Sunday, November 27, 2011

Part SIX will be The End.

It's taken me 6 posts just to get to Sunday morning?
This is how mole hills become mountains.


The sun was shining when we got up. There is blue sky. And I am SO in my happy place - California with my boys.

No theme parks were on the itinerary for us this day. We are going TO THE BEACH. To shop.

First we pick up the girls and dropp off Clint.
Clint has some serious essay writing to do, so he plans to spend the day at the local university, in the library, in California, when the sun was shining, with California girls walking by in their California clothes.
I encourage him to stay focused.

Then the five of us go to Halee's haunt - the cute little town with the round-about. "Her" starbucks is INSIDE her bank. Craziness.

And awesomeness all wrapped up in an elegant building.

We have breakfast at her Bagel place, then head west. To the ocean.

Huntingdon Beach.

It is everything anyone would ever need in a beach town.

We don't actually walk on the sand or go anywhere near the water, as there are STORES with CLOTHES in them on all the side streets. So the kids shop and I sit on the benches-for-bored-husbands and spend my time people watching. 

And, as was the case in New York and London, as soon as three hours passes, the boys are hungry and need a full meal. I totally forget this aspect of traveling with them until it happens. They are always hungry and No sight. No store. No ride. No vista. No experience overrides their hunger. 

I love every second of this day. 

Max and Halee have cookies to bake and meetings to go to, and Clint still has words to write, so Drew, Danica and I decide to go see a movie:

... which has a compelling story line but lousy acting. Nevertheless, it was a lovely way to spend the evening. 

We get back to the motel, round 10:30pm and wait for the others to show up. At midnight, Max, Halee and Clint arrive; starving. So we pile into my mini van and head over to the local IHOP for pancakes and waffles. Danica and Halee then went back to Narnia (the nick-name of Halee's house) and we went back to our motel to watch TV. 

This is holidaying, O-style. 

Clint stays up all night, typing his essay at the desk right beside my bed in the motel room. I doze off now and then, but mostly I listen to his fingers hitting the keyboard. He is a wicked fast typer.

On Monday, we pick up Danica, say goodbye to Halee (who has classes and a real life) and spend the day at Universal Studios. 

They were all starving, so we started with Crepes. 

Then the kids went on a few rides:

At 3 we leave the park. 
This is a full 4.5 hours before our flight home is scheduled to take off. There is NO WAY I'm ditching the rented van at the side of an LA Freeway and running to the airport with out luggage. (By the way, 'ditching' became our theme for the entire weekend. For example, while in those little boats in the Small World ride? We stalled. Our boat stopped moving. "Let's ditch this boat, we can hop out and wade faster." And so on.)

Traffic was nowhere as horrific as I expected it to be, and we arrived at the Long Beach airport in plenty of time. Kids were starving again, so we ate again. And then waited. And waited.

Our flight is delayed. Then delayed again.
So we wait some more.

We eventually arrive in Bellingham, and Clint arranges a taxi for us. 
The plan is to take a taxi back to the border crossing; Maxine has offered to pick us up on the Canada side. 

At 12:30 am, me and my ducklings waddle up to the Canadian border and explain to the guard why we're crossing by foot in the middle of the night with all our luggage. There is a bit of a kafuffle as there is another person (male) with a duffle bag, wandering around between the borders - so three armed guards go looking for him. We carry on and meet Maxine at our agreed upon pick-up spot; the Duty Free Shop parking lot. 

Did you know that once you enter the Duty Free Shop's parking lot you can't get out again? Armed guards assured us we couldn't back out, we had to proceed. BACK THROUGH THE US CUSTOMS INTO THE STATES. And then go around and come back into Canada BY GOING THROUGH THE CANADIAN CUSTOMS. Again. This time in a vehicle. 

"Uh, Jane?" Maxine looks at me with terror in her eyes.
"I don't have my passport with me."
"I don't even have my purse with me. No driver's license, no ID. No nothing."
"This might be problematic."

We explain our plight to the offical fellow packin' heat, and he is not moved. 
"Tell you story to the border guards. Move forward."
"But, you just saw her drive up to pick us up. You just saw us walk through the border. Can't we just ..."
"No, proceed forward. Tell the border guards."

We explain, in detail, our situation, to the US border guard. From his booth, he likely saw the whole thing enfold; I know for sure he saw the taxi drop us off earlier. I know he would have seen us walk across, and I know he would have seen us walk through. 

He kept our passports and met us at The Kiosk for Idiots where he handed them back to us and directed us to the Canadian entry point. Again we explained the details of our dilemma. He was not so quick to let us pass. Oh no. He was going to take a minute or two to question my sanity and my decision making process. He wondered why? Why had we walked across? Why did we choose this crossing? Why didn't I get someone to pick us up from the airport? Why, why why.

Why indeed.

In the end, I just agreed with him. He was right. This crossing was the result of many bad decisions. I had no defense. I was unfit. To parent. To travel. To breathe.

Once his point had been made, he welcomed us home. 

The O Gong Show. 

If I invite you to join us on a trip, you`d do well to decline. 

Three things I`m thankful for:
1. Many memories were made.
2. The rain only lasted a few hours.
3. My family.


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