Saturday came early to the Odyssey. After staying up far too late on Friday night, we woke up at the absurdly early hour of 9:15 to meet Carl and Azlina down in Redwood City for brunch. There you see Carl at the front door of his palatial estate, greeting us in a style eerily reminiscent of Jack Nicholson in "The Shining." Hmm. Were we in immediate danger of death and/or dismemberment? Should we be wary? Should we be suspicious? Should we turn tail and run?
Well, probably not. See, I've known Carl for a long time. He was one of my freshman roommates in college, and an aside from an alarming tendency to fly off the handle at anyone who criticizes or makes light of
he's pretty much the nicest guy you could ever hope to meet. Hardly any antisocial tendencies at all, which is more than you can say for a lot of my friends. Or relatives, for that matter...:-).
|Carl wasted no time on formalities, shepherding us right on into the house and into the kitchen where we saw...oh, my. That's just incredible. Laid out in front of us was an incredible performance in the Art of Brunch. Azlina had taken the medium to new heights, boldly combining form with function, informing the whole spectacle with a flair all her own. There were pancakes. French toast. Rosemary potatoes. Chocolate-chip pancakes. Fresh fruit o' many flavors. An asparagus quiche that was not to be believed. We were thunderstruck, awed, standing there all googly-eyed. I'm pretty sure I could hear Kristanne's stomach start rumbling at the sight of so much good food -- mine was doing a good impression of a rap concert, burbling and thumping with a booty-shaking bass.|
|It was so nice to sit back and eat an artfully prepared meal at a leisurely pace with a couple good friends. Outside, the sun was shining and a pair of doves hunted for seed at the base of a tree. Carl's cats even seemed to feel good. Well, at least Sheeba did (at left, below). She's kind of a glory hog. Only Azlina could coax Gnocci (at right, below) out from under the bed for a picture. They're both pretty cute, eh? We've really been missing our two cats the last couple weeks and this just made us that more anxious to get back home and pick them up. Only a few more days!|
Our joy with all creatures great and small pretty much ends at the insect world, though. Remember that picture a few days ago of Otto with that VW Transporter? Well, it turns out that Otto managed to pick up a little ant infestation while he was parked there. At first, we noticed just a few, climbing here and there on empty soda cans, just generally being a nuisance. Then, we noticed...the trail. Yup. A full-blown trail of tiny little ants traversing the length of the base of the sliding door, across the cabin, up the driver's side door, and then...nowhere. It just sort of disappeared. This was no good. We didn't drive two and a half months through roach-infested country only to be felled by these microscopic little wimp-ants. No way, man.
|We set to smoking some punk ants, crushing them where they lay. That's us at right, bringing some mayhem to the ant world. I punctuated each squash with a triumphant cry of, "I kill you ugly!" That seemed kinda funny, and it made the destruction a little more enjoyable. Kristanne, however, was not having any of that lighthearted nonsense. She seemed to be taking the whole struggle just a bit more seriously, offering up taunts like, "stupid little ant, all your friends are dead. How do you feel about that, huh? Now, you're dead, too, stupid little ant. Dead, dead, dead, dead. How does that feel?" Kinda scary, but she did seem to be doing an amazing job of racking up ant-kills, so we let it ride. Finally, Carl brought out the big guns -- some Necro 10,000 Liquid Ant Death, or some such monstrosity. We sprayed a stripe along the outside edge of their trail just to make sure they wouldn't come back again. Sure, it took off the paint, but I think it was worth it.|
After dealing with the ants, it was time for Kristanne and I to head back north. We needed to get packed and out of the Bay Area before nightfall. Vince was eagerly awaiting the arrival of Jen back from Spain, and we wanted to be out of their way since they hadn't seen each other for almost a month. So, we said our goodbyes to Carl and Azlina, thanking them for a wonderful morning\afternoon, and headed north, back to the city.
We parked Otto on the sidewalk underneath the condo, and set to loading him up, ready to hit the road again after a week of pleasant domesticity. The Odyssey, as you might have noticed, is starting to wind down and we wanted to take advantage of the time we had left.
|Vince was pretty much a frenzy of cleaning activity when we got back. Floors were being scrubbed, dishes washed, bookcases dusted, and bathrooms disinfected. It was a side of Vince I had never seen. He looked positively giddy from the Pine-Sol, stopping long enough for a hug and a picture as we headed out the door, bound for the Napa Valley. It was sure nice of Vince to let us stay for a week. Hopefully, we'll get to return the favor once we're settled up in Seattle.|
Then, we were off, leaving the Bay Area for the last time on this Odyssey. As we headed north, I thought to myself, "We'll never be further south than this again on this trip." You can look forward to a lot more of those, "this is the last time I'll do item x on the Odyssey" kind of lines in the next couple days as we look back with nostalgia at what has been a wonderful summer. We close with Today's Scenic Shot of the Golden Gate. Enjoy it, and we'll see you tomorrow!
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