(Photo of Polie, taken by Oldest Friend)
Friday afternoon we packed up some clothes and two crane mobiles and flew to Los Angeles. I’d already checked us in online and printed our boarding passes, and we weren’t checking any bags, so though we had to park in the crappy long-term lot (as opposed to the slightly less crappy one), we made it to our gate with plenty of time to spare. At which time I realized I’d forgotten to bring any reading material. The in-flight magazine provided a modicum of entertainment, but there was no SkyMall catalog, and I spent the flight using whatever brain cells I seem to have left by doing the easy crossword and three of four sudoku puzzles.
We landed at LAX right on time, and then I realized I’d forgotten to do something very important, which was print out the email from travelocity telling me with which rental car company I’d reserved our vehicle. In most airports, this wouldn’t matter, since they have in-airport reservation desks all near one another, or all the rental car companies in the same off-site location. So we took a gamble and took Avis’s shuttle (I knew I hadn’t rented with budget or hertz) but lost the gamble. They gave me a list of phone numbers to other rental car companies, but most of them didn’t work. Then we got the bright idea to call someone who could get into my email to tell us which rental company it was. The trouble with this idea was that it was 5:10 PM on a Friday, Pacific time, which meant it was even later in Colorado, and everyone we knew in California would be out doing something or on the way home from work. I took a chance and called Monkey, and luckily she was at home near her computer so was able to tell us the appropriate rental company (Thrifty). So we walked the 3/4 mile to the Thrifty lot, and they gave us a Dodge Caliber, which is apparently the only small car they rent (I’d asked for their smallest car, and it felt really big to me). We headed north on the 405 freeway toward Oldest Friend’s house and arrived around 6:45 PM.
Oldest Friend lives in the cutest little house that is a perfect size for one person (or two people who really, really like each other). And we immediately fell in love with her cat, who took to us right away, purring and being cute and being all tiny and such (she was the runt of the litter). We sat and relaxed for a while, and then we changed clothes and drove over to the restaurant where we met Monkey and Big Bird and Big Bird’s college roommate (who was once a professional triathlete) for dinner. Everything was super tasty – the sangria, the nachos, the enormous appetizer samplers (one regular, one seafood), and by the time main dishes came out I was already full – but I did my best, and wasn’t able to even touch the beans and rice that came with. It was a fabulous evening of conversation and laughter and I have to say I found Big Bird and his cantalope arms (and his college roommate) to be thoroughly charming.
We returned to OF’s house and were warmly greeted by the kitty again, who did her best to convince us she should be let outside (OF had asked us to keep her in so she’d have access to her food/water over the weekend) and then she played with us and kept us company in the bed. A scant few hours later, she decided it was time for us to wake up, sitting on Dan’s chest for some morning lovey time, purring in my ear and being exceedingly cute. It was 5:45 AM, and while I dozed a bit after that, we were out of bed by seven, showering and packing and getting ready to head north. We stopped at a Ralph’s on our way out of town to get a few things to eat for breakfast in the car. We headed west to PCH 1 and drove north through Malibu, noting the June Gloom (a yearly phenomenon of fog/overcast/clouds during this part of the year). It was not at all warm, so our plan of stopping at a beach or two along the way seemed to be a less-than-good idea. We drove through Oxnard, toying with the idea of trying to find a comic book shop run by one of the bloggers Dan reads, but ultimately decided to keep driving north. The gloominess continued through Ventura and Carpinteria (where we hit ugly traffic) and only started to clear up once we got halfway through Santa Barbara.