Wednesday, November 29, 2006

vacation, all I ever wanted

Ah, finally I have some time to sit down and tell all y’all about my Thanksgiving vacation in handy-dandy bullet format. First, however, a cast of characters to help you make sense of this alphabet soup:

  • Madre: G’s mother.
  • Padre: G’s father.
  • J: G’s brother-in-law.
  • A: G’s sister.
  • The lads: G’s nephews, I (12) and D (9).
  • Gramsy: G’s 90-year-old grandmother.
  • Beau: Gramsy’s 94-year-old, um, beau.

  • MONDAY: G and I woke up at the unholy hour of 5AM. On autopilot mode, we showered, got dressed, scarfed down breakfast, and drove to the Van Nuys FlyAway. We took the bus to LAX, and after staggering zombielike through security, we sat in the terminal waiting for our plane. Once we boarded, we alternated between reading, sleeping, doing cryptic crosswords, and mocking the terrible inflight movie. (I can’t even remember the name, but it wasn’t anything either one of us had heard of before, which is saying something considering how many movies we watch.) We met up with Madre and Padre at the airport, and then J picked us up at the curb and whisked us away to his unbelievably cool, 50’s retro home in a swanky gated community. Upon seeing G, the lads immediately attached themselves to his side. In order to watch the Giants/Jaguars game, we went to Shula’s for dinner, where I had an excellent French dip sandwich. There were two Miami Dolphins cheerleaders there, posing for pictures and signing autographs, and when I came back from the bathroom, they were at our table. I said, “God, G, I go to the bathroom for five minutes and you’re already macking on babes?” The Giants lost, putting G and Padre in a funk. We returned to J and A’s house and crashed in D’s room.

  • TUESDAY: I helped G and Padre change the kitchen lighting fixtures, shrinking back in fear when Padre stuck two wires into a socket to make sure they worked. When Padre handed me a screwdriver and said, “Here, [C], you can be my tool holder,” I bit the inside of my cheek bloody to keep from bursting into hysterical laughter. Took a long walk around the neighborhood with G, Madre, and Padre. Dinner was “surprise” ravioli, which meant that they’d mixed together several different kinds and you never knew which one you’d bite into. Traded G all of my roasted red pepper ravioli for his plain cheese ones.

  • WEDNESDAY: We went to the lads’ superposh private school for “Grandparents and Special Others Day”; every time we saw a kid walk by in uniform, G and I hummed the theme song from Bully. We packed up two cars with what seemed like two hundred pieces of luggage, picked up Gramsy and Beau, and drove to Orlando. Padre got hopelessly lost trying to find our hotel, the Disney Port Orleans Riverside. After much bitten-back swearing---the kids were in our car---Padre found it and we checked in. We had dinner at the food court, and then it was off to our rooms.

  • THURSDAY: When we were walking down the stairs of our hotel, Beau took a tumble and fell into the grass. We all gasped in horror---the man is six years shy of a century, for God’s sake---but he dismissed his skinned knee as nothing and our day at the Epcot Center continued as planned. Generously, J and A offered to take Gramsy and Beau if G and I would take the lads; a more than fair trade! We went on rides including Mission: Space (an ordeal that mimics 2G conditions; I felt like a giant was squishing in the sides of my face), Soarin’ (a fantastic hang-gliding ride), and Test Track (a violent but incredibly fun crash test dummy ride). We watched Chinese acrobats and taiko drummers and had a delicious teriyaki lunch in the Japan Pavilion. We met up with everyone else for an unconventional Thanksgiving dinner of red wine and fettucini alfredo, and then we separated into two groups again. We capped off our wonderful day with fireworks before returning to our hotel.

  • FRIDAY: We went to Animal Kingdom, which was packed beyond belief. Despite the unbelievable crowds, we enjoyed rides (including Everest, a brand-new, screamingly intense roller coaster) and gawked at animals ranging from tiny, adorable cotton-topped tamarins to silverback gorillas. The park closed early, so we went to Downtown Disney for dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s. My tempura shrimp was excellent, but I was horrified to find their dessert menu lacking. On a quest for sweet stuff, Padre took G, the lads, and me to Ghiradelli’s for ice cream. I. was exhausted and about two seconds from popping his little brother in the arm, but G expertly averted the crisis. When we got back to the hotel, G and I went to the arcade and the souvenir shop, where I bought a Mickey shirt and a pressed penny.

  • SATURDAY: With aching calves and blistered feet, we bid adieu to Disney and headed back home, stopping along the way for lunch at a nasty rest stop and to drop off Gramsy and Beau. I can’t for the life of me remember anything else about that day, other than whipping G’s ass at a Star Wars video game and earning excited shouts of “Cool!” from the lads. (To be fair, I only whipped him the one time; he’s a much faster learner when it comes to video games than I am.)

  • SUNDAY: J teased me with tales of Monkey Jungle, but instead he took me, G, and Padre to South Beach instead. It was hot and humid, and my hair puffed out into a veritable Cheops of frizz. We had lunch at a sidewalk café and admired the toned, tanned bodies strolling by. I swiftly slipped my credit card to the waiter when the bill came, despite the protests of everyone else, and winced when I found out we’d racked up almost eighty bucks. We strolled past the people setting up for the White Party, and Padre made me pose in front of the billboard featuring a hunky man rising from the ocean. The water was a beautiful Windex-colored blue. To our delight, J pointed out the wild parrots nesting in the palm trees. Later on, Padre, G, and I went to Shula’s to watch the abysmal Giants/Titans game. If G ever looks at me the way he was looking at the TV at the end of the game, I swear I’ll burst into tears, and quite possibly lose control of my bladder as well.

  • MONDAY: Home again, home again, jiggedy jig. Upon arriving at LAX, G and I caught the shuttle back to Van Nuys and picked up his car. We went back to his place, watched Heroes, and played Bully until it was time to go to bed. I curled up next to him and promptly fell asleep.


  • As we walked past the people setting up for the White Party, J said, “Hey, [C], in gay terms G would be a twink, right?”
  • I took a piece of challah and said, “Hey, G, lookit!” Then I held the challah behind my back and said, “I’m a challah back girl!”
  • While waiting in line for Maelstrom, a ride in Epcot’s Norway pavilion, G pointed at the mural depicting Norwegian life and said, “Awww, those two are wearing hats. They think they’re people!” (G’s animosity towards all things Norwegian stems from his abiding hatred of his former roommate’s girlfriend, a frosty Norwegian woman who constantly stole his peanut butter and waffles.)
  • At the end of the very bumpy Dinosaur ride at Disney’s Wild Animal Kingdom, Beau turned to A and said, “That’s it? It’s over already?” May I remind you the man is NINETY-FOUR?
  • When G and I were sitting on his couch watching Heroes, I reached under myself and began feverishly scratching my ass. (Hey, my skin was dry and my bottle of Queen Helene’s cocoa butter was too big to put in my carry-on.) G arched an eyebrow and said, “Whatcha doin', classy lady?”