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Mountain Law

Friday, August 1st, 2014

This morning, I set out to try to climb Humboldt Peak, the mountain that thwarted me last September. I’ll just go ahead and tell you that I didn’t make it to the top – because this is actually a story about something different.

In the trail description, the guidebooks said that a high-clearance, 4WD vehicle is necessary to get to the trailhead, and that if you’re not in the appropriate car, just park at the bottom of the road and hike up. Now, my Subaru Forester is far from being high-clearance, but I figured that it was worth a shot – because who wants to spend a bunch of time walking multiple miles up a rocky road?

Dumb idea. I made it about half a mile before the road got too rough for Subaruthless – and if I didn’t want to high-center my car on a boulder, I knew that I couldn’t go any further. Despite all of the signs along the road that said “PRIVATE PROPERTY” “NO TRESPASSING” and “NO PARKING,” I pulled over.

“Does anyone really enforce those signs?” I thought. “Doubtful.”

I threw on my emergency brake, placed some big rocks behind each tire to keep the car from rolling down the mountain, and Foxy and I took off for the summit.

Fast-forward a few hours. We were 5 miles in and just crossing tree line when the dark clouds got the best of my nerve, and I decided to turn around – because I have a strict No Death by Lightning policy.

Humboldt

As we headed down the trail, I started to think, “I hope my car is okay…” but was distracted by Foxy leaping into the air and catching a QUAIL in mid-flight.

“Foxy!” I yelled. “Foxy, no!”

And then before my very eyes, my sweet pooch shook a wild bird to death.

“Foxy,” I said, now serious. “Drop it.”

She opened her jaws and the lifeless fowl dropped to the ground.

I can’t decide which I’m more shocked about: that I witnessed my dearest companion’s first blood, or that she obeyed “drop it” on first command.

By now, the rain was starting to come down in sheets. I pulled on my Patagonia jacket and we high-tailed it for the car –

The car!

In all of the excitement over witnessing an actual murder, I had forgotten that my car was parked illegally on the side of a mountain road. “Surely they wouldn’t tow it…” I thought. “But there might be a ticket?”

You can imagine my relief when my Subaru came into view – and without a backwoods rancher with a shotgun alongside waiting to greet me. The rain was pouring, Foxy was a mudball, and I knew that before anything else I would need to get the towel out of the back to dry her off. I reached for the handle to the back door, put my fingers underneath the latch to pull up, and…

What is this.

I pulled my hand back toward my face and smelled my fingers.

It was feces. Of the equine variety.

I walked around to the driver’s side door to open that instead, and found the same.

Someone had packed horse poop under every door handle on my car, and smeared it on the windows for good measure.

I recoiled in horror – and then, surprise of all surprises, I giggled. Before I knew it, I was laughing hysterically in the middle of a rainstorm on the side of Humboldt Peak, drenched and muddy with a handful of horse shit. I knew that I had no right to be angry – the signs had made the rules crystal clear, and I had broken them. And the thought of a crotchety old mountain person securing their perimeter each day by applying the dung of their livestock to any offender’s vehicle… well. It was spectacular, really.

Because when it comes to Mountain Law, all’s fair in love and manure.

New year, new job, new life

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Do you miss me the way that I miss you?

Because I miss you.

I didn’t mean to stop blogging.  But for me, “stopping blogging” is a lot like “starting eating” – if I don’t pay attention, it just happens.  And then it’s been days, and then weeks, and I’m a wreck, moaning about how my life has no meaning or purpose and I’LL NEVER BE SKINNY AGAIN.

This cannot happen.  I WILL NOT ABIDE BY IT.  I must blog.

So, let’s play catch up.  It will be fun, and you will love it.

The numero uno, top tier piece of information from my life that I have to tell you is that I adore my new job.  I adore it.  It’s busy and dynamic and fun, and incorporates a lot of things that I love (writing, social media, ideas, relationships, to-do lists, generosity, details, travel).  It’s good for me to be out of the house, no longer working from home.  I am consistently wearing outfits – honest-to-goodness outfits – for the first time in over a year.  I am showering on a schedule.  I am talking to other humans in real life.  I am using my brain in fun ways, and getting to know the natural foods industry, and Tebowing on a regular basis out of sheer gratitude for the opportunity.

Speaking of Tebow, oh my gracious.  Did anyone else watch the Broncos on Sunday?  I did.  At the next door neighbor’s house – who I don’t even know.  But what can I say?  My decision to become a Broncos fan is bringing me into a new sphere, one with dual flatscreen TVs and crockpots of chili and really nice people and flags on the plays (which I pretend to understand and then get indignant about).  Living three blocks from the stadium, our Sunday evening was loud and giddy.  If you ever want to feel a part of a city, just start rooting for their sports teams.  Take it from me: insta-community-builder.

It’s a snowy, snowy day in Denver today.  But Subaruthless got me up the hill that all of the other cars were stuck on.  And because I don’t own a single pair of leggings, I am wearing my running tights under a long sweater and my black boots.

I’m ready for anything.

Catch-up confessions

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Forgive me, readers, for I have sinned.  It’s been 7 days since my last blog post.

But maybe you’ll have mercy if I tell you that plenty of life has been going down around these parts.

For starters, my friend Carl (SHOUT OUT) came to Colorado to visit, and stayed at the Hooker House for a few nights (sorry Carl, you probably don’t want that sentence written about you on the internet). Carl is one of my favorite people, and we spent a good deal of time a) talking about life, love, and other mysteries (not this), b) sipping quaffable beverages, and c) watching YouTube videos. This cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” is my new favorite thing, and has inspired me to learn the song on guitar myself. I’m getting semi-okay at it.

Speaking of “Fast Car,” I got an $80 speeding ticket in the mail. One of those cameras caught me. Rats.

My friend Greg (SHOUT OUT) plays keys for Allen Stone, and they swung through Denver last week for a show. Holy. Cow. Allen Stone is the most ridiculously soulful singer, born to perform, with one of the greatest voices I’ve heard. If you haven’t heard his stuff, check it out – “Sleep” is a favorite.

The Handy Graham (SHOUT OUT) slept on the couch on Saturday night, and yesterday morning, he, Becca, and I drank coffee, ate eggs, and, well, sang “Fast Car.” Just another morning at the Hooker House.

I’ve never been a fan of a sports team – ever. But the Denver Broncos have won me over. I live three blocks from the stadium, so they’ve never been easy to ignore – but their last couple of games have sealed my interest. I’m paying attention. And as foreign as it feels, I think this makes me a “fan” of something – I mean, other than music and books and food – something sporty.

I will finally, finally be getting my Subaru back today. It’s been 4 weeks since I’ve held the precious steering wheel it in my ever-loving clutches. If anyone ever tries to steal my car again, so help me, I will use my Cuisinart blade against them like a Japanese ninja star.

Tomorrow, I’m telling Denver “peace out” for a few weeks, as I’ll be traveling to Nashville for work and then Kansas City for the holidays. This will be my last trip to Nashville for a long time – stay tuned for some ch-ch-ch-changes.

New plates

Monday, December 5th, 2011

It’s Monday, December 5th, and I have now been without a car for 20 days.

On a few occasions, I’ve had a friend or two go out of town and bequeath me their vehicle in their absence, so don’t worry: I’m not starving, I’ve made it to the gym here and there, and my December rent check was deposited.  Subaruthless should be ready later this week – hopefully better than new (Subaruthless-er?), and maybe they will have even vacuumed up all of the dog hair on the backseat.

The thieves stole the license plates, so this morning, I went to the DMV to get new ones.  When it comes to car stuff, it’s always more expensive than I anticipate, so when they told me that my total would be “eight-o-six,” I gulped and wrote a check for $806.  The woman looked at it, and then dryly said, “Eight dollars and six cents.”

I kid you not, the clouds opened up and the angel choir sang a chord.

Nothing like a slew of other unexpected, exorbitant expenses to make tiny check written to the DMV the very best way to start your week.

Subaruined

Monday, November 21st, 2011

On Friday, I dropped my phone and shattered the screen, rendering it useless.

Irony is contacting the police to tell them that if they in fact find my stolen vehicle, please don’t call me – call my sister instead.

And then I asked, “By the way, any news?” And they said, “No.”

On Friday night, I sat in the living room, listening to feral cats fighting outside the front door. What else was there to do? I couldn’t drive anywhere, and I couldn’t call anyone. This must be what a 50s housewife felt like, when her husband would take the car to work in the city and she would be left stranded at home with no outside contact, speaking only to her mute household companions. Hers were babies. Mine are dogs.

On Saturday morning, I went for a terrible run. My brain felt spiky and sore. Down every street, I searched for my missing car. I quit after 6 1/2 miles, when I was planning on running 10.

Later that afternoon, I got the news (via my sister, who has laryngitis, which makes all of this that much more hilariously complicated) that my car had been recovered, that it was not drivable, and that it had been towed to an impound lot.

So Becca and I drove to the barren wasteland that is the Denver Impound Facility, and claimed poor, vandalized, un-drivable Subaruthless. The inside of the car is completely trashed – the ignition punched out, wires ripped, the dash hammered to sharp little plastic bits. There are no license plates. The car now sits at a body shop, ready for surgery.

But there is a silver lining. Along with everything else in the glove box, guess what’s missing? $100 worth of unpaid parking tickets. I’m not paying anything I can’t find.*

In the meantime, I am still phoneless. All of you boys who are texting me because you want to marry me? I’m not getting those messages. Consider alternate methods of communication, such as pigeon carrier, smoke signal, or a St. Bernard with a note in a tube around its neck.

*Yes, I know.  This could totally backfire on me.