Prelude: I drink your milkshake. I drink it up.

Long Beach Travel Blog

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Hah. And you thought this was going to begin with me stepping off the airplane into paradise. If you've read any of my other blogs, you should know better. Nay, my friend, you are about to enter my diatribe, or a taste of the bull-pucky that put more than a few grey hairs on my head before even getting onto the plane. Go ahead... click chapter two and keep your opinion of me untainted.

Everyone says I'm lucky because I get to travel so much. First let me say that I've worked hard to be exactly where I am. I don't have a career. I don't own a house. I don't have a girlfriend. I don't have a cat. Hell, I don't even have house plants. Do you know how hard it is to avoid becoming one of the mindless millions living in Southern California trying to invent new ways to spend their money so as to help them forget how miserable and TRAPPED they are? So on the one hand, I am proud of where I am. But as with all things in life, the up side is usually the down side as well. I don't have a career. I don't own a house. I don't have a girlfriend. I don't have a cat. Hell, I don't even have house plants. You see what I mean? It all depends on your tone of voice, I guess.

Second, and what I am I about to relate to you in this prelude, is that, in the river of my life there are always rapids before the steady sailing that everyone thinks I am enjoying. Here's what I mean:

Over the summer, I let my friend, Christian, who has never traveled before, organize the travel arrangements to Hawaii. What we ended up with was an 8am flight, leaving Monday, the 4th of Febuary. A pure tragedy as far as date and time go, but as we got the tickets well over half a year before the actual trip, I didn't really notice until a week before. Now, you might be asking yourself, what's so bad about the date and time. But those who have traveled before know that trying to find someone to drive you to the airport at 5am on a Monday morning may prove to be the most difficult accomplishment of your life. That was the first traveling faux pah. The second being that leaving for a trip right after the RENT'S DUE almost 100 percent of the time means you're going to be traveling with little-to-no money. It's not a reflection anyone's saving habits - it's simply one of Murphey's unavoidable laws.

And then there were the snow storms in the mid-west. Frickin' snow storms in the frickin' mid-west! I live and play in Cali, a good 1500 miles away from said snow storms, and yet those bastard storms got me. I waited a good week before rent was due before I started taking a tally of my money and realized that two of my teaching paychecks were late in coming through the mail. See, the agency that pays me is based in the mid-west... On a side note, did you know that the Tribune Company, a company in Chicago, owns the Los Angeles Times? Did you know that the Wall Street Journal is owned by an Australian? Ah, these times we live in...

I thought surely my paychecks would come before my trip. No worries, really. Monday, Tuesday, nothing, Wednesday, surely they would come, Thursday, shit this is bad, Friday, WHERE THE HELL... It dawned on me that if they weren't in my mailbox on Saturday, I would have the double problem of not only not being able to pay my rent, but having no money to take with me on my trip, because there is no mail on Sunday, and I leave for Hawaii at the butt-crack of dawn on Monday... And so Saturday came and went. No paychecks in the mail.

Sigh. A moment of silence for the money lost in the face of traveling. I thought about my options. Go to mom? Ugh... that poor lady wiped my butt long enough. And it was her birthday today, despite. I should be lavishing her with gifts of sparkling jewelry by now, not asking her for money. No, not an option. What else then? I dug up my rent contract forms and saw that the late fee was $10 a day. I got back on the 12th of February, which meant that I would have to pay an additional $120 if I paid late. Not too bad, but seriously... a moment of silence, please.

Meanwhile, on the finding-a-ride-to-the-airport front, nothing but laughter on the parts of my friends.

That sad Saturday, I also got a notice from my landlord. It said that they were going to be doing some sandblasting in my parking lot on Monday and my spot and the spots surrounding it were going to have to be vacated for the day. I cursed out loud to my walls and thought about my options for this new dilemma. I could leave my keys with my landlord and have him move my car on Monday and then move it back afterwards. But my car's got problems... I mean, she's iffy at best in my own hands - sometimes she won't even go into gear unless I massage her feet at night. Turn her over to some other man? No, she'd never forgive me for it. I thought that maybe I could drive her over to my mom's house in Orange County. But how was I going to get back to Long Beach, and how was I going to get out to Orange County to pick her up? Huge hassle. I called my buddy Christian and he said I could leave my car in guest parking in his underground parking structure. But he lives in downtown Long Beach. I figured it would be a 50/50 chance of my car still being there when I got back. No way.

I called my landlord and explained that I was going to be leaving Monday morning and wouldn't be able to move my car. He suggested I leave my key with him. I screamed at him, NO WAY IN HELL, YOU UNHOLY SPAWN OF SATAN... in my mind. In reality I said, "Maybe." He gleefully told me that with me being gone for a week, it would be a good opportunity to re-grout my shower, so if I wouldn't mind, could I please clean the shower and bleach any mold growing in there. "Uh, sure," I said. "I'll clean it Sunday."

Well, like I meantioned earlier, that Saturday was my mom's birthday. I drove out to Orange County, weeded her garden a little, moved some things around the house (why do moms always need things moved around the house?) and then took her to lunch at a little authentic Mexican cafe called the Little Caboose. I managed not to mention money the entire time and on one hand I was rather proud of sticking to my guns and taking my lumps like a man, but on the other hand, I was depressed at the prospect of taking some lumps. I had to work at the wine bar that night, so I gave mom a kiss, promised I would bring something nice back from Hawaii for her and made ready to leave. As I was leaving however, mom asked about my financial situation.

Now, I can't honestly remember the last time mom actually inquired about my financial health. Usually it was me informing her I needed money. Since I was so taken off guard by her question, I complete forgot my resolve to lie to her and told her about my paycheck snafu. She chipperly told me not to worry about it, that she would check her finances and see what she could do to help. I stood there blinking in the doorway. Huh? Really? "Sure honey, now go to work."

A moment of silence for moms everywhere in the world. If love made a brand of glue, it would be called MOM.

I drove to work slightly confused and had an uneventful night. Knowing that I was going to be in Hawaii on Super Tuesday, I had ordered an absentee ballot which had just come in the mail (the ONLY thing that came in the mail on Saturday). The cafe was dead so I sat at the bar and filled it out thinking that I would mail it on Monday before I headed off to the airport. I got to the end and then started to stuff it in the envelope when I noticed the "Final check" instructions printed in red on the outside of the envelope. Does the number on the ballot match the number on the envelope? Yup. Are all the bubbles filled in with blue or black ink? Yup. Did you sign and date your ballot? Yup. Are you mailing your absentee ballot before or on Friday, February 1?  Y... Wait. What?

I double-checked the fine print. Sure enough it said that all ballots must be RECEIVED by super Tuesday to be counted, not post-marked. ARGH!!! I looked around the forms and found an address in Norwalk. Fortunately they were open on Sunday. I wanted my vote to count, so I realized I was going to have to hand deliver it.

I went home that night and bashed my head against the pillow. Weird dreams, my subconcious at play in the heather of a network of worry.


And here it is, where everything works out. This is the part you've been waiting for, beloved reader. Read on and collect your reward... I even get the girl at the end.

I woke up early on Sunday and spent 3 hours of the morning scrubbing my shower (and subsequentially my entire bathroom) with Ajax. I felt raw by noon but my damn bathroom looked like it did when I first moved in. I took a shower to celebrate and then drove to Norwalk to drop off my ballot. While I was in the car, I decided to call my dad (my last resort) to see if he would be willing to take me and Christian to the airport. Not only did he agree to take us, but he actually sounded kind of thrilled that I had asked him for help. GREAT. That was another worry off my chest. I got home and started packing.

And wouldn't you know it, right then my cel phone rang and sure enough, it was my mom calling to tell me that she had just enough to cover my rent and that I could pay her back when I got home from my trip. I told her I loved her a thousand times and hung up the phone. I walked around my cloud a couple times before the phone rang again. It was the girl that I had a crush on. She wanted to know if I wanted to see her one last time before my trip. But of course, my sweet!

I won't bore you with details, but as I was driving home late that night I realized I had a voicemail on my phone. I punched it up and listened. It was my landlord who said, "Go ahead and park in my spot for the week. I will park in your spot after the sandblasting. Have fun on your trip and call me when you get back so we can switch spots again." And that was the last worry disolving into thin air. I pulled into his spot when I got home, went inside, set my alarm for 4:45am and went to bed with a larger than life grin on my face.

And that, my fellow travel cats and kittens, is that.

...for the prelude at least.

livelovelaugh87 says:
haha great blog-i lived in long beach for 4 years, just moved out last week and i can now park my car in peace :-)
Posted on: Aug 21, 2009
kat_mac27 says:
p.s did you know that Sky news is also owned by an aussie... pretty sure its the same guy too....
Posted on: May 16, 2008
kat_mac27 says:
dude you remind me of brad pitt in figh club, talk about rant! love it! :P
Posted on: May 16, 2008
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