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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Friends to Gualala

We spent the last weekend of March up in Gualala--so sort of a last "hurrah" vacation-wise before my teaching duties started for spring quarter.  I lined up my intern to work 3 of the 5 days I would be out of town so I didn't miss out on any instrument time.  There were a few goals of this weekend: let Eddie spent some time with his Grammy and Papa, take a tour of the daycare in Point Arena that Eddie might go to when we move, attend the playgroup in Gualala so I could meet some other parents and kids, and have some friends come up for a visit.

Eddie, the dogs, and I headed up to Gualala on Wednesday evening, arriving in plenty of time to walk downtown to get pizza and ice cream at the store before Papa and Dave got out of their meeting.  I should have taken Waddo up to the park for a bit because it ended up raining the rest of the trip and we never did go. 

Thursday, while Dave was at work, Eddie and I played outside in the rain and then spent a good deal of time painting pictures up at Grammy's house.  
My real Taters
My painted (and rather flat) Taters
Eddie helped Grammy wash the lunch dishes
We got to eat lunch with John and Dave, too. I phoned the daycare center to find out if we could visit and we scheduled a tour at 3pm that day, which was great since it gave us something to do (and as an added bonus, Dave came along).  
South Coast Daycare
Eddie was just as interested in the puddle outside as he was in the toys inside. 
Eddie seemed to fit right in to the daycare setting.  In fact, we could have left and he wouldn't have noticed.  He went straight to the car/train area and began playing.  Dave and I got some information from the place and Dave caught up with the director, who was Dave's daycare/preschool teacher when he was a tot!  We couldn't believe how much cheaper childcare is up on the coast--it's about half the cost of his current care, meaning that maybe we can afford to have a second child after all!  There is a proper preschool (pre-K) program nearer to the public school and I still need to look into that, too.  The facilities are super close together so I'm hoping that we can enroll him in both for the year before he starts kindergarten so he can get to know some new friends.

When we got back to the ridge, we played outside in the fog and rain with the puppy pies.  John and Peggy's puppy is CRAZY--she's obsessed with Ruby, who doesn't like having an annoying puppy jump all over her and nip at her.  Dave claims that the puppy is calm and sweet when there are no other dogs around.  I guess I'll just have to trust that he's telling the truth because I've never seen anything but craziness.

We stayed at the Coast House, which was nice since we weren't in Peggy's space the whole time.  The only downside was the inconvenience of having to bring a bunch of stuff from her house since it is definitely incomplete (we needed various cooking implements and ingredients plus bedding).  

That house was slated to be rented out to some Thai restauranteurs within a week, so we made good use of the 5 bedrooms by inviting 4 couples to visit (the Porters, the Nugers, the Levie-Whitneys, and the Miracle-Hackels).  Normally Eddie gets his own room, but this time Auntie and Uncle used "his" room...so we put a twin mattress inside one of the giant closets in our room and closed the sliding doors and...ta da!  We had a sleeping nook for Wadamus.  The door had to swing out quite a bit for this to work, but work it did!  He liked his little room.  
I forgot to bring a blanket down from Grammy's house for him
so he had to use a spare mattress pad instead.
Friday morning we slept in and then had breakfast out with Dave at our favorite cafe, Trink's.   Then Dave went to work while Eddie and I bought some books at the Four-Eyed Frog before going to Action Network for a playgroup.  We met a few other parents with kids about Eddie's age--some locals and a Sea Rancher (lots of people have weekend/vacation homes at SR but live elsewhere).  Everyone was really nice and the playgroup was awesome--free and they provided snacks for the kiddos!

That afternoon, Robby and Tina arrived with their dog, Susy.  We took them up to the airport to meet Peggy and to exercise the dogs along the runway.  It was so foggy up there, though, that I doubt they could really tell we were on a runway since the visibility was like 50 feet.  Susy went running through a ditch of water over and over and over again, with most of the other dogs following right behind her.  So all 4 doggies got a bath before we headed back down to the coast house.  That night, before anyone else arrived, we made Thai curry and noodles for dinner.  Late that night everyone else arrived.

Saturday morning after a French toast breakfast, half the group headed up to Point Arena to tour the light house while the rest of us read/relaxed/napped/cooked/cleaned up the house.  After the light house, the Nuger-Levie-Whitney crew went downtown for brisket, gelato, and then coffee.  They came back happy and in a bit of a food coma.

As it was getting dark, the Bower-Miracle-Hackel crew took a walk down to the bluff in front of the Coast House.  That property isn't in the family anymore and there's a new house there, too.  But the owner wasn't there (you can see right inside the still unfurnished house) so we felt that it was probably okay to go down.  We could see two big storm systems headed right for us--right there on the bluff it seemed--big, dark thunderhead clouds coming from the north and from the south.  We went down on the sandstone cliffs a bit, until we could feel the wind pick up and then temperature suddenly drop.
We took some pictures and then scooted back up to the house.  And it was a good thing, too, because those storms really did collide right at our part of the coast.  The wind suddenly got crazy intense, it hailed and rained, and the lightening and thunder were only seconds apart.  Taters went outside to pee right as all this was starting and the wind was so forceful that he nearly fell over, standing there with one leg up.  Poor Rhubarb was inside shaking like crazy because she does not like thunder.  Jennifer had been telling me how much she loves thunder (as do I) and how she was looking forward to it.  She came out of the bathroom just as everyone was commenting on how loud the thunder had just been.  And guess what?  She missed it!  She must have flushed the toilet at the exact moment of the loud boom.  Haha, poor Auntie.

While it stormed outside, we got a fire going in the fireplace, opened some beer and wine, and started making dinner.  It was quite a feast: abalone, steel head, crab, browned rice gnocchis with creamy pesto sauce, salad and GF tiramisu that I'd made that afternoon (a birthday cake, of sorts, for Dave and me).  I wish I had an assembly line of helpers every time I fried abalone and fish--man, was it helpful!
Eddie helped Jeremy pound the abalone.
Flour/egg/flour, fry, drain. And Robby made the gnocchi's.
Susy and Taters manned the window, looking for deer.
Eddie and Papa watched us cook.
Eddie missed his nap that day so he caught some zzz's on Uncle's lap.
And by "missed" I mean "refused to take."
The whole crew!
The next morning we were going to have Eddie's typical breakfast: oatmeal and eggs.  But the Irish oats I brought, although unopened and not marked with a sell-by date, were rancid.  I cooked them anyway in case anyone didn't mind (some didn't) but most of us just ate eggs, chips, and salsa.  Then we packed and cleaned the house.  Everyone headed up to the airport so we could exercise the dogs and play on some heavy equipment. Each person got a turn on the mini excavator and a backhoe tractor.  Auntie and Uncle were lucky enough to get a turn WITH an Eddie on their laps!
Jeremy on the backhoe.
Tina--a construction manager by day--on the excavator.
These silly dogs were so tired and had bloodied paws from running on the
pavement so much but they still wanted Dave to play with them.
Brian--an amateur pilot--was super excited to see a plane land while we were up there.  He and Melissa had wanted to fly up there for the weekend, but obviously the weather was not cooperating (until Sunday, that is).  Next time, Brian!  

He and Melissa took off, and then the Porters did, too.  The rest of us played outside a bit more and then got some take-out lunch from Bones.  We ate it at the Coast House and then headed down to Annapolis to visit the winery.  

I've passed the winery sign for years and never took the time to visit.  I'm glad we did this time.  It's a bit out of the way, but was a nice outing on an otherwise normal trip home.  Our great aunt used to be the teacher at the Annapolis school a looooooooooong time ago and it was fun to see that community after hearing my mom talk about it for so long.  We passed the Star Cross Community, too, and I enjoyed reading about it online afterward (I might order some of their award wining olive oil).  The winery's tasting room was nice, especially with the doors open since it was a nice, clear day outside, letting Eddie do his thing while we did ours.  There's plenty of room for picnicking and playing lacrosse, bocce ball, and croquet (they provide all the equipment)...alternatively, there's plenty of room for a toddler to run around playing with all the balls and sporting implements.  
Me and Dave in the tasting room.
There was also a bucket of mud that Eddie found
to be quite amusing.
Dave had driven his work truck out to the winery so we said goodbye at the stop sign (Highway 1 and Annapolis Road). When I got home that night (at like 9pm), I told Dave that I can't drive away from him many more times before I cave in and just decide to stay.  It was a great 4-5 days with him!  I can't wait  until I don't have to drive away after a weekend up there...soon...but not soon enough...

3 comments:

Leah Roy said...

I just looked up on a map where exactly Gualala is, should have done that sooner. And out of the all the things you wrote I have to comment that A. My kids often sleep in closets, especially when we travel and visit family. B. The lighthouse visit and abalone assembly line is awesome, I've never had abalone before but I'm positive I would love it. C. Eddie sleeping on Edward made me say "awwww" outloud.

steph.kelley said...

I just love the pictures of Dave with all the dogs looking at him expectantly. And the pic of y'all cooking together. And of the doggies at the window. What a fun weekend! xoxo

Mariah said...

sounds like a dreamy weekend! 5 bedrooms that will be awesome (are you going to have a lab room when you move there? Is that legal? If its not I won't tell but you should totally do it)