Saturday, June 14, 2003


So this is the horrible side of going to meetings like the WAM convention: the way they end.

Three or four whirlwind days of exchanging ideas, networking, having a complete blast with total strangers, reconnecting with people who feel like incredibly close friends even though I only see them twice a year, scribbling down book citations, commiserating, drinking, playing hackey sack, listening to kickass speeches (GovDave! GovDave! GovDave!)... then we get down to the business meeting, voting on a flurry of resolutions, affirming to one another what our goals are for the coming year...

And then the meeting breaks up... quick hugs, talk about visiting one another (rarely happens), last minute brain-picking... a lump in my throat I haven't felt since my very last high school speech meet some 15 years ago...

And now is the really hard part. Not missing my WAMbuddies, though I do, I do, especially since this year I reconnected with my original WAMbuddy, the public works director for the City of Riverton (I can't tell you how we became friends, exactly, but it did of course involve Guiness... lots and lots of Guiness... as what important social relationships in my life don't?), but coming home, inspired and rarin' to go, full of new ideas and rekindled passion for what I'm doing. And it's great, this feeling, I wish I could have it all the time, or at least more often, but it's so fragile, so hard to hold on to, and there's no one here in my real life to really share it with...

And soon it will be gone, and all the ideas I'm bursting with right now will be shown to be impractical or unpopular or impossible (and some of them probably are, but not all of them, not really, surely! Surely? Surely....)... most of the people with whom I networked and who infected me with this hope have probably already forgotten me (hell, it's only with severe and immediate effort that I sort even now through my pile of business cards assembled over the weekend, matching names to faces and conversations) until next time.

And soon the central message that got through my thick skull again, which I can only, at this post-convention high moment, hope at least penetrated a little more deeply this time, that my colleagues and I, or at least I myself, need to set some goals and focus on them and stick to them and revisit them from time to time... soon that message, too, will likely fade. I'll lose it all in what I'm conditioned to believe is the real world and maybe it is, maybe it is, but there's got to be away to tune out all the noise and concentrate on the signal.

Funny, isn't it, how the signal gets through most clearly when one is being so superficially unproductive... Playing hackey sack with a dozen youth delegates from Lovell, drinking martinis and smoking five dollar cigars with most of the crew from Riverton, ranting and raving with Sam Western about the turnaround achieved in Tupelo, Mississippi, babbling to a roomful of my fellow elected officials about what I mean when I say everyone in Wyoming has a corner knocked off...

Why can't more of the rest of my life be like my WAM life?

Good question.

It is, of course, up to me to see if I can't just make it so.

But so, anyway, pardon me if I seem to be talking to myself a bit more than usual. I'm just trying to keep it all in mind, on the off chance that maybe, at some point, I can make it so.

Friday, June 13, 2003

WAM 2003

This year's WAM (Wyoming Association of Municipalities) convention is right here in Carbon County, and so far it's been kind of astonishing.

Yesterday the Historian and I wound up serving as "guides" for a delegate tour of Saratoga... for all of three ladies. About 30 people came down from Rawlins (where most of the actual convention action is taking place), but trust a bunch of local elected official/leader types to be wildly uninterested in being led around anywhere.

They did all right, though. I noticed them carrying lots of shopping bags onto the bus. Mission accomplished!

The three gals we did lead around were a lot of fun, and I had a long overdue look at my downtown through their fresh eyes. It was pretty astonishing, actually, and quite refreshing. See, they're jealous of how good Bridge Street looks, how attractive the businesses are, how nice the merchandise inside is, the variety of restaurants and stores and amenities we have (my buddy Tom, a Cheyenne council member, told me his kids think our municipal swimming pool is the greatest thing ever). Their jealousy only increased when we told them all that they had seen downtown (except, of course, the heated sidewalks, the brick and the colonial street lamps) was accomplished, not by concerted government-led effort, but by individual business owners who have pride in their places.

Then, making yesterday even better – snicker, snicker, snicker – I finished the evening back in Rawlins at the soon-to-be-golfable Rochelle Ranch Golf Course (ha ha, Sewer King! I got to golf it before you did!)... and won $100 in a putting contest.

I am, of course, so not a real golfer.

And so to today, when the real work begins. Community Development workshops and so forth.


Wednesday, June 11, 2003


You're in luck, dear readers: for the first time in many, many days, I am a) ahead of schedule (well, temporarily) and b) seated at a computer for a few minutes.

I'm early for our monthly Joint Powers Board meeting (a.k.a. the Sewer King and All His Court). There is some debate floating about town about whether this was to be at 5:30 or 6:00 p.m.; apparently Tad the Grocer is in possession of an agenda and/or minutes (for which meeting, I cannot say) that indicates it's 5:30 p.m., but I know for a fact we all voted a few months ago to make 6:00 p.m. the permanent official time... and my copy of the (current!) agenda and/or minutes does indeed say six (on the minutes) and nothing a'tall (on the agenda).

I'm just early because I overestimated how out of shape I am - I left off my task of the day (troweling some more Maybeline on the latest version of my business plan -- Yes, that's right, business plan -- to see if I couldn't make it fit for its first reader) thinking I had just enough time to ride my bike over to the post office and drop some stuff in the mail before making the 6 p.m. here at the scintillating Saratoga Town Hall.

I made it, all right. With like 20 minutes to spare.

So here I am, typing to you, dear readers. Never say I don't think of you. Never.

And here we have a few special guests, including Flip Chart (our consulting engineer, who comes by his name quite honestly) and the Warlock of the Waterworks, currently dishing over a nasty-gram we've received from the State Loan and Investment Board regarding a grant we applied for this year to rehabilitate our older water tower.

Seems the SLIB has swapped over some of its responsibilities/bailiwick with the Wyoming Water Development Commission and, while they didn't ever inform us that we must no longer make applications for programs like this to the SLIB, expected us to know this anyway. Neener neener neener on us. No SLIB grant, maybe the WWDC will do it, but probably we should take out a loan.

I have a feeling one or more of the Courtiers will be making a trip to Cheyenne pretty soon to plead our case.

Pick me. Pick me. Going to Cheyenne is what I live for.

But being the hothead I am, and angry as I am at certain other state bureaucracies (Bidness Council, por ejemplo), I probably shouldn't go unchaperoned.