Back From Chattanooga

We drove down to Chattanooga Sunday afternoon/evening, and didn’t get too lost in town looking for the hotel.  It helps that we’ve been there a couple of times before.  After checking in, we walked across the street from the hotel to The City Cafe and overate.  Seventy-Six danced in his high-chair as he observed a group of teenagers dancing in line by the jukebox to a rap or hip-hop selection.  Somebody once explained to me the difference between rap and hip-hop, but the nicer distinctions were lost on me.  I guess as ‘music‘ it amuses at least the infant who inhabits our home.

First snapshot from one of our hotel room windows

First snapshot from one of our hotel room windows

I walked past that dome building on my way back to the cube-farm after lunch Monday

I walked past that dome building on my way back to the cube-farm after lunch Monday

Third snapshot from yet another of our hotel room's windows

Third snapshot from yet another of our hotel room's windows

That's The City Cafe down there mid-frame

That's The City Cafe down there mid-frame

Fifth view from one of the windows of our room

Fifth view from one of the windows of our room

Monday, my work activities fell out as scheduled, and parts of both reports are complete.  What a beautiful, warm, sunny, breezy day.

Surprisingly enough, I had time for lunch.  I don’t, usually, when I work away from the office.  I walked a few blocks down MLK to a an open plaza and ate a vegetable sandwich from Subway near and in line of sight with the shiny tall building that bears the big red “Krystal” logo.  For those of you who don’t know, Krystal is a fast food company that franchise-store sells a variety of small, square hamburger like unto a very bland White Castle hamburger.  Both types of burger are detestable, and it is an abomination to eat one.

The Subway in which I spent about four bucks for a sandwich (I forgot and left in the hotel room the lunch I’d prepared beforehand) was crowded at about 11:45 am Eastern Standard Time, which is how Chattanoogans reckon time.  Most of the those behind whom I stood in line, and those who stood in line behind me as I moved forward, looked overweight, ill-complected, unhealthy.  It was about five degrees Fahrenheit warmer in the sandwich shop than it was outside, and not well enough ventilated  to suit me.  A miasma of sweat stinking softly, bearing aloft spice molecules from poorly cooked dishes hastily consumed on some prior occasion arose from those around me mixed with the aroma of scented soaps, laundry detergent, sour breath, and the restaurant’s own bake oven, sandwich fixings, and cleaning solutions.  My fellow diners all wore garments that fit them badly in some particular.  I suppose I was no exception, although I felt better in my clothes than any of them looked to me.

I was glad to finally get my sandwich, get my cup of ice-water, and get out the door.  I ate in the fresh air sitting on a park bench.  I got a speck of yellow mustard on my blue oxford-cloth shirt no bigger than a tiny stitched polo player’s noggin.  While not beside myself, I was annoyed.

I walked back a different way to the soulless looking cube-farm on a hillside.  I say soulless-looking deliberately, even though my hyphenation is inconsistent, because some of those laboring within do seem to have souls.  Souls grown in or inhabiting a small urban setting in the American South.

I met a woman who wept.  Tall, graceful though many years stricken the result a choice that one-time made sense to her.  Beautiful in her way, and lonely.  I could not comfort her.

I thought of my own wife and my own son and the small child full of potential I once was on sunny, warm, breezy days like the one in which I then found myself.  I thought of choices that made sense to me, of choices that may make sense to me in the future.  I thought of my wife and of women, and how they begin life as babies, are loved; how they are little girls, and loved; how they are loved for their beauty, grace, and the light of their smiles as they mature; how some of them marry and are loved by their husbands.  I thought of those women who are alive only when they are loved, and I thought about what is left over when love is gone.

As you might imagine, I had trouble keeping my own emotion at arm’s length, which is where it assuredly belongs.

I thought about the course of our lives as humans on earth in time, and the when-where constant motion of our existence.

I cannot write more about my thoughts about my son and wife and the woman I met only that once and keep my own emotion out of electronic type.  It’s proper place is somewhere in my own life finding some expression with the two people I love most lived out here in our home.

Some days feeling is unavoidable.

Something awful we saw while walking to the riverfront Monday evening - horrible-looking tiny MB car

Something awful we saw while walking to the riverfront Monday evening - horrible-looking tiny MB car

Monday evening after I got back to the hotel, I ate four pieces of what I’d consider a relatively small pizza my wife had saved for me from her lunch.  She, our son, a friend of ours and two small children of her own, had lunch in another part of downtown Chattanooga while I was working or walking or eating.  After eating the cold pizza – with an alfredo, as opposed to tomato, topping, chicken, artichoke hearts, and spinach – we put the little boy in his stroller.  I listened to my wife talk.  Together we walked down to the riverfront where we ate ice-cream and frozen yogurt.   and walked back to the hotel as the earth moved and shadows lengthened.

Tower on the Children's Museum - I'd like to live in a house that has a tower like that one

Tower on the Children's Museum - I'd like to live in a house that has a tower like that one

We didn't, not here at least - Playtime-esque bistro sign near Aquarium

We didn't, not here at least - Playtime-esque bistro sign near Aquarium

windows

facade

broad-street

A Maddeningly Busy Week

Tuesday, or was it Monday, I drove to Murfreesboro early, then back to the office by one.

Seen Thursday morning - looks like my wife's not the only one

Seen Thursday morning - looks like my wife's not the only one

Thursday early I looked at a foreclosure in the same neighborhood as the house upon which we’d made an offer a month or two back.

House stank. Huge house, four bedrooms, two baths, attached garage with big workshop, bonus room, big attached storage building. Built on a slab. Three really ugly and large 1960s sliding glass doors. Maybe 2200 square feet. All the floor covering must go. All the wallpaper must go. Everything must be repainted. Possibly a shower pan in one of the bathrooms must be replaced. Kitchen cabinets are ugly, but can be tolerated because they can probably be cleaned. Appears structurally sound. Exterior looks okay. Three layers, at least, of shingles on the roof, so plan on another. Puny cooling unit, so plan to replace.

Amelang Wheel Alignment

Amelang Wheel Alignment

Thursday I took Thursday, my silver 1997 Volvo 850, in to see Mr. Amelang for wheel alignment and balance. While I sat in a scuffed metal folding chair by the shop’s hot wood stove reading a model airplane hobbyist magazine, the quiet mechanical precisionist identified a goose-egg sized bulge in the inner side-wall of the car’s front right tire. At the same time, he mentioned to me that the tires were about worn out. I looked, and beheld wear-bars within a hair’s breadth of worn tread. That bulge looked pretty bad, too. I’d taken Thursday too close around a shoulderless right-hand turn dropping the doomed tire off the pavement’s edge. Plonk. Cussword. Steering had been pretty squirrelly for a week or so thereafter, which is what prompted me to have alignment seen to.

Thursday last Thursday

Thursday last Thursday

“Do you think it’ll be safe to driver over Monteagle to Chattanooga tomorrow?” I asked.

“I wouldn’t drive seventy,” Mr. Amelang replied, then, after a pause, “I’ll move it the back, that way if it blows out, it won’t do as much damage.

Radio controlled airplanes

Radio controlled airplanes

Biplane

Biplane

Mr. Amelang's most recent project

Mr. Amelang's most recent project

Drove 75 or 80 miles per hour, one on the Interstate, to Murfreesboro where I bought four Michelins to replace the 80,000 mile Yokohamas that’d given maybe 55,000 mile service. To be fair, I’ve always kept those tires close to maximum inflation for more precise steering and better mileage, which undoubtedly contributed to their early demise. Had the tire-shop fill the new Michelins with nitrogen which supposedly prolongs the life of the tire by remaining cool and neither expanding nor contracting during use or according to season.

On the way to town after work I stopped at Subway to pick up sandwiches, then met my wife and our realtor at barn of a 2600 square foot house located not far from where the Cautious One works. House has been on the market over a year, ridiculously overpriced for its location. Four bedrooms, two and half baths, large detached two-car garage.

We looked at two other houses, ate our supper in the car; returned home tired and well after dark.

Friday morning I arose at 4:45 am, pressed the button to make the coffee I’d prepared the night before, made and ate a bowl of oatmeal, made a lunch that included half of my previous night’s supper. Looked at the Internet. I was in the car driving a little after six. Stepford is on US Central Time, but Chattanooga is on Eastern Standard Time.

Those four new Michelins were a little mushy. Although I was only able to make them speak on one very tight freeway onramp (I think Exit 178 from I-24 East to 27 North), the tires at recommended inflation did not lend themselves to the rail-like tracking I have come to prefer. Both ways over Monteagle, the tires seemed to drift me centrifugally left or right as the road curved according to the hill’s topographic vagaries.

Only one of my appointments presented for testing as scheduled, and she arrived much too early. The scheduled interpreter arrived on time according to arrangements made several weeks ago. I administered fewer instruments than planned because more in-depth testing would have been inappropriate based upon observed behaviors and tested levels of academic achievement. The referring file contained nothing of use in preparing for the evaluation.

While I was busy getting to and working at Chattanooga, Caution-Lady and my mom took Seventy-Six to Nashville for CT scan to determine whether the apparently bone-covered cyst on his left brow extends its foul reach through the suture-line and into the infant boy’s skull. He did fine, although he had to have an IV to introduce some sort of dye into his system for imaging contrast.

On my way home, I got cheap gas at Manchester, and stopped at Jim Long Imports for Thursday’s 150,000 mile service. Ugh, another expense.

Back home, CL and 76 had arrived just a little before I did. We ate a quick supper, then had to enrobe our cranky baby (detoxing from the sedative given to induce stillness during the CT scan) in his green Godzilla costume to take him around to the homes of relatives and friends for his first ever Trick-or-Treat outing. He fussed horribly at the first stop. Was somewhat less angry by the time we got to my mom’s house, and after a short visit during which my wife and I ate cookies and candy on behalf of our son, we headed home without making the other intended stops. The kid just needed to be home. So did the parents.

Today, we accomplished nothing, but did look at some more houses. I am tired again.

11/2/08, 4:42 pm:  I’m trying to make this note update at Facebook.