Udderly Fantastic

August 29, 2004

The can says "It's like having another hand on the farm or a helper around the house."

Actually, over the last ten or twelve days I could have used another hand on the farm.

We spent 2 days packing, and then the three of us hauled 2 massive suitcases each along with our carry-ons to the counter at American West. We arrived in Phoenix on Thursday night the 18th somewhere about 9 PM, As Mrs. and the boy waited at the carousel I headed off for the rental counter.

I walked up to the counter and pulled out my driver's license and Internet confirm for the reservation.

"I'm sorry sir, your reservation was canceled this afternoon. You were supposed to rent the car at 9 am, and when you did not appear, we canceled the reservation. I've got cars, but you can't have that super ridiculous low rental rate that you thought you were going to get."

Long and short, I didn't blow my top. I didn't yell and carry on. I was told the new rental rate and told the counter guy I'd be back after I checked a couple of other rental places. His deal was still the best, and I came back to the counter.

"I'll tell you what, Mr. NSR, since you've had all this trouble, I'll upgrade your car to a Durango for the same price. Although I can't change the rate, at least you'll have a bigger vehicle."

It turned out that the bigger vehicle was a blessing.

As soon as I pulled up to the curb and my son and I began throwing in all the suitcases he asked me, "Dad, how in the world were you planning to get all this luggage into a plain old car?"

I grinned because I knew he was right.

The good news, at least for the boy, came after we registered and got the keys for his room.

It's a brand spanking new dorm, with three stories build around an open courtyard.

I kind of like the idea of not having long dreary dirty halls festooned with posters.

The boy's room is on the 3rd floor, just to the left of the last door you can see. It just so happened that the building takes an angle at that corner, and therefore his room turned out to be about twice as large as all of the others on the floor.

Score for the boy and his roommate, who also happens to be from Michigan.

The roommate was pleased to see the collection of video games that I hauled in on Friday. He had brought the game machine and the TV, and the two of them are already making a pitch for me to ship one of the larger TV's that is not being used here at home.

Friday was spent buying books, arranging a physical so that the boy could try out for the football team, and then out to shop for more "stuff."

Over the next several days we ended up at:


Linens N Things


Sports Authority (bike and locks and chains, since bikes and wheels and such are stolen like crazy)

Home Depot

Circuit City



and who knows how many other places. All I know is that I don't want to see how much damage I did with my debit card.

Although the roommate got some kind of fridge/freezer/microwave combo rental deal, it was apparent to me that there would be a problem sharing that small little fridge. The microwave also only had 2 speeds, defrost and cook, and it took 7 minutes to cook a small pizza.

Home Depot came through on Monday with a sale on a 4 cubic foot Fridge with a freezer, and sure enough, the whole thing fit into the back of the Durango.

That was after we bought a recliner out from under a "squatter" at the Salvation Army Store and loaded it, extended, into the back of the Durango.

Meanwhile, the boy did the "walk on" thin with about 40 others (that's him at the very left, kneeling on one knee). Practice started at 6:00 PM and finished about 7:30.

Daughter, son-in-law and his parents then met us for dinner but the boy opted out. Can't say that I blame him.

Tuesday found us free at last, so as Mrs. headed for the spa, I went to the zoo.

I discovered that a Giraffe has a very long tongue.

Among other things, during the balance of the week we managed a day trip to Sedona. It truly is a beautiful place, including sliding in natural rock slide of Oak Creek Canyon.

However, that's not what Sedona is really "known" for.

Sedona is best known, at least to the New Age community, as a place where the forces of the universe come together.

People travel from all corners of the earth to experience the Vortex that swirls about Sedona.

I told Mrs. that that we should wander in the wilderness in search of the vortex, and if if we didn't find one, perhaps we should just go slide on the natural rocks in the river.

We ended up in the river.

That's all I can say about that.

So you ask, "What about the udders?"

"Does that have something to do with the resort where you stayed?"

"Not directly."

"So tell us about it."

Well, It's like this. The day after I arrived the shoes and socks went into the closet where they stayed for ten days. Sandals became the footwear of the day.

But my feet don't really like that dry air, and after a couple of days, they started to dry out and crack and become quite painful. This had happened to me earlier in the year and I remembered that my daughter had some kind of foot lotion so I asked her for some when we were at her house.

However, my son in law informed me that what I really needed was some Bag Balm.

"Bag Balm?"

"Yep. My roommate in college used it on the cows and swore by it. Go over to Wallmart tomorrow and get yourself some."

I confess, that as soon as I was led back to the pet department I really became skeptical.

Then when the stuff rang up on the cash register as "Horse Accessories" I just knew that someone had lost a screw somewhere.

But I'm here to tell ya, if you ever have painfully cracked feet or hands or udders, the stuff truly is "udderly fantastic."

It turns that the boy didn't make the football team, but I for one, returned home on Saturday night quite happy to know that he was not enduring a daily pummeling by giant upperclassmen who enjoy knocking around the freshman class.