I’m going back to Cali. Part 4. Swollen Feet.


It’s officially day three of our Californian vacation and that means the Island my dad lives on was having its annual Pancake Breakfast. Not because it’s day number three of our vacation. That would be pretty awesome though. But because they do this once a year. Where my dad lives pretty much rocks. This Island is well known for its boat parade. It’s an amazing Christmas tradition where boats are elaborately decorated and go up and down the canals of the island while swarms of people stand on the bridges, the walkways, or in some cases even hang out on the boat docks. I somehow usually get the distinct pleasure of guarding my dads boat. Which means I go out onto the boat and drink my cocktails while pushing oncoming boats away with a long pole. It’s not the best job in the word but you do get an up close and personal view of the parade.

This being my little family’s first year to attend the pancake breakfast we really had no idea what to expect. I could tell my dad was getting antsy because he wanted to get over there before all the T-Shirts were sold out. So we got dressed and made our way down the street. As we walked up to the spot where they were holding the pancake breakfast we were almost run down by a group of runners coming around the corner.
“What the hell is going on? Is someone chasing those people?” I asked.
“No, every year there is a marathon to help celebrate the Pancake Breakfast,” my dad informed me.
“So you mean to tell me those people are running on purpose?” I asked while waiting patiently for an opening so I could bolt across the runners and towards the land of pancakes.
“Yes,” he said, confirming my suspicions that something was seriously wrong with these people. Just then I saw Poptart with Mini Me in his arms bolt across. He moved so fast I almost didn’t see him and now he was on the other side of the runners and that much closer to the pancakes. Damn it! I didn’t know Poptart was so fast. Has he been working out behind my back? Then I felt a gust of wind on my right hand side as my dad ran through the runners and then my step mom. They were all on the pancake side and there I was all by my self. A woman with no family and no chance of getting any yummy pancakes. I hate you health nuts! Can’t I catch a break? Where is the 80-year-old man when you need him? Swoosh, swoosh. The runners just kept passing by me in a blur. Then I saw her. She looked about 10. She was coming around the corner fast but it was my only chance. She was running alone and not in a pack and I knew I could take her. She was tiny and if I didn’t clear her in time and her tiny body and I collided it would be like hitting a brick wall. For her. She was my only chance. There was a small window between the runners in front and my now 10-year-old target. This is it! You have to do it now or take the chance that you will never get to eat a pancake. Your family WILL leave you.

And BAM. I shot out like a bullet. A really slow bullet. I looked to my left and she was headed right for me. Her eyes got big and I made my “I’m so sorry” face. But I made it across before she could reach me. Man that was close. I was officially on the pancake side! Yea!!! I caught up to my dad who was making a beeline to the T-shirt booth and when we arrived it wasn’t looking good. Sure enough they had pretty much sold out of everything except for sweatshirts. If we had only gotten there earlier. I again made my “I’m so sorry” face. But what can you do? You win some, you lose some, and in this case I happened to win a huge red sweatshirt. Score one for me! Poptart, Mini Me, and my step mom opted out of being a part of mine and my dad’s new Giant Red Sweatshirt Gang. We are a very dangerous gang. We only come out when it’s cold and need to be in bed by ten because if either of us doesn’t get enough sleep we are very cranky the next day. Be warned though. We will drink all of your vodka.

After we procured our sweatshirts we bought our tickets and stood in the pancake line. The pancake tent was like a well-oiled machine. Grill after grill was set up on two sides of a giant tent. In the middle of the grill was a huge bowl where they were mixing batter. On the first three grills on our side of the tent the cooks were making pancakes by the dozen and people were grabbing them so fast the pancakes didn’t have time to burn. I asked the guy who gave me my pancakes how long he had been flipping pancakes that day and he had been going on four hours. Then after you got your pancakes you moved your way down to the sausage grill and you could grab as many sausages as you wanted. It was a really great idea to set this thing up once a year. At the far end of the tent they had a table set up where you could grab either juice or coffee and packets of butter as well as plastic forks and knives.

After you got all you needed you went to one of the many looooooong, and I mean long tables set out outside in the perfect California climate and grabbed yourself a seat. There were bottles of syrup all over the tables. The only trick was, finding one with some syrup still in it. During our breakfast they had a raffle and announced Miss Something and she got a crown and some flowers. They also had booths around the outside of the table area with different artists selling their latest creations. It was a really cool experience and I hope to one-day get to be a part of it again.

After the pancake breakfast Poptart and I loaded Mini Me into my step mom’s Lexus and proceeded to drive it to Saugus CA. It was not really something my step mom was crazy about because her car is her baby but it made Poptart a happy man. “It purrs,” he whispered, as he hit the gas and we were on our way. We were headed to Saugus to see one of my very best friends and see her ever-growing belly. She is pregnant and has been impregnated by a man I had not yet met. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about this one. You see, Poptart and I are kind of attached to Becky’s ex husband and now Becky was not only with a new man but he had impregnated her with a “stranger” seed.

We arrived at Becky’s and there she was, round and pregnant. I couldn’t believe my eyes. She was beautiful. Her feet and ankles, however, were another story all together. They were so swollen I’m sure shoes ran in fear whenever she even so much as looked at them. I hugged my friend and just held on to her. I was so happy to see her I seriously get tears in my eyes just writing this. Yes, I do have a heart. Please don’t tell anyone. It may ruin my reputation. I stood back and took in the vision of her pregnant self and then bent over and talked to the little stranger in her belly and introduced myself. I had it all. Loving Becky. Check. Meeting baby. Check. Meeting new man……not yet checked. Oh this was going to be a problem.
“Where is he?” I asked her.
“He’s at work,” she told me.
“When does he get home?”
“In a couple of hours.” I see.

His name is Rob. He brought me Piña Colada’s. He likes Big Foot and has actually gone out searching for him. I’m not going to lie. I really like that about Rob. He took good care of my pregnant friend and made sure she was comfortable all the time. He was funny, so add another point. He also has a certain calm about him. I like that. But most importantly he makes her happy. And if he makes her happy, he makes me happy.

The night went on and I got to see some really good friends of mine and ate some great food. We got Mini Me down for bed and just as the night was starting to wind down and we were all getting ready to call it a night my husband goes and does something really, really stupid. He got into a debate with my good friend Kirsten about MTV’s reality show The Hills. For those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s a show about a bunch of 20 something people living in LA and being fabulous. Now it’s supposed to be “reality” and maybe it is, but for the most part it seems very scripted. The show has also been known to do re-shoots. Hell, I wish I could do re-shoots in my own life. Speeding ticket? Re-shoot. Stupid fight with Poptart? Re-shoot. Now, I’m NOT picking a side. I’m just giving you the facts. A little background: Kirsten works in the industry known as Hollywood. Also, arguing with her is like arguing with a pit bull. Once she sinks her teeth in she’s not going to let go. Poor, naïve Poptart doesn’t know Kirsten well enough to know that your best bet is to just agree with what she says. Especially when your wife wants to go to bed.

I don’t know how it started so lets just say Popart said something like this:
“The Hills is a load of crap. It’s more scripted than All My Children.”
“No it’s not. It’s real people put into real situations.”
“Real situations? Are you stoned? How ‘real’ is it to be told ahead of time what to expect and how to react?”
Oh tell me he did not just engage Kirsten in an argument.
“No, see, you don’t understand,” Kirsten fired back. “When you say ‘scripted,’ that implies that they’re reading cue cards. They’re not. It’s just like improv. They tell the actors where they are going and put them together and give them a topic to discuss but it’s real. It’s not scripted.”
“So what you’re saying is that the ‘actors’ are told what to talk about, and with whom, and that that constitutes ‘real’ situations?”
“Yes.”
How many times have I told him NOT to engage Kirsten in an argument!
“So if I had a producer in my ear, right now, telling me what to say to you, that’s not scripted?”
“They don’t have anyone tell them what to do in the moment. They have the meetings ahead of time,” Kirsten informed him patiently, like she was trying to walk him through the class Reality Show 101. “They may be told where to take a conversation, or what to bring up, but how they get there is up to them. That’s why it’s reality.”
I wonder if I chain myself to this chair and then throw myself in the pool if I could actually die before they end this conversation?
“Then explain to me why they’re known to re-shoot certain scenes if it’s all reality.”
“It’s also entertainment. They have to make a good product.”
I wonder what the square root of 158796442265987965 is?
“So how in the hell is that not scripted?”
“Because their conversations aren’t written out word for word.”

Poptart clapped his hands over his face and stifled a scream. This wasn’t going anywhere good. It was starting to sound like a “Who’s on First” routine, and Poptart was beginning to shake. I tried to connect with him telepathically and tell him to Just agree with her. If you know what’s good for you, for the Love of God, just agree with her.
When Poptart took his hands away, he looked to me and Becky for support, but we pretended to be intensely interested in our nails. He glared at me until I was forced to make eye contact. I shook my head slightly and mouthed one word:
“Please.”
Poptart sighed, gritted his teeth, and said, “I guess we’re getting hung up on semantics. I’m going to bed.”

It was now way past ten o clock and time for this member of the red sweatshirt gang to get some sleep. I crawled into the blow up bed next to my beautiful daughter and gave her a big hug and kiss and Poptart takes the smaller blow up bed next to us. We only have one more full day left of our vacation and our trip to Cali is officially over. I did get to see my Becky though and for me, being near her is one of the Happiest Places On earth.

To be continued….

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