Alex Camacho
Crosby, TX, United States
Born in Houston, Texas and raised all over living the life of an Army Brat. I Went to eight different schools (three elementary, one middle school, four high schools) and have one little brother who’s not so little anymore. I’ve been married for nearly fourteen years now to a woman who rocks my world and I've been blessed with two wonderful children. Our dog, Sally, is a big black lab saved from a local shelter.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

1,663 Miles Later

After a three hour flight and a three day drive back, I'm now the proud owner of a 1966 Volkswagen Microbus. I was really nervous about flying out to purchase a vehicle I had never seen for obvious reasons despite talking to the owner, Toby, at some length a few times. What if it wasn't what he said was? What if it was in horrible condition? What if he raised the price once I got there knowing I flew in for it? Or worse, what if it was all he said it was but sold it. Once I got in at the airport I was just wired nerves wondering if I'd call and find out he'd sold it already. He picked me up from the airport in a restored '63 Dart convertible. By the time we went to the bank and grocery store to notarize the title I found out a little more about the bus I was buying. He's owned it since 1989 and had a lot of fond memories traveling with it. By the time I finally saw it I was ready to pay him and be on my way. We went through the formalities of the walk around, but mostly we just talked about her little quirks. When it was all said and done, we shook hands and he asked me to keep him updated on her restoration and I think he meant it.

With no air conditioning I just slid the windows open and enjoyed the fresh air on the ride home. Something in the Arizona air smells different, but not in a bad way. Somewhere around La Cruces my speedometer gave out. It started spinning like a cracked out clock then just stopped dead right along with my odometer. It's a good thing I knew by this time that she shook and shimmied a little more right at sixty two to sixty six miles per hour. I pushed a little further that first day and made it to a hotel calling my name in Neon at Fabens.

Gasing up before I left that morning, I noticed my little oil leak had progressed into a large oil leak and she was running really hot. I knew she wouldn't make it back to Houston unless she was towed or fixed. I was all for towing, but Lana suggested getting it fixed locally before I dropped twelve hundred at Ryder. So I reluctantly called around. I was having nightmares about my last vehicle breakdown in Pope, Mississippi. After looking in the local yellow pages at the gas station I found a vdub specialty shop. The attendant went out of her way to try and help me out, asking me questions about the bus the whole time. I called them up and told them my predicament. The guy said tow her in and he could get me back on the road in a few hours for under two hundred.

When the tow truck showed up the driver stalked around the bus with a big grin. Turns out his son is looking for a microbus too and he's been keeping his eye out. He dropped a few hints as to that but I think I made it pretty clear I was keeping her when he found I had flown in to get it. They were really great guys and we talked the whole way back to El Paso about old cars, kids, our time in the Army, and all the great titty bars there in town if I had to stay another night. They only charged me forty five for a thirty mile tow. If you've ever had to be towed you know how cheap that is. Before we parted ways, they gave me some cards to give to the shop which I gladly did.

Competition Motors reminded me of the little shop I used to take my '71 bug in Clarksville, Tennessee. It was a homey feeling place with lots of memorabilia laying around everywhere and parts shoved in every possible corner. They recommended a great barbecue place a few blocks down where I ate a great ham sandwich and read some a few chapters more of Chasm City. Good on their word, the father and son team had me back on the road in just a few hours. The gaskets on my head covers gave out plus a rag I didn't even know about had been sucked into my fan. I kept the rag as a memento. I was on my way plus they put in new plugs and adjusted the points on my distributor. If you're ever in El Paso cruising along in your Vdub when your green light goes on, Competition Motors should be your only choice. I only made it out to Kerrville that night but I wasn't that much of a "setback". Having my card declined at the hotel was, however. Bank of America put a hold on my card for suspicious activity but I wouldn't find that out until the morning. Lana put up with my grumpiness and got the hotel to charge it to her credit card after a few minor fax machine issues. I'm surprised she didn't make me sleep in the van after I was such an ass with her on the phone but that's my baby. She always seems to be able to empathise with me and knew it was just exhaustion and frustration. I love my woman.

I was back on the road again and tried to get money out when I was declined again. I called my baby, she called the bank, and they lifted the hold on my card. I was on my way home and running a day late. Normally I would'nt think this such a big deal but I had Matt's bachelor party to do for him in College Station that night. I got home exhausted. I switched cars, showered, packed some more clean cloths, grabbed my paintball gun, and was on the road again. It was exhilarating though to be running on pure adrenaline, redbull, and coffee. I hit College Station later that night.

Since I didn't realize it was Easter weekend, we didn't get to go camping. Turns out everyone likes to go camping on Easter weekend. We drove out to Austin and hit a great titty bar. I don't remember the name of it now but the women were amazing. I won't go into too much detail but we kept a woman in Matt's lap and beer in his hand for most of the night. Other than the guy playing pocket pool with himself quite vigorously all night, it went really well. I think they required their women to be 5'8" minimum. After staring at miles of road I got to stare at miles of legs all night long.

paintballcreek01Slightly dehydrated, we crawled out of our room in Austin after a five hours sleep and hit the road for paintballing. It was the best field I've played at and it would be well worth the drive form Houston to play there again. Texas Paintball has a creek, lots of hilly terrain, great scenarios and a really helpful staff. We walked away with many a bruises and smiles. This is the kind of field I would like to open. I'm hoping to rally the guys sometime the next few weeks for a return trip.

I got home last night around eleven. I think my leg muscles in my gas petal leg put on a few pounds over the past few days. I limped in the house, still wearing my dirty paintball cloths and smell, and promptly flopped into a chair. Glen, Derek, Jess were on their way but I was pushing just to stay awake on the ride home. So I visited with Micah, Kelly, Lana, and Marcel before I found myself beginning in coherent sentences in my mind. I called it a night and crashed hard.

On my way up to Lana's office I was tempted to start working on the bus. Marcel was no help. He's pretty eager to help out with "our bus". So we crawled around in it together for a few minutes. I can't wait to start but today I think I'm going to rest up. It's been a busy few days if I may say so myself.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Poker Adventures in Louisiana

It's been a pretty good weekend even if it didn't start out that way. Lana heard about this poker tournament over at the Argosy that she really wanted to go to. So all week long she's jumping in every game she can. Sunday rolls around and we hit the road with Tracy. I'm actually excited. Even though I don't play as often as them or even take the game as seriously as them, I enjoy a good game. We're making awesome time despite getting a late start (five in the afternoon) when Lana figures she'll be cute and tell us she doesn't have her driver's license. So she goes to look for it when she realizes she really doesn't have it. So she tears into her purse searching, then I do. No luck. It occurs to her the last place she used it at was Bill's Crosby's Finer Foods. Bill's Crosby's Finer foods Dosha. ;) She gives them a ring and turns out they have it sitting in the customer service office. We're an hour away from our destination when have to turn around. Trust me it was a hurting blow but it gets worse.

To make a long story short, Micah and Kelly went out of his way to help us out. They drove over to the grocery store, picked it up and drove to meet us with the license. Nevermind they were also babysitting for us and feeding Sally for us while we were gone. He saved us about an hour of driving so it's all good and we get back on the road.

By the time we get there we're pretty excited and looking forward to the morning. Lana didn't even bitch about not having valet parking or a bell boy. At least not until the morning. Then we go to the casino and learn that we don't have a chance in hell of getting in on the tournament unless we're playing in their 3-6-12 game. Turns out they give first opportunity to sign up, before registry even opens up, to those already invested into a game of 3-6-12. To put it shortly, we're told to fuck off despite driving seven hours and renting an overrated room just to play. We almost packed our bags and left right there but exhaustion and hunger overrode our frustration long enough for us to calm down. After hunting down a Waffle House, and bitching we felt a little better and decided to try anyway in the morning after a few hours sleep. A fresh start.

Turns out we really didn't have a chance in hell getting in the game at the Argosy. They were booked solid an hour before registry even opened. Being the people we were, we got back the to the room fuming and hit the yellow pages. We called all the big casinos in the area and decided we were going to play some fucking cards before we left. Never tell three headstrong people they can't do something.

Coushatta's was our savior. Sort of.

We got there and bee-lined to the poker room. They were waiting for five more people to open a table of No Limit Texas Hold'em. So we waited for two more to sign up. And waited. And waited. Played some slots half heartedly. Ate. Then waited some more. We were at our breaking point. We jumped into a game of 3-6-12. We were there about an hour. Lana won three hundred in that time off her table. Actually it was only one twenty if you knock off the eighty I lost but it was fun and we were feeling much better.

So good in fact, Tracy decided we should try to get in on the tournament at Harrah's on the way back despite having called them earlier only to be told they run their games like the Argosy. It took us not even five minutes to sign up and get our seating though. We ended up sitting at the same table. I got knocked out pretty early but Lana and Tracy held on longer. I could tell Lana and Tracy were feeling pretty good on the way home. They dissected their plays menthodically, ruthlessly, with the passion only an obsessive compulsive could understand and love. It was like a well read bedtime nursery rhyme for me. I passed out in the back of the truck and slept most of the way back listening to them.

In other news, I'm pretty sure I got my bus. It's not the one in New Hampshire but it does sound like a much better deal. I talked to the owner a few times while we were on our poker road trip. Overhauled engine (96.3k miles), new exhaust, generator, brakes, clutch cable and fuel pump. It's only eighteen hours away and fifteen hundred cheaper. I'm overnighting him a check to hold all other potential sales until I can go take a look at it and take it home. I'm hoping as early as Wednesday. We're supposed to work it out today. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Warm Weather!

The past few days have been a blaze of cleaning for me. The weather is starting to warm up and it just feels good to be moving around outside rather than sitting inside. I even got the leaf blower out and bagged all the leaves up. It's amazing all the stuff that was hidden under the leaves. I found what remained of my back fence lattice that one of the kids tore down, plus numerous toys. I found my pavved path again too.

During Lana's meeting I took Marcel out to the park to ride his bike. It needed a little attention but nothing I couldn't take care of. It reminded me how much I relied on my bike growing up to get me where I wanted. I rode that thing everywhere. I learned how to fix my own flats, how to straighten a rim, how to fix a chain, adjust my brakes, plus I rode without ten pounds of protective gear. Marcel was pretty excited about his riding equipment though. They had a Batman set that came with helmet, kneepads and elbow pads. He's so worried about falling, not because he might get hurt, but because he might scratch his cool helmet. I'm thinking of getting a bike so I can go riding with him around the neighborhood. Mike might have my old bike still in the garage, stored away.

Today I've busied myself with finishing up the yard and putting new flashing cement around our aluminum patio cover. The real test is when it rains. I hope to never have to do that again. I think I ruined another pair of jeans. I never think to change clothes when I'm working on something I get so focused on just getting it done. I can see now I'll be scrubbing that stuff off my hands for days.I'm really looking forward to the warm weather. Beach trips, going to the park, riding bikes, etc. The way things are looking, I'll be getting to where I want in a new (for me) 1966 VW Bus! That is, if all works out well. I think I found the one I want but it'll take a little bit of planning since it's in New Hampshire. So wish me luck and keep your fingers crossed. I think it'll work out well though. I've been envisioning my bus for so long it's nice to know that I'm getting close. Marcel's pretty excited about it too. He's been a little hawk about loose change lately. The other day I found out why when he walked up to me and said, "Here daddy. It's for our bus since they're kind of expensive.

So now I have a small pile of change from Marcel in my closet that's going straight to the bus fund. It's going to be a good summer I think with lots of beach time. :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2005

Pulling Teeth

I'm now two wisdom teeth short. Yup, I went in on Monday morning and had them pulled. The antibiotics brought the swelling down though and I almost put off having them pulled again. I figured it was time though.

It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be but it's not exactly something I would want to do again. I was pretty nervous going in. I must have read the same chapter three times waiting for the dentist while the local set in. I could hear him working in the other room. Something about the sound of that damn drill grinding on enamel just sets me on edge. When he finally did come in the room to pull them, it went pretty fast. Pulling the gum back, working a tool between the gum and tooth, the slow prying and wiggling back and forth, etc. It went fast but not fast enough I guess. The downtown view from the huge windows was great though. I wish I had brought the camera.

We went out to eat right afterwards. I about gagged before we got there just swallowing the medicine and blood in my mouth before I finally got something to drink. It hasn't been so bad since then though. The medicine mouth taste is gone and the blood taste is all but gone. Plus Vicodin is nice. I slept most of yesterday. Lana took care of me most of the day, while I sort of vegged out and let the Vicodin do it's work.

Not a lot going on around here other than me recovering. Johnny and Dosha signed the papers to their house though the other day. They're pretty excited and I can't blame them. It was only a seven months ago we moved into ours. Plus I'm sure their pretty excited about being on their own again.

I should get off the computer for now. I'm thinking of going to Walmart and movie shop. I need something to do when I'm not sleeping off a dose of Vicodin.