Thursday, December 11, 2008

Long Overdue

As many of you have been too polite to publicly notice....I've not been keeping up with pictures of my Little Lutine. It's not that I don't find her as cute as ever. It's not that I haven't been taking pictures. It's just that...well, I've stopped sharing them with you. I know...quite rude of me.

Anyway, consider this post an appeasement of sorts. Because while many of you have refrained from noticing my laziness in public…you have been less reluctant to share your feelings in private. So here. Here are some pictures that showcase my little girl’s ever changing face. And, just so you know, the larger images linked to have been pre-formatted to 1280 x 960 so as to work perfectly for most wallpapers. (Well…not you crazy Mac users, but all the Mac users I know have daughters of their own they should be posting as a wallpaper…so any complaint they register will be an insult to their own family.)


Norah discovers the joys of finger painting

A picnic in Forest Park. Norah decided it was just a bit too scenic.

Norah wearing the old leather hat I wore when I was her age. I think my Dad picked it up in Mexico.

Norah wathcing TV.

Norah during our latest attempt to capture a Christmas card image. She's getting some molars so was throwing a fit about...well...we never really figured that out. But even her temper tantrum couldn't stop her from smiling when Daddy said "Cheese!"

Friday, September 19, 2008

Moksha the Dancing Alien

As many of you know, I've been spending some time in an alien suit of late. For those of you who don't know that...perhaps I should explain.

My brother and I own a loan store here in the St. Louis area. We have a cute little alien mascot we use in our advertising and in our store decore. Recently, we opted to take it to the next level to capture some of the excellent traffic flow we have in front of our store...mascot suit!!

As often as time allows, I zip over to the store and suit up to dance by the roadside, wave to kids and do a jig for folks on cell phones who pretend to be far too busy to notice me as they sit at the light. "Really? You don't notice the six and a half foot tall alien dancing next to your car...perhaps you should surrender your license, sir."

At any rate, here is the proof that those who knew about this have been asking for...and the images that those who had no idea will wish you could forget ;)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Norah Throwing Flora

As many of you may know, my brother, JET finally tied the knot with his wonderful new bride, Em. The entire ceremony was beautiful…but as the father of the flower girl, I’m rather partial to that specific section of the day.

Norah had done a few practice runs at home, showcasing her abilities to a) dump flower petals into one huge pile, b) stop walking and begin putting said petals back into the basket, then c) drop the basket and run away. Not exactly promising, but we all made our peace with the fact that two-year-old flower girls were mainly there to look cute and add comic relief. Whatever she did would be fine.

On the drive to the wedding, Moonshot asked young Norah if she remembered what she was supposed to do. Norah responded with what I’m told was a spot-on imitation of a snotty teenager. “Yeah!” she said in a tone that meant, “Gawd, Mom why do you keep asking this? It’s not like this is brain surgery.” So, Moonshot dropped it.

And then came the moment of truth.

Video by Marino Video Productions. Editing by JET (which explains why it starts a little late and runs a little later. But, on the up side, you get to see a tiny snippet of Em in her bridal splendor.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Serious Lack of Lasers

“Seriously,” I said, “which is more exciting: Jane Austen, or Jane Austen getting shot by a laser?”

“I can think of someone else I’d like to see shot with a laser,” she mumbled as she put “Becoming Jane” into the DVD player, ignoring my claim to the superiority of sci-fi to chick flicks.

* * *

“What did you think?” she asked as the credits rolled.

“It suffered from a serious lack of lasers,” I replied.

“True,” she reasoned, “but the same could be said of the whole 18th century.”

Saturday, July 05, 2008


It only took Norah a few floats to get the hang of darting out to pluck candy from the asphalt in yesterday’s 4th of July parade. We’ve been parceling it out to her at a controlled pace ever since and taking a few liberties for ourselves along the way.

The Tootsie Rolls are a popular treat for all members of the Grenstead, and the Jolly Ranchers are pretty inoffensive as well…but it seems I am alone in my enjoyment of the Bit-O-Honeys. Moonshot tends to make nasty faces as I unwrap them and then gagging noises as I eat them. Her face turned to bewilderment however, when I commented, my teeth gummed together with confection, “Ya know, they’re good…but they’re just not the same without the grit in them.”

You may be making a face similar to the one my wife made, because to understand my sediment sentiment, you’ll need some history.

I started caving with my Dad when I was about five. He purchased a kid’s football helmet and outfitted it with a headlamp since no one made functional hardhats for the preschool set. He taught me to pack for safety: three independent sources of light (typically your main headlamp, a reliable flashlight, and one or two cyalume lights (glow sticks.) Also on your person should be a canteen of water, maybe a space blanket (foil hypothermia blanket,) some matches in a waterproof container (especially important is you were a carbide caver…which I wasn’t at that age,) and some snacks.

My Dad took the snack selection very seriously. The snack break on a one-day cave trip (I wasn’t allowed on the overnight trips at that age) nearly always came at the very back of the cave. You’d stop, chat with your mud-coated friends and refuel for the trip back which you knew was going to be exactly as grueling as getting there in the first place. So, Dad was looking for a snack that was compact, delivered a good sugar punch for energy, would stand up well to being squished, rolled on and possibly soaked, and had at least the illusion of some healthy benefit. And as a man who raised bees and swore by the health benefits of his tablespoon of honey per day, the mere mention of the word “honey” on the label, even if it did only promise a “bit” of the substance, was enough to make Bit-O-Honey the obvious choice for our caving snack.

We didn’t eat them any other time. They weren’t my favorite candy and Dad was a Jelly Belly man when out of the confines of the cavern. And so the Bit-O-Honey was only eaten while resting countless feet below the surface of the Earth with muddy fingers to pull the wax paper from between the little segments of the taffy bar.

Since I’d not had one since those long-ago cave trips stopped, I had never really realized until earlier this evening as I chewed on that beige candy that the sandy grit of Missouri caves had become an integral component to my nostalgia for that red-and-yellow-wrapped Bit-O-Honey.

I tried to explain this to my wife, but she just shook her head and went back to stirring her “Chicken” Tortilla Soup…no doubt lamenting what a thankless job it is to prepare a delicious meal for a man who thinks mud is a gourmet ingredient.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Friday the 13th - Chapter 3: Hockey Night in Kansas

I’ll admit that I was in a fowl mood by the time I returned to Sarah's wedding reception…and might have stayed that way had it not been for my dear brother. Seeing that the lone half-keg of Boulevard Pale Ale was about to be emptied before I even had one cup (leaving me with only a wide selection of [shudder] macro-brewed lagers) he and my cousin Jerry had schemed to secret me away one cup of the good stuff. It wasn’t so much the beer that snapped me out of my funk as much as the joy with which they delivered their quasi-illicit good to me. Thanks again, guys.

We were just standing toward the back, discussing the beautiful park and building flaming napkin they had found for the ceremony.

What’s that? There was a flaming napkin there? Yeah, I’m pretty sure I saw that too, but I had to do a double take to be sure cuz it happend so fast. No cause for alarm…just a groomsman fleeing the building with flame spouting from his fist. Go about your business.

Anyway, we meandered outside, my brother and I. He’d been hitting the macro-brewed lager and his arm gesticulation was showing it. My cousin Caleb (Sarah’s brother) sauntered over and as we chatted, Caleb started joking with a group of groomsmen standing in a group beside us. He knows a little sign and so was having fun teasing the guys, all of whom had come down from Toronto (the groom’s hometown) for the wedding. I tried to think of something to converse about with these out-of-towner s and thought to myself that I do actually have a few Canadian friends, and pride myself on knowing a bit more about our neighbor to the north than your average American. I considered current Canadian events and remembered a conversation I’d had with my friend Simon about Hockey Night in Canada losing its theme song. It’s a big deal up there, apparently. It’s been called Canada’s second national Anthem and is a major source of pride. A good place to start a conversation, I thought.

“Caleb,” I said, “Tell them how sorry we are for their ‘Hockey Night in Canada’ loss.”

Caleb had no idea what I was talking about, but began signing. Jet knew this story from my retelling and laughed as he tried to look as sympathetic as he could to make the joke better. The best man looked confused. I assumed Caleb just hadn’t translated correctly. If this thing was as big a deal as Simon had lead me to believe, surly any Canadian would know about it. As I began explaining to Caleb the nature of the joke with him translating what I was saying to the bewildered group, my brother was “helping” by striking an imaginary puck with a pantomimed stick. One of the groomsman got excited. He played hockey and thought were saying that we did as well. We assured him that we did not and tried again. And it was somewhere during this time, while Jet mimicked air guitar to indicate the theme song aspect of our joke and as Caleb turned to shake his head at us that it hit me…none of these fine gentlemen had ever heard the theme song from ‘Hockey Night in Canada.” They’d never heard anything. They had no interest in theme songs and were thus blissfully unaware of any controversy surrounding what tune plays at the beginning of Canada’s most popular sports program. We were, my brother and I, while trying to prove just how sensitive we were to Canadian issues…proving how utterly clueless we were about deafness.

“Nevermind,” Caleb signed to them.

My brother, unfazed…hoisted his beer high and called, “Nevermind….cheers!!”

The three Canadians lifted the drinks and cheered, their looks of confusion gone as they all took a slam from their plastic cups.

Ah, I thought to myself as I slipped away to the shadows, the important thing here really wasn’t that they’re Canadian…nor that they’re deaf. The important thing was that they’re drinkers.

Leave it to my brother to be the first to learn that diplomatic lesson.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Friday the 13th - Chatper 2: For Want of Pants

So, we loaded up the clan plus Jet into ZaZu the Subaru and made our way toward the Kansas City suburb that would host Sarah’s wedding. In Columbia, we stopped for gas and checked Norah’s diaper. I saw my wife’s shoulder slump and knew. Norah had flooded her poor Huggies and had turned her car seat into a urine sponge. We soaked up what we could and were thankful we were on an overnight trip since we therefore had a change of clothes for her.

Back on the road we checked her again just outside of Kansas City. Flooded again. She merrily sat there, singing songs and making faces at her uncle in her second and final pair of drenched jeans.

We had no choice but to finish the trip to Moonshot’s sister’s place (who was nice enough to put us up for the night since she also lives in Olathe.) We arrived at Mouse and FreddyJ’s home and immediately commandeered their washer and dryer. We had just enough time to dry a pair of jeans before we had to leave for the wedding. The plan was simple…we’d go to the wedding, spend a little bit at the reception and then I’d run Moonshot and Little Lutine back to Mouse’s before returning to the reception myself. It was a bit of back and forth, but the event was only about ten minutes from the house, so it wouldn’t be so bad.

Five minutes before time to go, we check the little pants only to find them still soaked (but just in water this time). Seems there is a significant difference between the “dry” setting and the “air fluff” setting. So, unless we wanted to take Norah to the wedding with no pants, she would have to miss the ceremony. New plan: Jet and I would go to the wedding, I’d come back to pick up Moonshot and Norah for the reception and then continue with plan as before. It was a bit more driving, but it was what we had. The worst part of the plan correction was that Moonshot was upset to miss the ceremony. As a mother who has truly enjoyed teaching our daughter sign, she was intrigued to see the wedding because both my cousin and her groom were deaf. We had discussed many times how we thought the ceremony would go and now she would miss it due to a lack of pants.

Jet and I rushed away and enjoyed a truly touching wedding on the banks of a duck-and-fountain-filled pond. The ceremony was conducted fully in sign with only a seated translator for us hearing folk. The only strange thing about it was the utter lack of music. I had never realized to what an extent I knew what was going on in a wedding based solely on the start and stop of music. Bridesmaids started filing in with no warning. The minister had to point to the alert us that Sarah was entering from the side. But, it was perfect for them, and that made it perfect for us, too. I only wish Moonshot could have seen it.

After the ceremony, as friends and family meandered into the reception hall, I ran to the car and drove away to pick up my own family. Ten minutes there, ten minutes back and suddenly we were passing a giggling Norah about to distant relatives who were amazed at how she had grown. Norah, who had not napped well on the drive over enjoyed this attention for exactly fifteen minutes. Then she began the dreaded melt down. They were just about to open the buffet line when she hit her limit. We whisked her away.

Driving back to Mouse’s we swung through Subway to get Moonshot and Norah a bit to eat and I realized that despite the buffet line that was currently being attacked by hungry wedding-goers, I should probably get something at Subway too. You see, weddings are typically a horrible place for a vegetarian to eat. Not that I’m really complaining. The wedding hosts owe us picky eaters nothing, really. Heck, even Moonshot and my wedding (held two months before we gave up meat) had nothing a vegetarian could have eaten. So, I throw no stones. But facts are facts…the average wedding meal has little to nothing that a vegetarian can comfortably eat. Now, I had failed to even look at the buffet at Sarah’s reception before darting out with Norah, but even if they had something, the timing was going to work such that folks would be finished eating by the time I returned. So, for want of a pair of pants for my daughter, I inhaled a sub sandwich, dropped off my family and headed back to the festivities for the third time.

I was getting to know that streatch of road pretty well.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Friday the 13th - Chapter 1: Can't You Smell That Smell?

I usually like to write about current events. What I did last night. That funny thing someone said this weekend. However, given that I’m about a month behind on my posting due to massive (but mostly good) upheavals in my life, I’ll instead cherry pick some of my favorite events from the past month. I’ll start with the day of Friday the 13th.

I’ve delived the tale into three chapter. Don’t worry, I won’t leave you hanging like last time. I’ve already written them all and am spacing out the posting only so that I can enjoy a few more conversations with my few remaining commenters.

Chapter 1: Can’t Ya Smell That Smell?

The Grenstead has been a bit of a construction sight of late. Madly rushing about trying to fix all those little imperfections that we’ve been meaning to do for years but can no longer ignore since we were getting our house ready to sell. Why? Why don’t we just update and fix things as we go and enjoy the fruits of our labor? But, no one does…and neither did we.

John, the handyman, had been coming for about a week, focusing mainly on painting the kitchen, when we had to start packing our things for an overnight trip to Olathe, Kansas for my cousin Sarah’s wedding. Well, actually, Moonshot was packing our stuff, I was out on the patio sanding the doors to the kitchen cabinets and generally trying to cram in as much work as I could before we left everything in John’s hands.

Um,” Moonshot called up from the basement, “ I smell that smell again…around the dryer this time. Should we call the gas company?”

I could only groan. Leaving the house with a strange scent hovering around all of our gas appliances made me more than a bit nervous. The day before had found the smell lingering in our living room. We had gone so far as to call our wonderful neighbor Tom over to have a sniff. It smelled nothing like the sulfur smell they pack into the gas lines, so we weren’t really all that worried…just mildly concerned. It smelled a bit like hot electrical wires, a smell I don’t like to ignore, but there was nothing in the vicinity of the scent that was electrical. Tom asked the logical question about the painting being done, but soon found what we had already discovered, that the kitchen had no such smell, only the living room on the far end of the house from the paint. Much sniffing and huffing followed before Tom said he wouldn’t worry about it. It didn’t smell dangerous.

After he left, Moonshot and I kept following our noses about until we were pretty convinced it was coming from our gas fireplace. We killed the pilot light and the odor faded. Given the amount of chaos in the home at that time, we figured we’d take a more extensive look at the gas logs later. Problem solved for now.

But now Moonshot was reporting the smell from the clothes dryer as well.

“Yeah,” I responded. “We might as well call and see what they think.” I mean, it was probably nothing, I knew, but I don’t like to mess with possible gas problems. Best to be safe. Moonshot went looking for a phone (which are usually hidden by our daughter in increasingly bizarre locations), and I left for one last Home Depot run to pick up new cabinet hinges and such. You can see how concerned I was about this smell…leaving my wife and daughter alone in the house. I was really more curious than anything. Apparently, Laclede Gas did not share my laissez-faire approach. Mooshot called as I was leaving Home Depot to report that a fully armored team of firefighters had just stormed into the Grenstead. They had not waited for the door to be opened, had not waited for my wife to stop folding clothes and welcome them in. They rushed in and sent my daughter scurrying. Not that I blame them. I’m actually rather glad they were taking it seriously, but it was far more of a response than we were expecting. Turns out any odor report to the gas company is an immediate dispatch from the fire station. Hmmm, didn’t know that. The fire fighters sniffed around, reported that it wasn’t gas and that we just needed to clean our dryer vent. But wait, that doesn’t explain the fireplace. And my wife tried to make that argument to their retreating backs as they left, but they were finished with us. There was no gas leak and their job was done.

I returned to the house after the commotion and just as the more calm inspector from Laclede was pulling up. “You guys don’t mess around,” I commented.

“Lot’s of lawyers out there,” he replied.

I described the scent to him and he knew what it was before he even stepped inside.

I’ll give you a minute to finalize your guesses before I tell.

You ready?


“Been painting?” he asked.

“Uh, yeah,” I said, “but it doesn’t smell like paint….and it doesn’t smell near the paint, just around the appliances.”

“Yup, we’ve been getting these calls a lot more since Kilz came out with their Odor Free Oil Based Paint. You are using Kilz Oil Based, right?”

I could only nod.

“Used to be folks wouldn’t smell this cuz the whole house reaked like paint. Now, they can’t smell the paint, but it’s still there in the air, floating around. And when it gets near flame, it still smells like a petrochemical burning and people freak out.”

He tested the house anyway, just to be sure, but that was it.

I went right over to Tom’s and let him know…assuming he would be as thrilled with the mystery as I was.

And he was.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Not Dead…Just Resting

It occurs to me that daily posts about my ongoing road trip followed by a few days of silence might seem rather ominous. So, I’m here to say that the persistent and continually reoccurring rumors concerning the Gren’s demise are unfounded. I’m doing just fine, thank you very much.

You might be wondering, therefore, what happened to my systematic blogging across the country? Well, good news, Oklahoma didn’t need me (as discussed) and Kansas didn’t trust me. And once I got over the insult…I was actually very glad of this mistrust.

See, the stores from which I was gathering paperwork and hardware are cash intensive places; bulletproof glass with double-door mantraps. In Arizona and New Mexico, they checked my ID and then buzzed me back so that I could wade through the boxes and equipment on my own, picking and choosing what to bring, what to leave. In Tucson they even offered to feed me lunch. It was a very comfortable relationship I had at the beginning. Then, I reached Kansas. I called ahead to let the District Manager know that I was on my way. She complained that I was arriving on a Friday (their busiest day) and wanted to know why I had scheduled it so poorly. I calmly explained that I’d been going all week and that someone had to be Friday, sorry it was her. She continued, “My staff just won’t have the time to move everything into the mantraps for you.”

“Oh, that won’t be necessary,” I assured her. “Your corporate office has ok’d me to gather the stuff myself.”

“Sorry, that’s against policy.”

“What? I mean…I talked with your CEO on the phone while digging through a back office in Albuquerque. I assure you they’re ok with this.”

“We’ll see,” was her uncommitted answer.

When I arrived at the first Kansas store, I was met with a stern looking teller glaring at me through the glass who let me know that everything I would need was loaded in the man-trap. I grumbled immaturely, loaded my truck and drove away to the next store with a sour expression on my face. It was only at this point that I noticed that instead of my usual one hour per store, I had got in and out of that location in under 15 minutes. And this trend continued through all 6 of the Sunflower State locations. I’d just shaved 4.5 hours off my schedule. I started calculating and realized that I was actually going to make it home on Friday night. In less than 24 hours time I had gone from two days behind schedule to a full day ahead of schedule. Huzzah!!

I surprised my wife at home and was able to give my Little Lutine a long overdue hug before putting her down for the night. I had planned to post a little something about arriving home…but instead collapsed into my own bed. I had then planned on alerting you guys to the finale of the trip on Saturday and Sunday but…well…I was running about with family, basking in the glorious return of normalcy. I didn’t step foot near a computer. Sorry.

And so now I am here, fabulously behind schedule for various work projects due to my weeklong absence…but refusing to take steps to get caught back up until I let everyone know one important fact: the Gren Lives.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Three Thoughts About Time

I’m too tired tonight to post pictures tonight. Sorry if that disappoints you, but take comfort in the knowledge that all you’re missing are poorly framed shots of Eastern New Mexico, Northern Texas, and Western Oklahoma. In other words (and I mean no offense to those who live there) it’s not exceedingly scenic. Or rather, there is a beauty to it, but it stays about the same for duration. I snapped some pictures, but just don’t have the energy right now to post them

More importantly though, I wanted to take these few minutes before I go to sleep to talk about time. Three points about time as a matter of fact.

1) I’m back on schedule!! It seems Robert, our shareholder in Oklahoma already gathered everything from the OKC and Tulsa locations and needs me to do nothing here. So, while I am a day late arriving in Oklahoma City, I will arrive in Wichita precisely on time. Cosmic, eh? The map has been updated accordingly.

2) I’ve returned to the same time zone as my wife and daughter. This may seem like a small deal, but whenever you have to ask yourself, “What time is it there?” the distance just feels so much more terrible. So, while I still won’t see Moonshot or Little Lutine for a few days, I no longer have to do time adjustments before I call.

3) My wife asked me today if I was sick of driving yet. I was sort of surprised to find that I was not. There are many things about this trip that I will happily complain about, but the cross-country driving is not one of them. And this is odd considering the fact that after a two and a half hour trip to see my Mom, the last half hour is unbearable. On a four and a half hour trip to see my in-laws, the last half hour is unbearable. Apparently, I can tolerate any length of travel that I schedule…but not a minute more. I suspect, therefore, that the last half hour of this trip will be horrendous. Strange place, the human brain.

And with that, my dear friends, I am off to sleep in a hotel room just north of Oklahoma City that looks exactly like the one I slept in last night in Albuquerque. No, wait, the TV in this room is better…but other than that, it’s like I drove in an 8-hour circle.

Moksha Tracker

  • Miles Driven: 1033
  • Miles to Go: 830

  • Tucson, AZ: 3 Stores

  • Phoenix, AZ: 3 Stores

  • Albuquerque, NM: 3 Stores

  • Oklahoma City, OK: 4 Stores

  • Tulsa, OK: 2 Stores

  • Wichita, KS: 3 Stores

  • Topeka, KS: 1 Store and a Huge Storage Locker

  • Lawrence, KS: 1 Store

  • Kansas City, KS: 1 Store

  • Columbia, MO: 1 Store

Desert Drivin'

Today went exactly to schedule...assuming you ignore the fact that I'm already a day behind. Three stores done by noon and then on the road to Alburquerque. No wrong turns yet, Simon.

Two things struck me today. First, the realization that truck-stop food has come a long way. Time was that such a phrase brought up images of grease-soaked burgers and sponge-like fries. However, these new-fangled, brightly-lit and clean truck stops offer a wide variety of culinary options that ain't half bad. Had me a veggie burrito just south of Flagstaff for lunch that was better than just about any Mexican food I could find in St Louis. I find myself happy for the nation's truckers.

Secondly, I was amazed as the varied scenery during today's drive. I know that my pictures won't really do it justice. Pictures of the expansive Southwest just never capture the sense of space, the depth out here. The flat images so often look rather boring. However, even knowing that, I continued to occasionally hoist my camera to roughly eye-height and attempt a shot or two while cruising down the highway. From time to time I thought about pulling over to line up a better shot, but in the end I like these. This was my view, through the bug-splattered windsheild. Nicely framed shots (while desirable in other contexts) just didn't appeal to me today.

Just outside Phoenix. Lots of Cacti.

Gained altitude toward Flagstaff and got trees and cool air.

Down the other side of the mountain to flatness...and lots of trains like these two

I slowed down to taunt him as I passed

"It's a girl, my lord, in a flatbed Ford"

Then the rocks got purdy and sculpty-like.

Like massive, massive river stones

This just amused me.

Moksha Tracker

  • Miles Driven: 473
  • Miles to Go: 1,390

  • Tucson, AZ: 3 Stores

  • Phoenix, AZ: 3 Stores

  • Albuquerque, NM: 3 Stores

  • Oklahoma City, OK: 4 Stores

  • Tulsa, OK: 2 Stores

  • Wichita, KS: 3 Stores

  • Topeka, KS: 1 Store and a Huge Storage Locker

  • Lawrence, KS: 1 Store

  • Kansas City, KS: 1 Store

  • Columbia, MO: 1 Store

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Alas, poor Schedule...I knew it well

My schedule lies ruined...tattered by the brutal delays inherent to reality. Alas…it was a beautiful schedule.

My plan had been to knock out six stores today, the three in Tucson and the three in Phoenix. I had visions of driving a few hours even after that to bed down in Flagstaff so I could get a jump on the road tomorrow and be waiting in Albuquerque when they opened at 10am. Instead, I walked into the very first store this morning and discovered that my one-hour per store theory had been wildly optimistic. Especially so if the rest of the stores continue, as did the first one, to pile unimaginable pounds of junk atop the boxes I’ve come for. I spent three hours digging through their boxes, trying to sort out ours from theirs. The next two stores went better, but the damage had been done. I rolled into Phoenix exactly as the stores were closing…and no one was willing to wait around for me to tackle a few extra stores. And so, I’m sitting in a hotel in Phoenix, having finished only three stores. Tomorrow, I’ll rush through the three locations here and then make the drive to New Mexico, but I won’t make it before they close there. In short, the three hours I fell behind has cost me a full day. And since I had planned to finish on Saturday, that pushes me over into Sunday. And since they aren’t open on Sunday, that pushes me over to Monday. So I correct myself…that three hour delay cost me two full days.

However, I am inexplicably in high spirits. The desert scenery agrees with me apparently. I miss my wife and daughter fiercely, but will treasure that first hug upon my return all the more.

And now, I plan to curl up in bed and spend some time with Fiddler’s Ghost. It’s a wonderful book written by a local Missourian who beautifully captures the speech patterns of 1950s Ozarkian without being condescending. As a writer who has trouble with dialogue, I’m inspired by his authenticity.

Anyway. Good night, I hope to talk to you from New Mexico tomorrow night.

Moksha Tracker

  • Miles Driven: 133
  • Miles to Go: 1,863

  • Tucson, AZ: 3 Stores

  • Phoenix, AZ: 3 Stores

  • Albuquerque, NM: 3 Stores

  • Oklahoma City, OK: 4 Stores

  • Tulsa, OK: 2 Stores

  • Wichita, KS: 3 Stores

  • Topeka, KS: 1 Store and a Huge Storage Locker

  • Lawrence, KS: 1 Store

  • Kansas City, KS: 1 Store

  • Columbia, MO: 1 Store