Houston, We Have Lift-off! – Leaving the Midwest – Destination Colorado

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. – Helen Keller

The day is finally here. I will not clock into work for six weeks! It will be surreal, for as much as I generally go into work early and figure out a game plan, when I am not mentally distracted. I had a few things to accomplish before Ellie and I could leave town. First things first. Shower, pull SUV out from backyard into the driveway. Load the rest of the trailer.  

Before that could happen, I had planned on stopping by the local plasma donating center, down the street. I had checked the schedule on the map app, and they were supposed to have been open by 6:00 a.m. I stopped by about 6:40 a.m. and folks were lined up and it didn’t seem the employees were there. I watched as one employee walked across the parking lot and couldn’t unlock the front door, where about 8 people had amassed.  

As the time started getting closer to 7:00 a.m. I felt the scheduled open time was amiss. I watched as more people stood in line outside the place. My anxiety rose as I realized, I was not going to be giving plasma today, before the trip. Around 6:55 a.m. I called my patience into question. I had to be at Ellie’s veterinarian’s office by 10:30 a.m. and this was about 60 miles, one way.  

I drove home, in my car, that I drove to the plasma center. I was disgruntled as this threw a monkey wrench into my plan. Alas, it was what it was, I couldn’t change the scheduling snafu, it wasn’t my fault. I then got the coolers loaded up with water and cold brew coffee, as the previous article suggested. I dropped some homemade ice into each cooler. I got the meats and cheeses loaded up into the cooler that would be in the boot of the SUV.  

I double-checked to make sure the motorcycle still jiggled the whole trailer when attempting to test how tightly it was cinched down. That was successful. I wrapped the excess ratchet straps over the top of each respective cooler, on either side of the trailer, between a couple of bungee cords. My unconventional system was going to work, goddamnit. I would validate once at Ellie’s vet office, as that would be a good test of how well these would hold.  

The ends of each ratchet strap had Velcro, so I used that to wrap about the looped straps over the top of each cooler. I used Velcro to cinch the excess in place. I tried to move the coolers, respectively, and they were not budging. With everything secured on the trailer, I loaded up the final cooler into the SUV.  

Next was to get Ellie to say a proper goodbye to gram-gram. Ellie was too excited, she knew she was going on a bye-bye ride. She ain’t got no time for no gram-gram lovins. I told Ellie, say goodbye to gram-gram, and she would walk IN gram-gram’s direction then deviate sharply and come right back to me. Whatta little shit. Gram-gram just laughed, because she knew Ellie ain’t got that kinda time when a bye-bye ride is at stake shortly.  

While the little shit bitch of a dog did not render a proper goodbye, I did embrace Ellie’s gram-gram. We embraced each other for a solid moment. Ellie’s gram-gram was emotional, and I was devoid of such frivolity. We told each other that we loved each other. I informed her I would call or text and send lots of pics of our adventure. Then the door opens and Ellie bolts out. “It’s time to go, daddy!’ 

I click on the address in the calendar event, to give me an idea of when we would get there. I put on my sunglasses, as it was a beautiful crisp morning. I start up the engine, and then set the destination music. More than likely, I plugged in my Linkin Park anthology playlist. Once everything was set, water, check, coffee, check, Ellie, CHECK, we set off into Drive.  

We traipse down some windy local roads, then hop onto the freeway. We are leaving at a time when rush hour traffic wouldn’t affect us, especially with the direction we were going. I got up to highway speeds with ease, even hauling the trailer. The trailer tracked behind the vehicle so well. I set the cruise control, and mindless driving began.  

I imagined all the places Ellie and I would end up at. I had contacted some Wolf habitats along our destined path. They all responded that there should be some openings. My immediate goal was to get Ellie to her vet’s office, to get her nails trimmed and her anal sacs evacuated. Should be simple, then on the road, like Willie Nelson.  

We pull up to the vet’s office. I wasn’t sure of the protocol, since the last time I was there, I couldn’t go inside, due to Covid19. I called them to let them know I was there, and the person informed me only one adult could come in with their pet. I hastily brought Ellie in. We got there early. I found a spot that seemed isolated, for Ellie and me to just mind our own business.  

When we got into the office, there was an adult with a teenage boy, in the lobby, with their family doggie. I thought nothing of it, as I let them do their thing, hoping they would leave Ellie and me alone. The vet assistant called their dog in for its appointment, but the teenage boy couldn’t go to the back, due to the protocols. This kid is sitting by himself, on the other side of the lobby. He is staring intently at Ellie. It made me uncomfortable. He eventually tries to start a conversation, asking Ellie’s breed and name. I curtly respond, trying to present myself as uncooperative as fuck.  

This kid keeps on pressing. He tries talking to Ellie from across the lobby. I very sternly inform him, ‘Leave the dog alone!’ Again, I don’t have the luxury of time to illustrate what Ellie is capable of. The kid is hard-headed. I appreciate him for being an avid animal lover, but he crossed a line. He got up from his seat like I was blind or some shit.  

He crossed from his space in the lobby to being adjacent to Ellie and me. He called Ellie by name, thinking he was going to create some instant rapport with her. She doesn’t operate like that. Ellie immediately starts growling and barking at this kid. I have to demand he leave Ellie alone, so much so that due to whatever denseness in his head, I had to dictate to him to go back to his seat and leave the dog alone.  

Ellie hates anyone that isn’t me! There are so few instances of exceptions here. Leave her alone, and she is fine. You dote on her, she will argue with you, vociferously. She is cute, but she is not cuddly for anyone other than daddy. This kid seemed to overlook the ample warnings that were proffered to him. He did apologize once he got to his side of the lobby. Two staff members were managing the phones and any transactions.  

I accepted his apology, but I took that opportunity to speak up for those who could NOT speak for themselves, articulately: “When someone tells you to leave their dog alone, you better respect their wishes. You have to, otherwise, you will impact something very negatively!” I didn’t say this verbatim, my memory may be foggy, but I know my demeanor when I am irritated. Whatever I told him was blunt, cold, and factual. I wanted very much for him to understand the importance of ASKING a pet’s parents’ permission first, before trying to coerce the dog with van-candy.  

While I was waiting for Ellie to be taken back, of which I needed to borrow a muzzle from the office, I saw the kid slump into the lobby couch. I know he felt bad for two things. One, he didn’t get to build a relationship with cute little Ellie. Two, he got his ass handed to him by a very protective papa bear pet parent. I finally handed Ellie off to the vet’s assistant.  

It gave me time to reflect on what just fucking happened. The kid was still sitting across from me. He kept to himself the rest of the time there. I thought to myself, maybe it was a flash of compassion, that this boy may be on the ‘spectrum.’ If that were the case, it would explain why he blatantly crossed the line. He had all the right intentions. He showed he loved animals. I doubt he has experienced trying to love a difficult animal.  

I couldn’t afford his inability to understand the direness of the situation, to impact Ellie’s life negatively. If Ellie’s life is cut short due to this kind of behavior, then my life will be cut short. Ellie is my universe, my heart, the truest form of love I have, for that which people THINK they could love, but find out she is a fucking cunt-and-a-half. She is exactly like me, minus the cute shit. It takes someone absolutely special to appreciate me for who I am, without trying to change me. She is my world. The world has been officially put on notice.  

While I was thinking about the encounter, the staff member at the desk stated I could settle up the bill. I gleefully paid for Ellie to be taken care of by professionals. I heard her whining, her typical GS whine, during the uncomfortable finger in her ass activity and nails being trimmed. Ellie came back out, moments later, sans muzzle, wagging her tail, soooooooooooooooooooooooooooo happy to see her daddy. She was ready for a cocktail.  

We quickly vacated the office, after proffering the pleasantries of gratitude. She gallantly walked out the double lobby doors, into the sun, and was lifted into the fluffy as fuck Taco ride from heaven. I was mentally tweaked. The kid set me off. What did I do wrong that he did not understand me the first time? I tried to self-soothe, but it felt useless. Ellie was almost endangered by someone failing to listen to me. When I speak, I mean what the fuck I say. My dog, My rules!  

Getting back into the SUV, I set up navigation to AIM for, but not hit, Denver, Colorado. I did not want to spend the night in South Dakota or Nebraska. I wanted to be in Colorado. Closer, or at least have a foot in the west. It was a long drive, and changing one time zone, we got into Colorado territory. Ellie and I made it to Sterling, Colorado. We got across the border, that’s all the goal was.  

I got a later start than I normally would have opted for. Due to the mid-morning vet office visit, that set me back. I had to set a realistic goal. Colorado or bust. It was too late for Ellie and me to set up a campsite, so we sought out a hotel room. We found a Ramada Inn, that accepted dogs. The price was ok, and I would find out why shortly.  

I parked the SUV out within view and ear-shot of the room. I got Ellie situated in the room first. Got her some water and her kibble and num-nums (which are her wet food addition to her kibble at night). I then brought up a cooler with my food and her num-nums and an overnight pack I had for these occasions. I put together a really quick couple of sandwiches with some turkey, cheese, and bread flats, I got from Costco. I turned on the TV, as I ingested sandwiches. To my delight, someone had punched the fucking LCD tv. The fucking thing had all sorts of video anomalies around the area it was either punched or someone threw a hard object against it.  

This was a shady experience all around. Ellie and I were somewhat safe. I called down to the front desk to make sure that the damage on the tv was not attributed to me. Whatta shitshow and a half. I tried to watch this tv as if using a matrix filter from Snapchat or some shit. It was worthless. I took my meds. I opened a window, so I could hear if anyone molested our vehicle and trailer. Eventually, Ellie and I both fell asleep. It was a light sleep, but it was sleep after all.  

I will close here. It was a long day. Quite a few things seemed to go wrong: plasma center, kid at the vet’s office, a long-ass drive to Colorado, and a broken fucking tv in what used to be a reputable hotel chain. While I reflect on this, I realize, nothing broke my spirit. No harm came to Ellie, except a finger up her ass and one quick affected by the nail trim. We arrived in one piece, healthy, rational, and mentally intact. It was a long day, with a few more ahead of us.  

As always, I welcome any constructive criticism, or complementary theories, analogies, anecdotes. I would love to hear if you find these edicts of challenge useful or utter horseshit. Similar to the ’90s when the catchphrase, ‘Be Kind, Rewind’ was hailed as a marketing genius. I need to come up with one that invites you to either subscribe, via WordPress or email, like posts or even comment on posts. Immediate feedback is useful for anyone. Thank you very much for reading through all of this drivel. Be well, stay safe, AND stay sane! 

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