We moved into our current house 17 years ago. Steph was a little over 1-1/2 years old. Josh was 5-1/2. Geoff was 12. Geoff left for college 11 years ago. Josh made his exit four years ago. And today Kathy and I took Steph to the University of Montana in Missoula. After hauling her belongings up to her dorm room, we left to pick up a few more things and get something to eat. Returning to her dorm, we said our goodbyes.
Now I will pass by three empty bedrooms when I go to bed at night and get up in the morning. Rooms I used to sneak into late at night and put money in place of the tooth under the pillow. Rooms I barged into on Saturday mornings, like a cheerful alarm clock, loudly strumming my guitar. Rooms I painted as the occupants shifted. Rooms still bearing the scars of a child's decorating skills. Rooms that echoed with laughter and occasional crying. Rooms from which thunderstorms and sunsets were held in awe. Where pale night lights made the late night trip to the bathroom a breeze.
As I left Stephanie in her dorm room today, I hugged her and told her I love her. My voice quavered just a bit, almost betraying the emotion I was keeping at bay. This evening, as I pass by three empty bedrooms, I do not feel the need for such restraint.
The view from her room.
She has this whole side of the room all to herself.
Yesterday afternoon the River Park Square Mall closed off the area at their Main Street entrance to allow bee keepers to remove a swarm of bees that had collected there the day before. The bees were not pleased at being disturbed but fortunately they'll live to pollinate another day.
Cathy McMorris Rodgers's town hall meeting was civil and lacking in substance. Pretty much what I expected. Everyone got two tickets with matching numbers. If you wanted to ask a question you put one ticket in the barrel. Quite a few people put their tickets in but didn't ask a question so there were some long pauses as we waited to see if anyone would come to the microphone.
Cathy's supporters on one end of the street.
Joe Pakootas supporters were just down the road.
Security and staff were very polite.
I figured my odds were between slim and none but I decided I would ask about climate change if my number was drawn. And since one woman was allowed to go on at length about how much she loved Cathy, I decided I would do the same but in the opposite vein.
Danged if my number wasn't the last one drawn.
Surprised, and now nervous, I came to the mike and started telling Cathy what a disappointment she was to me, how she looked out for corporate interests, didn't really care about her constituents, and was unable to answer any of the questions posed this evening. That got both sides of the crowd excited.
Then I asked her about climate change. "Regardless that 97% of climate scientists says climate change is manmade, even if it wasn't, if we can take steps to reduce our carbon footprint and mitigate the effects, should we be taking them?" Something like that. Like I said, I was nervous.
That got the crowd riled up. Her supporters yelled it wasn't science and those who don't support her cheered. She rambled on about cap and trade legislation, CO2 levels, and the State of Washington being required to reduce carbon by 73%. She also said she believed in being a good steward. But then she said, "I am not a scientist."
If an oncologist says you have 6 months to live and you go to another one and she says the same thing, how many do you go to before you face reality? Or do you say, "I'm not a doctor," and ignore it? If climate change was a cancer, Cathy McMorris Rodgers is killing T cells.
*** Update: I almost forgot. When the town hall was over, some guy in a ball cap that said "Veteran" came up to me.
"I got a question for ya."
"What's that?" I asked.
"How come they haven't outlawed dihydrogen monoxide?"
"You're a funny guy," I said. But I was thinking, "You're a dick."
"Most of those tree huggers don't know what the fuck it is."
He should drink some dihydrogen monoxide from a source polluted by fracking. Then he'd learn a lot more impressive scientific names. And he could rave on about keeping government regulation to a minimum.
A friend took a chance on me and hired me to shoot cyclists taking part in the WunderWoman Triathlon this morning. It was a fun, yet nerve wracking experience. It's one thing to shoot for yourself, but it's a whole different deal when someone is paying you and expecting results. Hopefully, I did okay.
When I got my orange vest I was told to expect questions from people. Sure enough, not ten seconds later a woman asked me where the bike checkin is. Then she saw the camera. "Oh, you're the photographer."
My brother John came over for the weekend and he brought his single speed along. He's thinking about racing cyclocross single speed only this year just to see how it goes. This morning we headed over to Riverside State Park and had a blast riding the trails. There were a couple of hills that were pretty challenging. We had to start walking about three minutes into Five Minute Hill. We're both looking forward to a fun 'cross season, his on the west side and mine mostly here.
We ran across a guy riding a 29er who was carrying a small sidearm. What's up with that? Afraid of being waylaid?