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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