Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Endings

We sold our condo this morning. I've been telling myself for months, really, that we're selling the condo and Derrick's going to move out to Indiana to be with me, and now that it's real, now that Utah will truly and pretty much completely not be home anymore, I'm sad. Derrick laughed at me while I was sobbing over the fact that we're moving, even though I haven't lived in Utah for 2 1/2 years anyway. Yeah, I know, I'm contradictory sometimes.

Last Saturday Derrick, my Grandma Mimi, Aunt Linda, Uncle Alan, my Dad, and I drove down to San Diego for the wedding of my Uncle Tony, which was about as entertaining a fiasco as one can imagine. We'd planned on driving Mimi's van, but she and Alan discovered a bent rim and aneurism on one tire and a screw puncturing another tire that morning. They shopped around for someone who could fix or replace the tires, but, it being Saturday morning, there wasn't much available. Linda's exhaust system came un-welded as she was driving that morning, so she had to deal with car repairs herself. Derrick and I showed up at my Dad's and were wondering for a while if it would be better to just throw in the towel and stay home (and I know we weren't the only ones). Eventually, after exhuasting every tire place in the near viscinity of my dad's house, we decided to rent a van and drive down in that.

I made reservations for a 7-passenger minivan with Avis and drove over with Alan and Derrick. As soon as we were in sight of the rental office Derrick and Alan were scoping out the other options in the lot--including a Pathfinder and an Excursion. Passing on the minivan, which Derrick said he didn't want to drive and so had purposely encouraged Alan's enthusiasm for the SUV's, we went for the Pathfinder since it was cheaper and about the size we thought we'd need. However, once we loaded ourselves in and it became apparent that Linda would be eating her knees the whole way down to San Diego, we upgraded to the Excursion.

All of the shenanigans kept us in town until 12:30 (we'd planned on leaving at 7), so we stopped that night in St. George. Mimi had some friends in Mesquite she wanted to visit, so all of us except my dad drove down to visit. We came upon what looked like a pretty bad accident on northbound I-15 between Beaver and Cedar City just after it happened, and since Alan's a nurse he went over to help. My dad went, too, after calling 911. The driver was going too fast (my dad estimates about 90) and his vehicle flipped. He was in shock, while two women, including his wife, were okay, but their little girl, who was maybe 8, was thrown from the vehicle. Alan thinks the vehicle caught her arm as it was rolling because her hand and a significant chunk of her arm were missing. A couple of EMTs stopped before us and were taking care of the stabilizing the major injuries, so as soon as the police and the ambulance arrived Alan and my dad came back over and we continued driving. The emotional drain of seeing the little girl in so much pain was bad enough for my dad that he went to bed almost immediately after dinner.

At about 2:30 in the morning Derrick and I woke up because we could hear my dad and uncle talking in their room. There we so many lights outside Derrick and I thought it was morning until we checked a phone (motel 6 doesn't put clocks in their rooms) and saw how early it was. My dad told us later he'd awakened and had to talk about the accident because he just couldn't sleep.

The next day was far less eventful. We made it into San Diego without incident, found our hotel, and checked in. The drive in was beautiful--we decided to skip out on the Sunday morning return to LA traffic (it was already pretty heavy by 8 or 9 when we were driving from Las Vegas) and drove through the Mojave desert and Twenty Nine Palms to get to San Diego. We stopped at the Mad Greek in Baker, where we got strawberry milkshakes (and Derrick got a scolding for not warning everyone not to eat too much breakfast--everyone was wishing they'd waited to have breakfast at the Mad Greek), and then hopped on 127 and started driving south-ish. We stopped somewhere in the middle of the Mojave National Preserve to take pictures of pretty flowers (which I promise I'll post), which was a blast. Derrick mostly used his camera, and I got to play with my new camera (yeah!). I also let my dad play with the camera, which I think he thoroughly enjoyed, to the point I think he might just buy his own digital SLR. Somewhere around Amboy we ran into several hundred motorcycles, which my dad and Alan salivated over and made jokes about "bad black leather" all the way to Twenty Nine Palms. I think that little stretch may have been the most fun, and most relaxing part of the whole trip.

After checking in at our motel (which was nicer than the Motel 6 we stayed in the night before, but not in a fabulous part of town) we went to a sushi place and met up with the rest of the family for dinner. The food wasn't bad, but with all the comings and goings and chaos of a family dinner, I didn't get my food. Not so happy for a pregnant woman. I ended up eating Chad's girlfriend's California roll, which she thought was terrible (imagine, fake crab in a California roll! We paid a whole $6 for that) but I enjoyed. There were some shenanigans over payment, but eventually all was sorted out and we went back to the hotel.

The next morning all of us got up and got ready for the wedding. We'd been expecting the wedding to be early in the morning (like, 9) but found out we didn't even have to be at the dock until 10:30 or 11 to get on the ship. Fortunately, this gave my dad and Alan a chance to practice their car door unlocking skills as one of the maids at our hotel locked her keys in her car. Even getting to the dock at 10:30 we had to wait around for quite some time before getting on the ship, and once we were on we still had plenty of time to kill before the wedding, which was at 1:00.

I think Tony and Monica's wedding may be the most difficult photographic environment I've ever had to deal with. The lights were dim, the windows were closed, and everything was pretty cramped. It was a nice enough room, but I had to use flash on every shot, which I'm not practiced with. That said, I think I managed to get a few good pictures. The reception afterward was similarly difficult to photograph because, again, it was in a dark room, but between Derrick and myself, we did get some good pictures. Monica seemed quite happy with them anyway!

We probably stayed far to late at the reception, but it's always hard to leave family gatherings, I think. Still, knowing we were going to have a long drive back to Salt Lake, the six of us headed out about 3:00 or so, and started driving back north. We took pretty much the same route back, going through the Mojave desert. Mimi had a cramp about sunset, so I made everyone get out and we took a group photo. Derrick set up the tripod and camera, initially leaving the timer setting at 3 seconds--just enough time for him to stick his head in the corner of the photo. We did eventually get a good picture of all of us, though.

After driving all night long we managed to get back to Salt Lake at about 9 am, which meant we didn't have to pay for an extra day in the Excursion. Definitely a fun trip, though I think all of us were exhausted by the end.

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