Saturday morning I arrived at Bob Hope Airport at 7:15 thanks to a very pretty (and very sleepy) chauffeur.
After skipping through security I headed to the last gate at the end of terminal A. The flight would depart in about an hour. I spent the hour trying to figure out how to turn off my phone. My phone has the amazing ability to restart itself as soon as you try to turn it off. I called around to east coasters (this was 7:30 on a Saturday morning pacific time) to see if they could look up a solution online – but nobody was home (or awake) so I ended up taking the battery out of the phone just to get it to stay turned off. My phone also has the amazing feature of … no airplane mode… so you can’t use it as an mp3 player in flight. Those of you who know how big of a music lover I am must know how much I loved this little design quirk.
The Skybus experience I found to be much more pleasant than my previous travel to Ohio. The flight out was only 3 hours and 40 minutes because of “prevailing tail-winds” that pushed us forward. The plane was new, relatively clean, and the crew was happy (they make commissions on merchandise sales on board).
Once on the ground I waited for my brother to pick me up. He hit traffic (what this means in Ohio at this point I have no idea) on the way so I walked out of the airport and up the road until the end of the sidewalk. We ate lunch stuffing ourselves full of rice and sugar and Mark Pi’s Express – who has added yet another dish to the menu that puts Panda Express to shame.
When we finally arrived at my brother’s friends place to watch the game it was the third quarter. We came in at exactly the right moment to watch three fumbles and no touchdowns (for OSU). As we sat there it became harder and harder for me to breathe. By the time we left I was wheezing hard. It was then that my brother’s girlfriend remembered that a cat had been living at the apartment until the day before.
We arrived at my parent’s house around 10:15. After a lengthy debate about whether to surprise my mother tomorrow morning or that night I was convinced that it would have to be that night. You can hear a mouse trip on a worm a mile away at night in my old neighborhood. So, after we finally nailed down a plan on how to surprise my mother (with my presence) we waited. My cousin Ben had been married earlier in the day and my mother was returning from the reception. She was expected around 11. At 11 it dawned on me to video record this surprise. After several problems with full memory cards and other ones that wouldn’t format properly I finally got a clean card in the camera just as she literally walked through the front door. I placed the camera – and got into my hiding place behind the door to my old bedroom (which is now dad’s computer room).
As planned my father mentioned to my mother that there was “a large package for you from California” in my old room. This didn’t phase my mother. After five minutes of fumbling for another excuse to get her into the room my father said he wanted to see her photos of the wedding (on his computer).
I jumped out to surprise her. -right into the camera view. So, I have a great video of my back.
On Sunday my parents proceeded with things as they normally would:
napping (this is a dad-only exercise)
At one point we went into town and I saw something I had to photograph. In the Hollywood Hills there are many (million dollar+) homes that are (precariously) supported by long poles extending deep into the canyon. I couldn’t help but chuckle as we passed by the Ohio Valley version of this – a trailer home on cinder block stilts.
Later mom cooked a feast (yes that is a giant bowl of BBQ ribs) with several courses. Less than an hour later everyone wanted to eat birthday cake and ice cream. I marvelled at their bottomless stomachs – and managed to dig deep and rediscover some of my own dormant intestinal fortitude and enjoy some of the cake my father had baked.
The next day mom drove me to Columbus along the winding back-roads that never seem to change from year to year.
On the flight back we passed over:
the Grand Canyon
the infamous Magic Mountain fires
and my office.