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Yuman Being Once Again

Saturday, January 13th, 2007


Quote of the Day: “Always be nice to your children because they are the ones who will choose your rest home.”

- Phyllis Diller

When I get too tired to prep for the next day, I have a tendency to get a shitty night’s sleep and am, let’s call it, a bit frustrated in general when getting ready in the morning. At least this is what my wife would claim but don’t believe her, it’s an urban legend.

So I’m shitty all morning getting ready to go but finally roll out of the driveway in the Pilot and head to Phoenix for the marathon. Notice I didn’t roll out in the government van like originally planned because there is a rule that Officers can’t drive “govs” and since there were no Enlisted to go with me, I was out of luck.

Please don’t get me started on this. I am entrusted with 300 souls on a daily basis but I am not capable of operating a government van from San Diego to Phoenix.

WTFO? #$%#$@^&&#&#$%@#*(

I told you not to get me started….

When I got to Yuma, I decided to take a little stroll down memory lane. You see, the first 4 years of my service was spent in Yuma where I brought my young bride…

… and we embarked on my Marine career. It’s also where we had our son and where I left and returned from war.

I had arrived in 1988, went to war in 1990, and eventually left the duty station in 1992. I returned in 2002 on the 10 anniversary of deploying for nostalgic reasons and haven’t been back until today.

The “sugarcubes” were gone and replaced by modern housing. I took pictures of where my old places were and even went out in town to see the dumps I lived in out there. I was amazed that the places that seemed great (compared to living in the barracks) were actually near ghettos.

I took pic after pic until BAM, the camera tells me I’m out of room. WTF?

Seems I accidentally snagged my tiny little 16 MG stick that came with the camera instead of the big 128 monster (by old standards, I know) and now I was stuck because I had to way to offload the pics until I got home.

Guess my picture-taking career on this trip was officially retired. I am such a dumbass.

I drove around the base remembering this and that before going out in town to eat my classic pre-marathon feast: Taco Bell, baby!

It was as I was shoving the second double decker taco supreme into my gullet that the math hit me…

Wait, I lose an hour thanks to the time zones and I have …. carry the one…..HOLY SHIT MOTHER OF F#$%^#$!!!! I’m not going to make it!!!

I had until 5:00 to get to the expo in Phoenix and according to the paperwork they sent me, no race day package pickup was allowed. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Really? Did I just piss around in Yuma and am now going to miss the expo because my retardation level is reaching maximum density? I must be part Syrian becasue I definatley visited Dumb-asscus today.

According to my GPS, I would arrive about 15 minutes late.

Well, I can make up 15 minutes and then some to make the expo if I haul ass like it’s cool, right?

That’s what I kept telling myself as I broke every single law between Yuma and Phoenix. Except the one about carnal knowledge of desert animals. I decided to keep that one sacred this time.

And just in case you are keeping score, yeah, piling on a cubic butt-ton of stress for a few hours the day before I run a marathon is just the ticket I needed.

I gripped the wheel with white knuckles, laid on the gas, weaved in and out of what traffic was out there, and kept recalculating if I was going to make it. I called Joe and asked him to contact the officials at the expo to see if they were loose with the closing time of the expo but they told him instead that even though they don’t advertise it, they do allow you to snag your number in the morning before the race if you get there an hour early.

So that took a little of the stress off but not much. I still wanted to make it there and so was racing for an extra hour of sleep (and note that I was already losing an hour due to the time change. Bonus.)

It was looking good and I was starting to really believe I was going to make it until…until…until the traffic came to a screeching half right in the middle of nowhere on I-10.


I was now sitting in traffic as the precious seconds ticked awy. Then minutes. And all of my patience.

It finally broke but I had lost a lot of time and I was not going to make it so the next hope was that they wouldn’t close right at 5:00. I tried to assure myself that it was all OK but I couldn’t stop myself from stressing.

Getting to downtown, my spirits were buffeted when I saw a lot of people milling around with the tell-tale goody bags. But traffic was jammed and in the middle of the city, I knew there were no parking to be found. I had made it there like a bat out of hell only to be thwarted because I had nowhere to put the car. Of all things, that was the most frustrating part of my tale.

I saw two parking spots unimaginably open about 4 car-lengths away to the right. I realized that all the cars in traffic were leaving so those spots would be open. Just then, I got royally cut-off by some idiot in a van and I had to swerve just to save my paint job. As my heart raced, one of the cars in the queue took the first spot and Asshole Van Guy took the other. It took all I could not to hop out of my Pilot, stopping all traffic, and reeducating Asshole Van Guy to the nuances of bumper to bumper behavior.

I knew if I got out, I would end up in jail. I was that angry.

I moved on and never did find a spot. The only thing I found was $10 parking and I was unwilling to roll the dice that they were open 40 minutes past the closing time. I think I would have gone nuclear if that happened.

So I gave up and accepted the fact that I would be showing up an hour early to claim my number. So much for the restful sleep of knowing everything is taken care of. I would get a few crappy hours of crappy, restless sleep and go run the marathon.

So be it.

I arrived at Joe’s house and it was gorgeous.

Joe is a friend of mine who I went to bootcamp with. His wife was surfing the net one day and came across my site. Seeing her husband on my bootcamp page,

… she informed him and he contacted me after almost 19 years of not hearing anything from him. He came down for a graduation recently and when he found out that I was coming to Phoenix for a marathon, he insisted I stay with him and his family.

Joe was beside himself trying to make me feel comfortable. His gorgeous house was scrubbed from top to bottom by his gorgeous wife which made me feel a bit of a schmuck. I had my own guest room, bathroom, the works.

Per my request, he had lasagna waiting (he asked so don’t think I was THAT demanding. I just specified I don’t do fish) and it was monumentally tasty.

Sitting around talking with Joe was just the thing I needed to calm me down, get me relaxed, and enjoy a great evening getting mentally prepped for what I was about to endure tomorrow.

We also caught the Larry King Live on CNN where my cammies appeared in the background at the beginning and a wide pan shot in the middle showed me front and center. I was on national TV, folks. Write for autographs but send $5.

I finally got to sleep past midnight because Joe and I couldn’t stop yapping at each other. I got everything laid out for the morning and set a wake up time for 0430 in preparation for a 0530 departure.

I was all set. Or as set as I was going to get.

Free Advice for Today: “Keep a roll of duct tape at home, at the office, and in your car.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.