So we spent twelve days with my parents, away from the wild worlds of El Cerrito and into the wild worlds of Tehachapi. And then we left. This is that story
Packing the van, packing the car
Lady Steed and I awoke early to pack up my parents' van. The problem was that, van or not, the thing isn't really meant to hold both people and stuff at the same time. So we struggled to fit all the stuff we brought and all the stuff that appeared over Christmas into a very small space indeed.
You see, we did not drive to Tehachapi; my sister drove us. And now we needed to get to Bakersfield to pick up a rental car for home.
And, you further see, we were not taking as few people as possible, but as many people as possible. Besides us three were my parents my sister my nephew. Total: 7. Available seatbelts: 6.
And don't forget all our junk.
So Lady Steed and I struggled and pushed and managed to get a rather astonishing amount of stuff into a rather astonishingly small space. Then we gave up and announced failure.
At which point my father walked outside and opened the back of the van and was covered in an avalanche of luggage and boxes and yarn.
We wanted to leave at eight, but knew we couldn't hope for better than nine.
But my dad, the master packer, gets everything in without removing seats and we're good to go by a little after eight.
By "we" I am by no means including everyone.
Then Mom remembers to send 32 quarts of homemade applesauce with us.
We unpack the van.
We pack the van.
We all load in. We use four of the available six seatbelts. After all, if we are going to die, we may as well die together.
We're only about fifteen minutes behind schedule to pick up our car as we approach Bakersfield. Then the pregnant lady decides we need oranges, so we pull off at Edison to stop at the Depot to buy 339 oranges in three good-sized boxes. Where will they go? Well, the pregnant lady holds one on her "lap" and the other two sit atop my father's outstretched legs, buckling his knees. And we get back on the freeway and speed ahead to Meadows Field where I have the opportunity to take several speedbumps at father-crippling speeds before we figure out where to get our car.
The car is a small car and ferociously yellow. Family members place odds on the number of tickets Theric will get over the next five hours. Thanks, family.
But everything fits easily into the car. Much more easily than they did in the van.
As we pack, our progress is observed by a handful of honeybees who think the car is a gigantic flower and search about for friendly stamen.
Hugs kisses etc.
This is a not particularly portentous beginning. Or so it seemed.
Tune in next time for Episode II: PEES WITH BEES.