Monday, August 28, 2006

My weekend with Paul and Hannah

Tori was nice enough to bring Hannah and Paul out to my house so that I didn't have to go all the way to Riverside to pick them up. Since it was 6:00 by the time I got home we would both have had to sit in traffic if we hit the road so we decided to walk up town and have dinner and wait for the traffic to die down.

On our way to town we walked past Beth and Marty's apartment. They were out front loading their car so we went over to say hello. They were on their way to the beach for a bonfire dinner and to attend their debut of grunion hunting. They invited us to go with them but Tori had to pick up someone from the airport and me and the kids had a hotel in Carlsbad waiting for us so we had to pass.

We bid adieu to the Sacksteders and continued on our journey. There are probably 50 places to eat on Main Street in Huntington Beach and we wound up at IHOP. Ah, the adventure! Tori and I shared pancakes, Hannah had french toast, Paul had the smiley face pancake and Andrew had eggs and potatoes. There were only 2 other parties in the restaurant but it took us over 25 minutes to get our food. I mentioned that I thought that they were probably chasing that smiley face pancake all over the back parking lot. Tori thought that maybe they had lost the recipe for pancakes. Andrew figured that our waiter's accent was so thick that even the julios working in the kitchen couldn't understand him and they were all in the back taking an "English as a second language" course. The delay in getting served didn't set well with Jakey. As anyone knows 2 year old's are not known for their patience, especially when they are hungry. He managed to escape out of his high chair, (which was not especially difficult since the latch on the strap was gone.), and thought that he might enjoy sitting in a booth all by himself. His first few attempts at securing his own booth were met with scowls and threats of the loss of his pancakes so he came back to his high chair. Once he realized that apparently NO ONE was going to get pancakes he didn't care what threat he was given. As a matter of fact he thought he might step it up a notch and go running through the, basically empty, restaurant. Tori told him that if he didn't get back into the high chair she was going to take him outside and have a talk with him. Well that sounded better to him than sitting in a high chair so then he WANTED to go outside. Tori tried to convince him that she meant that her hand was going to have a talk with his fanny and yet that made no difference to him. So she took him outside but from the smug look on his face upon their re-entry to the restaurant I could tell that his fanny was safe and sound inside those Huggies.

When our food finally arrived we all dug in. It actually took us longer to get our food than it did to eat it. Everything tasted fine and everyone cleaned their plates.

As we walked back to my house we passed a beauty parlor that had mardi gras beads hanging on the door knob. Andrew got a silver one and a green one and gave them to Hannah and Paul. (I'm sure no one will be surprised to learn that it was Paul who wore his beads throughout the entire weekend.)

When we got back to my house Tori put Jake in her car and then started to say good bye to the kids. While she was talking to Hannah, Paul had his head inside the truck and he was telling Jake, "You be a good boy for mama and don't touch anything in my room, ok?" In order to fully understand the humor in this you'd have to know that Jake and Paul share a bedroom. Jake showed how much he was listening by taking off his shirt and putting on a life jacket that was in the back seat of the truck. Tori was telling Paul good bye when I tattled on the quick change artist. Jake was told that they were going to get to go swimming at Aunties house and by golly that was what he was going to do. So what if it was less than 70 degrees and dark outside? I left Tori with Jake and walked with Hannah, Paul and Andrew to my house. The kids put all of their stuff in the car while Andrew was showing me the route of PCH down to Carlsbad. I knew that it went way inland at some point but I wasn't sure if it would be worth it to try to follow it and thus I decided to just jump on the 5 and take the quickest way. PCH is much prettier but after dark you can't see the ocean anyway.

We were off like a herd of turtles by about 8:00. Paul and Hannah both talking at once and both expecting me to respond to what they were saying. By the time we got on the 405 Paul decided that he was sleepy and was going to take a nap so he reclined his seat which made him pretty much laying in Hannah's lap. I told Hannah to switch sides and sit behind me but there was no way she was going to unbuckle her seat belt and risk life and limb by changing seats while the car was moving. It was much easier to complain to the very tired Paul.

From the 405 we made it to the 5...I think we were in Aliso Viejo when Paul sat up and made a moaning grunt sound. I asked him what was wrong thinking that his infected tooth was hurting him. Silly me. He said, "I'm going to throw up!" I asked him if he could hold out until I could get the car over to the right side of the road and much to my chagrin he mumbled, "No." In one fell swoop I rolled both of our windows down and went from the fast lane to the slow lane but it was too late. The poor guy was horking his guts out the window. By the time an exit came up and I got off the freeway he told me that he was done and he was feeling much better. Hannah was in the back seat having a small heart attack. "We need to call Mommy. Aren't you going to call Mommy. We need to take Paul home." Paul had a counter argument for everything she was saying and he was begging me not to call his mom. We took a nice tour of Aliso Viejo before I could actually find a gas station. We all got out of the car and I was afraid to look at what might be stuck to the passenger side of my car. While I was observing the damage Paul was off talking to the resident vato rent-a-cop telling him how nice he looked in his uniform. Hannah was having a nervous break down because apparently she does not fare well when barf is involved.

I bought Paul a Sprite and I actually had to make him drink it. He took approximately 3 sips and declared that he was feeling fine and we didn't need to postpone our trip any longer and we certainly didn't need to call his mother. Contrary to Paul's sage advice I called Tori to let her know what was happening. She talked to him and then told me that if he said he felt better then he was probably fine. She guessed that maybe he had eaten too much. I was afraid that it was a reaction of his meds. He was taking an antibiotic and vicodin for his infected tooth. Earlier I had been marveling at the fact that he could actually take vicodin when his mother, his aunt and his grandma were all unable to take it. The last thing I wanted was to be far away from home with a handicapped man/child who had an infected tooth, who was in pain and throwing up because of the meds he needed to take but I sallied forth.

We made it to the Carlsbad Motel 6 just before 9:00. When we were in the office Paul had to compliment a biker/cowboy on his nice hat. Thankfully the cowpoke was amenable to the compliment. When it was our turn I asked if they took Visa and Paul had to interject, "Do you take American Express?" I told him to never mind, I had it under control but he insisted on being briefed of their American Express policy. I told him to pipe down, I didn't even have an American Express so I didn't need to know if they accepted it or not. His pitiful argument apparently moved the hotel clerk because she kindly explained that they did, indeed, take American Express. I asked him if was going to use his American Express card to pay our bill and he told me, "Never mind."

We put our stuff in our room and in no time Paul had the TV on and was sprawled across the bed. Tori advised me to give Paul his vicodin within the "every 6 hour range" and not to wait until it started hurting because then it would be too late. The pain kicks in and then Paul is inconsolable. Since he had just emptied his stomach I needed to find him something easily digestible to eat before I gave him his meds. Fortunately there was an Albertsons right across the boulevard from the motel. We had to walk down a block to a cross walk and in the two minutes it took to get there Hannah had come up with 50 reasons why she missed Mommy, AND she was cold. I thought Hannah was a tad mature to be so home sick especially since we'd only been gone for a couple of hours and she really wanted to go on this vacation.

I had thought that a banana or a muffin would be good for Paul to eat, so of course the bananas were completely green and there wasn't a muffin to be seen in the entire store. We settled on a yogurt and a Hostess apple pie. Maybe not the best choice but it was better than the Slim-Jim or the Oscar Meyer "Lunchable" that he had his heart set on.

We got back to the hotel and Hannah's "I miss Mommy" dissertation resumed. She asked if she could call her mom and I gave her the phone. Before I know it Hannah is in hysterical tears saying that she missed Tori too much and she wanted her to come and pick her up. Tori told Hannah that I looked just like her so she should just put her pajamas on and sit in my lap and relax. Before she hung up Hannah told Tori that since we only had one bed she was going to have to sleep on the floor. Tori talked to Paul and convinced him that "camping out" on the floor would be much more fun than sleeping in a bed and that it would probably be much better for his tooth in the long run. (How awful are we that we lie to a handicapped person?)

When everyone had spoken to Tori and we had all gathered our wits we decided to play a round or 8 of Scattergories. Scattergories is a game that can be played by people of just about any age or ability as long as they know how to read their own writing or have a scribe. Paul loves this game and in addition to playing it, it goes without saying that he is our game show host. I have always loved to play games with Tori's kids and I think I can prove that when I show you a pencil drawn picture of french fries that Andrew drew during a game of Pictionary when he was barely 3 years old. More often than not their savant intelligence will floor me and we heap praise upon them but try not to dwell on it so that they don't think they are a gaggle of smarty pants. Then every once in a while one of them will come up with an answer that is soo off the wall that I can't help but wonder about their thought process. This particular game was dictated by the letter B. The question was "Something in this room". Hannah came up with "Big belly, Paul's", and then demanded that since she used two B words that she be granted the requisite 2 points. Paul told her that her answer was not nice but as he was the moderator he granted her the 2 points.

I decided that the game was over when I looked at my watch and saw that it was past midnight. Paul put on his pajamas and made his bed on the floor. Hannah discovered that she had forgotten to pack pajamas and decided to sleep in her clean shorts and a tee shirt. I gave her my robe to wear and I attempted to go to sleep. I dozed for a minute or two until Hannah told me that she couldn't sleep. I told her to shut her eyes and at least get some rest, read her National Geographic or watch TV. She decided that crying was her best bet and that kept her occupied for the next 5 minutes. Paul had the TV turned up so loud that people in Leucadia knew what was happening on the Cartoon Network. Apparently Paul can't watch TV in the dim light or stale air because he had turned on all of the lights and had the air conditioner blasting. Being the killjoy that I am I told him to turn the volume on the TV down, turn the out put on the a/c down and turn off all of the lights. He was asleep in mere moments but Hannah could not sleep. I asked her if she was trying to get me to take her home and even though she said no I know if I had said to pack up she would have been the first one to the car.

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