Thursday, June 05, 2014

San Francisco Part 4

In no time, it was Memorial Day, and we had grand plans to meet up with Abe and Klarissa for a train ride/barbecue/Civil War Reenactment complete with matching outfits for the pseudo brothers. 
You ready for my favorite story of our whole trip? "Hold onto your butts," as Jeff would say. This one will get your heart racing.

So Klarissa and I had been corresponding over the two weeks leading up to this trip. She sent me an extensive list of fun, free things to keep us busy. She answered my every inquiry about the big city. She filled me in on all the logistics. We also made very detailed and specific plans on how we would meet up on Monday to have our last hurrah and swap Newland back to his rightful owners. 

I remembered hearing phrases like this in my corresponding with Klarissa, "The ticket for the train says you need to be there 45 minutes early, which I don't think is necessary, but there's a lot to do there if you guys want to get there early." and I remembered this discussion, "There's a train that leaves in the morning, but I don't think we'd be able to make it down there that early, so let's do the later one. That way we all have plenty of time to get there." I also remembered her telling me it would take us an hour and a half to drive there.

We checked and double checked our plans before Abe and Klarissa left for the weekend. "Okay." I said, "Our only plan on Monday is to get up and go for our train ride, so we'll just be hanging out there until you guys get there. We'll see you then!"

All systems go. Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuntil I got the number 2 stuck in my head for some unexplainable reason. I was convinced our train was leaving at 2:00, hence all the time to dilly daddle in the morning. There was no rush. We had all morning to get ready and clean the house and watch Curious George and take millions of pictures and Instagram and twiddle our thumbs.

It wasn't until 11:00 on the nose that the thought struck me to check our train tickets to confirm the time we were supposed to board. I leisurely pulled them out of my purse. I scanned them and was startled to see the words, "12:30 departure. Please arrive 45 minutes early."

Have I told you yet how hard it is to travel in San Francisco? Have I told you that our car was two blocks away from the apartment, so just getting into the car to go somewhere was kind of an ordeal. Especially when you have three babies AND all your luggage/laundry baskets full of baby supplies to drag out to the car because we were going straight to Reno after our train ride. So given that we had exactly one and a half hours until our train would be tooting its farewells to all the passengers left behind, which was exactly the amount of time it would take us to drive there if we were leaving that very minute, which we weren't, I was freaking.

I called Abe. This was our conversation:
Me: "Uuuuuummmmmm. What time does the train leave?"
Abe: "12:30. You had better be on your way RIGHT NOW girly."
Me: click
Jeff runs out the door to the car.

I start throwing all our stuff out into the hallway muttering things like, "Oh crap! Oh crap! I can't believe this! We're not going to make it! We're not going to make it (repeat 500 more times)!" 

While we waited for Jeff to pull up in the car, I sat staring at the boys in their matching outfits, I thought of the money we had probably wasted on the train ride because we were surely never going to make it, I cringed at the thought of my leisurely morning and my complete lack of urgency, wishing I had just looked at those tickets a half hour sooner.

We threw the kids in the car in record speed, sweat beading down our foreheads, hands shaking with adrenaline. Jeff drove 80 mph in between stoplights until we got on the freeway and then it was a steady 90-95 mph from there with our GPS serving a constant reminder we would never make it on time.

Abe called again 20 minutes into our drive. "Girly. What does your GPS say?"
"I don't want to tell you." I confessed with dread.
I could hear Klarissa in the background say, "Is she kidding?" to which Abe voiced, "Are you kidding?"
"I really wish I was." I flinched to hear their response.
"Well we are actually stuck in traffic and it's going to be close even for us. Why don't we call and see if we can catch a later train."

Long story long, we were able to catch a later train no big deal. Once we finally arrived, it was clear that the whole place was pretty laid back, and actually not very busy, so once we shuffled our plans around a little bit, we were still able to have our matchy matchy cousinly bonding day without too much stress beyond the initial race against the clock. 

And this will forever go down in history as one of my blondest moments of all time. *Retreats to dark corner in embarrassment*
Let's count my air head moment as a blessing because we had p-lenty of time to take pictures of the cuties.
Trains + guns + cannons + hot dogs + matching t-shirts = Eli's dream come true.

While we ordered food, Eli locked Newland and Carson in a chicken coop.
A practice cannon went off as we were deciding what to eat, and Eli immediately vanished in a superhuman attempt to investigate the noise.
Between hunting down Eli, wrestling Carson and trying to eat lunch, no food pictures were documented, but it was good! After lunch we made our way to the Civil War reenactment. Where the facts were as questionable as the acting.
The acting may have been less than Hollywood, but the gunshots and cannon tricks were top notch.
So top notch, in fact, that Eli was convinced every soldier who dropped to the ground was really shot, and he wasn't okay with that. He also wasn't okay with the loud noises, and eagerly inserted his ear plugs after they were dispensed into the crowd.

Another benefit to having extra time to kill -- we had time to slurp down some snow cones. Nobody was complaining about that. Except maybe Abe. Because we ran out of cash and made him buy ours.
A flood of relief still overcomes me when I look at this picture of us ON THE TRAIN! We made it!

Newland fell asleep less than halfway through our ride. Did I love watching my kids experience a super fun train ride? Yes. But did I also envy Abe and Klarissa for having a konked out baby who they didn't have to hold onto the back of his shirt for the second half of the ride for fear he would jump out of the train? Yes. Yes I did.
Oh. I'm seeing all sorts of benefits to us missing the first train. If we would have gotten on our original train, Eli wouldn't have had his trusty earplugs for our train ride, which means he would have had to endure train whistles at top decibel with the rest of us.
San Francisco. You were good to us.
And Newland. You stole our hearts.


Rebecca said...

Your trip looked so fun! What great babysitters despite the blond moment. The boys in their matching shirts and hats looked adorable. I loved Eli's worried face as he's watching the reenactment. I sort of thought you needed to be a little closer to the east coast to really get into the Civil War, but I stand corrected!

Kim said...

Love every picture of the three boys in their matching shirts and hats. So adorable! Probably my favorite is the one of Eli shutting the two little boys into the chicken coop. They seem so willing to have the doors shut on them.

What a relief you made the train ride. I'm glad you got to spend some time with Abe and Klarissa. Looked like a very fun time for everyone--except maybe Newland when he was sick.