Well, I did not blog from Tacoma. It's very unlike me to not blog from the scene, but each night I was there I fell into bed, exhausted and worthless. And the food, oh the food. It was a social whirlwind of a weekend, and I will give you the highlights as best I can, Memento-style just to shake things up. (All times are approximate.)
Wednesday, June 18th, 2:00 am: Somewhere between L.A. and home. We are eating the best Taco Bell we have ever eaten in our lives. Kurt is unconscious in the backseat. After I finish my quesadilla, I say to Jeff, "You know, I'm probably okay to drive, if you're too tired." He ignores me and I am asleep eight seconds later.
Wednesday, June 18th 12:15 am: On the ground transportation level at LAX. After an unusually long wait for our luggage, we are now having an unusually long wait for the shuttle bus back to our car. We watch in frustration as other various shuttles to hotels and parking garages not ours circle two and three times, pick up passengers and leave. I really want to go home, but the Disneyland Express comes by so many times, I genuinely consider going to Disneyland instead. I'm in the middle of my umpteenth text to Danielle expressing how sad it is that we'll never see home again when our shuttle finally arrives. Kurt is unconscious.
Tuesday, June 17th 9:30 pm: Up in the air over Washington in seats 20DEF. It's still daylight thanks to those crazy northern latitudes. The pilot has just announced his plans to fly farther east than he usually does so we can get a good view of Mt. Rainier and the glaciers. He follows through on his threat and a few minutes later all the left side windows show snowy mountains. ALL snowy mountains, NO sky. I turn to Jeff to say something to the effect of "Holy shit." From Jeff's expression I can tell he thinks this is the coolest thing ever. I am entirely too sober for this. Kurt is unconscious.
Tuesday June 17th 7:30 pm: At Anthony's in the SeaTac airport. It's a seafood joint and I am hungry. I look at the menu and I want everything, but, as I point out to Jeff, eating dinner means it will be too hard to get drunk for the plane ride home. Jeff encourages me to eat. I settle on an artichoke shrimp crab dip with sourdough bread (oh so yummy), accompanied by a big beer and a double rhubarb mojito. Surely this will get me drunk, yes? Kurt is awake! He is flirting with everybody in the place who all want to know how old he is and what his name is and want to then tell us all about their child/grandchild/great grandchild/niece/ex-accountant's baby, etc.
Tuesday June17th 1:00 pm: At my mom's house in Tacoma. I answer my mom's phone and, thinking it's a crank caller/scam artist, I proceed to basically physically threaten the person on the line. It turns out to be someone she knows. My mom and I have our usual clear-the-air talk, The Airing of Grievances, if you will, which happens once a visit, as my mom later reminds me. I agree to mind my own business about her personal decisions but I must insist on continuing to nag her about her health choices, because I consider it to be my duty.
Monday June 16th 6:00 pm: My brother Marty and his wife Stephanie come over to the house and stay for three hours, which is a minor miracle because they work all the time. The conversation is sweet, the coffee is good, the pork loin is scrumptious, the frosted brownies are excellent. Kurt smiles at them for a while, but quickly falls unconscious. It occurs to me that this constant socialization might be a little wearing on him.
Monday June 16th 11:30 am: We arrive at Mom's house from our hotel. She announces she's keeping the little ceramic frog.
Sunday June 15th 10:00 pm: As we leave Mom's house to go back to our hotel I think to myself, I should get rid of that little ceramic frog before she changes her mind.
Sunday June 15th 8:00 pm: I get a little insight into what it's like to be a widow after fifty seven years when we're going to through a box of knick knacks Mom had stored in the months she lived in California before she decided to re-relocate back to Tacoma. I pull a little (ugly) ceramic frog out of a box and Mom says all nostalgically, "That was your Dad's. He used to keep his rubber bands in it." I take this to mean it's okay to throw it out, but she means that the fact that my dad used to keep rubber bands in this thing means that it needs to be kept. "Seriously????" I say. After some discussion, she agrees to get rid of it, so I put it in a box of stuff to give away to Goodwill but leave the box in the living room.
Sunday June 15th 3:00 pm: For Father's Day my brothers Rusty and Marty, Marty's wife Stephanie, Mom, Jeff, Kurt and I go to the Pine Cone Cafe. Rusty brings pictures of Dad and Grandpa Morningstar. Jeff, the only other official dad at the table, orders spaghetti and fried chicken. It's the first time Marty and Stephanie have met Kurt and the feeling of "nicetomeetcha"seems mutual all around.
Sunday June 15th 9:00 am: It's Jeff's first Father's Day. Kurt and I make a run to Krispy Kreme for donuts. Since Jeff's gift arrived, unwrapped, one night last week while I was at work (it was a baby hiking backpack, as in, to hold your baby while you hike), I had to get him something else, so I got him shoes off his wish list and he loooves them.
Saturday June 14th 10:00 pm.: We get settled into our hotel in Tacoma after a quick visit with Mom and Rusty, who wish Jeff a happy birthday. Kurt wiggles around in the bathtub and then the three of us fall deeply, blissfully asleep.
Saturday June 14th 7:00 pm: We stop at Dairy Queen with Marc and the girls on our way back to Tacoma. Did I mention how much Santa Barbara sucks for not having a Dairy Queen?
Saturday June 14th 9:00 am: Happy Flag Day. No, seriously, it's Jeff's birthday. I have known since April that Jeff wants a new bike for his birthday. How do I know? Because he spent weeks doing research on bikes and filling me in on all the details. Then he printed out, in color, the bike he wanted, its price and where to get it, and left that paper in the living room. A few days later he said, "Did you know I want a new bike for my birthday? Sometimes I don't know if I'm being too subtle."
So naturally, I have to mess with him a little. For his actual birthday I print out, from Amazon, a description of a bike that is much cheaper and horribly reviewed and I put it in a gift bag and hand it to him. I think this is going to be hilarious, but as he opens it, I can see he's genuinely mad. I immediately tell him his real bike will be back at home waiting for him. It's a rough start to his day, but the morning is saved by Amy's chocolate crepes and bacon. From there we have a day walking around the Arboretum and Japanese gardens in Seattle, followed by a huge dinner at Buca di Beppo.
Friday June 13th 8:00 pm: We are hanging out at the house of Jeff's cousins Marc and Amy and their two little girls Anya and Eva. As usual, the hospitality is fabulous. Not only have we been served salmon and chocolate silk pie, we have been mightily entertained by
the two little girls, who of course adore Kurt because little girls love babies. We get to sleep in Amy's cool art studio, a free standing structure in the back yard which has heat and electricity but no bathroom. This may the closest I ever get to camping. On the bed is a gift bag which has organic chocolate and Flamin' Hot Cheetos! She a good egg, that Amy Rueter.
Thursday June 12th 7:00 pm: We are hanging out with my mom and my brother Rusty at their house in Tacoma. When my dad died, Mom moved to California, stayed for six months and then decided to move back for her own complex personal reasons. Rusty, as always, happily took her into his house. This is the first time Rusty has met his middle name namesake. (Kurt Kenneth Russell, if you recall.)
Rusty, Mom, the two dogs, all the chickens, and the kittens of last summer (now full grown feral cats who have been trapped and taken to be spayed by Rusty) all seem to be doing well. It probably sounds like this house is out in the country, but it is fully in the middle of the city, and literally looks down on police headquarters. The feral cats are too fast for us. Kurt meets the chickens, but is nonplussed. He loves the dogs until they bark and then he cries.
I am a little nervous about this trip, because it's the first time I've been back since Dad died. But everything looks and feels basically the same. It just feels like he's out shopping. This is not a bad thing.
Thursday June 12th 5:00 pm: Car rental place at Seatac. The Jeep Patriot I've reserved is super cheap and more than meets our needs, but doesn't have power locks. It is a complete shock to me that cars are still manufactured without power locks. You don't realize how much better life is with power locks until you don't have them.
Thursday June12th 12:30 pm: Random bar/grill at LAX. Jeff asks me if I want lunch. "Lunch?" I say, "I'm drinking." Kurt, oblivious to his mother's neuroses as usual, happily bounces around in his stroller. He is about to spend two hours on the flight to Seattle chatting and flirting with anyone who will give him the time of day. And to think I used to worry about his serious disposition.
Thursday June 12th, 11:30 am: Coming off I-405 in L.A. we pass Taco Bell on the way to the airport parking garage. Hmmmm, I think, Taco Bell. We should totally stop there on our way home. If we live, of course.