Coping: With Crap Out Thursday

Time for a little “Adventure Travel” story – the kind that never shows up on television.

The day started off just perfectly!

I’d done the Peoplenomics column yesterday, and while it wasn’t destined to win a prize in journalism, it was a pretty darned interesting topic – how to turn your home shop into a business.

As soon as it was done, we were off to the airport, where the old Beechcrate was ready to roll and we took off was right on schedule at 8:45, which put us into Branson, MO about 11:52.

Normally, about here, I would put up a scenic aerial picture of the city of Branson, but that gets into the interesting developments since, and we need to hold that thought for a second because I don’t want to get the story out of sequence.

For now, let’s just say I don’t have the means to put the picture up, but if you click over to Flight Aware here, you can look at our path and just imagine beautiful skies, only a 10-knot headwind and visibility from here into next week.

The cabin-top vortex generators I added had boosted our speed by another couple of knots and that was just cool as hell. The latest are just behind the top of the windshield and they reattach turbulence where the air flows up over the Plexiglas any tends to tumble, causing parasitic drag.  135 MPH in a Musketeer?  What and experience!

As we’d planned, our friends met us at the airport on landing and we loaded up our gear and headed to el ‘otel…where check-in was fine, the computer worked fine on the wifi and we were off to an afternoon of adventuring in Branson which included things like a nice lunch out, go-kart racing (which screwed our backs up, but whatever), 18-holes of golf (putt-putt, but still two hours of laughs) and then after all that, it was time to eat again.  Fresh air – and being out of the office – does that.

After a delightful evening, we all headed back to the hotel and turned in early thinking this would be another fun-packed day, along with about 6-hours of chart comparing and market seeing/forecasting…life doesn’t get much better.

Until 1:17 AM, that is.

That’s when I woke up to the sound of Elaine moaning and laying on the floor, sprawled out at the foot of the bed.

Uh…dear…what are you doing down there?”  I didn’t want to sound like an idiot, but I was stalling for time to figure out WTF was going on here.

Well, I got up about 11:30 because I was feeling barfy and went to the bathroom, and my stomach hurts like hell (she indicated the lower GI area) and I guess I passed out on the way back to bed.”

Not good.

Now, you have to understand that Elaine doesn’t usually lay around on the floor, especially in a hotel room, so something was definitely going on out of the ordinary.

Some questions, diagnostics, and a quick bit of online research I concluded that what she was presenting (a doctorly term for what a patient looks like and reports) was consistent with seafood gone “chemical” in ways that are common, seldom fatal but always highly uncomfortable.

So from there, the next 2 1/2 hours were spent outside the bathroom encouraging her to drink as much water as possible and finally…a couple of quarts of liquid later, all things passed – and from both ends, at that.

“I haven’t felt this bad since my last pregnancy….” she allowed.  That’s some serious pain, but since pregnancy is highly unlikely…I’m suspecting the lump crab salad earlier in the day.  Still, I made a “further research” note to check and see whether Social Security covers pregnancy benefits…it’s just one of those things I’d never thought to ask before.

The timing of her discomfort was about right for food poisoning – these things take a little while to work themselves up into full force and fury.  8-hours, is about right.

Somewhere along in there, I had used my trusty computer to look up what to do to help, other than a Benadryl and some Imodium, which is usually in our travel kit.  But (or should I say butt?) much to our chagrin, the Imodium was nowhere to be found.

Still, after the offending food products passed, both ends – everything was settling down – stomach pains gone, and she was no longer sweaty/clammy and chilled.  Her hands had stopped shaking, and she reported her vision back to normal.  Whew!

With her tucked back in, I decided to write this morning’s Coping Section because I had all kinds of neat material to report, some great pictures of the Ozarks and more.  But THAT is when I discovered that the laptop battery charger, which has been working flawlessly for a couple of years and a hundred thousand miles of land and air, decided to crap out.

Say, here it was – by now about 3:30 AM – and the day had already taken on a theme Crap Out

Still, in MacGyver-fashion, I managed to find a computer downstairs in the lobby of the hotel.  While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles for fine editing to be found on the laptop, one of the joys of the software we rolled over to (back in July, remember?  All those reader complaints?) well, it just paid for itself because I can write a post from anything including a cell phone (web-enabled, of course) if occasion requires it.  Though that would be a two-liner.

Morals and pointers?  I have a load of them for you:

  • Never travel without at least a two-person Imodium supply.  We broke our own rule here and these kinds of health inconveniences almost know when you don’t follow your own good advice.
  • Never go to sleep with only one spare roll of toilet paper in a hotel room.  Doubly important if you had seafood for dinner.
  • If you wake up and find you’re spouse sprawled out on the floor, try to think of something more clever than I did while your mind races to start working whether it’s time to call a doctor, an aid buggy, or the medical examiner.
  • Never travel with a laptop that doesn’t have a second charger if you are into mission-critical (no down time) computing.

One thing you may rest assured of  is that I will be looking for a laptop charger and I suppose the second “take it to the bank” item is I don’t plan to touch anything more complicated than a mouse, knife, or fork.  Good luck – and bad – seems to cluster and since it does, when the House is enjoying a run against your Luck, don’t fight it, but don’t tempt it, either.

Which gets us to the here and now:

I am writing this morning’s column in the middle of a hotel’s lobby where there is unlimited coffee, the usual Snoozak music lulling me back to sleep, cold draft when the front door opens, local papers,  but at least there’s a computer that works, even if it won’t let me run my USB wireless peripherals without a management password to get into the system – which no one seemed to be trusted with.  Probably because of people like me….

Tomorrow morning, with any luck, Elaine will be back to 110%, the laptop will have been resuscitated, and life will continue its merry path into the future.

For now, though, I’d suggest you take extra care in everything you do today:  When it’s Crap Out Thursday, and the trend is strong enough to interfere with sleep, no point to tempting Fate anymore than you have to

(More tomorrow or maybe even this afternoon!)