Tag Archives: travel

I Left My Intestinal Fortitude in San Francisco

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Guys. I totally wussed out.

I went into SF today to check into my hotel on Haight Street. Now, I have been up here enough in the past 3 years, I don’t know what I was thinking in trying to go into SF on a Saturday. Honestly, you’d think I’d never been here before. Anyway, I got to the Haight and it was just crawling with people and cars. Y’all, I drove around for almost an HOUR trying to find somewhere to park. ALLLL the street spaces were full (and, even if I’d found one, they are metered, which means I’d have had to go feed said meter every few hours – not so handy when I was planning to park my car and leave it for the night). There was no space in front of the hotel to pull up and at least unload my eight-hundred-pound suitcase. I also never did find the parking garage I was told was several blocks away. And the thing is, there wasn’t even anywhere to pull over and consult my phone, or ask for directions. There are no parking lots in that area, it’s buildings, sidewalks, and street parking. That’s it.

After close to an hour I was running low on patience, not to mention the will to live. I was tired of being honked at and stared at, balefully, by groups of people as they sauntered in front of my car at intersections. Β I was worn out, hungry, and I’d had to pee since I left the East Bay. At that point I really didn’t even feel like being in SF anymore. I wanted a nice, quiet, easily accessible room where I could spend the rest of the evening chilling and getting ready to head home (pretty early) tomorrow. So I fled the city. I headed south until I got to some suburbs (parking lots! public toilets!) and then I got on my phone and booked myself a room in Hayward. It’s a little further away from the airport than I’d wanted, but it cost half as much as any of the rooms I found on the other side of the Bay. I’ll just have to leave here around 7am to make it to the airport on time. Considering my inability to sleep in on this trip, that shouldn’t be a huge deal.

So my trip to the Bay Area ends a little unpropitiously. However, as I pointed out to myself earlier in an attempt to stave off the guilt of chickening out on my day in the city: I accomplished everything I specifically came here to do. I saw the two concerts, and I got tattooed. Anything else after that was just whipped cream on top. And, really, who needs the extra calories, anyway?

Hey, this was really fun. We hope you liked it, too.

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I find myself on the eve of another “last day in California” and I don’t like it any more than I ever have.

I can’t say this trip zoomed by. Honestly it seems like an age since we left Oklahoma and I feel like we crammed a lot of activity into a short time here. So it’s not that the time went by fast….it’s that, as always, there wasn’t enough. Slow-moving, fast-moving; it doesn’t matter. It’s never enough.

Obviously, then, my first choice would always be to stay indefinitely. Just as obviously, that isn’t going to happen. This results in differing degrees of disappointment when the end of my stay arrives. Some trips (most often the ones I’ve stayed for a month or more) I am…not ready to go home, as in desirous of such…..but accepting of it and maybe even looking forward to things we have planned once we’ve gotten there. I may not want to leave but the amount of time until the next visit seems manageable and there is plenty to distract me in Oklahoma.

Then we have trips like this one. This time I’m not holding up quite so well. I can’t really pinpoint why that is. Maybe it’s because it’ll be about six months before I get out here again. (Between this visit and the previous one was only around four months, and I had a trip to San Francisco in between!) Maybe it’s because of the return to the school routine when we get back. As I may have mentioned before (eight thousand times) I HATE having my kids in school. I wish they could be home all the time. I hate missing out on that much time with them and having to kowtow to the school district’s schedules and rules. We get back and go right into all of that again, slogging through the seemingly interminable stretch from after-Christmas to Spring Break.

OR perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I’m going back to a house which is still in a state of chaos from our move three months ago. The amount of junk I have yet to deal with and the fact that there’s nowhere to put it is fairly depressing to me, not to mention overwhelming. I’m an ideological/theoretical neat freak. I crave everything being organized to the hilt but I don’t have the mental stamina nor the energy to make it so, which causes a lot of angst, ennui and discouragement, along with a healthy dollop of guilt just to help it all slide down like a glass-shard-and-thumbtack Jell-O mold.

I think I’m going to peg it as a combination of all three things and call me analyzed.

My point in all this is I’ve already started to circle the drain. I hate it when the spiral starts before I even leave because then I feel like I waste my remaining time feeling bad instead of enjoying myself. I’ve been feeling anxiety about the actual trip home for days – driving “all the way” to Oakland, being on time for the flight, the actual flight – the usual pre-trip bullshit my brain comes up with to drive me insane. That’s just my preemptive worrying, though. Once we get to the airport on time I will relax and everything will go well. And then….I’ll be home. That’s when, I’m afraid, the problems might start. I’m not liking the way this is shaping up so far. It feels like I might be in for a major crash and burn.

And, on that happy note, I’m calling it a night. Here’s to me being wrong and holding up better than I think I might.

Just what I’ve always wanted!

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Every year, during the planning phase of our California trip, I invariably utter the phrase, “I’d really like to get out there as soon as possible after school gets out.” It never happens; the quickest we’ve ever made it was late June, by which time the kids had already been out of school a month. Airline ticket prices and availability, not to mention our schedules here, always conspire against us to push the trip further down the calendar than I’d ever intended. And, as always, I’m just plain glad to be there, never mind what month it is, but I do still cling to the hope that “maybe next year” we’ll do things my way.

This year was no exception to the above. It was July before we got to California; mid-August before we returned home. Now I’m sitting here looking at the ten-day forecast and realizing, “Hey, maybe there are some advantages to a later trip, after all!” – namely that we were gone for most of the godawful Oklahoma summer heat. Yes, it’s been hot since we got home, but we’ve only been home a week-and-a-half. After today we will be dipping down to the low 90s and high 80s here. Heck, I even see one glorious 83 coming up (which is actually still too hot for my taste but compared to 105 it’s nirvana). Now I’m not trying to say fall has arrived or that we won’t have any more bloody hot days. I have a very distinct memory of attending an OU football game on September 2, 2000 at which the temperature was 106 at kickoff – at 6 p.m.! (Try that when you’re 7 months pregnant. It doesn’t go well.) But we are surely on the downhill slide and we missed most of the really unbearable weather – while on California’s central coast which, incidentally, has had an unusually cool summer. We didn’t just trade up slightly, we were flat out spoiled. We were in Atascadero from July 2nd through August 13th and my parents ran the air conditioning maybe ten days the entire time we were there.

Quite characteristically of me the realization that later trips aren’t all bad has come after we’ve already made our plans for next year – plans that include leaving for CA within days of school letting out and returning at the end of June or beginning of July. Yay, me! I get what I’ve always wanted, right? Kids and I will leave CA just as it starts to really heat up and be home early for once….just in time for the hellfire and damnation that is an Oklahoma summer. I won’t be surprised if we find brimstone on the lawn when we get here. And that, dear friends, is a fairly fine example of jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.

You Know You’re a Parent When…. #463

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You know you’re a parent when the notion of a direct flight makes you want to sing, dance and strew rose petals around your immediate area.

Our flight back to Oklahoma (which is zooming up far too quickly for my taste) takes us from San Jose directly to Dallas and I couldn’t be more thrilled. It may not seem like much but plane changes and layovers are the banes of my existence. After spending the entire first leg of the trip in a state of low-grade paranoia about whether we’ll make it in time for our second flight, I have to re-pack all the paraphernalia we’ve disgorged from our bags, deplane and make our way through yet another airport – either running in a panic because we are late or shuffling along like tortoises because we have hours to kill. There’s a second set of snacks to be bought, a gate to be found, the boarding process (again), and the digging out of all the crap I just packed up (and will have to pack up again shortly). Compare to that the direct flight which entails only one of everything and that is why I want to do the happy dance. I mean, really – if I have to go home, isn’t it nice to make it as painless as possible?

Now to figure out the DVD situation. The portable DVD we brought with us has perished and I don’t have my laptop. I am not sure I have the intestinal fortitude to attempt a three-hour flight sans video anesthetic.