Laramie, Wyoming will see a low of -5 and a high of 15 on Monday. I think we still have a mobile shower unit there; I was texting with Deb, expressing condolences. She said the cold wasn’t as bad as having had to work with Ralph and Will earlier this summer. She’s a tough ole gal — enjoys arctic kayaking ffs.
No one’s ever asked me if I’d like to go arctic kayaking, but it’s one of those scenarios where I enjoy imagining someone asking, and all the emphatic ways I could say no. I was asked, on two separate occasions last year, if I’d like to do a “polar dip”. That’s where you jump into an outdoor swimming pool or natural lake, in the winter. I wasn’t like “maybe maybe-not idk;” my clarity there is total. Nick did a polar dip, though. I understand it’s pretty good for you, and that I could live longer and be more beautiful if I took cold showers. Just gotta die young and be ugly in that case. It’s a no.
Nick and I were talking yesterday, while we drove, about how odd it is that this country’s so big but there just aren’t that many ideal places to live, all things considered. I always knew Flagstaff didn’t suit me but I couldn’t think of a better place to go. It’s kind of like dating — seems like there’s a million people out there, but once you apply all the important filters, there’s literally no one left, and you find yourself just dating some asshole you met because they’re there. Everywhere is either too hot, too cold, too big, too small, too expensive, too woke, too religious, too industrial, or not industrial enough.
I personally tended towards liberal Meccas before, just because I like vegan restaurants. The tax issues for business owners with blue cities and states wasn’t really on my radar. I mean, I’m not full blown ragamuffin-useless, but I haven’t been a pillar of any communities lately. These days, I feel differently — any hotbed of police defunding and/or wokeness is gonna be a big nerp for me, in perpetuity. Climate used to be the biggest factor, and it’s pretty crazy for something to come along and outweigh that, but roving bands of assholes has gotten my attention. And of course it’s just like infections in the body (ask your doctor if roving bands of assholes is right for you!): it’s not whether they’re there or not, lately — and statistically, or at least geographically, the race riots haven’t been *that* bad. It’s about the conditions existing for them to arise in the first place; and now that I’ve seen that, I can’t unsee it. In some cities, the potential of them is literally incubated; they could arise at any time, in response to any thing.
And even then, it’s not so much the danger factor. I’m able to revert to a frontier mindset, I suppose, if that’s what I had to do. CHANCES ARE my house would be fine, CHANCES ARE I wouldn’t have to shoot anybody, or if I did, I could shoot enough that the rest would fuck off and not overwhelm me with sheer zombie numbers. Idk, loading magazines takes awhile and I’m not so much of a gun nut that I have more than two per firearm. That could be a problem. Anyway — even in the worst of it (thus far), most people in most neighborhoods were fine; most businesses didn’t get burned down. Most people could still go to the grocery store, unmolested.
But yeah, that wouldn’t be good enough for me. If I had local and state leadership turning a blind eye to their core obligation to me, law-abiding Jane Citizen, in that fashion, such that it was only chance dictated whether I got to work each day or was pulled out of my car instead — I would just go ballistic. I think we all need to remember, relative to state and local leadership, that there’s already a perfectly good example of what you can do when they botch their job completely. It’s called Kill Dozer, and it happened in Greeley, Colorado, and it can happen again. Just sayin’.
And for the record, he didn’t actually kill anyone — he just took out 13 buildings, including the courthouse and the judge’s private residence lmao. They were about to call in an airstrike when he unfortunately got his tread stuck in a basement and just offed himself from there.
Meanwhile, Seattle antifa couldn’t even figure out how to use QuikCrete to seal the SPD in their precinct to burn them alive, thankfully, but also: goddamn, you guys are so bad at this. If it really has been 400 years of racism and oppression (despite BLM being like 6-to-1 white folks?), then it seems like y’all could have at least built a Kill Dozer by now. It only took that guy in Greeley 2 years. Sometimes it takes a redneck.
ANYWAY, there’s not that many great places to live. I could rattle off a list of towns and cities I wouldn’t move to, and it would be long. I mean, it’s nice to consider this from a perspective of relief, because we are moving somewhere I consider to be truly truly desirable — Hawaii big island — and so I’m not trying to wrest some dignity out of any of my CONUS choices anymore.
Now that moving to Hawaii has occurred to me, I kind of wonder why it hasn’t occurred to more people. I think everyone has the idea it’s really expensive, and it is — it’s just not as bad as all that, plus people move to expensive cities in the 48 all the time. Also personal expenses are a lot more negotiable than people seem to think. I guess I have a mercenary way of being — healthcare and dentistry in Mexico, DIY entertainment, and my dietary model can scale all the way from vegan bourgeoisie to noble peasant, remaining delicious and desirable at every point. So if I have to absorb additional costs in one area, I’m pretty adept at offsetting them in another. Our rent is going to be 3k/mo on a 4-bedroom house, and I don’t think that’s bad. I wouldn’t wanna pay it in Lincoln, Nebraska, but for Hawaii that seems aight.
Maybe people think Hawaii is claustrophobic? And maybe it is? I mean, those smaller islands are, indeed, really small. The whole lot of them could fit inside the big island. I’ve never been to any of the smaller islands. I’ve only been to the big island once, for 2.5 weeks. Oh, also that it’s a long trip to see family on CONUS. That’s true-ish, but a plane ride is a plane ride. The active volcanoes are off-putting, I suppose. I’ll take that over Mayor Ted Wheeler any day. I know very little about all of it, to be honest. We’ll all know more, soon.
Nick’s CDL training is going well. He’s pretty annoyed at how simultaneously in-depth but also phoned-in the pre-trip inspection is (not the real one, the MVD one), and I’m trying to get him to just surrender to it. I think it’s kind of a fun meditation, in a certain way, or at least you shouldn’t get antagonistic about it because that’s the event most people fail, if only because it’s first. You only need 80% of the available points to pass, and the repetitive axle items (suspension, brakes, rims and tires) plus the in-cab gets you to about 50% right there. We lost access to the 10-speed and we’re training on a 13-speed now. My boss in Camp Verde keeps trying to winterize equipment for the off-season, as it comes in, and then it gets called back out. He needs to just stop.
Nick’s backing skills are really strong, which is good because I still only have my chalk snap line and my little 2-inch tall toy cones I bought to go with my toy tractor trailer. That thing is a blessing, though. Because he gets the mechanical realities of IRL backing, we’re able to use the toy truck and cones to intelligently discuss strategies, relative to these kinds of formulas I evolved over the course of teaching backing at two different schools, even when we’re not around the truck, so that helps a lot. It’s like: set up like this, jack until you see half the landing gear, chase til you’re straight, see this many cones in this particular mirror, then straight line back til your trailer tires are this close to this line, then wheel right, walk the drives in, chase back left for the steers, done.
His shifting is much more intuitive now, his timing much better. Yesterday we discussed how, with these unsynchronized transmissions, the driver *is* the synchronizer, making road speed and engine speed match closely enough to grab the next gear up or the next gear down. So I anticipate no problems there. His trailer management is very good — we’ve been hitting a roundabout on our little route, with posts and poles on every curb, and it’s been perfect. He’ll just have to now start solidifying habits like those mirror checks, every 12-15 seconds, and the intersection behaviors the MVD approves of, and steering around turns so the trailer tracks exactly as you intend it to. Everyone is tractor-centric, when they first start, and learning to pull long trailers is a process of surrendering to the fact that you’re not steering a truck, you’re steering a trailer, and the truck is just like this motorized afterthought, even though that’s where you’re physically sitting.
So he’s doing great, and it’s a good thing because we’ve got less than a week until his first and hopefully only skills test. I asked him how he’d like to celebrate, when he passes, and he said he’d like to go to the gym and work out. I was thinking country dancing but hey, it’s his special moment.
Two people are looking at my car today, the handyman comes plus I have two beauty-rehab appointments on Friday (hair and facial), a donations pick up service is coming on Saturday for the last of our stuff — since we dropped off the trucks, we don’t have a good way to take things to the food bank or Goodwill anymore — also a landscaper on Saturday, and we’ll get the cleaning lady in here probably Sunday. Pellet stove technician can’t come til Nov. 2 so we’ll have to orchestrate that with the realtor. We’ll do more CDL training today, maybe every day except Friday — we’ll see.
My dad and brother successfully relocated to our actual rental house, now that my dad’s Hawaii quarantine is over (I cannot emphasize enough how much of a shit my 77 year old dad does not give about coronavirus). It’s a little cooler there than it was in Kona, so he’s liking that, and still acclimating himself to the whole idea. The land around our rental house, which is kind of out in the boonies a bit, is rolling and lovely, almost like Colorado in some places, with cows grazing and the omnipresent ocean, of course. The big island is like the epitome of “stadium seating”, where you have a view of the ocean from nearly everywhere, even reasonably far inland.
My dad is eager to get back to creating resin art, and since a large portion of our $3900 U-Box was existent resin art, I think I need to get pretty serious about finding some retail outlet for this stuff, lest we find ourselves overwhelmed. I think, if my dad got little plastic surfboards and palm trees, and stuck them in the resin along with the organite or whatever other stuff, and we asked some knickknack shops to sell it for us at a great cut — I mean, literally, take any cut you like, this stuff has got to move — we might find people are entranced by it. Especially if it was priced a bit on the high side, which works counter-intuitively. I don’t want to personally set up a resin shop and staff it, but I think it could be a nice part of existing retail selections. My dad is like a machine set to Art Creation full throttle, it’s kind of a problem.
Nick has been trying to barbell, on top of everything, and beating himself up for missing days. He mentally feels as if he turns into a pencil with one missed workout, when in reality he’s a ginormous gladiator of a hunk, at all times. I just won’t. I’m not gonna be pulled in fifty different directions every minute of every day AND expect myself to barbell. I’ve got the rest of my life, in Hawaii, to recoup my losses and fix the shape of my butt or whatever. It’s freezing cold here in the mornings, freezing cold in the evenings, we’re busy during the nice parts of the day, I’m just not doing it.
I know my dad is also a little distraught about the sudden dismantling of the apocalypse survival bunker he’d set up here. It’s ironic, because you need so much more to survive, in Northern Arizona, than in Hawaii (I mean just in terms of not freezing to death, and access to water of any sort, and being able to grow things) — so it’s a win in terms of not needing as much stuff, but a loss in terms of him feeling happy to have assembled it and then his asshole kids being like, hi dad! Get the fuck on this plane, you’re moving to Hawaii, we’ll bring your stuff later! Essentially that’s what happened. He’s only had two days, post-quarantine, to get his bearings and even have an engagement with the place, and he’s still wearing his really heavy Carharrt overalls etc., so I hope he catches the spirit.
It’s a big change for him. A big shock. I was telling Nick yesterday, I feel like long-term married couples, as my parents were, basically share a bank of characteristics. One person represents one set of the characteristics, and the other person represents the rest. And then one person dies — my mom died in 2011 — and instead of my dad having to be the one that was like, “Hey let’s just calm down, I think we’re fine”, because my mom generally called dibs on freaking out about anything, now my dad has re-absorbed my mom’s half of the characteristics, and sometimes channels very Susan-y emotions.
In any case, my parents’ bank of characteristics included a conceptual vocabulary that was rich and deep in some ways, and impoverished in others. Their social life — wasn’t. My dad trends hermit anyways, and my mom’s shut-in, shut-down anxiety increased dramatically as she got older. So my dad would still go visit us, or extended family, maybe twice a year, but their lives otherwise were a Susan/Frank echo chamber, plus shit tons of books. They both loved loved loved to read books. The “I can figure out how to be happy anywhere” tendency runs strong in my family, to the exclusion of external people and events, and intended to mitigate the effects of living in shitty places. Living is shitty places is not just what we, as a family, do — it’s who we are. So moving my dad to a non-shitty place doesn’t represent, in his reality, an adequate trade-off for having disrupted his “being happy anywhere” routine, because he’s not specialized for nice places, he’s specialized for shitty places where you have to inner-world really fucking hard, to compensate. It’s kind of cool that the people in my family know how to do this — it certainly made me a shoe-in for fire season work, which often occurs in worst-possible scenarios, and I always figure out how to do my little Hannah thing anyway. I mean, I grew up on a Reservation, that other people shudder to come visit, but I’m like: what, it’s fine. It is! You just drive 100 miles to a movie theater, or anywhere to buy anything. But anyway I don’t think it’s a good enough reason to not compel my dad to move with us to a non-shitty place, however he decides to process that information. Anyway, like I said — it’s only been two days since house arrest ended, so this is all still quite speculative. He’s — coping.
I don’t know how I became specialized for non-shitty places, given my family of origin, but I think it had to do initially with Abraham Hicks. So, like I’ve mentioned before, this is a channeling situation with medium Esther Hicks, and she’s been at it for 3 or 4 decades. Tons of free content on YouTube, you can get a real education for free right at home. But it becomes attractive to attend a seminar, eventually, and they cost a lot, and are always held at these wonderful stupendous places Abe and I would have never thought of going, otherwise. Cancun, all-expense cruises through the Alaskan glaciers, or the Virgin Islands, all of that. Our family didn’t take “vacations” because those were for “rich people” — I think I’d been to the ocean like twice in my life by the time I was 25. We lived in single-wide trailers, or double-wide when we were feeling sassy, or converted school buses when we were feeling not sassy, or tents in Wyoming when we were feeling particularly down and out; that was our reality. My real sibling is Abe, but my figurative, additional siblings were this 1981 two-horsepower VitaMix my parents paid a month’s income for, back in the day, and also the wind. The wind, the wind, the wind, humming and howling and shrieking and peeling your skin off, all over the western United States. Sometimes decorated with snow. We should be recognized as, like, honorary traditional Mongolians or something.
Anyway, Abe and I started going to these seminars and guess what? I am perfectly happy to put on a formal dress, make an entrance at a fancy restaurant with a ballroom, the ocean singing by outside, have a waiter in a tux push in my chair and hand me my cloth napkin and wine list. Turns out I’m fucking great at that. I mean, realistically, for the same amount one might spend on two years’ supply of emergency kerosene, a walk-in closet full of non-perishable food, a metal detector (?), and speculation on a bunch of unproven cryptos — not that there’s anything wrong with any of that — you can go on an actual rich people’s vacation, and taste a whole different side of life.
What’s the point? Well, that’s a good question. I think it’s been really life-changing to cultivate a conceptual vocabulary that includes nice places and luxurious experiences. My poor folks mindset is still really strong. I mean, it comes out in the weirdest ways. Nick and I were driving through rural Colorado to drop off our water sample for one of the fires we were on, this season, and we passed this bombed-out trailer house that looked abandoned. Nick said, “Jesus, they should haul that off to the dump” at the same time I said, “Oh wow, you could still totally live in that.” Isn’t that funny!! I was like, what the fuck is wrong with me? It’s good I can be so scrappy and practical, but I don’t really want to live a life measured by experiences I’d have in common with a hobo. I’m not trying to be a Boxcar Sally. But I have that, in me. It’s there.
So yes, I like having “rich people” experiences, as defined by my own upbringing. I like that I’m dating someone who, despite himself and his own checkered past, carries some of these “rich people” attitudes — like, money should make money, and when a place sucks, it’s okay to just say that out loud, and ambulate somewhere better. I think there’s very low risk of me ever floating off into bourgeoisie space. I’ve never snapped my fingers at any employee, ever, nor would that be an imaginable behavior. But it’s so nice to look good, feel good, see nothing but beauty when you gaze out at your surroundings, feel nothing but comfort in your climate and in your home. This is the nature of my dad’s struggle; I just know it. It’s literally too nice.
So yeah. It’s going to be a low of -5 in Laramie, this Monday, and a high of 15. Nick and I would still be there, on that shower unit, if we hadn’t had to peel off and prepare ourselves for the move to Hawaii. And even more so, I was born there. Not Laramie, but Riverton. During my dad’s oil field years. GOOD LORD. Good lord. All the dads, putting food on the table however they have to, in whatever conditions. All the moms, shepherding their bugaboos through the wind and rain and ice and snow and heat and everything. Good fucking lord. I can’t even stand hearing the sad whimpers of the neighbor dogs that they leave out all night, as many people do. I can’t stand it.
I’m finally reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad right now, which is probably an additional reason why all this is on my mind. More than ever, it seems to me that economic class is, or at least can be, a state of mind.
FYI re: cover photo: I’m pictured on a fabulous cruise with my friend Carrington MacDuffie; check out her music and audiobooks :)