So Ouija got married this weekend. Wiggle, BamaBeau, Nestor, and I took a perfect road trip out to sunny California for the occasion. Here's the full report (and bear in mind that the main point of this blog is to make you all so jealous that you come with me next time):
Wednesday: California Dreamin'
We got in the car. Toasteroven came running out and made me come back inside. I thought I was in trouble again. He led me to the bathroom. This was a new experience for me. When we got there, I saw immediately what he was trying to show me. I had left my cell phone, my debit card, and a fat wad of tips on the bathroom sink. I'm a major space cadet. Thanks for the assist, TO.
Nestor brought too many bags. When I mentioned that I had planned out what I would be wearing each day, she said, "You planned it out?" As far as I can tell, she just put her entire wardrobe into bags so she'd have it all at her disposal. Women.
At Denny's in Reno, Nestor was allowed two side dishes with her fish. She got fries and... seasoned fries.
At this point it was 1:00 a.m., and it was my turn to drive, since I'm the one who's most awake at that time of night. That way everyone else could sleep. Anyway, have you ever tried driving from Reno to Sacramento? Yeah, it was pretty much the scariest ordeal of my entire life. I should add here that I've only driven maybe five or six times since I got my driver licence last year. The road there is windy (that's long I windy), it was dark, there were giant big rigs everywhere, and it was foggy. I stayed awake by singing along at the top of my lungs to "The Night I fell Asleep at the Wheel" by the Barenaked Ladies. The whole experience was actually quite terrifying. We saw the Grim on three separate occasions. I can assure you that nobody slept. Anyway, we made it safely, and that's all that really counts. When we finally pulled in at my friend Tox's house at 4:00 a.m., Bamabeau said "Smurf, I love you, but you are not driving for the rest of the trip." That seems fair. I'm worse than I remembered.
Tox was my best friend in elementary school. We lived together here in Napa before I moved to Provo, and we ended up being the best of roommates. His parents are on a mission, so he had the whole house available for us. He even laid out bedding and bought various breakfast cereals for us. It was really awesome.
Thursday: The Valley
I awoke to the sight of an extreme close-up of the faces of my mother and the Maggot (3-year old precocious tow-headed sister). There were hugs and things. Mack, my step-dad, was there too. After they admonished my friends for having let me drive, we went hiking in Westwood Hills Park. Let me take a minute to pontificate upon the scrumtrulescence of the nature here.
When Wiggle first saw the hills, she gasped, "Look! between the trees, the hills are GREEN!" Um, yeah, Wiggle. "Well, I've never seen that before!" How terrible it must be to be from New Mexico. Hadn't she ever seen that in movies, at least? "Well, I thought that was just special effects or something." We're pretty sure she was just joking on that last one. Anyway, the mustard was carpeting the meadows, and there were poppies and radishes and daffodils and sweet alyssum and lilies and sorrell and so many other beautiful flowers. The vineyards were rolling with the hills, the air was fragrant, and the valley oaks were standing all hunchbacked against the skyline. If I can figure out how to put pictures on here, I will.
the California poppy
an old oak tree
mossy rocks from our hike in Napa
Anyway, we hiked all up and down these hills, looking at the ferns and the eucalyptus and everything. Eventually Wiggle fell in the mud (that's what Wiggles do best). We all had a good laugh, but the best part was when the Maggot started laughing loudly and vindictively. That was great. You can tell we're related.
where Wiggle fell
Ouija caught up to us at this point. He'd gained some weight. He hugged me. One awkward thing I forgot to mention is that my mother had negligently "outed" me to my dad, who had told my brothers, who had told my friends. That all happened last week. So I was a bit stressed about seeing everybody again. Anyway, there were no problems with Ouija.
Next we went to In-N-Out burger, where I used to work. I had a Double-Double with only onions, grilled onions, ketchup, and spread. Mmmm. I got to see Silvia, the old Mexican woman whom I'd given English lessons to so she could get her citizenship. I'd gotten an e-mail a few months back saying she'd passed her test. When I got there this time, she was up in the front of the store, not just relegated to the cleaning and cutting jobs where she'd been before. And her English was great. I got a couple more hugs from employees there.
Next we went upvalley to Vintage 1870. They have great shops and restaurants and things there. BamaBeau went nuts in some gourmet cookware store, and later in a glassworks store. At one point we were in an art gallery. My friends and Ouija and I were looking at some amazing paintings. The blue-blooded attendant or curator or whatever came up and tried to sell us some prints that started at $300. We were trying to act all ritzy. While she was showing us some hyper-realism pieces, we heard a knocking sound. She looked up and said, "Who is that?"
It was my mom, with a pig nose smashed against the window, making faces at us. So embarassing. We tried to pretend we didn't know her, but a moment later she came waltzing in with the maggot, asking us if we were ready to go. Yeah, we were pretty much mortified.
Mom bought us ice cream (rocky road and raspberry sorbet for me). I bought some clove-flavored gum. We next went to see the candle factory in St. Helena, but to our dismay, it had been moved from the old abbey. We caught up with it in Calistoga, but it was nothing more than a candle store now. They still had the beehives, at least. Then we stopped at the old Bale Grist Mill, which was not currently in operation, but was still really neat to see. Then on to Francis Ford Coppola's estate. My old roommate, the Chad, is a graphic designer for Francis, so we got to see behind the scenes. We even played with his roulette wheel, but don't tell him. While everyone walked around the museum they have at the winery there, I got to play in the fountain with the Maggot, who seemed uninterested in Oscars and set pieces from Dracula and the Godfather. Someone informed us that there were small sailboats available to put in the fountain. They needed a driver licence in exchange, so I went and got Ouija, since I didn't have mine on me. We set the boat in the fountain, and the Maggot sent it out to the middle and proceeded to just play with the stick that was supposed to be used for guiding it. Soon we were ready to leave, but that boat was still out there. Ouija ended up getting really wet so he could get his license back. Good times. You must remember, by the way, that this whole time Wiggle and co. were verbally astounded by the beauty of the homes and the hills and the trees. Nestor saw her first orange and lemon trees, in fact (she said she didn't even know they grew on trees).
the Coppola museum
getting the boat back
We parted with the family there and went to Heather Angela Hawks' house. The main reason for going there was to dispell any notion the friends had about Heather's "white-trash upbringing." She has a huge, beautiful house in the eastern Napa hills, with two decks that overlook the valley, and a huge basement with excercise equipment, pinball, model trains, ping pong, darts, Atari, and air hockey. Her mother, hardly the wicked witch you'd expect from Heather's description, fawned over us and fed us homemade fried chicken and oranges and cookies. We played on the tire-swing. I swung it and said the game was to jump through, though I was obviously joking. Wiggle, to further the joke, moved as though she were really going to try, only then she tripped and fell on her backside. Then the tire came back down and smacked her a good one. We got a picture.
We kidnapped Heather's little brother, Buh (that's short for "B," which is short for "Ben," which is short for "Benjamin Hawks"). Ben is the kid I thought of when I saw Napoleon Dynamite. When I cave him a piece of my clove gum, he spit it out and shrieked and said, "That gum tastes like ham," just like Napoleon would have said it. Buh is great.
Next we went to a Mexican restaurant to celebrate the Chad's birthday. That was uneventful, and the food wasn't the best.
Then we decided to go back to the house and chill with Tox. That would mean we'd have to stop and get marsmallows and chocolate chips so we could make the "Tox and Smurf" special, which we've been doing every time we spend the night since we were eight or so. Basically you just mix marshmallows and chocolate chips in a bowl and microwave them. When you start eating it, it's runny, but as time wears on, it becomes harder and harder until you're hacking away at it with a spoon. Anyway, Buh and I ran into Safeway to grab the stuff. When we came out, BamaBeau tried to squirt us with the windshield wiper fluid, which sprays outward like a long arc of urine. Buh described it as the closest your car can get to peeing on you. Well, Buh saw it coming this time, and stopped dead in his tracks. So the arc of fluid ended up going right into window of the car parked next to us. BamaBeau somehow managed to shoot off two more streams before anybody noticed. The person who figured it out first was the Mexican gangster whose face had been getting drenched. He opened the door and said, "hey!." We jumped in the car and drove off frantically.
At Tox's house, we watched Napoleon Dynamite, which Buh claimed to hate but secretly loves, and ate the Tox and Smurf special, then went to sleep.
Friday: The Wedding
Four hours later, I was in the shower. It was wedding day! Mom, Mack, and the Maggot came and picked me up at 9:00. We had the brunch in Fairfield at Mimi's cafe. It had rained all night, and was still raining heavily when we got to the restaurant. My brother was just promoted to manager at Mimi's, and he got the whole wedding brunch for half off. They put our party in a little side room with a ton of windows and a fireplace. It was very cozy. I had the beef dip, which was once-upon-a-time called the French dip. Either way, it was delicious. My dad and his wife, Darla, were there. So was my brother Nanny with his girlfriend, Ouija's best man, Doan, random grown-ups, and the bride's family. I'll have to find a new nickname for the bride, since "Flavor" has now been with him for three months. Anyway, we'll call her "flavor" for the rest of this post. I got to be on play-outside duty with the maggot once again. Then I went with Doan, Nanny, and the girlfriend to buy window markers and sodas for vandalizing the get-away vehicle. During that time, Doan let me know that he knew about my SSA issues, and that he though it was stupid that anyone would have a problem. That was nice. Wiggle, Bamabeau, and Nestor caught up to me in Fairfield, and we went to the Red Robin. Since I'd just had brunch, I got a smoothie. We had a black waitress, and BamaBeau was reveling in the "cultural diversity."
We went to the Jelly Belly factory, took the tour, bought Belly Flops, and then realized we were late for pictures at the wedding! We raced through the beautiful backroads, and ended up being only a few minutes late for pictures, and still a good 45 minutes earlier than Dad and Darla.
the yellow flowers are mustard
Anyway, gentle reader, this blogging with pictures takes a lot of time, so I'll have to leave you hanging at this critical moment. Up next time, the wedding and the scandal therein, the Nanny Challenge, the Oakland temple, adventures in San Francisco, and camping at the beach. I hope you're all jealous already, because it only gets better.