Leaving town just one week after I'd returned from AWP was a crazy idea. But it was a good one too. We packed into the car on Saturday and drove west on I-40. Max watched as the trains choo chooed parallel to us and Zoe asked for more math problems. We ran into friends at the In & Out Burger in Kingman. (Erik's disdain for fast food does not extend to In & Out Burger) on their way to San Francisco. I was glad we weren't going that far. After we left that desert for the Mojave one, we did not stop. Max played Lego's for 1.5 seconds and Zoe ate the broccoli we packed because her disdain for fast food does extend to In & Out Burger. We turned left on California State Road 237 and drove up the back way to our friends' house in Angelus Oaks. We had to stop three times since it was the turnyest of roads and Zoe gets car sick. She lied down on various tree trunks until she felt better and then we drove on.
Our friends met us in the driveway and took us into their sweet house--huge wooden beams, big windows, a big bed with a memory foam pad that for some reason they always let us sleep on. We went to the park adjacent to their son's school and road around on some sort of perpetual motion cars. Max wanted to climb up the rock walls. Mostly, we spent the afternoon keeping Max from falling on his face--the forehead is his favorite crashing spot.
Then we went to dinner at a great Yucatan restaurant. Chile rellenos are my favorite food group--far better than the In &Out Burger burger.
The next day, we drove into the valley. Rebecca was at the hospital all day with her baby so Erik and I hung out with the boys in the backyard. We made pork chops for dinner and red bliss potatoes--all from the CSA/local farms from here. The next day, Rebecca and I went to the hospital for the day while the kids and the husbands went to the beach. The first thing that happened when we walked in was they told Rebecca they were going to extubate the baby the next day. Bek hadn't expected the baby would be removed from the vent for weeks yet. She about fainted, if fainting was something Bek was inclined to do. Instead, she did what Bek does best which is ask every nurse and doctor and respiratory therapist what was good about this, what was dangerous, what were the reasons to worry and what were the reasons to take good heart. We went to lunch to celebrate. I had steak tartare. It was good, if a little overly cornichon-y. We were happy. We spent the rest of the day with the girl, telling her she could do it.
Erik and I made carne asada for dinner. Not as CSA/local. The steak, the avocado, the tomatoes had probably all come from California, been driven to Flagstaff and then driven back. We did bring them some local (Phoenix) oranges. They weren't that good. Bek called the hospital that night. They were still planning to extubate. As we piled in the car to go back to our hotel (Hotel Angeleno--underneath the Getty Museum, off the 405--not bad), I told Bek that I thought the baby could do it.
And, the next day, as we drove home, she did. She's been off the vent since Tuesday. Today is Thursday. Everyday I send a note telling that girl to keep it up. And she does.
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Max and Zoe and I took Cleo walking in the forest. We painted. We went grocery shopping. We cooked dinner and hung out with Erik's parents. Zoe and I found a full set of dishes at the thrift store for 40 bucks. I have only bought individual plates before. I still have one from Pic & Save that I bought before I left for college. This set came with bowls and cups and saucers and salad plates.
They are white and very matchy. I kept that one from Pic & Save for back up.
Sam came over Friday night for corned beef and hash. Saturday, I tried to reproduce chile rellenos. They were pretty good. Sunday, 19 inches of snow and yet our friends drove over from the other side of town for enchiladas. Monday, an extra day of spring break because the University closed campus for snow, Erik took Max and Z sledding. Max took 4 runs and, after a spray in the face of snow, said, "I done." Z went off a jump and hurt her back on the last ride. Naps for all and the kids were recovered. We went snow shoeing and sledding again later in the day off the gentler her in the forest behind the in-law's house. I cooked for dinner something much like paella that was far more work than it was worth but with my father-in-law's help, much fun.
The return to school yesterday was rough. Department politics and the general sense that the semester should be over by now made it hard to trudge through the snow toward my office. But my students came to visit me in office hours and the essays we read for class were stellar, so I do think I'll make it through these last 7 weeks, especially because we're going camping this weekend with those same friends from Angelus Oaks because it's hot in the desert and there aren't that many chances to actually go places with friends and this town, though lovely in the snow, is returned to winter and I'm 100% ready for spring.