I consolidated the stories about Fred.


...long live, Hill Blocks View. I miss writing. But the thought of one more round of "welcome backs", or obsessing over stats, or thinking of the clever response to a comment, or the obligation to read everyone else's blog... not so much. So I'll try and write. No pressure. If you feel the need to respond, you can email me. I like email. flipaul@yahoo.com

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I'll Tell You Anything You Want To Know. Just Don't Make Me Go On Vacation Again.

Continued. The nightmares have lessened so I might as well finish the vacation blog. 

   We arrive at the airport about an hour before our flight is scheduled to depart. I realize we live in a post 9-11 world, but it's 6AM on a Monday morning. Who would be at the airport right now? Everybody! And their mothers. This is really bad. We have to check bags, get through security, and make it to our gate in less than an hour, and it looks like halftime at a SuperBowl concession stand.
   The line moves fairly quickly and we are soon off to security. At which point, I forget to take off my belt, and subsequently get to second base with a lovely TSA agent named Eugene. With seconds to spare, we run to our plane carrying our shoes and dragging the children only to be told by a sharply dressed gate employee, "Don't bother running. Most of the passengers and crew are still in the security line." We get on the plane, after explaining to the children that sometimes when they get stressed or worried they are going to miss a nonrefundable flight, Mommies and Daddies use colorful words to express how they feel and that it isn't good for children to what they hear, to say, a pastor or a teacher or anybody else.
   The plane leaves late but the captain has a lead foot and no regard to the laws of physics, so we arrive in LA about an hour before we take off. We find the baggage check, and our luggage comes out in short order; a little after that the contents of our luggage also makes an appearance. Luckily, I had some duct tape (or baby pacifier, as we call it) in my carry-on, so I was able to do some field repairs.
   Gathering up all of our stuff and kids, and several kids that weren't ours, that we eventually bring back, cause the last thing we need is another kid, we head to the rental car place. Due to current regulations, all rental car places are now off site. So what we have to do is: risk life and limb crossing the drag strip (or passenger pick-up lane as it is more commonly known). Then we stand on a narrow island of concrete with all of our belongings and possibly children stacked up like some surreal Jenga game, and wait for the bus from our rental company to come and pick us up. The bus from our company is leaving as we reach the island and doesn't come back around for approximately an hour and a half. Meanwhile the buses from the other rental car companies pass in a never ending stream, one after the other, until we realize that 1) the car company that we picked has one bus and 2) that bus's driver is on lunch break. Finally, our bus shows up and stops about 50 yards away and fills up with fresh faced people who just showed up and haven't had to wait at all. The bus driver shrugs his shoulders apologetically as he passes, and later it occurs to me that perhaps it was a mistake to show my displeasure with a certain finger. After many hours of our bus passing us by, the bus driver finally stops and loads us up because I am waving a handful of twenties at him, and have instructed my children to throw themselves in front of his bus. We load up and take a short 4 hour ride to the rental car lot conveniently located in lovely downtown Compton. After struggling for several hours with the Baby seat that the rental car employee had installed upside down, and looking for the paperwork that the employee swore he gave us, that we eventually find in his back pocket, and that he still maintains we must have put there, in some bizarre reverse pick-pocketing incident, we get in the car and head out.
   The directions that the rental car clerk gave us only manage to get us off the lot, where the view suddenly turns into a scene from Escape From LA, replete with gun battles and burned out husks of cars.  We manage to survive by hanging several dirty diapers out the windows, and babbling incoherently, which at this point isn't an act, but more the body's response to extreme duress. I believe the medical term is going bat crap crazy. We manage to find Highway 1 and head north, passing the airport on the passenger side of the car, and then several hours later on the driver's side, and then again on the passenger's side. A kindly women named Harold offers us directions after we have passed him on the same street corner five or six times, and we finally reach the 405. Which leads us in a general northerly direction through the heart of LA during rush hour. At some point we all doze off. I wake with a start several hours later, and luckily traffic has only moved about 3 feet. At some point on the drive from LA to Grover Beach, we realize, sickeningly, that if we had driven instead of flown, we would have gotten there five days ago.
   Somewhere past midnight we arrive at Becky's Father's house. I have a beer or two (or four) and go to bed. We wake up the next morning and have a leisurely breakfast with the family. We kiss them all good-bye and head back to the airport. As a surprise, my wife has bought tickets to Magic Mountain so we can spend some more money, I mean have some fun, before we have to go home. But the litigation and court mandated gag order is still in effect so that will have to wait for some other time. Suffice it to say we managed to get home, and with some small amounts of counseling, psychosomatic drugs and prayer we will all make a full recovery. I love Vacations. We should do this more often.