Home > Misc. > California trip: recap

California trip: recap

November 1, 2018 Leave a comment Go to comments

Back in September, I flew home to California for a little over a week. A recap has been on my mind since then, but writing it out wasn’t on the to-do list until right now. I feel like even calling it a vacation is strange, though it was a period of time that involved not working and included travel, so it fits the definition enough. But I just kinda… went home, hung out and drove around, and ate way too much? I mean, it was exactly what I intended to do with that time, but I feel like you’re supposed to go on vacation and come back with tales of exotic locales and adventure, not, “I ate TWO of these giant burritos!”

But that’s exactly what happened. I went with a desire to eat food I can’t get here in Seattle (or can’t get without what I feel is too much effort for the food in question) and to see almost everyone I’d like to visit with while I was there. I wound up having plans each day, which kept things busy but in a good way:

Wednesday – fly out, got picked up by my dad. I note how hot it is, immediately remember how much I dislike that. We hang out at home, with a pizza and I made him watch the Bachelor in Paradise finale. Got up to my old bedroom and tried to sleep on the floor, which wasn’t super comfortable, but when you’re tired enough, you’ll sleep.

Thursday – walk and get my rental car, since it was a chance to walk through part of town. Hasn’t changed much, but then, not much time has passed. Get the car almost an hour later than I scheduled it for, hit the local Wal-Mart to see if the guy who swaps out wrestling figures is still up to his old tricks (he is) and then eat entirely too much Del Taco. Go out and mow my dad’s front and back lawns, and wash down the walks for the first time in probably a year or better. It felt nice to do that. I never want a place with a yard because it’s a pain to maintain, but when it’s a rare option instead of a constant obligation, not too bad. Washed up and then decided to slowly drive through two towns on my way to meet a friend at our old mall, stopping at random stores on the way just to pop in since I’m right there. Later, we meet up and she’s hungry and asks if I want Miguel’s Jr. Since it was a place I planned to stop at multiple times during this trip, I nodded. We ate and then talked for a good while. She’s in a better place than she has been in probably several years, though she’s toying with the idea of moving and cited Seattle as a possible destination. I guess we’ll see. But it’s nice to know she’s doing well.

Friday – I go to the local Stater Bros grocery store for some things, including their house brand macaroni and cheese. Cook up a pot of it, then immediately put it in the fridge because that stuff is wonderful when it’s cold. Leave and go to a Target down the road a lick, and hit the In N Out. Of the fast food burgers out there, I probably like it best, but don’t get caught up in that whole “if you don’t like five guys then fuck you” kind of debate people get into. Came back home and ate some of that macaroni and cheese, and indeed… delightful. Kinda poke through some boxes in my old bedroom and later on we go to my grandmother’s house to have dinner and see relatives. Dinner was KFC, which I liked. Relatives getting into their very sour political discussions, not so much. It isn’t 1950, guys. Times change.

Saturday – wake up about 3 am and polish off the rest of the macaroni and cheese. My dad’s plans for that day involved yardwork but since it was all done already, we went to James Games, an arcade about 40 miles away. It feels like an arcade from the early 80s, where it isn’t about also buying beers and playing redemption machines, it’s just machines and more machines. Very cool place. From there we stopped off at an Applebee’s (had a steak and some really good broccoli) and then when we got home later, made taco salad and watched baseball until I was ready to sleep.

Sunday – met relatives again, this time at an IHOP. I wanted just pancakes, and the guy asked if I wanted a stack of 3 or 5. I said 5 for some reason, and the stack basically looked like an unfrosted cake. My grandmother doubted my ability to eat all of it, so despite being tired of the concept of pancakes about halfway through, I finished it just so I could be all “in your face, old woman” about it. Went back to her house for more visiting and then yet again, politics talk made the whole time go sideways. At least it was a good reminder of another reason why I moved. Got back home for more baseball and some more taco salad. Fairly lazy day, all things considered.

Monday – I needed a Tombstone pizza. Hit the Wal-Mart again and even though I showed the toy employee the swapped wrestling figures, they were still on the pegs. So I took them to the returns desk and explained that they’re being repeatedly ripped off. Got my pizza and a couple of those little pecan pies, then lounged around for a good bit. Later on, I was meeting another friend over by my old work at 7 or 7:30, so I headed that way and wound up there at 5 something. Went into my old work and talked to some of the people I had worked with previously, then met my friend at a place called Jojo’s. It’s Italian food, and pretty good. Since my move, this friend has graduated college and landed a job that isn’t retail, and she seems to be doing quite well. It’s good to hear about because she’s always been great, so knowing her situation is better now makes me happy. But she had fought traffic after work to meet me and had work in the morning, so we couldn’t visit terribly long, so we said goodbye and then I went back to my old work. By this time, my old crew was all working. I think I was there for like five hours? Just BSing with people and getting caught up on things that don’t concern me any more, but then I started getting sleepy so I headed out. Got home around 3 am or so and knocked out.

Tuesday – Got myself together around 8ish and headed down to another old job location, to meet another guy I used to work with. He had teased coming to Seattle for a vacation but wound up going to Chicago instead, so he showed me some photos of places he went. Some parts of Chicago look nice. But I just say no to snow.  He talked for probably longer than he should have, to the point that his boss came outside to fetch him. I left and went down to a different Miguel’s Jr. and got enough food that the cashier made a face as if to say, “holy cow” and I had to assure her some of it was for later. Came back home and ate too much at once, then laid down for awhile. That evening was macaroni and cheese with ham diced up in it, a variation on the old favorite.

Wednesday – Woke up super early, as I had a drive in front of me, and being late could be the difference between a smooth ride or sitting in traffic for an extra couple of hours. Drove to Orange County via the Ortega and I had not forgotten how scary it is, especially at like 4 am. Was meeting a friend at 7:30 but I would rather be early and wait around for someone to wake up rather than fighting gridlock. So when I pulled up at like 5:21 for a 7:30 meeting, I just kicked the seat back and listened to a podcast. Awhile later, I walked around for a bit, then my friend woke up and we went to a Mimi’s for breakfast. I had chicken and waffles, with the waffles just being waffles, but the chicken was excellent. I already knew this friend was doing well and is in a good place, having just seen him in Seattle about a month prior, so we mostly talked about games and wrestling. He had to make it in to work not long after, so we said our “see you next time”s and off he went. I headed down to the beach briefly and I sure do miss having regular access to the beach. But the Puget Sound (or whatever the water that’s near me now) is nice to see too, so it’s a fair trade, I guess. Swung up to a friend’s grave and just had a little moment there. I don’t usually spend any amount of time there because I can remember someone wherever I happen to be, but it’s a trip that I feel the need to make if I’m even remotely close to the area. Not sure why, but it makes sense in my brain. From there I stopped off at a Bookoff and wished Seattle had some equivalent to that, then drove back and dropped off the rental car. Walked back home and started getting my stuff packed up. Dinner that night was Popeye’s, which I also like. Hung out until I got sleepy and then went to sleep.

Thursday – got up early, made sure my stuff was packed and I wasn’t forgetting anything. Then, off we went to the airport. Saying goodbye at airports is never easy. Once the car pulls away and I can get a moment to compose myself, I’m good, but I always hate the goodbyes. Flew back up and found my bag and my car with no problems, paid my parking (I think it was $140 to park at the airport) and got back here. It was a big relief to find my place undisturbed, since I don’t know any of my neighbors and it’s just the kind of thing I worry about.

Then I had the rest of the week off, so I just did general chores and tried to get back on my normal schedule.

All in all, it was a good trip. I wanted to relax, and I did. I wanted to eat tons of garbage food, and I did. I wanted to see people while I was down, and I did. I didn’t see everyone that I wanted to, but there were some that I wasn’t going to get to see no matter what, and I knew that going in. It was nice to just… not go to work and/or deal with anyone related to it. I think that’s the main purpose of vacation, is for your getaway to actually be a chance to get away, even if you like your job or your coworkers, because everyone needs a break.

There was a weird thing that happened which I didn’t expect, though. I’m not even sure how to properly articulate it, but I’ll try. That first night back, I realized that while there were specific things I missed about living down there, that I didn’t miss actually living down there. As I drove around more and remembered things I disliked about the weather or how far apart everything is, I knew I didn’t need to be there any more. It was nice knowing that my dad is okay and seeing that the friends I did meet with are all doing well. These are all people I feel protective about and want to make sure they’re okay. So to go to this place that is mostly all I’ve ever known and be like, “I don’t need to be here any more” and then see my friends be good and know they don’t need me any more either, instead of giving me the sort of… peace of mind I was expecting, I guess? It instead left me with this mindset of like, “okay, if I don’t need to be here any more… why am I here at all?” and really questioning my place in this world, if I even have one. It’s a thing that happens once or twice a year, and it usually passes, but it really hung on to me this time and I haven’t fully shaken it yet. I know I’ll eventually dive into a game or get busy at work and these things will distract me for a good while. I don’t know. I guess that even this late into my life, I’m still figuring out who I am, who I want to be, and where I want to go? It’s a weird thing to think about.

But all in all, a good trip. I miss it and I don’t miss it, and just having a getaway and seeing familiar faces was very nice. Shame I have to wait like another year to do it again, if not longer. I think next vacation might be a brief hop to Maui, just to return after over a decade and see if I still instantly love it, or if the dream of moving there can finally be put to rest either way. We’ll see.

Categories: Misc.
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: