WH Chronicle No. 6.15.13

Heading north in a borrowed 1999 Suburban, pulling a borrowed 1987 30’ RV camper packed to the brim, driving straight up tornado alley during peak tornado season??—In the words of Prof. Moede, “What could possibly go wrong?” 

I’m not going to ask that question very often, nor am I going to mention those simple words to the heart surgeon.  Spidey sense says, “Bad idea.”

But we made it 9 miles before we had our first major malfunction.   The camper was fishtailing and Tom attempted to apply the trailer brake when the little lever popped off in his hand.  He tossed it over his shoulder and screamed, “NOW WHAT?”

We limped down Mopac at 30 mph to a repair station; sat in the AC, watched cartoons, and then we were back on our way again with everything functioning more appropriately.   20 miles later when the flight crew requested a potty break here’s what we encountered:
As Rebecca Garfield said, "At least they are not pointing their guns at you!" 

I was hollering at the kids to get in the car—but of course, I couldn’t figure out how to unlock the doors in a timely fashion.  No shots were fired. 

As of right now--we are currently nestled in RV site #17 on a beach in Oklahoma (“Ocean-front” was the descriptive term used in the 90 minute presentation preceding the free gift).

OK, seriously, we are in OK.   We are staying at Quartz Mountain, which I assumed would be just an interstate overpass, but it actually consists of granite outcroppings like Enchanted Rock.  This is on an Indian reservation with a man-made lake (more shriveled than Lake Travis), fancy lodge, and an Arts Institute.  Daris is employed to teach bassoon and chamber music for the next two weeks.  Tom and the kids will live in the RV and explore the state park grounds until we continue northward on our journey of medical tourism. 

We are definitely the RV park newbies.  We don’t have landscaping, twinkle lights, or outside flatscreen TVs.    The pros swoop in next to us, unpack the equivalent of a MASH Unit and start partying before we can even wrestle our sewage line to the ground.   Our antics are definitely part of their entertainment.   Though, we did manage to finally level the trailer, or at least level it enough that it leans towards their camp to drain the sewage. 

After the gun slingin' roadside shake down on the way to OK Corral, we stopped by my parent’s one-room cabin in Long Cove, Texas.   The closest town is Lometa, TX, pop. 866.  Long Cove’s population probably doubled when we arrived, not counting the residents of the cemetery.   But regardless of dead or alive I’m related to most of them.  And I’m happy to report that the living ones still have most of their teeth—even after that angry cow incident.  My parents fretted over us and our upcoming adventures--as parents often do.  Then we continued spawning north on 183 to Oklahoma. 

Prior to our departure dramatic from Austin (i.e. pooping in our borrowed underwear when the brakes failed) we had had a very busy semester.   We were slaving over the new domicile in order to get it ready to rent for the summer.  This began with gently evicting the previous owners, removing their stuff, removing their dead cat, deconstructing, constructing, painting, tiling, electricing, flooring, and moving furniture-- all of which was a full time job with a serious looming deadline once we learned that Tom needed heart surgery.  
Even the last couple of weeks before our departure were particularly eventful.  Beyond packing our most prized possessions for the 4th time in 10 months (we now qualify for ‘gypsy status’ with the IRS); I also had a frighteningly close call as a pedestrian in cross walk;  tumbled down the side walk while jogging, and rescued a bloody man from a maze of downed power lines after he wrecked his car.  We also rented our house to 4 different families over the summer;  lost the anchor renter,  became the recipients of our colleagues' boundless generosity, and lost a close friend to cancer.   No seat belts for that emotional roller coaster!

Updates on Whaleherd Family:
Tom was not particularly happy about leaving his personal treasures (i.e. clutter) packed up in the garage and our house resembling a hotel.  But his books were freed from their boxes and set to rest on unreachable book shelves. 

Sam was wondering if the word ‘matinee’ was pig latin.  As he grows he’s starting to sport the swagger of a young man and not a little kid.   He gives Daryl fishing advice, often with his hands on his hips. 

Daryl is also on the verge of leaving Neverland.   It is unnerving to witness her innocence evaporate while curiosity and desire lure her toward the future.  I feel like we are in the quiet before the mounting “mother-daughter” storm of puberty.   I’ve noticed the weather brewing on the horizon. 

 Kaghondi is happily enjoying the summer back home with his family in Tanzania.  He writes us once a week with African updates and reminds me to feed the fish.  We look forward to his return, his presence is invaluable—like a little Buddha who sits in the background and speaks wisdom when it is most needed.  Skinny Buddha earned his driver’s license! 

Of course, we still hear from Jamilly, and Hilde.  Hilde has been enjoying her last year of school and the Norwegian rites of passage that accompany it.  She sent us some especially impressive photos of her swimming in ice water and drinking beer with tampons stuffed in her cheeks.  She passed the test for each of these events and earned her good marks as always. 

Rooster, the kitty, is back with his adoptive family, Tammy and Casey.   He is rightfully worshipped in their household and he is probably overjoyed with his loyal servants.  Though, said servants put him on a ‘secret’ diet.   He should be down to 18 pounds by 2020. 

Posey, the puppy, went to Grandma camp.  That poor dog thought she was suffering through a POW camp at our house.  We had done a piss-poor job of training her to the invisible fence (with the shock-the-snot-out-of’em collar) that encases the steep back yard (Tom mentioned that it was even too steep for her to balance while pooping).   She sat in her crate all day on the back porch worried that the invisible monsters would shock her.  Yes, we did that, and that, too, but she was not willing to come out of her box while it was outside the house. 

Louise, the cockatiel, has become a therapy bird.  The kids and I volunteer at the Mary House (Hospice for Homeless) and the manager loves birds.  She said she would keep Louise for us despite the fact that she has a house full sick people.  The last time I saw Louise, she was traveling up and down couch visiting the shoulders of the residents watching TV.  She waddled over neck braces and plaster casts. They were happily distracted by her visit and often coaxed her back with tasty morsels.  Everyone seemed content with this arrangement.   

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” 
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The paradox of gifts:  I know what I have given you.  I do not know what you have received.”  
None SunWolf

“We can only be said to be truly alive in those moment when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”  Thornton Wilder

“Gratitude is the music of the heart, when its chords are swept by the breeze of kindness.”  
Author Unknown

Each of you, through an abundance of 'well-wishes',  continue to shape our journey.  Thank you. 

Alive and listening to the music of my heart,


Mr. Limpet

Fish stick, anyone?

Flight crew--still cheerful. 

...leads to the ocean?

Where are the seagulls?

I wonder if there are sharks?
That's the Palantic Ocean in the distance.

Situation: Normal

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