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Posts Tagged ‘vacation’

It is with a grateful and heavy heart that we prepare to leave the Siths in Darkest Deepest Hottest Texas.

We all had fun and were charmed and touched by turns by the entire family and their generosity of heart, spirit, time, and laughs.

We were treated to good food, good conversation, great tour guides, learning experiences, lessons for the kids.

So, in a strange mix of sadness at leaving and desire to see our own home, we leave the Siths and board a train bound for the land of “Are you talking to me?” Instead of pleases, thank you, and y’all’s.

I would like to hope that we were able to give something back – experiences, conversations, joking, eating, and sharing.

So I have to say: gosh I will miss these folks but also I miss being able to kick my own cat.

Stay tuned. I hope to have Lemur pics from today fairly soon.

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WE HAVE WETURNED.

Arrived back home after ten days of funeral matters, family squabbles, memories, walks and fires on the beach, BBQ’s, birthday parties, good food, beds that are not our beds, etc.  And our cats got their humans back.  They are tickled beyond description.

We left Oregon at 11:30pm last night and arrived at 6:30am local time in good ol’ smelly Detriot.  I guess that clear Oregon air just ain’t for me.

More later – the family is just exhausted after that vacation.

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I’m going to try to lay out the vacation better than I have so far.  I have just not felt well enough to do so until now.  We’ll go backwards through the story.  It is a well known literary device called “going backwards through the story” and is used when all other flashes of inspiration fail utterly.

Seattle:  Part Deux.

We left my father’s house in a flurry of suitcases which were packed so tightly that the addition of a single crazy straw would have created miniature black holes and torn the fabric of the space-time continuum.  Seven nearly-black-holes were safely packed in the back of our rental car and we were on our way.

That rental car, by the way, is one of the single biggest reasons for economic upturn, costing over $1,000 for two weeks.  Ow.  But we did our part.

Our drive north towards Seattle was rather dull.  It was spiced up a bit by my continued wheezing and gasping for breath.  I sounded like a veteran Darth Vader impersonator and scared the kids silly.

As mentioned in an earlier post, we stopped off at Albany, Oregon to go to the ER.  Albany is better than Deliverance, but still has that certain air about it that causes one’s senses to cry out in alarm.  Possibly this is because of the pulp mill.

I shuffled into the ER and said “(wheeze) I feel horrible (rattle) and am (wheeze) having trouble (gasp) breathing…”  In a near-state of laid-back panic they rushed me into triage where I sat next to this little clock sign with a cartoon rooster that said “Back in 15 minutes”.  Fifteen minutes later the nurse waddled in and began with the important questions – do you have insurance, ID, note from your mother, proof of citizenship (can be waived if you are president), and a DNA registry number?   I had some of them and presented them for her myopic review.

I was passed through the Portals of Well-Being and led to a bed.  The nurse there assisted me in putting on a hospital gown that looked suspiciously like a Thneed from Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax.  It wasn’t scratchy at all so it is possible it actually was from a Truffula Tree, which is unusual, even in Oregon.

The nurse carefully looked me over for places to put electrodes and promptly slapped them on whatever part had the most hair – maybe she had a dual major in Nursing/Waxing.

I explained that I couldn’t breathe and was having tingling/numbness in my fingertips and that I was beyond exhausted.  I actually was able to relax a tiny bit in the bed which is very nice considering they are normally made from gravel and bone fragments.  She turned on the monitors and set the volume for the most pleasing setting where the monitor sounds go <BONK> <BONK><CRASH><WHEE!-WHEE!-WHEE!> at irregular intervals.  I was lucky – the sound from the bed next to me was that of machine guns punctuated by the screaming of livestock in a slaughter yard.  The guy’s moaning did me no favors, either.  Geez, get a room, willya?

A half hour later the doctor came by, read the chart, asked me the exact same questions by rote, yawned, and then ignored everything I told him.  He suggested a nebulizer treatment – which didn’t seem necessary to me because everything was quite nebulous already, thank you.  It looked like a gigantic medical hookah, and was steaming and puffing all over the place.  I admit I did get a little excited when I saw that it definitely looked SteamPunk – brass, wood, and leather all over.

To my great surprise it worked.  I could breathe again, which was a mixed blessing because of the way Albany smells, but I decided to make the best of it – we were to be leaving Albany as soon as possible.

We left Albany after another hour wait at the local witch-doctor/pharmacy for an inhaler, some rooster charms, and some round clear pills that looked like fish eggs.

Four child-entertaining-but-adult-IQ-draining DVD’s later we found ourselves in Kent, Washington.  If you’ve never been there, Kent is one of those towns where they drink the beer and then eat the glass.  We got settled into our hotel easily enough and then set about to find a Denny’s for a midnight dinner in a town where everyone seemed to have fresh stitches somewhere on their body.  FrankenStein boy seemed to fit in nicely.

We found a Denny’s and bought a meal that would be familiar to any parent of young children – waffles and cheese sandwiches that weren’t even touched and two adult meals that were covered in congealed grease.  I ate with gusto since I hadn’t had a meal in four days.  It was fantastic until the second-to-last bite when the congealed grease staged a revolt in my lower intestine.

Back at the hotel we whipped the kids silly with SpongeBob toys and pillows until they stayed in bed and then collapsed on our own bed.  Our flight left at 4:30pm the next day so rushing wasn’t necessary.  Rushing would not have worked out well anyway as I was winded every time I had to use the stairs – two steps (wheeze wheeze cough… wait) – two more steps (wheeze wheeze cough… wait).  You get the idea, but it was ever so much worse when I had to carry nearly-black-hole-luggage.  I should be clear here and note that the wife also had pneumonia/tuberculosis/bronchitis/ebola (or whatever this bug is), too, just not as bad.

The airport was a gasping blur.  It whirled around me and drifting through the air were Burger King meals and fries (Cruel Wife and kids) and for me the Udon Noodle Bowl from the Udon-Is-Us airport fast-food joint.  Our standing-room-only flight left 30 minutes late but was made up for by ascending to 63,000 feet and quadrupling our carbon footprint by burning double the fuel and coal mixed with passenger clothes at regular intervals.  Several Goths and karaoke singers disappeared during the flight so I suspect the attendants were surreptitiously lightening the load a bit, too.

Arrived at DTW airport, got our luggage except for one piece which couldn’t make it to the carousel (“lost”) but was somehow correctly delivered 50 feet away to the lost luggage room.  I think they do that so you are later impressed with their ability to snatch lost luggage from the brink of the abyss.  I wasn’t impressed.

We wheezed our way to the shuttle bus, on to our car, and back home in record time.  Cruel Wife ignored every suggestion painted on the roadway and treated signs of every stripe with utter contempt.  I cheered weakly from the shotgun seat and the kids shouted “Do that again!  Cut another semi-truck off again, Mom!”

I was so happy to be home!  Everyone should be so lucky to make it home to die horribly.  Everyone was exhausted and fell asleep quite rapidly even though we were on Pacific Time, certainly by 4am.

We all woke up bright-tailed and bushy-eyed at 2pm.  A few hours later we picked up Zoe-pup.  She piddled her dog britches.  I piddled my jeans.  It was, as I may have said before, a regular piddle-party.

Now a week later, I sit here, drinking narcotic cough syrup which does marginal good, and eating Ceftin.  Ceftin is the second-line antibiotic since the Amoxicillan did not do any good.  Ceftin’s claim to fame is that if you let it dissolve in your mouth the rotten-leaves flavor actually makes the cough syrup taste good by contrast, and  is so intense that drinking out of a dairy-farm manure-pumping pipe sounds like a great way to get the flavor out of your mouth.  Or licking your dog’s butt.  Haven’t tried the pipe yet.

GirlHead has been horribly annoying yet so damn cute I turn into a puddle of goo.  I have no natural defenses against her.  More later.

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My Own Porch.

Rarely does a sick dog go lie under the neighbor’s porch.

There’s a reason for that.

Being sick away from home is about as attractive as stripping buck-naked, dousing one’s self in cold turpentine, and crawling through red-hot broken glass.

We spent the first half of vacation with Cruel Wife’s family – her parents, Sister1 and her family, and Sister2 and her family.  For a total of… let’s see… 8 adults and ten children.  That was a story in and of itself.  Eight days’ worth of story.

But then a week ago today, we drove to see my family down in Orygun.

And got sick.

Driving from Seattle to Orygun, I had a bitch-kitty of a headache.  We stopped at Troglodyteville, Washington† for a pit stop.  Troglodyteville is sort of the armpit of the groin of Washington and the service road that we found ourselves on was basically the poop-chute of the armpit of the groin of Washington.  Now, if you’ve followed the tale of my life for the last two years you know that headaches related to my neck injury are nothing new, so I thought little of it.  What I did not know was that I had a viral passenger.

We arrived in Hometownville, Orygun four hours later and I started hanging out with my family, who were engaging in reunionizing in earnest anticipation of a pit roasting of many pounds of pig.

My father asked if I wanted to help out with the BBQ preparations.  I begged off, figuring that he and my brother could do it.  Last year they did it with my supervision – then I had said “Gee you’ve got it too hot, it will burn up” and it turned out wonderful to my great amazement.

Sunday morning rolled around – I got up feeling pretty cruddy.   I go to the kitchen were my sister says “How does well-done pork sound?”

I look at her warily and say “Mmmmph… huh?”

She says to go look at the pork.

Well, my dad and brother did the same thing they did last year – got it too hot except this year they did not fully seal the pit with dirt to choke off all oxygen.

This year, the environment inside the pit was the surface of the sun.  This year, the pork was in a pit that must have climbed upwards of 700 degrees for most of the night.  In fact, the pit got so hot that the sheet metal was blackened, the grass all around the pit was blackened, and smoke was billowing out of the pit.  This year, we had big chunks of charcoal where the pig once lay in the pit.

I could not stop laughing.  Yes, it was horrible of me.  I rubbed it in.   I laughed, I cried, I hooted, and I chortled.

And then I got horribly horribly ill.   Little did I know that my viral passenger held an open-house and opened the doors for an infection.  For four days I ran a fever of 102-103F.  I was wracked with coughs, chills, shakes, sweats.  By the time I finally got ahold of a doctor I had coughed so much that it felt like daggers in my chest and my ribs screamed with the strain.  I was hacking up flecks of blood.   Everything was coming up browns, yellows, and greens.

The doc prescribed amoxicillin, 2/day, 875mg each.  I crept around like warmed-over death, with my guts torn out by the antibiotic, coughing, not sleeping, not eating.  Even as of today I’ve had perhaps five light meals in the last six days.  Great way to lose 15 pounds.

My grandfather used to say that he knew he was sick when Graveyard Stew sounded good.  Graveyard Stew is essentially lightly toasted toast floating in warm milk (milktoast) and only is supposed to sound good when you’re in the graveyard with one foot actually in the grave.  Well, I was feeling so rotten even Milquetoast didn’t sound appealing.  I spent the lion’s share of the week wishing I could be here at home where I could at least feel like I was dying in my own bed.

Yesterday as we drove north to Seattle we got as far as Albany, Orygun when I said “Cruel Wife, we need to go to the hospital.”   I had the shakes, my fingers were tingling/numb, and I couldn’t breathe without a huge effort and even then only half in and half out.  So in the ER they determined that I did not have pneumonia (whew) but did have bad bad bronchitis (ok) and needed a nebulizer treatment to get my lungs to relax.  Did the trick.  I was able to draw a complete breath in and out and actually move some crap out of my lungs.

Our flight today was a tough ordeal.  Can’t move fast without getting winded and I have no energy to speak of.  The good news is that this is the best I’ve felt since a week ago and I think I’m going to live.  Living actually sounds like a reward, not a punishment.

Cruel Wife got the cough/sick thing but no fever.  My boy (Hellboy) had the fever and cough, too.

Why was he on antibiotics if we only figured out later what was wrong with him?  Good question.

Because in the FIRST week of our vacation, he nearly succeeded in getting crushed by a 300lb fountain which collapsed on him and gashed his little forehead open to the bone, for a total of 16 stitches.  From hairline to eyebrow went the laceration, from head to toe went the blood, and from the rental place to the hospital went the ambulance.

But that’s another story.  We thought the fever was an infection from his head wound.

We’re back, and we’re happy to be back.

I miss my Zoe-pup.  We pick her up tomorrow from the sitters.  She’ll probably pee her little dog britches and I’ll probably pee my big Lemur King shorts when we see each other.

Troglodyteville is not the town’s real name.  A false name has been used to protect myself from the knuckle-dragging troglodytes that live there on the off chance that one of them knows how to read and comes across this blog.

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Hi All.  First Installment, Vacation 2008.

We started out last Thursday night. The idea was that we would do things in a logical order…

  1. “Pink Juice” the cat
  2. Pack up stuff into the car
  3. Drive to the hotel next to the airport, stay overnight, dump off vehicle
  4. Get up early, get on plane
  5. Endure agony with two freaked out hyperactive ping-pong ball children
  6. Arrive Portland, get rental, have meltdown
  7. End up in Prosser, Washington – take Lithium and Prozac cocktail

Reality bites 50% of the time.

We gave Silver d’Cat his last meal of tuna juice and lots of bittersweet scritches.  The long and short of it was that the vet came by and was the epitome of the benevolent angel (of Death, certainly, but angel is the operative word).  He went peacefully and quietly and surrounded by folks that cared about him and him alone in those moments.

I took the box we wanted to put him in, added his kitty pad and he was laid on it, then covered him with catnip fronds.  The plot was underneath some shady trees smack in the middle of one of his favorite catnip patches and was capped with a heavy flat-topped pyramid stone – it looks good, really.  Lastly I put catnip on his stone.    Why do all this for a cat?  Well, because even the vet remarked on how kind and good-natured of a kitty he was – he was gentle, having only bitten anyone only a handful of times, in great pain, every time.  Times when he *should* have bitten the kids, he did not do so.

Packing the car and picking up the kids worked out well.  Driving to the airport went well.  Getting in the room was lengthy but uneventful.  Dropping off the car was hell.  Apparently our desk clerk at the hotel cannot distinguish between “Michigan Left” and “Left” in giving directions.  So in looking for the parking lot, what should have ended me up 1-1/2 blocks from my hotel put me all the way at the ass-end of Middlebelt Road.  You’re thinking “Oh Lemur King, you are such a whiny-assed pansy”.  Maybe, maybe not.  Middlebelt is not the best place in the world to drive around for an hour, and as I was looking at street addresses and road names, I nearly ran over an idiot who was (1) riding his bike at night, (2) was wearing dark clothes, and (3) had only reflectors on the heels of his shoes.  This is one case where “riding while black” is a distinct advantage.  I honestly could not see the guy because he was all but invisible.   So finally we got it out of the clerk that she meant “Michigan Left”.  I found the place and scrambled out of there to the hotel.  It was a hot and sticky night.  The Surface of Venus was a more hospitable place that night.

The flight went uneventfully.  This is nothing short of a miracle.  We got “our” rental car, but due to my driver’s license expiring on the second-to-the-last day of the lease period, I was unable to be included as a driver.  Get that?  They trust me to not drive the entire period as a non-driver, but they could not trust me to drive up until the day where my license expired and then stop.  NANNY STATE.  I’m still pissed.  $700 for a car rental and I can’t even drive the $*^&#@ thing.

On Our Way, Camera Out – Up the Gorge (I-84)

Through the Tunnel on the Columbia River (I-84)

So, we get on the road and I start taking pictures.  Around Hood River (going up I-84 along the Columbia Gorge), I got the camera out.  I was taking pictures on the fly and through a window, so bear with the reflections and smudges.

Not Too Far from Biggs Jct., Oregon – Home of the World’s Best Cheap Corndogs

Just After Biggs Jct. – Washington Side of the Gorge, to Tri Cities/Prosser, WA

More later…

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(musically, sorta)

Leaving… on a jet plane… sound of kids scrambling my brain… oh Lord, what a way to gooo-ooo-ooo-ooh…

(end musical score)

Will be leaving the sitter with the house and hauling ass onwards to the fruits of my labors – vacation!  The NorthWest beckons, all desert-ey in Washington, and all rainforest-ey in Oregon.  Oh, yeah.  We grew up on opposite sides of the spectrum, Cruel Wife and I.

I will try to post pics and updates but no idea where my internet connection points will be.

Take care, folks – talk to you in two weeks thereabout-ish.

-LK

Plugging for Stephan Pastis, the author of “Pearls Before Swine”… go get one of his books.  You will fall in love with Pig (the little pink guy below).

I can’t let it go…  Forwarded to me by The Dude – some blogmentary from some blog.  Leading up to the last one is a great progression:

By Mike Novean (Blackdice) on Wednesday, July 16, 2008 – 11:17 am: Edit

SPP,

I had read an article earlier this summer from the Chicago region that said that because of higher gas prices they were not going to removing as many dead animals from the roads as they had in the past.

That could be one factor in the higher than normal dead animal count.

By Douglass E. Howard (Doug_Howard) on Wednesday, July 16, 2008 – 12:20 pm: Edit

Mike,
It could also be the new excuse for everything…

By Sean O’Carroll (Terryoc) on Wednesday, July 16, 2008 – 08:21 pm: Edit

The new excuse for everything?!

“Not tonight honey, higher gas prices are giving me a headache.”

By Stephen J. Schrader (Wyvern) on Wednesday, July 16, 2008 – 09:32 pm: Edit

“Not tonight honey. Because of the price of gas, I couldn’t go to the store, just to pick up some aspirin for my headach.”

By Loren Knight (Loren) on Wednesday, July 16, 2008 – 10:59 pm: Edit

“Not tonight honey, the oil companies beat you to it.”

By Ken Lin (Old_School) on Thursday, July 17, 2008 – 09:15 am: Edit

LOL

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