Thursday, October 12, 2006

I Hear It's Like 29 Degrees in Minneapolis

That's really too bad...snow on my deck...flurries all over...and my biggest issue was getting too much sun today even though Eryn wouldn't let me leave the top down on the covertible all afternoon. So...what's going on with Eryn and Daddy go to Arizona 2006?'s a much different beast than last November. This year we elected to drive my grandmother to Arizona so she could get her car from Montana to Arizona. She does fine in the city at 91 years old, but going cross country by herself is a bit more than she can handle. So, Eryn and I bundled into her minivan and drove the 1780 miles to Tucson with my Dad riding convoy pulling his motorcycle and a load of her stuff. It was almost like Smokey and the Bandit - you know, when Bandit is actually in the Snowman's truck? That's right...consider me a young Burt Reynolds and Eryn Sally "Frog" Fields and you've got an appropriate picture of our journey.

Except driving through Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas is sort of like sitting in my cube if it were going 70 mph. Actually, sitting in my cube while it was moving at 70 mph might be preferrable - at least I could surf the web. Instead, I spent my time chuckling about the number of Kum and Go's (hey, Tall Brad thinks they're funny too), and really being amused at the Cumming Kum & Go. After the Cumming K&G, all I found myself doing for the next several hundred miles was composing dirty limmericks in my head. For instance, this is perhaps my favorite:

There once was a mathematician from Cumming
Who thought he'd do some summing
His wife gave him some time
To add 60 and 9
Then praised him for being so cunning.

Although this one was my first try...I abandoned it as not witty enough as plumming doesn't really pun against anything else in the limmerick. She'd have to be a plumber, but saying "female plumber from Cumming" is sort of ponderous.

There once was a woman from Cumming
Who everyone agreed was quite stunning
Yet she liked to do blow
In the lot of the Kum & Go
so everyone had explored her plumming.

Yeah, yeah, I was riding cross country with my daughter and grandmother and composing mental dirty limmericks, but that should stress to you the level of my BOREDOM. I prefer to think of myself as Chinese Gordon in Thomas Perry's novel "Metzger's Dog", happily composing obscene lyrics to "Bringing in the Sheaves".

Grandma was a source of relief now and then. She told me a rather long story about my aunt having a premonition of a bank robbery - she was working at the bank. So she took off from work an hour early and told them they should watch the money. That can't be the sort of story that does your career any good, regardless of whether the robbers show up or not (supposedly, they did).

The highlight of the first part of the trip was hitting a Russell Stovers outlet for Nerds and ice cream. Neither Eryn nor I are Bridges of Madison County kind of folks. However, Eryn and I are very alike in that during our first night in a hotel, she made me stop on Lawrence Welk where five women were singing "It's a Small World". I Used to watch Welk obsessively as a kid, pretty much to the consternation of everyone. Maybe it was the powder blue outfits that kept me mesmerized.

We had our first real stop in Kansas when we visited my relatives, rather than Mesa Verde, as we'd originally intended. I know Mesa Verde isn't in Kansas, that's not the point. Eryn got to meet my Uncle John, Aunt Bonnie (Mom's sister), and cousin Cindy (one of my older cousins) for the very first time. John and Bonnie's kids were instrumental in my childhood. It was their horrible ability to hide their copies of Star Trek porn that led to my fascination with both naked women and Star Trek (though not as a gestalt). My mother explained that they caught holy hell for that whole episode. Here's my grandmother, and my Uncle John talking to Eryn. I told Eryn the story about how he once sort of beat me up. I deserved it - I whacked him good as a kid, just ran into him (something I used to do to my Dad - knocked him out once), and he wrestled me to the ground and put the fear of God (well, Uncle John) in me...that crap didn't fly in his book. It's important to know you can't push old folks around.

Here we all are, Aunt Bonnie and myself added to the mix. I have an M growing out of my head. Makes me look like a Playboy bunny, eh?

In Kingman, Kansas, there was an amusing, in a disturbing way, display as you drove through town. On one end of town a Confederate flag flew proudly, almost hanging into the street. On the other end of town has a big sign stating "An American Holocaust: 55 Million Babies", an obvious display of absolutely no idea what the holocaust was about. All in all, it was a touching display of skinhead sentiment. Shortly afterwards, we were almost run off the road. I can't help but think it was all related.

It was shortly after this that I was changing Eryn at a gas station and came across this sign advertising local services:

Need Help?
Rent a Beaver Wrestler!
There's no job we can't handle.
Call ###-###-####.
Ask for Colby.

Who couldn't use a beaver wrestler? Maybe Pooteewheet can call up Colby while I'm gone if Mean Mr. Mustard hasn't already set her up with Tall Brad. The attendent at the gas station was extremely worried that I was up to something back by the bathrooms as I was trying to steal the sign for Pooteewheet. There was a long discussion with the other patrons and finger pointing at me outside the store. I don't think they had a clue what I'd done.

Speaking of changing diapers, we went through Liberal, Kansas. Here's the exchange in the van...

Me: Something smells.
Eryn: It's me, I pooped.
Me: Nope, trash dump.
Me: Something smells.
Eryn: It's me, I pooped.
Me: Nope, National Beef.
Me: something smells.
Eryn: It's me, I pooped.
Me: Yep, it's you, you pooped.

Liberal is the first place I've ever seen a Halliburton office. I assume they ship National Beef to the Gulf? I didn't stop in and thank them for the oil money I received, although the thought did occur to me. While I was pondering it, grandma broke into a story about how much my grandpa liked apple pie. I remember him eating McDonald's apple pie all the time. Now I'll associate apple pie, my grandpa, dirty diapers, beef rendering and solid waste all in a single sensory perception.

There were more hitchhiker stories. Grandma told a story about my aunt picking up a hitchhiker who was out of gas. He bought his own gas and bought her some gas. Grandma said she told my aunt she needed a guy like that. Generous and polite guys are hard to come by. Grandma thinks my aunt should marry kind hitchhikers...this is just bad relationship advice. Grandmothers should give advice like "never marry a hitchhiker". That's sound. I have to remember to remind Eryn of that fact when we're done in case the hitchhiker stories sank in a little too deep.

It rained, by the way. All the way through chunks of New Mexico and Arizona. It freaking poured. You can see some of it in that last YouTube post. How much did it rain? It rained so much that we were rained out of White Sands, New Mexico. The driving tour ended about 4 miles in because there was too much water on the roads. This is the SECOND time I've been screwed at White Sands in 11 years. Last time Pooteewheet, my friend Jay and I were driving down from Minnesota to my parents' house for the first time, and the budget issues of the day shut down all the national parks. We pined for a while outside the petroglyphs, and stared longingly at White Sands while a stealth jet flew over our cartop window. Interesting - but not entrace into White Sands. However, this time we actually did get to play in the sand. Eryn, John and I played tag for a while. I hadn't realized you could slide down the dunes, and Eryn was a bit miffed at me for not being willing to buy her a sled. I pointed out I didn't want a sled she was going to use once, because I wasn't willing to fly it back to Minnesota. She was very angry and compared it to how Nemo felt when his dad (Marlin) told him he couldn't touch the butt. It's good to have analogies. A nice young lady loaned us her slide for a few runs, so Eryn did get to partake of sliding in sand. She was thrilled and still talks about what a good job she did, only putting down her feet (to stop herself from going too fast) a few times.

Here she is sitting in the sand. I couldn't get this stuff out of my shoes for just kept ending up in my socks everytime I put on a new pair. The stuff is so fine you just can't brush it off where it needs brushing off.

Educational moment. Gypsum plant stands - I didn't know what they were. Now I do.

Here's a live one (well, it was live for me). You can't see the guy and his girlfriend doing sexy poses where it runs into the dune...that's for the best. She was cute...her poses were good. He was not so sexy.

Here's Eryn and I posing against the dunes. We left very similar footprints on the floor of everything else we came into contact with.

And what the hell is this? I take back my offer to put Pooteewheet in touch with Colby the Beaver Wrestler. Obviously she's already been to White Sands and hooked up with Trev. Eryn wants to know who Trev is...I don't blame her.

Here's grandpa coming up the hill just before Eryn declared "Sand Fight!" Grandpa's not so smart. He said, "What's that?" right before he was hit with a handful of fine, white sand.

Did I mention it was raining? This is New Mexico somewhere near Santa Rosa. Did you know there are giant lakes all over the place?

This is the 4 Winds in Carrizozo, New Mexico. It was a backwater little town, literally given all the rain, but it had the best homemade cake I've had in a long time. I suspected the cake on the counter couldn't have been an import, given we were 60+ miles from anywhere, and I was correct. Eryn managed to eat all the frosting off the back while I was eating the spice-carrot part. She must have consumed half a cup or more of white frosting. Rest of the food was pretty good too - it was a nice change from some of the crapholes we'd eaten at to date (like Dean's in Tucumcari, which was folksy, but not particularly good).

With all that rain, grandma was convinced we were going to die. She pointed out what she thought looked like a tornado. I said it wasn't. She said it was what was left of a tornado. There was no convincing her otherwise. Near Las Cruces, gonads of New Mexico (seriously, it's right next to "Organ"...and if you look at New Mexico, that dangly thing must be the wang, so the only other candidates are Deming or Lordsburg), there was rain so thick you couldn't see the headlights of the car in front of you. Moments later there was the loud thunk of a rock hitting the top of the van, which turned into hundreds of thunks as the hail rained down. Serious hail. We lost the windshield on Grandma's van later when the nicks expanded into a full crack. We called my dad to warn him and could hear the patter on his phone as the stones bounced off his truck. Neither car took any body damage, but his trailer looks like someone took a hammer to the front of it (lighter metal).

It was near this time that Grandma told Eryn, in response to some endevour, perhaps maintaining her compsure after waking up from a nap during the hail storm, covering her ears, and screaming like a mad woman, "Grandma's guntin' for ya'." This reminds me of She Says' post about made up words. Personally I thought it was a bit creepy sounding. I don't want anyone guntin' for me.

Later, on the way to dinner, Grandma tried to run away from the storm clouds. She was literally out of breath trying to get across the parking lot and into the restaurant before

In Arizona we stopped at Bowie to find some local New Mexico wine. I bought Pooteewheet a Syrah and a Merlot, sight untasted. However, I got to try the Merlot at my parents' house, so I'm pretty sure she'll enjoy it.

By the way, more stories about hitchhikers. Hitchhikers grabbing women who rolled out of the car at 50 mph. Hitchhikers who were stuck in rain and hail and everyone crawled in the back seat to give them shelter. Hitchhikers with hearts of gold. Hitchhikers up to no good. The woman is obsessed.

Well...we got to Tucson after four days (about 500 miles a day), and this is Eryn looking all chipper outside Grandpa and Grandma's house. They have new paving stones, so it looks pretty nice. Before if you'd have walked out here you'd have been walking in rocks, weeds and various bugs.

Here she is in front of the new stones in the front - address included if you come looking for us.

This was taken at the local tourist trap in Tucson. There are cutouts, a train, etc. This is what Eryn would look like if she wore dresses more often...and used a parousel.

There's a miniature golfing place right next door. Here's Eryn pretending to be a bridge troll. Mostly it's just cute. Far cuter than her smiling or grinning pictures. There are two courses. She did one set with me the first day and the second with Grandpa and I the next. She beat him on two out of 18 holes and actually stroked a hole in one. Sweet.

Another picture of her lining up for a putt.

And back to the tourist trap...Eryn in jail.

This is Eryn modeling the new shirt grandma sewed for her. She had a pink jacket outfit grandma made that she loved and outgrew (LissyJo's daughter now wears it), so she got an upsized version. Little warm for the jacket down here, however.

Eryn hugging a tiger.

And me inappropriately touching the same tiger.'s not obvious I am...but I am.

To top it off, we've been hottubbing, avoiding West Nile (10 cases a few blocks from here), driving the convertible almost to Mexico (Tubac - Eryn made me put the top back was too windy. Good think, I got too much sun today as it was) and back, riding the little train at the tourist spot, checking out the airplane graveyard (why do they get rid of planes? are they chopping them up?) and washing everyone's car. Busy busy busy. Don't even get me started on the no-needles Mexican vasectomy. It's not as painless as you're led to believe.

1 comment:

LissyJo said...

Grandma's stories are much MUCH more amusing when told through you.