In Which We Sojourn to the Evil City . . .  

Posted by Heidi in

My trip to San Francisco to meet my editor turned out to be ALL ABOUT FOOD. I certainly didn’t see that one coming in spite of the fact that the publishers party to which I was invited fell on the skinniest day of the month. Those of you who endure bloating 3.95 weeks of the month know just what I mean. Wanting to take advantage of that timely windfall, I obsessively watched what I ate in the weeks leading up to this much anticipated event, while laying plans to lure the Big Guy out of the house and into the cruel dark world with us. That meant food.

Next: How to get there? This was a quandary for me due to the fact that I have a mental disability when it comes to driving on the freeway. This could, in part, be due to the time when as a new driver, the hood of my little auto flew up in the midst of flying along the freeway at an alarming speed while my twin sister (who was drivers-license-less at the time which clearly translates to “qualified side-seat driver”) shouted urgent directives when she wasn’t doubled up in hysterical (read: hugely frightened) laughter. Thank goodness The Spouse agreed to drive me to San Francisco. Since we really didn’t have a reasonable alternative, that meant we had to take the kids, which meant we had to bring along the Big Guy. Which meant, as I stated above, food.

Since we are not normal, i.e. I couldn’t take myself across the bay (BART not being an option---see favorite posts) by myself and we can’t leave our crew with a babysitter (I don’t know too many teenaged girls who are willing to spend time in the same house with a 260 pound barfer/toilet flooder for $5 bucks an hour, do you?) (Seriously, do you?) (A grown woman? A teenage guy? Anybody?) or by themselves lest heads should roll, we decided to make a family day of it. First we were going to have lunch at some trendy atmospheric joint, probably on Fisherman’s Wharf, The Spouse’s favorite crab-fest. Then we were going to leisurely take in the Wax Museum with its gory horror gallery—sure to please the Big Guy who is a serious Bella Lugosi/Lon Chaney fan. After that, we would putter around until it was time to drop me at the hotel in Union Square, scene of the Publisher’s Party. While I was rubbing elbows with the other Avalon writers, The Spouse would take the kids to The Hard Rock Café for a way serious platter of burgers and fries—an express desire of the Middle Child. It was perfect!

The day dawned bright and early. Too early. I lay in bed listening to my stomach grumble for too long, then got up and ate my way through breakfast, lunch and all of my planned snacks for the day before noon. I told myself that since I would be at a cocktail party (do they serve more than booze at a cocktail party? I wasn’t sure) over the dinner hour, it was okay that I overate. By the same token, and totally illogically, I told myself that since I would be skipping dinner, I would be starving and would require food items to scarf down on the way home. So, on our way to the freeway, we stopped at Trader Joe’s, home of many wheat-free (I’m currently off wheat which feels somewhat anti) delights, where I bought supplies, such as several of these . . .

a goodly amount of these . . .

and an inordinate amount of these . . .

more than half of which the kids and I polished off before we even hit SanFan’s shores.

We found a free parking space (score!) on Fisherman’s Wharf, decided we were full (of chocolate) and should forego lunch, endured a short walk to the Wax Museum and were able to buy tickets using a half-off coupon ripped out of one of those fund-raising books full of coupons that usually take a bigger bite out of the budget should you actually use them than leave them for recycling fodder (ka-ching!). We got halfway through the museum, the time mostly spent dragging the Little Guy far enough away from the displays to prevent the alarms from ringing, and had just entered the Horror Gallery when the cell phone rang. It was the Big Guy.

I suppose this is the part where I confess we left the Big Guy at home. It wasn’t by choice, at least not ours. Half an hour before we got in the car, his agoraphobia grabbed him by the throat and wouldn’t let him leave the house. “It’s a dangerous place,” he debated. We assured him we would not be in any dangerous areas of the city. “There will be too much walking,” he whined. We assured him we would bring the wheelchair and he needn’t walk a step. “I’m staying here,” he insisted, so we left him with stern instructions to actually answer the phone when we called to check on him and to let the dog out when she scratched on the door. And now he was calling us.

“Mom, I was watching video tapes and I just got a DVD in the mail and I want to watch it but I don’t know how to switch the TV from VHS to DVD.”

“Honey, I thought we went over this before we left.”

“I know but I’m useless without you!”

“That’s not true. You can do it! See those buttons on the bottom of the remote?”

“Which remote? I have three here.”

“The black one. The long, tall, biggest, black one?”

“This one?” he asks while, I assume, holding the remote of choice up to the phone.

I glanced at the scenes of horror made of wax leering about me and felt them to be rather tame compared to some things. I won’t say which things, just . . . things.

I took a deep breath. “Honey, go watch the DVD in your room since you know how to work that remote.”

“But what about Sug (ar the dog)? She will be out here by herself. What if she has to go out and I don’t hear her and she wets on the carpet?”

“Tie her up in the kitchen so if she pees it’s just on the linoleum.”

“I don’t know how to tie her up in the kitchen. I need you to come home RIGHT NOW!”

“Honey, just grab her leash, oh, for pity sakes! I’ll call you back!”

I took a few deep breaths, found The Spouse in contemplation of faux gore and handed him the phone, hoping he could get the Big Guy settled down. After a few minutes of mumbled conversation, The Spouse hung up and informed me that the Big Guy had gone to his room to watch his precious DVD but first he tied up the dog. Outside. The Spouse shook his head, clearly worried about the dog being out in the hot 80-90 degree sun that was shining mightily back at home. (It was a lovely 72 degrees in San Francisco—another bit of unexpected luck.) So, we did what all people in a crisis do. We ate.

First we finished our tour of the museum then marched down the street to In and Out. Never mind that a meal at Hard Rock Café was only a few hours away, we chowed down on lemonade and such totally yummy french fires, anywho. Since we don’t have an In and Out near us, it had been years since I had munched their fries—it made me completely forget my previous woes. Then we killed some more time watching the little boats in the bay then we went to the Musee Mecanique where we were delighted by the hundreds of old coin operated machines. I took pics of the Little Guy on one of those old horsie rides that were in every grocery store when I was a kid.

Clearly, he was terrified.

No really, he was scared to death.

I took some pics of some truly old machines that sported miniature dolls involved in various activities.

I was in heaven.

Thank goodness my friend Shirley, who had been attending a conference and who was giving me use of her hotel room to change my clothes, called to prod me into action. We looked at the clock, raced for the car, jumped in, took off and proceeded to crawl, inch by gol-blasted inch, a mere two miles down the road. It took 45 minutes. I just had time to change out of my jeans and sneakers into slacks and heels, brush my hair, and meet, for the first time, “my editor”.

Tune in tomorrow for the continuing saga . . .

This entry was posted on Saturday, August 2, 2008 at Saturday, August 02, 2008 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

2 wise, witty and wonderful comments

I love Trader Joes, I do so wish we had access to one at home. Good choices by the way. sounds like you had a wonderful day, hopefully so did Michael.

August 4, 2008 at 9:59 AM

I think he was fine. It was the dog who had a rough time, poor thing. I did finally call him back and ask him to please let the dog in, and he did. So, it all turned out. I think.

August 4, 2008 at 11:32 AM

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