March 29, 1998

A Bit of Heaven

The morning began with a bit of heaven.

I woke, for some reason around 6:45 a.m., and I got up to go to the restroom and when I looked out the window, the top of the trees were afire with the first touches of the dawn sun. The sky was completely clear and blue. It was going to be a gorgeous day.

I promptly went back to bed and slept another two hours.

John didn't wake when I woke at 9. So I got my contacts in and then closed the door and snuck downstairs. Once down there I popped a pu-erh tou cha into a tea pot, poured in boiling water, and then set up a lawn chair and the kitchen ladder as a table on the porch outside the laundry room. It was startlingly cold out there. Colder than I'd expected, with the clear sunshine, but while moving stuff around outside I got pretty warm. That porch gets the morning sun and since the walls are a dark, dark brown, it soaks up all the sunlight and becomes a cozy spot in the sun.

I put tea pot and mug out on the ladder, found Into Thin Air, and a bag of toasted almond biscotti. The sunglasses became a necessity. Then I just sat, basked, drank good tea, and read in the clear sunlight. The book is utterly amazing, frightening with a tone that, from the very start, just freezes the marrow with all the insight into another way of thinking. The consequences of doing anything at high altitude are really evident. What was amazing was also seeing a Nova special which did simple memory tests of the climbers near the peak of Everest, and showed, really clearly, just how bad their memories and thought patterns got up there. Fezzik showed up eventually and lay at my feet, and a smooch from John was pretty much all I needed to make it perfect.

Okay. All that and a nice corned beef hash and eggs breakfast afterwards, plus a Land Rover Adventure.

John called the guy with the Carmichael conversion and discovered that the truck hadn't driven home very well, and on the way, it had started to go slower and slower. The guy, for some reason, decided to put it into low gear. When it was in low gear, there was a pop and then the truck didn't go anywhere at all.

In many ways, at that point, it became something of a rescue mission as it was fairly obvious that the guy knew very little about Land Rovers and he was very willing to sell it to John asked nearly a third what he originally had asked. The towing off the peninsula was enough of a bother that few were willing to take it on. So the price came down to the point where it was easy to decide. Also, since the day was gloriously sunny, it was nearly a moral imperative to Get Out, focus on some distance and enjoy the brilliant spring day with Fezzik. So a trip to the peninsula became the order of the day.

I also required a stop at the Keeny's Office Supply in Redmond. First to see if it was open, second to see if they had any of the forty dollar Cross fountain pens in stock. It turned out to be open and, sure enough, they have a selection of four different colors of the same model. Not only a bigger selection but better prices well. So I instantly bought a black one with a set of refills, which seemed, for some reason to impress the clerk. He even asked, as I was paying for everything, if it was for me and not a gift. He seemed surprised and delighted when I said it was for myself.

We rambled on in the Stoat, got to the ferry in time to get mochas and then get on the boat. We were right in the center the boat as it started off. John stayed with the car as I wandered all over the boat, and then he wandered around as I stayed in the car with Fezzik. Fezzik really enjoyed all the odd sounds and new scents.

The guy with the Rover had a house that was only a few miles from the ferry dock, so we got there pretty quickly.

John and the guy talked for a long while about what was likely wrong with the truck. They also crawled all over it, peering at possibilities while I sat and wrote and Fezzik fidgeted and whimpered about not being included in on the fun. I also got a chance to listen to my new CDs, though the old batteries ran out on me, and ink flowed like my thoughts. The sun shone like a benediction.

Eventually I wandered off on a walk with Fezzik. We wandered up the dirt road, through sun and shadow, but when we got back Fezzik was still pretty inpatient as the boys still tried to get the truck to work or show them what was really wrong with it. It turns out that the electrical system had shutdown, the rear axle was snapped, and there was likely something wrong with the brake system as well. Quite a few things were simply wrong with the truck. So John was far more hesitant about buying it.

There are still reasons to go ahead and get it, but the whole system is a lot more cheesy than we'd originally thought. The alterations weren't quite as solid as they should have been, and there was likely systemic problems with the brakes, as the guy had had Midas work on it without telling them that the brake system was likely built with natural rubber rather than the volcanized stuff. The rubber difference means that normal American brake fluid will just eat through parts of the brake system.

Instead of deciding, we wandered north to see Point No Point, but all the beach nearby it was private. So we turned around and stopped by the ThriftWay for cheddar cheese and ground beef for dinner and new batteries for my CD player. The gas station had regular unleaded for 93 cents per gallon and diesel for only 1.03 per gallon, so we filled up before getting in line. We got there just as the ferry before ours left, so there was plenty of time for a walk. So John and Fezzik went off exploring, and came back with clam chowder and fries well before our ferry loaded.

The evening was very quiet, as we were all pretty tired from the trip. Just dinner, a little TV, and then sleep. I also drank a lot of tea to warm up and re-hydrate. A very full day

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© 1998 by Liralen Li.

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