Safe in San Fran (well, Livermore actually) First step on a long road ahead!

Saying goodbye to the cousins and my mother was actually so wrenching it physically hurt, but painful goodbyes are only made possible by really caring about people.

There are even quotes to this effect!  Wanna see one?

“Don’t be dismayed at good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.” Richard Bach

So away we went after a quick picture session with cousins and kids:

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and

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Traffic to the airport was just fine, and we got there in plenty of time (as we always do) for Hobbit Husband to get a massage before the flight at the massage therapist booth on the way to the gates.  They take their job quite seriously there, apparently, and my darling Grumpy always demands deep tissue, and they always deliver.  her left this particular session feeling “a little fragile and violated.” But that’s how he likes his massage.

The flight.

Oh the flight.

It was bursting at the seams full, and being Gold Elite flyers they were kind enough to move the gentleman sitting in my row to another seat.  That meant Grumpy Hobbit Husband was able to stretch out across two seats instead of squishing into just one.  I did not investigate the situation at length, but I think that may have been the only free seat on the entire plane… At any rate, the staff were very kind, and the children were all pretty wonderful for the duration of the flight.  Darling Diva Daughter had some ear troubles on the way down, and they were still bugging her yesterday, but they seem to have come right now.

Here’s how she looked at the start of the flight:

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Due to the constant whining and general chaos that ensued upon landing and then customs and bag collection… there is no after photo.  Suffice to say, even the best travelers have a point where enough is enough, and waiting for an extra half an hour after our luggage had arrived to collect the blasted car seat from fragile/oversized baggage claim, was mine.  Everyone else had various milestones that were equally effective in crossing the: “I can handle this, I am doing alright” line and jumping over into: “Holy #$*& how can travel still be this %$&*#@ up in 2012!  Seriously, does everyone employed by the airline industry practice being officious, vague and unhelpful!!!” territory.  Okay, it wasn’t that bad, but you know me and my penchant for dramatics.

Next we picked up our “mini-van”.

Hmmm.  How do I describe this to my Kiwi cohorts.  It is a Dodge Caravan.  When driving carefully and cautiously it has an amazing gas consumption of a WHOPPING 17 miles PER GALLON OF PETROL!  I think our 2 year old son described it best as we were walking to the vehicle after doing some last minute Christmas shopping at Stoneridge Mall this afternnoon when he said: “Oh look!  It’s our car, it look like we driving a big bus eh Daddy! This is our bus!” 

So yeah.  Pitfalls of having a large family.  You get a big gas guzzling monstrosity in which to transport them.

FINALLY we got on the road and stopped for a bite to eat then headed to Livermore where we are currently holed up a the Quality Inn and Suites.  There’s nothing sweet or suite about this hotel, but it is very close to our beloved family and lots of great shopping, and it is cheap and cheerful.  That’s all I really have to say about that.

Our first night was not surprisingly, quite painful!  After a lovely dine and dash at our cousin’s home we got home back to the hotel.  We had to clean up a very poopie toddler and deal with an over-stimulated and utterly exhausted eldest child.  They got to sleep at around 11:00pm which is about 8:00pm NZ time, so I guess that isn’t too bad.  Middle child (Diva daughter) was the first to crash, followed by toddler boy who insisted on sleeping in our bed, and then eldest son was feeling fragile so he joined us as well.  

We paid extra for a family suite so the kids could have their own space.

Our room has a California King bed.  That’s the biggest bed you can get without going custom, and yet… I had an utterly awful sleep last night.  Here’s the scene at 4:00am when I finally gave in and moved next door to join my daughter in the kids room:

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Grumpy also gave up shortly after and took the other queen bed in the children’s adjoining room and we got at least a whopping four or five solid hours sleep…

A whole bunch of other stuff that is actually very cool, and numerous interesting interactions and observations on American life and culture here in Northern California have been noted, but the sleeping thing is the one that is causing me the most grief and turmoil, so that is what you will hear about in this blog.  Suck it up and be happy I wrote whilst so sleep deprived!  

I’ll be far more clever next round.

Just felt it was about time I gave the Blog some overdue Love as I haven’t written much the past few days.

Signing out and GOING TO SLEEP!

XXOO

Dee


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