Adventure Time

It’s a very rare person whose life is truly uneventful, but it seems that going out of town opens one up to even more adventure than usual, even if just leaving home for a long weekend.

I’m a passenger in my own car, as my husband is driving us to Ashland, Oregon. We’ve been far from our home in the Bay Area all weekend, and yesterday was my father in law’s funeral, in Redmond.

Things began to get interesting when my son, who is 9 and has ADHD, ran out of meds. I am supposed to call three days in advance for a refill (which I did) but occasionally his doctor will be out of town and the refill will take much longer. That was the case last week. C went to school medicated on Tuesday, but unmedicated on Wednesday (he did just fine). By Thursday, I was trying to wrap things up at work for the week, the RX still hadn’t come in, and my husband, off for the summer, informed me that he wouldn’t have time to call Kaiser before we left that night. I prayed silently that C would make it through the 90 minute funeral on Saturday without going insane.

We spent Thursday night and much of Friday traveling. On Friday morning, we stopped for breakfast near Mt Shasta. C began to cry after biting into his pancake, telling us he had a loose tooth. I comforted him and had him keep eating. A few minutes later, the tooth fell out and I stuffed it in my purse for when we arrived at our hotel room later.

We met up with S’ family at his stepmom’s house. S and I have been married 11 years, and I never knew his family was so large – one uncle, two aunts, four cousins, his stepmom’s sister and her husband, his brother, sister in law and their two sons greeted us. All 16 of us had dinner at the Red Rooster, pushing together 3 tables to make it work. C happily played Star Wars Legos with D, my mother in law, and with K, her sister, during dinner.

Yesterday was the funeral. As S is immediate family, we sat in the front pew next to D. I felt all eyes on us, and my pulse began to race as the minister read our names aloud. C began to yawn and laid his head on my shoulder but, aside from getting up to use the bathroom a number of times, barely made a peep.

Several of us gave impromptu eulogies, including me. I thank God I have over a year of Toastmasters training under my belt. My hands shook (a Red Bull on an empty stomach will do that to you), but my voice was clear and unwavering as I told the story of finding my father in law’s name on a plaque on the USS Hornet while S and I were at a swing dancing event there when we were first dating. S and his brother both spoke of their dad as a strong man with enduring opinions and convictions, who challenged them and taught them and who urged them to the very end to embrace Christianity. At the end, D’s sister, K, came over to C to congratulate him on doing so well during the service.

After the ceremony, at D’s house, C found another little boy to play with and was busy pretending to be a cat in the backyard while the adults talked inside. My nephew ran to find us when he noticed him, standing by the slider, just covered in blood and rubbing his nose. The combination of the dry Oregon air and the day’s excitement had gotten to him.

S and I said “No problem!” and set about cleaning him up, to discover that S had forgotten to bring him a change of clothes. As our hotel room was a half hour away, my nephew drove me to Fred Meyer to get him some fresh duds.

Everyone fed and C cleaned up, we took a ton of family photos. Then, S and C and the two nephews and I went to a local state park for a quick hike. I had never seen rock formations like the ones found at Smith Rock except in Utah. Even C, who’s earned a Cub Scout award for video game playing, oohed over the view. Truly majestic – and free, as it happened to be State Park Day.

Today, we’re back on the road, and have already learned a valuable lesson: when in Oregon, don’t speed… particularly if you’re from California. I had no idea we were going that fast, and the ticket? Ouch! As we started back on the road, the radio began to play “Float On” by Modest Mouse:

I backed my car into a cop car the other day,
Well, he just drove off; sometimes life’s OK!

Yeah, whatever. I’m grateful for the opportunity to hit the pause button for a few days and curious what the next adventure will be.

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