February 18th

And vanish I did. Offline on a Thursday, move on Saturday, die on Sunday, buy sox and skate on using underwear until Wednesday, find my shoes midnight the following Thursday evening, fly to Edmonton that Friday morning, party party party then fly back to Seattle Monday - yesterday.

Let's break that down now.

First of all, the move happened on 2/8 as planned. It only happened because of a corps of friends who each hit their limits on my behalf, and for which I will be eternally grateful. I handed out the first donut to Derek, Panther's house mate, around 8am and took DeVil & CB to TUBS at 8pm as the only thing we had energy left for. Unfortunately, there was only one main exit from the old place, out a pair of sliding glass doors. Unfortunately, fifty scadzillion boxes were packed and stacked up against those doors and in the little room that used to be my sling room next to them. That meant that we had to load and transport fifty scadzillion boxes regardless of what was in them prior to the furniture being moved and put in place. And, of course, that meant that the playroom downstairs, somewhere around 12x12 or 15x15 or thereabouts is now 6' high in wall to wall boxes. Shoe boxes with pantry boxes. Kitchen boxes with desktop essentials boxes. Dead storage boxes on top of Open Me First boxes.

As well, I moved from a place with more finished wall space into a place with more total square footage. I have many bookcases which will end up in the playroom or the pantry or workshop instead of in the living room.

We had caravans of vans, trailers, trucks, cars and if I could have found a helicopter I'd have used it. Derek was there, rode in on his motorcycle and helped out for several hours until he had to go to another committment. AT was in fine form, with Max left at home to babysit. KSlave and her hubby C were there, along with a lap top to keep their daughter entertained. Elf and Omaha jumped in and had their two daughters entertaining themselves along with KSlave's girl. CB was a major load master, furniture disassembler, and was always right when he suggested doing things his way. DeVil brought cookies and was entrusted to be the shock absorber for the aquarium en route from one place to the other. Elizabeth was unable to make it, however her wonderful wife Viand showed up and did a great job. She called me from the Wet Spot and said that she was unable to recruit a crew to help set up for an event as they were all at my place; she showed up after doing the set up, and worked through to the end of the evening. Kev was in and out working on things at the new place like replacing 50 year old outlets with grounded ones. Gene and Two and Tali [the extended family I discussed here] were all a major help for some hours. Goddess knows, if I've forgotten anyone please forgive me and kick me til I spit out your name.

I was not only humbled by the help of my friends, I'm now quite humbled by the fact that the unpacking is a larger project than the packing!

At the end of Saturday there were only a few of us left. Viand was sleepwalking, but carrying bookcases while she did so. CB, DeVil, and I were similar. I invited all of them to TUBS spontaneously. Viand went on home to her wife [whom I called, thanked, and warned of what condition V was in]. The remaining 3 of us went and soaked in those hot bubbling waters quite thankfully. When we left TUBS it took all we had to walk back across the street to our vehicles. The next morning and all through that Sunday I hurt worse than I've hurt before. Worse than high school football, basic training, worse than worse. Oh, gods and goddesses....


I made it through work for a few days with minimum clothes available and a lot of carry-out dinners, because I knew I had a vacation awaiting. The sexy Koi sent me a note last fall inviting me to visit her in Edmonton, Alberta, for their annual Lupercalia event. Now it was only a day or so before I was to leave that I thought to ask about the weather in Edmonton. [[Yesterday the temperature ran from -7.9C to -13.3C [17.8F down to 8F].]] I was up until after 11pm the day before I flew up there looking for my Rockports so I wouldn't have to wade in snow wearing only my Berks.

Mamma Bear Cabbie drove me to the airport last Friday morn. I flew from SeaTac to Vancouver, where I had to do Canadian Customs. I had one carry-on bag with snacks, sweat shirts, meds, and a couple of magazines from work. [Muscle & Nerve and Neurology, and "MRI vs EMG - which has the upper hand in carpal tunnel syndrome?" as well as "Utility of clinical criteria in differentiating frontotemporal lobar degeneration from Alzheimer's Disease" did help distract me from worrying about customs]. In my checked baggage I had jeans, underwear and sox, toiletries, a large array of black tshirts, two kilts, and also a handful of sutures and scalpels, six or eight whips, paddles, a few spinal tap needles, and a sizeable collection of rope in pre-cut sizes.

I knew I'd be pulled aside for a fuller check as I had a pound of coffee with me as a gift for my hosts, and since smugglers use coffee to hide cocaine in to try to hide the scent, I was prime. I pulled into the big shake-em-down area and was immediately quite glad to take advantage of the Human Comedy. There was a histrionic and obviously distraught and disturbed woman ranting and raving at the bevy of agents standing in a circle around her. "Can't I find one single nation in the world where the government is sane and allows me to live unmolested? You're supposed to be Canadians - you're no better than the Americans!!" and suchlike. That crazy lady was such a nice distraction. One agent - and let me just say, "Damn! Women in uniform are fine!" - pulled me out of line. I set my bags on the counter and chatted with her a bit. I mentioned to her that my bags did have a large collection of kinky sex toys she told me it was no problem, that she'd seen them all. Then she asked which bag had the sex toys in it - I pointed at the large bag - and she proceeded to only look at the small bag, which I'd made carry-on compatible. Three minutes, I was out of there and off looking for a fresh cuppa coffee.

Koi and I recognized each other immediately when I came down the escalator into baggage claim in Edmonton and when we walked out to the car I got my first climatizing. I was so very glad I'd worn jeans at the last minute instead of a kilt. So very glad.

We did some shopping on the way to their home and had a pleasant getting-to-know-you evening, much of it in her hot tub. Saturday morn we were up and off to the hotel they were holding Lupercalia at. The morning was spent in a workshop on play piercing and then she and I did a field trip to the local surgical supply house. And I had my Visa with me - scary stuff. All afternoon was a series of presentations by Guy Baldwin. Later that evening a couple of friends of hers came over to the house and the four of us soaked for quite a while in the hot tub. Now, before you get to thinking that this was a relaxing without a price to pay, here's a photo taken of me just prior leaving for the airport Monday morning. You see that 6" of snow in front of my foot? That's the snow on the lid of the hot tub we had been in late at night during my stay.

We were in the tub to our necks, and the snow - which drifted down all weekend - froze our hair. I enjoyed everyone she introduced me to through the weekend, and this couple in particular were outstanding folks - the kind who you would want to have as friends no matter where they were. She is lucky in the people she has around her. Although he wasn't there in the tub that night, let me mention her husband as well. He labored long and hard as part of the team putting on the Lupercalia as well as the play party scheduled separately, for Sunday night. He gave me every possible courtesy and I hope I did the same in return. "Hi, here's my wife, my home, my table - have fun." ... that takes a helluva guy.

Koi had invited me up with a couple of particular adventures in mind. She had had small tastes of play piercing and knew that she wanted much more of it. As well, she was extremely interested in experiencing a cutting.

After much planning and discussing and hemming and hawing, we set out Sunday afternoon to do the cutting. Here is a picture of the final product, with which we are both quite happy.

Koi and I had planned a large play piercing scene for the Sunday evening play party, and as well she and I conspired to make sure my dance card was quite full. She introduced me to a friend of hers who had never had a play piercing before, and I started the evening by filling said friend's breasts with a whole lotta steel. Next after that, I was honored to give a flogging/paddling/rope etc to a scruptious young lady I had met during the Guy Baldwin presentation. It was her first, and there is no doubt in my mind it will not have been her last. She took to it like white on rice. By this time, Koi was just a tad bit nervous at the amount of steel - and where it had been put - in her friend's play piercing experience. Something about all those 18ga in and through the nipples were a concern. She was already still high from the cutting earlier in the afternoon. She did marvelously, though, and wore several beautiful patterns of mandalas and endorphin buttons. She did notice, as it turns out, when I switched from alcohol spritzing to fresh squeezed lemon juice, pulp included, all over the designs. Yippie kay yay! As we finished up out scene the party was winding down, and around midnight I found myself walking a block and a half to the car in the falling snow, wearing tshirt, kilt, shoes and sox, and an unzipped sweatshirt. I was either high myself or thoroughly acclimatized to Edmonton!

The flight home was relatively uneventful. I happened to arrive at US Customs in Vancouver at precisely the moment that the two women at the gate just flat told me they were too tired to go through my bag and to keep on moving. On homeward, I found Littleone unable to stop mewing me out for hours, and the fish sulking. My vacation was great, and very needed, and hopefully Koi got out of it all that she had hoped. I think we both found life to be exceedingly rich and good. Now back home, I have to once again join the never-ending fight for truth, justice, and finding my saucepans, remote controls, and PDA charger.

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