Sunday, June 14, 2009


So, our crazy visitors finally arrived at 2am on Friday night/Saturday morning after finally escaping their own personal hell with the rental car counter third shift. Kids all tucked in and a bottle of wine later we realized it was well after 4am when we finally decided to call it a night.

Then we got up at 6am with the monsters (and by we, I do mean me), who'd already broken into the guest room and accosted the visiting children (who do NOT, by the way, typically get up at 6-0-0), made everyone breakfast, and got them out of the house and back on the road to visit their family for a few days...all before 11am.

What a freakin' whirlwind.

The rest of the day was, per usual, mostly errands and shopping.

On Sunday, though, we actually made it into the City so that Mommy could play golf with Laura, but the kids and I never miss an opportunity to get into San Francisco to wander around.

But we hadn't gotten two blocks away from the golf course, though, when the kids spotted a playstructure near a cute little residential lake and begged me to stop.


I was finally able to convince them to, you know, insert a little variety into our day, and so we hightailed it down to the wharf.

Circling the area, like, 12 times trying to find on-street parking because, please, there was no way in hell I was gonna pay $20 for a garage on a SUNDAY when it was already 5:30. Come. On. But we totally lucked out. Totally scared shitless some poor little tourists on their segways who cut the corner too quickly, but totally snagged a spot less than a block from Pier 39. Totally.

So, we layered up and off we went in search of the perfect bread bowl of clam chowder.

At least we WERE in search of clam chowder initially -- that is, until the monsters saw a hot dog stand and, fickle children that they are, left me with a granito on my tongue as they unanimously decided two gigantic ketchup and mustard smothered hot dogs sounded like THE best meal in the world in that very moment.


But then, of course, that introduced the matter of cash on hand. And, really, who carries cash on them anymore these days? Well, my father probably still does. In that little pocket of his wallet that he used to call a rat hole, out of which always emerged what seemed like hundreds of dollars just when we really really really wanted something at Six Flags or Astroworld or the monster truck rally.

But certainly not me. I'm all about the plastic. The hot dog vendors...not so much.

So, now, in the middle of the tourist whirlpool that is the wharf district, we now needed to find an ATM machine. And I made the mistake of saying it out loud. So that Saia could hear. And worry. Because that's what Saia does.

"So, Mama, we don't have ANY money?!" she cries out.

"Shh, baby. Not so loud. Yes, we have money, just not on us."

"But then where, Mom? Was it stolen?" she asks, furrowing her brow even further.

"No, honey, it's in the bank," I try to reassure her. But explaining the world's financial structure to a 6-year-old while gripping both their hands, conscious of where my purse is at all times, steering them away from the vagrants, and then back the other way to avoid the crazy cab drivers, and nevermind the bezillion people hanging off of the street cars all at once, was not my idea of a teachable moment.

But after two separate attempts, we finally find a working ATM at the back of a t-shirt shop called After the Quake, and as I'm inserting my card, she starts in on me again.

"So, Mama, did you get that card back from the robbers?"

"No, baby," I say, being cautious to look around me as I punch in my pin and wait for my money to be dispensed.

"Well, did the bank give it to you?" she continues.

"Yes, sweetheart, remember we talked about this? I got replacement cards for everything that we lost."

"Stolen," she says.

"Yes, okay, stolen, Saia," I say, getting a little more irritated now, and glancing over my shoulders to ensure that no one's watching, no one's waiting, no one's lurking.

And then the cash pops out and Chago yells excitedly, "Look, Mama! Money, money, money!!!"

"SANTIAGO!!" I hush-yell through gritted teeth. "Hush up, please!"

"Wow," he continues, still thoroughly amazed, pointing and hopping up and down. "That's really cool how that machine just GIVES you all the money you could ever want and you didn't even have to pay anything to get it!!!"

[Yeah. Right. That's just how it works, son.]

And sometime after rejoining Mommy and Laura for a so-so meal and a surprisingly tolerable 1/2 carafe of red table wine at a neighborhood pizza joint near The Presidio, the day finally comes to a close.

And tomorrow they start their 6-week summer program at school, and Mommy flies out again for another week of work, and I get to go back to my Starbucks "office" for a couple of hours a day...until our visitors come back for the weekend.

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