Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Morning Commute

Here, we see the Mini apparently speeding down our dirt driveway and through the open gate. In the background and out of view, the dogs are eating their breakfast and the chickens are starting their morning wander. This is how our ride to work begins. Rest assured: we are late and the theme music to the second round of Morning Edition is playing.

It is a Monday and the grader is scraping off the surface of Old Wire. After a weekend of heavy rain, the clay and sand can become quite the driving hazard. The grader can be found on our road about three days a week scraping away. I've never spoken to the grader pilot but he appears to be a jolly man and waves back every time. The road is lined on both sides with many ancient live oaks that form a canopy over the road. Sometimes I worry about those 300 year old branches that hang 30 feet above us. We have a few cows, goats, horses, sheep, bunnies, deer, wild turkeys and the occasional fox squirrel (an odd creature, and good eating we hear) as neighbors and we usually say hello.

At the northern exit of Old Wire we begin a unusually winding stint on the local county road. Here we drive past children at the bus stop, a kestrel, two dogs that might be related to Lula and a woman that we have been watching for months who obsessively text messages someone or plays a game on her phone whilst sitting in her minivan in her driveway. For some poorly defined reason this last item drives us nearly crazy. For Cymande, it is the fact that this woman is in the exact same position (head tilted, looking at phone) every single morning since at least August, 2007. Which brings us to the next step in the journey...

Dead Man's Curve. Yes, DMC is a much feared and perfectly flawed piece of road. Conceived by a band of civil engineer drop-outs, this curve somehow is tilted inversely and tends to launch drivers across the center line or off the road. You decide. Either way, DMC can be both exhilarating and disturbing. It is not uncommon for me to be muttering profanities and beeping the horn at this point during the trip. Cymande just screams, or if she's had too much coffee, yells wheeeeee!

After surviving DMC we find ourselves exiting on the unusually named Tustenugee Road. This road takes us through some quaint agriculture. There is a large donkey population along this stretch of road. What is the deal with donkeys? I mean, I love to look at them in the morning sun, but do they serve a purpose? Perhaps they are pets. I have never seen donkey as a key ingredient in dog or cat food, but I wonder. There are also tobacco fields and cattle along the way.

Here we cross Interstate 75. As we casually drive to work, carloads of excited midwestern children and an obscene number of Quebecois pass below us and are only 2 hours away from Disney World. Five minutes away from I-75 is a lobby full of ill children awaiting our arrival. I take another gulp of coffee and look at the clock that displays...

(8:12) and I feel a twinge of guilt. Then I remember that I will be at work for the next 10 hours and I don't feel so bad.

Approaching the clinic, now we pass Club Rodeo, a burned down trailer and the Flamingo Motel-now-apartments that still boasts about 'cable TV.' We pass by the High School and its garish purple/yellow tiger mascot, pass by Dollar General #23987, pass by the car wash and pass into a small piece of what is left of Florida's oak hammock where we will spend our day, indoors.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Technical Difficulties

Hello everyone. The month of January brought technical difficulties to us at OWR. Our mac crashed and we were told it was a 'node b error' which translates to approximately $400, a new hard drive and two trips to Jacksonville. This explains, somewhat, why we haven't updated the blog and we have few photos to share.

After the 'node b' incident we experienced a mystery. I was on a post-call-day-off and I did rounds at the hospital with the dogs in the Big Blue Van [BBV]. After rounds I drove to the feed store. I paid for the feed and drove home. This would be the start of a two week absence of my wallet. We searched high and low including the coop and freezer. We finally blamed Buckley... turns out, our blame was correctly directed. Cymande's cell phone was, in the search for the wallet, discovered in a state of partial digestion...well, at least chewed up, in a pile of hay with, lo and behold, the wallet. The new cell phones with new telephone numbers on a new carrier and assorted accessories, of course, about $300.

We also had a human 'node b error'. That is 'b' as in 'back pain'. About a week ago I woke in a sorry state after moving a washer and hot water heater. I tried to ready myself for work, but ten minutes before I was supposed to be at work I was found contorted on the couch, sweating and repeating 'I'm not going, I'm not going', Cymande snickering creully (a result of what she called 'stress and concern'). Luckily, I'm better now, and Cymande doesn't have to do everything for me, although that was fun. 'Do this' and 'Do that', said I.

We also 10 new chicks in the flock. They love blueberry muffins and apples.
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