Monthly Archives: May 2010

Into the Desert – SoCal Roadtrip Part 2

Jade and I went on a trip a few months ago and have only gotten around to posting photos from the first half of it. I want to apologize. I’m sure you’ve all been sitting on the edge of your seat, biting your fingernails, hitting the refresh button for the past thirteen hundred hours, afraid to go to the bathroom because you might miss the big moment, the grand unveiling, the season finale.

Well fear not. It is here, finally; part deuce of our trip down south. Let us begin with a short haiku about the Salton Sea:

It smells like fish butthole

Is that bad?

Unless you’re highly disturbed, yes.

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We pull up to the Salton Sea and see salty swans fly over our sea shored sands….actually, they were pelicans and actually, there was no sand. IN FACT, as I opened my door and lowered my foot to the ground, towards the “sand” I heard a small crunch and, as I looked down, I realized that the shore of the beach was made up of nothing more than thousands and thousands of crushed fish bones that have been washed up over a possible millenia.

It was disturbing, yes; disgusting, you betchya; slightly morbid? Yes, I can get behind that as well. Clementine leapt from the car and started rolling on it, getting the fragile bones tangled up in her short fur, covering herself in sandy fish skin particles. I gag and look to my left.

Kaidance is chewing on a fish head.

I puke.

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Jade tells me to sit down with the dogs for a photo. I tell her that I would rather die. I tell her that I would LITERALLY rather die. I would rather have one of those stupid pelicans swoop down from the sky and pluck my eyes right out of my head then sit down on dried fish guts. I say, “Are you serious? Are you crazy? I mean, fer real? Are you cuhRAZY?”

Jade rolls her eyes and says, quote, “Stop being a sissy”. I change the subject and say, “Hey, look, a golf ball.” I throw it and when it hits the ground / mass grave, “dust” explodes and the wind picks it up and it blows on me and I hold my breath and start looking around for incoming pelicans.

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Can you imagine what a million dead fish smells like? Have you ever tried not flushing your toilet all day to conserve water? Have you ever pulled the lid off of something that ‘s been in your fridge, forgotten, for months? Have you ever had an elephant accidentally sit on you and inadvertently suck you up into his massive bung? Have you ever done all three of these things in one single second and then been forced to breathe that magical essence in for an hour?

I looked across Bone Beach and across the sea / mossy, foamy, green, brown body of liquid waste and saw houses….er……”houses”……Mainly I saw mobile homes.

Of course.

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Finally we’d all had our fill (Kaidance after six fish heads and some crusty fins) and decided to make like an apple tree and get outta there. We coasted gently through the trailer park, examining the fine lawn art (sadly, not pictured), the 4-wheelers for sale, and the exemplary craftsmanship someone had performed while attaching a deck to the top of their double wide. We smiled and waved at the inhabitants, unsure if they spoke our language, unsure if they’d ever seen a human with over six teeth and then, rounding the corner, we found a Dead End sign and I was sure we’d had it. The degenerates, the monsters that called this place home had trapped us. I was positive I’d be turning around only to find a crowd of limping, hunchbacked, underdeveloped Cro-Magnums lumbering toward me with rocks and sticks held high.

No. Nothing. We left, outwardly unscathed, inwardly scarred for life.

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After leaving a place like that, you can’t help but want to find the nearest watering hole to rinse your dry and dusty mouth out. You need to find a gas station to rinse your filthy, flaky skin off. You need some iron wool, a hot steam gun and some sort of scrapey tool to get truly clean.

Alas, we were in the desert and had none of this. We slept in our filth. We ate with it’s stench clinging to us.

We were becoming hobos, traveling vagrants. The transformation had begun.

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We traveled on to the nearest town (pictured below), which was pretty much a bust.

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We drove on some more to the NEXT town, which definitely had more buildings, although they all seemed to have been emptied and abandoned long ago, say…….1962…..

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We drove on and found ANOTHER mobile home park. We coasted around in it for a bit, hoping to see something remarkable. We found that most of the inhabitants decide to leave their Christmas lights / ornaments up year round, probably for simplicity’s sake. What with all the drugs they’re undoubtedly cooking in their bathtubs, they probably don’t have any time left to deal with menial things like front yards.

Jade takes a picture of their post office and then we dart out of town before nightfall, before we would surely be raped and eaten by The Imbreds.

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In the morning, civilization……

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…..sort of……

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We park in the McDonald’s lot, brush our teeth, order breakfast and go to………..I turn to Jade and ask, “Where, exactly, are we going now?” I tell her, “I’ve sort of had my fill of trailer parks”. She nods and agrees, pulls out her eye-phone and does a search for “Things to do at Salton Sea”. A moment passes before she says, “We could go see Jesus Mountain”.

She doesn’t have to explain what it is. I am sold.

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A man who’s name I can’t remember started building Salvation Mountain in a year I can’t recall and he’s been at it ever since. People donate paint to him and he just covers this mountain in it. He paints it different colors and he paints different phrases about love and salvation and peace and people can come see it and it’s free and crazy.

The mountain is hollowed out and painted inside as well. It is one enormous piece of art.

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We researched it and found that a number of organizations have offered to pay this man money. They’ve offered him large sums of cash to fund his project. They would pay for the paint and let him go nuts, just as he already has.

…the only catch is that these groups would like him to rope in the message a little bit. They’d like him to explain that God’s love isn’t EXACTLY for everyone. They’d like him to say that it’s not for gay people and most sinners.

He kindly declined their offer and went on painting his message of free love and I applaud him for that.

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Lots of people are probably concerned about the environment when they hear that a guy has poured over 2,000 gallons of paint on this little mountain but…….I don’t know……..I’m not a scientist but it seems that…….the area is pretty much just dirt………and………uh…….more dirt….

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“Into the Wild” is a book about Christopher McCandless, a young boy who later adopted the moniker Alexander Supertramp. It’s a true story and is based on the tales of an over-enthusiastic young man with ideals of freedom. He comes from a rich family and decides that money can’t buy happiness. He burns his ID and his money and heads out into the wilderness. He abandons his car and carries only what he can on his back. He is a wanderer, an explorer and a true vagabond.

At some point on his journey to Alaska (his goal) he stops in a little place called Slab City in southern California and by Jove, we stumbled right across it by accident on our way to Salvation Mountain!!

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Slab City is “The Last Free Place on Earth”. There are no laws but there is no crime. It is the officially unofficial gathering place of all things free; people or families escaping the bend of life. They come here and they exist. They live in trailer homes and RVs and tents. They sell things to one another, books, food and art work. There is a church and a talent show and some of the homes are even strictly solar powered.

The area is about 3-5 blocks long and looks like it houses several hundred locals.

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We, however, would not be staying……not yet……but someday……someday we’ll be back and we’ll spend the night in Slab City. But tonight……tonight we had to get home because the world was calling and beckoning to us. It was Sunday and we had to work the following morning.

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We found this weird sign next to the salty river that leads into the Salton Sea. I don’t totally get it but I don’t totally NOT get it, either, which is sort of strange.

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There was no vehicle, so I guess it was okay to be there, taking pictures of their…..yard?….

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SO THERE YA HAVE IT LADIES AND GERMS!! From sand dunes to the salty dudes; Salton Sea to Salvation Mountain and from trailer park to trailer park, this was an official adventure but now it’s over.

You may return to your regularly scheduled programming.

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It’s Officially Official

WE’RE PREGNANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Beta level on Monday was 99 and as of this morning we’re sitting pretty at 270.

We’ve heard whispers of twins………………..

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Pregnant until Proven Otherwise

With the current success of the egg retrieval one week behind us, Jade and I have been patiently (anxiously) sitting by our big red phone, waiting for the call from the reproductive endocrinologist (pooty doctor) with what we hope will be good news noose (Freudian slip) regarding our fertilization report (bun in the oven).

Here’s how our stats break down:

They harvested 33 eggs from Mother Hen, 21 of which were mature enough to proceed to the next step – FERTILIZATION!!

Of the 21 fertilized, 18 eggs were a success!! I immediately began formulating my plans to make a baseball team, a family band and my own personal entourage when Jade informed me that we’d only be implanting 2. BLAST! I immediately began reconstructing my plan. I’d form a tandem bicycling team, a small vaudeville act and a slightly smaller and more intimate version of my previous entourage. SUCCESS!!

Because we had so many successfully fertilize, our embryologist recommended that we freeze 10 and let the remaining 8 continue to develop for a five day transfer. We both casually nodded our heads, completely oblivious to what she was talking about. Personally, I couldn’t get the phrase, “Doctor Lady say smart thing. We do. Baby, fun, soft, pink.” out of my head.

She told us to show up on Monday.

While we drove home, I spaced out (these new cars pretty much run themselves, anyway) thinking that, somewhere out there, somewhere behind me, there were these little things…they were part Jade and they were part me and they were sort of neither of us. I started thinking about how making babies is like macaroni and cheese. Yes, the crunchy noodles are good when eaten plain. Yes, the powdered cheese is a little dusty but oh so tasty. Yes, they’re each good individually but doesn’t the the real magic come from the perfect union of the two substances coming together in a near divine concoction of pasta that you want to curl up with and snuggle?

We had, for all intents and purposes, reproduced.


Alas, Monday morning arrives and we show up at nine bells, ready and willing to be impregnated.

Based on previous discussions with us, they had already prepped our two grade As – no sense turning my wife’s sausage storage into a clown car. The embryologist (who was standing behind this weird Mr. Ed type door, staring down Jade’s wazoo) said our little chicklet babies were “textbook” and were ranked 8AB – the highest grade she gives. I could tell that Jade was already gushing with maternal pride when the lady turned to me and said, “These are great eggs. GREAT eggs. That’s no offense to the sperm, but these are GREAT eggs”. I just smiled and laughed but thought, “I’d like to see you do what you do without me, lady”.

That said, without further ado………behold……..our blastocyte spawns and a weird looking penis shape!

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Now join with us, won’t you, and cross every part of the body you can – fingers, toes, eyes – and believe that Jezuz-Pleazuz, we will see a miracle.

Monday is the big day!


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When I was a kid I got suplexed.

My buddy and I were wrestling and he wrapped his arms around me, his chest to my back. He locked his wrists and flipped me backwards, crashing my noggin into the floor of his parents’ messy trailer home. My bottom tooth smashed into my top tooth and shattered the corner. If you look at my broken, mangled smile you can actually see the culprit and the victim on the left side, trapped forever standing next to one another in an awkward silence.

Today, however, is not about awkward silences. Today is about SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY! Today the missus and I are going to the fertility clinic to remove my wife’s sweet, sweet eggs. They go in with a vacuum, dig around and extract. It’s sort of like an abortion in reverse.

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We only wait a few moments before they call our name and take us into a room that is entirely white. The black nurse sticks out like a sore thumb and tells Jade to put on some sort of strange magic lotion that will numb her skin, making it painless for when they put in the IV. After battling cancer and having some 37 injections and IVs combined I’m wondering just where this stupid potion was about a year ago. Truthfully, I think it was just a placebo. Jade covers the back of her hand with it while the nurse, who’s name was Denise Crist (pronunciation on that last name, Jezuz-Please-Us) tells my Zygote Momma to put on her Egg Makin’ Uniform. Some people say that the eyes are the windows to the soul. I say that hospital gowns are the windows to the butt. Jade double knots the belt and puts the gripped hospital booties on OVER her “Lucky Socks”.

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Denise asks if she’d like her to take a picture of the three of us. I look chubbier than I do in my head, Jade looks like she doesn’t fully grasp the purpose of the hairnet and June (Jade’s mom) looks like her anxiety pills have just started to wear off.

Jade says, “Just push the button to take the picture” and Denise says, “This one? This one?” and Jade says, “Yep – that one right there”. My first thought is, “Why does everyone have such a hard time operating cameras?” My second thought is, “Is it strange that my mother-in-law is present at the conception of my children?” I pinch myself to make sure I’m not having some dream that is about to go down a very bad road.

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Someone takes a photo of us, maybe it’s Jade. Someone says, “How do I do it?” Someone else says, “Just push the button”. Every time I hear the shutter click I wonder if this will be The Photo that I will look at years from now and remember this moment by, here and gone. I look around the room and wonder if this is how I pictured it all. It’s not but it’s still very cool.

I wonder about people having children “naturally” and I wonder about accidental pregnancies and I start to wonder about all the things that can go wrong and I start to get scared that something horrible will happen, that something will go wrong. I start to think about how it’s a miracle that anyone survives past infancy. My mind starts to go koo-koo-bananas when I notice that Denise has left the room and Jade is applying more Magic Cream to her hands. She sees me watching, shrugs and says, “Better safe than sorry”.

Denise enters back into the room. Jade sees her and throws the tube back onto the silver tray with a clatter and starts to whistle, gazing out the window.

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Denise opens up this door and says, “Here’s where it happens”. I take a step too near, over a red line and she says, “STAND BACK! STAND BACK! YOU CAN’T CROSS THAT LINE! THAT’S THE DIRTY LINE! THAT SIDE OF THE LINE IS DIRTY AND THIS SIDE IS CLEAN! YOU STAY ON THE DIRTY SIDE! DIRTY SIDE!”

I leap back, suddenly terrified that The Hand of God was going to strike me dead for entering the Holiest of Holies without a proper invitation. We start talking to Denise about restaurants, which happens to be something she loves. She tells us that she’ll never start smoking but she can’t say no to a stick of butter. She tells us that one of her favorite restaurants is Homestyle Buffet (which is pretty much every food you could ever imagine served on three Power Buffets). Jade and I tried it once and couldn’t go back. Denise says it’s like eating at your Grandma’s house and I refrain from asking her if her grandma resides in the Bog of Eternal Stench and if she boils her bacon until it’s done just right. Jade politely says that she didn’t really like it. Denise just laughs knowingly and says, “Girl, you’re the wrong demographic”.

I’m pretty sure she was implying something about race, about black people loving Crappy Power Buffet but I’m too afraid too ask for fear of sounding racist. I’m always afraid to even MENTION race because I don’t want to sound racist. Sometimes I just ignore people’s race altogether. If someone says, “Hey, you know that Puerto Rican guy?” I’ll just say, “Puerto Rican? Hmm, I guess I didn’t notice.”

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Jade’s mom shouts, “PICTURE TIME!” and Jade sits on my lap and in my head I laugh about her beanie / hairnet again. I do this a lot, laugh inside my own head without actually laughing out loud. Sometimes people say something and I just smile and they go, “Don’t you think that’s funny?” and I say, “Yeah, I laughed inside my head” and they think I’m insulting them.

I have to keep pinching Jade’s leg and saying, “Look at the birdie” because her eyes keep drifting back to the Magic Cream. She asks me if she could put that stuff on her face and I just shrug, smile, laugh in my head.

We have to take this picture six times because I keep blinking. Have you ever noticed how often newsreporters blink? All the time.

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Denise brought in one of my sperm. She said this was the one they chose based strictly on it’s size. I tell her that the head-to-body proportion seemed to be squed and that I’m concernced that those attributes may carry over to the finished product. I tell her I don’t want some “damn Quosimodo hunchbacked big headed monster”.

Jade insists on taking our first ever father / son photo.

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One topic that seems to be playing on repeat is the “Will you promise me that you’ll stay Above The Blanket when we’re in the birthing chamber? Jade tells me that I don’t want to see The Man Behind the Curtain. She tells me that that much knowledge could kill a man. She makes me pinky promise with my little toe.

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Denise leaves again. We’ve now been waiting in the Heaven Room for about 90 minutes. Jade starts to slowly reach for the Magic Cream again, mumbling something about, “……never have too much….” I slap her hand away and she tells me that once the eggolas go back in that she can’t pick up dog poop.

Dog poop.

That just sounds disgusting and demeaning.

She says there’s something in the bacteria or aura of it. She says she can’t pick up dog vomit. She says dog pee is off limits. I catch onto her little game and ask if she has to stay away from laundry detergent, dish soap, olive oil and making the bed. She says she’s serious. I tell her that I bet she is.

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Then, suddenly, things start to happen. Things start to move. A woman, an old woman, a doctor, Mother Time, steps around the curtain. She is from Mother Russia and was probably a young woman sometime during the Great Depression. You could get lost in her wrinkles. I mean that literally, like, “HEY! I’M TRAPPED!!!”

She introduces herself and says that she’s the anastesiologist. She says she’ll be doing the IV. She smiles and leaves, disappearing behind the curtain and out of the room. Jade twists her head towards me, pinches a nerve in her neck and shout-whispers, “SHE’S giving me an IV?? Nononono – SHE CAN’T HOLD A NEEDLE STILL! SHE’S GOING TO BE LIKE THIS -” Jade then proceeds to wobble her hand from side to side drunkenly.

I tell her to relax.

Mother Time comes back into the room with an IV and steps up to Jade’s left side. She picks up her hand and Jade starts to hyperventilate. I squeeze her hand and imitate casual breathing. June takes a few pictures and giggles, examines some rubber gloves.

Mother Russia pokes a vein and says, “Zees von eez gewd. Vee veel pokey zees von.” She rips open the needle. Jade turns her head and looks at which vein Doc Oc is pointing to. June blows up the rubber glove and laughs again. I say, “Jade, look here” and I keep breathing casually, loudly, just as Jade starts to scream, “I DIDN’T PUT THE MAGIC LOTION THERE! I DIDN’T PUT IT ON THE SIDE OF MY HAND!! NOOOO – oh, that wasn’t so bad….

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Denise and Wrinkles ask us to go back to the waiting room. They are ready. Jade comes over to kiss me on the cheek and I give her a big hug. This. Is. It. The beginning of the beginning. She walks into The Big Room with them and the last I see of her, she’s chatting about roadtrips, IV in tow, lucky socks leading the way.

As June and I enter back into the waiting room, we find ourselves surrounded by hopeful couples and I can’t help but wonder if they all think that June and I are “A Thing”. I want to make this as uncomfortable as possible so I set my coffee down, take June’s purse for her. I lean in and say, “They think we’re together” and she says, “uh-UH!!” and I say, pretty loudly, “That’s right, Babe” and then I put my arm around her and laugh.

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Thirty minutes later we’re back with Jade and she’s groggy but good. I give her a copy of Pregnancy for Dummies. At the bookstore when I bought it, the lady says, “Oh, I bet this is good.” I laugh and say, “Yeah”. I point to the word “Pregnancy” and say, “That’s my wife” and then I point to the word “Dummies” and say, “And that’s me”.
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I leave the bookstore excited about the day when my kid will be old enough to have a sleepover, stay up until 3am drinking Root Beer and getting suplexed by his buddy.

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