KY to WA – day one

I’m uploading the following entries several days after having written them, and they will be “published” on the dates they were written. Hope no one minds. It took me a couple of days to find a wi-fi hotspot in town and to get the pictures ready.

I’m uploading the following entries several days after having written them, and they will be “published” on the dates they were written. Hope no one minds. It took me a couple of days to find a wi-fi hotspot in town and to get the pictures ready.

We started off about a half and hour later than planned, which was indicative of our timing for the rest of the day. Shortly after we got on the interstate, Dad realized he’d forgotten his cell phone in Mom’s car, and she realized the same thing and called me to let me know. We pulled off at the next exit and she met us there. After another goodbye, we were on our way west.

Earlier, Alex had his first experience with being given a pill since he was too young to remember, and by then he was pretty well drugged out, although still conscious enough to complain when we had some sudden braking around high traffic metro areas. The poor thing was also so distraught that he had peed in his carrier. Thankfully, I had an old towel in there which absorbed it, and the smell was restricted to his corner of the back seat. I tried coaxing him out a couple of times when we’d stop, but he wasn’t having anything to do with budging from where he was.

Around noon (local time), we stopped for lunch in St. Louis at an Indian restaurant with a NASIG friend of mine who works at a library nearby. The food was yummy and it was a nice oasis in the middle of a long stretch of driving. On the way in and out of the city, Dad and I reminisced about our many family vacation trips to St. Louis. It’s been twelve years since the last one, I think. I wondered what it would be like to explore the city as an adult without my parents.

We had taken much longer for lunch than we planned, and it was nearly two in the afternoon (local) before we got on the road again. Many pit stops later, we arrived weary and road-worn in Newton, Kansas, around nine-thirty in the evening. Old family friends live there, and it was our only night of the trip not spent at a Motel 6. We stayed up for another hour or so catching up with each other, by which point I was about to collapse with exhaustion.

Alex had recovered from the car trip, and after exploring the house and making use of the litter box, he relaxed into his adorable self and made friends with everyone. I was surprised by how little he ate and drank, considering he hadn’t had anything all day, but it’s probably a good thing. He can survive for several days with a small diet, and not having food in his stomach will help with the motion sickness.

I took him upstairs with me so he’d know where I was sleeping and went to bed. I slept quite soundly and got up sometime in the middle of the night in a haze and stumbled to the bathroom. There is a down side to drinking over a gallon of water in one day.

reading your phone

“Ulysses” not likely to be a first choice, but some are reading ebooks on their cell phones.

I heard a report today on the Marketplace Morning Report that cell phone users in Japan are using their phones to read ebooks. The reporter also spoke with an American author who is tailoring his writing to the length of what users are willing to read on a small screen.

I would prefer to read on my PDA, since the screen is larger and I’d have it with me on my hypothetical commutes to and from work, anyway.

yup, it’s monday

A long story about my Monday from hell.

I figured it was just a typical Monday when I woke up two hours late. Little did I know that this was only the beginning. I was house sitting out at the farm this past weekend, so by the time I got everyone fed and the car loaded, it was around 8:30, 1.5 hours after I should have been at work. I hit the gas station at Georgetown at 9am, put about 5 gal in and called my boss to give her the ETA. At that point, I figured I could get home, drop off the cat and my stuff, and be to the office by 10:30-ish. Late, but with enough time left in the day to get something done.

At around 9:30, I’m cruising around Lexington on I-75, listening to WRFL and thinking about what I was going to work on today. I noticed a SUV pull up on my left side, and the woman in the passenger seat is trying to get my attention. I look over, and she mouths something like “flat tire” and points to my rear wheel. I don’t think much of it at the time, since I have a full load in the car and sometimes that makes my tires look a little low. I decide to wait until I get to Richmond (25 mi away) and check the tires then. That was a mistake.

About 10 mi down the road, I’m getting close to the bridge over the Kentucky River. I thought that my engine seemed to be louder than normal, but I wrote it off to being hyper-sensitive. Generally, I don’t notice anything mechanical about my car unless I’m worried that something may be broken. Suddenly I hear a pop and the road noise gets really loud. I make my way over to the side of the interstate and discovered that my driver-side rear wheel is flat.

I’ve never had to change my tires before, so I’m a little freaked out, but I know what I need to do. I pull out the jack and the spare from the trunk, and get to work. A few minutes later, I have the car jacked up on that corner and the hub cap is off, but I can’t get the bolts to loosen. I’m starting to get really freaked out and very frustrated. I know that my cell phone battery is very low, so I pray that I have enough juice to call Progressive roadside assistance and get someone down there to help me change the tire. I do, and the automatic confirmation a few minutes later relates the unwelcome news that it will be an hour and a half before someone can get there.

Thankfully, while I was waiting for the confirmation call, a Kentucky State Trooper pulled up and got out to assist me. He was able to get the bolts loosened (put the emergency brake on, lower the car so the wheel is on the ground) and replaced the tire with the spare for me. Turns out that I had run over a screw at some point this morning which caused a leak and then the blow-out. I’m thankful it didn’t happen while I was on the bridge.

Limping along at my 50 mph limit, I get into Richmond and stop by my tire place. They have a replacement in stock and they can get to me today. I head on to my house from there to drop off the cat and my stuff, then I return to the tire place. At this point it is 11:30 am, so I call my boss to let her know that I don’t know when I will be at work today. Then I settle in a comfortable chair in the waiting room and watch an episode of the Brady Bunch followed by The Love Boat. I was going to read, but I really needed the bad TV just to get my mind off of worrying about my car and how I was going to pay for the repairs.

Around 1 pm, the service guy comes over and tells me that my rear brakes are very thin and probably should be replaced. He also shows me my wheel bearings, and it looks like those may need replacing soon, also. I’m not thrilled with this surprise, much less the estimate price tag that came with it. However, it can wait a little while longer, so I decide to have this work done some other day soon.

About 25 minutes later, all the work is finished and I’m back in my car. At this point, I have a half an hour before I need to leave for Lexington for my regular Monday afternoon on the radio. So I swing by the library, relate my story of the day so far, and show of my new laptop (more on that later), and then head on up to Lex. Not much else eventful or disastrous happened after then, but as my boss said, I’ve had enough of a Monday to last me for a while.

peeps go mobile

My folksinging friend Lis Harvey played the quiz on last weekend’s Whad’Ya Know? (WPR program)

Extensive scientific research has been done on Peeps but only recently did researchers begin to look into the ability of Peeps to do research themselves. Research librarians have conducted one such study at the Staley Library at Millikin University (IL).

It’s spring, and that means that it’s time for all of the gardeners to get their gear together and start planting. This year, Northern gardeners can get a little help from Peeps.

Soon, those who feel the need to publish online every thought that crosses their mind will be able to do it anytime/anywhere using their mobile phone. I don’t think I’ll be jumping on this bandwagon. As you can see, I can barely keep up with one entry a week! Make sure you check out the interview with the creator of The Diary of Samuel Pepys as a weblog. [thanks aw]