2007.01.24 Weakened

Written by David Green.

By JEFF PICKELL

There was a time, many moons ago, when weekends were made for relaxing. Oh, how I yearn for those days.

It’s about 11 a.m. Monday, I’m back in the office typing away, and I don’t feel the least bit refreshed from my weekend sojourn to my parents’ house in Highland. If anything, I’m wound up tighter now than I was when I left Morenci Friday night.

The trouble started with the weather. When I departed at about 6:30 p.m., a light flurry dusted the fields locally, but I heard reports on NPR that the rest of the state was getting hit a little harder by the slush. I pulled off at the Food and Fuel in Jasper and reached for my phone—for safety’s sake I wasn’t going to be doing any speeding, so I wanted to tell my mom not to wait up for me.

But the phone wasn’t in my pocket. I’d left it back in Morenci—20 woeful minutes away. I had a decision to make: I could forge on without my phone, but if I slid off the road or crashed into a tree I’d have no way to call for help short of flagging down an approaching car. Alternatively, I could go back to Morenci and grab the cotton-picking thing.

I erred on the side of caution and went back, adding another 40 minutes to the trip. Aside from that, I made it out of the county without incident. US-23 north on the way to M-59, however, was a deathtrap. I counted seven cars stuck in ditches.

The snow had stopped, but that didn’t make the going any easier—there was no precipitation to help wash the build-up of salt and grit from my windshield, so every two minutes I had to spray it down with wiper fluid. This turned everything indecipherably blurry for a tense few seconds before I could see again.

I was relieved to make it home by 9:30 p.m.—just in time to meet my friend Jimbo for some pool at a pub down the street. A few casual games turned into a three-hour grudge match when we bumped in to some old foes. I didn’t return until 1:30 a.m. and, gah!, what a dumb decision that was. I had to get up at 8 a.m. and burn rubber to Howell to pick up a prescription if I had any hope of making it back in time to join my parents and Darla the dog on a 5-mile hike at the local park.

That was another ordeal. About halfway through, Darla’s paws got iced up, so mom had to carry her the rest of the way. By this point, we were all miserable. The hills were icy and extra tiring to ascend. Afterward, with piteously sore feet, we decided never to walk those trails in the snow again.

I spent the afternoon in Brighton making Christmas returns and finding merchandise to spend my Christmas gift cards on. It was crowded and my friend Tony annoyingly wavered over buying a boxed set of Alfred Hitchcock movies.

“‘North by Northwest!’ ‘Vertigo!’ ‘Rear Window!’” he said. “Fourteen movies for only $100. How could I pass this up?”

After Tony finally decided he didn’t have the bucks for the movies, I unloaded him in Milford and headed back to Highland for dinner and a movie with my laundry. Then I again set off—this time to my friend Dickey’s for a small get-together. I made it to the end of the driveway before hitting reverse and gunning it. No way, José. I wasn’t going. I was gassed out. I needed rest.

I fell asleep watching the “Seinfeld” DVDs I bought earlier.

Darla woke me at seven the next morning. Time for another walk. We forewent the trails at the park for a longer, albeit flatter, route through a nearby subdivision. By the end, I decided exercise isn’t fun and vowed to die young, fat and alone. The rest of the morning was devoted to miscellaneous errands. The afternoon was devoted to a nap that ran a little too long.

(So, I guess I did get some quality rest after all).

By the time I woke, the roads were a mess and I just didn’t have the constitution to make the trip back to Morenci. I tuned in to the AFC championship with fleeting interest before retiring to the basement to watch “Battlestar Galactica” with my brother. That lasted about 11 minutes.

I was asleep by 10:30 p.m. and up by 2 a.m., checking the clock in the kitchen at half-hour increments to make sure I didn’t oversleep my 6:30 a.m. departure time.

Now, here I am, back in Morenci, feeling both exhausted and ashamed. Exhausted because, well, I’m exhausted. Ashamed because my weekend was probably less hectic and more fun than that of 75 percent of the people reading this.

“Grow up, kiddo. That’s life,” I’m sure some of you are thinking.

It sure is. I learn it a little more each week.

    - Jan. 24, 2007 
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
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