I packed everything up Sunday afternoon and moved it down to my car. The plan was to get back from work on Monday, pee, change my shirt, and leave around 5:30 to head to the hotel near Cowcity. My mom called to confirm what time they were leaving Cowtown. Dad said that they were leaving at 4PM, which was great because it takes them between 60 and 90 minutes more to reach Cowcity than it takes me.
When I got to my apartment on Monday I saw my answering machine flashing and hoped it was just a wrong number. It was my mom. She called just before five to let me know that they hadn't left yet; that someone was still packing. I stomped around my apartment for a while before heading off to the toilette and then to get a clean shirt. After changing I picked up my phone and called the parent's cell phone to find out where they were. They were maybe 25 minutes away from their house. I hung up, stomped around some more, then settled in front of the TV to watch, and sing a long with, Sweeney Todd. I didn't really pay attention, though. I was antsy. After thirty, or so, minutes I got up, put on my sweatshirt and headed out.
The drive was easy, traffic wasn't bad. When I got the motel my parents' car wasn't there, so I looked for a pay phone to call 'em. Got a hold of them and was told they'd be there in 15 minutes. I went to the Wendy's across the street to get some junk grub and wait. Thirty-ish minutes later, they were pulled into the parking lot and waved to me.
The motel was okay, but no one seemed to sleep very well. I blame it on the pillows. I don't like pillows that are so fluffy they make me sit up in bed or are so soft that when you put your head in the center it sinks and the two parts of the pillow to the left and right fluff up above you ears and get really hot. So, although the alarm and wake-up call were set to happen at 4, we were all up at 3:30 and ready to go by 4.
The airport was easy, but what else should one expect at 4:30 in the morning? We sat and waited until we could board. Then we boarded, which was a bit odd because we actually walked out onto the tarmac and walked up a ramp to the plane's door. I had an easterly window, so I watched the sun rise, sort of, as we flew. The sun was bright red as we came down into Portland. It was quite chilly, to me, when we got off the plane, only 39 degrees. Also, the flight time, a little over an hour, was shorter than my drive to Cowcity the night before.
We got our rental car and headed out of town going west to take the North Coast Highway (Which is Highway 101. In California, we call Highway 1 the Pacific Coast Highway.) We drove though hills and saw some great trees. I thought, based on the trees and other foliage that we were about 5000 feet above sea level, but the signs we saw showed we weren't ever much above 2000 feet. The river that flowed along the road was colored aqua, instead of the slime green of California’s rivers, and I counted at least five waterfalls pouring into it.
Breakfast was had a ways outside Tillamook, where the cheese is from, at a place called Alice's Country Restaurant, or something like that, so I hummed my way through the food. We smelled many cows, but didn't stop by the dairy for free samples. We did, however, stop at an old blimp hanger from WWII and looked at a bunch of planes. (They even had a MiG-17 and an F-14! And most of the planes are in working condition.) The hanger was built of wood and was about 200 feet tall, 300 feet wide, and 1000 feet long. It was amazing, but so very cold. The front door was open and the wind was a howlin'.
Tillamook was where we turned south and drove along the coast, sort of. It seemed like there were long periods of time when we were far from the coast. My parents and I chatted. We mocked the town that's called Hebo (I decided that it was founded by homosexual Jews). We pulled over in some other town to stretch and look out at the ocean and watch the birds fight and poop.
Eventually, we made it to my brother's house. We met the dog and the kitten. We toured the house. We drove to brother's girlfriend's school and toured her classroom. (She teaches kindergarten.) We saw the 'Bucks my brother works at and had the good pizza place pointed out to us. They all ate lentil soup for dinner, I had a sandwich with leftover chicken and cheese and pickles. We talked and eventually went to bed. My parents were in the guest room and I took the couch with three blankets, none of which were long enough for my body. The night was chilly and a bit restless.
Wednesday morning brother's girlfriend went to school early, since she hadn't prepared anything. I had a very fuzzy shirt due to all the animal hair left on the couch. After cleaning up, my family went shopping. Let me tell you, it's an odd thing to watch your parents spend several hundred dollars on your brother. Yes, I had fun walking around with them and mocking people and things in the store. My brothers and I have always been able to fall into an easy groove where everything is mock-able and our parents are good at it, too. Yes, I was happy that my brother was getting things that would help with his new life with his new, and possibly long term, partner. And, yes, knowing that my parents could afford doing this thrilled me because they can and it made them happy. But, still, a not small portion of me was wicked jealous and kept on screaming, "WHY NOT ME?! I WANT STUFF, TOO!" (They did give me money to cover parking and gas and they paid for the motel and my plane ticket.) We made three shopping trips that day and filled up the rental car completely the first two times. The second trip was for groceries. The third was to get the stuff we didn't realize we needed after putting everything away. As the sun set, we walked down to the beach (There are beaches in that part of Oregon.) where the tide was low. I'd have liked to be there during the day, but it was still quite lovely. Dinner was at an all night diner, where they have mighty fine burgers. That night I put a sheet on the couch to lessen the hair problem and used two blankets that were longer than I am tall. I was warm.
Thanksgiving we all got up a little later than we probably should have. Baking needed to be done before the turkey went in and it wasn't done until later than hoped. We thought we'd eat around 2, so brother's girlfriend told her family, who had driven in from Washington and another part of Oregon, were told to be there then. At first we were worried about dinner not being ready then, but all figured the snackie foods would take care of that. They didn't show up then, though. They showed up just before the turkey was pulled out of the oven. We mingled and ate and mingled and mingled until the parent's of the baby got fussy and left with the brother's girlfriend's parents in tow. We cleaned up and chatted and went to bed.
Friday brother's girlfriend went out with her mom and sister to get their feet done. My family tried to walk to the fossil place on the beach, but the tide was in. So, we turned around and started walking to the lighthouse out on the point. About halfway to the point where we turned around, I got really dizzy and never quite recovered. I kept walking, though. We didn't make it to the lighthouse, as suggested a couple of sentences ago, but we did make it to a lookout point where we could see sea lions lounging on a rock. We headed back without reaching the lighthouse because we had an appointment to meet with a family friend that afternoon. She used to live down the street from my grandparents and was friends with my grandma. We used to swim in her pool during the summer. We toured her house and then she took us down to the waterfront and pier. On the way, she pointed out where my grandma blew chunks when she visited. We listened to the sea lions bark and smelled the stink of boat engines and rotting crab parts. We looked at all the interesting boats (one was named Ceres, which seemed like an odd name for a boat, to me) and I teased a few gulls. Brother's girlfriend's mother joined us for dinner, homemade enchiladas rolled by my brother. We played cards while a fussy baby was passed around.
When I woke up on Saturday, my insides were screaming, "TIME TO GO! YOU'VE USED UP YOUR WELCOME! LEAVE! LEAVE! LEAVE BEFORE THEY HATE YOU!" Of course I couldn’t leave since it was my parents' rental car and the flight out wasn't until Sunday evening. So, when the rest of the people in the house went out to the fossil place and the lighthouse, with the dog, I stayed behind and read and played with the kitten (not a euphemism). They got back and started turkey soup. Brother's girlfriend's parents came over and we all headed out to a beach farther south so people could dig for agate. I mostly stood around and watched the waves crash against the rocks around us. Brother had read the charts wrong and the tide was coming in while we were there. We all ate soup together for dinner and when we finished the rest played cards while I read some more.
Sunday we woke and showered and cleaned up and hugged our way out the door before heading west to take the inland route back to Portland. Take it from me: the interior of Oregon is a lot less interesting to look at than the hill and coastal route we drove on Tuesday. We got to the airport early and waited and waited and our plane landed when we were originally supposed to board, so we left late. The airport was covered in fog, but we quickly broke through it when the plane took off and all of Portland sparkled below us as we flew south. I spent the rest of the flight reading and trying to ignore the inane chatter of the high school freshmen behind me.
The plane landed and we got our luggage and caught the transit to the parking. We hugged our good-byes and headed out. Parking was $76. At that moment, I really wished we had parked out in the economy section. Fast food was purchased for dinner and eaten as I drove. Unsafe, I know. I made it to my apartment some time after 10, I'm not sure exactly when. I pulled my stuff out of the car, brushed my teeth, emptied my bladder, and went to bed.
Oh, also on this trip, I caught a cold. My throat tickled on Saturday and soared up on Sunday. Monday my nose started leaking and my throat was raw. On Tuesday, my throat felt better, but my nose was leaking more juice. Yesterday, my snot thickened and I started to have a slight cough. Today, my cough has gotten heavier and the flem has migrated down to my throat. I expect that tomorrow I'll be hacking like mad and my lungs will have that heavy mucus feeling.
I'm sure I left stuff out and family may be by to add to what I have here. Still, this is what I remember of the trip.