Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Party lurgy

I brought home the lurgy from Buenos Aires and have a pretty bad cough. I just now realized that I haven't gone past the driveway in seven whole days. I have laryngitis and I am loathe to talk.

Still, I don't want for company. Motorcycle Michelle, Matty, Karen, AT, etc. organized a birthday bash for me last Sunday and nearly 50 folks turned up in the spirit of Russ Meyer's Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! Women embraced their inner bad girls and looked like a Hollywood dream. Michelle set up her movie screen and showed said film in the backyard. AT and Mixologist Michelle held down the bar and made cocktails with St. Germaine, the elderflower liqueur. It was neat!

Mixologist Michelle has moved into the trailer for a wee while. Sniffy Mark is visiting from the Bay Area because he had to install his show at the Inyo Council for the Arts. It's mule packers' stories told in ceramics and haiku in a joint collaboration between Mark and Matty's Dad, Walter.

Life back at home, even from the view of the couch, is still pretty eventful.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Our own private 2001

In Argentina, everyone we met to a person, was deeply marked by the country's economic crisis of 2001. Shopkeepers hoarded small change to the point that they would rather not make a sale than have to part with it. Turn up with a 100 peso note ($33), and you were like a leper everywhere except for the largest of hypersupermarkets or fancy restaurants. Turn up with a 2 peso note (75 cents) even, and depending on the circumstance, you could be turned away. We entered a society where even the smallest of coins could be trusted as real currency, but the bigger stuff was held in suspicion.

It looks like 2008 will be the United States' own private 2001. On a personal level, I worry for friends, family, ourselves, but on the whole, it is probably the ass kicking we needed. Much of the decade has been about living well beyond ones' means and living as if the bubble would never burst. I am grateful that the only debt we have are our mortgages - yes, I did say it in the plural. We bought Matt's Mom's house and office last year. We stopped contributing to our IRAs (but still contribute to our employers' retirement programs) so that we could have a wee bigger stake in the town we love so much. We are grateful that the rental market in Bishop is pretty stable....

Friday, September 26, 2008

Back to reality

Back home and back to work - less of it, though. Matty was told right before the holiday that staff would be cut to 3/4 time. The civil engineering industry is dependent on construction and that industry has been in the pits for a while now.

We are assessing our budget and barring a nasty surprise, we'll be fine. Fewer fancy kegs, no Marianne to help us clean house twice a month, no going crazy when the Schwanns' man comes, and we'll be okay.

Some friends are facing big changes and we try to help when we can. Hanging out around our kitchen table is still free, thankfully.

The first presidential debate is tonight. I think most folks have decided. Sarah Palin frightens the crap out of me. Sure, I have many, many days where I have trouble stringing together or finding the right words, but I don't pretend that I could lead a nation. The fact that she isn't perceived as the hack that she is by seemingly half the country disheartens me.

We used to horrify our nonAmerican friends by saying that in light of the last 8 years, we could actually live under a McCain presidency if we had to. I eat my words now. A man married to a woman worth over $100 million who thinks the country is doing fine economically needs a rude wake up call.

In other news, Wyatt handled his flights from Buenos Aires to Washington DC to LA beautifully. We were helped by a half dose of dramamine for part of it. He was also a trooper when we starved him for 13 hours and brought him to Children's Hospital LA for a gastric emptying scan. They let him eat his radioactivated Cheerios and milk for 10 minutes, straightjacketed him from neck to hips, and strapped him to a board. He was strapped for 2 hours while pictures were taken of his stomach and didn't fuss for the first hour and a half. We were lucky because they wheeled a TV over to his gurney, and he watched some Disney pap for most of the test. The results came in the next day and his stomach was....normal! So, the GERD/acid reflux might just be a phase. Let's hope.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ready for action

p.s. Portillo was brilliant. The intermediate runs were just my speed and I got my groove back in the granny style. I wore a knee pad on my hip to keep the angle plate from getting driven into bone in case I fell on it. Matty, Tom, Lesley, and Ray got some of the most epic lift assisted backcountry days (5,000 vertical in the Super C Couloir and 7,000 vertical of corn two days later). The four meals a day were pretty damned tasty. The staff were lovely. I ditched Wyatt with a team of loving twenty something women for a few hours daily. We're saving our funds to get back in a few years.

The chairlift goes right over these switchbacks