Monday, February 25, 2008

Close Call Watch 2008

So... if you don't have a carbon monoxide detector, get one now. Even if you just had the furnace checked out. Even if you live in a new house. My grandmother Rose and her sister Lil nearly tipped the statistical scales last Wednesday when the furnace in Lil's home (to which Rose had fled after an electrical fire in the basement made her own home temporarily unlivable) malfunctioned and pumped carbon monoxide into the house. They were flown to Salt Lake City from the clinic in their small Wyoming town, where they were lucky to have been correctly diagnosed with carbon monoxide poisoning.

By the time we got down to visit them Thursday night they had each been in a hyperbaric chamber a few times and were doing very well, joking, alert and comfortable, although tired and shaken. If a friend hadn't called and managed to wake Lil, another hour of exposure would have taken them past the point where they could be revived. Scary stuff, kids. We're so glad they're still with us. Everybody else, get thee to a hardware store if you don't already have a CO monitor!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Undertaker

Yes, in case you were worried, today is a slightly better day. The rabid Tasmanian devil is still on my shoulder, but I've tossed him a bone to chew, and he should be quiet for a while. (Yes, I'm going to the doctor. There's no reason but hormones that I should be so violently angry one day and relatively harmless the next.) I have to learn to just sleep away the bad days.

In other news, my Christmas tree is finally giving up the ghost. It wouldn't quit after Christmas, and I didn't have the heart to send it to the chipper with those tiny, rubbery, pale needles sprouting all over, but it's finally starting to brown and wilt in the corner of the bedroom, and no amount of aspirin or sugar can bring it back. I'm going to find a place for it out in the yard with all the other evergreen molt from the big pine by the garage where hopefully it will crumble into mulch for the lilacs.

I went skiing today after work at the golf course, racing the sunset back to the car as the winter shadows became longer, a darker shade of blue. But on my way around the back 9 I ran into Joe, the cemetery sexton, and as we chatted for a moment, I thought how perfect he is for the part. His is a habitually doleful expression and there are perpetual dark circles under his eyes. He's tall and lean but slightly stooped and gaunt, and he's missing the last joint of one of his thumbs; I think it's the right one. All this outward gloom belies a dry sense of humor and a fitting sensitivity to his duties. His outdoor job has leathered his skin and narrowed his eyes, and he can be found doing active things in any season, like skiing at the golf course and bicycling to and from work. He's always been kind to me, and that's the stick I use to measure everyone I interact with.

I can't say that, after 6 years, I respect many people on the City. I started at barely 22, honest, trusting, reasonable. I am less giving now. I never expected to find a group of adults so concerned about themselves, their appearance to others, their status in this pretentious, fractured and feuding, unfriendly town. Which is a huge shame. Evanston could be a lovely place. It's quaint and, in the summer, green and blooming. And I suppose that yes, if I didn't have to fight my way to work on the worst of the winter mornings, I would find winter here lovely, too, if only it didn't last so long. Evanston is a gateway to almost every available winter sport.

Evanston has a lot of great history and a few people attempting, albeit in a very selfish and limiting way, to introduce some culture. But there is a malevolent caste system and a resistance to civility and tolerance that sets my teeth on edge, and I can't see that changing anytime soon. Maybe all small towns are that way, I don't know. We left Kemmerer (about a quarter the size of Evanston, which boasts 12,000 permanent residents and about 1,000 transient workers, give or take a few) when I was barely 12 and really too young to notice, and Evanston is the only small town I've lived in since.

So that's where things lie tonight, and I'm going to continue my therapy with the rowing machine and some Disney/Pixar magic.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

February Contretemps

Google "Winter of my Discontent" and in roughly .08 seconds you will find a far higher number of personal accounts of unrest than I imagine John Steinbeck ever intended to posthumously endorse or inspire. There they are in the thousands, mostly blog passages chronicling the vexation and woe typical of this vile season, crowding academic references to the Bard and Steinbeck into the farthest reaches of the search returns.

Obviously, then, I am not alone. I am dangerously dry-eyed in the face of tragedies this winter, nerves stretched tight as piano wire, a restless body helmed by an unhinged, seething, inflamed brain that manifests outrages everywhere. In the small, sleepless hours after running my neighbor's raucous, blotto, underage friends out of the house last night, I lay on my back, at war with the world. Shaggy opened the door with a half-empty bottle of Crown in his hand, a pimply, gangling, eye-rolling-drunk teenager who offered to show me identification that proved he was 21. He proffered such gems as were appropriate: "I'm young. I like to have fun." "Just don't call the cops!" "Thanks for being cool. Let's have a hug." And I went back to bed, Psalm 37:8 running through my mind. Leave off from wrath, and let go displeasure; fret not thyself, else shalt thou be moved to do evil.

A good part of each day, all I can dredge up is contempt for nearly everyone I encounter. The inept, inconsistent department supervisor above my boss. The predominantly young club of new police officers that speed by me as they race through town without lights or sirens or turn signals, assuming themselves above the law, infuriating. A few are the children of people I know. Then there are the inconsiderate people in my neighborhood, invasive children, ridiculous teenagers, uncaring adults who slump into the church across the street, pointlessly. The majority leave all theory of a Christlike life behind when they exit, completing that chore and continuing disreputable business practices and ingrained habits of emotional abuse throughout the week. Why waste your Sundays?

I want to take a crowbar to the universe. I am not really a danger to anyone, not even myself. I appreciate the very kind individuals who occasionally reconfirm my previous assumption that life is good. But I am frustrated, and I think things that scare me. I need change desperately. I've put in for various jobs in many places; I don't care where I go, as long as it's far away from here. I'll miss my family. (I'll visit.) I'll miss the Wyoming dirt. (I'll take a jar full.) I'll be high as a kite, frightened, but I am prepared for that. I was not prepared for the rage that crept up on me this winter.

I was not prepared to suffer this loss of control and reason. I keep hearing that exercise is the best remedy for such mental maladies, better than pills, but after half an hour of shoveling, an hour of skiing, and half an hour on the stationary bike, there are still not enough endorphins in the world to make this existence enjoyable, barely even bearable. There is no question that by getting me out of California when she did, Morgan saved me. But the last few years of living in this town have threatened to turn me into the type of mean, mistrustful, angry woman I feared as a child. This has very little to do with the town and many things to do with me. Square peg, round hole. Truly good days are few and far between.

Bud confided to me months ago that he'll be retiring sometime this year. Jeff will be a good boss, Jeff who speaks as if 'oo' is the only vowel sound in the English language (bamboozle-hoosegow-goofy-boondocks-boozer-loony-schmooze), Jeff of the well-timed elbow nudge and conspiratorial wink at me from across the table, Jeff of the simple, black-and-white world within a 300-mile radius from the Hillyard epicenter of his rough-and-tumble youth, Jeff of the gnarled hands and bowed legs and permanently windburned face and infallible horse sense. But that means a new operator to replace Bud and a new operator to fill the untimely position created Tuesday night by an uninformed City Council. And I don't want to go through this. I have no faith in the administration, no faith in their judgment of our needs or their ability to hire even one person that would make a good fit.

Or maybe I am the one who is not a good fit. There's only one way to find out.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

All that Glitters

When I'm not lamenting Mother Nature's elemental wickedness -- I pulled a groin muscle closing the gate at the plant this afternoon doing involuntary calisthenics on asphalt galvanized by ice -- I'm lamenting everything else, like the loss of Las Vegas.

Dad took M and I (or rather, we took him) to the Peppermill's Fireside Lounge when we rescued him a few years ago, stranded with his Cadillac by the internal bleeding that plagued his ice blue eye, which would turn the same troubled green as the stormy Pacific as blood darkened the back of the iris. We stayed at the gritty, honest, $20-a-night Ogden House off Fremont Street (where we always stayed, where I stay even now if I'm alone and don't have to cater to my fellow travelers' sensibilities) and ogled Liberace's candelabra bedecked Rolls Royce, among other famous and infamous cars, at the Silver auto auction. At the Peppermill M and I ordered Bacardi Silvers, but we drank gin gimlets in his honor (he was a gin and tonic man) two weekends ago. The first of this month would have been his 65th birthday.

I loved Vegas cheap and dirty, the way it was before the misguided attempt to make it kid-friendly which some band of marketing fools perpetrated in the 90's. Nor am I impressed by the posh turn it's taking; I don't have much interest in haute cuisine or clubs or Celine Dion. With Dad, we saw Lance Burton perform his borderline X-rated magic show before the guy was even shaving, over twenty years ago. (We also saw the child-appropriate Robin Williams/Dustin Hoffman Peter Pan fantasy, Hook, in Vegas.) We charmed cocktail waitresses into letting us stay on the casino floor while he played the slot machines. To this day I love the sounds and sights of a casino. We jumped out of the way of bicycle cops and kicked piles of cards littering the dusty gutters, ignoring the scantily clad women. We were not in the least degenerated by these experiences. Mostly I was just hypnotized by the beauty of neon, which is surpassed by few man made phenomenons. (I also love graffiti. And subway posters. And scrolling marquees. And sidewalk artists.)

So I'm halfway through Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which my gallant Brent quickly mailed me after I lamented Uinta County's deficit of Hunter S. Thompson. And through the protagonist's drug-addled haze I keep getting fascinating glimpses of what Vegas was even in the 70's, when it would have been hastily morphing into the seedy wonderland that was just disappearing when I met it. Before that I suppose it was seedy by the day's standards, but what were the Rat Pack and mobsters of the 50's compared to the horrors of
the entertainment world and organized crime today?

Nevertheless, I love Vegas. In any of its Technicolor incarnations I will adore it, and not because of what it once was. I love most that Vegas changes, that every decade it seems to crash and burn on the desert floor and rise like a Phoenix, an all-new production of the same tried-and-true profusion, compelling and seductive to the masses. Except that it happens so subtly, for a place that exists on such garish extravagance -- ignore it for a year or two and suddenly Vegas is boasting a new sequined, feathered costume, better odds, and bigger, more over-the-top-than-ever hotels and gambling emporiums. And it's all done so artfully that you almost forget to miss what's gone. Except that I do, if only as an ideal frame for some of my favorite memories. But I also like new, so nothing will ever be able to remove Vegas from my list of favorite destinations, not even its own preposterousness.


Oh, Mother Nature, you hag. You were supposed to be whipping up a little something that would pass right through, swirling in from Utah to go skipping down the I-80 corridor, dusting us with a few inches and getting out of our way. Instead, you giggled and whispered to the wind, "Blast Evanston hard and fast to fake them out, then double back and punch them in the kidneys!" I... just... hate... winter.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Saturday Soak


I finally made it out of town Saturday, taking advantage of the first really clear roads in weeks to go to my favorite hot springs in northern Utah (after shopping half the day in busy Ogden). It was a welcome break, therapeutic in more ways than just mineral.

Friday, February 08, 2008


I shoveled the driveway yet again before I went to ski this afternoon, and at one point just stood and stared at the miraculously unscathed left side of my car. The canyon between the ridges where my tires pack down the snow before I can shovel it away is getting so deep that pretty soon I'll be able to stand up underneath the car to change my oil.

The Purple Sage golf course is quite hilly, much more so than the golf course I grew up skiing on in Kemmerer (which now boasts that it's the only course in the continental U.S. with two island greens), 50 miles away. I remember strapping skis on our feet on mild winter nights twenty years ago, Morgan and I following Mom's aqua blue gaiters in the moonlight as she broke a trail for us over the buried greens. She carried Lifesavers in her fanny pack and a leather bota bag full of water around her neck. For years I regarded cross-country skiing as a nighttime activity. It's the only time during any season in Wyoming when there's usually no wind.

Last night the wind roared, however, and this old house rattled as if it were in the teeth of a particularly aggressive dog. A strong gust knocked me to my knees in a snow drift at the plant yesterday, and I suppose the wind is why the parking lots and wider streets in town are amassing trucks even though there are shards of blue sky. (Yep. I just checked the WyDot website: I-80 is closed, 189 is closed, both citing blowing snow and slick roads.) Our cousin Tom, who drives a truck, lost control of his pup two nights ago and wrecked. He's okay because he was wearing a seatbelt, but it took four hours in surgery to put his left arm back together. Get well soon, Tom.

One time this summer I responded to an alarm at the plant around midnight and was surprised to find the wind blowing hard enough to shake the galvanized sides of the make-up air unit on the roof. It seemed incongruous, since summer nights here are usually still. It made me think of the Santa Ana winds on summer nights in I.B., hot winds that played across our bare arms and legs as five or six of us girls lay on our backs on the
cement floor of the open gazebo in the park behind the library, swapping secrets, oblivious to the lack of stars. For a time I forgot the number of stars that litter Wyoming skies at night. Later, after Mom and Dad and Morgan came back to Wyoming and I stayed in San Diego without them, I'd drive out into the desert at night to see the stars, away from the light pollution of the city. Now I can see them by the billions on any clear night in Evanston, and I rarely notice. (Of course, when I do, it takes my breath away.)

Mariah blows the stars around and sets the clouds a-flyin'.
Mariah makes the mountains sound like folks was out there dyin'.

Puck hit 2,000 miles today. 2,000 miles with no scratches or dents. He's been washed four times and already toured limited areas in three states, and there's still a greasy streak of goose guts from Ogallala across his hood. He's plowed through foot-deep snowdrifts without touching their tops and asserted his preference to not be plugged in, even when it's below zero. I love the heated seats. I love the heated rear-view window and the tiny wiper that clears a rainbow of glass. After the $2,500 down payment, I financed just over $16k for 36 months at 0% interest, but the $450 payments are rather irrelevant. What the heck else have I got to spend money on?

I was reviewing a budget worksheet on my favorite financial website once and actually laughed out loud when I saw the blank labeled "Entertainment." In Evanston? Are you kidding? $5.50 for a movie once every six months and $12.00 for three mixed drinks twice a year (assuming the guys let me buy my own)? I don't need a line item for that. I'd even be willing to pay to rent library books if they had a decent selection.

I don't recall what I spent on entertainment in San Diego. $5.00 pizza at La Bella's with the girls every other week usually included a show (a gang-related shooting on the Chula Vista sidewalk), we splurged on a $30 event at the Lyceum or Civic Center or Soma's every other month, $25 memberships to two museums every year, $20 at Sycuan or Barona with Tonetta occasionally.
I'm not much of a gambler. Movies were $8.00 at that weird theater in Mission Valley that always had what we wanted to see. I didn't go to clubs or bars very often and Lenny usually bought when we did, and a Bud Light at Mickie's was still $3.00 and I could nurse that through two lackadaisical rounds of pool. A Milky Way latte at I.B. blends cost $3.25 and I did that maybe once a week, a drive up the Strand and around Coronado and over the bridge only cost gas, and it was still under $1.50 a gallon. We played laser tag or paint ball maybe once a year at $15 or so with equipment rental. Disneyland once a year only cost $35-$40 because Tonetta or Mary got discounted tickets at the Navy commissary, and Mary was working at SeaWorld and generously slipped me guest passes to come in and feed my eternal favorites, the stingrays. (Have you ever fondled a stingray? You have to do it before you die. It's one of the most amazing sensations in the world. They're spongy.)

But mostly our fun was free or ridiculously cheap. We spent a lot of time in or out of the water at the beach or just people-watching at Seaport Village or Horton Plaza, San Diego's delightful multi-level outdoor mall, where I guess we rarely bought anything other than a drink to validate our parking pass. The week leading up to Halloween was chock full o' free fun or offered frightful horrors for a few bucks. Gay Pride parades in Hillcrest were free, the Chili and Jazz festival in I.B. and the International Sandcastle Competition (which included a parade -- San Diego, come to think of it, is really big on parades) were too, and $5 entrance fees to things like the Comics Convention weren't that hard to scrape up. Occasionally I worked that event when I was temping for S.O.S. so I got in for free. I also got to see baseball games from the field (which is, in fact, Santa Ana bermuda grass), doing security at Qualcomm (which was still Jack Murphy Stadium) during the Padres games, long before PETCO Park. Wow, how did I get off on this tangent? My life was not as limited than as it is now, is what I was getting at. And we were college students working for minimum wage, struggling with rent for the first time. We didn't have the expendable income I do now.

(Thinking about other things we used to do in San Diego, I Googled the El Cajon Speedway, a 3/8 mile track east of San Diego where Dad and I went on Friday nights to watch rowdy stock car races when he came to visit, and found that it was closed and demolished in 2005 when the private lease expired. Another of my favorite things, gone.)

Speaking of expendable income, I accidentally budgeted for my $275 rent twice in February, and found the error on my Excel spreadsheet this morning. An extra $275! That's a round-trip plane ticket. That's just under 8 tanks of gas. That's a day of pampering at Cameo spa for 3 gals. (Any takers?) For me, that's almost two months' worth of groceries. That's halfway to another road trip to San Diego. That's going in the Alaska fund for our cruise in August.

Wow, where did 4:00 come from? I meant to get so much done today. I have a date with the first row of machines at the laundromat, and I think Puck, having narrowly escaped disfigurement yesterday, deserves a hot bath at the Auto Spa.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Close Call

I guess the plow blade on the front of the red Housing Authority truck was about 8 inches away when I saw it. I swerved to the right into more of the unknown, against the direction of the raging ground blizzard. My window had instantly glazed over with blowing snow when I scraped it at the gate, so I gave up and let Puck surge down the plant hill in neutral, my foot hovering over the brake, bearing left and not expecting anyone to be at the end of the cul-de-sac. If he hadn't seen me and stopped, he would have plowed right into the side of my car with the bare blade. If he hadn't stopped where he did, and I hadn't swerved, I would have run right into the blade. I pulled up next to him and rolled down the window.

"Hafta change your pants?" he yelled. I shook my head. He told me to watch out for another truck down the block. I could see maybe 8 feet ahead. We didn't check the pumps tonight. Or the U.V., or the reservoirs. There is too much snow, and it came all at once, practically non-stop for six weeks, and there's more on the way. Travis broke the floury drifts in his truck as we crept up the hill, straining to see landmarks: the cell phone tower, the rock pile.

I barely made it into the driveway past the three bags of trash that were inexplicably lined up in my tire tracks from lunch, next to the dumpster, which was upright and fully accessible. I am a coiled ball of rage over something that should be simply an irritation, but mystically unperturbed about the near destruction of my brand new car and possibly my cranium. I came home and made dinner like it was no big deal, after shedding my jeans, hoodie, and gloves, boots, and coat, which were all soaked through as if I'd been submerged. I guess I have an army of guardian angels. Even now I don't feel much besides that ever-present anger. And dismay. And misery.

I hate. Living. Here.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Snow and Sewage

This is not in grayscale. This is actually what my world looks like.

Big horn sheep on the way to Jackson Hole in January.

Cordale contemplates the clarifier at the Teton Village wastewater plant (it doesn't smell as bad as you'd think).

Scientific terminology.

Harley Davidson reflection.

Elk antler arch in Jackson (ski runs at Snow King beyond).

Water hazard.

Groomed trails.

A is for Antagonism

I like walking through the Evanston library in my snow pants. They swish and crackle brightly, and I get to rip open the slanted Velcro pocket to get my laminated hot pink library card out. What are they going to do, tell me to take my pants off? It's my one small revenge for the fact that in the entire Uinta County library system, there is not one book by Hunter S. Thompson.

Wang Chung's "Dance Hall Days" came on the local radio station in the City truck the other day, and T. insisted that it was a "Christian rock song" (he said this in a most condescending tone) by another group whose name he couldn't remember. It takes all my self control just not to smack him.

The pump house hatch was buried under two feet of snow this afternoon, and when I finally shoveled it out, the lock was frozen, and even when I got my key all the way in, it wouldn't turn. The hatch on the reservoir was sealed with a two-inch thick gasket of ice, and I couldn't break it loose, either.

The Super Bowl commercials weren't funny.
I don't want to eat anything but peanut butter. I don't care if I'm late for work. I don't vacuum as often as I should. And I wonder if you can get worker's comp if you have a nervous breakdown because one of your coworkers is a complete imbecile.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Better the Devil You Know?

I don't know where the hours go. I hardly have enough time to do the things I need to do, much less the things I want to do; sleep falls into both those categories. It's all I want to do. The incredible amount of snow we're getting is wrecking my life in almost every way imaginable, even though I've enjoyed cross country skiing on the groomed trails at the golf course every chance I get. But I don't like being trapped in this town; every time I plan even a short trip, snow closes the freeway. I'm tired of shoveling snow, sweeping snow, scraping ice, plowing through drifts, avoiding the snow piled in parking lots and on street corners. I'm tired of the ice building up in my wheel wells so the tires grind against it when I turn, because the noise momentarily freaks me out. And in the drive-through at Kentaco Bell the other day I had to open my door to order a Crunchwrap; Puck's windows were frozen shut.

There are accidents all over town, all the time. I've had to get up at 4 a.m. to get to Public Works by 5 a few times to drive the dump truck, which might not happen so often anymore. Today when I pulled into the garage after a long morning of fighting the cranky PTO, blowing an air hose, and whacking the bed with a sledgehammer (and I believe the guys thought they left the "good" truck for me), I backed the dump truck into the front of the bucket truck parked against the wall of the shop. All it did was crumple the hood, but I had to fill out a brief accident report, and I'll have to take Defensive Driving at some point. Apparently almost everyone has done something similar in the garage. After driving for hours in the blinding snow, pulling into the dark garage is like fumbling around in a cave, and I didn't wait for a spotter.

I'm not really upset about it. Winter seems to have sapped my short-term emotional range almost completely, and there are frequent moments when I feel all my ambition and enthusiasm circling the drain. I'll survive this. Two more months and the worst will be over, and I am more determined than ever to get out of this town. I can't go through this again.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Onions Have Layers

I'm turning into an ogre. I can tell. One of these days I'm going to wake up to find myself green and giant and slimy, with a wicked craving for warm bread baked from ground human children's bones.

This morning I woke up to shouting. The two boys and a girl (all around ten years old, each in very recognizable snow gear) that normally play on the pile of snow plowed up from the parking lot of the church across the street -- the pile is literally as big as a house this year -- had migrated to my yard for some reason, and were playing on the long hedge of snow between the street and the yard, which is plowed four feet high. I peeked through the blinds and saw them, wondered how to get them to shut up or leave, wondered why they're not in school.

Groggy and irritated, I wandered away from the window only to turn back again in frustration as a new wave of shouting began, and just as I reached it, I heard a clink right outside. I pried the blinds open a few inches again and was startled to find a face staring back at me not two feet away. I suppose he was going for the bank of four-foot icicles dripping down from the gutter over the window. He was as surprised as I was when I roared, "Beat it!" He took off scrambling through the snow, and the other two -- snowballs still in each hand -- beat a hasty retreat behind him, past the snow hedge, across the street, over the pile of snow in the church lot, and up the sidewalk behind it.

Oh. My. Gosh. I'm the crazy cat lady. I'm the wicked witch of Morse Lee. I'm sure they'll come back sometime when they see my car gone and demolish the icicles, which I love watching glitter through the blinds at night in the light from the church door, and there will be nothing I can do about it but miss their shadows on the window. And I think it's time I repair away somewhere, maybe an adobe hut way away in the middle of the desert where nobody can affect me, where no one's thoughtless children can wake me at any time of the day or night.

Otherwise, I might eat someone.

UPDATE: Earlier, as I was shoveling the 4 to 6 inches of
new snow -- which had drifted up to 24 inches in certain parts of my driveway and sidewalk during the night -- I noticed two of the little twerps standing at the edge of the parking lot of the church directly across the street, watching me. I stood up and said, "I'm sorry I yelled at you. You woke me up, and then you scared me." "Oh," was all they replied, the gray boy and the pink girl, not "gosh, we're sorry." They walked away towards the snow pile, where the yellow boy joined them. I heard the pink girl, Emily, say to Yellow Boy, "We woke her up, and then you scared her." "Oh," said Yellow Boy. They proceeded to play on the pile until they got bored, hungry, or cold, and must have left after I went inside.

I went to Morgan's to tend the dogs (M was in Salt Lake and Kelly and Charlie went pheasant hunting in Kansas) and had a ball figuring out how to run the snow blower, then shoveling what I couldn't get with the machine. I went to the golf course to cross country ski for over an hour, then came home. Just now I got out of the tub and heard voices in the yard. Curious and a little suspicious, I peeked through the blinds into the darkness, and there they were, Emily, Gray Boy and Yellow Boy, each with a lantern or flashlight trained on the ground. Emily and Gray Boy were standing, watching Yellow Boy on his knees, feeling around in the snow, apparently looking for something. I couldn't stand it; I raised the blinds with a yank and slammed the weighted window open just to see them run. I did not cackle.

I feel a little guilty now and do hope they get brave enough to come back for whatever they lost, but it was totally worth it.