HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN:

HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN - city of big bottoms and small minds.

Friday, May 16, 2008

First Wood Tick Removal -- Look Out, Oregon, Here We Come!


This coming June is going to be a pretty momentous month for the clan. Both Diana, Anson's wife, and Kim Wilson, Larry's wife, are retiring from teaching after a combined total of more than sixty years service.

At a family gathering last autumn, John suggested that there be a gathering of Heagles at his lovely beach home on the coast of Oregon sometime in the summer of 2008 to celebrate this momentous passing.

When he was back in Eau Claire this past March, the idea was again raised, but I, for one, had fallen on some pretty dark days employment-wise, and doubted that we would be able to afford the cost of flying all the way out and back, renting a car, and seeking lodging. In fact, I had pretty much made up my mind it was all out of reach.

George Bush to the rescue! Economic stimulus!

As difficult as it is for me to say it, if it hadn't have been for the tax refund tacked on, I would be mostly twiddling my thumbs this summer.

Well -- I will still be twiddling my thumbs most of the summer, but from Wednesday, July 30th to Monday, August 4th, I will be twiddling my thumbs from a deck chair just above the beautiful Pacific Ocean, looking for whales at Fr. John's beach house on the Oregon coast near Gleneden Beach.

Yesterday, in a move that swallowed up most of the two checks that we haven't even got yet, I booked Kim and my flight. We will be leaving from Minneapolis at the ungodly hour of 6:45 AM (which means we may as well not even go to bed the night before as we will have to be at the Frontier Airlines Desk at 4:45 AM to be poked and prodded by TSA.

Last time I flew was to New York City to help my friend Tom Johnson move his belongings back to Wisconsin. The TSA officer went over me with his magic wand -- I told him I had an artificial knee -- and sure enough, when he passed the wand over my right knee it was bells and whistles time.

But then it happened when he swiped it across my upper chest. "Are you wearing a medal or chain?" he asked. "No", I replied, confused.

He passed it over my upper chest again with the same result.

"Open your shirt."

Nothing to hide.

Finally he just let me through. About half an hour later I am sitting reading the Milwaukee Journal and it hits me! The open heart surgery -- Yeh! That's why it went nutso! After the heart work they sewed the chest bone back together with wire.

So this time I will be ready.

I booked our tickets through Best Fares. My agent was barely intelligible. she was talking to me from New Dehli, India. I asked her what her name is.

"Rhonda"

Yeh, right.

Which reminds me of an opening joke I have been using in my show -- let's see if I can remember it -- been so long since I've worked! (My thanks to Matt Capell for supplying me with this one!)

"Man! It has been one long winter hasn't it? we have had snow for the past 7 months! Around mid-January I got real depressed. I did something I have never done -- I called the mental health help line -- and wouldn't you know, they have outsourced the mental health line service --- just like everything else!
I told him I was depressed.

"How depressed?" he asked.

"Suicidal", I replied.

The guy got real excited! He wanted to know if I knew how to drive a truck!"

Anyway -- back to getting air line tickets. Have you done the tickets on line thing? It's called an "E-Ticket". they don't send you a ticket. You just print out an e mail they send that has all the particulars on it and you take that with you to the airport along with government approved ID (driver's license).

I told Kim last night she's going to have to pack LIGHTLY. One large suit case only. We have to rent a car and it ain't gonna be an SUV -- there'll be room for my ass and a gallon of gas - and Kim's large suitcase and my small bag! Oh -- and Kim's ass, too.

We'll be landing in Portland and then driving down the coast to Gleneden Beach, Oregon. I better map that out and see how many miles we have to go. With gas at $4.00 a gallon (at least) by the end of July, I want a car that will get at least 30 mpg.

Just checked it out on "Google Map" -- it's 95 miles from Portland to Gleneden Beach. If everything goes as scheduled, we get into Portland at 10:15 AM, pick up a teeny tiny sub compact and should be there by 1PM for a late lunch.

I guess I had best get started with some bicycling now that the weather is tolerable. I need to get this right knee into better shape.

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I e mailed the guys at Helmet Hut early this morning to give them a nudge about keeping me up to date on the restoration of my TK5 helmet. Here's the answer I got back:

As we mentioned in our last email, the gutting of the helmet is the easy part, now comes the tedious work in repairing the cracks and holes. We love the restorations we do but manufacturing is our first priority. Since we manufacture all of the RK line of helmets for Riddell and the NFL and now all the NCAA, time is precious but we will certainly send you photos. We expect to have your helmet completed over the next two weeks. Thanks again and have a great weekend.

Helmet Hut

Wow! I didn't realize that they did all the other stuff mentioned! Hope I didn't upset them too much. Don't want to be a pest.

Here is a photo of a helmet that I bid on and won off eBay -- I really hadn't planned on winning -- but this Jets helmet speaks of another era. I always like the design. And the face mask is worth nearly what I paid for the entire helmet. Makes me think of Mark Gastineau. Remember him? Old #99?

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Spring is officially here. This past tuesday, I met Kim after school at Memorial High School for a retiring teachers meeting. While listening to the speaker, I thought I felt something crawling on the back of my neck, but couldn't locate it --and the sensation stopped. 40 minutes later we are sitting across from each other at Cancun and Kim asks what that thing is on my neck.

It's Mr. Tick --fortunately not well embedded yet. Kim takes him for a swim in the toilet. Then this morning, I am starting up a "take the chill off the office" fire and I feel that old familiar creepy crawly again -- this one goes into the fire.

They are back.

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