Thursday, June 21, 2007

Dunce Caps, Preparations & the 21st Century

This is Lilliane, proving that she likes the Kitty Pi too. Incidentally, I had a perfectly wonderful lesson in putting photos into my blog (and some other useful things) by Mrs. SABLE (who is one of those lovely women who fairly exude patience, even with blogidiots); however, my notes fall short and I must throw myself on her mercy again soon. BEAR with me (which is a funny, because I always have a bear with me, about which more later.

The "preparations" referred to were the preparations for a scheduled trip I'm taking with my friend Donna - she's a ham radio operator and has signed on to assist with a very long bicycle ride along the Wisconsin River. The hams keep in touch with one another and keep an eye on the cyclists, that sort of thing. I don't do ham radio, but Donna wanted the company, she's an inexperienced camper, says she. She's never tented out. So I see it as an opportunity to have sort of an adventure, spend time with a friend, and see how this bike tour thing works. (NO! I'm NOT anticipating doing one myself some day. I'm just naturally curious.) I can hear Lovely Daughter saying "Yeppers, Mom, you are curious." As always, I've thrown a few clothes in a suitcase and am now confronted with sorting out knitting projects to take, books to read, selecting the flashlights, headlamps &c with which to do the above in the tent at night.

We're not, by the way, camping out in the wilderness of the Yukon. No, each stopping place will be a school in a small town on the route; the cyclists can sleep either in tents they've arranged for (rented) which will be set up and taken down and moved for them each day - or in the gym of the schools. But we volunteers get vouchers for breakfasts and suppers, our gas is paid for (which in this day and age is like being given a bottle of fancy perfume every day) and besides, think of all the blog fodder!

So we're leaving tomorrow morning (I'm writing this Friday night) and there's one more notable event from today. Today we made a Major Move. A Notable Event. A thing so remarkable for us that...I hardly know how to remark up on it. We bought a cell phone! A CELL PHONE! That very item I've groused about, complained about, snarled at in grocery stores, bookshops and most of all flipped birds at when seen in moving automobiles.

But you became evident to me that there would be a real advantage to a connection between me and Donna (a 21st century person) while en route, and besides I could call Mr. Dearling now and then, and he could take it with HIM when he goes on a motorcycle trip ....and the Lovely Daughter's been harping at me to get one so that I can call her when I'm going to be late meeting her (now c'mon, I'm better than I used to be, admit it!) or she could call me to say, in her voice which is so much like my own, "WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU?"

We looked at the prepaid ones, which I thought would be the clear ticket - we get one months' worth of minutes and call it good. Then if we need to reactivate it in future, we can.

I hear you laughing out there. All of you, OK, OK. We wound up with a Real Cell Phone. Mr. Dearling said he'd been thinking about it for a while, and that he would feel better knowing, if I was away on a long car trip alone, that I had one with me. (I think he'd been admiring the shiny little things my sons have, which they show with great pride, boasting about all the stuff they do.) What I wanted it to do was, connect me to the outside world. No camera, no games, no videos for petessakes.

"So what did you get, Mrs. Smartypants-of-the-18th-Century?" Well, Mr. Dearling is clever, thoughtful and thrifty - and given the fact that a decision had to be made pretty lickety-quick, he did some serious online research and announced "OK, we're going to Best Buy." (I admit it, we'd been there last night, just eyeballing.) He narrowed it down to two models. One had a free phone, rollover minutes (I'd heard talking about those in commercials, never gave them any thought before) and we could get a deal because it was our land-line provider &c &c. The other one didn't have a free phone (but it wasn't much), and they could waive the activation fee. The final determinant was that the latter has much better coverage, particularly in northern Wisconsin (BINGO, that's where we're going!) AND northern Minnesota, possibly as far north as Grand Portage in the arrowhead, site of our annual revelries in the 18th century.

So we have a Razr? (Not sure if that's what it's called; in any event it's spelled wrong but I think that's a marketing thing. Saywot??) And guess what, it has a camera. And I think games and stuff. I've now spent two hours reading the book trying to figure it out - at least I know how to make calls and how to answer them if I happen to be somewhere NOT MOVING when it rings. Oh, and it DOES ring now. Something called "low chimes" - as opposed to the dirty-dancing hot latin beat it had originally. And now it's late and I have to go to bed because I still have yarn to select and patterns to pack.


Chris said...

I hope you have a great ride!! And I'm glad to know that you won't be taking calls while on your bike. :)

Elizabeth said...

Have a great trip!

I have a cell phone now, too, and I always swore I would be the last person on the planet without one. But, it has come in handy a few times already and given me peace of mind on long drives. I certainly don't use it while driving.

I'll certainly help you again with the bloggity stuff. It takes several lessons and a lot of repetition to drill that kind of stuff into my brain.

It was delightful meeting you and the cats and Mr. Dearling.

Alison said...

Hi Dale! I miss seeing you and "Mr. Dearling" almost everyday now that I'm not at WHS. Your bike trip sounds like lots of fun!
Hopefully I'll see you soon

Kevin said...

Hi, Dale! I'm enjoying your blog - it's kind of like we're bloggin' buddies. You know, like you sometimes say, you and Mr. Dearling are being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century, but I must say what STYLE! You have a trendy Razr (I don't know how to spell it either and I'm supposed to be hip and young) and Mr. Dearling is all about mp3s and podcasts. What next? I think you should look into some virtual reality simulations of the fur trade. Then you'd comfortably be in both time periods still doing what you love, but being hip and with it all the same. Take care and good luck with your Northern Wisconsin adventures!

Ryan said...

If it makes you feel any better, I don't have a cell phone, nor a computer, nor internet service, nor cable. I believe in the simple life. I'm sad that we have lost one of us to the dark side. ;-)

Looking forward to the blogging from the trip!

Kristy said...

I read your comment on Kay's most recent post at MDK, where you sai that you are 4'11". I thought you would be amused to know that if you do indeed shrink one inch, in California they would recommend that you use a booster seat when riding in a car. For now they haven't made it a law, just a recommendation, but the PSAs on tv about it are funny.

(And I know this fact because I am only three inches from booster seat territory myself.)