How do you make your birthday special and memorable? Make it a family event. Never a dull moment. At least not with my sisters. They were generous enough to take me away for one of my major milestones. We hadn't been away together since our 20's, so believe me; it was a long, overdue trip. The last time we were away together we went on a Club Med vacation at a time when we all were pretty wild. It was the era of drugs, sex and rock and roll, and we took full advantage of that. It was before we knew as much as we do now about STD's. Need I say more? This time was just a tad different though, but the fun factor was still there. It usually is when we're all together.
Let me just give you a quick glimpse into who we are. Both of my sisters are extremely successful business owners, and I have a successful career in advertising. But we are each on different levels of the economic ladder...and let's just say...I'm on the bottom rung of theirs. They need to extend their arms WAY down to reach me. But the positive side of that is I'm afraid of heights, so it’s a good thing I'm not up at the top near where they are. [Yeah...sure it is.] They are quite used to a lifestyle I will most likely never know as normal in my lifetime. [Although…at what age are you too old for a sugar daddy? Maybe there’s time!] When it comes to blue collar/middle class anything...it's a foreign language to them, whereas I'm just your average white collar, middle class person who can afford the necessities in life, with enough to enjoy the journey, but in a whole other stratosphere than they are. I've also lived in middle class, blue collar areas over the course of my adult life. They have not. I'm comfortable there as well as being comfortable in an upper middle class area. They would not be. It would be like living in a third world country to them where no English was spoken. See where I'm going with this?
They had asked me where I wanted to go for my birthday. 'Anywhere in the world...just pick a place.' How many times are you offered an incredible opportunity like that? So let’s see…Italy? France? Greece? Nope…San Diego. A place I have been to way too many times to even count and I lived there for a year. Why did I choose that, you ask? Because of my dog. My dog is on a restricted diet, takes quite a few meds and needs to be monitored, and I just couldn't leave her or entrust anyone with her. So I needed to go to a place that took dogs and was close enough where I wouldn't need to hop on a plane. The resort in San Diego allowed dogs and my sisters both have been there and liked the place, so off we went. (Am I crazy or just the best dog mom in the world? I'd like to think the latter.)
The first day we arrived, we checked in, had a late lunch, and went for massages. I've written about my massage experiences before so I won't get into details, but it was great. I could hardly move after...so I measured that as successful. The worse you feel, the better the masseuse. We showered and decided we would skip dinner and go to the movies.
Going to the movies with my one sister is an experience unto itself. Having gone with her quite often, I knew better than to sit next to her, so I let my other sister have the pleasure of sitting in the middle. When you do sit next to her she constantly whispers in your ear asking questions as if you’re not seeing the movie for the first time also. I wish I was as smart and intuitive as she thinks I am while watching a film I've never seen. Half the time I have no clue what's going on and wing it, hoping it will come together at the end. What I don’t do is constantly bug the shit out of the person next to me, so that they can’t enjoy the film because they are missing out on most of the dialogue because someone’s voice and breath are permeating their ear canal.
The closest theater we found was a Cinepolis...which none of us had ever been to and didn't know it was a different kind of theater. But when the admission ticket alone is $20, it had better be more than just a regular theater. If you've never been to one, you have to try it at least once. It's definitely the way to go if you can afford it. It's like watching in your living room, sitting in a luxurious Barcalounger [is that an oxymoron?] and being waited on. Except, of course, your dollar output is quite extraordinary. You have your own personal waiter and can order from a full menu and bar. The sequence of seats is two together, then an end table and another two seats, etc. My sisters sat together and I sat on the other side of the end table; which I came to find out made no difference. The movie started and I could hardly hear the dialogue on screen because of the outbursts coming from the peanut gallery next to me. My sister has to be the most animated viewer and the greatest audience member ever. Her reactions are as if the scene on screen is happening in real life and real time and she is witnessing a murder from across the street. Her gasps, her exclamations, her "OH NOOOOO's" are like listening to a child who doesn't know reality from make believe. She is truly a great audience. But for those of us sitting next to her? All I can say is my brother-in-law must be a saint. [But she is a crack up.]
Long-haired, toothless, tatted up guys; a beer in each hand or hands down their pants, were walking along the side of the road. My sisters were dying and I was cracking up. It was a picture out of Deliverance. They didn't know what to make of it and the further down the road we got, the better the sights and quite entertaining [for me.] It should have been titled, 'WalMart shoppers go camping.'
My birthday arrived the next day and I was doing something to make it as special and as memorable as possible. And again, we ended up on a road to nowhere. [I'm starting to question the validity of WAZE.] This time we were on a road comprised of junkyards containing smooshed up, compacted cars and automobile parts. You would think my sister had lived in an opaque bubble the last 30 years by her reaction to the automobile cemeteries. She was in awe. I swear…it’s like taking a little kid to the circus for the very first time. She was in shock that these places existed. I thought she was going to get out and see if she could purchase a large pile to use as art on her front lawn.
Again, after numerous U-turns, we called the place and got directions that actually took us to our destination. And there it was...heaven's gate. I dug out the email with the code they gave me to punch in to open the gate, and I did, and shockingly enough, it didn't open. Duh. You would think with 3 relatively intelligent women attempting to figure out how to open a gate, it wouldn't have taken us 15 minutes, but it did. My sister, who was reading the numbers to me, didn't realize that the pound sign was part of the code. In fact, she didn't know what a pound sign was. She just thought the number sign was telling you that they were numbers to punch in. [Because we wouldn't know that 1-2-3 were numbers without the # sign before them.] We're like the female version of Moe, Larry and Curly. Or Abbott and Costello plus one. Lucy and Ethyl with Mrs. McGillicuddy? Whoever we were...we couldn't get anything done on the first attempt. The majority of our vacation was spent figuring things out. Maybe we're not as smart as we thought we were.
I was so excited to be there I didn't care. We were there...and there was the plane. It was teenier than the one I jumped out of 40 years ago, but it would do the trick. My heart was pounding with anticipation and excitement all the while my sisters were trying to talk me out of it. After I signed all the waivers and disclaimers, (because you love thinking about that right before jumping out of a plane), I met my skydiving partner, Luke, who was a big, muscular hunk and then I knew I was in good hands. I was so glad I was going tandem and didn't need to think about anything but enjoying the jump. All I had to do was make sure HE knew the directions and could reach our target destination. And Luke knew the way. He was my hero for the day. He did give me the roller coaster version of parachuting, but I loved every minute of it. Especially when he got the directions right the first time out. [Whew!]
Could you imagine if my sisters and I were jumping together? We’d probably be somewhere in North Dakota dangling from some rock formation, still trying to get directions.