Saturday, January 01, 2011

12 kidless days

Updated- With some photos.

It's been about 12 days without the kids. I miss them. I really do. There are three holes in my heart that are about the size of each of my little munchlets. That said, I've had a ball of a time the last week and some.

12 highlights. (Photos to follow when we get back)

1. We shopped. We shopped as if money grew on trees and we had an entire plantation of it in our backyard. That said, I am now terrified that my luggage is severely overweight and I can't bring back all of my loot. Loot includes many pairs of shoes for Packrat, enough clothes to last the children for the year, many bags for me and gifts for Christmas and birthdays.

2. I made friends with the manager of Bottega Veneta. We spent so long in the store we got to chatting about cruises, shows and have exchanged email addresses. She's already emailed me and I can't wrap my head round how different service is in the US compared to Singapore. As the store manager, she allowed me to take photographs of items in the store to MMS/ email just to ensure that it was the right one we were buying. In Singapore, they would have told me "Sorry, no camera, no photography".

3. We went to Serendipity Cafe and ate a chocolate cake that was made up of fudge and brownie and about a foot tall. We also had frozen hot chocolate. As a rule, I don't like hot chocolate but I wanted to go back for more. Packrat claimed the whipped cream was the best he'd ever had. We all had buzzed from sugar after and had to be scrapped off the very pretty, very Kate Spade inspired ceiling after.

4. We went to Disneyland at Anaheim. Everyone I told asked why I was going to Disneyland if it was a couple holiday. My answer, I got left behind when I was 6 while my parents took my brothers to Disneyland. To make up for it, Packrat made it a big deal for me and we spent 12 jet-lagged hours in the Happiest Place on Earth. We took rides, ate junk food, watched the Christmas parade (which I recorded for the kids) and the fireworks. As a mom, I was amazed at how considerate and baby friendly Disneyland was. There was a baby centre where babies could be fed, cleaned and comforted if the stimulus got too much for it. It was an oasis of calm. I know it's Disneyland but it really took baby friendly to another level. If anything was forgotten, it could be bought. Diapers, wipes, baby food, diaper cream, formula, bottles and even teats. When I asked if I could find somewhere to express, I was given a room. I was offered ice packs to keep the milk cool and a locker to store the breast pump so that I didn't have to lug it round the park. There really was a sense that it was trying to make it as easy as possible for the mommy. As a Disneyland virgin, it really made me want to buy everything in the stores. As a person who occasionally thinks about things, it made Disneyfication as a term crystal clear. Everything is clean, everything is happy. Nothing bad ever happens at Disneyland.

5. We almost ended up with a car that looked like it was a throw back to a cop car in the 1980's. It was brown. It was wide and had those really old looking radiator grills. I couldn't imagine myself in it and begged Packrat to swope it. It was also a car with a trunk that could be measured in terms of how many dead bodies it could hold. Thankfully we got an SUV for the same price.

6. We bought 100 oz of frozen strawberry daiquiri and got major brain freeze. Fortunately or unfortunately, we finished only about 1/10 of the jug and by the next morning, it was just gross red alcoholic slush. As a souvenir, we're bringing back the jug though. As long as the airline doesn't make a fuss. It is definitely more than 1 litre.

7. We discovered how much growing up on American TV could save our life. Our GPS car charger broke. To find a replacement, we headed to Radio Shack because we'd learnt from TV that Radio Shack was where you bought these sorts of things from. And we stayed away from Walmart because we'd learnt from TV and reading noteworthy things that they had unfair employment practices.

8. Packrat handled a real pistol with real rounds. I ran helter skelter. I thought I trusted the man with my life but seeing him with a pistol that made BIG holes (45mm), I took shelter in the next room and waited for him to put down the gun and come find me.

9. We drove 12 hours straight as we left Las Vegas and trekked back to San Francisco. We drove through the Mojave desert, saw a nuclear power plant, a coal mine, thousands of wind mills that generated energy, saw Edwards Air Force Base and possibly an airplane graveyard. One noteworthy thing was that some parts of inner California on the I-5 REALLY REALLY stank. Stank as if all the live stock on one side of the road and all the live stock on the other side of the road turned their bums toward the road and farted every time a car drove passed. Santa Nella (a rest town on I-5) was an entire town that stank the same way. So much so that I refused to stop there for the night. While on the road for long stretches, because I am intent to continue providing milk for Muffin, I expressed. Every couple of hours, I expressed. After all, there wasn't much to do in the car apart from keeping Packrat fed. So there are many truck stops on the Interstate that had breast milk poured down its pipes.

10. We ate like we were 18 and didn't have to worry about cholesterol, fat and everything bad. There were copious amounts of meat, pasta, deep fried food. The unhealthiest thing that Packrat ate was a Kim-chi hotdog that was liberally topped with pork crackling. It was recommended by Anthony Bourdain so it had to be done. We even had dinner at 4 pm because Bourdain had dinner there and therefore, we had to have dinner there; at a restaurant called the House of Prime Rib where they served NOTHING but obviously, prime rib. Well, they served one other thing apart from prime rib. I had that. I had fish.

11. We walked slopes as if we were training for sprints. San Francisco is a city of slopes. Steep. Slopes. And every day, we've trekked up and down the slopes in a bid to acquaint ourselves with the city and to work off Pt. 10. But it is a sadistic sprint coach's dream. Slope training. The stuff my nightmares are made of.

12. We discovered Costco. We discovered it while trying to buy bottled water. Ironically, we couldn't find gallon bottles and I couldn't bring myself to consume and have to dispose of 24 small bottles of water. But they do sell everything else. And all this everything else is packaged in bulk, in super sizes and at wholesale prices. And apparently, Costco meat is the freshest so it isn't like it's bulk at the expense of quality. And even though we didn't see it, we were told that Costco, in line with selling everything under the sun, also sold coffins. We did buy a crate of oranges that fed us Vitamin C the entire trip and giant bags of dried cranberry and cereal. Hence my worry about overweight luggage.

Many reasons why we'd love to move to the US. But there are plenty of reasons why we wouldn't either. Crime, high taxes and judging from late night tv, a lot of dumb people who talk very loudly.

Whatever it is, it has been a great sojourn from reality. My reality is my 3 kids. One of whom refuses to talk to us over Skype (Jordan); we suspect she's upset that we're away. Another of whom left his grandfather's car's headlights on through the night and drained the car batteries. And my youngest who on his own legs wanders in and out of rooms exploring like he has never done before.

Disneyland and being at the ballet tonight made me miss the children terribly. I look forward to being able to bring them back one day and I look forward to snuggling up to them in a couple of days time. I will, however, miss this time where it's been just Packrat and I. I am relishing every moment of us time. I will also miss sleeping for long stretches of time; just being with Packrat and sleeping for long stretches of hours.

But, as said on TV (The West Wing, to be precise) break's over.

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  1. What a fantastic holiday blog entry. Brought back my own memories of California from last June.

    You're a really good writer. :)