Saturday, May 26, 2012

Va-cayman-tion 2012: The Cruisening: Day 1 - LA to FLA

The first thing I think of when I'm sick of LA (that's Los Angeles, not Louisiana and no, I'm not going start putting L. A. to differentiate), is F LA. And that leads me to FLA, as in Florida, and then to the sandy beaches of Fort Lauderdale, and then to thoughts of Nana, whom we haven't seen for years. We were faced with a dilemma this year, to travel to a friend's wedding or to put the money toward a trip to see Nana. These are dear friends starting their lives together and even though we don't see them often, it was really difficult to decide.

We ultimately decided to put the money on Nana and she promptly collapsed under the weight. Next time bills, not nickels.

It is actually a good thing we did not attend our friends wedding as my family experienced a sudden tragedy that same week, in the death of my uncle, and we would not have been able to attend the wedding since we would have to divert our plans to be able to attend the memorial service, which happened the day prior. There's no way we would have been able to be there for the family in the way we needed to be and still make it from North-Eastern Nevada to Minneapolis Minnesota in time.

So once the decision was made, our Florida trip did expand beyond a simple family visit, partially because we can't do anything simple, no matter how much I try. So after a few days catching up and welcomingly disrupting Nana's day to day, we are setting out on a cruise with stops in Key West, Grand Cayman, and the apparently most homo-hostile place on earth outside of the middle east, Jamaica (which is where they actually make abs. Ironic.).

Getting ready for a week-long vacation is always a task best left until the last possible minute. Because why would i want to even consider in advance that changing the cat box requires cat litter? So leave it another week for our intrepid cat-sitter to enjoy, or hop in that time machine and go to Costco the night before? And I always have a million things to do, which never get done. It is more exciting to try and figure out how to clean up the cat bathroom, while packing, deciding whether or not I should cut my hair, make a new YouTube video, and try to reorganize my life, wondering if I should clean out the cable bins I've been meaning to get to for the last few years, or if that wall would look nice in a deep soldier blue.

Did I mention it is already 10:30 pm when the madness starts? And where did the earlier part of the evening go you ask? We were hanging out with friends, of course. Why focus on the task at hand when we can instead drink a casual glass of wine with our meat salad and some lively conversation? And why stop at dinner? Why not order dessert? Oh! Yes! Because I'm leaving town tomorrow, for a week, and have million things to do, but let's not order it from here, for the sake of convenience. Let's drive half way across Los Angeles, to our favorite hole in the wall in Beverly Hils and spend $50 on cake.

In all seriousness, we were entertaining some friends from out of town and this was the only night they were available. I will gladly sacrifice a measure of sanity it if gets me more face time with people I care about. At least I did laundry the night before. My craziness is only temporary anyway. At least Gregory hopes it is.

After 12 years, he knows it isn't.

Which is why we were meant for each other. Or doomed. Horribly, lovingly doomed.

At 7:30AM, we oozed through 405 traffic, wondering at several points if we should have given ourselves an additional half hour, or better yet, if we should have packed prior to meeting our friends and just drive straight to LAX and slept in the car (we could have gotten that left over cake to go and just had it for breakfast, or used it as a bargaining chip, against any angry homeless people (they get angrier the closer you get to the airport)).

It ended up only taking an hour to get to LAX, which was a pleasant surprise. We had a Groupon for a car-rental place, but they were full, so we immediately hopped over to our old standby The Parking Spot. One of our shuttle mates was born from the ashes, no not the Phoenix kind, the unfiltered kind. Made me wish I had one of those You-Reek-A shirts, so I could have at least gotten something out of the experience. Our flight was on Virgin America, which is a strange novelty airline experience. Sadly we didn't have seats together (though Gregory was probably thankful for a moment's reprieve from my endless tirade).

It was a quick flight, but my seat was uncomfortable, and I was surrounded by these "pretty girls." I don't quite know how to categorize them. They were very chic and pretty and a little bitchy and I think had fake boobs. I found them a little appalling, but some of the other guys kept trying to talk to them. I have a feeling the girls were nice and engaging since they knew the ritual would end when the flight did.

We arrived in one piece which basically will earn any Airline five stars from me. Satisfied at our whole, unbloodied personness and the extreme present quality of our luggage, we met Gregory's mom, Jill, at the rental car counter, picked up our full-size Ford Escape (the car that says, get me the fuck away from here! (that really should be their tagline)), and headed to Nana's.

it's a short drive and she had dinner prepared for us when we arrived. It was great to catch up, and after dinner Jill shared her pictures of their recent Grand Canyon trip, We had seen most of them, so Gregory and I ran down to the beach to stand in the surf for just a couple of minutes. The guy was nice enough to let us park for free since the park was closing in 15 minutes, so we just walked out to the beach, which was completely dark, and stood there in the warm surf surrounded by thick 82-fahrenheit-degree air (at 10PM) while the warm water washed up around our feet.

A little glass of Chalone 2009 Merlot (undecanted, so a little tanniny), and a small dish of ice cream (where Nana tried to fatten me up by pulling out the chocolate syrup, the butterscotch topping and my arch nemesis: the Nutella. She clearly wants to cook and eat me.) We wrapped up a long day of travel. It's nice to have this brief moment of rest before the excitement of the week begins.

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