Sunday, August 11, 2013

Quick Post to Finish up the Trip

Hello!  It's a bit after 7 am and I have to leave for the airport at 8:30.  I am just going to finish up my trip down to Phoenix then grab some breakfast (if my sister in law wakes up in time!) before I leave for the airport.

Friday morning, we all went to 8:30am Mass at my family's parish church, St. Norbert's.  I hadn't been there in YEARS, but it was the church where the Doc and I were married.  For a quick (about 30 min.) weekday morning service, it was quite lovely.  My parents started going to daily mass when my brother was diagnosed with ALS.  They are hoping for a miracle.  What they are finding is a wonderfully supportive community, and a way forward through all the sadness.  That was a really great thing to experience with them.

After Mass, we went to their favorite diner, Norms, for some breakfast then all hit the road.  They left for a weekend trip to Laughlin, Nevada where my mom has become some kind of slot machine junkie.

Pop and I drove back up the coast a bit to Santa Monica to visit with my God-Kids.  I talked a bit about them last summer.  Their family went through some hard times about 4 years ago, and the 3 kids moved in with us.  The parents fell apart and ended up divorcing, and the dad got custody.  The kids seemed great, however.
I wish I could have spent more time with them.  But, it was really wonderful and I feel like they are safe and secure (as best as can be for kids that age).  They are such good kids.

Their dad has remarried, and honestly, I felt like his new wife is just lovely. 

Pop and I got back in the car and headed out for Phoenix.  I then had the scariest 2 hours of my entire life. Pop insisted on driving the first bit through Los Angeles.  He is 79.  He has had 2 heart attacks.  He hasn't been to Los Angeles for about 50 years.  But, in the house with the kids, someone made the mistake of saying, "f1bercat is driving you down to Phoenix," and he then got that weird man thing about being independent, etc. or whatever.  I tried to say that I would drive the first leg of the trip as I know the area, but he said, "I'm sure you can direct me."

We had to hard stop 3 different times.  We almost hit a divider as he was in the wrong lane when there was a confusing interchange.  I mean it seems like it would be easy.  The 10 Fwy dead ends at the beach in Santa Monica.  You get on it, and don't get off until you are in Phoenix.  But even at 1:30 in the afternoon, the traffic is crazy, and about 6 different freeways cross and run concurrent and you are constantly having to move over one or two lanes to stay on the 10 as these freeways split off.  I understand that it is hard to admit that you are old, and that you aren't capable.  The fear of losing your independence in a state/city/place where the only way to get around is by car is a very real one.  But, that doesn't mean that you are capable of driving in Los Angeles.

We finally got out of the city (I have no photos at all as I was both furious and way too scared as well as the car motion was very jerky as he wildly changed lanes, stopped and accelerated), and into the desert, and at about Banning, I saw another wildfire.  The Idyllwild Forest on Mount Jacinto has been burning for a number of days.  I couldn't really see flames, but I could definitely see smoke coming off some very steep slopes.  That area, which is just southwest of Palm Springs, is mostly flat desert, with this big "mountain" in the middle. So the smoke wasn't trapped and concentrated.  Also, the fire seemed pretty near the top.  I'm sure it is a hard one to fight, and they are relying a lot on helicopters to drop water. 

Three fires.  In one trip.  Anyway, the good news is, we switched drivers near Palm Springs, and I then drove the last 4 hours.  I have had a wonderful time with my sister-in-law, K, her husband S, and their 2 kids.  And, in 30 minutes, we leave for the airport and I get to go from 105 to 75 Fahrenheit. 

shaping the planet alive.

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