Heading to JAWS

Surf way up on north side today. So the locals say. We have decided to drive to the North Shore to check out the big surf.

We left early. Went into and through Lahaina to a place called Leoda’s for breakfast. Leoda’s is famous for chicken and waffles. And, it would appear, large servings. As popular as it is, we got a table immediately. Placed our order and quickly go served. If I ever come back here I am getting the chicken and waffles. I didn’t. I had coconut French toast. Which was excellent but I tasted Bobs choice and it is the pinnacle. And way less carbs. Emily has some breakfast sandwich. Meh. And Renee’s was plain. I will need another trip to this place to really look through the menu.

After breakfast we drove off. Bye, today I drive. Which turned out well but as our plans developed, turned into work.

The JAWS area of the coast is not marked and has no clear access. The “road” was four wheel drive only. I am glad I decided against driving down the path/road. It’s a dirt road with occasional large and small holes filled with water. It’s really slick. Like grease. I know this because we parked and decided to walk the couple miles to the coast. On our way, Renee fell a couple times. She has some problems with her hip. We got about a mile in. The only things we saw were abandoned cars. Probably 7 or 8 in the first mile. I assume people get stuck down here and no one is available to pull their car out. Don’t know. Cars were is various levels of decay and age.

We met a couple German tourists on their way out. They gave us the 411. Surf was dead and all surfers were gone. Since we were headed to see the big surf, we decided to turn around at that point and walk out. The Germans had parked their 4wd a ways back and the girls caught a ride from them instead of walking. That left me and Bob to walk out. Alone. Not scary, but slicker and harder work since our was uphill.

So we got back to the car. And then, a momentous decision. Let’s drive to Hana. It’s only a couple more hours and no problem and we never been there. It took three. What a drive. Super twisty, thin roads, washed out here and there blind curves 56 one lane bridges (I counted). Easy peasy. And I drove the whole way. I’m a saint cuz Bob kept screaming “look at the view” yet I didn’t. And only cuz I wanted to watch the triad and not kill everyone in a car accident. That type of road.

Three hours of that, with a couple stop at roadside stands carved out of the rock or jungle, and we made it to Hana. I can say I have been there. Not impressive, not big, not shiny. Just a very small outpost in rural America isolated by geography. Most stores and businesses, if u can find them, not open most of the day. The bank hours are 3 to 430 five days. Super convenient. Nice little harbor. I am sure if you lived here you would meet all the inhabitants within a year. Brings new meaning to going to town for provisions.

We drove around a little while we were here. Nothing to do. I went to the local grocery/general/hardware store. I bought limes. They are hard to come by.

We headed out in the opposite direction of whence we came. Why? Well, it’s an island and you can go around. Same distance either way.

If I thought the road in was crazy, the road out was worse. And it was an uphill as well. More blind curves, the road surface was awful, gravel hiway for a few miles and slow speed to go with it. Not many cars most going about 25mph. No place to pass and who wants to die anyway. Three hours to get out. An absolute adventure in driving. The views, per Bobs yelling, were still spectacular. I watched the road. Again, I choose life.

We almost made Kihue by sunset. Almost. So we pulled off on the road, now wide and paved, and watched the sun hit the horizon. So close I heard the sizzle.

Back in the car and another hour to Lahaina the we are staying. After a long day, cocktails. Red wine. Steaks. Charcuterie. Rinse and repeat. Then, it’s bedtime.

That’s a day, I think.

Paradise. Day 2

I woke up, for the 20th time tonight, early. Early because my watch said 830am but the clock on the wall said 630am. The time difference makes it early. Don’t care. I’m up.

I got up and found a robe. The place had kimonos for us to wear. The alternative is I walk around naked. Then Bob would not feel like a real man. I could not live with that. So I wore a robe.

I managed to get the coffee maker going. That’s an important job. At least to me. Then I went off to have a shower. The shower was semi lame. The shower head is so high up the wall it kinda has a light spray by the time it reaches me. Cools it off too. Not good.

I am clean and refreshed. And I have my kimono robe to wear. I am lookin good!

While I was in the shower someone else made breakfast. Eggs with cheese and mushrooms. Quite nice. I fried up some chorizo to go along with mine. Much better. I think.

We need to figure out what the hell we are doing today. Or we will miss out on something. There are quite a few things to do but we have to do them.

So decision made, we are walking down the beach a mile or so to some outdoor shopping place that sells at full retail. Sounds fun. But not for me. I went along. The walk is nice, and the beach is beautiful. The people, not so much.

So we shopped for a few hours. I bought nothing. Which is what I do. Everyone else found something they could not live without. Whatever.

Next stop lunch. After a couple false starts someone decided we should go back the the room for salad and shrimp. That sounds great.

On the way back to the hote we stopped at a kiosk which brokers activities in the area. We had been discussing, all day, things we could do. One idea was a sunset cruise. They have dinner cruises with all you can drink cocktails. We decided on one. 320$. But, if two of us went to a time share presentation they would cut the price to $160. So I volunteered to fall on my sword. The presentation is Friday morning.

So we did finally go back for lunch. And, strangely, it was very good and easily better than going out. And a hell of a lot cheaper.

After lunch, another round of mai Tais. We decided to go down to the pool. We soaked in the poll for an hour or more. Had another mai tai. I had to watch the clock, our dinner cruise is tonight. I have to be at the boat by 3 to check in. It sails at 330. I made the boat on time. There were quite a few passengers there already. I got checked in quickly. And, I called the other fools to get them moving to the boat. They are quite slow.

They finally showed, last ones to arrive. Nice. Bob seems to be under the impression it’s no big deal. The crew was ready to shove off without them.

So we got onboard the catamaran and got underway under engine power. There is really no wind to drive the sails. The sailing was very smooth. We got quite a few pictures of whales spouting and breaching. That was amazing. The weather is perfect so our cruise is very nice. The bar is open so we had more Mai Tais. I make much better ones than they do. We sailed around for quite awhile. Till dinner, which was good though not great. But at $40 per person with open bar and dinner, it was a bargain.

The coolest part of the trip was the whales breaching and spouting. Not something you see every day. Unless we are talking about today. Then we see it.

After we got off the boat we went for a walk. Back to the hotel. Had more wine. Cocktails and went to bed. Peace out.

Wanna Go Hawaiian?

Today is the day. It’s 625am and I am ready to go. But, Emily is not. She can always find another chore to do on the way out. Always. And she is so kind as to offer them to me. Thanks. Be right back after I scoop the cat box.

Well, we made the airport on time and early. Being the economical guy I am, I parked my car in the economy parking. For a truly sweet ripoff fee of only $10 per day I am allowed to park in a graveled field. With stripes. Sort of. When it rains it’s a muddy and flooded gravel field. Let’s hope it stays dry.

We had no more than a five minute wait for a shuttle. Record time. Pleasant ride. All the people around us were flying to Hawaii on our plane. I noticed something else, they are all a little older than us. I guess I am in the demographic that goes to Hawaii this time of year. Everyone was quite excited to leave the dreary weather of the Sacramento Valley. Weather in Maui is predicted to be 80 degrees and some light rain. Pleasant sounding.

We met up with our traveling companions in the terminal. All ready to go. And we had a short wait for our in crowded flight. We even have a seat open next to us.

All good things must end. Long flights, this one is 5.5 hours are now ruled by electronic devices. Like it or not. It would be fantastic if they all worked in flight. They don’t. So on my Alaska Air flight to Hawaii I had my usual low expectations. Very low. These expectations are normally met, never exceeded. Today was bullshit. You see, Alaska Air had one of its flight attendants walking the aisle, pre flight, to get us all set up on their app so we can watch TV and Movies! For free!! Right. I did what they said, phone and iPad, and it did not work. No internet access. On either device. One of the attendants said it would not work till we hit 10k feet. I waited. We got there. Was not working. Devices hooked into in flight WiFi but would go no farther. I did the usual. Like, try again, and again, etc. I turned iPad off. And phone. Several times. No workie. One of the flight attendants came by, she said o should turn the device on and off. I said how many times? I’ve done it several. Turn on airplane mode she says and then WiFi. Then it will work. No it won’t. She gave up. Another attendant says delete the app and reinstall. I tried that. BIG mistake. Now the apps are gone and I can’t access the App Store to reinstall. I would blame Alaska Air but my experience on every airline has been crap. What I can blame them for is there attitude pre flight, giving false hope, and their inability during flight to solve the problem. In terms of Yelp, it’s a 1 because Yelp doesn’t have a zero. And this will hit Yelp just to remind them of you offer a service, it needs to be available. I do want to mention one thing, I have a brand new iPhone I used with an incredible amount of free storage. And the phone, being new, works very well. The iPad is a couple years old but also works fine. This is an airline issue. This is my first flight on Alaska Air. I could fly again but it makes me not want to seek them out. I will fly by price, because low price and bad service go together and my low expectations are met. Always. And never exceeded.

I will mention, all in flight personnel eye professional, and helpful, to the extent of their skills. But, management needs to remember, if you advertise something like working internet and free content, we customers raise our expectations to that. Screw it up, and that one thing causes us to think poorly of our entire experience. I guess if I ever again have the (dis)pleasure of flying Alaska, I will call ahead and make someone’s life difficult until they can train me to use their system or convince me to lower my expectations.

Off to something else. We did order food, a sandwich and a cheese plate. Coffee and soda. Coffee was great, and hot enough. Emily ate the sandwich which looked good and she said she enjoyed it quite a bit.

We have two more hours of flight time and I really have nothing to report about. Can’t contact the outside world. Can’t watch and content that is internet based. Done eating. I think I will read a book. Currently reading “Imagine Me Gone”. Not far into it. So far it is confusing but that’s par for the course. A lot of authors confuse up front and then bring it home in the end. I have high expectations.

The approach flight was nice. Great views out the window on a clear day. Will be glad to get off the plane. No telling what’s on the ground when we land.

The airport was a breeze. Ran through it at a good clip. We did slow a bit at the rental car counter. Dollar Rent. Got there after a short walk. 25 people in line in front of us. These guys are old school on rentals. I guess some things are still behind the times.

We did finally get our car. A beautiful Hyundai Elantra. Bee yoo to ful. Really. Ok. Not really. But all or luggage fit in it. Off we go headed toward Lahaina. But first, a stop at Costco for provisions. We are staying in a full service time share so we got a kitchen and washer and everything. So at Costco we got booze and wine and food for whatever. Saves some money. Food costs a shit ton here. So we got a lot of good shit to eat and drink. Then we are off again to Lahaina. This time I mean it. The drive was pleasant with little traffic. We again made a stop at Safeway for more provisions of a type that Costco does not carry. I bought the complete makings for mai Tais, amongst other things. All makes sense.

Ok, now off to the Hyatt on the beach in Lahaina. We drove through Lahaina, finally. A nice small town with high end boutique shopping for the discerning tourist. And very expensive places to eat. Which is why we hit Costco and Safeway. Nice enough.

The Hyatt is actually quite nice. Luxe really. Very well appointed. It seems like a resort but the sign says time share. I really can’t tell the difference. Either way, the rooms are well appointed and very comfortable. The full kitchen is very well stocked and ready to go.

First things first, dropped car with valet and checked in. Up to the room and unpacked our crap. Then the most important thing. Cocktails. I made mai Tais for all. We are in Hawaii you know. So we sat on the veranda and looked at the ocean. And drank mai Tais. Very pleasant. We then drank two bottles of red. Just to be sure. Dinner was a charcuterie plate. I fried a steak as part of the meal. We ate quite well. Personally all the booze flattened my ass. I went to my room and passed out. I slept. But I had leg cramps, prob from the flight, all night. So I was up and down all night. Then I was up very early, two hour time difference working on me.

Not sure what the new day will bring. Read on tomorrow.

T-1 Hawaii

I have now wasted over an hour cruising the internet reading about what I think my next car will be. Honda Civic Type R. They are somewhat hard to get ahold of in the real world, at least without getting stuck paying a “dealer pack”. Dealer pick is Latin for bullshit. My local dealer packs on $5K to the price and they use MSRP (also bullshit) as the starting price. It can be tough buying a car. When I bought my Magnum SRT, a few years back, I was presented with dealer packs of up to $15K on the car. Yikes. I had to go 1200 miles out to Idaho to get a sensible price. This is not available on this car. I will keep working on the price via email with the sales manager. I know him well. I need to start hammering on him just a tad harder. Car is not on the lot yet.

Morning duties took no time.

Next stop, the post office. Emily had spent the entirety of yesterday sewing three advent calendars. They are beautiful, like her. The one I am mailing out is for Michael and Carly who are living down in Camarillo. This is the first Christmas that Michael will not be home with us. Sad day but the damn kid grew up. I warned him but he did not listen. Since he isn’t home, we sent a little bit of home to him via the advent and of course, advent gifts.

The shipping process of said advent was insane. I had to buy a box and bubble wrap at the PO. Went to the car to pack it up. Realized, my tape was not in the car. Back in the PO and buy tape. Back to car and engineer a packing job, basically in the parking lot. Total cost, $24 and a half hour of my life. But done. Marika will be local so we can get hers to her here. She is watching the animals while we are gone.

I was going to do a couple other things before work but shipment took to long. So I went to work.

I have really only one job to do. Finish company setup so I will be able to generate checks and wires once I receive $427K this week. Money in, money out, but need to be set up. Banks are a pain, I have to put wire info in to system one day or more before I can wire it out. I hate banks.

Had to update a years accounting for them to get set as well. Took all day. I also finished two tax returns so I can get paid something while I am gone. For some reason I still want to keep the doors open.

I have to get cash for the trip. I received a check today and I intended on cashing it. One problem. Bank closes early and I did not make it on time. So, I tried the ATM. MY BRANCH, it turns out, does not have one. So I drove to another branch. They have one but I could not figure out how much I was allowed. I tried two different amounts and the ATM rejected me and kicked my card and the screen message was “you have exceeded your daily limit”. Since I got zero I guess my limit is same. I put the card back in the ATM and got $500. And I tried again and zero. Maybe you can see I never use the ATM? I don’t.

After that I went to the pharmacy for Emily. Hers was finally ready after she called a third time today and ripped the lame ass doctor a new one. What a moron. But I got the drugs. Ran into my friend Bard there. Her husband is passing a kidney stone at present. She came for painkillers.

Off to carniceria for dinner. Mexican Monday. The assholes closed fifteen minutes early. So I went to the pet store. For food. No, not for us, for the poodle. Then went across the street for food for dinner, nothing special.

Finally, home. Ate dinner. Finished hanging and filling out advent calendar. Finished off the packing. Charged the electronics. Fed the dogs. And cats. Put out the garbage. It’s a damn busy evening.

Time for bed. About time, I should say. A little reading and done.

Workday Today

It’s the usual. I have to work to go on vacation. Even though today is Sunday and the last day of the four day weekend, I am going to the office. Emily is going to school. We are leaving for only four days this week but four days gone still requires some work to be done in advance to be sure nothing goes awry while away. Emily has to leave plans for her sub for each day which she says is as much work as being there. I have to be sure all the things that require me to be there so I work today on a Sunday holiday and probably a 12 hour day tomorrow. Short vacations aren’t.

Got to work early. I am planning on a two hour work day. Just need to set up one company to write checks while I am gone to hula land. Did not use the whole two hours, but I am done. And I can do something different tomorrow.

When I got home from the office Emily was still at work. I decided to wrap advent gifts. I really hate wrapping gifts. It’s the worst part of Christmas. I went through 50 gifts today. All wrapped. I am a gift wrapping phenom.

After Emily got home she finished sewing advent calendars. We are sending one to Michael since we won’t be seeing him at Christmas for the first time. Very sad.

I continued with the advent wrapping and wrapped another 25 gifts. My whole day is wrapping. We both finally finished up our separate jobs and went out to dinner. It has been a long work day.

Back from dinner. We are going to bed.

Saturday in the Park

It finally stopped raining today. I hear it’s going to start up again in a couple days. The respite today was nice. Funny how I wish for no rain now after 200 days dry. Bad weather gets annoying quickly.

We are starting the tough work of the Christmas season today. In earnest. We are leaving for Hawaii on Tuesday (I know you feel sorry for me) so we need to get advent calendars done now.

Speaking of advent calendars, Emily decided to make four of them. She is working on those today. She made the mistake of telling the recipients they would be getting them, by the 1st of course. But now she has told them she is stuck and must finish before Tuesday when we leave.

So, today’s work. I am advent shopping alone. Emily is sewing all day. I am really glad I can’t help. I left in the morning not to early. I went to Cost Plus first since it has the best choice of stocking stuffers. It also has the hidden prizes in the store which makes it more fun. I found lots of stocking stuffers. I concentrated on food, candy and booze. The essentials. I found no prizes. Not fun.

Next up I went to Best Buy. I need to find a replacement for our Roomba. This morning our Roomba again sucked up and smeared around dog poop in our dining qroom. Not the first time. I am hoping there is some new technology in the robotic vacuums that stop the vac from doing this.

I spoke to the Roomba lady and told her my tale of woe. She diligently tried to find out something. Finally she was able to get ahold of the Roomba sales rep, on a Saturday, and he said forget it. No such Roomba. So I have to stick with the old one. And it’s real old and it stinks, obviously. But I saved a lot of money not buying one. The silver lining.

Emily has decided we need to start using a digital TV antenna so we can get rid of cable. She was at her favorite glass store yesterday and the owner, Hazel, bent Emily’s ear about it. She just loves her digital antenna. So today while at Beat Buy I bought one of these “magic” antennas that deliver all stations for free. Right. Have not plugged it in yet, but have low expectations. It’s just a digital antenna. From the way Emily gushed you’d think it cures cancer.

Next up, some really easy stocking shopping. I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond. Emily uses many of their products and this place is a go to for quite a few items. I like easy. Kinda pricey but whatever. And, with the parking lot there completely full and jammed up, I got a spot directly in front of the store. Probably due to clean living.

Next stop was Target, for toothbrushes and toothpaste. This is a stocking staple. The only time I can guarantee that my kids will change their toothbrush. It’s not much fun but some thing’s are necessity.

I had a quick errand to run for Emily. She was out of sewing machine needles. I stopped at the fabric store and actually managed, with help, to find them. And I managed to navigate thru and get the correct school project pipe cleaners too. I amaze myself at times.

Back home. Emily is still working on the advent calendars. Still. I brought in the haul and took time to sort all the stuff into four piles (Marika, Emily, Michael and Carly). It was actually quite a lot of work. I had to count out 24 items each and set aside the balance for the regular stocking. It took awhile.

I made dinner and did everything else while Emily continued to sew the advent calendars. She took on too much. She is not complaining. I did some laundry. Cleaned up a few things. Made Emily a cocktail. She did not finish till 930. Yikes. She sat down in front of the TV and fell asleep. Just like that.

I think she will be going to bed soon I think. Me too.

Christmas Season 2018 Day 1

We had a tame kickoff to the holiday season. Woke up late, after 8. Had to go back to the other cottage to shower and get ready. No facilities in the converted garage. So we dressed to cross the gap to the other house in order to get undressed and take showers. Emily rudely jumped in first. What a pain.

Since she was hogging the hot water I went to the kitchen and finished the dishes from last night. Btw, no one was awake. Then I put on the coffee, not entirely due to my love of others. Mostly I wanted a cup. Then I put the cinnamon rolls in the oven. Beth made a tray yesterday. Then I went back to the bathroom to try and guilt the wife out of the shower. This is a damn near hundred year old house. The plumbing only so good. So I got a lukewarm shower. Emily claimed she had no hot at all. To which I respond, nicely, bullshit. But I did get a shower.

Got dressed. Time for full on pie, cinnamon rolls and coffee. And then diabetic coma. I am coming down now off my sugar/carb high. It really hurts. I am not sure what I can do to make myself feel normal. Maybe more pie.

Just in case anyone cares, it’s raining cats and dogs here. Started last night and has not stopped. We are driving into the city so not looking forward to rush hour with bad weather.

Hey! Our hard working federal civil servants did not take the day off! I just got a call from an IRS auditor wanting to set an audit appointment. On Black Friday. Wow. I am surprised anyone works today.

So, our day is a little messed up. Mostly because we didn’t get up early enough or move through our morning duties fast enough. We had been planning on all three of us going to Emily’s glass store for their Black Friday sale. Extra cheap, 50% off everything. Then we were all going to the Auto Show in SF. So what happened? We were not ready to leave till 1240. So we did not have enough time to go to both. Solution, Emily drove east to glass store and we went west to the auto show. Oh well. Marika and I got the best part of the deal.

We had a short drive to the city. Still took over two hours. Traffic not so good. Heck, the last 4 miles took over 30 minutes. But in the end we got to the auto show. I do love to walk around and look at the new models, most of which I can afford, and all the super expensive exotics that I can afford or even touch for that matter. We had fun just walking around, asking difficult questions of the car reps and sitting in some of the cars. Having a cocktail. Just a fun outing on a Saturday.

Emily called while we were wandering, though actually done shopping. We decided to meet “halfway” for dinner in Carneros. Fortunately for us, no extra driving. It was on the way home. She had to backtrack. Marika was going back from there and Em and I were headed home. The traffic was great. There wasn’t any. Drove over the limit all the way there.

Dinner was very good, as were the pre dinner cocktails. We even had dessert which is really something we never do. It feels like the end of the weekend though it’s only Friday.

Emily and I got home by 1030. Marika by 10, she called to let us know. She is a good girl. We got the car in and animals out for their usual. Sat down and rested and watched a little murder porn (20/20). I hate that crap. Emily loves it. So we watch. She is next to me now, asleep in her chair. I think ready for bed.

I am going to lock up around her. And go to bed.

An Excuse to Eat Turkey. And Pie.

First major holiday of the holiday season is today. I am sure you must know, unless you live in a cave, today is Thanksgiving. A day where we feel we have an excuse to eat a lot of rich food, drink alcohol, have double dessert and sit around watching football. As I said, today we think we have a valid excuse. What about every other day of the year? I note most people consume like this with no valid excuse the rest of the year. But today is the special day for excused gluttony. I don’t understand. I do participate, though. I eat like a little piggie today. Especially the desserts. I guess I stand alone. The way it should be.

Last night we had the worlds scariest thunder and torrential rains. Lost power. The thunder exploded, not an overstatement, exploded. The windows were shaking to the point of breaking. The cataclysmic portion of the storm lasted no more than 30 minutes but as is true with many disasters, it felt longer.

At about 2 am Emily woke up, and realized Marika was not home yet. And Emily, became Mom quickly, hunted her down and made me go pick her up and bring her home. I say, she is 23, and an adult. Let her figure it out. I also say, this is what she does when she is not at home so let it go. Not happening. I got dressed and drove the 50 min round trip to get her. Home by 3 am. Marikas evening had consisted of hanging in a local bar in Dixon with 30 or so friends. Big party. Then off to Denny’s for late night food. Which is where I got her at 230. And, shockingly, she was drunk. Same sort of thing I used to do at 23.

Back home at 3am. Straight to bed. I am tired. Well, it is 3am. Marika passed out. The power of alcohol. Emily did not wake up when we got home.

Emily had wanted to get on the road early on Thursday. I woke up at 630 and went to the bathroom. Back to bed, and I told her not to wake me. I will get up on my own. So no early start, thank you.

Out of bed at 8am ish. It took a good two hours to eat, clean up, pack us and pack the car. Very tiring. Marika is moving slow. Not some incredible surprise. We managed to get this all packed and moving. Marika is driving her car since she is going back hone tomorrow night. We are taking the MBZ with both dogs. And the crap. We have a guaranteed fun trip with our stressed out pups. Jax has become completely stressed in his old (15) age and stands in back panting for the two hour trip. The poodle, Latte, was doing the same thing. A version of dueling tongues. Latte lays down and pants. Windows open make no difference. Or water. They are just stressed for no reason. The cat, in Marikas car, is screaming the whole way. She called from her car to share. Not sure which I prefer.

We got to the family house in Bodega Bay by 1pm. Which is very early for a Thanksgiving Day trip. But, today, there was no traffic. By that I mean no traffic. Not slow. Not some. I mean none. It was stress free driving with very few cars on the road with us. We must live right.

We had quite a bit more to unpack than I thought. A lot more. Not sure why. Plenty of food for sure, two suitcases, two dogs, I don’t know. Just took some time.

This is a really quiet day. There is only the six of us. So we sat and ate some cheese, meat and crackers. Some wine was consumed. We watched a little football. The usual holiday deal. I had brought a couple bottles of champagne. Opened the first of those at about 4. The best bottle first. That way the next couple taste better even though they are not so good. The bubbly took us all the way to dinner when we switched guns to Pinot noir.

The turkey dinner was great. Except, for me, I needed salad. And I hate Brussels sprouts and beets which was the only veg choice. I need green beans. And my mother in laws stuffing is nowhere near as good as Emily’s. Just saying. We need our own kitchen so we can make what we like for turkey day.

Since there were only six of us we were able to actually have a conversation that included all of us. Usually large groups cause loss of some to the conversation. My father in law does not join in anymore because he is unable to keep up with what’s going on. But, it was a spirited conversation over a good meal.

Clean up was a breeze. Mary led the way and I just supplied her with scraped dishes to deal with. Again, with only the six of us, the dishwasher was not even full. That kind of night. We are sitting around now, solving the family’s problems, and discussing “things”. Always funny. I am just listening to the talk. And really enjoying it. They are going on and on. Some of this talking is really strange. Could just be the blood alcohol level in these folks.

My favorite part of today is upon us. It’s pie time. This year we have three different types of pie, pumpkin, pecan and lemon meringue. I made the lemon. So it’s fabulous. I also whipped cream for those so inclined. I’m not. But it is always a firm rule with me to have a slice of each. Sometimes a second slice. But each type is given its due on my plate. I don’t play favorites. Funny thing, I was the only person who had any of the pumpkin. I think pumpkin is of primary importance mostly because of the holiday. I would never pass it up. I was thinking of making a pumpkin pie, pie shake. That would be awesome.

So everyone but me had two pieces of pie, pecan and lemon. And I had three, adding in pumpkin. We are now all full to the point of exploding. And laying around. Top button undone, again, so we don’t explode. And just chatting and drinking coffee. So it’s just a regular holiday.

The house here in Bodega has only enough room to sleep two adults and two kids. Since we got here second, we lose. We are going to sleep next door at Mary’s house. She has room for us in the converted garage.

So bedtime. We went next door and there was a plague of flies in the garage room. Gross. We had to leave a light on far away from the bed to try and draw the little buggers away from us. Not sure how that’s going to play out. But. Am too tired to care.

Cat Still an Idiot

Have I mentioned my cat? Prints? I did yesterday. Pay attention. I just sat down in the front room and less than 10 seconds later, the black cat came running and jumped up onto the chair to rub against me, head bump me and just annoy me with her presence. Why does the cat do this to me?

This morning came early. I was out of bed at 630 and out the door in under 30 mins. Because Marika was up and out even earlier to take her car to the shop. Car has electrical issues.

So I basically chased her to Davis and picked her up. I looked at the new cars while there as well.The day before T day. Definitely not a holiday. I can tell because I was up at 630 as was Marika. She needed to drop her car at the Honda dealer for the “big” service. Means big dollars. All day thing. She needs her auto lock checked too because the system auto locks when she speeds up and auto locks when she slows down. Annoying more than anything but it seems broken.

We arrived at 715, on time. Which is crazy considering it’s me and Marika. We got the car settled in and I wandered off to get a free cappuccino and look at the new cars. There is a Civic R on the showroom floor. It’s really a race car that is street legal. I wanted to check it out because I am thinking of buying the one. Not this one. It’s blue in color, they call it Aegean Blue. I call it ugly. But I can look at features up close. Guess what? At 715 in the morning no sales guys are around. Which should be no issue except the R is a hot commodity and the damn thing is locked down inside the showroom. And no salesman to unlock it. Too bad.

So we left.

On the drive back we stopped in Dixon. See, Marika has been pining the last month and talking about one thing and one thing only. And today, the day before Thanksgiving, we are going to satisfy her. We stopped at Solano Baking Company and got apple fritters. And a couple old fashion frosted donuts, and a cinnamon roll. Plus a custard filled for Emily. It’s a small goal but we have both been on the same diet for a long time and baked goods are not on the meal plan. Today we went off plan. I would say we each choked down a donut before we cleared the parking lot. Then we showed great restraint by waiting until we got home. Where we waited while I made coffee and fed the dogs. Marika cheated a bit by eating half the cinnamon roll on the sly. But coffee made and I slammed the fritter down. Strangely, Marika was too full to eat all the fritter. At least now. She has all day. It’s a nice morning.

I will be heading to work soon. Marika staying home cuz she has no car. Emily is going to see the doctor, probably has pink eye. She has some shopping to do for turkey day too.

But, right now, we are watching Kelly & Ryan on the telly. And listening to Roomba run around the house. Roomba is really noisy if you are sitting through her clean cycle. I mean, she does work, but I’d rather be outta here.

Show over, I left for work. Emily went Christmas craft shopping and Dr. She is making 4 Advent calendars for our two children and others. The woman is crazy.

I drove to work in the rain! It’s raining for first time in 200 days. This is exciting and it is snowing!! up in the mountains. So when I get back from Hawaii I can go snow skiing. I am hoping for a real dump from this storm.

Work was nothing special. Tough to get anything done when the holiday is here. I did the company payroll, that’s a must mostly cuz I get continual reminders from the employees. I am not sure what else I did today. I have no memory of the work – it’s just that compelling. It is 11pm and we are talking about 12 hours ago. So that’s a decent excuse.

I left a bit early, 430. Too much to do. I have to pick up Emily’s Rx, she has pink eye. Plus her regular Rx. Got to take Marika to to get her car too. And probably pay for the repairs.

I got to the pharmacy. And they had no record of the prescription being called in. And it’s almost six. I called Emily and she called the on call doctor. He said he would call the Rx in right away. We were running out of time so Emily and Marika left home for Davis and the Honda dealer. I waited at the pharmacy for the call. Which never came. Emily came by on her way to Davis and we all decided to leave and go get the car. No call from asshole doctor.

We got to dealer and the service guy had waited for Marika and was just about the last person there. Of course he never called Marika to tell her it was ready. So maybe he felt like he should wait. Anyhow, we picked up the car and Dad picked up the bill. And we were off. All to home.

We had stroganoff on potatoes. Very nice. A new twist on an old recipe. I was forced by my daughter to make cocktails right before dinner. Sort of forced. No one complained.

After dinner Marika went out to downtown Dixon to drink with friends. It’s a monthly get together at a local bar. I have a feeling I will be driving to pick her up later. A friend drove her, so once both are drunk, they both need a ride.

Time to make pie. Emily bought a pumpkin and a pecan at Costco. So only one to make. Just like fake Thanksgiving. I am making a lemon meringue pie.

I had a few problems. I did not have pie weights. Necessary when baking a pie shell. That caused a few issues. Like an extra thick bottom crust when the crust settled to bottom of pie pan. The filling tastes great and the meringue is perfect. Both a plus.

Now I sit and watch TV. Bad TV. Emily is sewing the advents. I am falling asleep. Just waiting for her to quit.

Cat is an Idiot

As I sit here this morning, taking a day off, I am sitting in the front room. Trying to type but having only little luck. My stupid cat, is next to me beating it’s body and head against my arm and side and jarring my typing hand. She obviously loves me. She likes me. Sleeps next to me. If I sit down inside my house she jumps up and bugs me. Not sitting, but hitting and ramming into me and bumping. You get the idea. It’s blog fodder but still a major annoyance.

We, Emily, Marika and I, are going to Berkeley today for some holiday retail happiness. If that actually exists. I will at least do some advent shopping for Emily. If I feel like it. Berkeley has two blocks worth of shopping, but enough for 3 or 4 hours. One of the stores has free booze. I will go there.

Marika has to get up extra early this morning. Because she has a haircut at 8. Much too early. Tomorrow she is dropping off her car at the shop at 715. AM. Does not remind me of fun. But her car has some wild electrical issues and needs new spark plugs. I want her to have it fixed if only because it makes her so mad that it’s broke. I don’t like to hear the yelling. Not at me, but at the car while I am talking to her.

Looks like we might be out to Berkeley by 930. But that is most definitely subject to change. Emily never leaves on schedule, and Marika does not care. That leaves me waiting for the two of them to get moving. And waiting.

Wow!! Stop the presses! I just learned something from morning TV. You can move the cursor on your phone to anywhere in a text or document by holding down the space bar and dragging it!!!!! It has already changed my life!! Wow. Who knew? You can spin the cursor in circles!! I am getting light headed. Paper bag. Breathe deep. I will be ok. What a day!

3 hours later we have been shopping in Berkeley, store to store. I have shown my new trick to two people so far. They were amazed. One extremely so. I said life changing and I meant it.

The shopping is the usual. Not much going. I am looking for advent without much luck. Have noted a few things which I will pick up on a last minute “walk thru” of 4th street. By myself so no one sees what I buy. I am buying advent for Emily and she is with me. Makes buying a surprise a difficult move.

Really, this has been head down, look look look, move on. Next shelf, next store, next. It’s just turbo shopping. No big. Currently having a light lunch. So far delicious. Realize at this hour we will be in traffic when we leave. So it will be a slow return. We are going to the movies on the way back. It’s a full day.

We are off on the road to the movies. Surprisingly light traffic through town and 15 miles east. And then, driving normal freeway speed. 75 mph. Normal. So we are getting, not going to be, but getting there swiftly. This is better traffic than Sacramento. Thank you lord.

While driving, I should say riding, I called our real estate agent, Kary. I needed an update on our quest to take Auburn by storm. Well, we got some good news. We are now the only people left with an offer on the house we want. The other two dropped out. Normally that means we get it. But, it’s contingent on our seller getting another house she has made an offer on. We should know tomorrow. So everyone out there say a prayer for us. Thank you.

As is her habit, Emily called everyone she knows (or so it seems) while we were driving home. It’s something she does. She likes to call home when she is headed home. A strange habit. Often she is still on the phone when she pulls into the driveway. I have often said she calls to give me time to get the girlfriend out the door befor e the wife gets home. Very thoughtful of her.

As I mentioned, we are going to the movies tonight. On our way home from shopping. We kinda ran out of time so we drove direct to Lupitas for taco Tuesday and ate in the car while driving back to the movies in Vacaville. Kinda crazy really but Marika wanted to go there and not one of our other fine choices closer to the theater. She misses Lupitas.

Movies. I would say don’t bother with the latest Harry Potter movie. It was disjointed and quite boring in many places. Also obvious there will be a sequel or two since there was no satisfying ending. I will skip the next one.

Finally got home by 930. A 12 hour shopping day. I am tired. Marika went out to join friends in a neighboring town for some kind of trivia night. That could be fun. I am way too tired for that. Emily is in bed snoring loudly already. I am up next when I finish this. Which is now. Tomorrow is a big day.