12 April 2010

Sibling Reunion: The Retrieval

Sometime last summer, my oldest younger brother and I decided to have spring break here in San Francisco. We would take our next youngest brother and bring him here. It would be the first time in years that we three be together and the first time ever without or dad. Our lack of visits could be blamed on a lot of things. Ty's in elementary school and has very specific breaks. I have specific times when I can't take vacation. Derek had what I would call a transient lifestyle before becoming a dad. I'm sure we could have worked something out had we all been motivated before. But we weren't and we didn't, until this year. Thus to 2010 Sibling Reunion was born. I assure you, achieving it was truly a Herculean feat.

I want you to understand the players in this game, and how we are all related. You know me. You know Jesse. I have a brother, Derek, who is 25. He & I have the same mother & father. Our father has two other sons, so we have two other brothers. One of those brothers is Ty. He's turning 10 today. My young brother is named Jordan. He's going to be 1 in May. We've never met so I can tell nothing about him, except that he's small and is afraid to learn to walk. I was the same way. And I turned out all right so I'm not worried. But Jordan is not cast in this tale. Just the kids who don't need changing.

27 March 2010

Ty flew into LA. His mother was also taking a spring break on the west coast - in San Diego. We agreed she & Ty would fly to LAX, I'd meet them there, and we'd drive our separate ways. Jesse & I set out to hit the road. Of course that means remembering where we left the car, walking to it, assessing any potential damage, then making our way to the highway. Henry had been left under a tree for the better part of a month. He was covered in pollen and other tree particles. I used the wipers to sweep some to the side and scattered the rest on the interstate.

I like the drive to LA. It's lush and colorful - even more so when compared to the drive from Vegas to LA. That drive was always pretty, in a barren, I-hope-we-have-enough-gas-and-water way. Jesse & I were about a half hour behind schedule to start. Our hope was to get there just as Ty's mom got to the rental car counter. So you can imagine how unprepared we were for a text saying they had landed (much) earlier than scheduled. There was nothing we could do, so we kept driving. We were an hour behind schedule - which mattered because we were trying to get back to the Bay Area in time for a UFC fight at 7. Do you see our insanity? We had planned to drive to LA, pick up a child, eat at Roscoe's and be back home for dinner. You don't have to tell me. I know we make things harder than they have to be. I suppose that's half the fun.

So we nabbed the kid & made an extra stop. We have a cousin who we only see on TV. His name is Daryl and while our family is on the east coast, he spends some time in LA. The last few times I've been in LA and thought to call him, he was out east. But on this particular time-crunched day, he was there and ready for a visit. Jesse's never met him. Ty's never met him. I haven't seen him in years. So I felt we had to stop. But first we had to eat.

I think the only reason Jesse agreed to this venture was for gizzards from Roscoe's. He talked about them for days, but forgot to order them when it was time. Silly, but rectifiable. I asked Ty what he wanted and my first lesson in kid troubles began. He ordered macaroni & cheese, lemonade, 2 chicken legs and mashed potatoes.



When the food came, he started adding sugar to the fresh lemonade without even tasting it. He never touched the mac & cheese or the potatoes. He nibbled some gizzards - which is more than I would do - and picked at the chicken legs. As I was face deep in my wings & waffles, Jesse caught Ty trying to sweeten his (truly fresh & delicious) lemonade with syrup. Lesson: kids do sneaky things just to do sneaky things. The lemonade was sweet. I know because I drank some of after I took it from him.

Antics aside, the food was good and we would have only been a little behind schedule had we not gone to visit Daryl. But we went to visit Daryl. He has an apartment that looks out on to the beach. I thought Jesse was in heaven. Daryl had Miller High Life in the fridge and said we could use the place any time. I knew Jesse was in heaven. Ty was quiet (and in my opinion rude) when we first got there. But there were likely lots of reasons why. Ty had been taking a nap. He had never met Daryl but had seen him on Zach & Cody. I remember meeting a lot of adults as a kid and being bored out of my mind. I just hope I didn't show it the way Ty did. Eventually he found a room full of toys. Suddenly he was animated.

Ty on the floor.

Jesse & Daryl talking. Ty lurking behind a pillar.

Me & Daryl

Eventually it was time to hit the road again. Jesse & Ty slept a good amount of the drive home, leaving me to follow the GPS instructions, sing and take pictures of the scenery all on my own. I took a few of these, because I liked the purple fields.

We got home, settled and relaxed just in time to catch the rebroadcast of the fight. Ty doesn't normally watch UFC and thought it was fake. He argued WWE was better and we tried - in between scoffs - to show him the error of his ways. He was not convinced. It was one of many fights that week that could not be won.