Thursday, September 07, 2006

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale....

Paul was the first one on the boat and he managed to get us seats up front. There was an old man sitting behind us who, I'm certain, should have had the nick name "Old Salty". He was fairly certain that he knew everything about this cruise because he was a deck hand on this boat 50 years previous. He probably wasn't as old as he looked but he had spent a life time out in the sun. His voice was gravely and he smelled of cigarettes. There was a young man sitting in front of us. He was younger than Old Salty, but he, too, was certain that he knew everything about this cruise because he had taken it so many times. Goody, goody, I am sitting with a know-it-all in front of me and behind me and Yacky Duck, aka: Paul, sitting next to me. Now all I needed was a semi drunk, black family, totally overdressed for a harbor cruise to hoot and holla and cause the boat to sit and wait because the rest of they party hadn't found their way out of the bar yet. My prayers were answered. I don't know how many of them there were but there were quiet a gaggle of them. They were decked out in gold jewelry and wearing lounge wear. They had their hair did and their nails did and I wasn't going to be the one to break it to them that they were on a 90 minute Newport Harbor cruise and not a 3 week Princess Cruise to the Bahamas. The captain held the boat for 20 minutes until the rest of the Bahama party arrived, drinks in hand. I was very surprised that they allowed glass and alcohol on the boat.

The cruise held Paul's interest for about 2 minutes and then he decided that he wanted to get off the boat. I pointed out to him that unless he wanted for all of us to jump overboard and high jack a pelican to escort us to shore that we would have to stay where we were. I also told him that I had already paid for the extended version of the cruise so that when the boat pulled in to the harbor we were not getting off. You would have thought I told him that there was a root canal waiting for him at the dock. He was furious. He ranted. He mumbled. He pouted. He turned his back to me. Other than Paul being a weenie I enjoyed the tour. I managed to tune out most of the Know-it-all twins commentary. We saw yachts that cost millions of dollars. We saw the little multi million dollar bungalow that Nicholas Cage just purchased. We saw a huge house that one of the Righteous Brother owned. Not one house we saw was worth less than 2 million dollars and that included the 1 bedroom condos. Where. Do. People. Get. Money. Of. Those. Proportions.? I just don't understand where the money comes from. How do we have that many multi-millionaires in one spot? It just boggles the mind. We saw some yachts that were the size of your average strip mall and we saw little sail boats that could easily fit in a one car garage. Most of the smaller boats appear to have been abandon due to the large amounts of barnacles, bird poo and sea lions that graced their decks. The tour guide told us about the insane amount of money it costs to dock a boat in Newport Harbor so I guess they weren't technically abandon. I totally imagined someone paying their stack of bills every month and writing a check to the Newport Harbor and thinking to their self..."I've got to figure out what I've been paying for for the last 14 years..."

When we pulled in to the dock Paul was ready to get off. I reminded him that we were not getting off just yet. In his effort to show me who was in charge here he went and sat in the total back of the boat. While I felt sorry for whomever he was going to provide an ongoing soliloquy to...I let him stay in the back of the boat. On the second half of the tour we went down past the jetty, out of the harbor mouth and in to free water. The waves made the boat bounce all over the place. Hannah and I were both hollering, "Wahoo!", with every roll and bounce. Paul was getting a big kick out of standing up during this portion of the cruise. I was hoping I wasn't going to have to explain to his mother that, "He just fell in and now he's living with the whales. He speaks fluent whale, you know..."

When the boat pulled back in to the dock for the second time I figured Paul would be the first one off, but instead he was holding back because he was talking to the captain. I let everyone get off before we did and still had to pry Paul away from the captain. As we got off the boat the captain said, "Good bye, Paul." I thanked him for the nice ride and for his patience.

As soon as we got off the boat Paul ran straight to the arcade. I got $20.00 worth of tokens. We all played skee ball. Paul ROCKS at skee ball. Hannah's lane only had two balls in it and by the time she got it fixed Paul had already played 3 games. After skee ball there was basketball, a couple of different games where you slap an alligators nose and one where you hit a gopher with a mallet. Then we moved on to some rifle shooting games and then we ended with Paul playing a driving game, where he did a great job I might add, and then Hannah and I got our pictures taken in a black and white photo booth. We combined all of our win tickets and they got some trinkets and walked away happy. Paul was not at all eager to leave but I explained to him that our time was up on the parking meter. He pretty much told me that I was Stupid Idiot Mc Liar Pants because when we got to the car the meter said we had 4 minutes left. I asked him what he wanted to do for 4 minutes and he said he wanted to go back to the arcade. I asked him if he had any money to spend during his 4 minutes in the arcade and he said no and got in the car. That is the first time that ploy ever worked for me.

It only took us 10 minutes to get to my house from Newport and Paul was very excited about getting to go swimming. Unfortunately for Paul we had to eat again so there would be no time for swimming. The 3 of us and Andrew walked up to Ruby's on the Huntington Beach pier and had a nice dinner. We had to wait about 25 minutes for a table but the cartoon video that was playing in the foyer kept Paul entertained.

By the time we walked back to my house we had to get back into the car so we could meet Tori in Yorba Linda. That is about as "in the middle" as you can get between Riverside and Huntington Beach. There is probably a better "middle" but I don't know where it would be. We got to Yorba Linda before Tori did so we bounced in to a Rite Aid drug store and got ice cream. Paul darted in to the restroom and proceeded to camp out in there until the one and only cashier had to get on the loud speaker and announce that the store was going to close. I was going to try to explain to the cashier that he was trying to teach a pig to sing, but instead I just let him live in his fantasy world where people actually react to such announcements.

After Paul came out of the restroom and we all had our ice creams we drove around the parking lot trying to find a way back to the street. I managed to wind up in the very back of the parking lot next to a row of Dumpsters. While I was sitting still trying to figure out how to get the heck out of Dodge, Andrew noticed an owl sitting on the edge of the dumpster. It was a beautiful sight that we were all taking in until Paul rolled down his window and attempted to communicate with it. "WHOOO! WHOO!", he said, and with that the regal animal effortlessly flew away. (Dr. Doolittle count: I don't know, I've lost track.)

Although I consider myself a somewhat seasoned traveler I was embarrassed at how many attempts it took me to get from the Rite Aid parking lot to the Starbucks parking lot in Yorba Linda. They were pretty much across the street from each other and I am not making this up when I tell you it took us almost 15 minutes to get from point A to point B. When I exited the Rite Aid parking lot I could only turn right. Of course Starbucks was to the left. Once I turned right I had to go a couple of miles down the road in order to make a U turn. Then once I was going in the right direction I missed the drive way for Starbucks and had to go another couple of miles down the road so I could make another U turn. I hesitate to admit that I missed the Starbucks driveway a second time so I had to hang another U to get back to where I needed to go. I finally found my sister and gave her the children. The kids had just spent an action packed weekend away from their mom and yet when they saw her they had nothing to say. Apparently the whole event was going to be our little

I saw Paul 4 days later and he said, "Hey Auntie, when are you going to take me away for the weekend like you promised?" Perhaps I need to give the addy to this blog?

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Friday, September 01, 2006

This brings us to Sunday

We slept in on Sunday. We all got up and got ready in our own sweet time. I told Paul to brush his teeth approximately 300 times. Then on the 301st time he told me that he had brushed his teeth. I told him to show me his toothbrush and of course that let to fumbling and grumbling. Long story short he had lied to me. What he had done was put toothpaste in his mouth and called it a day. He didn't say his tooth was bothering him but that is what I'm going to blame it one. I don't want to accuse him of being a weenie without sufficient proof. (and that was coming later in the day.)

When we checked out of the motel I let Paul turn the card key in. He insisted on performing his transaction via the walk up window instead of going inside. He had attempted to use this window during every encounter we had with the motel people and I told him to go inside every time. But since he ran down the stairs and got to the office 45 seconds before me he was able to get to the window and ring the bell and get the clerk to come to the window. The smug look on Paul's face once he turned the card in through the window was priceless. Tori and I have seen this look on all of her children and we call it the "Kermit Face".

Paul wanted to head straight to my house and go swimming in the pool. I told him that we would be at my house at some point during the day so he needed to relax and actually act like he was on vacation and not in a race to get his body into a pool. Paul said ok, but the look on his face was saying, "Well, Auntie, you are the idiot who took me 100 miles away from home and found the only motel on the west coast that had no swimming pool!"

We drove down to Pacific Coast Highway and we found a dog show going on. I asked the kids if they wanted to stop and watch for a minute and they both said yes. It turned out to be a standard poodle show. There were probably about 75 dogs there and they were all beautiful. They were fluffed and puffed and blow-dried and bowed within an inch of their lives. There were black ones, grey ones, white one and brown ones. They were very tall and very regal. Even though they all had their game faces on you could tell that all of them just couldn't wait for the frou frou stuff to end so that they could go chase a ball somewhere. Of course Paul had to bark at all of them. I told him not to do that because I didn't want him to start "Poodle Riot by the sea 2006", but apparently since I was speaking in a foreign language that Paul couldn't understand he continued his barking. (If anyone is keeping count...So far this weekend Paul has demonstrated his finesse in the art of animal communication by brushing up on his whale speak and finally a brief yet meaningful tete 'a tete with several show poodles.)

There was one poodle who was up on a table with his fluffy hair blowin in the wind. I took Hannah's picture with him and all went well. After telling Paul, no exaggeration, 10 times not to touch the dog, he reached out to touch it and we got yelled at. That was my signal that it was time to go. On the way out we saw a couple of puppies. They were adorable, shaggy and smiling. They could be played with but, naturally Paul was afraid of them.

We got back in to the car, Paul made his "back to your house" announcement, and we headed up the coast. We decided that we were starving by the time we hit Ocean Side. For anyone who doesn't know better that would be about 5 minutes after getting into the car!

I stopped to get gas, $2.89 per gallon, and I saw the "101 Cafe" across the street. It was bulging at the seams with people so I figured that meant it had to be good. We went inside and was fortunate to get to sit right down. Paul ordered chicken fingers and a soda, Hannah got a grilled cheese and a soda and I ordered toast and a chocolate diet coke. (Oxymoron, I know.)
When my soda arrived I thought Hannah was going to scream! "LOOK AT ALL THE CHOCOLATE IN THE BOTTOM OF YOUR GLASS!" I had a fairly large cup and it was about 1/4 full of chocolate syrup. After I stirred it all up it looked like I had a cup of mud. Pretty much tasted like it too.

We went down Pacific Coast Highway a little further and we decided to take a walk on the Oceanside Pier. I found a place to park, which was amazing since there was some type of event going on at the beach. Paul was half way to the middle of the pier before Hannah had her shoes on. It was obvious that since this was the last day of vacation Paul figured that he didn't have to listen to me even a little bit.

The Oceanside pier is cool in the fact that it is made out of wooden slats as opposed to cement like the Huntington Beach pier. Hannah and I enjoyed looking at the water under our feet. There was a Ruby's restaurant at the end of the pier and Paul wanted to eat there. I reminded him that less than 20 minutes ago we were eating breakfast. No matter. He wanted to eat at Ruby's and he was not going to leave until we did. I told him that he might get cold and lonely and his mother would miss him but if that was what he wanted to do then fine. We took a couple of pictures and then he grumbled all the way back to the car.

After the pier we jumped on the freeway and fortunately sailed right through the border patrol. There was no one even working there, it looked like a ghost town. Where are the minute men when you need them?

I got off of the freeway at Dana Point and we took Pacific Coast Highway for the rest of our journey. We saw a See's Candy store and it was decided unanimously that we should stop and get some breakfast candy. Everyone got their sample and two pieces of their choice. We took pictures in front of the store and got back into the car.

We wound up in Newport/Balboa and it only took us 3 times around the block to find a parking place. We fed the parking meter, one of Paul's favorite parts of the entire vacation, and we were off to have some fun. I asked Paul if he wanted to go on the "horrible cruise" and he said yes. Hannah asked if it was really a horrible cruise then why would we want to go on it?? I explained to her that when Paul was little he confused the word "harbor" with "horrible" and thus he referred to it as a "horrible cruise" but it was actually quite lovely. Right when we got to the boardwalk I heard the announcement for the last call for the harbor cruise. S0 we jumped in line and bought our tickets and went out to the dock and that is when I discovered that I had purchased tickets for the wrong boat. I wanted to go on the nice, two story boat that has a small snack bar and a restroom. The boat we had tickets for looked like someone had just pulled it out of a dry dock and flung it in the water. The seats were all tattered and paint was peeling. Paul was already on the boat and there was no way I would have convinced him that we needed to get off of this boat and get on another one so I decided to stay on this boat and consider it an adventure.

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