Friday, June 29, 2007

Vichy Springs Pool –Swim Number Two!

After their exciting waterfall hike where many wildlife sightings had surprised and delighted them, (a mommy pheasant mewing, really! Mewmewmewmew….to distract them from her babies according to DHBF; a sweet little frog that let DHBF take his or was it a her? how can you tell with frogs? picture; several shy deer grazing on the dry grasses; and a SNAKE!!! which elicited a suitably horrified shriek from PP—DHBF running to her rescue but not actually participating in the snake sighting since he’d finally gotten the perfect frog pose so the snake was gone before he got there. ‘Was it a rattlesnake? ‘ he’d asked, all concern and worry. ‘Nah, just a garner snake….Or was it a Gardner Snake? What are those snakes called anyway? It was one of Those.’ PP was just glad that she hadn’t stepped on it.), PP and DHBF really needed another delicious cool swim in the Vichy Springs Pool!

Back in their tidy little room, PP couldn’t wait as she hurriedly put on her suit and skipped across the lush lawn to the pool, shady and inviting in the late afternoon sun.

And miraculously, No One was swimming!!! There was one floral suited swimmer lounging on her belly that offered to take their picture together, but PP just wanted Her Picture taken at Her Pool as she posed in many sexy funny Esther Williams frames. (Hey, wonder if Esther Williams had swam in this pool? Bet so PP thought as she slowly inched in to its cool delectability.)

Shivering slightly, PP dove in again for the second time that day, the water folding over her in cool rippling blueness. PP even did some backstroke to gaze at the oak trees, circling hawks, and hot hazy sky. Yet also to give her eyes a break from the mask and the chlorine. (Though the VSP seemed to have less chlorine. Of course, it was a resort and there were no kids. At least so far.)

DHBF dove in too. At least PP thinks he did. She was so deliciously self- absorbed in her perfect pool world that she wasn’t really paying attention to anyone or anything till Polka Dot Suit Woman showed up with her alarm clock. This was really funny, PP thought to herself. What’s she doing with her alarm clock at the pool? PP continued to swim on her back so she could spy. PDSW pulled one of the chairs over to the side of the pool and set the alarm clock on it. Then stretching her full white arms in the sun, prepared to enter the pool.

Ah….PP thought. A Serious Swimmer. She’s timing herself and has brought her own clock since there’s not one at the pool. PP hadn’t even noticed this. Time had disappeared for her when she was swimming in this Pool, which was odd now that she thought about it. She was always so obsessed about time. How long she swam. (Usually 45 minutes, sometimes 50) What time it was. (Is it after 4? Can she go outside now?) Or when she had to be somewhere? (The BART is leaving at 2:49 and it’s 2:34, she’ll never make it!)

Time is such a curse in our world. Or at least in PP’s world. It would be so much more relaxing if it would just go away! And maybe this was another magical value of the Vichy Springs Pool—-Time Vanished. It became all underwater and liquid and inconsequential.

At least till her tummy growled and her head started swimming. Food. She couldn’t ignore her body’s annoying need for sustenance. Damn. Wasn’t the pool enough to sustain her?

Evidently not as PP was forced to abandon her pool, and leave it to Polka Dot Woman, who of course, was happy to have The Pool all to herself for her timed swim. Who wouldn’t?

Clock or no clock, the Vichy Springs Pool was a world onto itself, and if that sounds corny, well, then Hell, you just don’t know anything about the Je Ne Sais Quoi of Pools!
(Thanks to the Lovely I for this perfect description of the Vichy Springs Pool—)

Now, if only PP could capture this feeling of timelessness in her every day world? But how?

Closing her eyes, and imagining this pool might help. At least until Time intruded as it always does. Damn! What’s a PP to do?

Grab a cookie and head for the pool, what else? Grinning, to herself, PP thought this was the answer. At least for the time being.

~to be continued~

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Vichy Pool At Last!

“It’s $40 a piece for day use…..” Dashingly Handsome Boyfriend gave PP that, sorry, doesn’t look good expression as he hung up the phone in the stuffy little Economy Inn Room.
PP really needed to do something good this day, esp. after her 20 scream shower at the Economy Inn when the hot water had suddenly disappeared.
“How many times do you think you said, ‘Fuck’?” DHBF had asked as they sat sipping their coffees under a tree in the Ukiah Town Center Park, later that morning.
“I dunno…..maybe 20.”
“Ummm…. Yeah…that sounds 'bout right,” he agreed.
PP glared at him.
“Not that you weren’t justified…..”

PP sighed. She really wanted to go to the Vichy Springs Pool. She’d wanted to since she had first spied it six months ago on another trip down from Eureka, but back then in January, it’d been too damn cold here in Ukiah. She’d gazed at the silent crystal pool in wistful frustration, tempted to dive in anyway, but she was way too sensitive to cold. Such a swim woulda certainly elicited more than 20 ‘fucks….’

So, now that it was summer, and they were in Ukiah once more, she’d come up with the idea to visit this stupendous pool again and SWIM in it. But....40 bucks a day?
Hell, they may as well rent a room and stay the night…..
Hey, why not?

“Call ‘em back!” PP jumped up and down, excited now at the prospect of actually staying and swimming at the Vichy Springs Resort. “Maybe we can get a room and just swim all day long!”
Grinning, DHBF had made the call, gotten a ‘yes’ there was a room available, but they better reserve it. They were filling up fast for the Convention. What the hell convention would they be having in Ukiah, PP wondered. Must be a Cow Convention, is all she could think of as they threw their stuffs in the Cobalt and left the Economy Inn in the dust—though not before one final tender thought for the blissful little pool that’d been so perfect the night before.


PP gazed over the fence at the still turquoise beauty that was the Vichy Springs Pool. Olympic sized is what was advertised, which maybe was true in 1935 when it was built. Today, it looked about the same length as Mills or the Y, but the setting….well, nothing could beat it. The shady sycamores and pines overhanging the right hand corner. The sweet little white picket fence surrounding the pool.

But best of all…..NO ONE was in it!

PP had been sorely worried that it being summer, the pool would be full of screaming children. It was the season after all. But maybe since it was the middle of the week and they were early, it was before noon, the kids hadn’t arrived yet.

Or maybe they didn’t allow kids in the Vichy Springs Resort?

Somehow, PP doubted this, though hope did spring eternal. But now, seeing the pool ready and waiting just for her, PP couldn’t wait. She hadda dive in right now. But oh…could she? Since they were so early, they probably couldn’t check in yet. Damn!

Heading back to the office, PP’s heart was racing. She wanted to swim in this pool so much. It was like a Magnificent Obsession that finally would be realized.
How weird was she? People don’t get obsessed over pools, do they?

Their loss, she thought to herself as she met DHBF grinning on his way outta the office.
“Sean said, no worries. We can go ahead and use the grounds before we check in.”
“Does that mean the pool?” PP jumped up and down, clapping her hands.
“Yes, sweetie, that means the pool. Though we could go for a hike to the waterfall first if you’d rather….”
PP gave him an incredulous stare. Was he serious? No, she could see that twinkle in his eye. He knew better. The Pool was the priority. And that was that!


Poised on the edge of the pool, she shivered in anticipation and coolness. The water was clear and glassy, though a bit chilly. Sucking in her breath, PP grinned at DHBF who stood watching her from under one of the shady trees. So gallant, he was gonna let her have the first swim to herself.

What a luxury!

Diving in, PP felt the mineraly water wash over the top of her head as she stroked the still water, cutting through its turquoisy goldenness at a good cold induced clip, the honeycombed reflections on the pools bottom reflecting the noon day sun she’d said ‘fuck it’ to for just this once.

And it was worth it as she swam back and forth. No one in sight except DHBF now seated on one of the lounge chairs reading a mystery.

PP was in Pool Heaven. Her Pool Heaven. Her Vichy Pool!

At least for a little while as she turned and headed back down the center, grinning to herself as she swam over the tiled “Vichy” mosaic laid out on the pool’s sacred bottom.

~to be continued~

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Economy Inn

"There’s a pool….” Dashingly Handsome Boyfriend coaxed, tired, hot and patient after their long, HOT hike round Mendocino Lake. Idling on the side of N. Main St. in downtown Ukiah, PP needed a pool and she needed a pool NOW! But The Economy Inn?

“I dunno…..” PP glanced dubiously out the window, squinting in the afternoon heat. There did appear to be a small pool, behind a cement walled enclosure under the Economy Inn Signage: EVERYONE WELCOME. HBO IN ROOM. AIR CONDITION. MINI FIDGE.

Maybe it was the mini fidge that PP found most dubious about the joint, not to mention the deserted parking lot. So, okay it’d be quiet, but quiet in that sorta seedy creepy way.

“Let’s keep looking,” she murmured. “Maybe there’s a better one with a pool up the road a bit.”
“Sure, no problem,” DHBF pulled into the traffic, keeping his eyes peeled for the next available hotel with a pool.

Actually, PP had already found the Ukiah Community Pool, by following the Emerald Green Parks & Rec sign: Golf/Pool--Turn here, Now here! Okay, here we are!) But her intrepid pool nose only led to Pool Frustration, complete with cranky rude lifeguards and lines of screaming children gearing up for swim lessons. When she’d asked the harried sullen teen at the front window counting the day’s take if there was lap swimming, she’d just shrugged and said “Probably.”
“Probably?” What the hell does that mean? Of course, PP refrained from blurting this out, though it was hard, but she did manage to ask if ‘probably’ was happening today or tomorrow?
“Probably tomorrow.”
“Like probably when?”
”Well, the pool is open from 1-5.”
“So, will you have lap swimming then?”
You know what she said.

Needless to say, PP was a bit cranky with the vagueness of the Ukiah Teen’s response and so when the quest for a hotel pool began, she was in no mood for any more ‘probablys’!

DHBF pulled over to the side of the road, next to the Cabanna Royale Inn. Frankly, there was nothing Royal about it. Limp pathetic palms dying in the heat. A wrong coral colored wall with too big dirty windows showing an over bright lobby.

But there was a pool.

“What about this one?” DHBF asked dubiously.
“It has a pool.”
“Yeah, I see that.” Actually, she didn’t really see the pool, but assumed it was somewhere behind the coral wall with the most dead palm drooping over it.
“Can we keep looking?”
“Sure, sure…..” DHBF is beyond patience with her when it comes to pools. She guessed it was because of his sweet nature, but then when she thought about it, he was most likely this way for self-preservation.

“What about the Motel Voll?” PP pointed to the side of the road where a cute lemon motel with a mural of a grape vine on the side of the lobby wall sat invitingly in the shade.
“But does it have a pool?” DHBF joked.
PP scanned the parking lot and the area surrounding the motel. A rectangular garden to the side of the motel was suspiciously shaped like a pool.
“Hey!” DHBF scoffed, “Do you think that USED to be a pool?”

”Sacrilege!” PP exclaimed. Filling in a pool should be against the law. Especially when she needed one! “Let’s get outta here!”
“Done!” DHBF stepped on the gas of the Chevy Cobalt, lunging back into the afternoon Ukiah rush hour at a roaring 23 miles per hour. Those, Cobalts! Built for the quick getaways.

“Hey, a Motel 6!” DHBF called out.
PP glanced crankily at the swarms of fat bikini moms and screaming kids jumping into the pint sized pool. Across the street was the helicopter take-off field. What a great combo. Shrieking kids and obnoxious whirly birds.

No thanks. Pool or no pool.

“What do you wanna do?” DHBF pulled away from the curb, doing a crazy U turn taxi driver style. “I don’t think there’s anything else down this way,” he explained, as PP gripped the side of her seat. Part of her liked the dare devil cabbie moves, and part of her didn’t.

At this point, she didn’t care. She just wanted a pool. Any pool. And if she didn’t get in a pool soon, she was gonna have a meltdown in stupid Ukiah.

“Let’s just go back to the Economy Inn,” she sighed.
“You sure?”
“Yeah, it was close to downtown. We could walk somewhere for dinner.”
DHBF grinned his sexy smile, “And it had a pool.”

20 minutes later, after checking in with Mr. Patel and airing out the Lysol infested room, PP was happily swimming back and forth in the adorable little Economy Inn pool, delighting in the magic of “MINI FIDGE” hanging above her every time she turned round, which was often. The pool was very small.

But it was a pool! And it was perfect! No one else was there. The water was clear and cool. So refreshing after their baking Lake Mendocino hike and cranky search for the pool.
But now.
It was heaven as she splashed back and forth, the water welcoming her with its enchanted silky embrace. It does just go to show you. It doesn’t matter for a PP how big the pool is or where it is.
It just has to be wet to satisfy her Pool Lust.
Oh, and be screaming kid free, Please!

So, in the end, the sign was right.
Everyone was welcome!
At least if they could swim!
And with a happy splash, PP pounced on DHBF in the lovely little pool, wrapping her legs around him in blissful pool purrs.....

Thursday, June 21, 2007

My Pool at Vichy Springs!

Stories to come! Twin Girls trying on PP's fins. Cool turquoisy peace in the late afternoon heat.
Alarm clock lady with loud polka dotted suit.....
Suffice it to say, PP has wanted to swim in this pool since the moment she saw it last winter. Read all about it this weekend......if you dare!

~to be continued~

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Suburb Pool Rant

Okay, PP thought it would be a good idea. Stop by the Y on her way home from work. Sure it was in the suburbs, but hell, there were certainly good things about this, right? A parking lot. No traffic thro the odious Caldecott tunnel since she’d be two hours later. A bright friendly suburban swimming experience in Sunny Pleasant Hill, right?


The DeutscherSchlecter Y was from hell on every level. Screaming Children. Rude Lifeguards. Fat leachy cigar smoking middle aged white guys. No they weren’t smoking cigars at the pool, but if they coulda been, they woulda been.

Why do the suburbs have the reputation of being so safe and friendly when in reality they’re so alienating and frustrating?

The bored teen at the front counter was nice enough.Llet her in with her Y Oakland Card. Picked up the pool schedule, glanced at it yawning, and told her that "Ya, there’s lap swimming now, at 4:30, 2 lanes."

Purrfect, she’d thought. She really needed a swim after her long day reviewing research papers on line about food addiction, erectile dysfunction and undocumented immigrants. That’s one thing she could say for the job—the variety of paper grading was there.

But the variety at the Y?
Nothing but goddamn screaming families. Taking over the entire pool. PP slowly made her way out onto the deck in the blazing heat, her sun protective shirt sticking to her. She really needed a swim NOW!!!

But the prospects looked less than promising. Esp. when she asked the surly lifeguard at the helm. “Excuse me?”
“Uh…..the guy at the front counter said that there’d be two lanes for lap swimming?”
“One of the lane lines broke.”
“Excuse me?” PP repeated, standing in the glaring light. What the hell was he saying? That cuz a lane line broke there’d be no lap swimming?
She stepped aside as two teenage girls in their matching American Flag Bikinis cannonballed into the pool, shrieking with the abandoned hysteria that only teen girls from the suburbs can .

Frowning, PP continued to try to get a response outta the lifeguard, “So, then.....will there be no lap swimming? “
Shrugging he didn’t look at her, “Don’t know. Go ask one of them.’
‘The swim instructors over there”—he pointed in huffy perturbness—“ask them when their lessons are gonna be over.”
PP made her way over to the lesson guards, knelt down and asked. One bleached blonde just steered her child charge away, ignoring her, another one glared at her and announced to the air that she’d be done at 5:30…..

Ok, what to do?

PP could scream.
She did consider this for a moment. But then decided that no one would notice her, let alone pay attention.
She could leave.
She also considered this, but then thought, what the hell, she was here now. It was only about a half hour away.
So, she’d wait.

But where?
All the chaise lounges were taken up with either lazing middle aged men (What was up with that? Didn’t they hafta go work in the Big City every day to support their screaming kids and expensive wives?) or littered with harried moms in oversized gold rimmed sunglasses trying to keep the kids from killing each other.

PP was so glad she lived in Oakland. She complained about it often. The traffic. The overcrowding. The expense. Hell, the pool was often full of kids at the Oakland Y too. But for some reason, they didn't seem so.....Suburban?
Yeah, the big city swimming kids were excited to be there in an awe way. Not a yawn way.

So it shouldn't surprise her that whenever she visited the suburbs for any real necessary experience like swimming, where you’d think the BEST swimming would be, right? she realized that Oakland had been her home for so long for good reason. And even though the Y downtown was often crowded too, there was a friendly big city welcoming feel to it. Not this cold can’t be bothered with anyone but my fr%%**##king children attitude.

The suburbs. They were selfish as all get out.

Why is that? PP is too tired to analyze now. All she knows is that when 5:30 finally rolled around with still no sign of any lap swimming going on so she just got into the swim lesson lane and swam around them, and then when she asked the lesson guard what the hell was up with lap swimming and she’d just glared at PP and said she’d be done with her lesson at 5:40 and then this Ancient Guy from 1876 got in too and started swimming /sinking cuz his legs were so heavy and then a Look Liked She Knew What She Was About Woman got in and when PP asked her if it was always anarchy at the pool and she’d given PP a blank stare PP realized she either probably didn’t know what anarchy meant or she probably didn’t know what anarchy meant……

Well, PP decided, that yes, it was nice to miss the goddamn traffic inching thro the heinous caldecott tunnel, but it wasn’t worth trying to negotiate the insanity traffic in the pool at the DeutcherShlecter YMCA.

It was worse than China.
And that was saying a lot!
Bye Bye Burbs!
Hello Oakland!
Welcome Home and don’t ever, ever, EVER Go Back to THAT POOL again!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Caw of the Wild

PP had every intention of going to the Y today, but then the Caw of the Wild interrupted and her plans could do nothing but change.

It all started yesterday, really, when PP, in her Saturday morning pre-work daze was sucking down a large coffee and trying to understand why Paris Hilton had to go back to jail. And the damn Crows! They were outside just going nuts. Cawing and swooping and CAWING and swooping and just being completely Obnoxious! PP had cursed them repeatedly in between swigs of Joe and mouthfuls of muffin.

Godamn Birds. What the Hell is their problem? They don’t have to go back to Jail like poor Paris. They had their freedom. What were they complaining about?

Well, she’d found out soon enough when she’d gone out to dump the kitty litter in the trash out back and saw It.

A poor limping pitiful baby crow….actually it looked like a teenager. Not a big full grown guy, but not a tiny baby either. It was painfully trying to make its way away from her to hide behind a trash can or under the neighbor’s porch.

PP had almost started crying.

Oh no….a hurt little crow? No wonder the other crows were so upset. Their baby was injured and they were trying to protect it or at least ward off any predators. Namely stupid Pablo.

But what to do? PP tried to approach the wounded little guy, but then it had limped away, falling on its side and then picking itself up again…before tottering under the fence and out toward the street.

Almost in tears, PP had shaken her head. What to do? What to do? She obviously couldn’t catch it, but if she didn’t catch it surely one of the cats would.

PP locked her three felines in the apt. for the day and then feeling horribly helpless and guilty got her stuff together to head off to work, but not before chatting with a tall elegant woman who had happened into the courtyard, glancing up at the cawcaphony of crowdom. PP had immediately pounced on her, telling her about the injured crow and voicing her frustration over what to do about it.

Elegant Woman shook her head, taking a long slow sip of her latte, “You know, I don’t really think you can do anything. Once I tried to rescue a dove, its chest was all bloody on its lovely white feathered breast, and I caught it in a towel and put it in a bag and took it to the SPCA and they looked at me like I was crazy and said we can’t do anything about this.” EW sighed softly. “So, I learned from that experience. It’s better to just leave Wild Life alone and let nature take its course.”

PP had nodded, gotten in the car and headed off to work, but still the image of the baby bird limping pitifully in her back side yard was so vivid and sad……she just couldn’t get it out of her head as she drove down 24 in the hazy morning light.

She had to do something!

So, she called JL, her best friend and Bird Expert who’d once saved a Wedding Dove from Mills Pool…ah, another pool story, but that’s hers. Of course, JL wasn’t answering her phone, after all, it was only 9 a.m., so PP left a message from work explaining the Crow Crisis back at her house and hoping that JL would have time on her hands to rescue the poor little guy.

Later PP got the story. How JL and PP’s neighbor, Willa, had both tried to find the injured crow. Had searched all over the compound for a good long while.

But no Baby Crow to be found.

So, JL had conjectured that it had simply been stunned and had flown away. Or someone who liked crows, people do, had picked it up and taken care of it or it had just gone off and died a quiet death in some safe place…..

PP had almost started to cry again. Why the Hell hadn’t she just stayed home from work and tried to catch it when she could have?

Yet she told herself that she had tried. JL and W had tried. Plus, maybe it was true what EW had said. It’s better to leave wild things alone…..

So, today, when she was washing out the cat bowls before heading off to the pool, PP was looking out her window and spied her Big White Pablo Cat slowly stalking something out in the ivy…..

Damn….she thought. What if the baby crow is still here and Pablo gets it?

Rushing out, PP had hurried over to where Pablo was slowly stalking, scooping him up just at the moment she saw the baby crow limping hopping into the safety of the ivy, the Parent Crows dive bombing and cawing up a ruckus.

Oh, no! The baby is still here! Now PP had to do something, but what?

Fortunately, Willa was around and so when PP frantically knocked on her open door, interrupting her tooth brushing, at least she had some moral support and much needed assistance.

Willa…..? Willa….? Can you help me?” PP had called out.
Wiping the toothpaste from her chin, W had stepped out, “Sure, what’s up?”
“It’s the Baby Crow, it’s here. Pablo pointed it out to me.”
”Oh, no!”
“Yeah, so can you watch it while I call Lindsey Wildlife to see if they’re open today? Of course it’s Sunday.”
“Sure….” W agreed dubiously as she followed PP out to the ivy, both of them peering into the dark mass of foilage. Sure enough, the little guy was hunkered down in the leafy sanctuary, his little beady eyes darting around, terrified.
“Poor little guy….” W murmured.
“I’ll be right back,” PP had assured her, running back into the house to get Lindsey on the line. Fortunately, she’d gotten their number from JL yesterday and so had it handy.
“Hello, Lindsey Wildlife Museum, this is Tony.”
”Hi…yes…I have an injured crow that I need to bring to you and ….you guys are open today?”
“Yes, the hospital is open till 8 pm.”
Thank God, PP thought to herself. “Oh, I’m so relieved. But I don’t know what to do. I’ve never captured a wild bird before and I don’t know what to do.”
”Of course,” Tony had soothed, “Let me get someone from the hospital to talk you through it.”
“Thanks….” PP nervously held the phone as she watched Willa ducking the dive bombing parent crows while listening to a recording explaining the amount of venom baby rattlesnakes have in their bite and how the Kingfisher can do…..what? Where the hell was the person who was gonna walk her through the Crow Capture Procedure?

PP hung up and redialed. An authoritative woman answered the phone this time. “OH, hello, I was waiting for someone to help me with how to capture a wounded crow and …..”
”Did you get put on hold for a long time?”
”I can help you.”
”Oh thank goodness. I’ve never caught a wild bird before and….”
”First, let me ask you, how do you know it’s injured? It’s probably a fledgling and the fledglings can’t fly.”
”I’m pretty sure it’s hurt cuz it’s limping and falling over and oh it’s so sad….”
”Ok, yes, that doesn’t sound good. Now what you need to do it get a towel and from behind put the towel over it, covering its eyes and then pick it up, being careful not to crunch its little wings or breaking any little bones.”PP had swallowed hard. Damn. Could she do this?
“Then you need to put it in a box…”
”Will a cat carrier work?”
”Yes, that will work fine, just once you get it in the box, cover up the holes so it can’t see out. It will be scared when you pick it up and drive with all these images going by.”
Swallowing hard, PP had nodded. “Okay, I just hope I can do this….”
“You definitely can do it. Now let me give you directions to the hospital.”
”What’s your name?” PP had interrupted, thinking how glad she was to have this Crow Authority helping her.
“Wendy. Now where are you coming from? Ok, get on 24 heading…..”
PP had tried to listen and write down the directions but she was so scared and nervous at this point, esp. as she could see out the window how Willa’s ducking and the crows dive-bombing Caws had both increased in intensity.
“Ok….yes….thanks, I’ll see you soon. Thanks so much for your help,” PP had hung up, her hands shaking, her heart pounding.
Could she really do this?
Grabbing the Hawaii towel from its resting place on Parker’s chair and the cat box, PP ran outside to where Willa was crouching, the pair of angry Parent Crows cawing and diving.
“I hope I can do this,” PP had repeated nervously as she approached the baby cowering in the ivy, Willa watching anxiously from the side.
Of course, the baby hopped up and started to limp away, it’s little right wing flapping helplessly, its little body flopping over sideways in heartbreaking jerks.

PP followed it with the towel at the ready. Damn. How was she gonna capture it? The parents were cawing more frantically now, diving and flapping, as the baby hopped flopped under one of the cars and then out from under it again, resting for a moment in the driveway. PP snuck up quietly behind it to within a foot, out of its vision? Or was it just exhausted and terrified? Counting silently to herself…..1….2……3…..

PP tossed the towel gently over the little guy, landing it perfectly over the top of its little crouching body.

It didn’t move.

Willa stared at PP, mouth wide open, eyes startled wide with amazement, as PP softly approached the motionless little mound, “Willa, quick, can you run over and get the cat box?”Yes there is some irony in the crow going to the hospital in the cat box….but…..PP’s life is all about cats and so this fits. Or she hoped it would!

Running back with the box, W sat it down next to the towel mound as PP gently came up behind it, her hands shaking and heart pounding, yes, it’s cliché but true, then scooping up the little guy ever so gently and placing it in the box.
Easier than she’d thought!
Closing the box up, both PP and W breathed a huge sigh of relief as PP got out her keys and opened up the Geo. “Hope I don’t get lost trying to find this place,” she’d admitted to Willa.
“Don’t worry, you won’t. The Hard Part is over.”PP placed the cat box on the front seat, shaking her head, still nervous as hell.

But Willa was right. The Hard Part was over.

Or was it? PP tried to shake her apprehension away. What had she done? Now she had this little wild thing in a box and.....

But Willa was right, of course. Now it was up to Lindsey to help the little guy in whatever way they could. Sighing again, still nervous as hell, PP glanced down at the towel covered cat box as she started up the car. “You’re gonna be okay, little guy,” she murmured to him gently as she backed out of her parking spot and headed out to the Crow Hospital, whistling a little bird song she hoped would soothe him as she turned onto College Ave and headed off to Walnut Creek.

Driving down Hwy 24 toward Walnut Creek in the blasting Sunday afternoon traffic, PP tired to avoid another series of bumps on the road. Damn! She’d been cursing this ‘rough road’ for months now on her way to work, but it was doubly upsetting today with the little wounded guy in tow.

PP swallowed hard as she gripped the steering wheel, hoping her wounded wild passenger would survive the trip to Walnut Creek and not die of shock or heat suffocation on the way.

Why the hell was it so far away? PP felt like she was never gonna get to Lindsey Wildlife Hospital, esp. since she didn’t know where she was going.

A little rustle fluttered in the towel-covered box on the passenger seat. Sighing, PP tried to calm her nerves. A little noise was good, right? At least she knew he was still alive. “It’s ok, little guy,” she murmured softly. “Just hold tight and we’ll be there soon.” Stepping on the gas to pass a truck loaded with piles of cardboard, PP hurled down the freeway as fast as the little Geo would take her!

Pulling into the parking lot of the Lindsey Wildlife Hospital, PP breathed a sigh of relief. She’d found it! The directions from Wendy had been excellent and fortunately PP had remembered most of what she couldn’t read in her nervously scrawled notes. Of course, waiting at the signal to change after getting off the freeway at Trent and Geary was nerve-wracking as all get out. Why the hell were the signals so Goddamn long in the suburbs? But eventually it had turned green, and Lindsey fortunately wasn’t far from the highway, safely tucked in a residential neighborhood next to a recreation center with tennis courts, baseball field and probably a pool…..

But no time for that now, as PP parked the Geo and turned off the engine, hurrying around to the side door to retrieve her precious cargo. A silver SUV pulled up alongside her and out hopped a cute young Suburban Princess with a little brown paper bag in hand, its contents making little flapping noises as PP nodded to them.

PP gently carried the cat carrier into the hospital while Suburban Princess held the door open for them. Nervously, PP entered the pandemonium of Lindsey Wildlife Hospital, the front counter momentarily abandoned as personnel scrambled back and forth between waiting rooms that the rescuers had no access to. PP set the carrier up on the counter and waited nervously for what seemed like an eternity but was probably only 30 seconds or so before a Large Pasty White Woman strode out and gave her a forthright appraisal.
“Oh, hello, are you Wendy?” PP asked anxiously.
“No, Wendy works in the museum. How can I help?”
“Oh, well, she was very helpful and well……I have an injured crow here and….”
LPWW reached for the box before nodding to a Harried Looking Latina who had appeared to run the computer. “Can you describe what’s the matter?” HLL asked as she stared intently at the computer screen. PP narrated the story once more. How the little guy couldn’t fly, and yes, she knew now that fledglings couldn’t fly, but that it was also falling over on its little shoulder and didn’t seem to be able to hop on both legs, that one seemed to be injured and…….
LPWW nodded, taking the cat carrier with her. “Do you need your carrier and towel back?”
“Oh, yeah….sure, I guess….” PP had watched nervously as she disappeared into the animal fix it cubicle. “Will he be all right?”
LLPW turned, eyeing her patiently, “I don’t know. I’ll be right back. You can give your contact info to Roxanna.”
“Your address?” Roxanna asked.
PP dutifully started with the info as LPWW came back and started talking to Suburban Princess. “What happened?”
“My cat…”
”You should really try to keep your cat indoors.”
“She was only out for about 5 minutes….”SP murmured guiltily, handing over the little paper bag.
“Address?” Roxanna asked PP.
PP rattled it off.
“Sorry, I’m such a slow typist. Can you repeat that?”
“It’s a Lavender Starling,” LPWW came back to tell SP. “And it looks like your cat did quite a bit of damage in that 5 minutes.”
SP shook her head, muttered a quiet apology. What could she do now? She was here, after all.
“There are actually quite a lot of Lavender Starlings around," LPWW continued. "They are a very common bird and we’re in no danger of running out of them….”
”That’s fine,” SP had asserted. “I understand. As long as it has a quick end instead of the long slow one my cat would have given it.”Nodding professionally, LPWW handed SP a form to fill out. “Yes, well, thanks for bringing it in.”

PP tried to keep the shock off her face. They were just gonna do nothing to save the poor little Starling cuz there were plenty of them around? Damn. Maybe Lindsey Wildlife wasn’t the place to bring her Crow in after all?

PP tried not to cry about the Starling’s fate as she watched Roxanna continue to slowly type in her contact info. Turning around, PP saw a burly white guy with his fat wife and child in tow, holding a white plastic bag full of something.
“A dead possum,” he grunted, handing the bag over the counter to a worker. “And we’ve got the babies too.”
“Run over?” the worker asked matter of factly.
“Yeah, ‘fraid so….”
PP watched aghast as the bag was taken into a back room and the babies? Were they in the bag too? Whatever was in there was not moving!

LPWW returned to PP’s anxious plea, “Will the crow be ok?”
“I don’t know. When we let him out of the carrier he just seemed like a normal crow.”
“Oh, that’s good,” PP swallowed hard. Had she brought in a perfectly healthy crow for nothing? All this trauma and he was fine? But wouldn’t that be a good thing?
“So, when will you know if he’s gonna be ok?” PP asked.
“In a few days. We have very good vets here.”
”And what will you do if he’s ok? Will you release him here in Walnut Creek? Won’t that be confusing? I mean, his Crow Family back in Oakland is very distressed.”
“Yes, crows are very social animals. We’ll take him back to his original point of origin.”
“Oh, that’s good…” PP had murmured, thinking how maybe she could stop by on her way home from work and pick him up. But no, he was out of her hands now. Right?

“So, can I call you later to find out how’s he’s doing?” PP asked.
“Sure, here’s the number and the times to call. Give us a few days before you call.” Roxanna handed her a brochure with pictures of raccoons and hawks on it in tasteful evergreen line drawings.
Swallowing hard, PP smiled weakly. Her Crow was out of her hands now. She had done everything she could. Of course she could call later, but what if he didn’t make it? Would she want to know? Maybe it was better to let it all go. But yet…..

Roxanna gave PP a harried smile, “Don’t worry, we’ll take good care of him.”
“Thanks,” PP tried for a smile back.
“No, Thank YOU for having The Heart to bring him in.”
Grinning now, PP sighed. Yes, this was what it was all about—Heart.
And with a Happy One, PP made her way out of the hospital, and back to the Geo, finally ready for her trip to the pool, now that the little guy was safely in Lindsey’s Care, a place with Heart thanks to Roxanna.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Lovely I walks (and Swims!) again!

PP really wants to write this blog about the Lovely I’s marvelous road to recovery and their first trip to Mills without the wheelchair, but she’s so tired. (PP is, well, actually, the Lovely I is tired too, esp. after their swim.)

"Why am I so tired after coming here to Mills? she had asked. I mean. I can go to water therapy and do my water walking for 40 or even 45 minutes and I’m not this tired!”
“It’s the Hot Tub,” PP volunteers. “It saps all your energy.”
“Mmm… might have something there.”

“We spent the day looking at faucets,” Fix It GF announces as PP drives the Geo down Hwy 580, toward the Pool. “You wouldn’t believe how advanced they are now. No washers. They’re flexible. They have this special attachment so that you don’t get scalded when someone flushes the toilet.”
“That’s what I don’t get!” The Lovely I leans forward from the back seat. “How can scalding be such a Huge Issue? I mean, I’ve never been scalded in the shower from someone flushing the toilet.”
“Me neither,” agrees PP. “But I live alone. The only way I could get scalded is if Pablo decided to flush the toilet while I was in the shower.”
Fix-it GF and the Lovely I crack up.
“You laugh, but did I send you guys that video of the cat flushing the toilet?”
“No…..I don’t think so….” The Lovely I hesitates.
“Well, it was pretty funny. This guy was getting this huge water bill and thinking what the hell is up with that? And later he discovers that it’s the cat. He’s down there in the basement, flushing the toilet over and over again with his little kitty paw so he can watch the water swirl down.”
“You’re kidding!” Fix-it GF exclaims as the Lovely I chuckles her cute, “Heee Heee Heee….”

“Have you seen the movie, Something something something the Weeping Camel something something…..” The Lovely I asks PP who can’t remember all the longness of the title. Those documentaries. They’re so specific.

“No….” of course PP hasn’t seen it. She just rents really stupid Netflix fare like Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant making silly music together and then having sex under the grand piano.
Come to think of it, maybe that’s not such a bad idea…..
Anyway, the Weeping Camel film really impressed the Lovely I who narrates the cutest part as they make their way across the parking lot to the pool, the Lovely I actually walking up the stairs by herself without PP or Fix-it GF’s help whatsoever.
“You would love this movie, PP!” LI exclaims. “It’s just so cute. When the little camel calf is born, imagine, its little hump is FOLDED OVER! How considerate!”
PP giggles as she imagines a folded over hump all soft and gray atop the baby.
It does sound cute, but frankly, not as good as the Sex under the grand piano.

“So, I hafta tell you, PP,” the Lovely I stands up in the Hot Tub gently stroking the surface of the warm water back and forth as PP climbs in. “I had a dream about you.”
PP is so flattered. The Lovely I had a dream about her? Too cool!
“I was in this store, I don’t know where it was exactly, but it was your birthday and I wanted to get you something, so of course I thought of some Cat Chotchkee (PP knows she’s spelling that wrong, but you know what she means.) and so I did find this purrfect Cat Chotchkkee I can’t remember exactly what it was, but I was very worried that you wouldn’t want it or like it and then you came into the store and I thought ohmygod I hafta hide it from you and then It broke!”
The Lovely I paused, crestfallen for a moment.
PP grinned, “That’s ok. There’s a moratorium on Cat Knickknacks anyway. You must have known this ….”
”Do you mean that in my unconscious I somehow knew that you had a Cat Chotkee moratorium?”
“But how could she know?” Fix-it GF asks, puzzled and practical.
PP shruggs. “It’s just a pool cat telepathy thing I guess.”

“Have you read this?” Fix it GF hands PP a library book while they’re waiting for the Lovely I in the locker room. Something non fiction and political. PP can tell from the cover. She barely glances at it as Fix it GF begins to tell her about it. “It’s really interesting. It’s about how the right wing present day Christian Evangelists are really just like Hitler and the Nazis. How Hitler was considered this total outside nut case until and no one took him seriously. Of course, until it was too late. Just like the right wing Christians in this country.”
”I hope it’s not too late for us,” The Lovely I shakes her head.
Fix It GF sighs. Starts to pack up her stuff to head out to the deck.

PP is in awe of Fix-it GF. She knows everything that PP has no clue about. Faucets. Politics. How to do weights at the Y (You need to be careful to not do more than 15 reps at a time and yeah, I have Neck Issues too. You just have to be careful not to lift any weight over your head.” ) And Shade Vegetables. She has an allergy to them. PP doesn’t even know what a shade vegetable is. Fix It GF educates her: potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant and some other stuffs PP has never even heard of and can’t recall now.

“When’s your birthday?” the Lovely I asks PP on the way home after their exhausting but restorative swim in the late afternoon, the sky blue gold over Downtown Oakland.
“February.” PP answers wondering why she was asking. Maybe she was planning on having another dream?
“Hello Kitty!” Fix-it GF exclaims. “They make a Hello Kitty Vibrator.”
”I already have one,” PP grins, flattered that such a charming Lesbian would even mention such a thing to her.
“Oh…” Undaunted, Fix-It GF ponders for a moment. “How about a Hello Kitty Toaster?”
”Yes, I have that too. It makes toast with Hello Kitty’s Face imprinted on it. I can even make the Toast,” PP brags as she remembers the fancy menu of shade vegetables that was discussed earlier in the locker room.
“I would come over for Hello Kitty Toast,” the Lovely I murmurs wistfully.
“Done!” PP exclaims. She could handle this meal. All she had to do was buy some white bread and make some peppermint tea.
“Your birthday’s coming up, isn’t it?” PP asks LI as she heads over to Hwy 24 and exits at Claremont Ave.
“Yes….” The Lovely I sighs.
“Well, what do you want for your birthday?”
“Oh…..nothing that you guys can get me. What I want for my birthday is completely abstract and non purchasable.”
“Oh, c’mon, try us,” PP pushes.
“I want Muscles for my birthday,” she sighs again.
PP nods as she tries to think of a way to get these for the Lovely I.
“Maybe I could get you some sort of blow up Muscle Model or something like that?” Fix-it GF exclaims as the Lovely I climbs out of the Geo by herself and heads up to their lavender trimmed home.

PP doesn’t think the Lovely I heard this great idea, or if she did, it was just too much for her to respond to in her post swim exhaustion. PP sees how much the Lovely I has improved since several weeks ago. No wheelchair. Walking without trepidation. Swimming again at Mills.
It’s a long road. PP knows this from her own recovery after her surgery so many years ago. 3 weeks to walk a half a block. 3 months before returning to teaching.
But hell, only 10 days till she was back in the Pool even though the doc told her to wait 6 weeks.
6 weeks without swimming? Can you even imagine?

And so, PP sympathizes so much with the Lovely I’s desire to get better faster.
But these bodies of ours. They have their own schedule. And it’s not up for negotiation.

Well, unless of course, Swimming is involved.

"Thanks so much for the ride!" Fix-it GF slams the car door and follows the Lovely I up to the house.
"Yes, it was so nice seeing you again," the Lovely I calls out as she stops to pick up the mail.

Grinning, PP throws the Geo into gear and sighs happily.
It's so nice to see the Lovely I and Fix-it GF again for a swim.

Now if she could just figure out how to have Sex under a Grand Piano!