04.28.22 Reach the Beach. (Journal)

Hey guys! Long time no hear. Just returned back home from our annual ‘family trip’ to see my big Sis Nick and her fam out in SoCal near L.A. It was such an amazing time! Not only did my baby sis Kris get us a super swank nice ‘honeymoon suite’ room right off the beach (which was fabulous, old-world beach condo), but we took our Mama to Catalina Island for her 69th birthday on April 22nd.

I arrived in SoCal a day before my Texas family, because my ticket was $200 cheaper that way (meaning a RT ticket from ABQ to John Wayne Airport was like $250. Amazing deal! Especially right now with gas prices surging. When I arrived (after a 3-hour layover at PHX), my Sis picked me up, took us to buy some party favors (at the “Apple Store” of liquor stores), we went for a walk and jog at a local park which I can’t remember the name of. It had so many steps and stairways, and my sis loved it for working out her legs. It sat right there on the water, a home community surrounded by trees and walkways, and it was so pretty. It was near San Clemente Pier, I know that. Anyway, after that, we went shopping for Mom’s birthday and I bought some goodies at a thrift store and Dollar Tree (I’m ghetto like that. Got some super cool $1.25 DVD’s! Haha). It was nice to spend the night at her house, too, and when my TX family arrived the next day, we moved into a cool chateau right off the beach called Enchanted something or other. It was expensive for her, but she was glad to oblige, and it was a memory I will never forget. It was actually pretty tiny, and four of us had to live in there – Haha – but it was such a charming place.

Speaking of the trip over to Catalina Island… the next day on Friday. The ride over was amazing! We took this huge tourist barge called Catalina Flyer from Balboa Island (round trip tickets online were about $60 for a RT ticket, look for deals), and it was totally worth it. However, when we boarded the boat, we were near the end, and had to crawl up on top where we were exposed to the elements on the second floor. The main Cap’n guy said over the intercom that he’d “never seen winds like this, ever!” and that scared me a little shitless, tbh.

About 15 minutes in, the 3-story barge began swaying and careening. My Mom and I were clutching on to one another. There were literally huge football player dudes turning white and holding onto handrails like little babies. It was so funny. Mom and I chuckled a little, helped some young ones to their seats (and some elderly with their balance), the waves came up against the barge like those that sunk the Titanic. I honestly thought we’d end up on Gilligan’s Island! It was insane, for real. At the end, my baby sis Kris did threw up in her son’s chip bag (oops!) – even after taking some of the readily available medicine for sea sickness, which the boat happily sold or gave away back at the bar, where all the young ones were buying expensive alcoholic drinks in white basic paper cups. It was like a frat house party on the high seas! (with all the frat jocks throwing up like babies, of course.)

When we arrived on Catalina Island proper, it was a sight to behold. It didn’t look like much coming up in the boat with the island at a far distance, but once we arrived, I noticed there were only golf carts driving around and very few ‘cars,’ but that makes sense – my big sis Nick explained it all to me; she lives in SoCal and she and her family have visited Catalina Island often. My Big Sis and little sis Kris got us a 6-person golf cart, which you take off from the main shopping area and drive up into the high mountains. It was so fun! While all 500 pounds of our golf cart chugged along (I was about 260 of that!), the sights were so insanely pretty and magical. The wind was still surging all over, depending on which direction we were facing, but we made it through various communities, beach front shopping areas, bars and the like, which we partook in, we made it back to the shopping area after lunch at a fish and chips restaurant, and a couple of hours later (and a much calmer boat ride over since we secured seats on the inside with Mom), was much much improved! On the boat ride over, it was still extremely choppy and insane, but sitting inside meant I could play on my Surface Go tablet thing and calm my nerves, all the while talking with Mom and big sis Kris further up, with the kids (my niece and nephew and 35-year-old baby sis) just a few seats behind, playing games together in the large cabin of three rows of tables and chairs. The island was so beautiful, we definitely needed more time there! The tumultuous windy boat ride was so worth it, and we got to see a little slice o’ paradise.

We spent the next day on the beach and did some nice shopping (and some awesome brunch and dinner) and playing in the water and on the shore. This little 5-year-old boy started playing ball with us, and it was so cute. I captured much of that one video which I hope to post soon. That last beach day and brunch at this amazing crepe restaurant on the strip in San Clemente, really sealed the deal for me… all of this surviving Covid and working hard and paying a mortage and being an adult… it’s all so I can just spend more time with these amazing people – my mom, big sis Nick, little sis Kris, niece Daisy, nephew Damian and bro-in-law Scott. Life’s too short, and I’m so glad I get to spend it with great people like this. I got to spend some time shopping with my niece and Mom on the town trolley in San Clemente. Memories I’ll cherish.

I’m blessed.


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