Archive for January, 2004

Irving, TX

30 January 2004 at 11:25 am
by Jonah

Irving, TX

We’re in Irving for the weekend. Berck picked up his boots and then immediately traded them for another size (which they fortunately had in stock). Now he’s taking care of some bank account housecleaning. We’re planning to head to Austin on Monday.

passenger side of the Ozarks

28 January 2004 at 11:30 pm
by Berck

After driving a full tank of gas from West Memphis, AR to Ozark, AR, I was getting a bit sleepy. Joanna wanted to sit on the south side of the car which is quite a bit warmer than the pax seat. And she’s right, even my toes get cold on this side. Since there’s no sun shining on them on either side, I’m not sure why they don’t get so cold on the driver’s side.

Since Joanna’s driving, I get to journal now. I think she’s better at it than I am, so it’s probably fortunate she’s been doing it lately.

I tend to do most of the driving. Joanna doesn’t really care if she drives or not usually. She almost never asks to drive but is always willing. I, on the other hand, prefer to drive for several reasons. I’m a much better driver than I am a passenger. I tend to get rather uncomfortable with someone else driving. Joanna is a better driver than most people I’ve ridden with, but she still bothers me from time to time. It has something to do with the fact that she takes risks where I wouldn’t, though she’s a more cautious driver overall. Another reason I tend to drive is that the passenger seat of the miata is significantly more cramped than the driver’s seat. This situation isn’t helped by the fact that Joanna tends to nest, stashing things everywhere. Generally it’s stuff we both use, but she’s more tolerant of things in her space than I am. So we have to find a place to put it all when we switch drivers. If she’s got sunflower seeds (one of her fondest road-trip habits) then she’s sure to scatter whole seeds around the car and shells around the world.

It looks like classes just let out of Sallisaw High School. Interstate driving is generally pretty boring, but when you’re just trying to get across the southwest, or the midwest or southmidwest whatever Oklahoma is, there’s no other way that much makes sense. We’ll abandon interstates once we start heading down to Big Bend, TX, and we’ll probably avoid them for most of the rest of the trip. We’ve got a pretty good idea of what we’re going to do on the way out west and north but not on the way back. Most of the things that I think I want to do are probably a bad idea in the winter in a miata without snow tires.

I’m moving to Oklahoma. As we cross the state at 79mph the idea is just starting to settle in my head. I certainly never would have picked Oklahoma as the place to live, but hopefully it won’t be very long. I’ve wanted to go to flight school for so long now that I have a hard time believing that I’ll actually pull it off this time around. The only piece of the puzzle that strikes me as difficult at this point is how long it will take Joanna to find a job. She’s convinced that it won’t be a problem, but I’m not nearly as optimistic. Job hunting has got to be one of the worst parts of living in our society. It’s time consuming, exhausting, degrading, and often not very rewarding. The present economical situation won’t make it any easier.

I hope we’re not too terribly cold trying to camp out west. I really need some warmer clothes. Thermal underwear, more layers… A sweatshirt or something might be nice too. Boots will be important. Boots. Boots were an ordeal.

I thought I would go to REI in Atlanta and buy a pair of the boots that I wore across Europe in 2000. When we got there, we discovered that they were, surprisingly enough, still making that specific boot. Delighted, I asked for a pair in 10-1/2 Wide. They didn’t have that size. Nor did the other REI in Atlanta. Nor did REI’s mail order warehouse. They were, however, able to tell me that the boots I wanted did exist in the size I wanted in Dallas. I called the store in Dallas, and while they wouldn’t hold them for more than 3 days, they were willing to let me buy them over the phone and wait for me to pick them up. I hope they’re the right size… I tried to find out what size I ordered in 2000, and it seems that REI does actually retain this information. Unfortunately, it requires someone digging through the archives in Seattle, and that would take a couple of weeks. By which time I hope to already be in possession of the boots.

Dr. Lynn

28 January 2004 at 6:10 pm
by Jonah

Norman, OK

We got an apartment!

Even better news… Berck got his student pilot certificate!

All around, today was a pretty productive day, I’d say. We got started off right with breakfast with the Wolfes, then headed straight for Airman Flight School at the airport. We got shown around and put in contact with Dr. Lynn, the physician who does medicals for everyone at the flight school.

In fact, doing medicals for flight students is all Dr. Clyde Lynn does. He’s 84 and has an office in his son’s house’s ground floor. He’s a slight man with a white beard and head of hair. One eyelid is scrunched up. He didn’t have any appointments scheduled for the morning, so we walked right on in. He had Berck perform some agility tests, read an eye chart, and prove he wasn’t colorblind, all the while telling stories about medical practices in WWII. He gave Berck a bonus, testing his “eye-Q” by getting him to recall as many numbers from the colorblind test as he could. “I’d say you’re at least 120, maybe 140,” Dr. Lynn decided. I perused the Apartment Guide in the waiting room, trying hard not to burst out laughing at the conversation in the examination room.

“Now we have to test your urine,” Dr. Lynn said, “but my sister cleaned up in here and threw away all my little cups. That’s fine; we do it without a cup.” He had Berck step into the bathroom and pee on a strip. “And that’s a good color, so on to the next item…”

Once the examination was complete, Dr. Lynn inserted a certificate into his typewriter and carefully typed up Berck’s clearance to take the controls of an airplane. He complained about malpractice insurance rates. “This is all I do anymore,” Dr. Lynn said, “flight medicals and writing prescriptions for Viagra, and nobody’s going to sue me for malpractice for that.”

“Well, I guess you won’t be around a whole lot much longer to worry about it,” said Berck. (Berck insists he didn’t mean it mean.)

Dr. Lynn didn’t pause to consider his mortality. “Then they can take it away from my kids. They didn’t earn that money anyway.”

$60 later, Berck received his first pilot’s license.

Several hours later, we filled out an application for an apartment on the western edge of Norman. Ironically, it was the first complex we looked at, but it was the only one in town with a one-bedroom with washer/dryer hookups … that wasn’t next to Oklahoma University. It’s not terribly nice, but it’s cheap, and we like the location. Plus, they seem willing to rent to us despite not having employment yet.

Norman or bust

27 January 2004 at 7:37 pm
by Jonah

Norman, OK

We made it to Norman, Oklahoma!

But we’re leaving tomorrow.

We’re staying with some good friends of my family, the Wolfes. They’ve welcomed us into their home, fed us, and even supplied us with a copy of the Oklahoma City area Apartment Guide, today’s Oklahoman newspaper, and a map of Norman. After researching apartments tonight, we’ll visit the applicable ones tomorrow.

Then it’s off for Irving, TX (home, sweet home for Berck) tomorrow night … it’s only about a three hour drive from here.

Long johns

27 January 2004 at 12:21 pm
by Jonah

Memphis, TN

We spent last night in Memphis with Berck’s Aunt Robin. She fed us fillet minion from her boyfriend’s restaurant. Berck’s grandmother Ida took us to breakfast to Perkins for pancakes in the morning. Then we were off for Oklahoma.

It got pretty cold overnight. I bought some long underwear back in north Georgia, but I couldn’t find any men’s for Berck. When we stopped for gas this morning, I told Berck to park next to the pump that was in the sunshine. Even so, there were still blue ice crystals clinging to the squeegee I used to clean the windshield. I came back from the bathroom to find Berck checking the oil in his father’s parka, saying, “I’ve GOT to get some warmer clothes.” But so far today the weather has been sunny and beautiful. I keep trying to get Berck to let me drive so I can sit in the sun. Despite my wool socks, my toes are getting cold.