About Me

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Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
"No, really!"

My Favorite Bit of Paper Cup Philosophy

The Way I See It #76

The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating - in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What If ~ Spring Sprang, the Final Part

What if . . . . . the wind shrieked sufficiently to nearly tear the hair off of my head? It does. I don't care for it much. I am more tired of the wind than I can express, and it makes me crabby.

What if . . . . . our little band of angels was doing the largest job we've ever done in our company's history? They are! I'm watching all of my service vehicles and all of my homes on GPS. They're heading for the Catholic church where they'll clean carpet and upholstery for 8-10 hours. The Catholics don't mess around about Easter and it's coming this weekend. We've sent homes off with a cooler full of water and other drinks, sandwiches and more. I'm leaving early so I can go see if they want some dinner (as if they wouldn't!). I also just want to watch them execute a job as enormous as this one is, Cesar performing as lead, everyone working. I want to take photos for our website and the homes want me to come join them. There's been some talk about saving some of the 156 pews for me to clean. I can swing an upholstery tool even if I can't manage the carpet wand! All morning I sang - "Get Me to the Church on Time" and "Going to the Chapel". Homes laughed at me. I want to run that American Express card tonight! It's March income. And although this March has been a big stinker in all manner of ways, that job acts as an air freshener.

What if . . . . . I were to scuttle my usual routine and take a flyer? I've been invited away. Away meaning not Las Vegas and not camping in the desert. It's been awhile since I went girlfriend traveling. I want to shop and we know all the best places to do that near her home. I want to poke around in the garden and go to the yard and estate sales. She lives in a retirement community, so there are a lot of estate sales. They freaked me out a little until the day I stepped into the walk-in closet of a woman who had had very good taste and whose body must have been precisely the size of my own. I want to sit on the patio at dusk, cold one in hand, and watch the quail and bunnies and, sometimes, coyotes. I want to walk my daily miles on the cushy, springy walking track made from recycled plastic. I want her to show me her most recent craft efforts in every type of medium with which she creates beauty. I want to take the long drive there, scoping out the familiar sights. I want to talk and talk, and I want to let her kick my ass at cards in the evening. Actually, I have no choice about that. I don't let her kick my ass. She just does it. Old age and treachery trump youth and skill!

What if . . . . . I just delete that other post I felt so good about, but which I now deem inappropriate? It was a good piece of writing. It satisfied me, and my writing does not always satisfy me. It celebrated some new things I have learned to do. But it should not be presented for fear of causing strife or offense. What if I just detached myself from the resentment of not posting it and move on? I can do that. That's what I do. Appease and move on. Try not to harbor any resentment. Remind myself that when you make a deal with the devil, you're going to spend some time in hell.

What if . . . . . we hired Matt back as a carpet cleaning technician? We did! I saw him come up the staircase and thought, "Hmmmm, what's this?" He went directly to David's private door, so I didn't intrude, not even to say hello. When I walked to the coffeemaker, I passed the door and smiled at Matt who was sitting on the sofa. David saw me pass by and called me in. "What do you think?" I put both hands and arms in the air, for I was taught to vote early and vote often. Matt teared up. We're starting to boom again. I am having difficulty covering all the jobs, simply for lack of technicians. Matt is experienced and talented. Better yet, he's experienced in our ways. The world didn't treat him kindly during his 90-day shore leave. But he's met a really nice and level-headed young woman to whom he listens, and he manned up sufficiently to come and tell David why he wanted his job back and how he'd treat it differently. It's a good match. Matt's back!

What if . . . . I get out of Puckerbrush, USA and off of my hill? I'm ready! It was a day full of adventure, but it's time to end the telling as another whole fun-filled weekend has passed and I want to write about that one, too. Having spent the day making animal, spirit and human friends, having eaten an al fresco meal standing up by the car, I was ready to put some miles on myself. I play the MP3 stupidly loud and the Temptations were pumping me. I did the Temptation Walk for a few feet and then started to stride in earnest. Far distant and far below me, I could see the highway that was my destination. As I descended, the first hill of 8-10% grade reminded me that I walk mostly on the flats in Las Vegas. I felt pulling in muscles I never knew existed. And this was going downhill! I was moving at a pretty remarkable pace, given the angle, and soon enough I reached the bottom. The legs got a little break while I motored over a (fairly) flat section at the quickstep. And then I was at the crest of the really steep hill. First, I had to curtail my pace. This mighty Alp was an invitation to a face plant if taken too quickly. I adjusted my speed and found I was pushing backward with my shoulders and spine to maintain balance on that hill. It was hell on the muscles alongside the shins, and I'm no slouch in the leg muscle department. After about half an hour, I'd left that hill behind.

The area at the bottom of the hill was so low, I felt as if I were below sea level. Granted, I had just come off of Mt. Everest, and "low" is relative, but I felt like I was in a hole. There were mud smears across the highway, indicating to me that when the springs overran, the mud overflowed the shoulder. Many gigantic downed trees lay in the fields, their petrified root systems rising 40 feet into the air like gnarled witch hands. I felt small and insignificant and just a bit like Red Riding Hood walking through the forest ~ just a little vulnerable, though I'd neither seen nor spoken to a wolf. I was still walking at a very brisk pace, and although the device played Alanis, Aretha, Natalie Imbruglia and Natalie Merchant, when the little white-tailed rabbit hopped across the highway, I grinned and sang Little Bunny Foo Foo, remembered from Amber's youngest years. I trudged on, going through the Backstreet Boys (Yes, I do like them. My daughter is the age that forced me to become familiar with them. But I only have one of their songs in the MP3.), the Beatles, the Byrds and the Beach Boys. Finally, I crested a little rise, took a wide curve near a ranch house and arrived at the highway. To mark this feat, I ceremoniously smacked the mile marker sign with the flat of my hand and turned myself around with some sass. Now it was time to return.

The forest didn't seem as threatening on the return trip and I zipped through it like a streak. Arriving at the base of the steepest and longest hill, I stopped, drank water, scoped out the terrain and wondered what in the hell I was thinking. It loomed before me, long and so high I had to crane my neck to take it all in. I'd planned to take it at a fast pace, but even the beginning of it was so steep, I couldn't build up any speed. I walked back about 1/4 mile and started to walk very fast. I figured I'd just glide over the threshold to that precipice and gently float upward. Not so! The beginning of the incline was so sharp it was like crashing into a brick wall. All right. So I couldn't charge up the thing like the Light Brigade. I'd just walk it. And so I did. Clumsy footed, plodding foot planting, walking. This time I leaned forward with my head, chest and shoulders to gain my equilibrium. The journey took far longer than the descent had taken. I was mouth breathing about half way through my ascent, and asked myself why I was doing this. Oh, yes. Because I feel that good and confident. When I reached the top of Kilimanjaro and the false flat (a grade that seems flat because it's only 3-4%), I stopped for a long drink of water and to let my heart stop pounding. I didn't need a mirror to know my face was beet red.

It was on the false flat that a man came along on a bicycle and wondered out loud if I had had car trouble somewhere. I told him I was doing this for pleasure and exercise, but I thanked him for inquiring. He gave me a look that told me Puckerbrushians don't use the hilly road as a treadmill. He gave me a look that said he thought I was insane. That frosted me sufficiently to energize me up and over the (only) 8% grade remaining hill and finally, I could see the car. I confess that my entry to the car was more like falling into it than gracefully seating myself. It was late. It had been a grand outing. And now it was time to go home. Driving out of the little hidden place, I wanted to stop and take a picture of something I had seen while driving in. I like goony signs. I like signs that tell me what to do. I'd been mystified by the large letters spelling "loom". I saw no weaving device. I wondered if it was a message to me and I'd decided I'd certainly loom through my day if I could, although I don't believe I actually did that. Stepping out with the camera, I looked up the post and started to chortle. I hadn't seen the top figure from the other side of the highway. It was an animal's head, and "loom" was the Loyal Order of Moose. The sign remains, even though there is no remaining part of the lodge, or even an indication that the ground here has ever been graded. I stumbled back into the car, tired from my wonderful day, and mused that if "loom" was direction, those hills had certainly paid attention.

In my ears right now: Backstreet's back! I repeat. I truly like it. I also knew the names of each of them, and probably could bring them to the forefront still today. Of course, I was also the mom who took a mommy van full of young girls to the 'N Sync No Strings Attached concert tour on a Thursday evening during the school year with five acts preceding the homes. I don't know what happened with the other girls. My kid understood that the price of the ticket for this concert was that she'd be at school and at attention the next day, sleepy and laryngitis or not! Hey, I got a thrill when the guys descended from the ceiling of the sports arena and slid down the ropes like marionettes. I was 48. She was 11.

Something that charmed me: Matt's first day back was today. He stands a foot and a half taller than I and he weighs precisely twice what I weigh. The bear hug was pretty overwhelming.


  1. Ah, the venerable, vulnerable Leslie...
    You are one persistent wascally wabbit! I admire your hiking hardiness. Those moose do loom large in those parts, ordered or not.

    Puckerbrush, it makes me blush. It really is a scrubby bush of some kind and there's a review named after it and you can cross stitch it. Oh, you do make me google and giggle. How many miles did you do on Highway 80?

    Have a great time with your friend!

  2. @ Kass ~ My ardent admirer calls me Kafkaesque about my walking and he may be right. Kafkaesque has some fluidity in meaning, but I like this description from dictionary.com as it applies to me and walking: "marked by a senseless, disorienting, often menacing complexity". I'm rabid. I just go and go, inventing new challenges, until I nearly drop. Someday I will be brave enough to write about why it is so important to me. Why I may not allow myself to set it down for even a day.

    Looming Moose, indeeed! Puckerbrush is simply my invented word used as other people use "Podunk", but I get your inclination to blush. I would LOVE to cross-stitch a sampler or have a sweatshirt made: "Puckerbrush Union High School". I'd wear it, too!

    Kass, I've said it before and I'll say it again now - you are SOME Girlock Holmes. However, it wasn't Hwy 80. I was actually walking on a looping road that begins and ends on Hwy 168 which is where I smacked the mile marker. I did 6 or 7 miles on top of the 7 miles I'd walked in the morning in the city.

    You'll hear much more about my trip away, both before and after. We are a pair of chiquitas who know how to have a good time!

  3. It's a beautiful spring day here in Ohio. As an added bonus, I also get to experience a beautiful spring day in Nevada. Makes coming inside worth it.

    Maybe when moose are in season again, the building will reappear.

  4. @ Kirk ~ I was so lucky these past two weekends. Much sun, warm temperatures, lots of time spent outdoors. I even got a little sunkissed and my nose is peeling a bit. Good for memories, because as I type this, we have 60 mph gusts and sustained winds of 25-30 mph. The sky is a thick, gray blanket, and I'm sad that my little saying came true. March: in like a lion, out like a tiger.

    Good thought re: the moose, Kirk! I'll grab Mother Badger (who wishes to go exploring with me) and make another trip out there to look.

  5. first of all-LITTLE BUNNY FOO FOO! the first time i heard that was by way of my stepdaughters. i laughed 'til i couldn't breathe. the visual that warped its way through my brain just added to the hilarity.

    and second-the wind. i went hiking today (yes, in that wind), and made my peace with it. i don't have the facility with words that you do, so it comes down to one: surrender.

  6. @ SOMH ~ " . . scoopin' up the field mice and boppin' 'em on the head . . " I've always pictured a cute, fluffly, pristine little bunny hopping around amidst all the carnage. Amber was a very innocent child. When she'd sing "boppin' 'em on the head", her black eyes would become enormous. But I don't believe she was thinking "carnage". Just the idea of hitting offended her sensibilities. We don't hit. It was a novel idea to her.

    If you made peace with that gale, you're a better woman than I. I managed 9 miles in it today. Most days it's anywhere from 8 - 10. I have not made peace. I am miserable from it. I don't surrender to anything very easily. Even though I know I can't win out against the wind. Shows how brilliant I am. Fight the wind, Les. Yeah. Uh-huh.

  7. I'm inordinately pleased that Matt is back. Though we've never met I feel as though I have known him all my life. Perhaps I have in various incarnations. I'm standing on the sidelines cheering him in on.

  8. @ Tag ~ Friend, I know (from many past comments) he intrigues you. Matt is a KEEPER! Last summer, you will recall, I had some interaction with a female BFF. "You have a crush on Matt," said she. Crush?!?! My god, did she miss the point, and I said as much at the time. Tomorrow I have a job for extremely early arrival. His car was repossessed during his shore leave and while I can deliver him home of an evening if I am so disposed, I cannot pick him up in the early morning. He lives on the extreme end of the valley and I already get up at a shocking hour to walk in the streets and arrive on time to run our business. "OK, Les, I'll look up the bus schedule online. I won't let you down. Put the keys out to #4 ~ you know the place."I know the place. I trust that he will not let me down.

  9. Leslie, are you having trouble with blogger? I see that my post is in your sidebar, but I cant' access it. I can't leave messages and I keep getting bX-5vwlyi messages. Is it just me?

  10. @ Kass ~ Girlfriend, I won't put foul language on your blog, so I'll reply to your question/comment here. Blogger is all fucked up this morning. I'm writing a post I can't save and autosave keeps failing and I'm concerned I'm going to lose my work. Have I ever mentioned I LIKE THINGS THAT WORK AS INTENDED? Grrrr . . .