Monday, June 4, 2012
All choked up
I was generator challenged this morning. Attempting to conserve power by starting our small generator, my brain found it’s well worn groove and executed the same maneuver 3 separate times even walking away between each try so as not to “flood” the poor machine. Finally, dejected, I called David and asked why the generator might choose today of all days to cease functioning. His usual reply, “user error, perhaps?” Convinced I followed the proper protocol, this did not seem likely. Having no choice but to try another approach, I switched the choke button to the opposite position and it started right up. Only thing is, I continued to let it run on choke... At this point in time, I have started this generator on a multitude of occasions. My brain doesn’t feel especially foggy this morning – not any foggier than usual I should say. But I now have scrambled eggs for brains when I attempt to think about where the choke button should be…
Last night at our homeowners meeting (we actually loosely call ourselves the “homelosers”), many of my dear neighbors shared similar issues with their memory. Apparently it’s quite common. Maybe operation of a generator wouldn’t throw them into a spin but they are certainly feeling the effects. David reticently shared having sent the wrong contract to his esteemed colleague and sensing a thread of irritation in the fella’s email. In my blog yesterday, I asked for patience with us during this time. Can we also have signs made saying, “Fire Related CRS in effect here, proceed with caution”? CRS is that old-timers disease of “Can’t Remember Shit”. The cylinders simply are not firing on all…. How many cylinders are there? All 4, all 8? Anyway, you get the metaphor.
In our group of homelosers we comprehend each other without much explanation. Knowing looks, partial smiles, then genuine laughter at our common peril filled the room. For a relatively diverse group of folks, we are doing quite well together. We are dividing the tasks, researching important issues such as property tax valuation (what it is and what it should be), cost per acre to first remove all the blackened toothpicks and then replace them with what a real tree is supposed to look like, and many other land related issues, as well as various deadlines we need to know for filing our complaints against the state. The meetings have fallen into a natural rhythm with some of us preparing the agenda, others of us leading the meeting (me), and taking turns being secretary. We have our own website where we share and disseminate information and we continue with community outreach supported by the Mountain Resource Center. Last night, a local business brought us new clothes (ooooolala !!!) – sweatshirts and t-shirts with “Evergreen, Colorado” blazoned proudly across the chest. We snatched them up eagerly like kids at Christmas. I wore my new fuzzy zippered hoody out in to the rain. We let ourselves enjoy the small stuff.
Today, most of us will venture down to the city, this time to witness the Governor signing the bill we lobbied for and got passed which removes the state’s immunity if they burn down your house or kill your loved ones due to a state mandated controlled burn. This doesn’t say they will actually compensate victims, it says they can. We still have to prove our cases which is another story for another day. In preparation for this and knowing there will be media opps, we decided to align with a message. One of our group read the prepared statement and cried through most of the middle where it described our losses and the deaths of our neighbors. And, we carried on, knowing we are in this together for the long haul. Like family, we are bonded in a way that most people won’t experience unless you go through “fire” with others. Occasionally tempers flare, but mostly we work together beautifully. We voted on a few potentially divisive issues and were unanimous in our agreement. How can that happen with a group of more than 30? Many neighbors had friendships prior, some were complete strangers and all of us are experiencing the stress and strain of our new lives, yet we are united.
I will greet them all with hugs at our fine Capitol. We all have fallen into that routine. We will stand shoulder to shoulder as we watch our Governor sign the bill that many said wouldn’t happen. Many others acknowledged the speed with which our testimonies and unrelenting efforts caused a legislative shift. Apparently, it doesn’t usually happen that quickly if it happens at all. We stood for us, and those who might be affected in the future. We stood for what was right.
The fumes I caused from my over revving generator debacle are clearing out of Flame. The birds are singing their morning hellos. My phone is beeping telling me all the things I need to start doing. My dogs are roaming in their now known boundary. The sun is warming my feet. I glance around at this little space inside of Flame and feel comforted. Everything I buy is red to match her interior. If it’s not red, it just won’t work. Although, I compromised at my purple lap pillow for my Mac as my love affair with purple continues on. Today the dogs go to daycare where they will have baths and toenails trimmed. They will have playtime with their downtown Denver counter parts as I walk the halls of the Capitol.
Last night driving home, I saw one of the most intense rainbows I have ever seen. The colors sharp against the light grey sky. I pulled over to take a picture and couldn’t find my phone anywhere. I searched to no avail until the rainbow faded a bit. It continued to stay in front of me as I made my way up the mountain. Wondering if the pot of gold pointed at my property, I considered many views of this encounter. What does it mean? Is this God speaking to me? Are my angels singing their songs? Ultimately, I decided that it was light reflecting on moisture – no more and no less. But that didn’t make it any less glorious.
It turns out the pot of gold didn’t end at my property. But Flame’s sleek silver profile was there to greet me, as was the tail end of a Colorado sunset. Now I must get my tail in gear, my butt in my birdbath and select from my limited wardrobe of what to wear to meet the Gov, spend a day in the hot city and then join our beloveds to celebrate their daughters 16th at Benihana. I will pack for a day in the car bringing essential items – things to mail, to return, a project I am working on, my ever growing list of what needs to be done, my latest check from the insurance company, water and leashes for the dogs and snacks for me. I will surely forget something. I will look for the rainbows out there in the world and question the meaning of life and the existence of God. I will make calls from the car on my headset, talk to a client from the road, swear at the slow drivers and then say I’m sorry. I will wonder about the future, and I will focus being in today. I will shed a tear or more with my neighbors as we celebrate one task accomplished off our ginormous list.
This is my life. This is the new “normal”.