My family is having a little reunion, if you wanna call it that. All told, 11 of us (one's a baby whom I feel forced to count but personally, don't consider) are convening in this sprawling Santa Fe adobe palace. We're arriving from different places on different days, but basically, I'm in this remarkable home for the next week.
Thus far, my folks, Dori and I have arrived, having flown together on a rather rickety Southwest Airlines 373. Which brings me back to the Oakland Airport. I selected a book for myself, something called "Devil Bones" which looks like a Danielle Steele novel for serial killer fans. And for Kate, I picked up "Rappers 'R In Danger" by someone who calls himself "Relentless Aaron. Don't believe me?
I purchased the book after flipping it open to, "Ringo ain't done nothin' but love your yellow ass on the regular. You straight trippin'."
Other than "Rappers R In Danger" I was unimpressed with the whole section of the Airport I found myself in and went to meet my family at the gate, hoping our random, every man for himself boarding would take place as soon as possible. Little did I know, our gate was in a much, much better section of the Airport, where books without spelling errors were sold and Peet's coffee was available without a line. Someone at the Oakland Airport should put a sign up right after the metal detectors. "Welcome to Oakland International Airport: Walk Past the Shitty Stores. Better Ones Exist."
I found a seat at the gate next to my mother, working on her KenKen and sipping from a Starbucks cup. "Mom, they have Peet's down here."
"I know! They have better everything down here!"
Which is when I noticed that my mother's Starbucks cup had the standard Sharpee'd name written on the side.
My mother's name is Joanne. We found this hilarious. Mom began speaking in the third person as Juan. "Juan needs you to shut up so Juan can concentrate on KenKen." And later, "Juan's gonna go see what's taking so goddamn long. Juan is ready to get this show on the road."
Finally on board, I spent the entirety of the 2 hour encouraging my family to purchase anything in the Home Garden Decor section of Sky Mall. Please, go on your own mini vacation and visit these extraordinary offerings.
Actually, I'm incredibly tempted to order my dad his own steak brander. Yeah, a steak brander. So you can brand your meat (steak, chicken and hamburgers) with your initials. Juan's biggest concern was the chicken. "It says you can brand chicken. Like a chicken breast?"
"Who cares! It comes with a custom cedar gift box."
Dori, while a seasoned world traveler, is afraid of flying. Interestingly, landing in the desert involves A LOT of turbulence. The whole experience was pretty nerve wracking and as we giggled through fear and inappropriate jokes, I thought of THIS scene in Alive when the passengers go from "Hey, it's like a roller coaster!" to sheer terror.
We were walking that line.
Having secured a rental car and made it the the house, we've fully explored and claimed boudoirs before 2 more arrive tonight. Kate and I are in a bedroom with twin beds and a bathroom with a Navajo couch. This is very Sundance Catalog, with lots of indoor/outdoor areas and big wooden Mexican mission doors opening to meditation gardens with water elements. There's lots of dramatic giant paintings on Native Americans on horses and one in the dining room of some dude sticking his hand in Jesus' wound.
After spending the afternoon reading down by the pool, I have no intention of spending much time admiring the sights of Santa Fe. But I'm open to suggestions.
I can't wait for Kate to get here so I can present her with "Rappers R In Danger" by Relentless Aaron. Here's hoping she'll read aloud by the adobe fireplace as we 're drenched in turquoise baubles and leathery skin, gazing out across the cactus' silhouetted in the sunset...