Tuesday, August 11, 2009
What I Did On My Summer Vacation
Remember when you returned to school in September with your starchy, new clothes and stiff, shiny shoes on the First Day of School? For me, Marengo Elementary was my grade school in South Pasadena and I still remember the paper-y smell of the classrooms and the humid, hot feeling in the air. My first assignment was always to write a sentence, paragraph, or essay (depending on what grade I was in) about what I did during my summer break. My essay was always filled with much of the same: my adventures in Mammoth Lakes. All summer long we lived in our condo in Mammoth and waterskiied, fished, went horse back riding, inner-tubed down the Owens River (SO FUN!),visited Bodie the ghost town, and hung out at the Rec room, jacuzzi, and pool area with various friends we'd see every summer. It was really an idyllic summer existence. From the time I was 1 year old to the end of my 12th summer we were up there from late June till early September. It has ruined me forever for a normal, hot, humid, crowded summer in Los Angeles. But, I'm adjusting and learning how to love LA in the summer with mu kids who have no idea what they are missing just 6 hours and 300 miles away in Inyo County.
Anyway, I still remember the endless supply of quarters my parents always had for the pinball machine, pool table and then PAC MAN - the King of all video games! These kids can have their Wii games, Mario Bros, X-BOX, and Nintendo DS whatever-you-call-thems, but PAC MAN and his long-lasting love, MS. PAC MAN, will always reign as the "Best Video Games Ever."
OK, so enough about my enthusiasm about video games. Tim usually has his best paying extra jobs during the summer so he works ALL SUMMER LONG. So, we don't really vacation in the summer (or at all). We do take trips at Christmas, usually, to Tim's mom Joan's house in northern California. During the 4th of July for a couple of summers several years ago we'd go to my Dad and Stepmom's beach house in Ventura and that was FABULOUS. But, alas, the beautiful beach house with the view of the Channel Islands (on a clear day) and the charming sand dunes and inviting jetty is gone. Retirement was calling to my Dad and so their finances adjusted accordingly. I understand. I really enjoyed it - a lot - while it lasted. I really love the beach.
Anyway, in January my stepmom mentioned that she had booked a week at a great resort in Palm Springs the first week of August. "Could we make it?" "Absolutely!" I said without pausing. A whole week? Wow...unheard of... So, with Tim's new schedule he was only able to make it for one day and night at the beginning and end of the week. One of my stepsisters and one of my sisters joined us and we really had fun, except for....well...let me just say the details are better left undisclosed to protect the innocent. But, near-drowning, police help, an urgent 911 call, heli-transport to the nearest hospital, and a hospital waiting room that was so beautiful I thought I was in an art musuem (those old, rich folks in Palm Springs spare no expense in living the good life - thanks, Bob Hope!), fast moving, intense prayers and a few tears spanned my week on vacation. When I told a friend's husband some of the details, coupled with a remembrance of our last family vacation over New Year's with Camille's leg infection, he remarked: "You should just stay home from now on." No kidding!
But, in all reality, the resort was beautiful, the kids swam till way past bedtime, we played games, laughed heartily, and went on a wild goose chase with my new GPS application on my phone that ended in my stepsister and I getting to a better movie theater with much cheaper prices and 7 kids with us than we had originally intended (and a trip to the Verizon store to see why it wasn't working. When I programmed the hospital on my GPS it sent me to the casino. I wish! That is, if I gambled, which I don't). I also saw God's miraculous, providential timing of events, places and people to save lives in a variety of ways. I was quite affected emotionally at seeing God's caring hand. Thank you God, for always being an ever-present help in times of need.
And, goodness gracious, thank God for air conditioning! There were some days it was up to 114 degrees! Memories of the cool, breezy Mammoth summers where I would hear the wooshing sound of wind through the masses of pine trees on the hillside near my parents condo still emerge in my mind's eye....ahh, childhood!