Saturday, April 28, 2012


Today is Gina's birthday. So as I have done before, and will again, I present to you the ABC's of Gina:

Giddy and Gorgeous, Gleefully sweet
Interosculant and Illustrative, she may Illapse into her seat
Napaean at heart, Nyctanthous and fine
Acatalectic, Artistic, an Aubade divine

Happy Birthday, my sweet.

Enjoy your day.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wagons East

"So there we were. Heavy weather, low on fuel..."
                            - Scott R.

     It was a dark and stormy night when we set off from California. Glendale vanished into a bright spot on the horizon of the night sky in our rear-view, and the open road beckoned.  Okay, not really, but it might as well have been.  On Tuesday, March 20th, 2012, Two cats, Gina Marie Terzino, and I set off on the road trip of a lifetime. We were driving from Beautiful Downtown Glendale, California to the Eastern shores of our continent. We were moving her back home to her beloved Rhode Island. For those of you who might not know, nor care to look at a map of the United States, Rhode Island is NOT a suburb of New York, nor is it part of Massachusetts. It's the armpit of America, nestled in New England, and it's NOT Sunny California. But it is home.

     So we set off about 5:00pm, just to make sure we hit as much California traffic as we could (I suppose it was an unconscious effort to get the complete CA experience). We broke free of the 210, hit the gas, and moved like a guppy towards the great open expanse of the 15, searching for the 40, the lower of the two coast-to-coast interstates. The little blue Saturn Ion, stuffed to the gills with meowing furballs and musical instruments (not that the cats could not be considered musical at this point) sipped her fuel and moved with grace through the western part of Arizona, on into the night and early morning of the 21st.

     With Runs-with-Scissors at the wheel, sometime in the late 1:00AM hour, a sudden misfire began to slow our course through the chilly AZ evening. I didn't panic, nor did I even wake the sleeping Gina. I simply stared at the rhythmically flashing 'check engine' light, and hoped it would cease. Soon. Please. Anytime would be great. No?  Hm... So I took the first exit I saw, dove onto the connecting road, and swooped gracefully into the gas station. Gina woke up, blinked, and asked where we were, to which I responded " Arizona. And we have a problem."  There's a lot to this story, including a VERY cold night trying to sleep while covered with a TOWEL (blankets? Who needs 'em...), an attempted parking lot fix the next morning, not one, but TWO mechanics, Getting lost thanks to Google Nav (and wait... what do you mean there's no damned phone signal?), an overnight stay in WINSLOW, AZ (YES! I know it's in an Eagles song), sneaking cats into the hotel, Gina's wrenched ankle (What DID you trip on, woman?), and a wonderful phone call to the mechanic that ended like this, "The car needs an engine. Okay. So when could you get one? No, next Tuesday or Wednesday won't work. Put it back together, we're coming to pick it up. Can you leave the injector to the bad cylinder disconnected? No? Okay." We picked up the car, I disconnected the injector to cylinder #1, and we hit the road, cats and all.  Three Cylinder Sally was moving again, and as long as we kept it above 2500RPM, we were good.

     Arizona disappeared behind us, New Mexico was a blur... then onto Texas (Dark AND Flat) and Oklahoma through the night. It was light out when we hit Arkansas, which was long, but smelled better than TX and OK. Other than the (I'm STILL giggling here) written warning for speeding and a brake light, it was all pretty uneventful. Welcome signs passed by, we took pictures, and it was pretty smooth. Three Cylinder Sally chugged along, giving me a couple good scares when trying to start after refueling, but finally shuddering to life.  And I gotta say that I love Denny's, but I'm pretty much all set with Grand Slam Burgers at this point in my life. Then came Tennessee.  The Longest State EVAR!!! It went on for what felt like days, and on... and on... and on... and just on.  It was fairly green, except for the blurbs of the big cities that went by.  Yes, I know, we should have stopped in Memphis, and Nashville, but honestly we weren't stopping anywhere except a gas station.  It was somewhere in the night that we went through Knoxville, and the leg North finally began. Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, then finally Rhode Island all appeared in our windshield, and we watched the changes fly by us flanking the highway corridor. The car performed admirably considering the mechanical state of it, and there were no other real issues.  We managed to get somewhere between 26 and 30 mpg as well!

     Would I drive across this beautiful country again? You bet. But I would have a much different plan of action, one that did not include traveling with cats. As a sidebar, the cats were marvelous. They settled in, decided it wasn't so bad, and Gina was wonderful in her care of them.  Bix didn't much care for the tractor trailers, I guess they were just too large to be comfortable around, and Sophie could really care less about anything other than getting back in her crate.  Win one for relaxed cats, I suppose.  If you've never driven coast to coast, it's worth trying. It's a beautiful land we live in, and I'm not sure we Americans truly appreciate the breathtaking grandeur of it all.

But there is no place like home, close to the hearts we love.