February 8th, 2004


Death warmed over, inc.

Yesterday I was up early, did some vacuuming, called the motel to be sure Elaine got in (she did), tidied up a bit but mostly read, talked to Elaine. She was going to have breakfast with her dad, would call me and we'd do something. Eventually I left the house to do errands - dropped off bags at Goodwill, went to the car wash, bought kitty litter, cat food, bird seed. Out in the parking lot, filling my trunk with these things, I called Elaine. She drove to SLO, we met at Borders, talked, I admired her car, we drove to Piedras Blancas to see the seals. It was a perfect afternoon and there were at least a couple hundred people there watching the babies, moms, and bulls. Elaine took some good pix of the critters while we watched and listened. On the way up there we had stopped a couple of miles short of the viewing area to take a look at some wind surfers. A bunch of them out there with arched colorful fabric above their heads, a beautiful sight.

From the seals we drove to SLO - she let me drive her little hybrid - we wandered around Petco for a bit, then Elaine got a call from her dad that her grandmother was on the way to his place, was expected in a couple of hours. So Elaine said she'd be there, and he said I could come too.

We went for dinner at the place formerly known as Linn's, had a good dinner, talked some more. I was tired and wanted to go home but felt some obligation to go see Ivah. My "mother-in-law" who never actually was. I had not seen her in many years and I know she likes me. I also wanted to be there with Elaine, not leave her alone with this crazy crew, although she can handle herself fine.

Two hours was not the right estimate. We hung around, talking with the relatives that had arrived - Sally, her friend Les, her daughter Michelle, her son Michael, Michael's cute girlfriend, I'm not sure who else. Finally Arthur drove up with his grandmother, just after ten. He had driven over 700 miles yesterday, down to National City and back again.

Ivah has lost weight. She said she usually loses in the summer and regains in the winter but that regaining hadn't happened in the past couple of years. She looks amazing for 90 years old, still as sharp as I've seen her in the past. She brought a kitten with her for Roy.

And here's where the story forks. AFter much fussing, the cat was installed in the bathroom with food and water and an improvised littler box (fortunately, I had the supplies in my car). We noticed, some of us, that the little guy seems to have an upper respiratory infection. I said that I'd take him to the vet Monday and everyone there thought that was a good idea - except Roy. He blew up. "Then it's YOUR cat! I'm not having it go to the vet..." blah blah blah. He has long lived with this notion that if the animal is tough it will survive and it's up to the cat. I have many arguments against that one but instead of making them I saw him leave to go on his fishing trip with several of his children and related persons, then packed up the kitty and took him home.

He's about three months old and very friendly. Surprising, considering Ivah has been feeding 16 of these critters, essentially wild, who have been born around her place. I put him in my shower to keep him separate from the other two, so he won't infect them. Tomorrow he goes to the vet. And it looks like I have another cat. I'm pissed, to tell the truth. I was not planning on this and I'm regretting I went over there now. But I couldn't leave the guy there to his unreasonable fate. I'm also dead tired and Elaine and I are hiking this morning before I head for the Dem caucus in Santa Barbara. Lordy.


I am home from the Dean caucus. It was good, it was inspiring in its homely way, it was nice to be on the road with a bunch of Deaniacs. But I am so tired. I was up very early, stopped on the way to Elaine's motel to get batteries and granola bars, we went hiking, we went for a fast breakfast, then I took off like a maniac (no, Deaniac) to join the others for the trip to Santa Barbara for the caucus. The bus - which ended up being two vans and a station wagon - arrived late, we had fits and starts, finally got on the road and got there in plenty of time. The Veterans Building in Santa Barbara - faces the ocean, such a setting.

Unfortunately, our driver left the "running lights" on. I thought those things turned off automatically but they do not, not in all cars, and because this was a rented van, she didn't know they were still on. And when we got back in the van to return home, the battery was seriously dead.

One of our group patiently spoke to Enterprise and the Auto Club several times before being given an ETA of 20 minutes for the tow truck. It did arrive, we did get started, we got on the road an hour later than anticipated. I'm just tired, I'm glad I was not driving.

In the van coming home I got calls from both Mary and Elaine, who were headed in opposite directions. Elaine going home to Vegas, Mary coming here from Vegas. But not on the same route. Neither of them makes the trip as often as I do and things go wrong a LOT. This time Elaine got way off track and ended up spending something like four hours more on the road than she should have. She's only halfway there now, poor thing, dead tired, sick of the whole thing, wishes she hadn't come.

But I did have a good visit with her.

Mary took a break for dinner so she got behind her schedule and is also very tired, thinking of calling it a night somewhere in the middle, like Mojave.

It's always dramatic when they are on the road, it seems. Maybe it's better, best, that I usually go there.