April 17th

Catch up time again, but with a pretty good excuse. I mentioned last time that I had to take a trip to visit my Dad. Last Thursday I left work at 230pm, to meet an old friend at my place at 3. I pulled in at 245 and she was already there, sitting in her Yellow Cab. I grew to know her over 10 years ago as 'Momma Bear Cabbie' but these days she generally goes by Mudge. I just have to tell y'all what a large island of peace I had when I called her to get me to the airport. I'd talked with Panther about it but I just decided it would be too much of an imposition to settle on any friend I wasn't paying, fighting SeaTac traffic close to rush hour. Cabbie has been driving pro for over 20 years. She was timely, she was smooth, she was a sweetheart. I recommend it heartily. Well worth the expense.

So it's my first trip on a plane since the World Trade Center tragedy. I spent half my packing time disarming myself. I'm not talking about my 9mm; I'm talking about little things like the psychiatric restraint key on my keychain, that looks sorta like a sheet metal ice pick. The Swiss army knife, a few other things that are just automatically part of my pocket debris. I felt half naked, arriving at the airport. Of course, right at check in I was shuttled aside for a 'random' baggage check. The fellow was nice enough and didn't disturb my packing job too badly. Down to the gate-area security - "Yes, ma'm, it's the suspenders, my PDA, and half a dozen body piercings I'd be glad to point out to you." No real problem yet. I got to the gate an hour early so got a snack and then got cued up for a dash. SouthWest Airlines has seat assignment by Darwin. First 30 to check in get their choice of seats, then the next 30, and so on. I damn well earned my place at the head of that herd ............ and at the very friggin gate to that walkway down to the plane I hear "Boarding pass sir? Yes, thank you, please step over here for another random bag check please?" I saw black clouds and no more Mr Nice Guy Peter. Argh. Snarling Peter stomped down the ramp to the plane after my random check. Double argh.

The flight was fine, one stop in Salt Lake City but no kids with white shirts, ties, and bicycles during the refueling. SLC to Phoenix and I flirted with a couple of redheads who were on their way from Spokane to Phoenix to raise some hell. Hell, if I'd only been 20 years younger.....

I arrived at Baggage Claim in Phoenix about the same time I saw Sis. I pretended that I was surprised to see her there [a cousin had let it slip]. Sis lives in Boston, with her Major Corporation Husband and her two beautiful kids and her household that believes Rush Limbaugh. Now, I love her to death, from 3000 miles, but if we had to live together again for any length of time we'd kill each other. All that differing lifestyle crap never came up - we were there for Dad. We got home that night near midnight, and snacked and did some catching up. Sis had the couch and I had the airmattress in Dad's extra room and we chatted on for an hour or so, just like kids again. Yeah, I'm turning 53 and she's turning 51, but other than the adult content, you couldn't tell us from when we did the same at 13 and 11. Felt good.

In the morning, Friday, the three of us arrived at the renal center at 9, and sat through a 3 1/2 hour presentation on dialysis options. Dad is at 12% kidney function right now; at 10% it's time. The choices are a type of dialysis he does at home himself, several times a day every day and all night as he sleeps; a type of dialysis where he goes to the center for 3-4 hours three times a week for a professional to do it; transplant; and to do nothing. Choice #4 is not an option. I've been sort of quietly doing some testing to see if I could be a transplant donor, but they told us that the oldest recipient they've seen was 73, and Dad is 77. He told me later that day that he is not going to have a transplant, and that I could stop my lab tests. He doesn't like the idea of placing his health in the hands of an amateur, himself, so he's going for the hemodialysis, done in the renal center three days a week. After the presentation he, Sis, and I went to one of the tribal casinos near his home and had a nice long lunch. And talked. And shared. And cried. And all three came together closer than we ever have been, I believe.

The second side of the trip is centered around the fact that Dad had a car to sell me. A nicely maintained Honda with all the doodads, sunroof & cruise control & CD player and stuff. Only problem was, I was one driver and I had to get back to Seattle to work in short order. I had some Yahoo Maps printouts, Dad had made me some highlighted maps, and I sure planned to ask folks along the road. That same day as the dialysis presentation, about dinner time I was all loaded up, pictures taken and kisses given, and got out on the open road. I diddly farted around Phoenix a bit, almost like I was hesitant, getting a Starbucks and then Doritos and stuff, but eventually I got going. I kept a running Road Journal in my PDA, all the way through to home. Here's some of how it reads. The notes like {this one} are the CDs, mostly homemade, I ran through.

ROAD JOURNAL - 630PM leave dad's...{ruth ann swenson - postively golden coloratura arias}...32mi other side of phoenix starbucks {tennessee ernie ford collection]...{chorus line}...153mi to quartzsite az 930pm - drove past gas $1.49/gal, looking for better...{yodeling the classics}...blythe, calif ----> 5gal for $9.16. ARGH!!!... 1030pm bisq & gravy @ truck stop. 1115pm head out...{leahy/celtic collection}...2 nap East BFE rest stop 12-2am...indio $10 gas & a reeses cup...{collection of one song from each of 15 different soundtracks}...past Palm Sprlngs...then {songs of Gene Autry by Riders in the Sky} and I'm lost around San Bernadino 344am-... {Committments Pt 1} - got dirctions in Hesperia from truck stop security guard with really gnarly fingernails....{ Yodeling collection of Pearl to Merle] .... Palmdale ...{Brian Seltzer} ...-stop in desert to piss - crush handful of fresh sage & rub between fingers in front of nose, watching large flaming orange orb rise in east, 625am...hit I-5 640am near Gorman...bacon & eggs to celebrate then snore til 945am then back on I-5 w/{Beetlejuice} playing .... Calif license #XXXXXXX omitted to protect the guilty; i made a rude gesture for his obstructing the fast lane, he speeds up in front of me to throw all his trash out at my windshield, then swerved to try to push me off the road - he apparently made a remarkable recovery of common sense as he saw me write his license on my forearm and pick up the cell phone... {Count Basie} ..... {Committments Pt2}... some signage incongruity near coalinga calif ---> "Litter next 12mi by Pleasant Valley State Prison - Do Not Pick Up Hitchikers" -- {Fidler on the Roof} and I sang every bit of every song along with Topol. Chg to {Renata Tibaldi} - cool off in McD's in Westley ...cell batt died as I'm arriving in sacremento....

and an interjection.

Planned pretty much in the last minute last week was a stopover at Linda's place in Sacremento. We've been chattering about getting together to do some play last month or next month and have floated various schemes. We just finally decided that I could stop in on this trip. She would have her kids and we probably wouldn't be able to do much but chat and get to know each other better, but it'd at the very least be a nice dinner, I'd have a place to rest at my halfway point, and blahblah. I pulled in mid-afternoon on Saturday, met her two darling daughters, and settled into a deep hot bath. That right there was my first Buddha Take Me moment.

She has done a perfectly marvelous time of describing both our Saturday, and also our wicked and fun Sunday morning [family kinda overview here, but the juicy stuff is here]. I'm going to just link to her kind and wonderful descriptions, with one comment. We have a good bond. We linked well. The sex was good, the dynamic tension was better. It was a goodly bit deeper than just casual play and I know that we both noticed it and relished it. We're going to be good friends for a long time, and may well already have been good friends for a very long time, without having realized it.

regretfully i leave sacremento 857.2mi. - {Best of Billie Holiday} - up Hwy 65 to Marysville gas $17.75 & over to Yuba City & over Hwy 20 & {Ruthie Ann Swenson} again - & at 330pm hit I-5 mile 930.5 to the sound of {Ruthie doing a fantastic Je veux vivre}...Farmland - {combo cd Grease & Sister Act} - rest stop on Blue Star Mem Hwy & on north (rest stop sign says it is a rattlesnake positive area) miles 1009.2. ...dinner is two consecutive big bowls of homemade soup at Lakehead Ca (Lake Shasta area)...passing Mt Shasta mi 1106.1, {Tristan und Isolde}- then repeated {Fidler} for another singalong, and into whiskeyvoice {Leonard Cohen/The Future}. Ashland OR gas $15.25 miles= 1175.2 810pm and it's fucking raining after two days of sunburn- {Austin Lounge Lizards}. On thru Oregon, {Best of Classics}. Stop in Rice Hill to eat. Damn right leg, the knee 'scoped in ~83, keeps hurtinq bad. Gotta adjust the seats better. Miles 1482.0 - 130am Wa State - $10 gas Hazel Dell WA, change from CD player to KIRO 710am and a rationed 30 minute nap. Home ---> 1666mi 445am.

And is it over? Nah - I had to be at work by 1pm. And made it.

Man, life IS, ain't it?

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