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The Family Bandwagon

Our family is spread out across the country and across the world, and what better way to keep in touch than a collaborative digital journal?

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Happy Easter

Happy Easter family,

Dayna and Bruce and Glenn , Dee and Jules , $30 in accounts from Nana and I. D&B will have to wait until next visit to collect and spend.

Great to read about how busy Lisa and co and Damien, Chez, Oz and Lil have been over the Easter break. Will be good to see them tonight here for an egg hunt and dinner. I made the white choc cheesecake so plenty of chocolate to be had.

I had a very quiet Good Friday and Easter Saturday. Went dancing last night and am having a very domestic Sunday. Will dance again tomorrow and Tuesday.

Love and hugs to all.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Playing in the snow

After a mostly restful night at the hotel, we packed up our luggage and carted it over to The Shire (our head office, two blocks away). It's hot here, positively balmy! So much for Winter.

We had enough time to rustle up a rough lunch snack before our bus left. Well, I say "our bus", but the fact is we didn't HAVE a bus - we weren't even on the list. Somehow I missed the RSVP. Luckily there was spare room, so we bundled ourselves on and hankered down for the four hour ride.

We finally made it to the ski village, after a lot of Giggle and Hoot on the iPad and a terrible meal at In And Out Burger. Another short bus trip from the resort building to check-in, then we were (finally!) ferried to our Inn.

And our room is huge! Older, but still lovely, with a fireplace, little kitchenette and small balcony. Audible sigh of relief, from each of us. We don't unpack so much as unzip the backpack and let it explode all over the room - but no time to spare, as we leg it back to Olympic House for dinner.

Which is when we see the logo - a giant Palantir circle-motif blazing fierce and bright on the side of the mountain. Incredible. We found a seat in the packed hall, and I filled a couple of plates with random buffet food. We ate quickly for Jules' sake, headed home and got him to bed. Then Dee went out for supplies. We sat in front of the fire, watched strange television and drank apple moonshine and wine.

Today we slept in (praise jet lag), then took Jules out for breakfast and a play in the snow. He enjoyed it, I think, but was a bit weirded out by it - crawling along on his stomach, touching the snow lightly with his fingertips, kicking snow drifts. He (and we) tired out pretty quickly, and came home for a lovely long nap.

Pizza for dinner, Inception on telly, bags packed for the journey back to Palo Alto tomorrow. Relaxed!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Welcome to America - Go F&€# Yourself!

Sitting in our (enormous!) chalet, nestled in Squaw Valley between snow-covered peaks, drinking moonshine in front of a roaring fire and watching strange American television - what a way to spend a Friday evening!

It was a massive effort to get here, with nothing seemingly going our way. First, getting to the airport - I arranged us a car, and they subbed in a taxi at the last second (no child seat available, apparently). No problem, once the cabby found our place. Off to the airport!

... Where they couldn't check us in until Jules' ticket was updated - it was booked with "Mason" as his first name! As they started the process, it came out that they had no record of his booking payment - no seat, so only 10% ticket price, but with $800 worth of taxes. For an $80 booking!

Got Tom (from Palantir) on the case and he sorted it (with much gnashing of teeth - he hates Qantas), so we headed for the lounge for the briefest of stays. And they wouldn't serve us a celebratory champagne!

On to Sydney. Bumpy ride in a dual-prop Dash 8 - which Dee has called "the Shakinator death-trap" on a previous occasion (just before I boarded, nice of her). Not the best of flyers, she certainly enjoyed our well-deserved champagne once we made it to the Sydney lounge. If only we had longer there!

Now the big flight - 13 hours in an Airbus A380. We boarded, and immediately had to ask where we were sitting, as our tickets - the second or third set issued - just said "infant". We were supposedly sitting at a bulkhead, with requisite bassinet for Jules, but the on board staff had no record. To their credit, they reseated us at a bulkhead near the back without too much hassle. Another bumpy flight, but at least our baby boy slept through.

Tired now, and headed for the gauntlet of LAX. "Say what you like about the English," I said, "they know how to queue." Unlike the Americans, who want to subject any and all visitors to the longest, most confusing lines. "Visitor or US citizen," asked Dee of a passing line-attendant. "Yes" was the unhelpful reply before she stormed off, yelling at people to form lines. 20 minutes, lucky we were in the right line AND we got there reasonably early AND they had more than a single Customs officer on duty (they had two). Painful, but we somehow made it through without Jules cracking it ( came close, but he's such a good little boy). At this point I'm feeling despair, and Dee is feeling frustration.

We got our bags, sans trolley despite Dee's best efforts at stealing one from a greedy Chinese couple - they had two! - and rechecked them. The dumbest system in the world. Hoofed over to another terminal and went through security again, making it to our departure gate with ten minutes to spare. Joy! Another flight, bumpier than it needed to be, and we're in San Franscisco.

"This is my favourite airport," says Dee, possibly because it's the last one we have to see for a while. Driver man meets us at the gate, helps us with our bags and drives us to The Westin, Palo Alto. We check in, collapse, go out for last minute supermarket shopping, collapse again, and sleep until 10am this morning.

(Will post again about life in a snow cone, but for now you're all caught up.)