Monday, April 3, 2017

Well, that sucked

Every once in a while, quite often actually, I'm reminded of my genes. The specific gene this time is what I like to call, "I know you love to travel so I'm going to make you puke because I care" gene. I do not travel well. I've known this for a while now. It has gotten worse with age. As a kid I could be in the back seat of a car for days, through mountain roads, eating junk food, and playing games. But now I can't even do that. I can get sick in a car, plane, train, or boat. I have puked in a car, out of a car, in a van, off boats, in boats, in planes, even off a kayak in New Zealand, but not in a train yet... that's the one moving vehicle I have yet to check off the list. This behavior really blows for someone like me who likes road trips, and exploring the world. So I prepare myself. I make sure I have something to puke in, if needed. I choose aisle seats on planes for easy access to the bathroom, or window so I can see outside if I'm flying during daylight hours. I don't read while in any type of moving vehicle, I bring drugs, don't eat anything "exotic" or spicy. And I try to get sleep before hand. But this doesn't always work.

This past Friday I was to go do a small survey near Clear Lake, California for my job. So I got everything packed up Thursday and had everything ready to go, so that all I had to do Friday morning was get up, get dressed, and head out the door. I tried to go to bed somewhat early (for me that's 11pm), because I needed to be out my door at 5am. So I had a snack of popcorn and a glass of wine (to make me sleepy). At around midnight, I puked it all out in my toilet. Great. So I didn't sleep much. I got up and got out the door on time anyway. I felt nauseous, so didn't eat anything and didn't drink my coffee, and stuck to just water. I left this early because I needed to stop in Berkeley, (company office) to pick up the work truck because it is a 4x4 which we would need. I also left that early to avoid sitting in traffic for 3 hours. Well, I avoided traffic. I got there by 6:45am. So no one was in the office to give me the truck keys. I parked in the garage where the company truck was and took a nap till 7:30. I still felt nauseous. I texted my project leader and she was just getting off BART, so I walked to the office and met up with her to get the keys. I thought, hey, I'll be a bit early now to meet with my co-worker in Lake County. Sweet. I get back to the garage and move all my stuff into the truck and turn it on and see the low tire indicator light come on. So I get out and walk around the truck and sure enough the left front tire is low. I call my project leader and tell her, I don't feel comfortable with a low tire even if it's just a slow leak, I don't want to have to fill it three times in a day. I tell her I'll inspect it for any nails... and there it is, a nail in the tire. Crap. She starts calling rental companies, and she finds one that has a truck but can't confirm if its a 4x4. I unpack the truck and repack my car and walk back to the office. I give her back the keys, we decide to risk the rental and have them deliver the rental truck to their closest office which is 5 blocks away. So I walk back to the garage, pack up my stuff and strap it all onto my backpack and walk to the truck rental office. My project leader forgets to give me the utility company gate key, so she walks the 5 blocks too to meet me at the truck rental office. I get a Chevy Ram 1500 4x4. I'm impressed, and my project leader is so impressed she takes a picture to show everyone back at the office. Of course it's out of gas. So I fill it up. $75.00 later, I'm finally on the road again, and it's almost 10am. I text my survey partner (whom I've never met yet) and give him my new ETA and warn him that I feel like crap and may puke.

I'm still nauseous. I still haven't eaten anything, and still just sipping water. I have to stop twice on the way because I thought I needed to upchuck. I didn't either time. By around 11:30, I start to feel a bit better so I decide I could risk eating a handful of Cheerios, and a sip of my coffee.

I finally pull into our meeting spot, Cache Creek Vineyards, at 1pm, which is 2 hours late from our original meet time and meet my survey partner for the very first time. Archaeologists can spot other archaeologists from a mile away. We are all geeky nerds dressed in hiking boots and outdoor wear, and smell of sunblock and sweat. My survey partner is tall, skinny, and sort of lopes when he walks, so I'll call him Dopey Walkingstick. From here on out is where we will need the 4x4. We drive not even a tenth of a mile before even the 4x4 truck can't go further. There was no point in it. The "road" to our survey spot was not a road. Normally it's a road/creek bed. But because California actually had a rainy season, it was washed out and impossible to drive. So we decide to hike it. It's only about 2 miles to our survey spot. The creek and road weave over each other countless times and is very rocky and unstable. I only slipped once and fell once on our way up. I skinned up the palm of my left hand and thought, "this still hurts, why"? I look down at it and find a thorn sticking in my palm. Great, this is going to be so much fun. We finally make it to where we have to leave the "road" and start up a canyon. There's no trail, no road. We are reliant on our maps only (my GPS unit, and Dopey Walkingstick's ipad with external satellite booster).
We climb, bushwhack, double back, and climb some more. By the time we finally get to our survey spot, I'm exhausted and almost out of water. I drop my pack, and we survey around this one stupid lone distribution pole out in the middle of buttmunch nowhere.

We're done in under 10 minutes. It only took 2 hours to hike there. I sit down to write out our field form, and realize that the trek back will be excruciating. By now I have a headache as well as nausea. Thankfully, the trek back won't take as long because it will be all down hill and we know the way. I took one last picture to remind myself that even though I felt miserable, it's beautiful out here.
We take off back down. I'm slower now, and Dopey Walkingstick is ahead of me and has to stop several times to wait for me. I fall two or three more times. I've now skinned both knees and scrapped up both arms, and I'm out of water. We are about 1 mile from the truck when I stop and puke up all that water (no Cheerios). Dopey Walkingstick see's this. Oh joy. I stand back up and keep going. Not five minutes later, I do it again. Dopey Walkingstick see's again. I keep going. Head down, just keep walking. Just keep walking. We finally get to the useless rental truck at 4:30pm. I sip a bit of water I had in the truck. We get back to where we left Dopey's car and I can't help but feel bad for him. He either thinks I'm a lazy, out of shape, stupid, useless slow poke who shouldn't have been an archaeologist, or a complete hardcore fucking rock star who doesn't let puking her guts out keep her from doing her job. I hope it's the latter, but more than likely the former sadly.

After Dopey leaves, I stay by the useless rental truck for a bit. It takes me about 10 minutes just to change out of my wet boots and into dry shoes. I stand there another 10 minutes waiting for my stomach to calm down. It doesn't. I puke again. I decide I need to get going. I can't stay here. I now have the shakes or chills, but I have to move. I get in the truck, roll the window down all the way, get my puke bag ready, and tell myself, I just have to get to I-5 where there are hotels. I can get a room and just crash. Just get to I-5. I make it to I-5 in about 30 minutes. I've stopped shaking by now. I stop at a gas station and hobble in to get Gatorade and smart water. I know I have to replenish. I'm not too nauseous by now, so I decide to try and get to Berkeley. If I need to stop, I can, since I'm back in civilization.

I make it to Berkeley by 7:15pm. I drop the useless rental truck off at their office and dropped the keys in their after hours box, then walk down to my company office to drop the utility company gate key though the mail slot, and then walk to my car in the garage. I pay the garage fee, text my project leader that I've dropped everything off and that I'm on my way home. I roll my car window down all the way and get on the road for home. I just keep thinking of my own bed. I finally roll into my driveway a bit after 9pm. I tell dad it sucked and that I'm taking a shower and then going to bed.

I think I slept a good 10 hours. I hate days like that. So yeah, that sucked. But I'm still alive. Bruised body and ego, but alive to tell the tale. Oh and to add insult to injury, I had a letter from the IRS waiting for me when I got home saying that I'm being audited.

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