Back to blocking and tackling.

I think everyone has some shade of “blues” over coming back home after seeing the kids and being back on home turf again.

I’ve tried to prevent some of it this trip by implementing certain travel moves that keep stress from coming back…at least for a few days.

1.  Pay Important Bills in Advance.

Yeah, this sounds silly, I know…why do that?  Well, we happened to come back a few days after the first of the month.

So before we left, I took a number of recurring bills and made up envelopes, so that I could simply pull the amount and then be done with it.

2.  Have a Reliable Home Sitter.

We’re lucky – Panama and his bride live here at the ranch, but they have an offer out on a nice home – and they’ll love it if the deal comes together as I expect this one will.

But in the meantime, having someone look after the place who can fix any plumbing, electrical, legal, or whatever issue is a dandy thing to have in your back pocket.

Even when they move, I’m not above paying for house sitting…it ensures that people are around to look after things.

3. Have the mail “sorted”.

This one is great:  I can home to four piles of mail.

One pile of bills and general “stuff”.  A couple of Peoplenomics subscriptions (not everyone likes online), a pile of magazines and flyers, and then a pile of boxes.

This allowed me to run through 3+ weeks – hell almost four now that I look at the calendar – in one easy session.

The odd bills that came in were scanned and in the mailbox by 10 AM.  The weeding of flyers and magazines took only 10-minutes to look through what was really worth loading the brain with.  A couple of articles in Family Handyman  and a few in Mix Magazine looked good. 

Other than that, it was a round-file episode.

The Peoplenomics paperwork was done before noon, too.

4.  Don’t travel too far in one day. 

While we had a number of 8-hour days driving, we would trade off.  On the way back, Elaine would drive one day, me the next.  Every other day was a 4 to 5 hour day so we had plenty of time to “catch up.”

An 8-hour day will get you almost 500 miles.  Pee and food stops slow down the average.  Half-days 250 is a good number.

5. Don’t Bring a Lot of Clothes for the Travel Part.

We found that we could wear the same clothes for three days easy enough.  When you stay at a nice hotel, tip the bellman and let them schlep the bags – for a decent tip, of course.

But no one is going to see you checking in, at dinner, and then again at breakfast…so who cares if you’re wearing the same shirt?

A shower, change of shorts and socks…then three shorts and three socks is what you will go through on a 1,500 mile trip. 

Save the “git up” for when you land at your main destination.

6.  Time Cig Cities to Avoid Rush Hours

Better yet, we worked so that mostly we were able to avoid big cities on the way back on any7thing but a weekend.

Coming through the Zones of Perpetual Construction is a breeze at 10 AM on a Sunday.  10AM on a weekday?  Not so much.

7.  Over Budget – a Lot.

We weren’t frivolous, don’t get me wrong.  But we did a few very nice dinners out with the kids and we had some very tasty food.

That isn’t the time to be cheap – and I tend to tip 20% because that’s how a lot of people make their money these days.

8.  Plan Awesome Home Meals.

We stopped at the store and loaded up on extra lean meat and some great steaks before landing at home.

The reason?  Well, everything was gone from the fresh larder when we left, so restocking was necessary.  But with some more expensive than usual meats and good salad fixings, the transition to “regular” home cooking is less severe.  A bottle of two of not too pricey Champaign helps things, too.

9.  Get Back on Lists – Quickly.

I don’t make and “do” lists when on vacation.  I probably work about as hard, but not so methodically.

But first thing this morning, it was back into Excel and working out what happens in what order in the Life of George & Life of Elaine.

So there you have it – the management notes on the trip.

AirBnB was delightful – our host Ron has a perfect places to stay for us and we’ve already talked about a long-term stay next year.

The further ahead you can plan, the better your outcome will be.

There’s a nickel’s worth of free vacation consulting for you.

Bottomless Lakes?

We had our last dinner out in Amarillo at Kabuki Romano, where they do Benihanna –type cooking (teppan-style).  And we got to talking to ther nice folks at the table from Oklahoma.

Learned a number of things, but the most striking bit of local lore from OK panhandle is this discussion of “bottomless lakes” nearly.

Sure enough, there are some listed in New Mexico, but they are not exactly bottomless – but 90 feet is mighty darn deep when most places a cattle watering hold 5 feet deep is “big water.”

Also got a rancher’s view of global warming.

The grandfather of the family explained that when he was young, snow drifts in winter averaged about 10-feet with occasional 15-food depths reported.

But here lately, say the last 20-years, or so, they have only been getting 5 or 6 foot drifts and the 10-footers are exceptionally rare.

He didn’t know if that was because winds are dying down, or if it’s from just less precip.

But computer models aside, ranching up that way has been great and last year, the ranchers were getting 5-cuttings of hay, although the fifth cutting wasn’t much to write home about.

The economic reason for mentioning this?  Outlook for well-contained meat prices seems pretty good and the feed lots along I-40 look pretty near full.

Life in the Cellular World

Captain Midnight is back – and Saturday Peoplenomics readers will have a new – and quite amazing take on Climate.  He is working on a book.

He’s an ingenious writer and I feel inadequate even speaking to him about writing…

A funny bit from this morning.

I call the Captain and we chit-chat a bit about the report which arrived on CD Monday.

“Say, my wife an I are in Normandy France…and we’re about to eat lunch….would you mind if I keep this short?”

Yep…that’s the New World.  the Captain’s  cellphone and you never know which country he’s in…

I’m so old, I remember when the world was a much bigger place.

Hmmm….maybe another good morning for a nap…