These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

el venado

i know i'm doing this backwards, but that's the kind of guy i am. i like to mix it up. since i've not blogged in several weeks, why not now. let the floodgates open wide.

our trip was almost not a trip. we might not have made it out of michigan last saturday on our way to o'hare in chicago.

we were headed south on I-196 on the 17 or so mile marker when it happened.

i remember dawn saying, "oh." then she said, "i'm going to hit a deer." she was calm when she said it. my insides roiled. i panicked because i knew what could happen is a car strikes a deer. people can get hurt or die. i prepared. all of this happened in seconds.

dawn slowed, but really couldn't do much because there was a car right behind her. there were cars just slightly behind us to ourleft and right. and there were others behind those. so dawn slowed a bit, but only enough. anymore and the car behind us would have hit us.

the deer had emerged from the grassy median and ran across the highway.

it struck the front area where the license plate would go, then it slammed into the front of the hood and then it flew at an angle to the right toward my side and it struck the extreme upper corner of the windshield and where the top corner of the door is located. all i saw was a dark object coming across. then a thud. then the antenna was gyrating back and forth as it was struck by the deer.

dawn looked back and saw nothing. then she noticed the deer off to one side near an exit ramp. we kept going for a bit, we couldn't stop because of the traffic. i called 911 and reported the hit deer. someone had already reported it. we stopped a few miles down the road and examained the damage. we didn't know if where was any. we couldn't see it. but there was. the plate where the license plate would go flew off and the headlight is pushed in some. there a big dent on our hood, as if a very large person sat on it. when i saw it today, it reminded me of a sheet of foil that's had a hand push it down to form a big dent in it.

we lucked out that a cop stopped as we examined the car. he helped us out a lot. he gave us the number to call for a report. we filed a police reprt there through the phone.

we then drove the car to chicago, where it stayed at laura's place. saturday we drove it back. it runs fine. luckily the motor was undamaged. it was so crazy. it that deer had not flown off at an angle, it would have come straight into the windshield. i don't know what kind of shit would have happened, but i think we wouldn't have gotten away scot free. it was a big deer. dawn said it had no anglers. still, the impact could have driven it in a different direction.

we count our lucky stars.

the party

we flew into chicago early saturday. we had a late flight into o'hare (4 p.m.) , but it was really too late and we wold have come into holland well past 10 p.m. way too late.

also, denise was having her birthday party at jojo's and we wanted to make it.

so we switched flights late friday and made it onto a 6:20 a.m. flight. we woke up at 3:30 a.m. to get our shit straight and headed to the airport. it was nuts, but we were off, landing at 9:05 at o'hare. we made it back to holland at 3 p.m., naped and prepared for the party.

it was wild. los bandits took the stage and they jammed. the small dance floor was scattered full of the same denise crowd that included aida, lisa, rick, diana, her sisters, mig, dawn and me, as well as a few other crazies. we jigged and jived and sweated. it was awesome.

the music was just loud enough, but it didn't overshadow conversation much and they mix it up with different songs and styles. i danced everything from los lonely boys "heaven" to the righteous brothers "loving feeling" to ramon ayala's "un rinconsito en el cielo." my hair was drenched. it's as if i'd run a mile or something.

we hunkered down and met the crowd of crazies. i told dawnie as we left that it's a good crowd of folks. i dig em. they all know each other. dawn and i are the newest ones to come into that crowd. some have known each other for many years. yet, dawn and i fit right in with them. they are a generous group of people, accepting and embracing.

all in all, a nice way to end our vacation.
happy birthday, d.

there and back

it's been a long time since i've posted. sometimes it gets hard to do it. i'm unsure why, since i've got time. maybe i find my life boring at times anf eel there's nothing to write about.

now there is.

we returned saturday afternoon (after a 6:20 a.m. flight from san antonio to chicago) from a week-long trip to texas to visit my family. it was the first trip back since my dad died in november.

emotions ran high before we left. i was not sure how to react other than i knew it would be strange without dad around the ranch. i didn't know if i'd be fine or if i'd cry or if i'd be sad.

it turned out that it was a balance. i didn't cry, nor did anyone else the week we were there. i see it as a good thing. we're all coping with dad's death and trying to move forward as best we can.

it ended up being the most relaxed trip we've taken back home after moving to michigan. the first trip back in march 2005 was the first back in more than a year and a half. it was hectic, we tried to visit too many people and i think we failed in simply enjoying ourselves and not setting limitations as to who we'd visit. so we visited everyone. not good.

then two months later dad was diagnosed with cancer. we took our first trip after his diagnosis injune 2005. every trip we've taken home after that, we were dealing with my dad's cancer. it was a dark cloud over us. after awhile we knew he wasn't going to survive and it was a matter of time. we just didn't know when. although we enjoyed ourselves during those trips home, there was always that underlying issue of the cancer.

during this trip that underlying feeling was gone. the dark cloud of cancer was lifted, granted at the expense of my dad's death. i really don't know how to explain it other than the trip was like adeep breath being exhaled and having a sense of relief. very relaxed.

we visited with mom and stayed at her house. i took a beatles dvd for her to watch to take her back to the '60s. she dug it. it was good to see her. she fluctuated between moments of sadness and beign happy. she was glad to have us there, though.

my bro and sis, well, they were cool cats. i saw my brothers only a few days, since he worked, but he took us out to eat and that was very nice. in fact the whole family was together for it at chili's. it was fun. linda was generous, too. we hung out at her house at night and talked and laughed.

and the kids? rena is getting so big. it's hard to imagine. she was the same brat i bundled up one day and put her in a red wagon and took her for a ride. it was cold, but she withstood it. now, she won't even fit in the red wagon. little rena's growing up. fast. ricky, too, is getting taller. he and i went for walks and we even found a turtle (or tortoise). dawn ad i took the kids to corpus to the bookstore. we like to get them reading. it's become some sort of tradition. they like it.

emma grace. good lord, she's big and a chatterbox. she remembered me and dawn. she does call dawn by name, some morphed form of dawn. but it sounds like it. she called me uncle. it's cute. we had fun with her.

we went out to eat countless times, even in san antonio, where we met up with linda and arnold, emmaa and mom (they took mom to san antonio to get out of the house and took emma to the zoo).

we slid back into reality saturday afternoon when re drove back into holland. we napped and rested before tonight. (see previous blog).