I feel a certain sense of responsibility to post at least weekly when we aren’t traveling in the Airstream, and there’s a sort of editorial guilt that comes up when I realize I haven’t written anything in longer than that. I hate the epidemic of bloggers all over the Internet who post a few entries saying things like, “I know I have posted in a while but I’ve been busy. I’ll get up to date this week, so check back soon!” And of course they never write again…
But hey, if I’m busy, that’s when the posting really happens. It’s when things get routine or even dull that causes me to lose my inspiration.
Such has been the case lately. This has been a quiet season for TBM, something I regret. The three weeks of bachelorhood have flown by but except for my archaeology tour all the days seem about the same. I’ve gotten work things done. The Fall magazine is now well into layout, Brett & I are working on plans for three different events next year (Alumapalooza, Modernism Week, and another event to be named), and various other projects are rolling along nicely, so I can hardly complain. Still, work is not enough to round out a life, and that is where I’ve fallen down on the job as TBM.
An unexpected barrier this year has been the wildfires in Arizona and New Mexico. The entire Coronado National Forest has been closed since June 9 due to exceptionally dry conditions. That means no access to any of the sky islands in Arizona, including the Santa Catalinas (visible right out my back window), the Huachucas (near Sierra Vista), the Sahuaritas (location of last year’s hike up Mt Wrightson with Brett), and the Chiricahuas in southeastern Arizona.
Well, that totally blew a lot of my plans out. Climbing these mountains is the only way to escape the heat of the desert floor. I was planning to go hiking, tent camping, exploring, and sightseeing up in most of those mountain ranges this June, but the closure order is absolute: no travel at all, not even stopping at the roadside. Fines up to $5000. So I’ve been stuck here and we’ve had a spectacularly warm June, with several days above 110 degrees. It’s not great weather for much of any outdoor activity.
Paradoxically, a lot of Arizonans don’t use their swimming pools this time of year. Reason? The water is too hot. So the preferred form of recreation this summer seems to be going shopping, especially to malls where you can walk around in air conditioning.
I do like the relative quiet of summer. There’s always a noticeable drop in population when the snowbirds leave in March or April and then again when some of the students leave the University. It’s a great time to get things done, because you rarely have to wait in line or get slowed by traffic. On the other hand, there’s not much going on sometimes. Outdoor fiestas, a great and common feature of Tucson in the winter, are virtually absent. Who wants to listen to music, dance, eat, and shop crafts when it’s a blazing 108 degrees?
Even the Fourth of July is sort of a muted event. Most of the city appeared to be in hibernation, with hardly any cars on the major roads, and clerks drowsing in the quiet of empty stores. The traditional backyard barbecue with fireworks and s’mores and mosquitoes that we’ve come to expect up in the north is much less appealing here. I didn’t smell a single grill on Monday.
Well, things are about to change with the arrival of TSP (Temporary Single Parent, aka Eleanor) tomorrow. She’s flying into Phoenix and so begins our Second Annual Three-Week Childless Couple Event. I plan to make the most of it. You long-time readers know that we love to travel with Emma and have done so extensively for about eight years. But for these three weeks, we get to do the things that adults like, especially things that would bore or gross out a child. In fact, we’ll probably focus exclusively on things that we couldn’t or wouldn’t do with Emma. I don’t know if that includes bungee jumping, eating caviar on toast, betting it all on red in Las Vegas, cooking in the nude, or just cruising aimlessly through the southwest, but we’ll certainly consider all those possibilities.
Sadly, if we do some of those things, I probably won’t blog them. There does have to be a certain amount of discretion here. I’ll post the PG-13 version, so you’ll hear about the milkshakes and the street hikes. I can assure you that there will be at least one or two roadtrips, too. You’ll just have to use your imagination for the rest.