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Wednesday, February 9, 2005

When JB and I first started seeing each other, O These Many Moons Past, he assessed my collection of outdoor gear and found it wanting. Having spent far more hours logged in front of The Simpsons than clinging fiercely to the side of a mountain, I didn't have much in the way of protective clothing or shoes. This wouldn't do, as JB wanted me to experience the great Northwest with him, to hike wooded paths and sip from glacial streams - and I couldn't exactly, you know, taste the adventure wearing my Payless Shoe Store Mary Janes.

So one of our first shopping excursions together included a visit to the Columbia store in Portland, then a trip to the Danner outlet, to get me squared away with a windproof, waterproof jacket and a pair of sturdy hiking boots. I remember the first hike we went on, how I stood in a puddle and excitedly announced that my feet were totally dry, and like wow these boots are cool.

As far as clothing acquisitions go, those two items have been one of the sounder investments I've ever made. I still have them both today, and although they're edging towards the filthy side of the cleanliness spectrum, both the jacket and boots are in great shape. We went for a hike this past weekend, and tramped through snow and slush and muddy puddles, and my feet! Were totally dry!

While I'd like to impress you with the length and difficulty of our outing (then we rappelled the sheer ice wall before strapping on the oxygen tanks...), I'm afraid the amount of calories I actually burned probably did not warrant the mayonnaise-laden club sandwich I devoured during our "lunch break". However, my way of thinking goes: if at any point during your exercise you are cold and uncomfortable and have to cross a stream using a LOG, full speed ahead on club sandwiches.


Did you watch the Superbowl? Honestly, I don't even know who was playing, but we TiVo'd the whole darn thing - then fast-forwarded to, um, get to the commercials. My favorite was the Ameriquest Cat Killer ad (which you can see here if you missed it), that one actually made me laugh to the point of wiping tears from my eyes.

In fact, I just cracked up all over again watching that thing. Way to go, Ameriquest! Whoever you are, and whatever services you provide!


In other news from the category of One Step Forward, Two Steps Back - Financially Speaking That Is, or maybe Two Steps Forward, One Step Back, or possibly the Do The Hokey Pokey And You Turn Yourself Around - ANYWAY, we had to replace our furnace. It cost two thousand dollars, which really sucks because damn, that's like a cruise to Mexico right there. Or at least forty trips to Old Navy. Or a nice monetary buffer in the savings account for the NEXT unexpected disaster that comes our way, like say if I smash up my car one! More! Time!

The smoke alarm in our hallway went off yesterday morning around 6 AM, which brought JB and I staggering out of bed and careening off of walls before he got it unplugged. At first we thought the batteries were malfunctioning or something, but then the smell became obvious: a hot, overworked electric sort of odor, permeating the entire house. Along with the smell, we spotted a wisp of smoke, curling along the hallway ceiling.

It was freaky, because we couldn't locate the source of the problem, despite a rigorous search of the house that included me getting on my hands and knees and sniffing the surge protector under the computer. We felt the ceiling, looked in closets, and at one point JB went outside to "just make sure the roof wasn't on fire".

Oh, and all that stuff about dogs who smell danger and alert their owners before dragging them to safety? Well, that MUST BE NICE, owners of vigilant dogs. My own dog was sound asleep before the alarm went off, then proceeded to excitedly whap her tail all over the house while her frightened owners looked for flames, because it was time for DOG BREAKFASTS! At one point she grabbed her squeaky toy, and I entertained brief hopes that she could help us. You know, like Lassie?

Me: "Ok, girl, find the fire! One squeak for electrical wiring, uh, two squeaks for -"
Me: "Okay, six squeaks. Is it the oven? Six squeaks for oven?"
Dog: *Licks rear end vigorously*
Me: "Right."

JB finally figured out that it was our gas heater, since 6 is about when the heater starts kicking on and de-frosting the house. Wisely, he shut off the heat, which made the last 24 hours so frigid I actally thought I saw a polar bear lumber through the kitchen at one point. A repairman confirmed the hooptiness of our furnace, which apparently was well on its way to going supernova when it triggered the smoke alarm. So shout-out for safety - check your alarm batteries! If that thing hadn't interrupted the highly personal dream I was having about Brad Pitt (where I understood his current problems, and was there for him), who knows what might have happened? God knows we can't rely on the dog.

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