Stuck at Home

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I love being home. I mean, we live in a pretty sweet place. Have you seen this state? If you are from around here, you know what I’m talking about (I hope). If you are not, look it up. Spring time in Vermont? Hard to beat.

Right now, however, we are stuck here. We had planned to head to Utah for a wedding. We went to the airport and planned to get on a plane. But at the desk the bad news was that our flight was delayed. We had just looked and it was on time, but in those intervening moments, things got pushed back.

Low cloud ceilings slow things down. At a busy airport like JFK, where we would catch our connecting flight, delays can cascade. Our 2:30 flight was pushed back to 4:30 while we spoke to agent at the desk. While we tried to decide what to do it got pushed back to 6:30. Then 8:00. Now it is scheduled to leave close to 9:00, still a half hour away. Good thing we decided to just wait until tomorrow.

We came home from the airport and ordered sandwiches in town. We have been relaxing and rescheduling at home while the rain comes down. It is pouring now, as the light fades. We don’t have to leave right away tomorrow but we will have a long layover in New York nonetheless–seven hours or so. There is only one flight on our airline per day from JFK to Salt Lake City. Whatever time we get there we have to take that flight.

We did have to deal with some logistics. Rental car is not available a day later but we figured that out (different rental car agency for not too much more money). We had to cancel our hotel less than 24 hours out (they let us do it without a fee) and we had to book the next night instead (room available!). We had to cancel what would have been our second night at a different place but they let us do so without a penalty as well. And we will get better seats on the new flight. So it all works out, as usual, even if we do have to miss a family hike. We won’t miss the wedding.

We are going from one beautiful place to another for a few days. These are all first world problems. Inconvenient for us? Yes. Disappointing? Sure. But we will be fine of course. For now we can enjoy the sound of the rain on the porch roof. Sounds pretty soothing if you ask me. A good night’s sleep and we’ll try again tomorrow.

Things I Would Like to Make Soon

1. I have been thinking about coffee ice cream.  I am ready to make it.  I just need a little time to whip together some cream and sugar and milk and eggs and coffee, and Voila!  Frozen confection.

2. Tomato corn chowder.  We have lots of corn left over from last night and I need to use it ASAP.  And now we have tomatoes.  Save a little of that cream from making the ice cream, add some fresh herbs and some other tasty bits and Voila!  Soup for a royal family.

3. Some bookshelves.  We have tons of books and I love to read and the good tomes are all still packed into boxes.  A post and beam home has one drawback–much less wall space.  That means less room for art and for furniture and for shelves.  So our books sit unread.  With a little creativity we can fit in some bookshelves.

4. An orchard.  Well maybe not an orchard on the scale of, say, one that sells fruit to markets, but a small one, with lots of trees to give us peaches and pears and apples and maybe even something more exotic, like walnuts.  And some more blueberry bushes.  And maybe some grapes.  That might mean a lot of work, I understand, but apple pie and peach ice cream and grape juice…

5. Some poems.  My writing has been limited to blogging and work, at least for the most part.  I should be tossing out some more creativity.

6. My wife happy.  I know one can’t really make someone else happy, but let’s face it, someone trying sure can make a difference.  Not that she isn’t happy, but one of my favorite things in the world is to see her face glowing with joy or laughing with abandon.  Seriously.  Seeing her happy makes me happy.  I love that woman.

7.  I also want to make some kindling.  Winter will be here soon enough and having a big stash of kindling on hand makes things a lot easier.  If I can make it soon enough that it will dry before we need it, I will be ahead of the game.  For years we had an supply of dry leftover lumber bits but that ran out two winters ago.  Now I have to gather and split to get the fire going.

8. A will would be good.  We have put that task off for too long.  We did talk with a lawyer at one point but then that morbid responsibility fell off the list.  Time to put it back on.

9. I need to make myself stronger.  I have been running and biking and that just plain old feels good.  I need to keep that up, and then get to a point where I can really get out there and fly.  Who doesn’t want to fly?  A long run, or a run in the middle of a snowstorm, or a zoom down a tree-lined path, those are like flying.  I want to fly.

Making things is about being creative.  And isn’t creativity a form of flying?  That is really what I want.  I want to fly.

Flags Along the Way

As I was driving through Milton this morning I noticed a United States flag.   It stood out because it was faded and tangled in the cross post on the pole.  It looked like it had been there a long time.  Someone had cared to put it up but then what happened?  Had it been forgotten?  Did they just leave it up all the time?  How long had it been tangled there?

Then I noticed other U.S. flags.  There was a flag on a pole part way up a utility pole, and another on the next pole.  I wondered if there would be many on many poles, but the next few utility poles were bare of flags.  Then, around the bend, there was flag after flag, all of them hanging toward the road, red, white and blue stretching down Route 7.  It was a lot of flagness there in Milton.

I realized that I just don’t notice U.S. flags anymore.  They are everywhere.  Had these flags been there a long time?  Or had they been hung recently, for Memorial Day?  They might have been there for months and I hadn’t noticed them on my many travels through town.  Or maybe they had only been there a few days.  I certainly hadn’t noticed them yesterday, or last week.

I then noticed the flag at the post office.  You can count on that one.  And there was a flag at the bank.  And others scattered about.  I thought that maybe I would count them on the way home, but I forgot.

I remember as a kid hanging a flag.  I don’t know how long we did that but I do remember raising it the morning and lowering it at night.  We weren’t always good about it.  Sometimes we left it up all night, or for several days straight.  According to the U.S. Code on such matters, one should not fly the flag at night unless it is fully lit.  We blew it on that one.  We always folded it properly and stored it well but the lighting thing didn’t happen.  Moreover, one shouldn’t fly the flag in inclement weather.  Oops.

I recently read an article in Grist about whether one can ignore the flag codes and fly the flag at night without lighting it, to save energy.  Wouldn’t that be patriotic?  Use less energy but still fly the flag?  The article suggested simply not flying the flag at night, or using a motion sensor light so if someone passes by they flag would be lit and thus be visible.  Sounded good to me.

I heard a story on NPR recently about a pastor who is flying his flag upside down in Chicago.  That usually, according to flag codes, should be reserved strictly as a signal of distress.  His point is that so many youth are being killed by firearms every year that his city faces an crisis.  He noted that within 48 hours we mobilized to inform and protect people from swine flu, a threat that was unclear at best, yet we can’t stop youth gun violence that has been happening for years?  I have no quibble with his approach, despite local veterans who might find it unpatriotic.  One does what one must.

I imagine I will be noticing flags a lot now.  Richmond used to post them on utility poles for July 4th.  I sometimes didn’t notice them at first but then saw them everywhere.  I imagine that will happen again.  I can’t imagine flying one myself any time soon, but I know that I will manage to see them, even when I am not looking.

Going to Florida?

My sister-in-law and her step sister called to talk to their sister/step-sister at different times today.  They wanted to talk about going to Florida.  What the hell did I know?  Tickets were cheap, and then they got cheaper, and they were going anyway and they asked my spouse if she wanted to go as well and take the children?  What about me. was what I thought?  You think I have something against the sunshine state?

No, they just thought I had to work.  Ho ho, I have the week off, too.  They pestered me, good naturedly of course, about why my wife would not answer the phone.  Sure, she doesn’t get great reception where she works but, more importantly, she was at work.  Not a great time to talk about a trip south.  They wanted me to say “Sure go ahead and book the tickets before the price goes up,” but we had not talked about it.  The closest we came was last night when she said to me, “My sister had the idea that we might go to Florida, but I’m not sure about it, what do you think?”  And then we got interupted.

So all of a sudden I was in the position of having to decide if she might want to go with the kids and can you please decide right now?  I deferred.  I supported the idea but I did want to spend that vacation week with the family.  We could use some time together without work and school pressures.  And I wanted to go along if they were going along.

Apparently we have made a plan.  We were going to keep it secret but my wife can’t keep a secret.  She keeps talking on the phone and talking to me and oh forget it let’s just tell the kids.  I didn’t even know where were we might go but it turns out Orlando is the destination.  Disneyland and all that.  I’m going to Disneyland!  Once I went to Orlando for a conference but I didn’t really get to Disneyland.  I wandered around the silly shopping area but that hardly counts.  I didn’t even buy anything except some chocolate coins with Mickey Mouse on them.

It is kind of exciting, just to take a trip and fly on a plane and get away from home and go someplace new.  Disneyland?  I guess that could be fun.  I remember, as a kid, others telling me about their visits to the Magic Kingdom.  Finally I will get a peek at what it is all about.  I am sure we will have a fine time.  Cable television and a swimming pool and we will be all set.  The rest is gravy.

So our vacation will be eventful.  We will have some friends visiting before we leave and we will get some down time when we get back.  Sounds about right.