Thursday, April 29, 2010

the great pack up: part one

this may be the only part. i think we a-go-gos are just about burnt out on this whole packing scheme. on sunday, i remember taking a look around the tiny casa and telling mr. a-go-go that i thought we'd be done on wednesday. we pick up the truck tomorrow and let's just say we ain't done. aack!the sofa a-go-go moved out last week and we made do with rickety camp chairs. while they were far from a good napping sit, they satisfied after a long day of clearing out stuff and boxing up all sorts of wackiness.yesterday, in preparation for the bulk pick-up we called in, mr. a-go-go dismantled the bed. he built the frame many years ago so that we (um, i) could store boxes and boxes of records, crafty wares and such underneath. he took a couple days to design and build it but taking it apart only took about half and hour with his trusty secondhand drill.the tiny casa is looking kind of sad now. last night we slept on the mattress as it lay puddled on the floor. mister wedged a piece of cardboard between our new "bed" and the wall to keep us from jabbing a finger into the outlet while we slept. not exactly thrilled with the loss of the bed, i took a page from nikki's book and doodled up a sharpie headboard of sorts. not perfect or even close to her niftiness but add some vintage pillowcases and a mister made duvet cover and yer in for a good night's sleep.or maybe that was just the exhaustion...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Cook's Tortas, yum!

We sold what we could at Saturday's yard sale and are madly packing up what is left. After spending the morning stuffing boxes we thought we'd knock one item off our list of places in Los Angeles that we have never managed to visit. So, for lunch we took time off to try out Cook's Tortas in Montery Park.

I am so glad we did. Cook's Tortas is a delight. I had the #61, or Zacatecas, and it is the first torta that has measured up to my very first torta years ago at a long gone stand, Tortas Pancho. My first torta there was just about the bestest, juciest, roasted green pepper zingiest, fresh avocado and tomato chompiest, toasted on the greasy grill crunchiest sandwich ever. My memory of that torta is probably blown out by it being the first revelation of what chorizo could do but I have to say that the torta I sampled at Cook's today gave that tasty memory a run for the money. At Cook's the bread was tasty-chewy with a nice toasted crunch, the chorizo seco was tangy and sloppy with red juice, and the avocado and pico de gallo added up to a big messy delight that had to be scooped with a fork from the wrapper. What tortas are on offer each day changes so if you go you may not see the Zacatecas on the board, but there were many other combinations (including a few vegetarian options) that gave me a Pavlovian rush just reading the menu. mrs' a-go-go had the Mohito. We sampled each other's and her's was good but it didn't have the out-of-control charm of the Zacatecas. The tortas come with a small side and we chose the caprese and the potato salad, both were nice counters to the tortas. To wash it down we had two flavors of aguas frescas, delightful lightly sugared fruity drinks mixed up daily.

I can't recommend Cook's Tortas enough and it is now high on our list of things we'll miss in LA. We'll have to go for another taste on our first return visit after the Big Trip. Until then, if you're in LA, I hope you'll go try out these super-bomb sandwiches. [Ced if you're reading this, get crackin'. You have alot of good food to get out and try.]

Saturday, April 24, 2010

count down to lift off

The launch sequence was initiated some time ago and since then we have been locked into a steady march toward an inevitable next chapter. I can't tell if this is more like walking off a cliff or activating our jet packs and waving goodbye, but yesterday I crossed a threshold. It was my last day working at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art as an art preparator. Yes, that's an odd word and most people outside of art museums have never heard of such a thing. It just means that I was part of the group of people who move the art from here to there (and often back again) and put it on the walls. These folks are too often asked to do the impossible in too little time under absurd conditions, and yet things almost always work out and the exhibition opens on time.

I was at LACMA for just shy of six and a half years and I was supervisor of one of the installation groups for about four of those years. In that time I was witness to some truly crazy things. Large institutions tend to turn reality upside-down and backwards and LACMA is no exception. Oh, the many moments I was left shaking my head in bewilderment at some bizarre conflagration of head butting egos and I can't count the times that I was asked (in less specific terms) to levitate an artwork that had to be hung on a wall or mounted in a case but couldn't be touched due to its extraordinary fragility. As an encyclopedic museum, LACMA asked me to participate in installing everything from very heavy things made of rock (yes, marble is just rock no mater how you slice it) to strings of brightly colored plastic bowls and cups (for Happy, Happy pictured above) and then move on to arrange stacks of decorative plates that used to be someone's dinnerware. The job was often frustrating and stressful but looking back from the threshold where we stand it was often amusing and occasionally fun as well.

And now I get to the thing that made me get up at 2am to write this... Yesterday was my last day, and while most of the folks that I worked closely with at LACMA knew for more than a month that I was soon leaving, in my last week the swell of appreciation for my efforts was a little overwhelming. I guess I tend to be self-deprecating and usually figure that I'm just a big clod, but everyone's kindness and appreciation made me think I did alright. While working at LACMA I had lots of mornings when I just didn't want to get out of bed to face another finicky textile that had to hang just so or to figure out how to pack a really old piece of glassware that is just flaking away with every breath.

In particular, the last day of well-wishing and slaps on the back nearly drove me to get all misty eyed. Most folks had some knowledge of the trip that mrs. a go-go and I have planned and as a parting gift they passed the hat (actually a cookie tin that I will have to make into a cookie tin dulcimer or banjo when we're done roaming) and made a whopping contribution to the gas fund. The gift should carry us through at least 2,500 miles of our long drive. I can not thank every one enough for their kind words and a swell send off, and I hope most of these folks have a chance to read this.

It's time to cross the threshold, and we're going come hell or high water. Thank you to everyone who has made us feel a little less crazy for wanting to do this.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

we're still planning

we've been trying to get things ready for a garage sale here and then there was the whole insurance fiasco which has been sort of straightened out. so we have not been contacting our friends and map folks. the first week of May will be for really nailing down the route and getting all contact info from and to you. believe, it's all we think about. we have maps upon maps upon maps. there is even an excel spreadsheet hat details the dates, days, mileage and driving time. don;t worry, there will be lots of room for wandering but so many of our friends aren't free until the weekends so we a-go-gos need to get creative in our driving and campouts.

can i say how freaking excited we are? seriously! we were worried up until...oh...this morning that things might not happen as i had pretty much been invade by allergens. yesterday i got to have all sorts of breathing treatments and tests and i am now on a new regimen that already has my peak flow up. the color of my skin is better, the texture of my hair is no longer strawlike, the alien beings in my lungs are jumping ship, i actually slept last night and i can walk across the street without panting like a 120 year old, old lady. phew!

so, if you are on our map, i promise we are not being flaky. we are wrapping up details here in the casa. mr. a-go-go's last day of work is this friday. satruday is the garage sale, next week we (he) packs packs packs. next friday, the truck is loaded up and we meet friends for a going away dinner. saturday, may 1st, we drive up the coast at the crack of dawn so we can make it to the boy-a-go-go's softball game, the sunday after i get to check out this nifty soiree and the rest of the week is for mapping, contacting, sewing up loose ends (literally), tuning up Rodney and then, we drive back down to L.A. for an overnight stay and after that, we're our first stop, an overnight camp out in Joshua Tree.

are you tired yet?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

fighting rejection

While mrs. a-go-go sorts things (yes, like armloads of lobsters) and kicks up clouds of dust, I have been stuffing the keepers into boxes while shopping for things we'll need. The biggest pain in the butt is health insurance. Ak! I am quitting my job to walk off this cliff we are planning so we'll loose the half baked HMO insurance we've relied on from my soon to be former employer. We could ride the COBRA but that would cost $800 per month and would bankrupt us way too fast. Sorry to tear up the fantasy folks, but the new health insurance bill won't have any effect until 2014. Even then it's main accomplishment will be to make it more difficult for sick folks to be cut off. Don't get me wrong, that in its self is an accomplishment, but we're a long way from affordable medical insurance.

Figuring I had to look for some option to the COBRA coverage, I wrestled with the application forms for a high deductible plan from Anthem Blue Cross. That would have cost us about $190 per month and wouldn't cover much, but it would keep us from bankruptcy if we were hospitalized. Ah well, it seems our medical histories are too rich for Anthem. They turned us down, even for a plan that really pays very little until we spend all our savings to make the deductible and "out-of-pocket-maximum". In the event of hospitalization we'd be out about $12,000.
After being turned down by Anthem I found a "temporary" policy that can run for up to six months and costs $200 per month. The Anthem policy at least would cover some generic prescriptions (but none of mrs. a-go-go's asthma meds) while this temporary policy has no pharmacy coverage at all and a similar high out-of-pocket.
Harrumph. Well, it will at least cover our butts if we get in trouble. We'll have to find some kind of job with some insurance soon after the trip. What, me worry?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

just in case...

you wanted to help us out on the road, we've added a donation button to the sidebar. we're not asking you to help, it's just that enough people have asked if they could help, we thought this would make it easier. we'll be working with a very tight budget with gas being the most expensive item on the list (and maybe a beverage or two thrown in, mister is a die hard miser type and will drink water till the cows come home, which is really good but sometimes a cherry lime rickie or a vanilla malt make the trip all the better, ya know).

every little cent helps! we hit the road May 8, thank you!

Monday, April 5, 2010

waiting no more...

Kia didn't come through so we will be putting a whole lotta faith in our little RAv. wish us luck and if you by any chance find a Kia Soul+ or a Transit Connect for 10k let us know.

(and yeah, we're bummed in a BIG WAY. it's kinda sad that so many people in our world get away with manipulations and con jobs and then get all sorts of support while people (yes, like us) who go about their lives carefully and with thoughtful purpose get short changed more often than not. i'm not saying that KIA should have sold us a car for 10k but wouldn't it be nice if for a change, we simple folk got a break once in awhile?)

the countdown is one! we leave in less than five weeks! aack!


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