Wednesday, October 10, 2007

California and back, now with pictures!

We spent the past weekend in southern California, San Clemente and Irvine, to be specific. The reason? To see friends and family and, more importantly, to participate in Marci's 20 year high school reunion.

We flew down on Thursday. The flight was delayed on the tarmac for 30 minutes while they ironed out some fuel pressure thing. That sucked. Especially when you have a kid (Riley) who basically has an expiration time on a plane. About 10 minutes, I suppose. Anyway, Marci ended up sitting next to him and trying to keep him occupied. In a plane for 2.5 hours, that's no easy task.

Once we got into LAX we had to track down our rental company's shuttle bus. Note to self: next time you rent a car, don't rent with Advantage. First off, it took about 30 minutes for the shuttle to return. In that amount of time, we must've seen 5 shuttles each from Avis, Budget, Enterprise, MasterPark and more. Then, it took another 15 minutes to get from LAX to their facility, which, by the way, is in the 'hood. Lock your doors.

So we got to the rental place and, of course, they didn't have the car we reserved (Dodge Caliber). The one they gave us next reeked of smoke. Marci went in to raise hell and get a replacement. By this time, she was hot. She came out and hopped in the car and popped the trunk. I asked if she meant to get a 2 door and, well, it was all over now. She stormed back in and canceled the rental. Luckily, I had our trusty GPS and found an Enterprise just half a mile away. They sent a kid over (in a suit, no less) to pick us up. We had a Caliber from Enterprise in about 15 minutes after arriving. We grabbed a bite at the King of Burgers, then made the 45 minute trek to San Clemente, finally arriving there at about 9:30. Ugh.

The last time we were down in SoCal was about 2 years ago. Back then, Todd and Ali (my bro- and sis-in-law) had been remodeling their home. They had a little bungalow, basically, with a detached garage in San Clemente, about a mile from the ocean. Now, they have dark hardwood floors, an open floor plan with living and eating areas combined with the kitchen. They've also added on a master bedroom with bathroom and pseudo-walk-in closet. The end result is really nice and roomy, and just down home cool.

The weather was pretty terrific while we were there. Sunny, a little breezy, temperatures around 75 to 85. Riley ran around the house sans shirt most of the time. The kids played in the front yard (with white picket fence, natch) looking for bugs. Quite idyllic.

What else did we do there? Todd and I took the kids to the beach. There were some surfers and we saw dolphins coming up for air offshore. Quite cool. Hay and Rye got soaked by a sneaky wave. They were trying to get their toes in the ocean and, pow, a renegade wave got 'em. Pretty funny.

Marci and I took the kids to Todd's mom Judy's house on the night of the reunion. Judy's like the perfect grandmother. She just loves the kids, including ours. Treats them like her own and we love her to death. So she agreed to watch our kids and Chandler and Ella, Todd and Ali's kids. That sure was nice as it let us, the parents, go get our party on.

We headed to the Irvine Marriot for the reunion. Marci and I ended up renting a room for the night. We got unloaded and headed to T&A's room, where they had a room joined with their friends Jim and Tracy. Todd and I bought some alcohol earlier in the day and we proceeded to drink. Well, they did. I had a vodka and green apple Jones Soda and dang if that didn't get me a bit buzzed, the lightweight that I am. My face was bright red and I got all hot and sweaty. Todd's buddies Casey and Mike came by later and we all hung out and chit chatted.

Actually, I stood there and listened to the guys tell their stories. It was pretty fun stuff. Todd's friends are quite the entertainers.

But I digress.

A bit later, we went to our own rooms and got ready. I decided to go full suit and tie. Marci had her hot little black dress with red heels. I must admit, we looked pretty good for a couple of hacks.

We headed downstairs to the ballroom where the reunion was to be held. Right next door was a huger ballroom filled with old dudes in tuxedos and sashes. The Knights of Columbus, evidently some religious thing. Not to be confused with the Knights of Cydonia, evidently the best song evar.

It appears that a reunion in a well-to-do part of southern California would be quite different than one in a well-to-do part of Seattle. First off, there were many short short skirts. Also, there were many low low cut tops. Wow. Cleavage ho! Plus, at least a few pairs of fake breasteses. Pretty entertaining, if you ask me.

I ended up hanging out with Marci, Alison and Tracy, as their significant others took off once dinner was over. Todd and Jim were quite the popular kids, it appears.

Pretty soon, Marci was jumped by some dude who, it turns out, she didn't know. Evidently, he remembered her moving to CA from Connecticut their sophomore year, that they had math class together, and some other things. Kind of freaky, I guess.

Later on, I got to meet Marci's ex-boyfriend. Max. Of course, he was tall, dark and handsome. Wow. Even I thought he was hot. He looked like a dark haired version of Ty Pennington from Extreme Home Makeover. It was a little awkward, but, after all, we were just strangers to each other. He was nice enough. Just keep your eyes off my woman!

So the reunion itself was kind of a bust. I'm glad it wasn't my reunion. Think of a wedding reception, only with no wedding, no toasts, and horrible, horrible DJ action. We would've been better off hanging out at someone's house and eating barbeque or something.

We ended up coming home Sunday, on the flight from hell. First, we got stuck at the airport, changing terminals and delayed because the first plane sucked or something. By the time we got on the second plane, an hour had passed. Then they told us we couldn't take off for some reason or another. Long story short, our flight was supposed to leave at 2:40pm and we didn't get off the ground until 5 or so. Needless to say, it sucked. We got back to the cold, drove to Denny's, had some late dinner and then got home a little after 9.

Overall it was a fun time and, we get to do it again for Thanksgiving. Maybe we'll drive next time.

Now playing: The Tea Party - Writing's on the Wall