Friday, June 22, 2007

Thoughts About Wyoming

I drove across Wyoming the other day. Here is what I noticed:

If you need massive amounts of big explosive fireworks that blow up real good, Wyoming can totally hook you up.

The Little America Hotel has 50-cent ice cream cones, lots of parking, 33-inch TV screens in every room, and a huge outdoor advertising budget.

Even little podunk towns in Wyoming have Starbucks.

I used to go to Wyoming all the time. My college boyfriend grew up there, in Jackson Hole. Jackson Hole is one of the most scenic places in the whole entire world, but I always assumed the rest of Wyoming outside of that small corner by the Tetons and Yellowstone pretty much sucked. I see now that I was mistaken. For my ignorance, I deserve every assumption ever made that everyone from Indiana weighs 350 pounds and loves Nascar.

Oh my god, I have never seen so much majestic beauty in my life. Rolling ranches, green hills, winding rivers, snowcapped peaks in the distance, pastoral farm's all amazing. And proof that I've been completely small-minded in the last 16 years thinking that California had a monopoly on the beauty. Sorry, Wyoming. I misjudged your appearance completely. If it weren't for the fact that you produced Dick Cheney and your idea of big-town sophistication is Salt Lake City, I would buy my own little piece of paradise and stay a while. I'll be back. Especially if I need to blow something up.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Oh My God! They Nebulized Kenny!

I am not the first mom to have to give a squirming 2-year-old an asthma treatment. I'm sure I'm not the only one to have to do it on the road, in a small town in Nevada that is not Reno. But I may be the first one to administer the medicine with the help of Cartman and a certain Christmas poo.

Tea started wheezing somewhere outside of Reno, and we stopped at the next town that consisted of more than few gas pumps and a video poker machine (thereby making it the third largest town in Nevada.) The local pizza parlor took pity on us and said they would find us an outlet so we could administer the life-giving Levalbuterol.

We were ready to settle into a booth to give Tea the treatment (an experience not unlike shaving a wolverine) when I saw the solution. For the next 15 minutes, Taylor held the nebulizer while Tea took the treatment while watching me play the South Park Pinball game at the small arcade. It's a rough job, raising kids, but someone has to do it. She giggled every time Cartman shouted "RESPECT MY AUTHORITAY" and shrieked with joy when I hit the giant toilet at the back, releasing Mr Hanky the Christmas Poo and earning us a 3-million-point bonus. I kept on feeding the quarters. Because, you know, it's my duty as a mom to do whatever it takes.

I knew it was time to stop when I shouted "Tea, stop blocking Mommy while she's trying to kill Kenny!" and Taylor gently let me know that we had finished the breathing treatment 25 minutes earlier. I just wanted to be really sure we got it done, okay?

You're safe for now, Kenny. But next time Tea wheezes I'm coming for you.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

This Just In: Muni Really Does Suck

Hi. I suck.

Bitching about Muni is a San Francisco pastime, but I like to save my commentary for those really special times when it really is the most asstastic way to get around town. I'm talking to you, Muni Driver who closed the doors on me and laughed as you drove away. And you, unforgiving prick transit cops who ticketed my husband for a torn transfer and then threw him and my toddler daughter off the train and onto the cold concrete of Montgomery Station. Oh yes, those things sucked big time. But in general Muni has been good to me, and I don't use up my complaining power, lest I become the little girl who cried Suck.

But lately it's been different. In the past six months or so I've been wondering, is it just me or does Muni suddenly blow goats like it's never blown before? After years of mostly okay service, suddenly we have long waits for trains, bottlenecks where they never existed before, excessively cranky drivers, and inexplicable route changes (if I get on the N Judah, I should end up at the ballpark. That is just the way it is. I don't care if it makes the T and J lines feel left out.) Am I going crazy or is Muni just plain bad these days?

Well, it's official. It's not just me. Muni is truly fucked. The Chronicle says so. There is an excellent story in today's Chron by the sublime Rachel Gordon about how woefully screwed up Muni is. There's no money, there are huge shortages of employees across the board, and the employees Muni does have are reverting to the good old days of punching their time cards in their jammies and going back home to snooze and watch The View. The head of the Muni agency is actually admitting that things are far, far beyond bad and we're not just hallucinating when we read that NextBus sign and it tells us the next train is coming in 37 minutes.

I'm so glad this story came out today. Because Friday was a journey into the ninth circle of transportation hell for the Polito family. We had tickets to the As vs. Giants at Pac Bell Park (fuck you, I'll call it what I want). Game start time was 7:15, so we all rolled out of the house and up to the Cole and Carl stop at 6:20 or so. We saw a train leave the stop going inbound. We could have sprinted and made it, but we thought: oh ho ho, we'll get the next one. It's rush hour and game night, they'll be another train along in a few minutes, right? RIGHT?

Ha ha ha.

NextBus told us that we would be waiting 18 minutes for the next train. Or we could really settle in and get the next train after 38 minutes. We then proceeded to wait the longest 18 minutes I've experienced since I was in heavy childbirth labor. Only this time the kids were on the outside and getting hungry and cranky and not being understanding about the delay. About 25 minutes later, we boarded an overcrowded train with our wild animals and inched our way toward Embarcadero station to change trains, because you know, we really hated that direct line to the ballpark. It really wasn't working for anyone. You're right, Muni, we'd much rather get off and change trains to go the last 3 stops on the J Church. Brilliant.

Anyway. To make a long story slightly less so, we spent the next 25 minutes crawling toward the last stop, where we met with a bottleneck stretching back past Montgomery station and approximately 10,000 angry and already drunk Giants and As fans comparing body paint and getting antsy. We took a cab to the game. The way back? More of the same! Hooray.

We had hoped to get to the ballpark at start time and scoot out early after 90 minutes or so. Instead, we got there at 8:30, when we originally wanted to LEAVE, and left at 10pm to get home close to 11. Why yes, those were our kids looking like satan's assistants on the way home, thanks to sleep deprivation and having to wade through transportation bullshit that would cause even the most forgiving and patient adult to go bugfuck.

So there you have it, Muni sucks. Muni, you suck. I say so, and Rachel Gordon says so. Clean up your act. In 2 weeks, I'll take my leave of you and begin riding the shiny happy low-emissions party buses of Boulder that make you look like a fleet of broken down mule wagons.

Until then, you owe me Giants tickets. Club level, motherfuckers.