Wednesday, July 9, 2008

For what seemed like little plans...

We had a very full day today. It started earlier than any other day we have had here in California. Today we were up at 8:00 am and out of the house before 9:00. We caught a free showing of "Hook" at the theater at theArden Fair Mall at 10:00 this morning. I love the movie "Hook". It's just so colorful and happy. I had heard that these free movie really fill up so we got there early. And it's a good thing we did because the place really did fill up.

It filled up with kids who are too young and/or too noisy to be taking to a "real" movie. And... some special needs' adults. It was a strange crowd. The people watching was nearly as entertaining as the movie itself.

Before the movie began everyone separated and enjoyed some quality DS time in their seats.  As the theater started the fill most of us ended up grouped back together.

Don't be alarmed.  Issa was neither angry nor scared... it was just snapped at a weird moment.

After the movie, we walked into the main part of the mall and had lunch at the food court. And by "we" I mean me and the eight teens. My parents spent the time following the movie bringing the van, that we got back last night, back to the shop. Apparently the brakes are grinding. With Downieville on the docket for tomorrow, touchy brakes are really NOT okay.

After the food court feeding I stayed at the table with Sabrina (who was saving her money for later) while everyone else had free reign in the mall for a couple of hours. Some made full use of their time shopping and dropping bags off at the food court table only to then go back out shopping again. Others spent the time finding the places to play free games. And then there were a few who would plop down in a chair every so often and stare off into space hoping mall time would be over faster.

Now, I myself have had my share of buyer's remorse sadness but this was just painful. It's teenage kids! It's a mall! And you need more entertainment from adults?!!

After my dad arrived to take over table-sitting duty I took the opportunity myself to wander the mall a bit. There were some great deals today. I got a dress and five shirts for less than $100. This happened only after I shook off a coupe of kids who wanted to "follow" me into clothing stores.

Confession: I'm sort of hermit-like in my mall shopping. I really would rather do it on my own. If I am with a group, I'd really rather not buy anything more permanent. Food or candles, etc... that's group shopping. Clothing and shoes... that's for me alone.

Without any real established time for shopping to be over, it should come as no surprise to anyone that we ended up "behind schedule". After I finished my shopping I took a quick bathroom break and remembered (because the bathroom IS where my mind blinks on often) that the last "Jelly Belly Factory Tours" commence at 4:00. My watch read 2:45 and we were a good hour away from the tour.

The gathering up of the crew took longer than we expected and we ended up not getting to our cars until about 3:20. Hmm... forty minutes to travel what should take 60 minutes. Well... ONE of us made it on time. And it wasn't me.

Actually, it wasn't me because I made a wrong turn and ended up on hwy 99 for about 3.5 miles before turning around. It's not entirely my fault though... I was distracted. By having to call back the auto mechanic while not being able to talk on my cell phone with my hands. The fishing out of the earbud, etc was far more attention-distracting than if I had just held up the darn phone. But I digress...

I was also running out of gas. And by running out I mean I had driven my 13 gallon tank a good 460 miles on hills. And I knew I was really really pushing it to get to the factory. In fact I planned to have Marissa run in with my carload while I went to go fill up, that way I wouldn't have to use the gas necessary to start up the engine again.

Pulling into the Jelly Belly parking lot of the visitor's center the time was 4:17. I figure there was no chance at all that they would make the tour. But then I spotting my dad. He was holding 5 tour hats and a parking space right up front for us. I guess he had made it there at 4:05 and asked if it was too late. The staff said they would do one more tour just for them. At that point my dad confessed to the second car (my car) not being there yet.

It all worked out in the end though. I got to join everyone for the tour (it seemed wrong to not take the pretty spot up front). It was my second time taking the tour in a week and my 10th time doing the tour in like the last 6 years. But that's okay. It makes me feel super smart to know everything right before it's said.

And to be honest, I needed that super-smart feeling of confidence. Because unbeknownst to me at the time, I had just made a horrible mistake. My dad insisted on following me to the gas station even though I told him I could afford the gas on my own. Just as I was about to pull on to the freeway the engine light came on. I had power but the air conditioning stopped running, etc.

I read, actually, I assigned my students to read, some information about the Prius Hybrid. And it turns out when you run out of gas there is a fail-safe where it allows you to continue to drive on just battery power for a few miles to let you get to a station. However, I would like to let the record show that I am a big chicken. When the engine sort of "shut down" I pulled over. I took my dad's car up to the next exit that claimed to be a place to get gas but didn't see a station. I did see a Target so I went in and bought a gas canister before getting back on the freeway for a few more miles to find a place to fill my new purchase.

By the time I got back to me car it was pointed out that it was over 30 minutes that I had left my 60 year old dad with 4 teenagers in a sweltering car with no air in 109-degree temps. Whoops.

And... by the way... for those keeping track... in four days... we have had a car in the shop for a new alternator, a car in the shop for new brakes, a different car buried to it's frame in soft sand, and yet another car out of gas 70 miles from home.

I figure the trip to Vegas, Grand Canyon, and New Mexico will either be completely car-worry-free or we'll end up starting a holocaust. One or the other.

Once returning home, much later than expected, some of the group borrowed my bikes and rode around exploring the neighborhood. A couple of others took the dogs on much needed walks. And my mother and I began prepping for dinner.

Eliza Joekay mentioned in a previous comment that she hopes the kids are helping out with chores. And while, it's true, we are still having a hard time with things like getting them to remove their garbage out of the car when they leave it, they have complied with direct requests.

Here, for example, Nicole is putting the sheet that my mom washed back on the mattress for one of the boys. Well eventually she put it on. The TV is a pretty distracting thing sometimes.

By the time the chores were done, the sun was set, the bicycles were put away, and all dogs were walked, I laid out our spread for dinner.

Today we had burritos. There were a grand variety of things to put inside their burritos and I let each of them wrap their own. There were beans, chicken, and shrimp but also guacamole, two kinds of cheese, salsa, olives, yogurt (instead of sour cream as a shout out to Erin), grapes, pineapple, watermelon, chips, and so on.

Some were quite good at being able to get the "right" amount in the shell...

Others were less good at getting it all in the tortilla and more good at getting more than enough to eat in one sitting...

It was a late night and by the time dinner was completely cleaned up it was near 10:00 at night. But... I HAD promised them lazertag and it could really not be put off any longer. Even Patrick, who's dinner didn't exactly stay down, joined us for this late night lazertag excursion.

Sun Splash looked pretty quiet even though I had read online that they were open until midnight. By the time we got up to the counter to buy lazertag tickets it was 10:30pm. The tickets though were buy one game get the other free so despite the staff's desire to close up early (at 10:30) they ended up staying to close until after out two games were done.

Lazertag, as always, was a blast! Patrick did exceedingly well beating out the seasoned professional Lazertaggers (myself and Kiana were distant seconds in these games). When it was done though there was some controversy over the leader's scores as he apparently had been observed "covering" his sensors. Dirty politics! I leave you with this group shot of the crew before the first game (notice the lack of drenching sweat that we had when the two games were complete).

PS. We'll be in a hotel tomorrow night so there will be no update until we return.


dz said...

I love reading about the days events each morning before I start work! Thank you for the dedication!

koleske said...

oh, i'll miss your posts!!!! Have a fun roadtrip. hnr

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Erin said...

where are you getting all this energy? Wow. What a fun trip.

So, I also need to shop by myself. When I go with other people I get all distant and say, "Yeah, that one smells good." or "Yeah, I like it." and wander around the store counting the seconds until we can leave.

I think it is funny that the kids wanted you to run out of gas for so long and when it actually happened it didn't sound quite as fun.

Have a great time! Tell the little buggers I said hi and to behave. I'm sure they are though. Give Bailey a huge hug and kiss for me.