June 19th, 2007


Homeless Day 9, Part 1: backing up to Saturday

Friday night I did a load of laundry at the motel. This time there was no competition and the front desk had change. There were several families in the motel, and many of them enjoyed the pool that evening. I went to the nearby Stater Bros. grocery store, bought some wine and a Greek salad that had half a jar of olives in it, both green and black.  I rather enjoyed that, with hunks of bread infused with olive oil and rosemary.

At Mary's yesterday I was using her salt and pepper grinders and realizing how we have come to accept this rather more gourmet way of living, at least we in the western states have.

Bullet stretched out on the bed next to me that night and, as usual, woke bright and early, meowing at me. He had plenty of food and water so I don't know why he had to complain at me so early in the morning, but habit is habit.

I had considered taking one more day on the road before reaching Las Vegas but after talking to Mary I decided to hit Las Vegas Saturday night. She has Sunday and Monday off and I wanted to spend that time with her. So that morning I sat on the phone making arrangements for Bullet. I called the Petsmart Petshotel in Henderson to make a reservation for him there, realizing that I had forgotten to bring my folder with his vaccination records in it, so agreed to have the vet fax them over. Then I called the vet, arranged for the fax as well as for the mailing of Bullet's prescription refill. He had plenty of meds but not enough for the time I would be gone. Fortunately, none of this was a problem. I was really relieved. I figured I would hit Petsmart in the late afternoon, and the place is open until nine.

I then hit the pool, still early. Nobody else in it. I swam for about ten minutes. Not much but enough to get myself stretched out a bit and some oxygen in my lungs. The water was colder than the motel pool in San Luis Obispo, which is odd because Mojave is a lot hotter. It felt good once I was used to it, and it may have helped me swim better anyway.

What with dillydallying around I didn't leave the motel until almost eleven. There were people around the pool by then, causing me to wonder if they were staying another night, and to wonder further who would stay more than one night in Mojave? It isn't a terrible town but what? What is there that you'd be doing? Maybe hiking? But not so much in the heat of the summer, no. Collapse )

Homeless Day 9, Part 4: Sunday! Mount Charleston!

All right, I know it's already Tuesday, and here I am writing about Sunday. Only two days behind now.

Sunday morning I was up early. I made coffee with the only coffee I found in Mary's house, a flavored pack. Fortunately, I had brought along a large bag, one of the things I could not leave behind, so I knew the rest of the week I'd be fine.

Mary got up, then Joey, and we had our various breakfasts. We were dressed in hot-weather clothes because this day, Sunday, we would be going to Mount Charleston for a hike. Collapse )

Homeless Day 9 Part 5: Remembering Monday

Mary is on a mission. She wants to be as fit as she can be. She eschews junk food and anything else that is not going to further her health. And she takes part in some sort of exercise every day. Usually, it seems, more than one.

Yesterday she agreed to meet a friend at Starbucks at seven am. The two then planned to speedwalk "the loop" through a development called Seven Hills or something like that. It's right nearby, almost next door, this development, but is yet another planned development that has everything, from bike paths to parks to picnic areas and, yes, hills. Most unusual. It makes a nice ride on a bike and Mary wanted to start speedwalking it as well. She took off on this mission while I monitored the boy. Got him into the shower and dressed. Which is to say I simply told him to arrange his plan differently and shower and dress first. Then I actually cooked some waffles for him. He was dressed and fed and everything was cleaned up and I was starting to worry about time when Mary finally called. I was almost out the door, ready to take Joey to school anyway. Mary had had to wait for her friend and the loop took longer than she expected, so she was over an hour late getting back than she'd planned.

I said I'd take Joey to school and tell the teacher that Mary would not be able to volunteer that morning. Mary usually gives the class an hour every Monday morning, working with students on reading. I said that I would volunteer instead. So that's what we did.

The teacher welcomed me, set me up with one reading group and a chapter in a Junie B. Jones book. I went into a central room (sort of a wide open hallway), found a couple of chairs, and sat down with one student at a time. That student read the chapter to me. Then the student went back to the classroom and tagged the next one. So I got to hear that chapter three times. When we were done I went back and told the teacher I could do more. She then gave me a group of two girls and a book. The girls alternated reading a page each in the book. This pair was funny. When one would have trouble with a word the other would roll her eyes or say the word. Partway through I asked them some questions (as I had with the other students) about what they were reading and how they thought it might turn out. We had some laughs about the story.

When we were done I took my leave and headed back to Mary's place.

When I am with Mary there is one thing we are sure to do: shop. Mary had some shoes and a purse she wanted to exchange so she asked if I wanted to go to the mall with her. I said sure. We drove on over to the outlet mall, where she was able to find what she wanted and make the exchange. Of course we couldn't leave it at that. Mary talked me into using a wheelchair, which we borrowed from the info booth. I went for it less for myself than for Mary: I knew she would be okay shopping with me if I were comfortable. The hardest thing for me is standing around. We first found where the Crocs were and bought two pairs: one for Joey and one for me. I have been wanting some and we found a pair that fit and was a good color. Then we did some cruising around other stores, Mary gleefully noting that she had me under her control so she was going to take advantage. She didn't buy much, fortunately.

We decided to do lunch there as well. Went to a mediterranean place in the food court. Reminder: only get pretzels in malls. Do NOT try for real food. The hummus was good. The pitas were okay. The falafels tasted like they'd been frozen and reheated. The tabouli was watery. Overall just a big NO. We talked of regret. I went into my "regret" mode: use it only enough to learn from; then just let it go.  We learned not to be tempted by things like "vegetarian healthy food" when the sign is in a mall.

We came back to the house, where Mary cleaned out her car, I wrote journal entries, Mary washed clothes and generally cleaned up, and eventually Mary went off to pick up Joey. I made split pea soup, figured out Joey's mp3 player, worked with Mary's desktop computer, which is dead slow, and read. Joey did his homework (no urging), hung around to watch me upload and download music, plugged into his mp3 player and bebopped around. While the soup was still cooking the three of us headed for the pool. The madness had dissapated - there had been a lot of people in the pool not long before, but now it was just us. Just we. I swam a little, used the hot tub, swam a little more, tubbed it again, chatting with Mary, swam a little more, then we all went back for soup.

Mary felt good, having culled a lot from her closet, having cleaned out her car, having given herself a sense of accomplishment. I am so past that! I felt I did well just to get up and dressed early.

Homeless Day 9, Part 6: Today! Computer! iPod! Paella!

Today I was up early but didn't get dressed right away. Slipping into the old habits, I guess. Eventually Mary and Joey made it out the door, after Mary had done a bike ride and a speedwalk, starting at about 6 am, returning at close to 8 am. Gotta admire the energy, the stamina.

Reading seemed good to me. I've been reading a book from the NYT Notable Books of 2006 list: Anne Tyler's The Amateur Marriage. I am almost done. Which means I'll be writing a review of it in my book review blog, then discussing it in the Notable Books challenge blog, so I have my work cut out for me.

Cooking also seemed good to me. I looked through the two cookbooks I had brought with me, then moved to Mary's vegetarian crockpot cookbook. I decided on a veggie paella. Of course that meant I would have to do some shopping, so gradually I started to get myself together. I read, I ate, I read more, I drank coffee, I made a list of ingredients needed, decided I would pick them up and start the meal, then I could look at Mary's slow computer. I did just that, bought the stuff and came back, chopped onions, green beans, bell peppers, defrosted frozen artichoke hearts, cooked the onions a bit, threw it all in the large slow cooker with tomatoes, broth, seasonings, started it cooking. Then I went upstairs to take a look at Mary's computer.

I downloaded ccleaner, a free program that does a nice job of cleaning up temporary files. My computer always feels better after it's been cleaned up with this. I did a check on Mary's and cleaned it up and got rid of a ton of stuff. I then plugged Mary's iPod Shuffle in again to see if I could get it synced with iTunes and load her tunes into it. I discovered that although iTunes wasn't cooperating as I would have liked yesterday it did indeed upload the songs to the Shuffle so it's already done. Now I have a sense of accomplishment. And, really, that's about where it sits, where it will continue to sit today, if I have anything to say about it. In other words, I'm not needing any serious activity today.