Linked In

I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.  For "How do you know
Kitt?" I've listed you as "other" since there is no category for sweet babou... /sigh 

- Kris 

Head size


"I think my new sunglasses look okay. They might be too big, though."

"I think you'll think all glasses are too big for your head. You have a puny head. It's like you stopped growing it at 'kid sized head.' * starts singing * I don't wanna grow up, I've got a puny head!"

"Stop it! I don't like being reminded about it."

"What? I have the opposite problem. I have a huge head!"

Jump Airlines


Kris has this brilliant idea for an airline. It's called Jump Airlines. It was original conceived as a way to minimize the amount of time people take to board an airplane.

The concept of Jump Airlines is simple: to board the airplane, you have to jump an eight foot gap between the jetway and the airplane door. The jetway would also be a good half to full foot above the bottom of the airplane door, so that you can use gravity to help you make that eight foot gap. Passengers also get a running start to board the plane.

As an added bonus, every passenger can carry whatever he wants onboard the airplane, provided he jumps with it. You want to bring on a suitcase of lead bricks? No problem! Just run right up and jump the eight foot gap with your carryon, and you'll be on your way.

The idea is brilliant in its simplicity.

On the flight out to Arizona, Kris asked Andy, who had never heard of Jump Airlines before, and me about a new scenario for boarding passengers on a plane.

Say you line everybody up on the plane, 1 to 30 or so, as they're getting on board the plane. And a big steamroller comes down the aisle from the front of the plane every 30 people or so. It doesn't slow down.

How many times would you get messed up by this steamroller thing before you became very efficient at loading? What if you ran it every ten people or so? Will people start to trample the people in front of them?

Maybe a wedge-shaped steamroller could just shove people into their seats on the way by? Oh, yeah, and if you're the first into the row, you're automatically bumped to the window seat for more efficient wedge-shaped steamroller loading.

I think that Jump Airlines has its charms. I'm not so sure about the wedgie add-on.

Attack of the giant grasshopper


Kris, Andy and I set up our camp fairly close to the kitchen last night. We were in a small alcove with bushes all around us, and so nicely sheltered from any wind gusts that might have blown. Unfortunately, as I quickly realized, we were also sheltered from any cool gentle breezes from the river during the night.

After a few minutes in our alcove, I realize that I wasn't going to be able to go to sleep in the little oven we had set up for ourselves, so I grabbed my sleeping pad and wandered out to where all of the bags were stacked next to the kitchen, on a little mound that was sure to have a slight cool breeze. I pushed a bunch to the side to clear a space for me, put my thermarest down, flopped down on top if it, and started to go to sleep.

Now, the location of the pile of bags is well known. It's also fairly visible in the night light, as it's a wide circle of bumps the size of, oh, me. What I didn't know when I flopped down, however, is that the guides would often find bags and other things in their boats that should be in the pile, and fling them onto the pile later in the evening.

Say, when I was lying near the pile.

So, as I was dozing, I started hearing THUMP! THUMP! as large, bag-sized objects rained down around me. Quickly deciding getting beaned with one of these bags wasn't in my best interest, I stood up, grabbed my thermarest, went back to the alcove, and settled down between Kris and Andy again.

I wasn't five minutes settled, and nowhere close to asleep, when I heard a rustling behind us, in the direction of our heads, somewhere in the bushes. My eyes flew open. My heart started racing. What had I just heard? I wondered. No, no, I thought, I'm fine, I'm between Andy and Kris, so I'm in the safe place. Yet the rustling kept coming closer in these sneaky, bursts of activity.

Thoughts of rats and odd birds and other Canyon wildlife started running through my head, so I rolled over, reached around Kris, grabbed his headlamp and turned it on, shining it in the direction of the rustling sounds.

And saw a HUGE grasshopper start jumping my way. As Andy told me later, "You know, shining the headlamp at it was like sending out a 'come play with me' flare to it." I turned off the headlamp, not really wanting to see the grasshopper any longer, but relieved that the noise was from a bug and not a small animal.

I put Kris' headlamp down, rolled over, and finally relieved, started to doze off, no longer hearing the rustling of the grasshopper.

Of course, not hearing the grasshopper meant that it was getting closer to me. Closer... closer.

Suddenly, the grasshopper landed on me.

I screamed and sat up, flailing all around me. "Get it off of me!" I screamed, "It's on me! Get it off!" pushing the sheet away from me. Kris sat up in alarm, asking "What? What's going on?" Andy sat up in alarm on my other side, and reached out. "What's going on?" he asked insistently enough for me to hear. "It's a 4" grasshopper!" I wailed, "it jumped on me!" finally able to calm down enough to stop flailing.

"A four inch long grass hopper? Uh huh, right," Andy later told me he was thinking, as he calmed me down. "It's gone now. You can go back to sleep," he soothed. So, I did. I lay back down and, heart still thumping, tried to calm myself enough to go to sleep.

Suddenly, Andy sat up, and jerked around. I sat up, as did Kris, as Andy jumped up with his headlamp turned on, pointed at the four inch long grasshopper than had landed on him, after it was done torturing me. Look at that, we all marveled, as Andy went to find his river mug. He caught the grasshopper in it, put the lid on it, and put it on the edge of our campsite. Nervous laughter turned to relief, and the three of us went back to our pads to sleep.

For the third time that evening, I started to doze. Now, when I start to doze, my eyelids relax and they will sometimes part a little bit. Not a lot, just enough to see movement and not much else.

Movement like, say, a bug dive bombing your face. Followed by a canyon bat, which is trying to catch said bug for dinner. When the bug landed on my face, I, once again, screamed, and swatted at it, barely missing the bat who was in close pursuit. And once again, Andy and Kris were sitting up, asking me what was wrong, and once again, I was exclaiming some highly-unlikely scenario that, at this point, they had to believe since I was correct the last time.

And, once again, the two of them calmed me. I mean, what are the chances I'd be dive bombed by a bat twice in one night? Small. Go to bed.

As I was settling for a fourth time that night, Andy rolled over and grabbed his light. "Just to be sure," he said, and shined the light above our heads.

Less than twelve inches from where Andy's head had been was a good sized scorpion.

"Let's go sleep some place else," he suggested.

I immediately jumped up, grabbed my pad, and walked back out to where I had moved the bags. I moved a few more bags over, giving the three of us enough room to sleep, threw my pad down, and flopped down on top of it.

And that's where we finally fell asleep on our last night in the Canyon, having survived the Attack of the Fifty Foot Grasshopper: on the top of a small mound, next to the dry bags, in the cool river breeze, in full view of the Canyon night sky.

On dry land


Swimming the rapids


As the river winds down the Canyon closer to the Hoover Dam, the water pools more and becomes deeper. We were able, if we chose, to jump off two outcroppings into the river. We were also allowed to swim a few rapids if we wanted.

Kris and Andy chose to swim one of the rapids. I recalled swimming the rapids last time, and didn't need to go again.

When Tracy said jump, Andy and Kris went in. They floated down the rapids just fine. At the end of the rapids, Kris and Andy turned to swim back to the boat. After a few futile moments of swimming upstream, Andy turned to swim out of the current. Tracy was able to quickly move the raft next to Andy, so that I could grab his vest and drop backward into the boat, pulling him in.

After Andy was in the boat, we started to go after Kris, who had continued swimming upstream back to the boat. As he was swimming against the river, he wasn't actually swimming any closer to us. We continued to float down the river, Kris in the cold water, us in the raft. When we weren't getting any closer to him, I started to worry. When he stopped swimming toward us, and rolled over onto his back, I started to panic. I turned backward to Tracy, and asked, "Could you go..." and stopped, realizing she would already be going as fast as she could, having also seen Kris stop swimming. Andy shifted, poised on the side of the boat to jump in and help Kris.

Andy and I both called out to Kris, to tell him to keep swimming. As we moved closer to him, Kris figured out he could swim sideways out of the current and into the eddy, so that we could catch up to him more quickly. Five more strokes and we could get him, just five more. Okay, three more. We caught up, Andy grabbed Kris' jacket and hauled in onboard.

Once Kris was sitting next to us, he explained he had rolled over because he was tired, not because he had given up. He was just resting. Having not given us any sign that he was just resting, he understood our panic. We all laughed about it. Yeah, ha ha, my husband with no thermal budget, chilled in the Colorado River. Great.

Tracy summed it up to Kris as my turning to her and just saying, "Please get him." At that point, she charged. I was happy for her doing so.

Jumping the gap


On the way down the river today, there were two spots we were allowed to climb up the 30 foot rock, walk out along the rock jut, and jump off into the river, where the river was deep enough. Kris and Andy scrambled up first, as quickly as they could. I sat where I was in the boat, happy to sit there, take pictures, and stay dry.

When Kris jumped, he flailed his feet, running in the air like a cartoon, until just before he hit the water. Just before the water, he stopped moving, straightened, and landed in the water with a near perfect, vertical entry. He later explained, in the air there was panic ("I'm falling!") until the moment of calm, which is when he stopped flailing and just landed.

His shoes, however, went flying off his feet.

Andy had a similar experience, with the running feet. Tracy chuckled, commenting, "Must be a California thing."

Both landed safely, recovered safely.

Andy commented that the river is dark. He opened his eyes at the bottom, to find nothing but black all around him. Kris said that, without his life jacket, yeah, he would have been in trouble.

The three of us


Me and ...


Hey ducky ducky


Kris and Andy finished the afternoon in the two duckies. I was way nervous about this, spending most of the first part of th epoast lunch, post hour relaxation in the shade, row to the campsite worrying about Kris. The worrying prompted me to comment, "this is why I'd make a bad mother," out loud to Sam and Adam.

My comment prompted a good discussion ("okay to worry, not okay to say no because of said worry") with Sam and Adam about mothering, parenting, jobs, etc. Adam had joined the boat when Kris left.

The camera began to dry out, so I started to get some okay photos, focus wise. Zoom doesn't work yet, as the gears are still full of sand, but at least I can take some pictures.

Sam paddled our boat back up a rapid so that I could take pictures of Kris and Andy running the rapid in the duckies. Just as Kris started his run, the paddle boat in front of him hit a big wave (a standing wave at that). I turned to look, and saw Kent jump from one side tothe other as the boat folded on the wave, and Pat went flying out in a V. "Welcome to the Grand Canyon Swim Club" was the Pat heckle of the day.

Kris, meanwhile, in the beginning of his run, saw Pat go flying, and has to abort his hole run (that's "hole" not "whole", as he was aiming to run the ducky through the rapid's hole.

I did manage to get some unzoomed photos of Kris, but they're not as spectacular as I wanted. I stopped worrying about him and the ducky after that.