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The trip south

In ideal conditions it will take a driver a little over three hours to get from my place to the nearest Ikea, which is in Burbank. It took me four and a half.

Yesterday I set out at six a.m. in Paul's truck. He has an eleven-year-old (I think) Ford F150, a substantial enough truck to haul all the furniture that I might buy at Ikea. Although I slept well the night before I fought sleepiness the whole way. I stopped four or five times for coffee, bathroom, just to stop, snacks. I did not take San Marcos Pass because I was driving a truck and I did not drive fast because I was driving a truck - not because the truck can't go at high speeds or climb hills but because I simply felt more comfortable taking it at a slower pace. I arrived at Ikea at about 10:30. Mary, meanwhile, had gotten a late start and then failed to find one of the freeways she was supposed to take. So she and Joey did not arrive until about an hour later, so we agreed to meet across the street from Ikea at California Pizza. I had already gone through part of the showroom but had not thrown anything into my bag yet.

After lunch we went into the showroom in earnest. And spent three and a half hours making decisions, jotting things down on the list, grabbing small stuff, getting through the checkout line. We were all exhausted and I spent a lot of money. But I got a lot of things. Mary and Joey guarded the stash, which was in two carts and a large flat carrier, while I went to get the truck. I managed to back the truck into a loading space in the Ikea loading area, which for me is no mean feat. I don't much enjoy backing under any circumstances but backing a large truck (large in comparison to my Civic) without a rear-view mirror just wasn't my idea of a good time.

We loaded it up. It all fit nicely. Then we took both of our vehicles to the hotel in Anaheim. That drive took about 40-45 minutes because the freeway was clear.

This is July. July in Los Angeles is one of my least favorite places. I harbor some fondness for the sprawling city, but not on days like yesterday or today. It was hot, muggy, smoggy, and incredibly ugly. Whenever I drive toward Anaheim I feel an especially strong sense of ugliness. There is no redeeming quality anywhere nearby. I sucked it up and we arrived in beautiful Disneyfied Anaheim, drove past the entrance to Mickey's place, and found our hotel. It was a nice hotel. Our room had a refrigerator,microwave, coffee maker, all things I have almost come to expect now that I have become a seasoned traveler. Expect, yes, but don't always get.

I backed the truck into a handicap space near our room and Mary and I unloaded everything into the motel room. We both retain vivid memories of the theft from my car about a month ago. After we unloaded I parked the truck elsewhere. Mary ordered pizza, which we ate, then she and Joey took off for the American Idol show at the Honda Center there in Anaheim. The reason we were staying there. They had a good if strange time there, and I enjoyed kicking back and watching television.

This morning we had breakfast at Denny's, nearby, did a short trek through some neighborhoods (to see what the city is like), lounged by the pool (I got a bit of sunburn), and finally loaded the truck again (meaning I backed it in yet again) and checked out at noon.The city is mobbed by families now. Everyone heading for Disneyland or Knott's Berry Farm. Shuttles run down Harbor Blvd (where our hotel was) and people bravely walk down the sidewalks in large clusters.

We had few choices of what to do then. The truck was vulnerable to theft so we had to keep an eye on it. We went to a coffee place that Mary had found the night before and had gelato. Then we had sandwiches. And water. We sat outside where we could watch the truck, parked down the street a bit. Finally we called it quits at about 1:10 and parted company, Mary for Las Vegas and I for home. Mary was home by 5:30 and I arrived at about 6:15. Traffic through town on I-5, heading toward 101, was thick and often slow. I had the opportunity to enjoy the ugliness again, to smell the air, to remind myself why I moved out of there.

A few of the things I bought:

Chair for the living room - a kind of Danish modern item
4 chairs for dining table
"ladder"-style mesh shelf for living room (CDs, DVDs, books, and so on)
mesh table for television
coffee table
tall light for bedroom and two small desk lights
shelves for office
bookshelves with doors on bottom half for bedroom
cat tent
cat dishes and mat
kitchen stuff: cookie sheets, glass baking pans (nice smaller sizes), pot holders, coasters, large stainless mixing bowl, ice trays
a cheap quilt and quilt plus pillowcase covers for my bed
two rugs - for living room and office
small rug-mat - for kitchen by sink

That's most of the stuff, actually.  I will subject you all to pictures when I've got it all together. Paul rather enthusiastically put together the dining chairs and the living room chair already, and I put together the mesh table for the television and the tall light. The house is a bit of a mess right now.

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Judith Lautner
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