hotel sleeplessness totally (~63%) eclipses wildfire battle stroller

First, a quick recap of last week’s comparison of my flights on Emirates and United. On Emirates, I got upgraded and slept on a flat bed for 9 hours. United called me at my hotel (at 3:30 in the morning) to tell me that my flight was delayed. (And then they called an hour later to tell me that I was rebooked on an earlier flight.) In sum: Emirates allowed me to sleep on the airplane while United prevented me from sleeping in the hotel.

This week, devoid of airline foibles, was, nevertheless, filled with adventure. Aware that tides can be higher on dates close to a total eclipse, I consulted the tidal charts and chose the best time for us to walk along the
Pacific Ocean. It was…

“… beautiful, Dan.” Nazy enthused.

“And a great chance to test the new Maui Jim sunglasses.” I replied.

dan and nazy at beach August 2017

(Nazy has new sunglasses too.)
Aside: It turned out that my tide chart observations were in error; we couldn’t complete our planned walk and had to turn back. As a result, instead of ascending the 159 steps at the East end of the beach, we had to climb the 239 stairs at the West end. In the realm of stairs, I prefer that upward travel be accompanied by fewer steps.

The week was also marked by an eclipse of the
sun. Portions of the country saw a total eclipse, but here in Southern California, the coverage was..

“… 63% at peak,” I said.

“Wow!” Nazy replied. “Will we see the stars?”

“No. You need 100% coverage for that.” I countered. (I saw an eclipse several years ago with 75% and wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t known that
something was happening.)

“Oh,” Nazy replied. Disappointed.

So, here in Santa Barbara, we had 63% coverage and, according to weather reports (and experience) we had a 67% chance of 100% cloud coverage. (At this time of year, morning clouds, called the marine layer, are the norm. They burn off by around noon. Peak eclipse was at 10:14.) Aware that eclipses are rare and the marine layer commonplace, Nazy and I decided to drive into the mo
untains to assure perfect viewing conditions.

We arrived with time to spare. We pulled out our eclipse glasses and iPhones to record the spectacle.

Dan and nazy at eclipse for blog

Meanwhile, back in Santa Barbara proper, Melika was unable to get away from work, so she simply dashed outside at mid-eclipse, ran to the courthouse and ..

“… when I got there, Dad, the clouds parted and I saw the eclipse!”

eclipse montage

Our attempts to photograph the event were mostly unsuccessful. Photos through the eclipse filter were usually blurred. Direct pictures failed to pick up the eclipse. And then: we discovered that an overexposed photo of the eclipse often had a reflected (and inverted) image of the sun. In the photo above, for example, the eclipse was not on the horizon, but the reflection was.

We viewed the eclipse on the Chumash Highway had been closed for two weeks earlier this summer because of a large wildfire. The area has not recovered.

wildfire damage

This week, Nazy and I took both Tiger and Arrow to the farmer’s market. Since he learned to walk two years ago, Tiger has refused to sit in the stroller. He was willing to push the stroller, but his lack of directional control, combined with his adamant refusal to accept adult guidance, created a problematic situation. However, now that he sees Arrow being pushed around, Tiger has decided that he should be riding too. (Interestingly, this is occurring just as Arrow is beginning to fight us when we put him in the stroller.)

Many grandparents respond to the resultant ‘perfect storm’ with the purchase of a Main Battle Stroller, a child-carrying device larger (and heavier) than Melika’s SUV —The Escaladesaurus. In contrast, our stroller was selected to be lightweight. The boys were (obviously) not consulted prior to our purchase.

It was hard steering with Tiger putting pressure on the front wheels.
the boys on the stroller August 2017

Arrow, now 13 months, is w
alking — although he is not steady on his feet. He mastered the face plant when he was learning to crawl, but he also learned to be cautious. He is very careful when he walks.

At this point, I normally make a comment about the petty, insecure, inept, incompetent, liar and
divider in chief. But it is too depressing. Having accomplished nothing, he is going to blame the establishment, the media, the Congress, the GOP, the eclipse, gravity and, well, anyone except himself. Worse, a not insignificant part of the electorate will believe this drivel.

For last week's letter, click here

Arrow and Monster

arrow and monster August 2017

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