Tuesday, August 18, 2009

arizona, home sweet...?

on wednesday, the 15th of july, we packed our warm bundles of babies into the car as evening fell here in the ocean-breezy cool of santa barbara, and headed off on an all-night trip to tucson, Arizona, where the sun always shines, even when it's dark. and oh, we started feeling that sun alright, the moment we exited LA and headed into the more desolate landscapes of south/ eastern california. we also discovered that tozer, our dear volvo, does not have functional air conditioning, contrary to our prior belief. add in the element of night construction, and you have a very unpleasant 12 hours ahead of you. we found ouselves going 2 miles an hour at 2 am in palm springs, with crying babies in the 95-degree weather, and the smell of tar permeating our miserable lives. there was nothing we could do about it, though. so we trekked on, one foot at a time, one hot farenheit after the other, until it finally began to cool down a little just before sunrise, and just past phoenix. i had been driving since about 3 or 4 am, having been unable to sleep in the back as planned, due to the awful sweltering, and my neurotic fear of car crashing while i am out cold. i felt that i might fall asleep at the wheel, too--why, oh why is the actual driving more sleep-inducing than lying on a bed of blankets in the back??!!? but i got a second wind right around phoenix. could have had something to do with the starbux frapp jarred drink i bought at the gas station--gross! sugar central. or it could have been the amazing number coincidence that fascinated me at 4:56 am: the trip mileage counter said 456 in the same moment!

either way, we made it to tucson around seven, arriving red-eyed and road-torn. not finding the door to the house where we were supposed to stay open as planned, and finding a key neither under mat nor potted plant, we had to call and wake up omi who called and sent her mother over to let us in. mrs. graham is as sprightly and active as ever, not to mention full of practical advice. thomas and the girls had managed to sleep a little, so they were eager to explore their surroundings, but i was expecting that. the first thing we did was eat a little breakfast and then take a bath in the claw-foot blue tub, to get the sweat off. following this, we had a nice long nap, and were awakened to the sounds of tuggys in the house! we were staying at marlett's house in the old neighborhood, a beautiful, mexican-ranch style house. marletts were gone for the summer. but the purpose for our journey was to attend heather tuggy's wedding! and the tuggys were using marlett's house for the bridal shower which was to be held that evening. so there was setting up to do, and i came out from under my rock to say hi to craig and mr. tuggy, neither of whom i had seen in at least seven years, and aunt joy, whom i haven't seen in about 4.

later we went to omi's for a reuniting in her bright green kitchen, and had a little quesadilla and fabulous conversation as the kids played dress-up. wow. i feel so old saying that. emi was there too.

the bridal shower that night was great, i got to help holly prepare the food and she had made the place look amazing. it is hilarious to see people you haven't seen in ten years, and they still look exactly the same! i got to meet annie's little adelyn for the first time, too, and the christopher tuggys' newly adopted first son, david abijah tuggy. this is awesome. no men or kids allowed at the shower, but mine were in the back room, so i snuck them some dessert of course.

the rest of the week was equally full of loveliness. friday we helped with boquets for the wedding, saturday the actual wedding, (goood old wycliffe fun!) on sat. night after the wedding, omi and lauren and i joined holly and a big pile of the tuggy clan at one of the hotel swimming pools. the four of us just stayed in the hot tub most of the time! these guys we had been ignoring said, "excuse me, are you religious?" they said they had thought we might have been in a cult. (because our swim suits were modest?) i loved talking to my friends and pretending like nothing had transpired since the high school days... sunday to church and lunch with the kuglers. one day we got to go swimming at the pool where i used to spend a lot of time as a child (formerly "dennis weaver park). they have put in loads of new play structures in the park, and a covered tarp thing over the kid pool (smart!). we had lots of decaf iced coffee and lots of 6:30 am walks around the neighborhood. families at starbucks. great nights hanging out at the grahams eating soup and getting lectures on the magical food "farina" or playing dutch blitz with omi and monty til all hours... and so much more. (during one of our dutch blitz nights, omi leaned over and said, "so, not to push my agenda or anything, but two of the houses in the neighborhood are up for rent... you should email the riggs and see if you can negotiate a low price with them!" so we fantasized for a bit about moving to az, and... well, we'll see what God says about that.) i even got to hang out with heather vanhouten, my good high school friend! the following wedesday, when we left in the evening hours, it rained. it poured. it dripped from the rafters and it smelled amazing. sparrow was sitting in the back of the volvo as we packed, and she stayed in there with a blankie and a toy snake for the whole duration of the storm. then monty came up and gave me a bunch of gas money... and an external hard drive!! what are these people thinking? i know they need the money for their own children, and yet they are always giving and giving.

the relief of the rain was brief; as soon as we hit florence it got hot again. and it remained hot all night, once again. i started driving at about 1:30, 2 am or so, and kept on going til we were safely home again. i listened to talk radio and drank the iced coffee i had brought (smart!) to keep myself going.

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