Living - and already savoring - the Adventures across the backroads of western Idaho and eastern Oregon!

31 October 2012

A Summer Afternoon in the Country

You know, living in Idaho isn’t much more unusual than suburban St Pete, FL, or exurban southern MD.  You hang out with a garrulous neighbor, have something supposedly important to do, and the next thing you know over an hour has passed doing ...  almost nothing.
Along the way, you make observations.  Here are some from the 3 weeks we spent in a rental house in Meridian, a town next to Boise:
·         Getting an old unused mower to work probably is NOT the best course of action when you can get a commercial crew to drop by, mow and cut, and leave promptly after spending only $20.  Talk about a comedy of futility just to get the small parcel in front of the rental house mowed!
·         The local ice cream truck is a Ford Econoline van, probably with FWD (four wheel-drive to you city folk) for those icy days.  And it keeps making its rounds with the d***’ed soundtrack going over and over and over.
·         Dropping into the house for just a few minutes can be the icing on an autumn cake.  I come inside to solicit Michele’s wisdom and advice (2 hubbie bonus points here), and the Cowboys~Ravens are at 6 seconds to go.  Cowpunks line up for a long 51-yard field goal, kick is away, and Cowpokes miss it.  Darn.  Have been unhappy with that Cowpatty franchise since the Super Bowl years, so please pardon the Snoopy Dance at their continued futility.  And, what’s not to love about Joe Flacco, from Audobon NJ and a star QB for the Fightin' Blue Hens at Univ. of Delaware? 
·         Bumper stickers are funny anywhere in the country.  Humor is in the mind of the beholder, so I won’t give any examples here.  I do appreciate still seeing the UU’s famous COEXIST stickers, too.
·         People here sometimes wear long-sleeved shirts with shorts.  Yes, but people I mean guys.  I wonder why that looks so wrong to me?  I must have zero fashion sense…

13 October 2012

Things that are glad. Truly glad.

Note:  Duhh … in the last blog, I forgot to first paste in the short section on items truly sad, like hungry children in our own overendowed country, cruelty to animals/pets who love us uncondtionally, ugly babies (I’m kidding, ok?!  ~ just seeing if you’re paying attention) and  urban sprawl that’s begets dull homogeneity and is sucking away our national character.
So, here’s a mixture of Glad items, both real and imagined by moi:
·         My friend Joni, who’s just endured her second nose operation.  No complaints or self-pity, nope, but instead a reply to my recent post that said, “Thank you for LIVING your LIFE!  It's magickal and I'm grateful, you share pieces of it, with me......” 
·         Happy little dogs, like our 3-month-old Daschie-poo/Doodle fella Charlie.  He’ll likely not get bigger than six pounds.  I’m glad he’s healthy, happy and has an active bladder that usually makes it through the night and finds the training paper as well.
·         Those folks who work on the historic train rides, like the Western MD Scenic Railway.  What an amazing gig.
·         Another friend – Ellen.  There isn’t enough of anything in our world that her faith in God and people won’t overcome.  A passionate power of quiet conviction to find the gladness among all the noisy threads tangling up our over-extended lives.
·         Having a VA certificate for house purchase.  No down payment.  We likes that…
·         Beater and Biter.  Those are the my names for our former neighbor’s yappie poodle thingees ; I think they disliked me immensely.  I don’t know why ~ don’t dogs like to celebrate Christmas with their own chocolate Ex Lax bar?  Anyway, THEY surely are glad not to see my face anymore…
·         Football Jose is both glad and bummed.  Glad I’m finally shelving my passion for the Buffalo Bills; I’ll instead glance at that erratic franchise from a cool distance.  But bummed that we won’t have Fox Sports Soccer network, so no direct rooting for the Arsenal Gunners in the English Premier League.  But … NFL Ticket!  Life really is good!
·         Lastly, I am glad.  Seriously.  It has been an amazing summertime of house renovation sweat, mental endurance our last few weeks in MD ,and dogged determination here to find The Right House.  I’m certainly glad to see my family actually prosper with the change of environ and the resulting upbeat moods.  Truly glad.

11 October 2012

Things that are sad. Truly sad.

·         Having the supposed standard cable package and NOT having the ability to watch, on even a dull Thursday night, this marquee football matchup:  Wayne State vs. Western Saginaw State.  Seriously, folks.  Forget about Thursday Night NFL football – are you kidding me?!

·         Scouring a furniture store – an Ashley Furniture store, the country’s largest furniture builder – and not taking the time to write down each of the nice leather sets we lounged on … “Ahh, we’ll just look them up online later on.”  HAH!  Go ahead, you think that will work online? 

·         How the Federal government partitions my head.  No, not during duty hours but during non-duty hours.  My person-centric medical care portfolio has gotten so bureaucratically partitioned that my poor partitioned head has spun dervishly into splatter-matter:
o   Medical:  area-based and you can only begin/end the premium payments through your employer’s HR office.  No, you cannot send in a check/online payment even if your account is behind, even if your coverage may be terminated due to HR ineptitude.
o   Dental:  that’s on a website run by government but you can’t figure out who participates, so just ask around
o   Vision:  same website as above but managed by a different set of administrative folks than Dental.  Different policies. 
o   Bottom whiny line:  stop breaking my head into pieces at such a cost each payday.  I can
do it fine my myself for free.

·         Having to race ahead of folks [disclaimer: me, today] just to get one car ahead of folks [disclaimer: a pissed off me, today] while entering an Interstate highway construction zone.  Can you say, “Mooor-on!”  And his Idaho license plate was matched with a window sticker lauding the driver’s adoration for the Boston Red Sox.  No more said.

·         People (like me) who watch shows like Extreme Homes because I’m not gutsy enough to move my family to Peru and enter a seven-year odyssey of building a natural stone house that’s blended in with nature.  That has stone slabs for bedframes.   OK, maybe the sad thing would be to actually think it’s worth doing?  That, my friends, is in the eye of the beholder and is the end of this odd rant against things that seriously, or frivolously, sadden me.  Feel free to toss me a zinger back if I instead should rejoice!

04 October 2012

Wheels on the Van go round and round

That’s what Idaho has felt like, though we’re happy to be off the treadmill our Maryland lives had become.  700+ miles alone while househunting our first two weeks here!  Having just replied to a couple of you via email, and thinking about what’s up in the new year, gets me to posting some new stuff.  That, and several of you have encouraged me to again write.
It’s interesting how you can shift your perspective by trying new ideas or shaking old ones around.  For example, Mrs. TMM has to deal with my rants about politics, esp. my feeling that the President’s role in managing day-to-day governmental ops is vastly overrated; he’s just one person whose guidance takes so long to filter into actual policies.  And where is the accountability on Congress to do its basic job – field a budget?  And, we reap what we sow when Congress is allowed to formulate budgets down to the program level, unlike many European countries where bureaucrats like me would translate an entire department’s funding into specific programmatic actions not subject to the vagaries of election cycles.  Pro’s and con’s, and I’m not advocating anything here, just looking at the issues from a different lenses!
Idaho and the West.  Much less controversial and more interesting to many of you?  I cannot believe we live in the land of Sonic and still have drive-in theaters here; that’s the benefit of such predictably dry and warm weather so much of the year, with nary a mosquito in sight.  And the Sonics’ ATM readers here are so polite – “Do you know your PIN?”  “Ahh, duhh, no, can I have it for free?!”  And they have ‘home-tending’ here, whereby a realtor can allow a buyer awaiting a home sale closure to stay dirt-cheap in a house that’s up for a short sale.  So, we’re paying but a fraction of the cost of a rental house and have a very simple lease whose term ends only when the bank sells this house (but we'll close on our own house Oct. 15).
My annual autumn sojourn to the C&O Canal trail is no more, to be replaced this year by simpler trips (and a short campout?!) to eastern Oregon’s national forests.  Oregon because we’ll live but twenty minutes from the state line.  In two hours flat, mostly along I-84 at 75 mph, we can arrive at the trails around 7,100-ft elevation Grande Ronde Lake or the superb fishing at Phillips Lake; or nearer to home, we can do see songbird and hawks capture-and-releases at the Idaho Bird Observatory.  Like DC and other cities, Boise has its own river walk and we hope to do a couple hours’ walk after Saturday’s observatory visit (then some slices of pizza nearby before heading home).
Oh, did I mention last weekend we did six hours round-trip drive to Craters of the Moon National Monument?  What a surreal and fascinating place to behold, something I highly recommend for anyone who’s in the area and interested in how our earth continues to form.  Windy but quiet, strange flora and even folks camping among the cinders underfoot.  Next year we’ll camp just to see what it’s like.
Enough pent-up thoughts for today as I type from bed on a sick leave day.  See – work is so interesting and family life so energized that I can’t find time to write in the evenings!  Be good to yourselves as the eastern seaboard considers cooling off and autumn festivals are just around the bend!