Wednesday, September 19, 2007

all shook up

Bad things about my trip back to Minnesota:

  • I didn’t realize I had so much stuff left at Daddy-O’s house, and I had to buy an extra suitcase so I could bring it all back to California with me. Once it was stuffed with yearbooks and notebooks and cards and letters and photographs and a talking Pee-Wee Herman doll, my new suitcase weighed so much that I couldn’t even lift it. When I got to the airport, I enjoyed trying to wheel two suitcases and keep my purse and a tote bag balanced on my shoulder at the same time. I couldn’t wait to check that big mofo. (When I got home and unpacked the enormous bag, there was a card on top saying that it had been searched by Homeland Security. I guess the fact that it weighed 200 pounds and had a talking Pee-Wee Herman doll in it raised a few eyebrows when it went through the X-ray machine. I’m not mentioning this as a bad thing, just as a marginally entertaining side note.) Then, after an uneventful flight, I arrived at LAX, took a whiz, picked up my stuff at the baggage carousel...and got out to the curb just in time to see the Van Nuys flyaway bus pull away. I had to wait almost an hour for the next one, and then it took 45 minutes to get to the station, and then another half-hour to drive home.

  • Sammy, St. G’s boisterous goldendoodle , was so thrilled upon meeting me that he leaped upon me with his full weight. He’s about the size of a full-grown sheep, so there was quite a bit of force behind it. I woke up the next day covered with enormous bruises all over my thighs and stomach where his front paws had connected. Watch Fox News tonight for my shocking story: “Ravaged by a Goldendoodle”.

  • Going through all that stuff was emotionally and physically exhausting. I found a depressing number of letters I’d written to my mom apologizing for something I’d said or done, including one dated April 7, 1978 in which I entreated her to forgive me for being “crouel”.

  • Just being back in Minnesota was emotionally draining. In the ten years I lived there, my mom was diagnosed with cancer, I had serious health problems, my mom died, Sprite died, I was in two car accidents, had several shitty jobs, and went through four breakups, two of which were completely unexpected. Granted, these things weren’t exactly Minnesota’s fault, but it’s hard not to make an association.

  • I missed G.

On the plus side:

  • It was good seeing Daddy-O and my brother again. Daddy-O looks amazing; he’s lost a lot of weight, and he’s obviously happier than he’s been in years. His retirement party was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed seeing how highly regarded my father is by his friends and former coworkers.

  • As previously mentioned, I got my feed on hardcore. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to Culver’s for a Butterburger, fries, and frozen custard, but there’s always next time.

  • The organizing wasn’t all bad. I loved looking at old pictures of my parents just after they were married. In one, my mom is wearing a really cool red coat and flashing a peace sign under a sign that says “Beaver Island” (which is, no lie, where I was conceived). In another, I’m sitting in front of my dad on a carousel horse, and I’m sticking out my tongue in concentration. And in another, my brother is holding me afloat in a hotel pool, and we’re both laughing, our faces bathed in sunshine. Not that I’ve ever doubted it, but these pictures are tangible proof that I have been loved.

  • I went to the Como Zoo and cooed over tamarins and the new sloth.

  • And finally…

When I was going through boxes in the basement, I found something that actually made me gasp. I took it upstairs and asked my dad and brother about it, and neither one of them had any idea where it had come from. Not a single one of us had ever seen it before.

Don’t get me wrong; I’d love to believe this was a sign, but sadly I’m a bit too cynical to think that my mom would communicate from the great beyond using a Graceland souvenir plate. But you know what? I DO think it’s a sign that I have to go to Graceland for the both of us.

I’ll tell Elvis you said hi, Mom…and that first Fool’s Gold sandwich is for you.