Clouds and Lawnmowers

Well, I’m back to the real world.  And I’m not referring to some metaphorical physical locality as much as to a state of mind context. I thought I had better make that clear otherwise I’ll be implicating Arizona in our short respite, let alone being vilified by some Arizonians as a result.

Despite some flubbed and frustrated plans, time was well spent with daughters and family.

What? Flubbed and frustrated plans? well, at least I thought so ....

First, my pastoral and rustic fixation was not served by not driving on Hwy 89 - to and from Arizona.  On our way there, we got to the crossover point at which to link with 89, but it was around twelve midnight and I did not want to venture into some unknown and unfamiliar territory in the middle of the night; it was foolish to have even tried, I was convinced. Daylight would certainly have made a difference.  As compromise, however, I silently promised to take Hwy 89 on our way back to Utah.  But even that did not materialize due to the forest fires around the area (Flagstaff) during which about a thousand homes had to be evacuated.

Second, one of our grandsons had planned for me to take him to see Toy Story 3 on Saturday (opening weekend). I was sick in the stomach Friday evening and it got worst before movie time so I was unable to go ...Bummer! Oftentimes when vacationing, and we get sick, people always say it’s one of three things specific to the new locale: drinking water, weather or the air. It’s definitely not the water. Who drinks tap water anymore? Now we drink bottled water from far away and exotic places like Switzerland or Fiji - whoohoo Fiji! - and even as close and local as Utah. (In case you didin’t know, the recent Great American Water Taste Test named Beaver, Utah as having the best bottled water in America.)  Beaver is one of the small cities through which we pass on our way to Vegas/Arizona.  So my mishap was likely due to the weather, air, OR ...something I ate!

Third, Sunday morning (Father’s Day) I was planning to get up early for a jog - before the heat wave onset - but by then I still wasn’t feeling well enough. I still tried though, but the closest I got was standing outside looking up to a clear blue sky with the sun in my eyes - no clouds anywhere. The Carpenters hit song "Top of the World" was humming in my mind. In Arizona, clouds are as rare as lawnmowers - go figure!  So I went back inside and settled for a butt-on-couch-with-eyes-on-tv morning eating suafa’i and French bread with butter for breakfast. Quite a nutritious meal, aye? We’re talking about fats and carbs all in one sitting. Oh, and the Sunday to’ana’i of taro, lu’au, shrimp, crab legs, fish and dessert (ice-cream) did not help either. No there was no green/veggie salad!  And if all of that is not enough, the 24 hours total of sedentary driving capped off the calorie invasion of Father’s Day weekend.  In that case, I’ll make sure to double or triple my gym hours this week together with a heavy dose of racquetball.  Ubetcha!

Arizona temperatures averaged 104 degrees during the weekend and it was just too hot for moi. You step out to drive to the store and the difference between near-frigid cold inside and the heat outside is an experience in extremes. The difference brought back memories of my Apia sojournment while attending Samoa College - and Leifiifi.

Remember McKenzie’s? ...the store with the cold gusting air condition?  After school my friends and I would always go into McKenzie’s just to feel the colder-than-cool air-condition - not to buy anything. Then right next door, we would walk through the BWS building which had a climate-controlled feel of its own. Some members of our clique would be audacious enough - bordering on rudeness and disrespect - to raise their gold lavalavas like ballet tutus just to get the cold air underneath. Some girls did the same thing too.

All in all, in some serendipitous sense - for me at least - the experience of the hot-cold osmosis in Arizona became a cordial and placid deja vu, while time spent with family is certainly priceless and to be treasured forever.

Once again, I’m back home now where the cloud-hovered mountain peaks seem like a larger than life landscape painting, and where my Saturday sleep-ins are cut short (pun intended) by the crackling sounds of lawnmowers, especially at this time of year.

Is this the real world?  It’s mine alright ......

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