Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Location: United States

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

"Do you experience feelings of dread in your basement or attic?" - Dr. Egon Spengler, Ghostbusters

I told you that road drop off was pretty friggin' steep. If you notice, that guy is not exactly hugging the curb. What curb? If you click on the picture to make it big, you can see the evil red eye of The Boy glimmering in the back seat.

Greetings , gentle readers!

The Mrs. here, subbing for WilderBoy. John, as he is known to some, is currently chained to the water pump in the basement because he has been naughty. No, not really. It’s just that that is where I like to keep him so that he stays out of trouble.

Seriously, though, things have been very hectic here. Big, big changes are afoot in Casa Wilder. As such, no Life in Alaska for the past few weeks … er, months due to, well, life in Alaska. Don’t worry, though. They are good changes. No severed fingers while cutting wood or beer shortages or anything. It’s all good, as the young uns say.

All that John asks is for your continued patience (At least, I think that’s what he was asking. It’s hard to tell because his voice was all muffled due to the gag in his mouth.) He should be ready to reveal all to the world soon, in typical Wilder TA DA! fashion.

The Mrs.

Note from John
The Mrs. actually wrote that, and I saw it after I constructed a rudimentary TCP/IP connection out of a band saw and some steel wool in the basement. I've been down here about two weeks, but I'm thinking that The Mrs. has plans for me other than making a pretty shirt out of my skin - after all, Hannibal Lecter she's not. I hope. More soon. John puts the lotion on it's skin, or else he gets the hose again . . . arrrrgh!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

"So pee now because once we're on the road, we ain't stopping." - Hank, King of the Hill

We finally stopped at a tourist-rest stop about twenty miles short of my goal. The Boy has several attributes which make him a bit different than the rest of humanity. The first is that, as far as I know, he has never been tired. Some children go willingly to bed. The Boy, I can honestly report, has never gone willingly to bed. Each and every night it's an emotional battle that we, being much larger and knowing ways to deliver physical pain that leave nary a mark, always win. But the battle continues. One night I let him stay up as "long as he wanted," in the mistaken thought that whatever cascade of chemicals that work in normal humans would permeate his brain and make him desire to go to bed, or at least fall asleep on the couch.


He stayed up until my patience frayed due to chemicals cascaded through my brain putting me in a drowsy state. I ordered him to bed. Again.

The other physiological function that he denies the existance of is the need to go to the bathroom. He denies the need until it becomes the most urgent thing in the universe. I'm thinking that these are both related, and that he thinks he's some sort of human-god hybrid (on his mother's side, no doubt) and need not consider that he has a physical body.

Back to our trip . . . . We got to the rest stop, and while I didn't think he'd go to sleep, well, he did (after a brief discussion that only included a few threats from me to pull his nose-hairs out with tweezers) finally went to use the bathroom before it became an urgent need.

We began to drive back up the road. Since I was prepared for the precipitious slope that I'd see, that helped. What I wasn't prepared for was that on the way back, rather than driving on the safer slope-side, now I was driving on the "screaming until the body of the Wildermobile crumbles under the inexorable pull of the Earth's gravity well" side.

This was worse than the trip in.

You can look out and see a panoramic vista that stretches over a wide, wonderous valley. The large reason for that vista is that there is nothing between you and the rest of the valley. The valley 1000' below. Not even a guardrail.

There's an observation spot or two to stop at, so The Boy and I did so. We went on a short hike to see, well, tundra. There were signs everywhere telling us not to walk on the real tundra, because it seems that walking on tundra-plants makes them die, and it takes about sixty million years for them to grow back if you even look at them.

I feel about tundra plants the way I feel about endangered species. If they're that weak, well, do we really want to burden the future with caring for them? Knowing that these are Federal plants, well, we could spend billions of dollars on them just to keep them alive. Let them die in peace. Better yet, let me trample them.

The rest of the way back was relatively uneventful. We hit up the staff at the local tourist trap as they prepared to offload inventory so that they could make their way back to Arizona, or Michigan, or wherever that they live when they're not schilling stuff to tourists. We bought some nice Alaska-themed merchandise for half the original price.

The Mrs. was happy to see us when we pulled in the driveway. The Boy . . . not tired.

Never is.

Countdown-two weeks or so to pretty pictures.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

"Come on, Scully, it'll be a nice trip to the forest." - Mulder, The X-Files

I'm sorry that I don't have a nice selection of photographs on the page tonight that make you say, "Ohhh, ahhhh, that's prettier than a $10.00 bill under a stack of trashcans on a Saturday night when they just called in my Visa and Visa said I was over the limit."

I would come in with this long, lame excuse that my dog ate them, but the truth is that I'm attempting to work from, instead of the state of the art Cray supercomputer that I keep at Casa Wilder, but rather I'm attempting to write the best prose ever written from a computer made from a 1953 Philco TV, two aluminum cans, some stone knives, and bearskins. On the bright side, I have beer. While I promise to keep writing, I can't exactly promise that Life in Alaska will be the most visually stimulating place ever. I think I could cut and past things from MicroSoft WordArt, but, hey, you pay for better production values than that. With that . . . back to our story.

Well, during the passage of The Boy and I on the steepest, ugliest road ever I had the occasion to be driving behind a Forest Service employee. Despite it saying that we had to stop and pull over for westbound traffic beyond a point ten more miles down the road, said employee took it upon herself to pull over for every oncoming chipmonk.

For a second, let me digress. I had been driving down the road like a crazed NASCAR guy until said Forest Service employee pulled over and blocked the road. It was her stopping that made me lock the brakes and viscerally understand just how close I had come to driving off into clear airspace and beginning a gravity-enforced kinetic morphing between me and a boulder. That still didn't save her from my wrath of having her slow up our trip.

At this point, the trip became a monotonous (or monotonouseoux, for you French people) trip of driving fifty feet, then pulling over behind Forest Service Lady.

The good thing about Forest Service people is that they wear a pretty spiffy uniform and are allowed to carry guns. The bad thing about Forest Service people is that they're absolute sticklers about minor regulations that keep me from enjoying the Forest Service stuff that my tax dollars pay for. How was I do know that I shouldn't stare at a squirrel for more than ten seconds or face a minimum of fourteen years in a Federal Forest Service Prison? Yeah, you didn't either.

Well, rather than spend the rest of my life in a FFS Prison with people who failed to police their campsites, well, I followed the Forest Service Lady for about an hour, which is to say we made it about fifty feet up the road.

The Boy had soon had enough. Stopping every seventeen centimeters (fourteen furlongs) on the road is wearing on a person. We stopped at a rest stop on the road and turned around. This is personally difficult for me. I'm goal-oriented. If we get in a car and are going to, say, Houston, we get in the car and go to Houston. We don't go halfway, and we certainly don't stop to allow the human frailty of bladder capacity to enter the equation.

For me, stopping was hard. We didn't make it all the way into Wonder Lake, where that famous photographer, Robin Williams Ansel Adams took a picture of Denali (Mt. McKinley to those of you from Ohio). That was my goal. Seeing a six-year-old on his birthday scream to go home, well, that turned me around. That and the ability to not have to follow Forest Service Lady anymore.

Next: Home and Back Again

Note: If you were worried I'd stop writing, well, don't. I can't stop. Not done while I'm still breathing, folks.

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