No doubt you’ve been wondering where I disappeared to. Or maybe not. But I’m back from a five-day road trip that left me surprisingly little time to be online. (Why I was surprised, I’m not so sure.) My mom and I (and the little kids who seem to follow me everywhere) packed up (everything we owned) and took our road trip to LA like we’d hoped. And it turned into a festive party and family reunion thanks to my grandmother’s birthday and our extended family’s willingness to travel far and wide to be a part of the celebration. (Thank you, everyone! And a special thanks to my brother who flew down for mere hours.)
And, while I was there, I found myself driving on freeways and down roads that made me think back fondly on my many years in Southern California, I didn’t get to see as many friends or places as I had hoped. Which means we’ll have to do this again soon. (Or never. We’ll see. Let’s just say none of the beer my brother sent down made it home…)
Lesson #1: Doing all the driving on a road trip is actually more relaxing than being in the front passenger seat. Just ask my mom (and see Lesson #2). She’s the one who had to maneuver to manage the 3 demanding kids in the back. (And the job became even more challenging when traffic turned our 5-hour trip into a 7-hour one—both directions.)
Lesson #2: When road construction leaves you with no emergency lane for miles and miles, and your little one has to go (Right! Now!), you’d better hope you have an empty bottle of something or other (and that the little one is a boy). And, based on our experience, I recommend that bottle be huge—even if the kid isn’t.
Lesson #3: If I had a nickle for every time I rolled my eyes at people with DVD players in their cars on road trips through the years, I’d use the money to buy more movies for the DVD player in our car.
Lesson #4: Not packing an extra outfit for the baby on a day trip is pretty much a guarantee that you’ll need one for the first time in 6 months.
Lesson #5: While having friends that you get to keep up with virtually is great, seeing them actually is whole different kind of wonderful. (Even if your kids feel the need to find every way possible to prove they’re much cuter in pictures.)
Lesson #6: Whenever I mention my friend, Jodie (of the hilarious Hoffmanese), people say, “I recognize her name.” Then they realize it’s because she’s the most amazing UOW commenter (and fan wrangler) ever. Half the time her comments are better than my post. Well, spending time with her family made me realize that we kind of live parallel lives. We both have boys who love Bruins, pirates, sports, (imaginary) weapons, pizza, burping, bad joke telling, and their mamas. Thanks, Jodie, for introducing my boys to slap bands. They now have a new love, too.
Lesson #7: Living with a friend for three years pretty much makes her family. (Especially when she has a crazy-awesome family who adopts you.) Which means I got not one, but two family reunions this week. (Miss you already, Santorogaras! How about my patio this Friday?)
Lesson #8: When someone in LA wears their sunglasses inside, you can’t help but think they’re famous. I’m pretty sure I saw Kate Beckinsale at Starbucks. (Then again, maybe it was someone who wanted me to think she was Kate Beckinsale.) I know, it’s no Justin Bieber, but Calabasas sure delivers.
Lesson #9: Speaking of which, I really should steal the Us Weeklys from Lenny more often. I’m not sure how to brag about the famous band I sat next to or the fact that the kid from Facts of Life (aka George Clooney’s sidekick and Rudy’s brother) told me I had nice eyes. (Oh wait, I just did, didn’t I?)
Lesson #10: There are some people who still don’t have Internet access. And I’d like to thank my grandmother for being one of them. How else would I have escaped my kids for two hours of
celebrity stalking work?
Lesson #11: All it takes to realize that your life isn’t the same as it was when you lived in LA ten years ago, is to reach into your purse for a notebook and, instead, find a diaper. (Clean, yes. Cool, no.)
Lesson #12: Visiting my uber-cool grandmother for five days was proof that 85 is the new 60. (Which makes me 21!) She picked up more Cheerios/choking hazards/tantrum throwers than I did throughout the visit—and all with a much better attitude.
May your summer adventures be rewarding, memorable, filled with love, and traffic free. (But, hey, why not carry a 12-pack of Trumer just in case…)