Our latest trip to Arizona is over and ended on several good notes. A late summer trip to our house in Arizona was needed to insure that everything was going well with only a watchful eye by our neighbor Bonnie on the automatic watering system and also to receive a periodic order of supplements. We crossed the border both ways again without incident and though we spent much of the first day on the return trip not talking to each other, all was greatly understood by both of us on the remaining 6 hour leg from Benton Harbor MI to Toronto the last day.
We arrived at the house very late on Thursday August 14, having left Toronto on Wednesday, a day later than originally planned. (Paul had a relatively short and mild, but still disconcerting, leg episode on Monday of that week.) The two very long days of driving were pleasant with lots of discussion on various aspects of the Self-Sovereign Individual Project writings, music on the various radio stations, and the hours from Albuquerque filled with frequent thunderstorms - even hail near Winslow AZ. Consequently the trip left us drained and we slept till late morning on Friday.
That afternoon we took a drive into town to do a bit of stocking up for the short stay, and on our return at dusk found that the weekly watering had begun on the roses out along the front (near bottom of photo page); unfortunately the emitters at two of the plants were not operating well at all and water was pouring rather than dripping. We turned off the water at the valves out front, planning to check out the situation more fully in the morning when it was light. As we approached the house we found our neighbors Bonnie and Dave finishing their inspection of our watering system, as was the arrangement for every 2 weeks. They didn't realize that we were back (they do not have Internet access, so I couldn't send them an email), and so were just proceeding on schedule. We learned that they had needed to replace emitters at a faster rate than we expected - more of the old ones ceased working than I'd estimated, but they'd bought more of the same kind and that was not a problem. When we told them of the watering overflow at the 2 rose bushes, Dave knew just the ones we meant as there had been problems with them earlier - it seems the ground squirrels way out front have learned that the black 1/4" vinyl tubing is a source of water and had been gnawing. He had replaced tubing there and at a young ironwood tree (the only one of 3 to survive that I'd planted more than 12 years previously) half-way down the long driveway.
The next morning - not early enough since it was already "warmer" than Paul found comfortable - we replaced tubing on the far end rose bush. (Elbow-deep in dirt trying to limit the scratches my head was receiving from rose thorns, I found myself thinking some "unpleasant thoughts" of my former husband who had placed the tubing so close to the bush that it was now entangled in the roots.) We checked all the plants every night as a different zone began its watering cycle and found some emitters were being pushed off by the sudden pressure turn-on. It seems that the 1/4" tubing by the same manufacturer as the emitters fit tightly but tubing by others sometimes didn't hold sufficiently with the initial pressure surge. Bonnie told me just before we left that they suspected that the vinyl chewing ground squirrels preferred the tubing made by the emitter manufacturer - oh joy. We left them with a roll of what we purchased to supplement their own stock of "other manufacturer" brand and they'll be noting more carefully whether this is truly so. Sure hope not since neither Paul nor I really want to spend large blocks of time next January to April replacing, sleeving or screening off the dozens of feet of 1/4" tubing available to water-seeking ground squirrels. It was bad enough that every day we were checking emitters/tubing and even were doing some replacing the night before we left.
Other then the watering system troubles and an LEF order that finally made it to us on 8/22 (Paul had phoned on 8/20 to learn that it had not been sent out as it should have been, so would then be sent "overnight"), the rest of the short stay was actually fairly pleasant even if the temperatures were above 100F outside during the afternoons and certain libertarian thinkers were found in personal discussion to be less open in their thinking then we had hoped they would be. Paul even started and finished an important essay on the effect of plurals in language on thinking which resides at the Self-Sovereign Individual Project
Our departure, unfortunately, was a bit hectic although we thought we had everything fairly well planned for a departure near 4am. At the last minute - at 4:45am with the car fully packed and running on the garage pad and me in it - when Paul was turning off the circuit breakers for everything but the security system, automatic watering, refrigerator and air conditioner, he found that on checking the refrigerator that it was off, despite the breaker marked "refrigerator" in the "on" position. Fairly quickly as I stood at the refrigerator with the door open, Paul started all over turning everything off until he identified that the refrigerator was actually on the circuit with the basement outlets. (Neither of us remembers this "problem" when we left in May, but the refrigerator was running when we arrived, so we did things "right" then. We'll remark the breaker on our next trip in October.) At 5:08 am we were pulling out of the driveway and could think of nothing we had forgotten.
I had not slept particularly well - probably in anticipation of the trip - and the realization that we could easily have driven off with the refrigerator off was somewhat unnerving. This contributed to be me being less then fully relaxed as we drove the sometimes winding I-17 between Phoenix and Flagstaff, even though Paul's fast driving is excellent and the all-wheel drive WRX wagon is the surest car on the road. Paul was visibly at ease until early in the early afternoon in Albuquerque we found ourselves in a long line of traffic for our lunch and fuel stop at the Flying J. (We plan our purchases for these truck stops whenever we can.) The traffic routing is not the best for this location and the fact that it was an early Sunday afternoon only made it worse. Lunch probably would have been much more pleasant had we not had to wait at least 10 minutes to get to the car gas pumps, though it was the single line of trucks that were holding up traffic. Paul and I had a misunderstanding about whether the only booth left in the non-smoking area was really available - he thought I was unsure about whether a fellow had arisen from it to serve himself at the buffet while I was 95% certain of what I'd seen. Take two somewhat tired people who can't read each other's minds and a misunderstanding is almost certain. Things only got worse when on leaving the Flying J traffic was still a mess and car drivers ahead of Paul didn't take opportunities to get out into the snail paced line of trucks for the return to I-40. Finally after another 10 minutes of infuriating wait (it felt like twice that length), we were behind a truck at the secondary Flying J entry road awaiting the traffic light change.
I try not to get physically upset about annoyances that I can't personally change - like the traffic. Paul instead sees the lack of good decision making on the part of so many people as a poor indicator for the human race as a whole - and it bothers him considerably since he fears it does not bode well for a better society. Consequently and because he has me to verbalize to, he does just that - verbalizes heatedly. I don't always just let it roll off my back and let him "sound off"; this was one of those times. Paul had wanted to analyze why we had the misunderstanding in the restaurant while I at the time could see no value in "hashing it over". Now I tried to encourage him to "just let it go" regarding the traffic tie-up which was the wrong thing to do - however, it was much later that I realized it.
Well, it was many hours later, in fact late the next day before we finally had a conversation in which we exchanged enough information for us to really understand what each of us was thinking and feeling (emotionalizing) during the above group of incidents and also earlier and later in the trip. And then there were other factors that we both realized contributed to our moods, especially Paul's - the frustrating very recent email discussion with a libertarian writer regarding some of Paul's writings.
The second night, however, we were "friends" again and the bed and pillows were better than in Oklahoma City allowing us better sleep than the night before; we were ready to "take on" the border crossing at Lake Huron/Sarnia. (Our room at the Super 8 in Benton Harbor had a refrigerator allowing us to refreeze many of our cold packs, and a microwave too, making it a good choice on subsequent return trips.) It also helped considerably on the last leg to play some good "traveling music" from our CD collection - Tangerine Dream and Vangelis especially, but also Yanni, Ottmar Leibert, Lanz and Spears, and some lesser known instrumentalists. There is something to music soothing the "savage breast" - often misquoted as "beast" ;>) (Interesting article on misquotes, except for the frequent use of the collective "we" by the author.)
It is good to be back in Toronto and though the trip contained many unpleasantries, Paul and I again learned more about each other. We have greater appreciation for our many similarities - and even for our few differences, since we learned more about how to use the latter to support the former. And isn't that the major part of what being friends and lovers is all about?