Me, my Dad, and my four kids went to Sacramento to visit my brother, my grandma, and my aunt, uncle and cousin. It's so nice that they all decided to live by each other because it makes it so much more convenient for me. Thank you family.
It started out easy enough. Kids- lots of snacks, videos, video games, books and music listening devices. It was a whole lot of stuff. When my family drove to California when I was little, there was no TV in the car. There were no hand held video gaming machines. No iPods. No wonder my parents always drove at night. So we would sleep the whole way. Anyway, kids were happy and we were on our way. After about an hour on the road we were half way between Salt Lake City and a little gambling hamlet on the Nevada border called Wendover. Side note - we always called it Wendover Bendover. Why? I don't know. Probably because it rhymed. We were half way there when I suddenly realized that I had left my wallet fully stocked with credit and debit cards on the back bumper of my car. As this sudden realization hits me I start yelling "Oh! Oh! Oh!" and slamming on the brakes. My Dad starts asking "What's wrong? What's wrong?" I just keep screaming "Oh! Oh!" Because if I say it out loud, it will become real. As the car comes screeching to a halt I jump out before it is even fully stopped. I stand on the side of the car. I can't breathe. I can't feel my toes. I think I'm going to pass out. I walk to the back of the car and... it is still sitting on my bumper. My little black wallet is still right where I left it when I filled up the tank earlier that morning. I touch it and honestly, I think my mind is playing tricks on me. I pick it up and feel it. Smell it. Taste it. Okay, I didn't taste it, it had after all been sitting on the bumper of my car for 60 miles while I was going around 80 miles per hour. But this just goes to show you. My wallet is Blonde Proof. I leave it on the bumper, but it hangs on. It says 'oh no, you ain't leavin' without me!' Thank you wallet for having more sense than I do.
After that, we had a great trip. We stayed with my brother Craig. See cheesy picture below.
We did the San Francisco thing. It can be 75 degrees and sunny in Sacramento, but San Francisco is always 55 degrees, cloudy, and windy. Always. I love the T-shirt I saw when I went there for my senior trip that said "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." We saw the Golden Gate Bridge. It was basically the same as the last time I saw it.
My kids wanted to know why it was called the Golden Gate Bridge when it was really more of an orangey-red color. They were very disappointed that it wasn't really gold. As I remarked to the kids about the engineering that went into designing and building the bridge, all Alexander could say was, "Next." I guess he wasn't impressed.
We ventured into the city. That place is crazy. It is always rush hour in San Francisco. Always. 3:00 pm? Rush hour. 2:00 am? Rush hour. And there are people everywhere. Running in the street. Running in front of your car. Pushing you off the curb while you wait to cross. Can you say rude? I don't think the city of San Francisco liked me very much. For one, I drive a Big Sport Utility Vehicle that uses lots and lots of gas. Here in Utah, everybody has one. And I do mean everybody. In San Francisco? Not so much. Every time I went to park I got glares from everybody looking at me trying to cram my huge car (with Utah plates to just add to the disgrace of it all) into these teeny-tiny parking spots. There in S.F. they all walk, or ride bikes or drive an environmentally responsible Prius. I was getting looks like I was personally responsible for the Deep Horizon blowout. I finally started glaring back. I wanted to shout "Yeah buddy, whatcha lookin' at? Yeah, I know it uses lots of gas! In fact, if I haven't driven a lot in a day, I just let it sit and idle!" I didn't though. But I thought it.
Finally after a day of getting dirty looks and getting shoved around, I had had enough. On our trip we had caravanned with two other cars and I was always at the end. I was getting left at red lights and missing freeway exits and all sorts of other crap. Towards the end of the day when my Dad and brother zoomed through a yellow light I gunned it and went for it. Totally ran a red light. So red, that the opposing traffic had started to move into the intersection. I wanted to yell out "What do you expect?! I drive a SUV with Utah plates!" Well, we survived the rocket launch through the intersection and I even learned something. Getting flipped off in Chinatown by a Chinese woman means the same thing as getting flipped off by the guy down the street. The international language of being pissed off. Made my heart smile. Just a little bit.
Another fun thing we did was ride horses with my brother's friend Rachele. She took us to an equine center that she used to work at to let us ride and care for horses. It was a lot of fun Thanks again Rachele! But horses require work. A lot of work. You have to brush them. And clean them. And feed them. And water them. And put the saddle on. And put the bit in. And scrape the mud and horse poo out of their hooves. And, and, and. Made me realize that owning a horse isn't for the faint of heart. Or lazy of heart like me.
Rachele mostly laughed at me the whole time because I couldn't stop looking down at the horse. She kept telling me, "Look where you want to go. You don't look at your dashboard while you drive. You look out the windshield." I just couldn't help myself.
If you think I look a little nervous up there, that's because I was. Horses are tall. A lot taller than you realize. But after awhile I loosened up. It was pretty fun. In mid-ride Rachele called out to my kids, "Hey kids! Look! The horse is pooping! Your Mom made the horse poop while she was riding it!" They thought this was hysterical. When I got off I asked my kids if the horse looked tired while I rode it. They answered no and I said, "Well, that's funny because I rode the crap out of it."
All in all it was a great time. Visited with my Dad. Visited with my little brother. Spent time with my 94 year old grandma who is still holding steady. Had a scrumptious Easter brunch with The Aunt, The Uncle and The Cousin. But what to do about my Chinatown experience? I do admit, I feel a bit sad about being flipped off by a little, old Chinese woman. So I must say this here.
An Open Letter To The Chinese Woman Driving The Black Mercedes in San Francisco on April 22, 2011 at around 5:00 pm-
I am truly sorry for what I did. I did not mean to pull out in front of you. I honestly was just trying to keep up with my speed demon brother who was racing through those tiny streets. Now this is the bad part, I didn't even realize the light was red until you started to pull out. I know, I know. This makes me seem more like an idiot but I just wanted you to know. Please forgive me.
An Open Letter To All The People Of San Francisco-
I am sorry if you think I am an oil glutton. I really don't mean to be. I have to drive something with four-wheel drive on the account that the cheap city I live in doesn't plow my street when it snows. I would be trapped. Alone. In my house for days without that four-wheel drive. As soon as I move from this mountainous valley, I promise I will trade in my gas hog for something more ecologically friendly. I think you have wonderful chocolate (Ghiradelli Square is a must!) and you truly have a beautiful city. Can't we be friends?
An Open Letter To All My Friends -
You see? I tried to make things right. I hope they will accept my apologies. In the end, I guess it really doesn't matter. San Francisco can be as disgusted with me as they want. I can just go back and drive and pollute all over their fair city. What are they going to do? Chase me? On their bikes? In their Prius's? On foot? HA HA HA!! Good luck!