Well, I've been putting this off for some reason. Here's the play by play of the Disney trip. Apologies in advance to the Jorgensen clan if any feelings are bruised. I must blog. I must be truthful. Here goes.
We set out on I15 at about 10:30. This was, surprisingly, right according to schedule. Erik's brother and his wife had offered to take Sophie with them part of the way in their fab Durango equipped with DVD player, but ended up delaying their departure by approx. 6 hours, so that wasn't an option. The morning of the trip, Erik woke me up with accusations of the Visa bill being too high as a result of my Flagstaff trip. Needless to say, I was hella pissed. (Hella pissed. Hmmm. How much more white-trash sounding can I get?) Anyway, I left the house in a huff that morning to procure Sophie road trip supplies, and returned with bags of mini-Oreos (OK, OK, I had purchased the mini Oreos the night before, but ate them all while playing 2 hours of computer Scrabble and had to buy more), one of those magic marker books with the clear marker that makes things magically appear, some of those lacing/sewing cards, and other assorted car stuff and treats totaling about $50 bucks. Too much, I know.
We drove to Mesquite Nevada, me at the wheel, (about 90 minutes), and stopped to have lunch at Arby's. I try really hard not to eat curly fries several times a week. While on the road, I figure they're totally allowed. Anyway, the Arby's had a little roped off spot with slot machines in it. Of course Sophie was completely enthralled with them, and I tried to explain to her that they were just for grown-ups. Unfortunately for this grown-up, there were no slots played nor free cocktails drunk, (drank? drinked? dranken? I can never figure that one out.) on this trip through Nevada.
After Mesquite, I gave up the reins to Erik and jumped in the back with Sophie. She was really starting to get tired of the car (the weird kid WILL NOT sleep in the car) so we started singing songs. Her favorite song for the car (thanks NOGGIN) goes like this, with substitutions, of course. "Mommy has a cat on her head. Mommy has a cat on her head. Mommy has a cat on her head and she keeps it there all day. What does it say? Meow. Meow." To sing this song correctly, repeat at least 50 times, substituting the names of everyone you and your child both know, as well as different animals and animal sounds. This continued for, oh, hundreds of miles. The rest of the drive was maddeningly boring. We had a great stop at some David Lynch-esque gas station in the middle of nowhere to change a poop. That was a highlight. (please note the sarcasm.)
We sat in traffic for a good 2 hours after getting into the general LA area, and then finally made it to the hotel. The kids, of course, hit the pool at once, and had a great time. Sophie, in fact, assumed that the pool WAS Disneyland, and would have been happy to spend the entire vacation bobbing around in her floaties.
Saturday we woke up, and entered into the comedy called, "Mobilizing 4 Kids and 7 Adults to Leave the Hotel at a Reasonable Time." Ha. This mostly consisted of traveling from hotel room to hotel room, discovering that while one person had breakfasted, dressed, and was ready to go, another had just jumped in the shower. I ended up with the kids out in the courtyard at one point, and stupidly tried to sneak an emergency cigarette. (I only smoke in emergencies now.) I was caught by my 4 year old nephew who immediately went running through the hotel shrieking "Auntie Boo is SMOKING!" The poor little kid was totally freaked out. (When my step-son was 2, he started calling me Boo. I hope it was more a Boo-Boo Bear thing than a Boo Radley thing. Anyhoo, Boo has stuck, and I'm Boo to all my family, Auntie Boo to the kids.)
I can't say I recommend going to Disneyland on a Saturday in May. It was so crowded. We all tried to stay together, and spent most of the day fighting crowds and waiting. Sophie was hot and cranky. At one point she and I waited in line for an hour (1/2 of the line was hidden--those bastards) to ride on Dumbo. After about 40 minutes, she had had it and literally started beating the shit out of me. (Ok. I guess I mean figuratively. No shit actually came out.) yelling "I WANT DUMBO!" By then, it was a matter of principal, and we waited another 20 minutes for a 3 minute ride that was pretty lame. My sister in law tried to take a picture of us together riding Dumbo, and ended up with a lovely shot of an elderly couple--Sophie and I nowhere in sight.
By 3:00 we had all had it. We went back to the hotel, had a swim, dinner, and passed out.
Sunday morning, I busted into drill sergeant mode. We, the Erik Jorgensens WOULD leave the hotel by 8:30, come hell or high water. And we did. Leaving everyone else behind. See, I wanted Sophie and Janzen to have SOME fun. The only way to do that was to avoid the lines, and the only way I could see to do that was get there early. We did. After arriving, we took the tram from the parking lot (Sophie's favorite "ride" by far. Her second favorite thing was, of course, the hotel pool. Third in line was feeding the ducks in Sleeping Beauty's moat some Cheerios. Note that no actual Disney rides or characters are included in the top 3.) and made a b-line for "It's a Small World." No line. None. We jumped right into a little boat and off we went. Soph loved it. 2 points for Mom. We then checked out some other stuff, and had a really nice morning together.
Sunday afternoon was crowded again, until we checked out California Adventure. I can definitely recommend this park to families with kids. Much more shade. Much shorter lines. A great little "puddle park" for wee ones to splash about in. Fun "Bugs Life" rides. Incomplete sentences. As opposed to the 40 minute line for the carousel in Disney Land, the beautiful "King Triton's Carousel" in California Adventure had NO LINE. In fact, the guy let us just stay on and ride for as long as we wanted. Nice.
Then began the most annoying part of the trip. Our beach adventure. My brother in law decided he wanted to go to Hunnington beach. It is located due south of our hotel. We decided to caravan with him in the lead (mistake number one). Instead of driving down Beach Blvd, he flipped a bitch (u-turn. You know that term--right?) and got on I 91, heading due west. WTF? We were nearly out of gas, and not prepared for an extended highway goose chase. I called on the cell, and was told in a somewhat cool voice by my sister-in-law that the road we were on lead to "all the beaches." Hmm. So, just outside the city of Compton, the gas light went on. We had to pull off of the freeway, just on the border of Compton and Torrance (Familiar with these places? No? Listen to any gangster rap song.) . I HOPE I am not a racist person. I really don't think I am. However, pulling into a gas station in Compton with in a glorified station wagon with Utah plates and finding myself in the minority was definitely an uncomfortable feeling.
Then, we couldn't find a way to get back on the freeway. I finally pulled out the atlas, said, (plug your ears mom) "Fuck fucking Hunnington Beach. We're going back to the hotel. Everyone else can fuck off," and we did. My mother and father in law soon did, probably not said, the same thing. Big Bri, my dad in law was PISSED. He clocked something like 80 miles on his odometer for a trip that should have taken 20 at the most. I won't say more. Things might get ugly.
Monday morning, we headed for home. We made a quick stop at the beach. I grew up in central California, and have been dying to get back to the ocean for years and years. I actually have dreams almost every night that I almost get to the beach, and then something happens to keep me from it. It was pretty bitter sweet to go on Monday. Sweet to share my ocean home coming with Sophie and Erik and Janzen. Sweet to watch the waves come in and smell that beginning of time smell that only exists at the ocean. Bitter because Erik was anxious to get on the road, and also anxious that I might decide to run away from home to be near the ocean again. I shed a few tears, stuck a few sea shells in my pockets, and got back in the car.
That's about it really. Thanks if you hung in for the whole ride/read.
Today's best thing about being a mom:
Today Sophie and I are wearing our matching Tinkerbell shirts. We look pretty darn cute.
Today's worst thing about being a mom:
Well, it meens you're not a kid anymore, doesn't it.