Banks County Opinions...

April 25, 2001


Column
By Shar Porier
The Banks County News
April 25, 2001

Oh no, not shoe shopping!
A fax came in one day recently, a media hike to the floor of Tallulah Gorge. Hmm sounded interesting, fun. I've always wanted to go down there. I've been around the rim a time or two, but I've been never been down it. So, here was the opportunity to go.
It was just a hike, 200 feet down, 45 degree slope. Didn't sound so bad. I read on. "Strenuous trail." Now how strenuous could a trail be that was for the media? We, who sit at computers or in meetings, or patiently pacing the sidelines of various sporting events. News folk aren't exactly known for their ruggedness.
They said "bring your cameras," so they must know all the gear a photographer would bring. I figured it was just a bit of hype to get us to come.
Oh, it said Georgia Power would be releasing 500 to 700 cubic feet of water per second. And kayakers and rafters would be coming down the whitewater rapids. Wow, pretty cool. Get some good shots of them going over the mini-waterfalls and rapids.
OK. Sure. I'm game for it. So I sent in my RSVP to attend.
A few days later, Christy Harvan, the interpretive ranger/guide, called me and asked, "Any health problems I should know about?" (That should have been the first red flag, but I ignored the possibility.) "Any back, knee or heart problems?" she asked.
I replied, "Nothing serious." We chatted a few minutes about the trek and the fun Sunday jaunt I had pictured rapidly began to take on all the appeal of an army obstacle course. Aw, it's just my imagination, I thought.
"Make sure you wear comfortable clothes and good hiking boots," she said.
I quickly asked, "What, you mean I can't wear my trusty, comfy sneakers?"
She said, "No, you really need a GOOD pair of hiking boots."
On, no, now I have to go shopping for a pair of hiking boots?!? And you know me, and shoe shopping. It took me four months to find a pair of simple dress shoes!!! Now, I have to find hiking boots in three days? With virtually no free time? AARRGGHH!
At that point, the necessity of shoe shopping seemed a lot worse than this trek down into the gorge. Should I just back out? No. I'll find time to get the boots. I will go on this hike.
I managed to work in about an hour and a half one afternoon. So little time. I hit a couple of the stores at Tanger 1. Hmmwhat looked like hiking boots for women sure didn't look like the hiking boots for men. The soles were entirely different. The men's had all these grooves of varying sizes. Different treads on different parts of the sole.
If I'm going to be climbing over rocks, I determined good treads, like the ones one the men's boots were the way to go. Not these wussy, designer, "for-looks-only" things for ladies. These "things" were definitely not for serious hiking.
40 minutes gone and I was feeling the pressure. On to Tanger 2, where to my delight was a Dexter store. My favorite boots. They should have something; some rugged stuff. Sure enough, after a mere 20 minutes, I came out with what I needed.
I was feeling a real sense of accomplishment! Then I noticed a Nike store. Had to go check it out. After all, they are the "Just Do It" people, so they ought to have shoes to "just do it" in. And they did! Found another pair, all-terrain boots with special grips on the toes even.
I took it as a good omen -- how often can a woman find two pair of just what she's looking for in exactly one and a half hours?
I was ready for the gorge!
Shar Porier is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers.


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Column
By Phillip Sartain
The Banks County News
April 25, 2001

Loading the dishwasher and other essential husbanding skills
It happens almost nightly. I finish off the rest of the milk, rinse out the glass and open the dishwasher. Looking in, I discover that there is nowhere to put my dirty glass. After a second look, I also realize there are only four items total in the whole thing.
"What is this?" I say aloud, my hand on my hips in disgust. If I had a hard hat on, I'd look like any other construction site foreman displeased with the progress of the project.
I mutter rhetorically, "Who in the world loaded this thing?" Knowing that I didn't do it, and also knowing that my wife is the only other person who lives with me, the answer is pretty clear. I don't blame her individually. It's a woman thing; a gender-based spatial/perception deficit. I know because I checked with an authority -- my brother.
"Yeah," he said. "I have to re-do the dishwasher almost nightly."
"What seems to be the problem?" I asked.
"Well, Stephanie just doesn't know where to put anything. She just throws it all together in a big jumble. It usually takes me a while to get it all straightened out. But I get it done," he added, very professionally.
He took me over to the machine and demonstrated. Having some experience of my own, we then debated the pros and cons of dishwasher compartmentalization.
"It depends on your design, actually," he opined. Pulling out the top rack, he pointed out the variations possible for loading dirty glasses to obtain maximum capacity.
"Man," I admired, "you must have read the owner's manual."
"Naww," he waved me off. "Trial and error. It's the only way."
Then we examined the bottom rack. "It gets tougher down here. This is where Steph makes most of her mistakes. She can't visualize, and in the end it costs her points."
"You mean you grade her?"
"Not really, " he said. "I grade myself."
"Sort of like a competition," I mused.
"Yeah, that's it."
"Do you time yourself?"
He looked at me a little oddly. "No, I don't think speed is the key here. It's efficiency and proper utilization of space." "Oh," I apologized. "Well, what's your record?"
I struck a chord, and he stood back rubbing his chin, in a pose of deep reflection. "Well, we had a party one night, and Stephanie cooked a whole lot of food. This place was a wreck. She wanted to leave everything until in the morning and run a few loads then."
"Why didn't you?"
"Well, I went to bed, and lay awake thinking about it. In my mind, I carefully catalogued and placed all the dirty dishes. I didn't know if it would work or not, but I had to try it."
"And?"
"It was a work of art," he glowed.
I could understand his feelings. I've been there before. Unfortunately, it's an unappreciated art. In fact, my wife is not at all impressed when I drag her into the kitchen to show her my handiwork. "Look," I say, "this is how to load a dishwasher."
"So what?" she shakes her head, and trudges back to her "Southern Living" magazine and tea in the den. That always stings a little, but I figure she'll applaud my efforts when the power bill comes in. In fact, I'm really hoping that I'll get enough credits to earn my first Husbanding Merit Badge. Once I nail down the Dishwasher-Loading Badge, I'm going to work on my Garbage Badge. It's just a matter of knowing how to handle that twist tie.
Phillip Bond Sartain is a Gainesville Attorney.

 

 

 


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