I know you've all been on the edge of your seats burning with curiosity about whether or not we're going to California this weekend. I myself have been the least in the know, deferring to my mom, whose health hasn't been tip-top, and for whom even miniscule decisions can require years of internal debate. (She's a libra.) Secretly, she and I confessed a mutual desire not to tackle what feels like an insurmountable endeavor, but ultimately, you know, the kids looked up the schedule for the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, my favourite stomping ground as a kid, and sure enough, they're open on weekends. Hooray! (Fuck.)
I'm a trouper, and I can pull some shit together yo, so I compiled a list last night, and at last count, I have roughly 885 things to do before we rip ourselves out of bed at the ass crack of dawn tomorrow and set out on the 13 hour trek to Santa Cruz. Friends, you may not quite grasp the enormity of this undertaking, so allow me to break it down:
I still have yet to recover from being sick. My stamina is pretty compromised.
My birth control pills, meant to stop my periods for good, were apparently prescribed by satan because instead, I am on my period 25 days out of each month, including now, so all this talk of the hot tub where we're staying is really pissing me off. (Yes I've heard of tampons, but this is my rant so shut the fuck up.)
I just started a new medication that has a peculiar side effect that is both uncomfortable and somewhat unsafe for driving. Meh.
My family is all Santa Cruz chic and herbal, and most of them are acupuncturists, so I don't really tell them I take 7,000mgs of the most potent chemicals on earth. I won't exactly be popping a Xanax at dinner kapiesh? I mean, they know something's up, and they're always offering to poke some needles into my temples and tell me I should be treating the endometriosis with hibiscus root and bella donna. We're all close, don't get me wrong, and some of them got thin hair, or small breasts, or the adorable propensity to say things like anemonies instead of amenities, lol. I got the crazy gene. Oh and the height of a redwood, oh and the size 12 feet, oh and the cankles, oh and the eyebrows, the goddamn eyebrows, and I'm the only fat person in the family. My older cousins, Maria and Catarina, now in their early 40's (what the hell?) are both perpetually tan, both thin, Maria is some A+ beach volleyball star, her 11 year old Max, is a local surfing champion, both their husbands are Brazilian so their kids are beautifully golden brown. So here we come, white as ghosts, me whose most extreme quality is a toss up between being nine feet tall or crazier than a shithouse rat, plus my cankles, my ma, whose passion is social justice, not Aeropostale, my son, who by all accounts is a genius, and sweet as honey, but can't keep up with growing two inches a day, whose hair is long (sigh), who reads computer magazines and talks about capture devices and ports and shit like that. Now Reilly, Reilly will fit right in. She's pure muscle, tan, with hair that doesn't quit, style that can't be rivaled, believes she is 12, even though she's eight (but she really is 12). She's got the personality, the athleticism, the sensibility, the must-have accoutrements. She's a homeschool anomaly.
Todd put us on a budget this time, to which I am not accustomed. I know that sounds spoiled, but he usually gives us more than enough. But he's very fiscally conservative and with the current economy he expects us all to do some cinching. So of course I'm worried a hundred dollar bill will escape from my wallet and fly out the window.
Did I mention I've never driven to Santa Cruz? I know there's some complicated bullshit near San Francisco because when my mom used to drive Sky and me there as kids, she would always tell us we couldn't talk in SF. And the last time I tried to navigate that bridge, my friend and I went over it nine times, lol.
My to do list would make the most manic, efficient, optimist slit her throat.
I recently got a David Cassidy haircut. I'm just sayin'.
Jacob's being released from the hospital and I feel I ought to be around to schlepp some soup bowls and make him laugh til it hurts. (His weakness? Fart noises! Try it!)
In four short hours, we'll have to pump our own gas. I'm no diva, but it's intimidating.
I'm allergic to everything but vitamins, and my family is known for eating out seven times a day. I don't want to explain the allergies because I don't want to hear that they are rooted in a weak liver, and talking too fast, and that I'm losing chi at alarming rates, etc.
I hate the beach, yes even West Cliff. My family is proud to all live on Pleasure Point, and I'm sure I'd also be excited to brandish my 400 sq. ft. house, with rent a mere $2,500/mo., if I lived there, but the proximity to West Cliff will entice everyone to go down there. I hate sand, wind, the beach, and the precarious winding sheer rock face leading to the sand. I have arthritis in my knees, and that shit is no fun. But don't tell anyone. I'm not taking some Chinese herbs and quitting coffee and using meditation. I like good old western Glucosamine.
Can I have double bitching points for being on day 19 of this period?
I can't imagine a scenario in which I will ever get to sneak a clove. (No, Gail, I quit, really. I just have them for emergencies, such as wanting one.)
Sometimes my mom and I fight on trips, and we both agreed that her recent cancer scare will ensure only lovingkindness. Let's hope.
I'm notoriously unphotogenic (stop with the false loving reassurances, it's true. Ask B. She will tilt her head to the side and smile sheepishly and say "Well? I mean...") So I will likely have no suitable pictures to blog when I get home.
We are the closest, most socially-conscious, devoted Democratic family, pretty much the west coast Kennedys, but one of my dearest uncles voted for George Bush, and that can cause friction, depending on who has a beer at the reunion BBQ. We love him, he is cherished and has the kindest, twinkling eyes, but there is really no excuse. Anyway, he just got laid off after managing a computer company for like 35 years, so maybe I'll reiterate the error of his vote, lol. And be squashed dead. (Don't forget that while I am the tallest woman, the others are mere inches behind, and the men are Goliath.)
My family is very adventure and physical-exertion oriented, and I just know Max will invite my kids to surf, or my brother Sky will want to take them on a quintuple stacked ferris wheel at the boardwalk, or someone will want to rent the 10-person version of a tandem bicycle, and try to shame me into letting them ride from Soquel to freaking Watsonville.
Finally, my entire gallon sized water bottle spilled into my purse the other day, so my current purse is a WinCo shopping bag, with the bare essentials in various pockets of a coat that has become absolutely imperative now because it has my phone, my keys, etc. Ladies, you can all appreciate how disorienting it is having no purse. I haven't checked to see if it's dry yet. In fact I have done nothing but laundry, emptied some garbage, chatted and moaned to some friends online about how this trip is going to kill me, and write this criminally tantrum-esque blog.
Perhaps in the interest of boring you all to death, I shall share my to-do list:
find bathing suits and be willing to wear one with a skirt in front of my 6 ft. tall bikini-clad cousins.
pack Rei's and my matching valentines shirts for the BBQ
make sure everyone gets his/her allowance and trip money from Todd, who thank God is home today.
rejoice over dry purse and reassemble or improvise fast.
find our travel laundry bag.
take Quinn to Borders for a new book for the road.
I was told to pack for weather ranging from low 40's to high 70's. Yea!
clogs, Mary Janes, and flip flops (but how many?)
pea coat or snow jacket/interim purse? And if pea coat, black or white?
toiletries--don't forget new razor!
um, feminine products, the 700-pack
a case of Dasani water bottles
hair dryer and straightener
do we own a travel DVD player? (Though Q & R prefer iPods and books.)
charge camera and camcorder and iPods (update everyone's music so it's fresh.)
sort through the brilliant music Adam has given me over the years, pack favourites.
check weather report for Santa Cruz, 95062.
pillows and blankets? Really?
Mapquest to and from.
CLEAN MY ENTIRE HOUSE!
clean the hardened pill dust out of pill sorter and stock my pills.
blog for sympathy
get some addresses.
force Reilly into the bath, so she can wash her hair and shave the gawgeous legs she did not inherit from me.
oversee her packing so it's weather appropriate and I have final say over when it's acceptable to wear argyle knee high socks.
sift through the five garbage bags of clothes Pam passed along to me in hopes of freshening up my already new, but seemingly old in the presence of newer and exciting clothes, wardrobe. This will only take 75 hours.
check and recheck med sorter 8,000 times. Ask B to check it too.
don't forget iPods, and the cushy headphones my kids require because they don't like the inner-ear ones.
get everything ready to forceably remove my precious offspring from their beds at 5:00am, prodding them without resorting to abuse, pack our shit, pick up mom, go to Starbucks, and be on I-5 by 7:00am.
Anyone wanna come help me pack, dry my tears, bring me a London Fog?
Okay, only 884 things left to go...