Up Before Light for Tofu and Bananas

This morning at 5:30 AM our alarm went off. This is quite unusual, even on a weekday. It is even more unusual that I will roll over and let it go until Sarah turns it off. She hit snooze... twice. The advantage to living in a house over an apartment is that I can turn a CD all the way to top volume to help get us rolling, and the neighbors don't complain, even if the sun isn't up yet.

By 6:20 we were out the door. After a few bites of breakfast, a lot of mad scrambling, and cramming three layers of clothing onto Abigail, we pinned racing numbers on Sarah and Abigail and headed downtown to participate in the "Race for the Cure" fundraiser against breast cancer. After a bumpy ride on a schoolbus shuttle, we found ourselves in Waterfront park, next to the river; the first wave of what would be 46,000 runners and probably another 20,000 supporters. Booths were set up along the length of the park which housed corporate sponsors including radio stations, Yoplait yogurt, a jeweler, and an Irish dairy! The sponsors were bent on being sure no one went hungry or without a hat or keychain! As the pink-clad crowds thickened, we battled our way through to stand in lines for handbags, yogurt, bananas, pink underwear (from Macy's), energy bars, hats, bottles of water, cubes of tofu, boxes of soy milk, and cubes of (delicious!) cheese! We were handed stickers, keychains, and coupons for innumerable items. Had we wanted, we could have even had a free massage or manicure!

I should mention the pink. Probably one in every two-hundred people there was male. The place was literally swimming in estrogen! Pink is the official color of support for the fight against breast cancer, and almost everyone was wearing some pink, not leaving out the grandmas with hot-pink dyed hair. If you didn't come wearing pink, you could get pink stickers with which to decorate your face or pink foam bunny-ears from the Energizer bunny.

At 7:30 the first wave of runners, the 5k race, departed. The news helicopter hovering overhead filmed the sea of pink surging through the barricaded streets of downtown Portland. At 8:00 we rushed to the starting area, quickly loaded Abigail into her "backpack," and Sarah and Abigail started on their 1-mile walk. I had the heavier burden of cameras and the amazing pile of pink objects and food we had acquired.

It didn't take long for them to finish, although with the crowds, it was more of a "stroll for the Cure" than a race. Fortunately we had agreed where to meet afterwards, although since I was waiting there, I wasn't able to be at the finish line. After another half-hour waiting in line for a hat, during which another group of (running) runners departed, we elbowed our way through the still-thickening crowd back to our schoolbus. Sarah and Abigail accomplished something neither of them had ever done before, and we still made it to church (a little late).

The Flat Mailbox Morning

Sun 8/26/07

I got up only slightly later than my normal time and came downstrairs to take a shower, let the cat out, and start breakfast. It was just after eight and I was sitting down to check my e-mail when I heard a sound which can only be made in one way, a crunching bang, from the direction of our driveway. I've never heard an accident before, but I knew immediately what it was, and jumped from my chair to look out the window. A cloud of dust was beginning to settle, and I could see the front of a green Ford Explorer where formerly the corner of our driveway, a chainlink fence, and a wall of twenty-foot tall arborvitae had stood.

I leapt up the stairs two at a time and jumped from my bathrobe into clothing, telling Sarah to dial the police and call our landlord as well. By the time I had run out to the wreck another car had stopped. The cabin of the vehicle was only slightly damaged, although the driver's window was completely gone. The driver, a middle aged man, was conscious, and appeared unhurt but for a few scratches from glass. He was shaking, though, and gripping the steering wheel and shifter spasmodically while repeating that he was, "just going to work." I asked him if he was hurt, or had hit his head, and finally discovered that he had diabetes. In shocking circumstances it can take several minutes to sort things out, but he got out a candy bar to eat, raising his blood sugar level, just about when the police arrived, and was feeling back to normal soon. In the meantime a tow-truck company pickup had stopped, and soon a firetruck and ambulance arrived.

His name was Owen, and he'd been westbound on his way to work when he must have temporarily blacked out, waking up to see an oncoming car. He swerved and somehow overcorrected into the opposite ditch, where he sideswiped a power pole, which totalled the front left end of his truck, and started it spinning counterclockwise until it completed a quarter turn and came to rest, nose in, about where our mailbox used to be. The Sunday newspaper was spread for twenty feet in either direction. Fortunately, nothing was damaged which money can not fix. Only a few scratches on Owen, and our power was out for half and hour until the power company sent a truck to reset the cutout and repair the minor damage to the pole. I am thankful that he woke up in time to avoid a head-on collision, that he slid passenger-side first, and that I hadn't decided to go out and pick up the paper just then. I'm also just a little thankful he wasn't fifty feet further down the street, where our garden is... The corn is just getting ripe...

As of today: our flattened mailbox has now been replaced with a new one, and the chainlink fence is up again, but we can now see when our mailman comes through a gap in the arborvitae...