first trip was sooo exciting!  Just imagine, our first child together as a family. After we had driven for one hour towards Portland  our fantasies of familial harmony and well being were suddenly put on hold as we were pulled over by the police.   A tall officer of the law strolled over to our vehicle and asked what the rush was?  “My wife’s in labour officer! We’re on our way to OHSU.”    He replied, “Really?” as he bent over sideways and  gazed at my belly looking like he thought I had stuffed a pillow under my shirt. “Were you aware you had a tail light out?” He asked in an accusatory tone.  “Yes Yes officer, I promise I’ll take care of that as soon as we get to the hospital! said hubby.  The man with the badge stood and considered this for a moment then said, “I think I better check your turn signals and make sure they are all in working order.”   He walked around back.   My husband whispered, “Great! What will we do now? The signals don’t blink  automatically!”  I wispered back, “Just slip your hand up there and move the handle up and down with the same rhythm of the blinker!”  My man managed to pull off this charade and the officer almost wrote us a warning ticket for the broken tail light.  I grabbed my huge belly and groaned. That got us outta there quick.  

When we began the ascent up the hill to the hospital, the bug died.  It was only a 6 volt machine and running here with the headlights on had severely taxed its’ capabilities. Hub slammed on the brakes (at least they still worked) and sat for a moment thinking.  Why did these things always happen late at night in the dark with no one else around?

“Ok, sweetie here’s what we’er going to do.  Let’s push the bug around the corner where there’s that really long steep incline and when the car is rolling good we’ll jump in and I’ll pop the clutch.”    I said, “Wait! Hold on a minute! You can’t pop the clutch going DOWN HILL BACKWARDS!  What if a car comes? Have YOU EVER done that?!”    He just grinned and said, “As long as you stand here and argue with me we’ll never know if it can be done, will we?”  I started to argue but was hit by another contraction and I decided to place some energy else where. 

We lined the bug up and began to push. (I wished I was at the hospital doing the other kind of pushing) Have you ever seen a 9 months pregnant woman pushing a Volkswagen bug backwards down a hill? It’s not a very pretty sight, I’ll tell you!

The car began to roll and just as I started to fling my rotund self into  the car the door caught on a hillside and bent on the hinge. I yelped and hub hit the brakes. “Great” , he said. Now we have to start over again. “And I’m soooo thankful you didn’t run your wife over with THE CAR!, I snapped. I got out and tried to close to bent door.

Getting into position again we began to roll down hill and we both leaped in.  Well, he leaped in. I threw my butt into the seat and hauled my legs in with my arms.  Then I held the bent door shut as we gained speed coasting down the hill. Popping the clutch the car sputtered to life and we chugged the rest of the way to the hospital.

I was dilated 3 centimeters but my labor had stopped.   The doctor looked at me and said, “Well this is highly unusual for someone whose had a child before. Sometimes over exertion or excitement will cause labor to stop.  Was your trip up here eventful?

We both looked over at each other , simultaneously shrugged our shoulders and said, “Nahhhh, Piece of Cake”.

Next blog, the last trip to the Portland Hospital.

Slug Latte’

With such a small apartment we didn’t do very much entertaining. My kitchen was a cute little cubicle the size of a closet.  There was a long hand hewn counter top for the table. The living room was on the other side of that. We slept in the living room on a fold out couch and our daughter slept in a small alcove bedroom. 

My husband often indicated exasperation at my lack of hospitality when folks came over.  Instead of a what can I get for you type of persoanlity, I often conveyed a get it yourself type. However, wanting to please my man I often made attempts at appearing hospitable anyway. I loved to visit, or I loved to serve, just not both at the same time.  I have a tendency to hurt my self when I try to do more than one thing at a time.  One fine afternoon a long time friend of my husbands came over for a visit and to meet the new bride.  I offered to fix us all coffee.   

Hubby had found one of our few coffee mugs outside sitting upright on a fence post. Inside said cup was a huge, gross, slimy pulsating slug.  He dumped it out and walked upstairs placed this cup upside down in the sink.  About this time the coffee had begun to perk. I walked over while he was chatting with his friend and grabbed the upside down mug.  (In the home where I came from an upside down mug meant someone had washed it and left it to drain in the sink. Apparently the same gesture in my mans home meant a dirty cup please wash)  I grabbed the mug without looking inside and poured a steaming cup of brew in to it.

Guess which mug I served to my new friend?  We were enjoying our coffee when I noticed my man had gone quite pale.  Odd.  I kept glancing from our friend, (who was very much enjoying his coffee) and back to hub. Usually  up beat with our friends he kept  quiet this time. There was a look of  horror on his face. I just couldn’t understand what was wrong with him. 

We said good by to our friend and went upstairs.  “What on earth is wrong with you?” I asked.  “Did you wash that cup you gave him?” he asked.  “Noooo, why would I wash an already clean cup?” I asked.  “BECAUSE  everyone knows you wash cups that are in sinks!”  “Well everyone in my family knows that upside down cups are CLEAN!”   “I CAN’T believe you didn’t at least LOOK!” He yelled.  “Well I can’t believe you didn’t wash it out yourself!” I yelled back.

Sitting on the couch with his hands covering his face, he moaned, “I’ll NEVER be able to face my friend again!”   “Why?” I asked, “He clearly enjoyed it, slug slime or not. Just don’t tell him!”   

Their relationship was never the same.  Every time my husband visited with his friend, visions of coffee slugs danced in his head.  It really put a damper on the conversation.  I don’t know though. Since he clearly enjoyed the flavour, perhaps we’ve stumbled on a new coffee shop recipe.

That First New Home

 Seven days of traveling in the wilderness had taken its toll on both of us.  Exhausted and in need of rest, we had hoped to be able to move right into the appartment above the shop that my husband had built many years before.

In making preparations for our return trip to Oregon hubby had sent an eviction notice to the renter.  We thought that 3 months was adequate notice and were rather surprised upon our arrival to find him still living there and not even packed.

My new sister in law welcomed us with open arms and we thought we’d stay with her for a couple of weeks, giving the recalcitrant renter that much time to vacate.  Sis was sooo glad to see us that she was even giggling.   I asked her what made her so happy.  She replied, “Oh it’s just that we are all so thrilled that my brother finally found someone who could toller…. um I mean who loves him!” 

The next day hub went over to nudge the squatter out of our home.  One week went by with no progress.  As my belly grew so did my temper.  Hub was getting kind of desperate but as another week went by even he grew impatient.  We both went over to my new nest.  Walking up the stairs and into the apartment above my husbands shop, we saw just a few signs that he was beginning to get the idea.  Since he hadn’t been paying any rent, just watching the place my man told me  that what ever I wanted to do was fine with him.

I’m not sure what he had in mind that we should do but I took him literally.  Methodically and with a resolve that made my man step back and stay out of the way, I began throwing this persons things out the window. Piece by piece every thing went out.  Hub looked out the other 2nd story window and said, “I don’t think he’s going to want that dresser back, it’s in too many pieces.”  I just looked at him with all of my pregnant self.

He said, “Never mind, I think I’ll just leave you here and I’ll take our daughter out for some grocery shopping.”  They stealthely crept away as I continued on my rampage.  Dusting my hands off I looked around at my new nest.    I made the beds in this one bedroom apartment.  I would clean the rest tomorrow.  My man had plans to build our mansion later but for now this would do.  I went to use the rest room and  realized that one key item was missing.  Where was the toilet?  There was no toilet!

Hub came back later as I was trying to decide weather I should just go in the tub or not. “Where is the toilet?” I asked while dancing back and forth on each foot.  “Oh! Sorry! I forgot to mention that we have an outhouse.”   “A what?” I asked.   I had used something similar in the Army on field maneuvers so I wasn’t at a total loss but I was still somewhat taken aback.  I didn’t know there were any places that still allowed those.

We went outdoors for a tour of the privy.  He began with, “Now let me show you about…” I pushed him aside and bounded up to the outhouse and slammed the door shut.  “I think I can figure it out!” I yelled through the wooden slat door with the traditional crescent moon cut into it.  Later after having learned about lime and its uses and what never to put down that hole, etc. I began to make plans to decorate that little building out back.

This wasn’t going to be so bad after all.  I just had to turn my mans bachelor pad into a family home.   Time would tell.

Bearly Enough Gas

At this point in our journey down the Alaskan Canadian highway we hadn’t had any trouble getting fuel .  It was about 1 day out from the place where we had fixed our truck that we began to notice the gas stations were getting farther and farther apart.  We checked on our maps and determined the next station was within a comfortable distance and we would make it there with a little more than a quarter of a tank left. (Travelers experience note: Always call ahead to make certain wilderness gas stations are still open)

Oh no! The gas station on our map was no more!  It was closed for good! Checking  our trusty road maps we located the next station.  Knowing exactly how many miles per gallon we had been getting we estimated that we would run out of gas about 75 miles before we got to the next station.  And that was using the spare can of gas that we had tied to the rear end of the truck. Oh no!

It was late at night.  No one else was on the road.   We kept watching the gas gauge move towards the E.  We had never been this low on fuel.  It was my turn to drive.  Hubby was trying to sleep in the back at this point.  He kept waking up and poking his head through that cab window to look at the gauge.

“Keep it steady, no accelerations or decelerations, ” he intoned for about the 20th time.  I was too nervous to even respond. When he could no longer sleep he crawled through the window to sit up front with me.  Then he began to explain about 55 being the optimal speed for gas conservation (for the 20th time as well).  At this point I didn’t think it mattered because we were obviously running on prayers and fumes anyway.

All I could see was pitch black outside just beyond our head lights.  I tried to keep a steady pressure on the accelerator and maintain that magical speed of 55.   I could hear and feel the gravel on the road being thrown out to the sides of the truck.  (In 1983 not all of the Alcan Highway was paved.) Suddenly 3 figures darted out into the road just ahead of us and I slammed on the brakes. The cats, (who were peeking through the cab window)  tumbled forward into the floor of the truck. “Hey don’t slow down!” hollard my man!  “Do you know how much more fuel we’ll use  trying to get back up to 55?!  In one movement he grabbed both cats and flung them through the window into the back of the truck with our daughter.  I looked at him and said as calmly as I could, “If I had hit one of those bear cubs, I don’t think we’d be alive because that giant momma bear over there would rip our truck apart trying to get at us!”  We both looked over to our left and saw the dark figures of momma brown bear and two baby cubs loping across the tundra. Praying slient thankyous, we both let out sighs of releif.

We resumed our fuel consumption.  By our best estimates we should have run out of fuel 25 miles ago and still had 25 more to go.  I kept glancing at the guage, and the speedometer.  It was now well past the E.  Had I seen it move? Twenty five miles later the truck was still running and it was 2 am as we pulled into the gas station. The lights were off and everyone was obviously asleep.  We parked and turned the motor off.

The next morning after we had gotten a few hours sleep, we tried to start the truck. It wouldn’t. Appears we had used up the last of the fumes driving into the station.  My man and the attendant pushed the truck over to the pumps and we filled up.  We also called ahead to the next station. 

SOUTHWARD HO! PART 2

Except for having been nearly eaten alive by mutant Alaskan/Canadian crossbreed monster mosquitoes the first part of our journey was uneventful.  The truck rumbled along loyally and we admired the wilderness scenery.  Whitehorse Alaska was our next scheduled stop and we pulled in there to do some recreating.

After leaving White Horse we began to hear a muffled “ka-thunk”, “ka-thunk”.  We turned toward each other. “Tell our kid to stop making noise back there.”  I turned around to settle her down but she was already asleep in the back of the truck.  “Not her”, I informed him.  “Oh my, I hope the rear end transmission isn’t going out!”  I listened carefully.  No grinding noises and no problems shifting led me to think it was a wheel bearing.  “I think it’s a rear wheel bearing”, I said.  My honey gave me a condescending chuckle.  “This from a woman who didn’t know how to read a map when we got married? Look , I  know you worked on helicopters when you were in the Army,  but this is a truck. I think you’d better leave the diagnostics to me. ”

Well talk about mood altering conversation!  “Fine! Figure it out yourself!” I harrumphed.  “Now Now hun,” he condescended to me again as we pulled into a parking lot. I know what I’m doing. I’m going in there to ask the way to a dump and with any luck I’ll find a rear end that matches this one.   After getting instructions we headed to the local dump.  He parked the truck and we scouted for parts. “Look! I think there’s one that’s our year and make!”  I couldn’t believe it but it was true. 

“Now”, he said, “The guy said the most important part is to watch out for bears.”   “What?”   “Watch for bears, he said to keep a look out so you sit here in the drivers seat and honk the horn if you see any coming while I remove that transmission.”   “Are YOU INSANE?! ” I yelled.  “No, I’m serious. Now if you don’t want your only husband eaten alive while trying to repair our rig I suggest you pay attention.”

I sat in the drivers seat with the window open scanning for predators and biting my nails down to the quick. Every crackle, every noise made me jump.  What was I doing out in the middle of nowhere, pregnant, a 6 year old, two house cats in the back of the truck and an insane man scrounging for parts in a wilderness dump?!  An hour and a half later he came back to the truck grinning and carrying what I assume was a transmission.  But what did I know? I had only worked on helicopters.

We drove back to the one restaurant combination bus stop, post office and general store. In the parking lot he began jacking the truck up and taking the rear end apart.  He seemed bent on dismantling our whole vehicle and we would probably end up stranded here forever. Watching him I grew a little more than irritated.  “Sweetie, wouldn’t it have been more prudent to change the wheel bearings first?”  Sighing really big he said, “Have you ever worked on this type of vehicle? No! So just let me get back to work please. Go do something.” 

So I started to pray.  Not your basic, “God please help my husband” prayer.  Oh no, let’s be honest here. I was praying the “God just let me get a chance to say, I TOLD YOU SO! prayer.”  It is such a good thing we aren’t God. Do you know how many bolts of lightning I would called down by now?! 

Anyway, I left with our daughter to go get a bite to eat, and at the same time a greyhound bus pulled up.  People began to walk over to  see what my man was up to.  I listened just before going into the restaurant as my hub described the symptoms to a man who had asked if he could help.  “Well” said the newcomer, “I’m not a mechanic but you know what it sounds like to me? A wheel bearing.”  Then he walked away and left my man sitting on his knees, covered in grease  with a half torn apart truck and a scrounged transmission that he realized didn’t fit.  I went and hid in the restaurant praying, “God PLEASE don’t let me say I told you so!”

Six hours later it was dusk and he had gotten the rear end put back together.  Now what to do about a wheel bearing.  We drove to the only gas station in this not quite big enough to be a town place.  Getting out we found the sole proprietor underneath a vehicle repairing it.  My husband asked if he had any truck parts.  “Maybe,” he said,  “If I got anything it would be in that little white cabinet on that wall.”   Walking over we opened the dusty cabinet and peered inside.  The cabinet was completely empty except for two small boxes, both wheel bearings, both for our make and model truck.  Really! 

The next day we were on our way.  No more “Ka-thunks” from the rear and the truck ran smoothly along.  “Wasn’t that a blessing those two wheel bearings being there?” said hubby.  “Yep” I replied.  (please God don’t let me say I told you so!) “Nice job on the repair.” I said.  We rumbled along quietly for a while. All of a sudden he said, “Sorry I didn’t check the wheel bearings first.”  (Hold my tongue God) “Oh that’s ok. I’m just glad we didn’t get eaten by bears.” I halfheartedly replied.   I contented myself that I had resisted an enormous temptation and probably avoided a terrible argument.  Would that I could have held my tongue as well on other occasions. 

SOUTHWARD HO!

I was fed up with the darkness that is Alaska.  I was fed up with the cold.  I wanted to move south.   My hubby was missing his family as well and the Alaskan economy was in a temporary decline.  The decision was made to move to Oregon.  I was 3 months pregnant when we began planning. (Hint: important detail for later)

We started  to build our modern day covered wagon.  Scrounging plywood and paint, scraps of carpet and hardware we built a brown wooden camper on to the yellow  truck.  Knowing that we would be traveling through rugged country we took out the rear window and connected the cab of the truck to the new interior.  Each of us crawled through to make certain we fit.  Now if there were any bears or mosquitoes along the Alcan we could get into the truck to sleep without exposing ourselves to the hazards.

After packing the back of the truck up taller than the top of the closed tailgate, we laid our bedding out on top of our worldly goods.  Selling everything else we headed off on our adventure. The truck was sitting way down on the shocks, as we drove down the Alaskan Canadian highway. I had never been camping in my life other than military exercises. So I figured, no sweat! (cue maniacal laughter here)

We began our journey pleasantly enough,  with  the second night stopping at a place called Eagle Creek wayside.  Sitting  in the truck we heard a low pitched hum.  Looking at each other we sat quietly and listened as the sound began to grow into a thunderous drone.   Alaskan Mosquitoes!  These weren’t just any tundra blood thirsty vampires, they were Canadian cross breeds!  Here is where our planning and preparation would pay off. 

Deciding to skip a hot meal and have snacks we started to crawl in the back.  Hubby crawled back through first and then I passed our oldest child through the opening.  Now it was my turn.  I  started to enter the portal.  “Uh ohhh.” I mumbled.  “Whats wrong honey?” my man asked.   “Ummm, I no longer fit through the opening!(It had taken three months to prepare for our trip)  What are we gonna do?”  The outside hum increased slightly in volume.  I looked nervously out the window.

“Well you’ve got no choice.  Jump out the door, slam it shut and run around to the back. I’ll be there and open the door.  Just don’t let any of those blood suckers in!”   Did I hear gigling sounds mixed in with the hum?

I sat very close to the passenger side door with my face pressed up against the window, waiting for a break in the swarm.  At last my opportunity came.  In one swift movement, (which was a marvelous thing to behold at six months pregnant) I leaped from the truck, ran around back and dived into the camper.  Slam! went the camper door.  

We sat quietly, breathing heavy and trying to hear if any of them had gotten in. We breathed a sigh of relief.

Outside the angered blood suckers bombarded our truck dive-bombing into it repeatedly.  The truck rocked back and forth and we feared these mutated creatures would have can openers in their mouth parts and begin hacking our truck to pieces.  We lay under our covers, back to back guarding each other.

Just as we were about to drift off we heard that dreaded high pitched hum INSIDE the truck!  “DANG, honey you let one in!” grumped hubby.   “Don’t blame me! You made the hole to small!  You knew I’d get bigger! I can’t help it if you didn’t plan right!”  I complained.   “DUCK!” I yelped.  We both dove under the covers.  Oh mercy, we’d never get any sleep now.

Totally under the blankets, we knew we’d have to come up for air sooner or later.  I could hear her zinging around inside our camper, licking her chops and rubbing those little insect legs together in anticipation. I grabbed a straw and tried sucking air from under the covers like a snorkeler. I fell asleep and nearly suffocated. I think she had stuffed a piece of paper into  the straw.  These were HUGE mosquitoes!

At 5 am the next morning we repeated the process, with me making a marathon dash to the front cab.  We escaped this time with only a few welts.  Going  hungry till we came to the next town, we scratched.  Here we recovered, doctoring our wounds and scraping dead mosquito bodies the size of small dragons off the sides of our truck.    The place was renamed by us.  Mosquito Creek Wayside.

After this event we figured the rest of the trip would be a peice of cake.  (cue maniacle laughter again)