So, you know what happens when you write about things going well? Things start not going well.
So! I always wanted to visit Sioux Falls, North Dakota. Except not. Smoke in the cabin, emergency landing, boo!
— Jen Wilson (@jenwilsonca) June 22, 2013
Somewhere over Nebraska (it took all my will power not to say the rainbow), a smoke smell started to fill the cabin of the plane. I immediately panicked. Because, why would you not?! The snack cart was almost at my seat when the flight attendants, after racing back and forth from the cart to the cockpit, decided to put the cart away. Then the captain came on over the speakers and said that we were diverting to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, just to play it safe. By this time the smell had dissipated, but they still wanted to play it safe.
Ten minutes later, however, the smell came back. The captain came back over the speakers and said that the smoke smell was most likely coming from the forest fires in Colorado, and not from anything to do with the plane, but that we still needed to go to Sioux Falls.
At this point my seat mates and I started chatting, after ignoring each other up to that point. Am I the only one who is a head-down traveler? I get nervous when I have to make small talk with people in confined spaces. It makes me panic. We figured we should have gone to Salt Lake City instead, as it was closer to San Diego, and would have a much bigger airport to spend our time in. Too bad we didn’t have a say in the decision. After two hours of flying, we ended up only 45 minutes from where we started.
It wasn’t so bad, though. I had dinner with my seat mates (a navy guy in a full-white uniform and a financial planner, both from the New York area) and our new plane came five and a half hours later. The guys reminded me of my brother Brandon and my dad. I liked them instantly, and the time passed quickly. And my delay meant that the Actuallys got an unexpected afternoon date, so that wasn’t so bad either.
We finally made it to San Diego, though. Safely. Without smelling that smoke again. The Timbits even arrived safely, without a single one of them being eaten.
Bethany, Annalie, Elliora, and Debbie were waiting for me at the bottom of the escalator after I finally made it through customs. (US customs people are a scary bunch.) It was a bit surreal to see the four of them standing there. I had to keep reminding myself that we hadn’t actually breathed the same air before, because it feels like I’ve known them for years, which, really, I have.
We originally talked about going to In-N-Out as a late lunch, but as it turns out we did it for dinner. And it was so good. I’d been there before, seven and a half years earlier, when Noah and I were in San Diego on our honeymoon. I hope it isn’t another seven and a half years before I eat there again.
The next morning Bethany took me to a place I was quite looking forward to visiting: Trader Joe’s. We need one in Saskatoon.
We had grand plans to have a 7 Days meet-up at a park an hour or so north of San Diego, but it was super busy so we all ended up at Brenda’s (Secret Agent Josephine) place. If you’ve spent any time reading her blog, you’ll know she loves a party.
It was a perfect location. There was enough green space for all of us to sit on picnic blankets, and there was lots of room for the kids to run around. It was funny walking into Brenda’s house, because she’s posted photos of it on her blog, so I already knew where everything was. Meeting blogging friends is the very best thing ever. No need for small talk, and no need to ask where the bathroom is.
We drove by a military base on the way to Brenda’s, but I cannot remember what it was called. We saw the above plane and helicopter, and I figured my dad would appreciate photos of them, even though they’re off in the distance.
Here’s the other thing about hanging out with a bunch of bloggers/7 Days people: everyone always has a camera in their hands. It’s quite hilarious, but also awesome, because nobody is weirded out when a shutter clicks every three seconds. Since I couldn’t access any data on my phone down there (well, I could but I wouldn’t have liked my bill upon my arrival home), I used my big camera more than I have in longer than I can remember. I missed it.
If my trip to San Diego was for this meet-up alone, it would have been completely worth it. I got to hang out with people I talk to all the time, but have never met in the flesh, and it make me love them all even more. Having a bunch of kids around was also quite good for me. It made me feel like my kids were there, just around playing, so I didn’t have to miss them too much.
It’s funny, Brenda said that she did not expect my voice to sound like it did, and I thought the same about her and Sonja’s voices. It’s weird how you can spend so many years talking to people and not know things like what their voice sounds like or how tall they are. I was also surprised at how short Bethany is (“I have a big personality!” is what she said to that). I felt tall when I hung out with her, which is weird for me, as I’m usually the short one.
Bonnie had hoped to travel with me and Bethany to LeakyCon, but the stars were not aligning right, so she sent Knut in her place. He was a cute replacement, but definitely not as awesome as Bonnie.
I tried to FaceTime with the kids every day, and when they were heading to bed that night, we were still at Brenda’s so we FaceTime’d there. I then told them that I was at Secret Agent Josephine’s house and they were STOKED. They love her books and her crafts, and she’s basically a celebrity in our house. They asked to say hi to her, so I put Brenda on the screen and kids did just that. They said, “HI!” and then said nothing else. Not too surprising, as that’s usually how conversations with kids go, but I thought it was funny that they wanted to talk to her so bad and then had nothing to say.
I could have flown home at the end of that day completely, 100% satisfied with my trip. Though, actually, I would have hung around for at least one more day, as I really, really wanted to see the ocean. Have I mentioned that I miss it?
We didn’t stay at the beach long, as we had other things we needed to accomplish, but it was the perfect amount of time to fill my pacific ocean void. If Noah and the kids had been there with us, Noah would have been frolicking in the waves with Annalie. That dude loves the ocean, too. He also loves San Diego, so, really, we need to just move there.
I didn’t have any agenda of things I wanted to do while in San Diego, as I didn’t know how much time we had, and I didn’t want to seem demanding, but when Bethany suggested we go pottery painting, I was on it like white on rice.
Bethany timed it so that the pottery would be fired by the time we were back from LeakyCon, therefore making it so that I could take my piece home with me. Smart, she is. It was quite fun dotterying with the Queen of Dottery.
I absolutely loved the Actually’s house. It felt very home-like, it had a fantastic view, it had lemon and orange trees in the back yard, and the people living there are quite swell, too.
Our days had been so full and our time so well-spent, and we hadn’t even gotten to the original point of my trip there yet. But that shall come in another post. I think I’ve made you read enough at this point, if you’ve made it this far, which, if you have, you are my hero.