Thursday, July 31, 2014

Family Reunion

While in Morgan Hill, we got to attend the 24th annual Walker-Tallmon reunion. That's Jenny's family. It was small this year, with only about 180 people in attendance.

This time around, people seemed glad to see me. Last time we went, they whited me and my kids out of the family tree. We had a fun time, eating food, talking, watching old people be weird. We also celebrated the 100th birthday of one of the original family members. The last one, if I'm correct.

The reunion was held in Swanton which is close to Santa Cruz. Jenny turned on Siri (I hate Siri) and asked it to direct us to Davenport which is not where the family reunion was. Swanton is north of Davenport. So every time we drove past Davenport, Siri told us what to do. Which was turn around and go back to Davenport.

Using skills developed after years of investigative reporting and child abuse investigations, I finally figured out that Jenny had not changed Siri's destination and we were doomed to circle around this tiny town. I turned Siri off, and Jenny drove right to the reunion. She has been to Swanton many times, and knows exactly where the place is.

Of those 180 or so people, most of them were Jenny's cousins. Some were also double cousins. Those happen when siblings from one family marry siblings from another. Don't even try to understand this. This is a family with 12 kids, each of whom had a passel of kids of their own,  Jenny is the oldest of her generation, but there are members of the previous generation who are younger than she is. This is why I just call them all Uncle Benny.

Random photo of the day:

This is oleander. It grows everywhere. It is deadly poisonous. (Think Arsenic and Old Lace..the old ladies used oleander in the tea they used to murder some guy.) Do Californians have a death wish?

Morgan Hill, California

We spent a week in the Thousand Trails property in Morgan Hill. This town is significant because a whole bunch of Jenny's relatives lived, died, and were buried here. Trader Joe's is right where her great-grandmother's house stood.

While the wifi is non-existent, the pool more than made up for it. The fact that the pool is right next to the laundry room is genius. Put in the wash, swim, switch to the dryer, swim some more. Ache like crazy the next day because you spent an hour and a half in the pool.

The wifi is also right by the pool, but doesn't work worth crap.

Random photo of the day:

This was on the wall at a little Mexican restaurant in Los Pinos, population 500, home to four fabulous restaurants. We only ate at two of them, because one was outrageously expensive and the other was only open three days a week and had a wait list that when on for all three days. I think people  just lined up in their pajamas and slept until their name was called.

Yes, that is a picture of a real firing squad. Sort of unnerving to have that sitting above your plate of chili rellenos. Which were fabulous.

And now, having used a word starting with un-, I feel compelled to tell you that we owe William Shakespeare for those two little words that undo everything.

The Cutest Damn Dim Sum

The Ginger Cafe in Gilroy serves these little beauties. Too adorable to eat, too tasty not to. We managed to have these little porcupine balls TWICE while trapped in Motel 6.

No real porcupines were harmed.

Dope is the thing with feathers.....

When you are living in Motel 6 with two cats and a dog, you need the medicine. But if you put the medicine in the bag with the cat toys, you just might get this. My apologies and eternal gratefulness to Emily Dickinson.


Did I mention that California (and Oregon and Washington, and just about everywhere else) has a drought. California is the state with the road signs that won't tell you where the next rest area is, but every few miles they tell you that there is a Severe Drought and to Conserve Water.

Well, here's proof.

The thing in back of the boat houses is an island. Or used to be. I was just glad I couldn't see dead fish flapping on the lake bottom.

If I Only Had a Thumb.....

Well, aside from almost three weeks in various Motel 6 locations, we spent a month living in our friends MaryJean and Rick's basement apartment. Why? Because one of our slides broke loose and instead of the "few days" we were promised, it took Leale's RV in San Diego from June 6th to July 17th to fix the dang thing. And they still aren't finished. We are currently waiting for a window and they forgot to fix our porch light.

I'm guessing it will be weeks before the window gets here. Since we have places to go, I suspect it will be October before the window gets installed. This has been a nightmare. We had to stay at Motel 6 because they are the only motels in California that will allow three pets AND not charge us $25 per night per pet.  Of course, for that boon we got to listen to screaming babies, domestic violence, and every high school soccer player from Arizona yelling in the halls and parking lot. We also got to watch an endless parade of pimps, prostitutes, and johns, not to mention several police officers visiting at all hours of the day and night. Such a life! Oh, and the washing machines were broken thanks to a tweaker who tried to jimmy the coin boxes.

Did I mention the cats?

Zeebie looking content. It's not true though.

The cats, the dog, and Jenny all had diarrhea on the way back. In the Motel 6.  Zee and Abby wanted out and tried fanatically to open windows and doors, and to slip by us. Zee, wonder cat that he is, understands the concept of door knobs and is trying to grow an opposable thumb and is working on his upper body strength. I got in the habit of throwing things as soon as I cracked the door to drive the hordes back into the room. Fortunately, the diarrhea slowed them all down just enough to contain them.

Just south of Mt. Shasta City, Zee managed to get the huge dog crate they traveled in open. I turned around just in time to see a front leg, shoulder, and head emerging. Sort of like watching a big plastic and metal cage give birth to a raptor. I was the one doing the pushing, though, as I shoved the door back in place and held it there until Jenny could pull off on that exit that goes nowhere. If you drive down I-5 much, you know the one. NO SERVICES. Nothing. Just a random off ramp. We pulled over and then we had to get the dog in the front seat so I could get in the back seat, all the while being the immovable object against which Zee, the irresistible force, was fighting with all his might. Cats don't get physics. Neither do I but I did get a courtesy C because I was the only person in class who could understand the instructor's thickly-accented English and provided interpretation services. Anyway, physics or not, bungee cords to the rescue. The big, thick, wide, super strong one. 

Jenny and I argued over the bungee cords when we were getting ready for this adventure. She didn't think they were necessary.  I thought they were essential. I win. She thinks a can of WD-40 and some duct tape will handle everything. Well, I think Zee had some WD-40 to help him get the dang thing open, and I hate to imagine cats all wound up in duct tape. Bumgees to the rescue.