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On Thursday, I remembered the days my oldest daughter would make me cry with her hurtful words and disrespectful attitude; the days I thought would never end and that my daughter and I would never get past the “teen angst” stage.

Tina is now 23.She lives near me and works about a half hour from me.My house is between her apartment and her work so every day she stops by after work and I feed her.Sometimes she stays and watches a DVD and other times she runs off after she eats but I get to see her and spend quality time with her.Since her cat died, almost two weeks ago, she has been depressed and has had to hurry home to keep her other cat company because he’s lonely without Noisemaker so I’ve missed spending time with her.

She had two back to back days off this week, Wednesday and Thursday.On Wednesday, she took me (well we went in my car but she drove because she says I drive too slow) to Kendall-Jackson to pick up my wine club shipment and we did some tasting, too.Afterwards, we went out for dinner and she treated me.That was nice, for a change.I usually pay and she knew that I am really short on money this month so she told me not to worry about the bill.She’d take care of it.We had a nice dinner then we came home and she took a nap before going home.On Thursday, we went to Napa to the Clos du vin winery.I had a card for complimentary wine tasting for two (it normally costs $10 per person).The drive out to Napa was nice and leisurely.A lot of the trees are changing color, yes even in California this happens.Vines are heavy with grape clusters.The air was fresh and crisp.The wine at the winery was much better than anticipated.Normally, Tina likes only white wines but at that winery, she liked the reds, too.In fact, she bought a bottle.

We drove around a bit and visited a couple of other wineries before getting really hungry.She announced she was taking me to the Big 3, which is one of the restaurants at the hotel where she works, in Sonoma.We headed there and when we got there, it was nice to have her introduce me to her friends from work and to see her enjoying the people she works with.She just started that job less than three months ago so I hadn’t been there with her before.The food was delicious.I had roasted salmon and she had a meatloaf sandwich.Then she ordered a dessert for us to share.It was delicious (brownie topped with whipped cream, caramel, bananas, and vanilla bean ice cream).She was so proud to pick up the bill and put it on her employee discount (50 %).She encouraged me to select something from the gift shop but I really didn’t need anything so I told her “another time.”

On the way home, we decided to see a movie at the theater where my other daughter works (family gets in for free, any time).We called her and she said there were several movies we could catch if we came right over.We got there and waited a while before seeing Two Nights In Paris.While we waited, Susie (my youngest daughter) brought us free soft drinks and popcorn.Her co-workers stopped by to talk to us.Finally, it was time to see the movie.I truly enjoyed it.The movie.The dinner.The wineries.The drive time with Tina. The time spent with my girls.

Years ago, I thought these days would never come.

Clos du vin winery, Napa

 

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Last week my youngest daughter was leaving on a trip to New York and Washington, D.C. I was supposed to take her to the airport (about an hour and ten minutes from home) but I wasn’t feeling well. I called my older daughter at work and she left work an hour early to drive us. However, the younger daughter, Susie, wasn’t ready on time. She was so late getting ready that we left home a full hour and a half later than we had planned. Were it not for my older daughter driving, Susie would have missed her flight, but because her sister drives fast, we made it to the airport in under an hour. Although it was twenty minutes til take-off, Susie made it through check-in, security, and to the gate before the flight left.

Tina, my older daughter, was good about it and only complained once, saying that had we known Susie was going to be so late, she could have worked the extra hour. I agreed. Once we got the “okay call” from Susie and we knew she was on the flight, Tina and I needed to eat. Because it was late, after nine, we knew there would not be a lot of choices open to us in the Oakland area, at least not in any neighborhoods we wanted to visit. I suggested that we take the Bay Bridge into San Francisco instead of the Richmond Bridge toward home. I joked that at the very least, I could get us to the 24 hour Mel’s Diner on Lombard or the 24 hour IHOP. While on the bridge, I noticed Fisherman’s Wharf in the distance and suggested we try Pier 39 where I knew there was a Hard Rock Café. My daughter loves to eat at the Hard Rock and has eaten at about 20 of their international locations. I figured it would be a treat to thank her for leaving work early and driving us to the airport. I knew she had never been to this particular location and that she would love to add one more souvenir glass to her Hard Rock wall.

We found the restaurant easily and the parking lot across from Pier 39. We rushed ahead of a group of slow walking tourists because we only had about 45 minutes until the restaurant closed. I had a funny feeling, you know, the kind that tells you something is wrong but you don’t know what. We were seated right away and ordered our food and drinks. Without much waiting, our food arrived and we ate and had a nice chat. Tina told me about some of the people at work and some of the hotel guests she has checked into the resort hotel where she works. We had a very nice time at dinner.

When it was time to leave, I realized I didn’t have the parking ticket to have it validated.  She said it wasn’t a big deal, I had probably left it in the car so we walked back to the parking lot. No parking ticket in the car. We would have to pay the maximum, thirty dollars.  Not good when I was already regretting having splurged on the dinner! She was stubborn and insisted they would give us a discount or the real rate if we showed them the receipt from the dinner. I didn’t think so. I was right. The attendant, in barely understandable English, said we’d have to walk back to the restaurant and get a validation then come back and he’d talk to the manager and see if they could discount the rate. My stubborn daughter insisted that she wasn’t going to walk “way back to the restaurant in the freezing cold” and that there must be someone she could talk to about it. Yes, she got part of her stubborn genes from me but she also got her father’s stubborness so she has a “double stubborn whammy”! She kept arguing with the attendant who finally told her to park on the side then he left. We assumed he was coming back. He didn’t. We waited twenty minutes. He didn’t come back. Tina was really upset. She tried to pay the maximum with her credit card but we didn’t have a ticket so the machine could not process it. She wanted to drive through the arm across the exit and just leave. Not a good idea, I told her. It was my car. There were police around. I told her “don’t do it” because we wouldn’t get more than twenty feet away without the cops following us and then we’d both be in trouble, not to mention my car would be damaged. She drove around the lot hoping to find someone else’s lost ticket. She even tried pushing the button at the entrance to get a new ticket. No luck. I finally convinced her to let me walk to the office to get some help. She drove me to the office where we ran into a police man and we explained we needed to get out but had no ticket. She was all smiles for him! He got an attendant to come out and we paid the maximum (my cash which we really couldn’t afford at the end of the month) and left. She didn’t speak to me the rest of the way home except to mutter under her breath, “Next time give me the ticket.” Actually, it is common practice for someone else to carry the ticket because they get lost in my huge purse. I didn’t dare tell her that for fear she’d bite my head off or drive the car over the Golden Gate Bridge!

At least we both now have fresh San Francisco Hard Rock Café souvenir glasses. Not all was lost.

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Yes sir!  My daughter was born to the wrong mother.  I don’t know how it all happened.  I was sure that was far beyond the realm of possibility but I have been wrong all these years.  Now, just two weeks shy of her seventeenth birthday, I have realized, and so has she, that she got the wrong mother!

She meant to be born to the mother that would buy her the $345 Diane Von Furstenberg dress that she put on hold when she was at Nordstrom’s the other day.  She took me to see it today, only telling me that there was a dress on hold for her and failing to tell me the price.  I looked at it and agreed that it was beautiful and that it would be a great addition to her wardrobe.  It is red.  Not a bright red but a deep, rich red.  It has classic lines and a lot of possibilities as far as accessories are concerned.  However, I took a look at the price tag and nearly dropped.  She has expensive clothes.  Her favorite designer is Marc Jacobs and she owns about ten Marc Jacobs pieces.  However, all but two of them were bought on sale…deep sales at the end of the season.  One skirt was originally priced at $340 and we paid a mere $15 for it, brand new, perfect condition at Macy’s.  So she has beautiful clothes.  Expensive clothes.  Clothes that I did not pay full designer price for.  But this dress, at this time, is just not possible.  And Nordstrom doesn’t have any kind of layaway.  So it was get it and make her very happy and me very anxious about the next month’s finances, or not get it and make her regret that I’m her mother.  I just could not get it.  Just not possible.

So she didn’t say anything mean.  She was good about it.  However, she lacked the sparkle in her eye and the spring in her step and the beautiful “I love you mommie” smile.   I felt bad.  I still do.  But right now, there is just no way.  And she has to understand that.

We ended up extending the hold til next Tuesday, on the outside chance that we figure out a way to get it.

Maybe she will find the right mother by then.

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I think the only thing that I had planned for the weekend that was actually accomplished was to finish reading my book. However, that isn’t so bad.

Late Saturday, my middle daughter Tina, came over and we watched movies til late so we could stay up all night to go to the hot air balloon festival at 4 AM. Around 2:30, she got a call from her room mate saying she had decided not to go with us because she had stayed out too late and wouldn’t be able to get up in time. So we re-evaluated the plan and decided not to go at all. Then Tina got the idea to drive to Lake Tahoe, if it was doable in a day and spend the night. I said it was so the plan was mapped out. She went to her apartment to sleep a few hours and get her things together to go to Lake Tahoe, a drive I thought would be about 6 hours.

At noon the next day (well a few hours later, actually), once I had tried to sleep with no success, I went to pick her up to get going on our drive. She drove. She loves to drive my car so she drove all the way, although we did make a stop in Placerville. We walked around and had some lunch before continuing on the road to Tahoe. All told, it took us about five hours of driving time to get there. We found a place to stay and rested for a couple of hours before walking around town.

For dinner, we decided on the Hard Rock Cafe. Tina loves the HRC and has eaten about 20 or so worldwide locations. We had a great dinner. The food was great, the waiter was not only attentive but also cute! Then we headed out for a bit of gambling…slot machines. She was, as usual, broke. I gave her $60 to gamble. She managed to make it last all night. When we got back to the hotel room, she still had over $40. She got hungry so we ordered room service. I really wanted to go get something a little cheaper. In fact, I had my eye on a hot dog and draft beer combo for only $2.50. I only eat meat once a week and the hot dogs really smelled great, however Tina’s twisted ankle (from a week earlier) was swollen and purple and very painful so I let her order a pizza from room service that we’d share.

The next day, we drove from Lake Tahoe to Carson City and visited the museum which also houses the now non-operational mint. We drove around town a little bit, looking at some of the Victorian style homes then headed for Reno as Tina has wanted to take a picture of the Reno–Biggest Little City In the World sign. After getting lost in town, we found downtown, parked, and took lots of pictures of the sign. We headed for a restaurant inside one of the hotel casinos (the Fitzgerald) for some much needed lunch. Afterwards, we did a little gambling and walking around town and finally headed out around 8 PM, headed for home.

Reno Sign

From the freeway (80) we spotted a large fire so we got off to take a look. We ended up taking lots of fire pictures and watching as the helicopters dropped water over the flames and then as the flames kicked up and grew with the high winds. Finally we got back on the road and drove to Roseville where I was absolutely too starved and weak to go on. We found an In n Out and I had my fourth burger of the trip, although it was my first actual meat burger. Once we had eaten, we headed for home. I had been driving all day. When we got an hour away from home, I couldn’t drive any more as I was absolutely exhausted and my vision was even more blurry than it usually is. I found a 24 hour Jack In the Box, got coffee, and let Tina drive the rest of the way home. I even had her drop me off at home and take my car to her apartment as I was too tired to even think of having to drive myself home after driving her home.

It was a pretty neat trip. Just enough. We got some bonding time which is hard to do with her little sister around. We plan on going back to Tahoe. In fact, we’re thinking it would be great to rent a cabin and go there for Thanksgiving with the other two and any friends that want to tag along. I think it will be fun. Let’s see if it happens.

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